Monday, June 14, 2010

Aids Life Cycle is in the Books

OMG... Last week was quite an experience. I had originally intended to give you all daily updates as the Cannondale Bike Tech crew traveled down the California Coast along with 2300 cycling enthusiasts on our journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but things didn't turn out quite that way. Obviously.

Although this was the easiest year for the bike tech crew since they've been helping with this ride, it was still pretty damn busy out there each and every day of the ride. Up before sunrise and going full throttle until sunset left little time or desire for me to update the blog daily. And, looking back now it's as if all of the days and their events have been thrown into a blender and pureed into a beautiful concoction of laughter, scenerey, good people, hardwork, a noble cause.

So here it is in a nutshell. Oatmeal at 5 a.m., shift lever and cable swaps at 5:30a.m., about 1000 flat tire fixes, daily random bike part wild goose chases, Justin Timberlake, Aqua, and B.O.B bumpin at 6 a.m., packing up camp, moving camp, unpacking camp, headwinds that made me want to run home to my mommy, tailwinds that made me want to ride forever, a battle between Star Bucks and McDonald's drip Coffee, water bottles full of beer, 2000 cyclists in red, set up camp again, fix more flats, bump some Michael Jackson and Rihanna, everyone sing along cause we all know the words, work your ass off all day next to a group of the greatest guys you've ever met, change someone's day for the better, dance a little jig, fix another flat, pack the truck, laugh so hard you nearly pass out, grab a bite before falling into bed, and wake up to do it all again in six hours...

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that ALC was awesome. Now I'm in Utah. Yeehaw. I'm going to ride some new-to-me trails tomorrow and then I might have to go back to Cali to grab some bikes before flipping a bitch and heading straight back to Utah. Oh yeah, tomorrow might be gnarly.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

AIDS Life Cycle Day 1

We're here. San Francisco, CA to kick off the AIDS Life Cycle ride which leaves from the Cow Palace tomorrow waaaay before this kid should be out of bed and starts heading south toward LA where we'll finish up our journey on Saturday. Myself, a crew of Cdale boys and a group of volunteers will be on the road and at each and every stop along the way to ensure that the event's over 2000 participants make it from here to Socal with as little mechanical trouble as possible.

Mayhem is sure to ensue. Heck, it's already begun. Dinner at Elephant Bar on Graduation weekend followed by indoor go kart racing last night kicked off the festivities of the week and when you throw a group of bike nuts from all over the place into trucks and camp grounds all the way down the California Coastline for seven days, there's no telling what sort of shinanigans we're going to get into by the end of this thing.

Can't wait, but like I said, things kick off at a relatively unpleasant hour tomorrow and so I'm afraid that's about all I've got for this evening.

Oh, one more thing. I started running again a little bit last week. Kinda cool. Still hurts like a freakin S.O.B. at this point, but it's a little breath of fresh air. Kwait may have planted a dangerous seed in the fertile mind of yours truly this evening after hour jog when he suggested that I figure out how to flounder my way through the swimming portion of an X Terra event so that I could go out and slay the bike section and maybe hold my own during the run. He tells me there's money in that sort of triathlon stuff. I think that might mean I'd have to start wearing a singlet, arm warmers with a sleeveless top, and/or anklet socks, so I'm not fully gung-ho on the whole idea just yet. Goodnight.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

News

So I know this is a little out of order, especially since I haven't even finished my race report for Julian Death March and the Coolest 24 hour report has yet to be posted(it's in the works too) but I have some news which should be reported and is actually part of the reason that I haven't been able to keep up on other current events.

So, what's up? Well, I know that it's nearly impossible to believe, but yours truly got a real job. Huh? Dez got a job? Yeah, it sounds weird to me too, but it's not as serious as it sounds, hear me out. I am now the West Coast Demonstrationa and Event Coordinator for Cannondale Bicycles. Pretty official, eh?

What does that all mean though? I'm not completely sure, to be honest. Not just yet anyway. I know that it means things will be different for me from now on. Just how different and what specifically will change sort of remains to be seen at this point. Either way, I'm looking forward to the changes and the challenges which the new position will bring my way.

At this point, the biggest question mark is really what will happen to my racing. It would seem like working for Cannondale would allow me to race to my heart's content, but since part of my job is event and racer/racer support, it may actually work the other way around. But, we shall see. I figure that where there's a will, there's a way and if I truly want to toe the line, then I'll make it happen. For the next couple of months, until I get the hang of the position and get into my new groove, you shouldn't count on seeing too much of little Dezzi Wilder at at the races. Do not be fooled though, just cause I may not be racing doesn't mean I'm not staying fit enough to be a contender when I get back on course later this season....

Until then, I fully intend to keep you all updated on the new happenings and adventures of a demo truck driver as I cruise around the West Coast spreading Cdale love. Oh, and I promise I'll finish my write-ups on the last to races at some point too.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Coolest Way for Things to Change

I'll admit it, I'm a little nervous. After all, things are going to be different from now on. I'm not exactly sure how they're going to change, all I know is that I'm ready to take on some new challenges and although things are sure to be completely different, I can't imagine that this change won't be for the better in the long run.

I can't imagine a better way to close out this chapter of my life before starting a brand new one than to compete one final time at the race that really started it all three seasons ago. I raced the Coolest 24 Hour Race Against Cancer solo for the first time in 2007. It was the first time I had attempted a 24 solo and I didn't know it then, but that race was going to change my life and lead me down the path which I've been riding for the last three years.

I had never pushed myself that far before and the sense of accomplishment that I felt upon completing my first 24 solo was unlike anything I had every experienced before. My entire perspective on the world had been changed with the completion of that first 24, suddenly most anything seemed possible. After all, I could now rid my bike literally all day long. What could possibly be harder than that?

Fast forward three years to last weekend. The first weekend of May usually marks my first 24 hour solo attempt of the race season and the start of all that is good in the race season. Good weather, good friends, good legs, good trails, it all seems to start in that first weekend of May as I turn the pedals over again and again throughout the afternoon, into the curtain of night, past sunset and into the heat of the next day in that first weekend of may. Last weekend was different.

Instead of marking the beginning of another season, last weekend marked the end of a dream. That dream began in the winter of 2005 when the rain poured on for weeks on end and I struggled to survive on my own in my first apartment. Too poor to pay for college unless I worked full-time and unable or unwilling to sacrifice my time on the bike in order to juggle a full-time job and a full-time college schedule, I made a decision and set a goal which has defined nearly every waking breath and consumed almost every ounce of my energy for the last five years. I told myself that no matter how and no matter what, I would become a professional cyclist.

With this decision, I stopped attending classes and took on a full-time position so that I could afford to pay rent and devote all of my free time to riding. It was so simple then. I spent every spare moment of the day on the bike. Up to that point, I had ridden two hours a day as hard as I possibly could. After my decision, I still rode as hard as I possibly could for two or three hours but then there was time spent on the trainer, or time spent just riding to ride.

I was racing by the spring of 2006 and traveled up and down the state with a friend, coworker and eventual roommate who was hoping to live the dream as well. I knew this was where I wanted to be. I became obsessed with detaching myself from the "American Dream" of having a wife, a mortgage, a dog, a minivan and a couple of kids to go along with my college degree and got rid of anything that I didn't use everyday. I slept on the sofa as I had no need for a full bedroom since all my stuff had disappeared and as odd as it sounds, I was happy to do it. It set me apart, made me stand out, made me somehow different from the rest of the flock; and I enjoyed it.

Racing went on and the season drew to a close. I made some bad decisions and tried to move to Las Vegas briefly before realizing that I hated the place with a passion. Before I knew it, I was on the phone with Matt Jewett at Cannondale Bicycles and the next thing I knew, a frame and a box of clothing and other goodies arrived in the mail with my name on it. Could this really be happening? Wasn't it only a year ago that I had decided to try racing at all? Was it possible that I had come so far so quickly? I was officially a sponsored athlete. Weird. And oh so amazingly satisfying.

I couldn't see the danger in my early success on the bike just yet, but upon upgrading to the Semi-Pro racing level, I began to wonder just where it was that I was supposed to go from there. I had really only ever planned to make it to Semi-Pro, I had never really allowed myself to believe that attaining Pro status was actually a realistic possiblity and once I found myself racing as a Semi-Pro with some success, I became worried that I may actually need to think about the next step. Sounds odd, but it was worrisome to me. It's like planning a trip with a destination of some sort but not actually having any activity planned at said destination. When you get there, what are you supposed to do? It was never really about the destination, but really more about the journey itself all along. The same was true for me then only unlike arriving someplace and not having anything in particular to do or see, I couldn't simply hop back in the car and enjoy the drive home.

Nope, there I was feeling as though I was all dressed up with no prom to go to.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The March Part 1

I did exactly what I was supposed to do. I went to bed early so that I could get a good night’s sleep. I was going to need it. After all, I was willingly marching to my doom the next morning and I would be needing my strength if this suicide mission was going to go as well as I hoped it would.

It had been only a few days since taking on the Davis 24 hr challenge and my legs were a bit uncertain of this plan to compete in the Julian Death March. I had no choice. I had a bone to pick with the Death March and I fully intended to make up for last year’s Death March Debacle by completing the course in a respectable time and not letting it tear me down nearly to the point of tears as it had done the year before.

Last year’s Death March was a learning experience to say the least. I made some poor tire, tube, and wheel choices which left me stranded in the desert, wondering if I would be the first literal casualty of the race. I wondered if they would be forced to change the name of the event, the same way that The Death Ride had to change it’s name to The Tour of the California Alps after an unfortunate rider really died during the event. What would they call the Julian Death March? They could definitely call it something to the effect of ‘One of the Most Challenging Days You Will Ever Spend on Your Mountain Bike Ride’, though this is not quite as romantic as The Death March I suppose.

In any case, I made it through the event last year alive but most definitely beat down and humbled by the way the day had unfolded. If you look back far enough through the blogs, you can find last year’s race report. It was a hell of a day on the bike. I swore after last year’s race that I would be back to take my revenge on the course which had beaten me so badly and I wasn’t going to let some unsure legs stop me from taking on the Death March once again.

Taking what I had learned from last year’s race, I felt confident in my choice to race my Scalpel with standard-ass 26 inch mtb tires and 100mm of desert rock-eating travel. Oh hell yeah.

I was still nervous the night before the race. I don’t know why. I more or less knew the course, I would be riding the proper equipment, and I was going to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep. What did I have to worry about? Hell if I know. Maybe I was nervous about my legs and how they would feel the next morning. Maybe I was nervous because I really wanted to do well at The Death March because I felt as though I had something to prove and deep down I knew that realistically I would probably not be riding at my true best due to the previous weekend’s efforts. So what? Why can’t I just relax and consider the fact that not sleeping is certainly not going to help my chances at having a good day on the bike? Beats me.

It’s okay though, if I would have been able to drift away into dreamland that Friday night, I would have missed out on all of the high quality programming that was available at 1am. I awoke after a few hours of tossing and turning to the sounds of Rachel Ray whipping up a quick and healthy family meal in front of a live audience and I was in the car twenty minutes later. The thought of simply falling into my bed and sleeping until 11am crossed my mind, spun on it’s heel, sprinted back and tackled me from behind, then held me on the ground while it screamed in my ear to stay home and sleep. No. I had to show this race that I was not afraid. And I wasn’t afraid of the race, or of the course, or of the other competitors. I had made my peace with the fact that my expectations for the Death March needed to be realistic which had allowed me to finally relax into a restless slumber the night before. I was a little afraid of the weather.

I had missed the memo that most of San Diego County would be engulfed by a thick and gloomy fog that morning but I was determined to conquer this race, crappy weather or not. To my relief, just as I drove passed the 3,000 ft elevation mark, I escaped from the cold grip of the dense fog which was holding the rest of the county captive. It was like flying a plane up to an elevation above the clouds, up here it was a perfectly sunny and beautiful day, without a cloud in the sky and the sun was just peaking out from behind the rocky mountain peaks as I wound my way out to Julian through the hills. It was like I had left the world where I lived in order to race my bike in a completely different one.

Plenty of familiar faces at the start, including one of my favorites, John Solumito who had not gotten to compete at The Death March last year due to issues with his VW Van before the start. John was forced to sit out the race and wait for a tow truck to show up last year while the rest of us went out and punished ourselves. I expect that John was looking for a little redemption in this year’s Death March as well.

The Death March took place on the same weekend as the legendary Sea Otter Classic last year and this year it took place one weekend before. The date change certainly had an effect on the number of participants. I swear there must have been twice as many people at the start this year. Or at least it certainly seemed that way. Good, doing stupid things become slightly less stupid as more people do them with you. With an event name like The Death March, you need quite a few others out there with you not to look like a total nut case in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Packing my pockets and choosing clothing for the day proved slightly challenging. The sun was out, which meant it might get quite warm. It was freakin hot last year. The weather called for high temps in the 60s. The weather also called for overcast conditions all day, so it was safe to say that we could throw the weather forecast straight out the window. As I do not yet have a super computer smart phone doing all of my thinking for me and providing me with up to the second weather updates, I was on my own when it came to picking out what to wear. Figured I’d rather have too many clothes than not have enough. I rarely feel overdressed, but if I had a nickel for every time I have wished I had another layer... Well, I’d have quite a few nickels.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let's go for a long ride on Easter... Really long, oh and early

There are certain advantages to starting a 24 hour race at six-thirty in the morning, namely the fact that after pushing yourself through all sorts of hell during the coldest, darkest hours of the night in search of the first hints of daylight your task is complete. Normally, sunrise brings a sense of joy and relief to a pair of tired legs which is hard to put into words. Then, as quickly as the feeling of joy comes over you with the first glimpse of the sun on the horizon, it is stripped away as the realization that you are still six hours from the completion of your race brings your world crashing down….

There are certain disadvantages to starting a 24 hour race at the god-forsaken hour of six-thirty a.m. as well. Unlike most 24 hour mountain bike races, which start at the completely sensible and down right friendly hour of twelve noon, The Davis 24 Challenge is a road race which starts at; you guessed it, the highly offensive and completely uncalled for hour of six-thirty in the freakin morning.

Sleep is hard to come by the nights before these first few races of the season and with a 3:30 am wake up call on the morning of the event, I knew that I was more or less completely screwed in the sleep department. I finally relaxed enough to hit the sack at about 11pm but I don’t think I slept a wink that evening and I was nothing short of grumpy as we drove to the race start on Saturday morning.

We (myself and Mike Wilson, endurance race super-stud) were some of the first racers to arrive and I was beginning to wonder if the horrendous weather the day before in combination with it being Easter weekend was going to keep people away from the event after all. I decided to pass out in the front seat of the car while we waited for the other participants and the race organizers to show up. It wasn’t long before it was 6am, the parking lot was full of racers, the race start only half an hour away and my sorry butt was still snoozing away in the car.

Mike woke me and I reluctantly crawled out of the front seat to get my stuff together in a hurry. It’s a bit odd that I do so well in events which require sleep deprivation as it’s quite obvious that I can barely function without sleep under normal circumstances. I managed to get all of my clothing on and get my bike off the roof of the car about a minute and a half before my start time. Before I knew it, and certainly before I felt ready, I was turning the cranks into the first few hundred feet of the next 24 hours of my life.

Another drastic difference between this race and a dirt 24 was the fact that a 50 yard gap had to be maintained between all racers at all times throughout the entire race. This meant that there was no mass start, each racer was sent off in fifteen second increments starting at 6:30. Thank God I didn’t start until 6:37, because I was still five minutes from being ready to start at 6:30. Mike and I had no crew vehicle to take care of us out on the road and it was a bit daunting to know that it would just be me and my bike for the next day of my life.

The race was set up like this: First, we set out on a 160ish mile loop on open roads out through the foothills and eventually up Cobb mountain and straight past(literally) the Boggs 8 hr mountain bike race which was my other race option for this weekend, then out to Hwy 20 and eventually back down to Winters. When the first loop was completed, we set out on an 18.4 mile pancake-flat loop and continued to ride this loop for the remainder of the 24 hours. The first part of the race was uncharted race territory for me. Not only was I unfamiliar with the route, but not having a lap style race to judge my efforts with and to keep the nutrition coming in at regular intervals was definitely a little trickier than what I’m accustomed to.

Things went well on the day loop for the most part. I like climbing, so I was enjoying the ride through the hills. I knew that the night loop was going to be brutally flat so I was taking every opportunity to stand up and shake out the legs and the rest of my body because I had 15 hours of the exact same position to look forward to after finishing this portion of the race. In my hurry to get myself put together that morning, I had forgotten to put the seat bag on my bike, so I was riding without a spare tube or the tools necessary to fix a flat. I hadn’t been too concerned for most of the ride because the crew vehicles of some of the other racers had been leap frogging around me out on the road and I figured that they might be able to help me out if I really needed the assistance. Didn’t pan out exactly how I’d hoped.

I hadn’t seen another rider or a crew vehicle in a couple of hours and when my rear tire flatted I knew I that I had seriously blown it in more ways than one. Never stop, always move forward, even if it means riding super slowly on your rim. I thought I was much closer to Winters than I actually was but I was making slow and steady progress. Then the shoulder of the road got all off-camber on me and riding in a straight line became nearly impossible.

I had a one man pit crew coming out to Winters to take care of Mike and myself through the night laps and I busted out the cell phone to see if he might have made it to the start finish yet. I figured he could back track the course and bring me a tube because I wasn’t getting anywhere now. Just then, a familiar white minivan came cruising up the road and I flailed my arms about wildly hoping that he might realize that I was up shit creek without a paddle. I hung up on my pit guy Matt (sorry dude) and the gentleman in the minivan pulled off the road and jumped out to save my day.

I made it back to Winters, touched base with Matt and set out on the first of many flat, windy, and lonely laps through the farm lands surrounding Winters. The laps were good and bad. I was looking forward to the laps because the format was more familiar to me but holy crap, these were some of the most mentally challenging laps I’ve done in any race. No change in position on the bike, no rest for the legs, just 18 miles of spinning the cranks over endlessly flat roads.

The other major advantage to doing laps was that water and nutrition intake was much easier to keep under control. I know that I was a bit behind on nutrition and fluids when I made it to Winters that afternoon, but by sun down I was back on track, drinking and eating the same things each and every lap throughout the rest of the race. Well, until about 3a.m. anyway, when I could simply not swallow another Nature Valley Granola bar if my life depended on it. Luckily, Matt was able to find some Oreos and some Hammer Gel and I was able to keep the carbs coming in over the last few early morning miles of the race. With my new mix bumping on my ipod, I was rocking through the early morning all hopped up on sugar and Bon Jovi; certainly the most interesting Easter that I have ever had.

I had been running second for much of the race behind someone who we have come to know as “TT Boy” and strangely, although the gap was only a few minutes between us at points during the night, I had little interest in catching “TT Boy” or in winning the race… I have said before that I am about the least competitive competitor that you’ll ever encounter and I’m not kidding when I say it. No, I was having a good race and all I really wanted to do was to qualify for RAAM, and on Easter Sunday, that was enough for me. Instead of killing myself to catch the leader and making the whole weekend about winning or losing, I just rode my own race and great time seeing just how far I could go. It may not have been quite as far as what I was hoping to have done, but 420 miles is a pretty decent little distant to cover in a day I suppose. And, more importantly, it was enough to qualify me for RAAM which was the original goal. All’s well that ends well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Racers and Chasers

This week has been a bit confusing... I got sick and didn't make it out to Bonelli last weekend which is nothing short of a hyper-bummer but I was looking forward to getting to compete in this weekend's Vision Quest race up in the Santa Monica Mtns to make up for it. 56 miles and like 11,000 ft of climbing sounded freakin awesome.

Long story short, I didn't end up getting into the event as I'd hoped and so I decided to head out to the local "Racers and Chasers" XC race just outside of Escondido only a stone's throw away from the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

Had a BLAST!! The race brought back all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings which I used to get while competing in the Prairie City series up north in Folsom. Just a bunch of super enthusiastic down to earth people who are out there racing for the right reason... because it's freakin fun!

The course was three ten mile out and backs for a total of 30 miles of racing and I swear to god that we pedaled 28.5 of those miles. It was great, like a 1:45 time trial on the dirt.I made a point of showing up early so that I had enough time to get in a decent warm up before the start because Sage Brush Safari was a brutally rude awakening for these enduro legs of mine.

I warmed up for about 1.5 hours and cruised back over to the expo area to hang out and wait for the start. Ran into a buddy near the registration tent and started chatting with him about his race, which had taken place earlier that morning. The start was up the road a ways from where we stood by the reg tent. Bad news.

I began to make my way over to the start line after being told that my race was about to leave and wouldn't you know that the pack was already coming down the road towards me? Dang it! So, I flipped a U Turn after the pack had passed and sprinted to tack myself on to the last rider out of the parking lot.

The singletrack started immediately and it was just windy and twisty enough that passing was difficult. With the lack of vegetation present around the trail, I was able to see the lead group of riders taking off and establishing a sizeable gap up the trail while I was trying to get around the rest of the field from my superb last place starting position. It was shaping up to be an interesting day on the bike.

My legs felt like hell for the first few miles, but they came around a lot more quickly than at Sage Brush and by the last half of the first lap I had moved up a few places and I was beginning to pull more and more time back on the leaders. Someone told me after the race that I came through like 10th or 12thon the first lap. I came through 4th at the end of the second lap, only seconds behind two of the riders ahead of me, and maybe 1-2 minutes down on the leader.

I kept the gas on and reeled in two of the racers ahead of me in the first mile or two of the last lap. I made sure to try to time my pass so that I didn't need to slow up or lose a lick of momentum because my legs were not pleased with me and I didn't want to have to accelerate back up to speed after coming around these riders. I picked up the pace just a little as I came around because this was the type of course where they could have tacked onto my wheel and let me drag them around for the last few miles. I don't think so.

I was unsure of whether or not I'd be able to catch the lead rider after I made it around the other two chasers, but I kept myself burried deep in the pain cave and came around him a few minutes later at the top of a small climb. From there, I kicked it up one more time and did my damndest to hold it until the finish which was about 7 miles or so distant at that point.

Well, all's well that ends well and the day ended well despite my goof up at the start. I was able to keep the pace up and pull off the win at a super fun and well run event.

The course was good, the entry fees were low, it cost me like $5 in gas to get out there, the guys who put these races on(Robert and Crew) are super cool, and the prizes were way better than what you'll find at most sanctioned events. I got a Centerlock Disc Rotor plated in real 24 karot gold for my efforts, how freakin cool is that?! My only regret is that I didn't come out for the other two Racers and Chasers events which happened earlier in the season.... I know where I'll be racing in the early months of next season for sure!

Check out the website, if you live in socal and you want to have a blast racing your mountain bike in the best sort of racing environment(fun, friendly, and laid back), you should totally check out these races.

http://www.racersandchasers.com/

I'll see you all at Fontana.

Oh, hey my lower back is absolutely killing me. Like, it hurts so freakin bad by the end of a mtn bike ride/race that I can barely pedal. I switched to a flatter seat(Fizik Antares) recently from one that had a serious cradle shape(old Fizik Gobi) and I'm wondering if the shape of the saddle is to blame for the trouble. Anyone have anything to say about that? I feel a little like I'm always falling off of the new seat, wondering if I'm straining something by trying to hold myself up there whereas on the Gobi the seat is doing the job of holding me in place because of it's profile. Hmmmm

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Latest

In case you don't have time to read about my entire winter experience in "Winter Wonder Land", I wanted to give everyone the latest little tid bits very quickly.

I'm super stoked because I just found out that I'll be racing in this year's Furnace Creek 508 road race in October. It's gonna be epic.

I was planning on racing in the 24 hour National Championships this year as well at the beginning of June over in West Viginia. However, the race has been cancelled and moved to Moab and will be happening the weekend after Furnace Creek... So, that's a no-go this season.

Same thing is true for 24 hour World Champs in Australia. That race takes place the same weekend as our Nationals, so it looks like I'll just have to crush some souls at furnace creek this year instead!

I'm also planning on doing a 24 hour road race in April which is a qualifier for RAAM. So, wish me luck with that one. Um, what else....

Oh, I was supposed to race today, but I'm battling the super sickness from hell right now. I barely even remember what it feels like not to have a cold. But, I raced the Sagebrush Safari a couple of weeks ago and I'm planning to do Vision Quest and Fontana this month also. I'll be up at the Otter too this season since I just love getting destroyed in XC events...

I'll leave you with this, the new yellow Mavic shoes are pretty much my favorite thing in the world to look at right now. I want it to get warm just so that I can take my booties off and look at the awesome-ness that is my feet when they are slipped inside of these new kicks. Oh, and I just got a new-to-me PowerTap computer. I'm still getting the software situation dialed in but I'm pretty pumped on it so far. Ok, I'll keep this thing up to date from now on, promise.

Wanna Have Some Fun?

So, I have been lucky enough to help out over the last couple of months at Cycling Camp San Diego events with a group of super stand up guys who love sharing the beauty of San Diego county with groups of cycling enthusiasts from all over the world.

Basically, we have pretty amazing weather most of the time down here in sunny SoCal and from what I gather, there are quite a few other places that have down right unpleasant winter conditions. As this is the case, Cycling Camp San Diego allows cycling enthusiasts from around the world to travel to San Diego for week long camps which include guided and fully sagged group rides, training tips and talks from pro mechanics, pro riders and certified coaches, and most importantly, a low stress environment which allow campers to log hundreds of worry free winter base miles. Essentially, you get to live like a pro for a week.

It's a pretty cool idea and the camps are a blast. But how could hanging out with a bunch of other cyclists while you ride through epic terrain in absolutely gorgeous weather while you would have been sitting on the rollers in the basement back at home not be a blast? If you live someplace where winter sucks, which is quite a few different places, CCSD is definitely worth checking out.

CCSD is over on my sponsors list, click the name to check out the site. Or, just click this: http://www.cyclingcampsandiego.com/ Peace out

Winter Wonder Land

I know it’s been forever and a day since I last made any sort of update to the site, and for that I apologize. I’ve had some pretty epic adventures and a whole heck of a lot of other exciting stuff going on over the winter months. Here’s a brief update:

After the Knickerbocker 8hr, I was unsure of whether or not I wanted to do another race in November and I took a couple of days off the bike before getting back in the swing of things. I decided that I was going to try to actually take an off season this year and so I cut my training back to about half of the normal volume for the rest of October and through November. I decided that I wanted to head down to the 12 hours of Temecula race in mid November, originally with the intention of racing on a two man team. By the time the race rolled around, I was signed up for another solo event and unsure of my fitness level due to the fact that my training volume was not the same as it normally is during the season.

The race went very well and I had a great day on the bike, completing 13 laps on the course, the only solo rider to do so. I wound up with as many laps as some of the top 3 man teams…. Definitely a good day! Then, it was off to San Diego for a midnight snack(literally) at my favorite taco shop and after that I crashed for the night with a buddy near Balboa park. Another successful trip to SoCal.

I returned home and resumed my off season program of rest and recovery but started logging the miles again during a training camp in Borrego Springs(SoCal, middle of nowhere) in the first week of December. It was freakin nuts. The first day’s ride was mid thirties with torrential rain and wind, oh and a few thousand feet of climbing and descending. On another day we were greeted with snow and ice at the top of Montezuma(13 mile continuous climb with 3500 ft) accompanied by wind gusts of over 40mph. Myself and the rest of the riders at the camp huddled up inside a tiny country store at the top to warm up. The outdoor thermometer read 26 degrees, so the store’s 42 degree powerless interior felt like a sauna. Shuttles from the hotel were called to rescue most of the campers, but a brave few continued on with the planned ride and I simply couldn’t live with myself if I threw in the towel and let them go on without me. So, I saddled up and continued on down the road. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the conditions became much better, nearly enjoyable, a few miles down the road. The climbing and scenery were epic, the riders were some of the best people I’ve ever met and overall it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had on the bike.

I tried to keep the momentum rolling upon my return to Norcal and I rode many many miles in rain and snow through the month of December. I had nearly made my peace with the weather when right around Christmas I was presented with an offer that appeared to be highly beneficial for me both in terms of my racing career and from a financial standpoint. The only issue was that it would require me to relocate to SoCal once again. Since I had not quite made my peace with the crappy weather yet, the idea of moving to a warmer climate wasn’t really too much of an issue as it turned out….

So, I said my good byes, packed my things and on Jan. 2nd, I set out for Socal once again. This time though, I was taking the scenic route. I had made friends with one of the cyclists at camp earlier that month by the name of Summer, who lived in San Diego and when she heard that I was moving down, she came up with a super fun idea for the trip. Summer decided to fly up to Sac with her bike and then she and I would cruise out to the coast and do a series of super fun and epic rides along the coast as we made our way down to San Diego over 3-4 days. Certainly a lot more fun than driving down I-5 as fast as you can for 8hrs!

I took Summer on a cool little ride out of Folsom up through the foot hills and we stopped by Sutter’s Mill for a photo op before cruising up to Placerville and back down the hill. Having grown up in California’s gold country in a small town that was huge in the mining days, part of our everyday school curriculum had to do with the history of our state and of our particular area’s role in that history. It’s sorta cool to be able to take people on a ride and tell them a little about the history of the region you’re riding through.

After our Folsom ride, we hopped in the car and headed for Big Sur, where we spent the night and met up with some friends for a ride down the coast the next day. Amazing views and absolutely incredible weather. We were really taking our chances when planning a cycling trip on the northern California coast in the first part of January, but somehow we lucked out and we were greeted with the best weather that I’d seen in over a month. We got back to Big Sur in time for some chow and loaded the car once again for our journey down to Solvang, where we planned to ride the following day. And ride we did!

We plotted a course through some beautiful country surrounding Solvang and made our way up Figaroa which is a pretty damn tough climb. I loved it. After the day’s ride, it was time to complete our journey down to San Diego and get back to the real world. Summer had to go back to work and I had to figure out where I was going to live. Over the next couple of weeks, more epic miles were logged and I helped out at a Cycling Camp San Diego training camp outside of San Diego in the town of Alpine where I met a group of wonderfully enthusiastic riders and went on a series of great rides.

Meanwhile, I was getting situated at Big Ring Cyclery in my new management role and I was also getting moved into my new living space. I had brought very little with me on my initial trip down south because I didn’t want to carry it all the way down the coast, nor did I want to drive around with everything that I owned in the back of my car while I looked for places to live. So, once I found a good spot, it was time for another trip to Norcal to fetch all of my things. I went something like this: up and at em on a Thursday for a four-five hour ride. Upon completing the ride, hop in the car and head for I-5. Drive for the next 8hrs more or less nonstop and arrive in Nevada City at about 10pm. Get up on Friday, pack all of my things and get back in the car around 2pm for the return trip to San Diego…. I was pretty tired on Saturday.

So, here I am. In San Diego, managing a shop, working with CCSD cycling camps every chance I get, attending a Tuesday/Thursday evening spin class and leading a Tuesday/Thursday morning spin class and even racing bikes now and again. Actually, that last part isn’t happening quite as often as I’d like right now. I was supposed to race today, but I’m sick and I have been for some time now so I didn’t figure that a bike race was the best medicine. It’s alright though, I always plan a lot of races for Feb. and March and very few of them really ever pan out. I’m more of a summer time sort of guy anyway I suppose. I’m still planning on pursuing mostly endurance events, but I’m hoping to throw in a few XC races here and there and I keep on saying that I’m going to start road racing at some point, but the idea gives me a slightly queasy feeling in my tummy, so we’ll see if it ever comes to fruition.

I’m looking to branch out a little this season though and I was just accepted to race at the Furnace Creek 508 road race in October and I’m planning on attending a 24 hour road race in Davis in early April in hopes of qualifying for Race Across America. Beyond that, I suppose you’ll see me at a lot of the same events as in years passed, still riding my Cdale, still wearing pink, and still rocking my Giraffe on the bars. Even with everything that is sure to be different this season, some things will never change….