Monday, February 24, 2014

Over the Top

Sorry my posts have been slacking. After getting back from Boulder things got a tad hectic but I think I've got everything marching in a straight line once again.

I thought I had the Cycling team settled in for a good transition of leadership since this was to be my last year at the helm of ETSU Cycling but 3 weeks before the first race, which was this weekend in Florida, he (the new President) up and quit on all of us. It's hard to find someone that has a passion for and willing to make sacrifices to an organization these days. So, I'm back at everything and our spring collegiate road racing season has begun.

I've been on the trainer a lot this very wintry season. Not for the same reason that most do though. I'm not a road racer most know but I do like to dabble. I know how, especially the mechanical and mental part, but I don't like mixing it up with big groups that, let's say, are lacking technical skills... That said I love watching good road racers duke it out. The main reason I was wasting a perfectly good tire on the trainer since December was to drop some lbs. Plain and simple, nothing more nothing less. No race goals, nothing. Right after fall semester I walked by a scale in the gym and hopped on. I was floored. That digital thing read 199! If I had seen 200 I would have probably threw a dumbbell at it and been hauled off to jail. My Dad is a big, big dude bless his heart. I always told myself I would never get big as my Dad. I figured it was in my genealogy so I would have to work at it very hard when I got older, well I'm older now. I've never ever really been on a "diet" in my life but changes in my lifestyle would now have to be made. That thing called metabolism was now downshifting in my life and changes need to be made. It truly is a lifestyle of choices!

The changes; I stumbled across an app on the trusty iPhone called "loseit". What the heck, I'll give it a try. Once again I was floored by the amount of calories I was consuming and the way these calories broke down in the app. Carbs, protien and fat. The amount of calories I was taking in was enormous and yet I wasn't eating to get full I had thought I was "cutting back". I've read so many articles on nutrition that I'm almost permanently cross-eyed. I've come to realize that people have different perspectives on this just like religion. Interpretation would be a good word I guess. Do it this way, eat this, no eat that...  It's crazy.

Since December 12th I've changed my diet to eating better (except when I'm traveling but I do the best I can) I have made better choices about what I put into my body. I don't like grocery shopping at all but now I'm in the grocery at least 3 times a week. I eat many more perishable items now so that means more trips to the grocery store. My weight now? 189! I've been stuck here at 189 for 3 weeks now and it's not budging at all. I think once the weather breaks and the time changes in 2 weeks so that I can ride outside more than once a week to get longer rides in it will snap the thread holding me here. I've now set a goal for 175. A tad ambitious maybe but I'd be happy with 180.

All this time in the saddle did buy me a tad bit of fitness. My cyclocross racing was a disaster to say the least. After 2 months riding steadily inside watching every movie netflix has to offer I decided to see what I could do (that racing bug coming out in me). Why not bite off a gravel grinder? Ok, which one? Looks like the next best one was Southern Cross hosted by Odea and company down in Dahlonega Ga.

So, I registered online, spent the night in Helen, Ga Friday night so I wouldn't have a long 4+ hr drive there Saturday morning. I'm up Saturday for a 40 minute drive into the winery. I've never ridden here before so I printed a small elevation/mileage chart and taped it to my top tube so I would know when the climbs were coming and for how long. It worked like a charm. I can't stand racing a course that I have never pre-ridden.

I had fun! Plain and simple. I took both bikes, the ridley x-fire and the Air 9, but ended up on the Niner for the option of having that 36 in the back to climb with. Funny thing is I only once used the little ring up front just so I could rest my legs on a climb. I actually did 99% of the whole thing in the 39 ring up front, that surprised me. It was a grueling first 12 miles to the first aid station where I refilled the water bottles and started questioning myself if the whole thing was going to be that brutal of a climb. Thankfully it wasn't. The second big climb back up to the aid station was very mild compared to the first one, thank goodness. Upon returning to the winery for the final 2 miles through the cx grassy part we started in they shot us up behind the winery hall for 50 yards at no less than a 30% grade. It hurt I'm not going to lie, it hurt bad. After reaching the top my right hammy started to tighten up it seemed like it took me two forevers to get back up that ridge in the grass to the finish line. I was shooting for a sub 5hr race but ended up 5:08:12 on the race clock but made my goal barely in my garmin 4:56:32. I wasted 12 minutes in the aid stations between the two times I stopped to refill. 71 out of 102 in the 40+ so I beat 30% of the riders or I got my arse handed to me by 70% of the field. Ewwwwww!!

That was the first endurance race in 2 years for me. I wasn't to awfully upset with that. I could only imagine what it would have taken me if I hadn't dropped that 10 pounds. If the cash flow holds out I plan on hitting as many of the Ultra CX races as possible that don't interfere with the Collegiate road races this spring.

After my little stint in Dahlonega I saddled up to  meet several of the guys in ATL for the second east coast round of Monster Energy Super Cross. I will say that I wasn't upset when JS7 eat the ground early in the race. VP did't win and didn't look up to speed but the overall racing wasn't that good like the last one also. The promoters need to do something to the tracks to make the racing more intense for us paying spectators. Nonetheless it was mega fun. We loaded up Sunday, left the ATL and headed over to FATS trail system for a quick spin on the way home. My back was tight and needed a little mileage to loosen it up. The storm that rolled through earlier in the week devastated the SC pines. Devastated in a strong word and barely describes how bad the trails were blocked by down trees. We actually removed a lot of debris that you could move with your hands. There's 100's of hours of chainsaw work that will be needed there, seriously! This is only one section of "skinny".

We probably walked 2 miles over and through downed trees. We were back in the trails and rode only 1:10:00 out of a tad over 2 hours. I feel sorry for these guys. They will need hundreds of hours of work to clean the many miles of trail that are blocked by all the pine downfall. We removed a lot of stuff that one could without tools but we merely scratched the surface. Good luck guys.

Well that's all I have for now, Thanks for reading. It's off to UGA this weekend.

LAter G...........................

Sunday, February 9, 2014

SO Funny

Sorry I've been slacking on the posts but I ran across this accidentally and had to share....

Friday, January 17, 2014

Boulder Baby

Monday Casey and I took ETSU and King College's bikes over to Sheedz at Brevard, NC for the long drive the Brevard Tornadoes would have to get all of our bikes to Denver. It's not a trip to Brevard unless you hit the cheap Chinese buffet. I think Casey consumed 6 plates of food. I don't know where he puts it.

Boulder! What a great trip this year! Early Wednesday morning Austin takes me over to our regional airport in the tri-cities for a ride on a crop duster to Charlotte. I met Casey at 4:30am and boarded the turbo prop at 5:30then after a quick de-icing we were on our way to Colorado and collegiate nats. Peeps think I'm crazy because I love riding turbo props. Small plane, 2 big ass engines? It's like being on a carnival ride.

After landing in Charlotte we hopped a bigger jet for the 3+hr ride to Denver...

We landed, hung out for 2 hours, Joe landed, we picked him and his bike up and off to the race course! We hung out for several hours and got dinner before checking into our hotel. We decided to stay 9 miles south at Louisville, Co to save money. We were able to save nearly $500 by staying away from Boulder!

On the way to the hotel we needed several adult beverages. We found this place called Hazels Beverage World... it didn't disappoint!

 I got a 6 pack of samples and tried a few beers I haven't had before.... just a couple shown.

We were on a tight budget because we're a club organization and not a varsity team. So we didn't get to visit many of the nice eateries in Boulder. Enter sad face here

 I love Colorado! If i was to live anyplace else this is where it would be. I love me some Rockies.

 After getting settled in we had to build bikes. Casey had 2 as well as Joe. We found a bike service called Pro Bike Express. Chandler and Wes took great care of us and the bikes. It was nice leaving the bikes at the course to be washed and gone over each day while we were taking care of other things. Super great service!!!

 This is the beer list from a local restaurant in Boulder...pathetic.

The free breakfast was not bad. Fresh eggs and sausage with all the trimmings. Waffles and pastries topped everything off. It made the trip easier and less expensive. The Milligan crew stayed at a place that served them dinner every evening also, they scored best on the food.

 There was plenty to do at nats. Casey never wore pants the whole time there. A couple of days it was frigid cold too and the wind gusted one day to 50 mph blowing some jr kid over while he was racing.

 Free haircuts? The local talent was out in force for sure. Casey and Kaysee sport the event shirt sold by one of the vendors.

The place was packed on Sunday for the final races of the day. Thousands came to Valmont Bike Park to watch the days events unfold.

Casey above and Joe below rode their hearts out for great finishes. Casey would have had a better finish but a first turn crash resulting in a flying superman move over Tim's, from Mars Hill, bike when Tim crashed.

The course was a hard packed, mostly dry, fast race track. Joe said there was NO place to rest.

After 6 laps Joe, below, managed to hold onto 3rd place well ahead of the 4th place Furman rider. I didn't think Joe was ever farther back than 5th for the whole race. It was our first podium in CX in only three short years of trying! The thing I'm most proud of is that we are a club and beat several teams that have lots of money in scholarships tied up in their riders. Go ETSU! When I first took over the ETSU program we only competed in Mountain Biking and it was mostly gravity only. We've came a long way in 4 years. We now compete in MTB, Road, BMX and CX. Success? I think so. I hope I can take this resume' and use it to secure a coaching job at a college cycling program soon. I graduate in May!

Here's a quick iPhone vid of the Pro Start Sunday...........

This is how you ride stairs. PERIOD! smooth!

See... Casey is always eating. Here we were slamming  a couple of breakfast burritos from a vendor that stayed in the same hotel as ourselves. When we were leaving late Sunday the dude gave us a full pan of everything to eat. It would easily have made 10 burritos! I had about 2 polish sausages from it while Casey devoured at least half of it. Delicious !!

Another beautiful sunset on the course Friday.

Shimano.... The best neutral race support bar none! These guys are a class act and we get to see them at all the big races. Shimano you guys rock! Oh you ask about Sram? yea they were there fixing their broken junk... yea that's right those hydro's that were recalled. If you didn't get yours replaced at Nats dont worry they'll have yours for ya in April. Enter hashtag #fail here.

As we look back after a successful season of collegiate CX racing. Goodbye Boulder, we'll miss you!

Most all photo creds go to MamaJ!

I couldn't leave this out! While we were riding high in the skies at 3am Justin was still partying it up at the after party. I made a bet with him via text to see if he could keep it up until we landed in Charlotte at 6am eastern. He said he almost made it. Kaysee and the King team were walking through the Denver Airport when they saw Justin sacked out waiting on his flight back to SC. She snapped a quick cell pic and sent it to me. Good try my man!

It was a great trip. I will go as far as calling it a mini-vacay. Lots of homies from the Volunteer state attended and many peeps that we only get to see at the races so it was good times. I9 was there with support for their customers. Drew and little wife Rachael are awesome. We get to see them again this weekend at Asheville NC for the last episode of NCCX. Everyone is anxious to see what the course will be like as a precursor for CX16 Nats! I could go on and on with everything that happened but I think I'll save some for later...

LAter G.............

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Break - Colorado Bound

Up early and head to Chattanooga with Casey for the Tennessee State CX Championships. The state jerseys were to be awarded (not that I was in the running mind ya.) to the top riders in the state this day. Casey an I were doing great on time until we ran into this mess below. What is it with people and driving anymore? Forecast was for rain all day Friday and most of Saturday. Well it poured all day Friday the day before the race then let up and stopped late that night. More rain was in the forecast but it still had not hit us on our trip. Well at about the junction of 75 south and 40 west split... it started. We counted 5 accidents in less than 50 miles. One was a huge motor home off the road and up in the trees!

I thought I was going to be late for my masters class so I stopped at a Hardees for a bathroom break and grabbed a biscuit. Little did I know that the venue was not far away. We arrived with enough time to register, kit up and make one practice lap just before the start. It was a no warm up for me, as usual, so I didn't expect much for myself. I was on my trusty Air 9 Niner for the mudfest ahead. I get picked on for riding a mountain bike at most of my cross races but I don't mind, I've got thick skin and I can dish crap back better than most so it's a win-win for me. One heckler gave me props for climbing the run-up but said he took it back cuz I was on a Mtn Bike. Next lap I ripped him back for not racing and he left me alone for the rest of the race, that was too easy. I like getting heckled... its cross!

Bang and we're off. I get a kick out of riding most stuff that the cx bikes don't. I'm definitely not fast but I pride myself on NOT getting off the bike since I'm a slug. So, I bunny-hopped the barriers... every lap (I've seen & ridden bigger), I rode the greasy slick downhill section that some ran down and I rode every run-up on the course. It wasn't easy and I have to say that the off camber sections were the most difficult in my opinion. I ended up 13th out of 18 or so.

It was a filthy sloppy mess at that park. Thank goodness we were first. In my race it was more soup than tacky mud. When my bud Nolan finally got to race it was a tad more sticky and nasty. The mud made quick work on his stock organic pad material and after a couple of laps he was riding with no brakes. His strength and power, luckily, gave him over a half a minute lead over the 2nd place Corey. Corey is one of our local collegiate riders and rides for Virginia Intermont. Corey was able to close the gap to right behind Nolan since he didn't have any brakes left. Nolan almost had the thing in the bag but he dropped his bike on the last turn before the finish and Corey managed to get around for the win. Yep, luck plays a huge part sometimes. So, Nolan gave Corey a gift unintentionally of course.

I'm going to have to find a GF to take pics so I'll have some pics of me at these races! Well, probably not, it's not worth putting up with one. If mama J would have been there she'd have taken plenty. But unfortunately she was at the UCI in Hendersonville NC for Sat/Sun races.

Yep it was soupy slop at choo choo.

I got asked by a few peeps why I didn't go to the UCI races that weekend. Well they got hammered by the rain clouds as well on Saturday and Sunday's forecast was no rain. That meant one thing: peanut butter mud and I didn't wanna go through the trouble of cleaning up Saturday's bike mess just to do it all again 24 hrs later. Another reason for me is the class structure and that I'm a over-weight, outta shape masters rider that can't hang on in the 3's anymore. Our local MSG CX races have a masters class that really separates the guys with integrity from the lame ones, opps I'm probably not supposed to say stuff like that. Most USAC masters category's are 35's and 45's Masters 1/2/3 then a Masters 4/5. To be quite honest I don't think you should be racing ANY masters races until you are at least 40 years old. Psssttt, hear me USAC? Didn't think so. Our fearless leader at MSG adopted that trial lst year masters program that Wisconsin put in effect for road racing two yrs ago now and tweaked it a tad. We have a 35+ Elite 1/2/3 then we have a Masters 45+ 3/4/5 and a 55+ 3/4/5 and we're all ran together and scored separately. This way when the 45+/55+ 3/4/5 win a series overall we can bump them on up to a more competitive class (35+ Elite). Also, the masters riders that have integrity and want to challenge or push themselves can race the Masters Elite class at MSG. Then the ones that can't go to any race unless they have a good chance at winning can race the 3/4/5 Masters so they won't bruise their delicate little egos. After this race series I think I'll have another populated list for rider upgrades, yehaw.

We have a Christmas break this week so that we can spend time with family. Good food means more training to work it off though. I wish I had more discipline ya know?

So now what? There's one more local MSG race in Kingsport Jan 4th then a Pro Cx race the next day, 5th,  at the same location. Yep that's right we be getting ready for Nats in '16 hosting these ProCX series races. So we'll start working on setting up a course the week after Christmas then as soon as its over we're on a plane and headed to Boulder for almost a week. To be so slow I sure do get to travel so pro. The school is picking up the airfare and hotels. The club gets the rest. Collegiate racing, and managing, has it's perks. Last year I was a participant... this year I'm tech assistance for Corey and Joe.

I am going to take advantage of the situation while I'm out there though. Looks like Friday I'll be getting the skis out for a day on the slopes at one of the area resorts, woot woot. Then Saturday we'll get back to being all serious about racin'. Sunday Div II races early. We''ll get everything boxed back up after that and get cleaned up so that we can catch that red-eye back home. Yes free tickets and I can't complain even though I wanna about a red-eye flight. Then, Wednesday Spring classes start! Senior portfolio class is this semester and I'm really looking forward to it. Thought I'd add one of my pieces below with the before and after. It's Photoshop using displacement maps. I'll have to create a bunch more before the end of the semester for senior show.

LAter G...............

Monday, December 9, 2013

SLUG-ish Me

Up and early we jump in the van and roll over the mountain to Mars Hill NC for the conference finals of the collegiate SECCC CX season. It rained all night, do I need to add anything else?

Their course is all climbing up one side and all down on the other. We, the Men's B & women's B got first crack at the course while there was a tad bit of grass left on the ground in between the green course tape. I did my usual roll off the line in last of a 15 rider field and rode right back up to the back of the pack within 1/2 of the first lap with minimal effort. I rode up to inside the top ten and found my combatants I would duke it out with for the rest of the 40 minute race. A Lees McRae rider and a rider from Cumberland. We traded places several times as we all three had areas of the course we were better at than the other. Mine seemed to be the wooded climb single track into the descent around the crazy ass off camber section that led to the first switchback DH section. The other two out rode me on the lower sections after the start finish line though. After slugging around the course for 5 laps my lower back was ready to leave me out there alone to fend for myself. I managed to hang in and finish 9th, I'll take it. The temps were cold to say the least. As the day wore on the temps kept falling too. I blew off my masters 45+ race because my body felt like I had already ran 2 races as much energy I expended in my collegiate race. We did hang out for Casey's Cat 3 race though. That boy put in a herculean effort to make it to third and hold off a hard charging 4th place rider at the sprint. Great job Casey!

The ETSU and Miligan teams posing for a group picture: It was Kelly's last CX race.

In the A race a LMC rider got about 4 pedal strokes in standing before he flipped over the bars when his carbon steerer snapped below the stem. #ouch

LMC lady managing one of the many messy turns. Real CX weather and conditions finally.

This hill was actually easier than it looks. The ground had enough bite for your shoes to get traction to shoot you up the hill. I wish my lungs would have held out under the stress of running this.

More muddy turns. Turnout was killer at Mars Hill

Down below: I-9 is a local company and they pop for some really sweet trophies for the Mars Hill race every year, thanks I-9!

Like I said there was a great turnout at the race

Casey and Garret - 3rd and 1st respectively. Garret is hitting his stride as a rider. East Tennessee has produced some really fast riders in the last 5 years.

Slippin' and a slidin'

Here's the grand master of Mars Hill Cycling, Hugh Moran. Great job this weekend Hugh.

This is what you should look like when you leave it all on the race course. Casey staggered after the finish and couldn't stand. He gave it hell, great job Casey! Casey is one of the new guys and has been a great asset to the team.

Blair snapped this cool picture of his disc brake Norco beside our trailer. Blair is a new guy on the team just learning his way around cx racing this year.

This is my new motto:

Photo credits got to LMC Cycling, Mars Hill Cycling, Kelly Chism's phone, Mama J and a few others I can't remember.

Those were Saturdays events now there's Sunday's:

Casey opted to stay at home and rest today. Blair and I needed more exercise. Well, that's what I thought. The local weatherman was forecasting ice and freezing temps but we rolled over the mountain anyway. The drive was dry and peaceful until we got about 2 miles from the Kolo bike park where Sunday's race was to be held. It was my first time visiting Kolo and it looks like a fun place with all the zip lines and stuff to do beside the Wingate Resort center.

Sadly the turnout was pretty low. There was only 2 C riders, 2 women riders, 15 B riders and I don't know about the A's because it was freezing cold and we got the heck outta dodge. It drizzled the whole time we were racing on the course. At one time it started sleeting for about 10 minutes.

The course was fun with plenty of MTB single track, 3 run-ups and a couple of jumps too. They had a little bit of everything. They had one barrier that wasn't very high. Hugh heckled me one lap to hop the barrier, which I did with ease, because it was only about 10 in high. In the race I didn't ride very hard at all. First, my legs had nothing left after Saturdays mud climbfest at Mars Hill so I had the mindset to just ride Sunday's race in Zone 3 for it's entirety. Why? Well I missed the collegiate MTB race this fall and I wanted to make it up to Hugh by showing up and supporting his 2nd event at Kolo. By the looks of the turnout everyone drove over to Salisbury NC for the NCCX races.

The next race is the Tennessee State Championships in Chattanooga. We'll drive down early Saturday morning race and drive home afterwards. There's a UCI event in Hendo all weekend too but they have the 3's racing with the 2's together - I'd just be in the way and in the Masters they have the 1's, 2's and 3's all together.. UGH!!!! I'd get lapped 3 times in a 5 lap race probably I'm so outta shape. So I'll probably just stay home Sunday. This will be next to the last CX race for me with my final one of the season being in Stinkport (Kingsport) on Jan 4/5 just before we leave to Boulder Colorado for CX Nats. I'm skipping racing in Boulder to support Casey while he races the A's on Sunday in Collegiate D2. While I'm out there I'm going to take one day to hit the slopes at one of the resorts since I'm not racing. Braappp.

LAter G.............................

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winding Down

This weekend is conference finals at Mars Hill. This will probably be my last collegiate race of 2013 sadly. Well, it will, since I'm not going to be racing collegiate at Boulder in January. I'll probably end up just racing the TBRA state championships next week, UCI in Hendo the day after TBRA, then the final week of MSG at Kingsport and the UCI at Kingsport the first weekend of January. Then hang up those 32mm tires for the 2.1 fatties and 23mm's. It's time to start base afterwards. I like base for some reason. I really enjoy just riding for hours with nothing to accomplish but just getting time in da seat.

I'm probably going to be the penguin in the pic below after our collegiate cx season ends.This season was a mess in my opinion. Too many things to list here but hopefully I can help make it better for next year. It'll take ruffling a few feathers though but in the end it'll be worth it.

baaaaaaaaaa..... whateva!

The first substantial snowfall of the winter season arrived before Thanksgiving. I know COB is loving this since the ski slopes opened early this year. The view from my back door below.

 My carbon do-it-all-road-bike-disc-brake project arrived just before Thanksgiving also. She's all painted up matte black and all it needs is the decals now. The BMC Team Machine? She's a gone..., sold to a new owner in Delaware.

Monday, the weather was so nice, I did a few errands then loaded up the Air 9 and headed for Damascus to buzz of a few gravel miles on the creeper. After almost 3 hours I found the toaster and headed home. I was really surprised how much snow and ice was still up there.

   Saturday we drove down to Loudon, Tn for TurkeyCross. I was surprised how many peeps showed up. There were well over 100 riders. The course was at a ball park and was nearly 2.0 miles long, 1.9 to be exact. I know it felt like it took 2 forevers to make a lap. I will say it was nice to see an actual run-up that no one was able to ride for a change. Man that thing was steep. I managed a 16th out of 20 something, Casey scored a 2nd and got his first fistful of cash. It was cool to see him stoked like that. He didn't buy my lunch though... bummer.

   This year's been interesting traveling for collegiate cross. It's mostly been just three of us in the van going from race to race. There's Casey who has more energy than a jack russell that I'm still getting used to and Blair who is so new to all this racing that he still has a green tinge to his skin.
They're good guys and have a passion for the bicycle which is what the team needs.

   Yesterday I attended another orientation. Whomever organizes these things doesn't have a clue I tell ya. They scatter groups out all over the place with their tables and it makes it hard for the students to find you or stumble across your organization. I pulled a fast one and moved all my crap to a prime location beside where all the new students get their ID cards. That way everyone had to see the cycling club. I had 5 girls stop and ask about the bike trails and racing along with two guys. The guys I probably won't hear from but I really hope we get a few girls interested and join the team.

On the school front I finished one final already (aced it) and have three more next Thursday. All on the same day, yehaw.

LAter G............................