Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fathers Day Fun


Fathers Day Fun

 

On father’s day of June 2015 I got to celebrate by doing the same thing that I have done for the past few years.  I got to participate in a time trial with my daughter.  She rides on a tag along attached to my bike and we have a blast.  Sadly this year will be the last to do the time trials with my Addie girl because she is growing like a weed and it’s time for her to start doing them on her own.  However, I thank God for giving me this opportunity and the memories of doing this event with her will remain with me forever. 

Each day I get up I try to remember to thank God for blessing me with a healthy daughter.  And the fact that she enjoys riding bikes with me is icing on the cake.  I know that in the near future she will be choosing to go hang out with her friends or go shopping instead of wanting to ride bikes with her old man.  However, until then I am going to soak this time up as much as I can.  I never thought that anything could compare to the feeling you get from racing bikes.  However, when I see my daughter get up the courage to ride down steps, or hit a jump, or conquer a rock garden, it’s at that moment when I realize for me that Life Is Good.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer?

The hard, busy, and extremely frustrating work of the school year is finally over, for a few months at least. All my hard work has payed off though, the year was an extreme success. Unfortunately there has been an extremely rainy start to my summer, with only 2 or 3 truly clear days out of the 12 so far. Even with the unfortunate weather, it's still been an exciting summer so far. A few parties, a bit of work, accidentally drove through some flooding, went longboarding a few times, and of course gone on some good rides.

Artsy rain photo

This past weekend, for the first time in a while, I went on a ride for the sole purpose of going on a ride. Pushing myself for the fun of it without focusing on a specific workout was quite refreshing. A bit of heavy rain and a wrong turn made the ride even more interesting, but hey, all is well that ends well - plus I got to test out my Kenda tires in the rain(they did not disappoint).



The rain is a good excuse to sit inside, make food, and watch Netflix. I've finished a few seasons of different shows and watched a number of good mountain bike films! A few days ago and friend and I made some cupcakes, yesterday we made grilled cheese and watched Netflix(no surprised there), and this morning I made some killer waffles! 

carbo-loading for a long day of volunteering at the Hilly Billy


Optimistically: the storms coming early means that the rest of the summer should be clear, which means I can get out more, on my longboard, on my bike, and on the canoe, which a friend and I recently dug out of my dad's backyard. I'm probably leaving out a lot of good stories but summer is about experiencing life, not talking about it! See everyone at the Hilly Billy!


On a canoe trip with my mates

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Starting Again

The last 6 weeks have gone by in a blink of a eye. Now I'm back in the USA catching up with family, friends, clients and of coarse my team. Less than 12 hours after being back I found myself in West Virginia with a few team mates getting focused on some of the Hilly Billy Roubaix roads. The experience was epic. At least that's what my butt says now!




The road back to fitness is never easy. It's especially difficult after 6 weeks off! Nevertheless I was excited to get back out on the bike. I think I should have chosen an easier road for my first ride though! The roads of the Hilly Billy are unforgiving and the hills are not easy at any speed, but it was great to be out!

Difficult rocky Road


I'm especially thankful for my team and sponsors understanding of the time I have spend away not competing. I have missed some key events as a result of being gone but rest assured that I am right back in the cave of pain and focused to represent moving forward into July.

Game face on! No - that's just pure suffering!


The physical and mental aspects of intense cycling are draining but when you step back and look at all the support we have it is encouraging. We have our families that help manage our time for obscene amounts of training hours. We have our sponsors that supply necessary resources to train, race and enjoy this sport we love so much. We have our teammates and directors that sacrifice themselves for the better good of the team. I have been "living the dream" for many years now and am happy, thankful and appreciative to be able to live this way! At the end of each day you can find me smiling with the anticipation of tomorrow. We can all dream big and then live that dream!

In the end it's all Good Fun


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

First Impressions

For the last few years, I have pretty much relied upon the durability and dependability of a few select Kenda Tires for my stable of bikes.  I go with the the Kaliente Pros for all of my road bikes, Karma's for the mountain bike, gravel grinding I opt for the Happy Mediums, either the Kwicker (muddy) or Small Block 8's (dry) for cyclocross,  But in recent months, Kenda has been offering a few new models of tires that have caused me to question my tire selections. I started to really think about the other options at my disposal and it dawned on me that most of my logic behind my selections came down to someone else recommending me to try it and then sheer habit to replace worn out tires with the same.

And I don't remember exactly when it was, but it was over the early spring that I really stopped and looked at the miles I was putting in and realized that I was doing my wallet a disservice by training and racing on the same tires.  While I have no complaint about how the Kaliente Pros wear, at almost $105 a set (I buy 3 at a time and find that I wear out 2 rear tires for every front tires and I am just too lazy to rotate them on a regular basis), it made sense for me to seek out and try to find more economical tire option for training on.

So when it was time to put in the team order for the summer, I decided to order a set of the Kwick Tendril Endurance tires to mount up on "Molly", my Cannondale I planned on commuting with this summer. The Kwick Tendrils Endurance are marketed as a "city" tire to be used on primarily on streets and roads with an occasional gravel path. They are essentially the same tire as the Kwick Tendrils but with an extra layer of kevlar and other synthetic materials under the tread for additional protection from road debris.  I had been patiently waiting for the right opportunity to give the Kwick Tendril Endurance tires a spin, and over  this past weekend committed to commuting to work on Monday morning.

I had left my normal bike at the office one afternoon as I had anticipated riding it home but then the the weather forecast changed and ruined those plans. When I left for the weekend, I was more concerned with getting home for the weekend than getting my stuff together for the weekend and shot out the door without a second thought about what I needed to take home.  Helmet, shoes, tool kit, and mini pump were left at the office, so Sunday morning I drove back in to work and dropped off my car, grabbed my gear, and fully committed to a Monday Morning commute.

Molly and her new shoes
Sunday night, I mounted up the new tires on a pair of Ksyrium Elite wheels that I had picked up over the winter, installed a headlight and taillight as well as outfitting Molly with frame pump clips.  I filled a water bottle with Gatorade, packed a couple of Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie gels in my jersey pocket, and went to bed.

5:30 came early the next morning (too early for that matter so it was reset for 6AM--thank goodness for summer schedules!!!! :-) ) I was finally out the door by 6:20.  Within the first mile of my ride I was forced to climb Coxcomb Hill.  As I started ascending, my initial thoughts were that the KTE's were a dog on the hills.  They felt slow, almost sluggish at times, and I actually considered turning around and going back for my regular road bike. But I thought about it as I suffered up the initial part of the hill and decided I just needed to give them a chance so I continued on (that and I knew if I turned around, I still had to climb up Entrance Dr to get home and then repeat the same 1/2 mile of Coxcomb I already had behind me). It was a miserable experience and I was shocked that a tire could make that much of a difference on a climb.  After finally topping out on Coxcomb, I was surprised out how well the tires seemed to roll along on the flats.  The higher volume tires (700x28 vs the Kalientes at 700x23) were only inflated to 100psi so the ride felt very comfortable, despite being on a less forgiving aluminum frame.  Descending on the tires left me feeling very comfortable, except for the sharper turns as I was still unsure of their gripping power. However, at no point did I feel that I was approaching the point of no return on testing the tire's cornering abilities... something that I look forward to eventually testing.   Once I crossed the Hulton Bridge, I had a relatively flat ride into a head wind but again the KTE's felt great on the bike. They felt like they were adequately supple yet hard enough that they rolled with little resistance.  I was dreading the last few miles of the commute as I knew I again had to climb and wasn't looking forward to repeating my experience of the first climb.  However, I surprised that they felt much better on last big climb up Marzolf Ext. It was like I was riding 2 different tires and I can only explain it by saying that it must have been me on the first climb.  After all, I did hit the first climb a little before 630AM, less than 30 minutes after getting out of bed and with less than a mile in my legs (and most of that was coasting down Entrance Drive).

After 18 miles on the Kenda Kwick Tendril Endurance, I am very happy with my choice. I will be interested to know if I can expect to get more than the 1750 miles I anticipate getting out of a my usual Kaliente Pro tires.  I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A different May

Similarly to last May the schedule had many of the same races this year but this things were a bit different.  It started off with 6 hours of Brady's run. Last year I had just went to watch and support my teammates that were racing. This year though I opted to try to race it solo. it wasn't the best of ideas for me with temperatures hitting close to 90, but it was such a fun event.


Next was the dirty double, again I did it last year but this year something was different.  Last year me and Cara teamed up on a ( borrowed) tandem, as that was my first time piloting the tandem and only the second time riding one it defiantly made for a interesting ride. Well this year was different and I did it single, and by single I mean single speed solo. As I just set my cross bike up single speed just month before. I didn't put a lot of rides on it before deciding to try it at the dirty double. With 3600' of climbing the first day and a long sustained climb from the start I was a little hesitant as I hadn't done anything like it before, with such a short time riding single speed. The dirty double is such a fun race, even though I finished 6th and just off the podium riding it on one gear was quite a blast, even if it was a steep learning curve again. 


Though like last year I went to Iowa over memorial day weekend, and like last year I underestimated the strength in the fields over there. Even though I didn't have good races while there it was an experience racing by myself with complete strangers. I did capture this cool video of racing the snake alley crit, which main feature was a winding switchback cobbled hill that would kick up over 22%. Here is a video a video from inside the race for the first 2 laps. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

First DPT Team blog!

Here is my first blog entry for Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling Team powered by Pathfinder. So some of you may know me and some may not so I figured I would introduce myself.

Well I'm from Johnstown PA or as I like to say the "center of the universe for crap weather". Needless to say the elements don't bother me and I actually enjoy a rainy ride. Plus you better like to climb a bit because there are some long climbs there. I enjoy getting back up there for some long weekend rides throughout the year where the traffic can be nonexistent.

I moved to the South Hills of Pittsburgh 10 years ago for a new job. At the time I was racing for the North Hills Velo club but was enjoying Saturday and Sunday group rides out of Mt. Lebanon with the Caffeine Club. It was a great way to meet some people that have become good friends. I eventually started racing for Steel City Endurance (SCE) cycling team and that is where I meet EJ Hubstenberger III. Needless to same he is a huge reason that I here with Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling Team powered by Pathfinder.

A few years ago I had an opportunity to move to Charlottesville VA with the ability to work from home so I decided to do it. I joined Charlottesville Racing Club (CRC) but so many more people through the Fortuna cycling club. Charlottesville is one of the best places to ride your bike with the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and low traffic roads of rural Virginia.

After two years down south I came back to the South Hills of Pittsburgh and have enjoyed every moment since. I jumped into racing at the oval again and it is no Tuesday Night Worlds in Charlottesville but it does bring some great memories back from the SCE days.

As I kicked off my 17th season of racing here are pictures that remind me of those years and different teams I have been a part of. 

Annual USA Cycling License

Team Jersey's
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Well it has been a very busy spring with Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling Team powered by Pathfinder with racing and team camp so sorry for the short post. Time to get back on the bike!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

What’s Most Important in Life? Is there a thing Such as Fate?


So, what is most important in life?  Is there a force in the universe called fate? To me, the answer is easy, doing what you love and being surrounded by positive, and open minded people, and yes, there is...

I believe that everyone has a path or journey that has been pre-determined for them and that we are guided down that path each day.  Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had not made certain choices along the way?  Where would you be? Would you be doing what you are now?

Last Ride Before Nepal


I definitely know that my course is to be working at my present job, the last 11 years, and have the best group of friends anyone could hope to have.  Each day I am thankful for what my life is, what it will be and cannot imagine it any other way. Life is most oftentimes hectic, but when we are afforded the opportunity to slow it down and look around, I am amazed at how much I appreciate what I have experienced and with whom I have experienced it.


CX bikes anyone?!?!?!
So the next time that you are feeling like your life is not how you imagined it would be, stop, look around, and realize you are lucky to be where you are and are lucky to have met the people that you have because life is short, SO ENJOY IT!!!!!

Team Camp Shenanigans