Friday, December 25, 2009

Xmas eve riding..

VeganRob, Matt Miller and I headed for a long road ride from his place in Nazareth towards Raubsville to pick up Jay DeJesus. We paralleled the Delaware on the PA and NJ side for awhile. Only one near abduction incident for Matteo and a van (and a big time bonk), one near crash into a pothole with no hands for me, a bunch of time pulling the group for Robbie, and an uneventful day for Jay.

I nearly bonked at the end of the 4.5 hours rolling back into Nazareth 82 miles later, kind of a fast pace for a winter ride?? Time to start building that endurance for next year, I've got two 4.5 hour rides under my belt so far this winter. I know - child's play for some of you out there.

Oh Swaitek was gonna post, before he found out Jay was coming as he didn't want to make Rob jealous of all the Matt's on the ride.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter time..

Well winter is finally here, we've been really lucky this so far with some really warm days in November and December. This past Sunday a bunch of us rode Jim Thorpe in about 2-3 inches of fresh snow. It was VeganRob's dogs (Dakota) birthday ride, where last year at Salisbury there were about 25 people - this year only 7 of us for the snowy thorpe ride.

I made it out twice on lunch this week, with Monday's ride being a bit of failure on gear choice. I probably could've used some ear coverage and some shoe covers. It was in the high 30's, so my feet, and ears were quite cold - gotta remember all the gear choices for the different conditions.

Belgium Night at FSX is fast approaching, along with a 40th birthday party for the Flahute of Flanders. It seems a lot of people are already sick for Friday, it's gonna be one of those nights.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Home sweet home..

This year's edition of Thanksgiving Leftover Afternoon FSX took place yesterday. And unlike the previous events of this season, FSX returned home to it's truely cool location. Unlike the "new formerly coolest cross race ever" location, this course as those who've raced the old course will tell you is more of a mountain bike'ish course.

The family vibe continued this year with the kid's race starting out the day, followed by the standard 20 min + 1 lap, race for people who don't race, team race, goat field miss & out, and an individual time trial.

It was a fun-filled day of racing in unseasonably mild November temps, with a bunch of socialzing thrown in. It was great to see everyone out there, old and new fsx'rs. Thanks to the Strickland's for opening their doors to us yet again! Now its back to the new venue for the remainder of the season.

Next up Irish Night, Belgium Night and Merry Crossmas, oh and 24 hours of FSX is supposed to be a go. See ya all there.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Double crossed...


First up for the double UCI cyclocross weekend was Granogue. The DCCoD have an in with the Dupont's, and put on one hell of a cool race on their grounds just outside of Wilmington, DE. I raced the "B" race at noon, with a huge field of 120 or so racers. We were called up in order of registration, putting me around the 7th or 8th row. It was like one big slip and slide, but I rode a smooth race with only one crash. There were 2 runup sections which is where I seem to lose the most time.

Apparently they shortened up our race, removing a section that included some barriers. I don't think anyone was sorry about that. I finished up 48th out at 120'ish, I felt ok with that considering the conditions and my weak running.

After my race, I got to pit for Yozell and that was a pretty interesting view of a race. With a much mud there, he was pitting every 1/2 lap. He was running 3 bikes, so that helped keep things running smoothly. Bill Elliston helped get me started, and there was a few guys Mike knew that were helping as well. Mike finished 2nd place, amond a pack of very talented pack of racers.


Day 2 of the weekend, Wissahickon. This race isn't actually held at Wissahickon in Philly, but just outside Pottstown in Ludwigs Corner at a horse show area. The conditions were looking better than yesterday, as least I thought so. It was windier than Saturday, with minimal rain yet still pretty muddy.

I got a better starting position, around 4th or 5th row but on the outside in the gravel. I probably should've tried getting more towards the middle of the road. There was a crash right behind me that took down quite a few riders, and apparently one guy got trampled a bit - with a few broken ribs and a collarbone.

There were probably another almost 120 guys in this race, I finished 42nd. Its crazy how many people show up to these races, both to race and spectate. The vibe at a cross race is COMPLETELY different than a mtn bike race.

I'm not sure why I'm lifting the bike so high over the barriers, and I really need to work on technique for run-ups and barriers. Watching Yozell fly over the barriers is crazy. He has it timed perfectly, I feel like I have to jump over them - whereas he just strides over them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Epic conditions...

Last night was the 2nd FSX of the year. It was true cross conditions - 30's and rainy, with a very large turn-out for Sausage Night. It was decided in order to prevent hypothermia between the races, we would only do one 33 minute plus a lap race format.

The shortcut involved downing 1/2 a raw hot dog before leaving on the shortcut loop. I took the shortcut loop every lap, remaining in the top 5 or 6 the whole race. I was riding behind flask most of the race, but lost contact after a slip & slide after the fence area near the barriers. I kept trying to get back onto the group but was about 10-15 seconds back for the remainder.

Thanks to SMC and Robi for sponsoring this night, and the after party at Robi & Susan's house. What a sausage fest it was back at their house, with hot dogs, white sausages, potatoes and lots of beer.

Looks like more epic cross conditions to follow for the weekend. I just finished getting all the grass/mud off my bike only to do it all over again on Saturday @ Granogue, and Wissahickon on Sunday. This will probably be my first and only double race weekend for the year, as I'm still on vacation. See you all out there in the mud!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two in a row...

Today's weather proved to be challenging, looking for a break in the rain to get out for a few hours. The radar showed nothing and the hourly forecast looked good from 11 - 4, however it was raining most of the time.

I had to make a parts run to SMC for a preload cap for some XT cranks for my Niner One9 singlespeed project. I also had to return a headset removal tool that I borrowed to strip the Jet9 for the recall process. I kitted up with knee warmers, a hat, and a vest which I quickly removed even though it was still raining.

I felt surprisingly fresh on the bike, after yesterday's cross race. It seems that wouldn't last all that long. I got to SMC with about 10 minutes before closing, enjoyed a quick latte and an Emmaus Bakery donut, (very tasty). I grabbed my part and headed to Yozell's to pick up a tool to fix the lousy water bottle cage bolts on my Cannondale 29'er.

A quick bottle refill and I was off, starting to feel the previous days effort and the almost 30 miles of riding. It was a mostly uneventful ride home with what seemed like every road went uphill. There was an interesting thing that happened, I was riding up the road and there was a kid maybe 12 or 13 years old walking a fairly large black lab. I didn't feel like being chased, and wasn't sure if I should announce myself and be chased or just try to sneak by safely undetected. I chose the latter option, so I shifted into the big ring before approaching the dog & kid. As I passed them the dog tried to chase and must have had the leash wrapped around the kid, and down he went on the slippery road. I probably looked funny, but sucked for the kid (and I did feel kinda bad) but I'm sure it was the smarter choice for me having not to be chased on a slick wet road.

I hit up some dirt/gravel roads on the way home, and some slick climbs so steep I almost couldn't keep traction. I definitely was pretty cooked by this point, so it was kinda hard to recover from. Well this concludes my weekend off from work, and it was really nice having two days off in a row. Back to work tomorrow, and I hope to be able to figure out my schedule in order to ride FSX, we shall see.


Saturday, September 26, 2009


Mandatory monthly update prompted by VeganRob and Bill Strickland. Rob's ready to stop visiting, and Bill only uses me for my links :)

First cross race of my season was today - Whirlybird Cross at ByrnAthyn college near Philly. The weather couldn't be more perfect, 60's partly cloudy with a breeze. I rolled up to the event around 9:30 to get prepared for the 11am "B" race.

I got to cheer on some peeps in the C race, while warming up trying to figure out tire pressures for my recently acquired tubular wheelset. I settled on somewhere around 30'ish on my floor pump gauge, this would prove to be a little high in the front and low in the rear. I kept feeling like the rear tire was flat and rolling a bit too much.

I got to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare, hooked up with Matt Allyn and Ryan of Flanders and Jamie Harris. We were admiring the FU pit bike that Ryan was racing while waiting for call ups. Ryan and Kremer got a callup, leaving the rest of us to fight it out for some prime start line real estate.

Matt Allyn, PropaneJamie, Gunnar, and I all had some pretty good position near the front. I commented on Gunnar getting ready to trackstand until the whistle and crashing the field, well he didn't crash the field by somebody did - Plunkett unfortunately got slowed up in this crash. Apparently someone broke their ankle at the start, and someone else broke their femur on the C race.

I had a decent start probably top 20ish, though losing some places quickly. I chased Matt Allyn most of the race catching up to him in the corners, and getting dropped on the flats - man that dude has some power. I also tried staying with PropaneJamie when he passed me, no such luck there either. Matt had about a 20-30 second gap, which I tried very hard to close put couldn't get anywhere, until he rolled a tubie and grabbed a pit wheel. We rode the last half lap together and he crashed in the gravel, lost his chain and I passed him.

I finished 31st of 60 or so riders, with Matt right behind me - though he was riding REALLY strong and would've probably placed top 20 with no mechanical issues. It was a very fun race, great course, great people and perfect conditions. I stayed to cheer/heckle all my friends, Erica took the W in the elite womens race, X2 killed it in her first elite cross race!

Yozell won the elite mens race (damn that family is fast) Stephan got 2nd just ahead of Bahnson. The elite races were a lot of fun to watch, how fast and smooth these guys are. They seem to gain speed when it comes to the barriers.

I should have some pics to share from Anthony @ soon. I hope to get some more cross racin' next weekend at the Hillbilly Hustle.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bear Creek and running...

Running?? Monday night after work I got this crazy thought to take Jane (our Shepherd / Rottweiler mix) for a run around the development. One lap is .5 mile, I did 2 with her with the second won a little slower as she was lagging behind. I dropped her off back at the house and went out for another 2 laps, 1 lap all running and another run / walk lap. Roughly 20 minutes of running - and I'm pretty sore.

Tuesday night I met up with VeganRob for some laps of the race course at Bear Creek. Trail conditions were great, with only a little mud on the trails. There were a few other riders out there which was good to see, also a group of trail runners were out there. We did two laps before running outta light, the xc race is 3 laps - so my upcoming plans are to try to bust out 3-4 laps at least a few times before the race.

Tonight, another run on tap. Jane came along again, and was able to hang for 3 laps this time. I'm trying to not only build my running endurance, but hers too. Another 2 miles and 20 minutes. I feel like 10 minute miles are pretty slow - and I'm still sore! I may try a parkway or trail run soon too, just to see what the difference is between trail / street.

I don't really see myself getting too wrapped up in running, but I figured it was a good way to get a quick workout in. Also, with cross season coming up around the corner, I would like to be more prepared this year than last. I hope to start hitting some intervals / hills in the next few weeks. I think there's a race only 3 or so weeks away.

Time for some sleep, 'night!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's been awhile..

Well not a lot's gone on since my last update, since I'm a slacker and don't update. I haven't been really training too much, just riding. I was sick for about a solid month, killing my thoughts of 2,5,10 and the Wilderness 101.

I raced French Creek last Sunday, had a great first lap, a not so great 2nd lap, but finished 3rd outta 5 or 6 guys. I really need to step up some training for a good result at Bear Creek, the last race in the MASS. I may try to hit up another H2H race or 2 after Bear Creek, then it's cross time. I really think I will enjoy the cooler temps in the cross season, the damn heat and humidity is killing me during xc efforts.

Friday, I did a road ride from my house out to Kutztown for coffee and a cookie. I planned on going for 3 or 4 hours, though my plan was cut short by some crazy storms. This was the worst rain I've been out in, including some torrential downpours I've ridden through on the motorcycle a few years ago. The difference is on the motorcycle you have a bit more protective gear on, and on the road bike the rain hurts like crazy.

After SMC happy hour a bunch of us went to Grumpy's BBQ in Whitehall. They have some damn good food, and they had Dogfish Head Ale 60 minute on tap. They also had a blues/rock band playing that really kicked ass. If you have a chance check these guys out - Eddie Bluestone.

Sunday - no racing! Just hit up Lehigh with Mike Melnick for a few hours. I gave him the whole tour, we hit mostly every trail and some forwards and backwards. It was a pretty killer loop, about 19 miles with quite a bit of climbing. Conditions were perfect, after the previous rain fall we had on Friday and Saturday night.

Back to work tomorrow- and thankfully Cash For Clunkers is OVER! It brought in quite a few customers, but most of them were very VERY frugal and its a ton of bullshit paperwork. Now let's see if the government actually pays us, the dealership has about $800k outstanding from the program.

I'm all updated out, maybe I'll post back quicker than my last 2 month old post. Not that any of this is really interesting. Later


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Visit PA MTB Festival...

This weekend was the Visit PA MTB festival weekend. Since I had some time off earlier in the month for a family visit, I was unable to get some extra time off to suffer the 9 hr endurance race with my friends.

I did however get to spend some time at the farm on Friday night for the Night Time Trial. This event is really cool, with the Visit PA team riders starting at 9pm and everyone else going out at 1 minute intervals. I had a chance to pre-ride the course with VeganRob, DanK, Pete, Scott Alden while it was still light (or almost). We finished up at just before 9pm, without lights and it was pretty dark in some of the sections. Our pre-ride data showed 6.37 miles and a kinda easy pace of 48 minutes.

Since I had determined late I was gonna race, I had the 2nd to last start time of 10:38pm. I had heard some times of the fast guys A-ron of 34'ish minutes. I felt really good out on the course, passing about 7 or 8 people that started before me. I finished in 38:23 - 6th place in the solo field, I'm happy with my ride there.

I returned back to the farm on Saturday night to do some partying with everyone, who suffered out there all day. They had great weather for the endurance race, though not as great as the weather in my comfortable office with fast internet :)

Sunday's events were some slow downhill race, kid's race, bike toss, and short track xc. Seems a lot of people didn't stay around for the Sunday festivities. Because of the attendence, Kuhn did just 3 STXC races, with no A, B categories. We started at 12:30 for our 30 minutes on the course. The leaders did 13 laps, and I did 12 laps - ending up in 12th place. The speeds were really fast, 7.5 miles in 30:22.

After cleaning up and sticking around for some raffle drawings- I won a Feedback Sport Alpine digital scale. I hope to get out to either the Lewis Morris Challenge (where I won in Sport last year) or Long Pine Classic (michaux state forest). It might also be time to start getting ready for the W101?? I've been considering this race this year for a few weeks, we'll see how that works out. The 2-5-10 century is coming up and I'm gonna try to get that Monday off of work to do it.

Time for some sleep. Later


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vacation rides...

______________________ Friday ______________________

Friday I hit up the Rodale lunch ride - which ended up doing Sauerkraut long. After a small altercation between Bill and some angry construction worker shouting for us to single up, X2 and I split off and went of for some more miles. We took a right turn up towards tower road (ouch!) We ended up with 33 miles for the day and just over 2 hours.

Then there was some happy hour fun, followed by a 100 lap Madison at the VPCC aka velodrome. I had my family in town from SC, and they had never seen track cycling, what better race for them to attend. I chilled out with my family till around 1am. I had to crash to get up early for a Saturday morning mtn ride.
______________________ Saturday ______________________

Yozell, Boman and I met up for a Salsbury ride from Emmaus. It was nice to actually warm up before a ride. However, I wasn't really fellin' it. I was really warm, high HR and legs feeling really heavy. The trails were a combination of completely ridable and super slick. We did a 30 mph paceline back on Emmaus Ave, which also had my HR cranked. 20 miles just under 2 hours.

______________________ Sunday ______________________

Six of us headed out from Emmaus to hit the Pagoda ride. The were a few scheduled stops along the way, Oley grocery store on the way out & Oley Diner/Creamery/Petting Zoo. This is my longest road ride of the year, and 3rd day in a row on the bike - vacation is nice! 75 miles 4.5 hours and quite a few feet of climbing. We had a quick apple fritter and coke stop at the Oley shopping center followed by some climbing. After we hit the Pagoda (one hell of a view) and some really sweet decents we stopped at the Oley Creamery for some ice cream and a little zoo tour.

A great day on the bike with some lunch at Armetta's and some dinner at the Strickland's. This has probably been my biggest (8.5 hrs) few days on the bike and I feel great! A few more days of vacation before reality begins again.

Next racing stop - Neshaminy. See ya there.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Iron Hill Enduro...

I had originally planned on doing the Expert XC race at Iron Hill in Newark, DE. However, with a 2pm start time I thought it would be a better idea to do the 4hr enduro race. Weather leading up to the day was looking great, so I mounted up a new Stan's Raven (which is almost a slick with some side knobs).

As it turns out - maybe not the best choice as the only bit of rain on the east coast happened to be in Newark for about 2 hours before our race. This really caused some sloppy conditions, thankfully not nearly as bad as Granogue. The big benefit of this type of tire, is that it doesn't hold mud, but every little slimy rise was difficult.

I started the race 3 minutes late after going back to the car to remove a base layer, since the rain stopped and while riding around I figured I be hot. I had to move my way through many of the beginner racers, and caught up to Fernando about 2/3 through the first lap and we rode together for a bit. I caught up to Pete on the 2nd lap feeling pretty good I passed him up one of the climbs. I knew it wouldn't stick, because I always start too fast, and fade as time goes on. I stayed away for about a lap and half then Pete caught up to me and we rode together for the next 2 laps or so, going back and forth.

On the 5th or 6th lap I started to cramp up a bit, so I tried to just take it easy and spin a little easier. They subsided pretty quickly. Pete made a pass on one of the shorter steep climbs and got around some of the Sport traffic, I couldn't keep up with the pace so I backed off just a bit. I thought he was gone for the day, but apparently he crashed and cramped up finishing on his 6th lap.

I rolled through the clocks with about 19 minutes left, so I went out for my 7th lap. No more cramps and felt pretty good. The last two laps were about 2 - 3 minutes slower.

4:19 total race time, 35 miles and 7th place out of 28. After the race Pete, Chuck and I headed over to Iron Hill Brewery for some food and beer. That was good call, but I was definitely pretty tired by this point. Pics to follow soon.

Next up maybe the Highbridge XC race in NYC.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Slingin' mud...

A bunch of crazy soles showed up in Montchanin, DE for the Escape from Granogue MASS race. I can say I definitely wanted to escape, as the course conditions were less than ideal.

I showed up around 9:30am, with ample time to pick up my race number and timing chip (this idea I really like). I talked with a few friends while waiting for the 11am race start. I chose to sit in the car instead of a warm up, as I figured I would get warmed up on the first lap.

We showed up to the staging area with about a dozen guys in my class. I don't know any of these guys, therefore I don't really know who to pace with. Marc set us off for our 3 laps of mud, with a firm warning of the wet bridges and roots. The start went up the road pretty chill paced, and I was sitting mid to back of the pack into the turn, then moving quickly to 2nd or 3rd up the muddy climb to the tower. Around the tower and down the first descent I moved around to lead for a bit, probably almost 1/3 of the first lap.

I'm looking forward to a race where you actually ride your bike, rather than taking it for a hike around the muddy woods. Though it doesn't look good for this week weather wise for this week. Unfortunately I have to work on Saturday for French Creek, or maybe fortunately cause it's probably gonna be a repeat of Sunday.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This past Sunday was the Greenbrier XC race in Boonsboro, MD. This race is a national qualifier race, not that I was intending on going or qualifying for that matter. The temps were in the high 80's - low 90's at our 2:00 pm start, with 4 laps on the just over 5 mile course. I've come to actually know this course after racing there 3 years in a row - just about the time it takes me to remember a course.

There were about 13 guys in the Expert 35-39 field, and clearly 12 faster than me. I talked with Josh West from the team a little bit before the start. Checking some stats from last year, he did some really fast lap times but DNF'd last year - not sure why. But I knew he was one to chase. I tried to keep him in site, with a decent climb off the start I felt OK around mid pack. But that changed quickly as the next climb I saw the pack pulling away up the climd, and I couldn't hang on that pace for the climbs.

I never really got into a groove in this race, I think the heat was really getting to me. I came through on my first lap at 30 minutes flat - about 3-4 minutes faster than my previous years lap. However, on the 2nd lap the climbs were making me suffer even more and I really slowed down - 36 min lap time. At that point the heat was really getting to me and I was really nauseas, so I DNF'd myself and jumped in the lake to cool down. Yup, that's right I quit! Kinda like I did at Leesburg Bakers Dozen.

Moving on to a less sucky subject, I rode my bike twice yesterday. I got a quick hour climbing workout in at Hawk Mtn (to help with the first part of my post) and I did a fast paced ride at Salisbury with Vegan Rob. I think I broke my previous times by a few minutes, probably has something to do with having Rob following me around. But I actually felt good on the bike for the first time in a few weeks, so thats a good sign.

I'm thinking maybe I was just still a little tired from Leesburg, possibly under hydrated (causing the cramping at Leesburg) and heat issues at Greenbrier. Or it could be I just plain old suck, we'll see how things go this weekend at Granogue. GO REGISTER !! here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leesburg Bakers Dozen..

Friday a bunch of us headed down to Leesburg, VA for the third annual Bakers Dozen 13 hr mountain bike race. The vibe at this race is very cool, and was a great time last year. This year I did this race solo instead of the 2 person team I did last year.

My plan was to ride roughly 40 min laps and go steady all day. Well all plans change, at the start a few guys got a little too excited and were sprinting off the start like an XC race. Unfortunately they crashed into each other, then crashing into me - twisting my stem/bars and seat. I had to run over to my pit area and straighten everything out. Now I was out on my first lap behind the train of people, most of them walking the rock up. Just about now I noticed my knee is cut up and hurtin' and there was a golf ball like knot in my calf - from the crash at the start.

I pulled in on my first lap and went right back out for another lap, probably putting down a little quicker time than I should have. That wasn't really in keeping with my plan of steady. The next lap I switched over to my Jet9 full suspension, as I was already noticing some lower back issues from either effort or the rutted access road between the two loops. This was a great decision as I could immediately feel a difference, until my fork started giving me some issues. It was bottomed out on travel, so I locked it for the remainder of that lap.

Next lap I jumped on the Cannondale 29'er, and asked Josh from Saucon Valley Bikes if he could switch out the fork from my SS bike I brought for Dan K. as a back up. He worked on it, getting everything switched over, so when I came back through I switched back. Great work Josh!

So the day started with the crash, some fork mechanical issue, and then I started to cramp. My legs were cramping, and stomach was starting to feel kinda knotted. I was taking some time off the bike between laps trying to get the cramps to subside. The cramps kept on coming, so I decided to just chill for a bit and see how things would go after some more time. Dan K, Pete, and I went out for another lap - I think number 10 for Dan and I, and like 12 for Pete. At the end of the lap I was done - I figured I got 71 miles in, not quite what I wanted. But no biggie, since I got to hang with some good friends and ride my bike for quite a few hours.

Now my legs are still a bit sore, probably from the cramps I guess. I had some off site training for work today, and was able to get out for a nice hour spin after the training. It was an amazing day, until right around now (7ish) when its starting to get a bit ugly out.

We'll see what's next on the schedule, probably Michaux or Granogue. See ya soon!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baker's Dozen...

Tomorrow a bunch of us are heading down to Leesburg, VA for the Baker's Dozen - a 13 hour lap race. I unfortunately have to work today (It's damn nice out) and still haven't ridden all week. Good thing I'll be good and rested to take Pete's $5.

The weather is looking perfect for the weekend. Fit Chick, Mr. Fit Chick, Pete, DanK, Straus, Bowman, VeganRob, Liz, and Josh are making the trip from the local area. What a crew, it's gonna be a fun weekend!

Race report to follow.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Roller suffering...

I picked up a training program from LW Coaching. She has pre-built plans for various disciplines of racing, ranging from beginner/sport/expert xc plans to 100 mile prep plans. I picked the expert build/peak/race plan - which is a 12 week plan. Tonight was my first interval workout on the program, and it was definitely a tough workout. Here's a screenshot from WKO+ with a gridline at my FTP 277 watts.

The workout was max effort 3 x 3 min on 3 min off, 3 x 2 min on 2 min off, 3 x 1 min on 2 min off. With the warm up, intervals, and cool down this was my longest roller session. After the workout I did some work with The Stick, and used the foam roller on my IT band, quads and hamstrings. Feeling pretty good now - but certainly tired.


I've been looking for a light, fast, decent cornering tire for the 29'er. I found a Bontrager XR 29x2.25 that weighed only 560 grams, mounted right up tubeless on the Stan's 355. It seems to have sealed up with minimal work. Hopefully it hooks up well, looks like a decent cornering tire.



Sunday was my first expert xc race, and first xc race of '09. This is a whole new level of hurt from last year. The race was the AFC Sugar Hill Patapsco XC race, to raise money for Extreme Weekend Children's Diabetes Camp and Kupenda For the Children. These guys run a non-profit organization to raise awareness for Diabetes, to show those diagnosed with Diabetes and their families how leading a healthy and active lifestyle can move you beyond your perceived limits, and to raise funds for Diabetes research. Several of these guys have comeplete RAAM (Race Across America). I think they even did it on fixed gear bikes one year.

The race was held at Patapsco Valley State Park in Elkridge, MD. Its about 2.5 hours from the Lehigh Valley area. They have many miles of multi-use trails, mostly fast and flowing with one longer climb and few short steep climbs. The course was well laid out, marked well, and well supported.

There were only 14 people in my class, of which 1 or 2 were pro's. Chris Beck (Gary Fisher) started the race at a pretty fast pace - sprinting the first climb. I guess he went out and kept the lead the whole race. He ended up winning with a time 9 minutes faster than 2nd place - he finished in 1:26. I finished in 7th place at 1:45, 19 minutes behind Beck, I'll take that for my first expert race.

I know some things I really need to work on, climbing, pacing, and that extra lap is very challenging. Time to up the training a bit and stop just riding around with no goals. I've always heard of that time called "junk miles" not sure I agree with the term, but understand the concept now.

Next up Baker's Dozen, 13 hours solo - this will be my longest race so far. I did this race last year as duo team with Mike Carter, and we placed 7th which I felt was pretty respectable. I'm hoping for a top 10 finish, but this should really test my pacing abilities (or lack of abilities) as last year I could go out hard and bust out faster lap times as I had some recovery opportunities. Regardless of placing this is gonna be a lot of fun! Lots of people from the area are making the trip to VA for this race.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

French Creek group ride...

This morning I headed over to French Creek to meet up with BP, Kim, Dan K, Scott Alden, and a guy I never met Bob (fast rider from Beans). I was warned this wouldn't be a race, although Bob set a pretty quick pace. I was doing my best not to push the pace, and keep my effort in check.

This place it fun, with some nice quick singletrack with some rocks thrown in. I don't really know the loops over there, so I recorded the ride for future rides. We did a loop from the new Shed Rd parking area, and it was just about an hour and half back to the car where BP and Kim headed home. The other Bob and I headed out to the White/Red loop, Dan and Scott were gonna do the same. They decided to hang back a bit, thinking our pace would be a little quicker than they wanted.

They were somewhat right, until I got a rear flat down a rocky decent. So I took quite a while to change the flat - I really need to get quicker at these trail side repairs. By this time I was kinda slowing up a bit, and Bob seemed to still have a ton of energy. That changed really quick, as he kinda hit the wall and I hit a second wind. We climbed back outta the woods to the car, I was getting changed and saw a buddy Jose from the Bikesport team. We caught up for a few minutes checking out what everyone is up to, his wife is having a baby really soon - so he's trying to get as much riding as possible right now.

As much as I kept my effort in check, I'm still pretty damn tired. I crashed for about an hour and a half, now we're gonna grab some Chinese food.

I closed out the week with just under 10 hours of riding, with some of that being actual structure - kind of. I gotta start ramping up the actual workouts rather than just riding, if I want to be competitive in the expert class. The first XC race is gonna be a real eye opener!


First day of spring ride...

Friday was the first official day of spring, yet there were flurries when I started my ride. My plan was to hit up Sals then ride over to Lehigh for a loop. I started at Dodson and busted out my fastest lap at Sals (unintentionally though). I didn't want to kill it so early in the ride as I was gonna be out for awhile.

Down through Lehigh campus area was interesting, as all the kids are running around and driving their parents expensive cars. I haven't seen so many BMWs, Mercedes Benz, Lexus cars in one area - mostly outta state tags.

I pretty much a full loop at Lehigh, and only stopped for a quick pic at the Witch trail. This is a pretty rocky section which I still have only cleaned a handful of times. I was pretty tired by this time so I only tried it twice, that's the last thing I need is to get jacked up in a pile of rocks 2 hours into my ride.

Finished up the loop with just over 3 hours, 23 miles and 4000 ft of climb. A pretty solid effort, so I enjoyed some food/beer at SMC. Everyone was getting back from Laroo's birthday booze cruise.

Bowman and TJ were heading out to South Mountain Emmaus for a loop, which I decided to join them on. I know its not the same doing all three places back to back while riding between them. Another just under 8 miles and 1500 ft of climb, made for a big day.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring has sprung? and climbing...

It was sooo nice out today, that when I raced outta work at 5pm, I headed over to Lehigh for some climbing. My plan was to do repeats of Deer Path and the Jeep road and back down. I was gonna try to do 4 repeats, however there were other plans by Vegan Rob & Dakota.

Rides with Rob will come to an end soon, as he is starting to ramp up his intensity (which means normal humans can't keep up). Fortunately he was riding a 43 lb. Cannondale Perp which helps me keep up a little bit.

I thought I would get a little warm up ride in, nah - just start climbing up to the water tower over to the jeep road. Oh great I get to ride down Snake on my 29'er hardtale playing chase to Rob on a DH bike. I guess it wouldn't matter if he was on his 29'er, it would've probably played out exactly the same.

We hit 3 good climbs, while I was trying to keep my heart rate right around my LT hr. First climb was about 10 minutes, second 16 minutes, and the third big climb 23 minutes. The total ride was only 11 miles but with 2200 feet of climbing. I'm really trying to train my weaknesses. But the cool thing about this loop, was that along with the challenging climbs, there were some cool rippin' downhills and a few technical sections mixed in.

Time for some sleep, yes I'm actually gonna go to bed tonight as opposed to falling asleep on the couch. Waking up at 3:30am on the couch with the TV on really sucks, especially when ya can't fall back to sleep.



Monday, March 16, 2009


Not this Mash... But the Michaux Mash 4 hour lap enduro race, at Michaux State Forest near Shippensburg was held yesterday. This race was put on by Zach Adams aka. Fast Forward Racing Productions.

For those that haven't ridden this area - you are definitely missing out. I entered the Masters 35+ category, with my only goals being - complete 4 laps, be consistent on my lap times, and not bonk. I would say I pretty much completed my goals, I guess the times could've been better :)

The loop was approx. 9 miles of some fire roads, really sweet singletrack, a killer downhill, and a b*tch of a doubletrack climb - total elevation gain of about 1200 ft. per lap. The race brought some Pro's to the area - Trek team members Chris Eatough and Chris Beck locked up 1st and 2nd in the Men's open, both completing 5 laps in just over 4 hours!

I completed my 4 laps in 4:51 - securing a 16th place finish of 41 racers in the masters category. I wasted about 8 minutes of my 4th lap with a flat that unfortunately wouldn't seal with Stan's. There was a cut in the tread on a brand new Crossmark, which I hopefully can salvage. After the race they had some good food and beer (oh they gave a pint glass too).

Guess it's time to really start working on climbing, as there were quite a few people I had no problems walking away from on the flats and downhill, that proceeded to climb right past me on the long climb. But, this was some good training for Leesburg Baker's Dozen in April - with trying to pace myself and eat / drink more frequently on longer rides.

They should have some pics from the race up soon, that I'll post a link to.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Daylight savings!

This was my first DST ride. I got outta work at 5pm, and shot over to Gold's Gym for a quick back/biceps workout. My ride plans were to be on the bike by 6:45 while it was still light, I was out the door at 7:03pm - still light!

I was gonna just hit up the Schuylkill River trail, but as I was riding by the Hamburg watershed I decided to head up to the Pinnacle. I hit up some of the double track stuff that Jay DeJesus showed me on the New Year's Day ride, down into Eckville. Then I hit up the road for about 35 minutes back home.

It was a good ride, with some climbing, some dirt and some road. I need to get some more time on the bike, other than on Friday and Sunday. I gotta get back to at least 4-5 days on the bike, and in keeping with that plan I'm gonna try to hit sack soon and get up early tomorrow and hit the rollers for some high cadence drills. 'night all


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cooked by Crits...

I tried to make it out the Derby, but thankfully I was running late with a rear flat. Apparently there were two crashes and a pretty good pace. So I decided instead to head to SMC grab a couple of tubes, fix my flat and head over to the March Training Crits.

I got there early enough to get registered, and like a total noob I put my number on wrong. Not just once, not twice, but three times. So after screwing around with number pinning, I caught up with Flask, Swiatek, Kuklis, and Bobby. They had all done the Derby and were doing the B race, since I didn't do the Derby, I chose to register for the B and A races. Later I would find this to be a mistake.

The first race started pretty hard, and seemed to accordion back and forth a ton. This was my first crit after upgrading outta Cat5. Quite a difference, but there still was a crash on the 3rd lap - looked like about 4 people were involved. Apparently there were two crashes in the Derby as well, must be everyone just excited about some decent weather? I got lapped (a few times) because I only completed 22 of the 25 laps.

I rolled around and cooled down a bit and contemplated whether I was doing the A race. Since I already paid for it, I figured I would go out there for a bit and see how long I could kinda hang. The start was a little more tame, with much more a pack of riders rolling together. I only made it 16 of the 35 laps, when I decided to just bag it for the day.

That is some serious intensity for early March. Not sure if I should just keep riding or throw some intervals in, to handle the pace requirements of this kinda racing.

Food and sleep should make it all better! Oh and don't forget about this Friday the 13th and the roller races.


Friday, March 6, 2009


The weather forecast was looking great for the Camp Hilbert enduro near Richmond, VA. Unfortunately they got 5-7" of snow still on the trail, and with the concern for a bunch of racers on a muddy course - the promoter postponed the race until early April. Bummer!

Today I met up with a bunch of people in Emmaus for our long ride Friday. The plan was for 3-4 hours out to Lake Ontelaunee. As usual I was a few minutes late and was told by Bill "that bike is not nice enough for this ride" Apparently the Bicycling magazine editors are testing a bunch of new bikes - some pretty pimpy stuff compared to my Cadd9.

So after being late I had to run into the shop for a gel and Clif Bar, gathered up Laroo to play chase to the group. They headed out towards Sauerkraut and it to till the Emmau High School for us to catch them. Apparently this would set the pace for the ride. F A S T

A few flats (not mine) later we rolled back to SMC for some after ride refreshments. 3 hours 50 minutes total time 68.75 miles. So it was in fact a pretty quick ride. I'm definitely pretty tired, but had some good chinese food as a reward for the hard ride - though I probably consumed more calories than expended. Oh well, there's always Sunday. I hope to hit up Jim Thorpe for a few hours.


Monday, March 2, 2009

B.E.L.S minus B...

B.E.L.S is a ride that a few guys have down, which includes riding from Emmaus to Bear Creek for an XC loop, back to Emmaus for that loop, over to Lehigh for a loop, to Salisbury for that loop and finally back to Emmaus. That's a pretty ambitious day of riding!

Sunday I was all set to ride the Emmaus, Lehigh, Salisbury portion. I met Vegan Rob at SMC and we rode over to Alpine St to meet Bowman for the Emmaus tour. There was quite a bit more trails than I recall over there - I think we ended up with about 10.5 miles of just Emmaus.

We headed over towards Lehigh, stopping at a convenience store for some water. We started at the top and decended down to Stinger, out through Crazy Bones and up Ono and Superman - where Rob split off to ride back home to Nazareth. Once we got back to the top we headed down through campus out towards St Lukes for our Salisbury lap.

We kinda cut this one short and Mark and I were both kinda tired by this point. We cruised out Constitution towards Allentown, and picked up the parkway back to Emmaus. Pretty fun ride with only one issue - I tried to roll over a rock/boulder that I probably shouldn't have tried to roll, and I faceplanted into a pile of rocks at Emmaus only about an hour into the ride.

Stats for the ride:

5.5 hours, 38 miles, almost 5000 ft of vertical gain. I think if you do the full B.E.L.S. loop its around 70 miles. Though I don't know if I'm in for the whole loop, we'll see.


Friday, February 27, 2009

The wall...

Well today I woke up a little late, I was supposed to leave the house at 8:20ish for a Lehigh ride with Vegan Rob & Dakota. I didn't even wake up till 8:20, so as usual I was running late.

I got there at 9:15 to see Rob with his feet up and Dakota chillin' in the parking lot. Moral of the story for this ride is two-fold - don't wake up late for a ride with anyone else, and don't skip breakfast when you're late for that ride with somebody.

I really hit the wall today, about an hour and a half in I totally bonked. I definitely don't want to experience that again. I guess I should have also tried to eat while I was riding, but failed at that too.

After my bonk, Rob and Dakota continued on to finish up a loop. I limped back to the car with just 10 miles and 2 hours of ride time. The other issue with the day was my lack of bike maintenance, apparently my middle ring and chain on the f29 were shot. I made the call to SMC for a Talum order, picked up some grub and headed to SMC to replace my ring / chain.


The Allentown Brew Works is holding some roller races on the 2nd floor on 2/27, 3/13, & 3/20. Last night was the first one - and this is a fun night. Olympic cyclist Bobby Lea busted out the fastest time trial of the night, beating his competition by approximately 9 seconds in a mile.
I didn't stay to see the finish but I've gotta guess that Bobby took the win for the night. Geronimo was another one that just seemed to toy with his competition, just as someone would catch him - he would put a 1/4 lap lead on them.
The bar has pitcher specials and good food, so come check it out! I think Flask is gonna do some racin' next time too. Rumor has it we should do a blood alcohol test on the racers and deduct 10 seconds for each .01 blood alcohol level - should give Flask a distinct advantage.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snowy lehigh...

The plan was to try to head down to Philly for some Wiss/Belmont riding. Unfortunately mother nature had different plans - as usual. It was supposed to rain/snow there, so that place would be wrecked from what I'm told.

John Eurio and I headed out for 2:45 at Lehigh, and hit every hill we could find there. It was definitely a challenging ride, with a steady effort the whole time. I was really working on recovering on the downhills, and keeping my effort in check.

The conditions were quite good, even considering the falling snow and rain at points. I'm really ready for some good weather, ie: not putting on soo many layers in order to just ride. We need some dry dirt to ride on really soon.

I'm gonna try to hit up the Camp Hilbert 5 hour Enduro in Richmond, VA if anyone wants to hitch a ride down and split some costs. It's on March 8th, and is about a 5 hour drive from the Lehigh Valley. So hit me up if your in.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

double header

Sunday's plan was to meet up with Jay and ride with Dank and a few guys at Lehigh. Fortunately I wasn't the late one to the ride today, it was actually Dan showing up about 15 minutes late.

After the customary ball busting took place we were off for some Lehigh trail fun. Only a few minutes later there was a flat, and this would set the pace for the ride. Jay and I peeled off down the deer path and rode out the loop. Our plan was to hit a Lehigh loop, cruise down through campus and meet up with Talotta for a Sals loop.

After blasting through campus, which I've never actually rode through there (kinda cool). We showed up to St. Lukes just on time, expecting Chris to ready to ride. Apparently he thought we were meeting at Dodson, so he rode down and we rode in to meet him. Fun loop at Sals, though I was a bit tired.

I flatted late in the ride, just before the 3 bitches climbs. We cruised the rest of the lap, with Talotta riding up to the cars with us, and he hitched a ride back to his car with me. That was a pretty good loop which is just shy of 3 hours ride time. Bowman's did BELS (Bear Creek / Emmaus / Lehigh / Sals) all in the same day, which is damn ambitious. I think I'd be dead by Lehigh. Though I plan to at least try it soon.

Unfortunately I'm "working" today and not enjoying the sunshine and decent temps we have here today. I hope a lot of you got out for some miles today.


Monday, February 16, 2009

School is in session..

Friday morning I was set to ride Lehigh with Vegan Rob, and as usual I was running late. Unfortunately when I got there I realized even Jay DeJesus beat me to the ride, which he in the past is always the late one. After gearing up and heading into the woods, it would seem that the race was on.

My legs weren't really feeling fresh going into the ride, which is odd as I'd had a few days off the bike. So I focused on trying to mirror the two really talented riders ahead of me, when I could get close enough. Every time I get to ride with these guys I learn or relearn something that I need to keep practicing in order to get faster.

Today the key I would have to say - is trying to flow better on the downhills in order to recover for the uphills. I've been working on a lot of cornering skills / techniques while following better riders. I just wish I could make these things more of a second nature kinda thing, it seems I always forget to put to use the skills I pick up.

Just about 2 hours on the mountain and a really good workout, and we were back at the car. I was contemplating doing a road ride just to spin my legs out, and I was told that doing a group ride wouldn't really work. I didn't take that advice and headed over to the Rodale lunch ride.

Another just over an hour of a spirited group ride was probably not exactly what I needed, but it sure was a good ride! On to a quality nap, and race over to Double Click to pick up our failed iMac hard drive, which are supposed to be trouble free?? A trip over to SMC for happy hour, followed by some beer and food at Liberty St, and that concluded a great Friday.


Monday, February 9, 2009


Apparently the Derby went kinda quick yesterday. Swope called me looking for Brad Ford's phone number to let him know to not wait for her, after getting dropped on the way out. I guess it was windy and if you fall a little off, you're done.

Even Vegan Rob, who attempted to chase the group after starting only 6 minutes late, couldn't chase 'em down. So now he's taken to racing horse and buggies.


Weekend updates (2of2)...

A bunch of people were going out for a long Saturday ride, unfortunately I work Saturday's and can never get out on this ride. We were kinda busy at work for a change, and I didn't get outta there till almost 6:30pm.

Cush was having a birthday/1 year in PA bash at his place Saturday night. Beer, food, live band, and friends. How can you go wrong? The party was ridiculous, a keg of Fosters in the snow, the Elkie in the driveway which I thought the band was gonna play in the back??

This long night wouldn't work out too well for doing the Derby from SMC at 9am Sunday morning. So I chose to hook with Bill, JK, Taylor, John, Dkill, Ray, Plunkett, and Christine for a 3-4 hour winter paced road ride - notice Cush wasn't there, so it was in fact a winter paced ride! Most of the ride consisted of really cool back roads, riding through rivers of melting snow, HILLS, and some dirt roads that made you feel as though you had a double flat.

On the way back we stopped at Cush's for a much needed Red Bull boost. Recharged a few of the riders and off we headed back to Emmaus. Great ride, about 40 miles with just about 4000 feet of climb. A few of us capped the ride with some grub from the Superior, and some beers at Keith & Christine's. Fortunately I didn't have to go out and ride again, like Christine had to. She's testing some really killer Specialized women's free-ride bikes.

Back to the long work week, hoping for some great weather like we had yesterday!


Weekend updates (1of2)...

This weekend had some good riding, along with some good partying as well. Friday's ride consisted of a fast 63 mile road ride out to Lk Ontalaunee. The Animal and Bobby Lea led us out for quite a bit of the ride (so this set the pace). By the time we got to the lake after making a wrong turn at my suggestion, we had put down about an 18 mph average even with a few stops and Bobby's flat.

We turned around to head home in order to get Beth back in time to pick up Nat from school. So the pace was once again fast to ensure our arrival in Emmaus by 3pm. We succeeded with time to spare, rolling in at 2:45. Pearson treated the bunch to some Old Milwaukee pounders (recovery beverage?) Tom and Hans rolled it a bit after 3pm after hitting the wall around Mertztown. Tom bought another round of Bass, for being the last one back from the ride (Beth's new rule).

Christine worked some overtime, since Wachovia is occasionally looking for OT. So, since she was working I headed back to SMC for some happy hour fun, with the excuse that I had to get a heater to Cush for his birthday/1 year in PA bash.


Thursday, February 5, 2009


Another cold ride was on tap for the Rodale lunch ride. Pearson, Brad Ford, Matt Allyn and I left the north street building just after 12pm. Well after Beth got a few pics of Pearson's new bike and his homemade assflap fender (I think it was made out of a tupperware lid)

Apparently Flask attempted to guilt Pearson into the whole Lehigh Valley Fender Movement. But Pearson didn't give in and unhooked his tupperware lid for the ride.

We were headed out on the Vera Cruz loop when Matt Allyn decided it was TOO cold for the him and he bailed at Pennsylvania St. The 3 of us continued on, and it really wasn't too bad out. The roads were decent with only a few patches of snow/ice in the shady areas.

I felt great until the turn near the school where we caught a wicked head wind. Otherwise the ride was great, and we saw one other crazy cyclist out. Looks like nice long ride tomorrow and possibly the Derby for Sunday. Nice weather on tap for the weekend, so I hope everyone gets out and enjoys it!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Mercury falling..

A high of 12.2* and an average temp of 8.1*

It was definitely a cold morning today, almost cold enough to keep me in the house this morning. I called Beth to see if she/anyone was going out on the lunch ride, she told me that she was still shopping therefore not riding, but Pearson was.

As usual I was running a few minutes late getting all my stuff together. When I say all my stuff - I mean ALL of my riding gear, in order to not absolutely freeze. I got to the North St Rodale building finding a few other brave souls - Bill, Brad, Pearson, Christine, & Steak. It was definitely a short ride - just under an hour. But we were out there, and it felt great!

As we rolled back into Emmaus, we saw Selene, Jason and Cush heading out for a 2.5 hour ride. At least another group of locals braved the temps. Hope some of you other crazies got out there and rode today.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TNT or Tuesday Night Towpath...

Tuesday night towpath adventure has again taken place this week. Last week it turned ICY and a few of us hit the deck - me included. I decided I would roll the fixie for last weeks towpath ride, big mistake. There were some ruts and the 23c 100psi tires and rough terrain didn't mix well.

This week I thought it was a good idea to bring the cross bike, another mistake. I was breaking through the top layer and getting shot all over the place. Therefore, I decided to bail on the balance of the ride once we got to Freemansburg and do some road riding. Night road riding is a lot more fun in Bethlehem and Allentown than it is in Lenhartsville and Hamburg. There are people around, cars surprisingly giving me lots of room with the Planet Bike Super Flash tail light, and houses/buildings to block some of the wind. It's kinda fun racing cars stoplight to stoplight on Easton Ave.

I even got to cruise by a friends' house I hadn't seen in awhile. His daughter is just about a year old and she can scooch around the house ridiculously fast! Yeah I know kinda off-topic non bike stuff. I guess it's time to start ramping up the volume or just ramp up the jawn.