Tuesday, March 17, 2015

And spring has finally arrived!

At least I think it has.  It is supposed to be in the high 60s and sunny today.  Plus, the Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling team powered by Pathfinder just finished up their weekend training camp.  With all that and the racing season right around the corner I can’t imagine any more snow in the forecast.  Knock on wood!  This winter has been tough with record low temperatures and a whole lot of snow.  Kenda tires did get me out on the trails a handful of times this winter, but not nearly enough with the extremely cold temperatures and all the snow.

However, I did get to ride almost every weekend this winter with my favorite riding buddy.  This year we decided to buy a season pass for Rays MTB Indoor Park.  So at least one day of almost every weekend this winter the family would pile ourselves and our mountain bikes into the car and drive up to Cleveland to ride indoors.  It probably didn’t keep me in as good as shape as riding outside or doing structured workouts, however, spending the time riding with my family was well worth it.
So as we enter into the 2015 racing season I want to wish all of my teammates best wishes this year.  I hope the Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling team powered by Pathfinder will see a lot of podiums this season and even more important, I hope all of my teammates stay healthy and have fun this year!

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Spring Training Camp

This was weekend was the annual Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling Team powered by Pathfinder's annual spring training camp.  I took a couple of extra days off work and headed south to my parent's house for a short vacation.  And as is typical, on Friday Night, we gathered at one of our title sponsor's (Dynamic Physical Therapy) 6 locations in North Central West Virginia.  This year's team meeting was held at the Westover Location, which is conveniently located just a couple minutes off exit 152 on I-79.  After all the ink dried, we gathered our respective loved ones and headed to another team sponsor, Morgantown Brewing for a team dinner.  As I was feeling dehydrated from a training ride earlier in the day and also having to drive to Waynesburg after dinner, I chose not to partake in any beverage appreciating, but the burger I had more than made up for that.  Sure, we all know somebody that has a bigger burger, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has one that tastes better than the Brewmaster.

Note to self... when the menu item's description says "how do you make XYZ better, you add fried egg and bacon, of course", you should probably read the menu item description for XYZ as well.  I did not realize this was a double burger and this was "WEIGH" more meat than I had intended (but I do NOT regret my mistake at all)

We woke up to a damp rain on Saturday, but most of us toughed it out and put in our 55 miles.  The worst part of the day was getting on the bike in the rain, but we were chatting it up in short order and we soon forgot about the weather.  And then somewhere along the way, the rain passed and we really just had to deal with wet roads and overcast skies.  Its always amazing the way a nice bike ride makes you feel, even if the weather is less than conducive.

After the ride, we hit up Rising Creek Bakery to try and replenish a few of the calories we killed on the ride.  If you're ever traveling on I-79 around the PA/WV state line, you owe it to your self to stop in for a cup of coffee and your favorite danish.  I had a hard time deciding what that was, so I went with a Brown, Hello Dolly, and a White Cocolate and Cranberry Oatmeal cookie.  I washed it all down with a piece of ham and carmelized onion quiche.  (The quiche was so good I got another one on Sunday after our ride as well)

Notice that there are no plates with any food left on them.
After cleaning up, we headed out for dinner at ABRA sponsor Pies and Pints in Morgantown, WV.  As luck would have it, we ran into one of the owners at Dynamic Physical Therapy and he offered to pick up the food tab....Thanks Lincoln!
The VERY appreciative Crew of the Dynamic Physical Therapy powered by Pathfinder Cycling Team
Sunday was atleast sunny and dry, but the temperature had dropped overnight and it was mentally tough to start the ride with wet shoes and gloves. But again, soon the conversation and comraderie took over and it was all Highfive and Hugs we previewed the Morgantown Road Race course.  45 miles of friends made the weekend completely worth it.  The ride was naturally also capped off with a snack stop at the Rising Creek Bakery. Between Pattis Pasticceria, Rising Creek Bakery, the Apothecary Ale House, and Morgantown Brewing.... we would be better served to have an EATING team versus a CYCLING team.

And the weekend was capped off for me with a brief stop back at my parents for a homecooked meal and a good long soak in the hot tub at Casa de GarBar.

 I want to thank Rob at Performance Coaching Service for getting me ready for the upcoming season. While I am not yet where I want to be, I am much further along towards my goal thank I would have been with out his help. As of Friday, he still has one more spot open, so you still have a chance to help yourself get ready for the start of the season.  Thanks.

And while I had a great time seeing most of the team and catching up with a few I hadn't talked to for many months, it was SOOOOOO nice to finally get back to my home, turn the car off, and crawl into my own bed. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

GED for Winter Motivation

GED- Gittin'  'Er Dun

Some of the team is in Virginia getting much needed distance training, JR Petsko is getting tattoo's, Jeff Gernert is riding the trainer in a MANkini and I am doing short-high intensity training in my basement. We all do something to stay fit and sane during the long winters. We all do the best we can trying to stay motivated. 

This year I've taken a different approach to training and staying fit. The idea of training with short cardiovascular intensity intervals is not new but the idea of becoming a well rounded athlete before getting cycling specific has seemed to fall by the waist side. Gone are the days of long slow bike rides during the cold winter days and in are the days of cross training. What am i doing? 

First of all- the cycling bag remains! I just pack it a little different. Cycling shoes are replaced with boots, arm & leg warmers are replaced with puffy down jackets and goretex. The end caps are filled with carabiners and quickdraws and I have an axe in my hand. One thing remains the same though. I'm always stocked with Swiftwick socks!

Gear for the climb
Proper Footware

Luckily I can get a lot of  outdoor sporting supplies from our sponsor Pathfinder of West Virginia! That's great for me but what does that mean for you? It means if you swing by their shop in Morgantown you will be the happy owner of some great sporting equipment at a great price too!

Where do I go from here? It's literally and figuratively the same as with cycling.You have no place to go but UP!

 I love the beginning of the cycling season when the team gets together with sponsors in March and celebrate a future working together. We always learn about the development of the companies that support us and the personal goals of our friends. Unfortunately life doesn't always go as planned. For me and my wife Caito this year "camp time" will be spent in South America instead of in West Virginia. Yes it's exciting but also a bit disappointing. I am determined to make the most of this time and enjoy my crisis (40th) birthday challenging myself in the Andes Mountains. It all begins with Jampa! This 5500m beast may not be technical climbing but it will serve as a acclimation summit for the next days of climbing. 

The days that follow Jampa will not be a walk in the park. 

3-4 summits are to be done if the weather cooperates! I'm sure it will be easier than the Fairchance training race! You cyclist better get on the road...

Nevado Caracol

Caracol Ridge

With Luck and a lot of Hard work this will be me on Punta! 

Swiftwick motto "do what moves you" is a great lesson to live by. Winters are long and days are short so do what you love. Road cycling season is upon us! Set your goals! 

Dream BIG and GO FOR IT! 

Recognize and Appreciate those who support you on the Journey

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

40 days and 40 nights

Yesterday marked 40 days into the new year and it seemed like a good time to update you with the "off season" happenings.

I started the year at 235#'s and for the entire month of January I stuck to the 90/10 program that had previous success with. However, on my tough trainer nights under Coach Rob, I noticed that I felt like I wasn't able to do my workouts because I just didn't have enough juice in the tank. Starting with February, I altered my 90/10 approach to include some simple sugars (after 2PM) on days when I was scheduled for the tougher workouts, and I have been VERY happy with the results thus far.  I finally started feeling like I was nailing my workouts with the addition of a few "unapproved" snacks.  (I should clarify that the nutritional plan was NOT implemented by Rob, but rather something I took on myself, in addition to hiring Performance Coaching Services).  So far, I am down 15 pounds and starting to look and feel like a cyclist again. 
Before #1
After #1

Before #2

Before #2
I always thought a coach would have unrealistic expectations about the amount of time that I would be expected to be on the bike. When you work full time and often in excess of 65 hours a week, with family commitments and other obligations, free time is often a precious commodity. But in truth, the coaching has only amounted to roughly 8.5-9.5 hours a week. I work out most nights for about an hour and then about 3-4 hours on Saturday. Those hours mostly suck, because I don't get home until 6-630 and that means Im on the trainer.  But daylight is increasing and it won't be much longer until I am able to do more of my rides outside, without fear of getting hit by another car.

One of the rides I DID get to do that wasn't on a trainer was when I went to Rays Indoor Mountain Bike park with Billy Slutz.  It was my first time on the mountain bike in a LONG time, but it was also the first time we took Mackenzie and let her try her Strider on the various obstacles in the beginner rooms. She had so much fun and liked it so much that she wanted to hit the big jump room with her best friend Addie.  Since then, every morning when I wake her up to drive into the office with me, she gets a big smile and asks if we are going to the bike race and the"big room".  I think we may have to take her there this weekend just so she keeps up her excitement in the sport!
She will be hitting this tabletop and catching air before we know it

making her own lines over new obstacles

She didn't like the banked turns because she couldn't put her inside foot down easily
She was HELL BENT on riding in this room.
But it hasn't been all inside riding either.  I went out with EJ, Devin, and Jim Mock and did 56 miles on one of the many nice weekends we've had this winter. While I survived, I want to thank them for their patience, as I was definitely the burr under the saddle when it came to keeping things moving. I was feeling good on the first half of the trip and started to tank it coming home from Monessen. By the time we hit Elizabeth, I was on fumes.  Thank goodness I knew Pattis Pasticceria was waiting for us at the end of the ride, and thats just about all that I could focus on for the last hour of the ride. Man, was it worth the effort to make it there.  Good stuff!

About to crush some calories!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Year in Review - A year of a few firsts and many thirds

This year started off the same year as every other has, at Rays Mountain Bike park in Cleaveland, Ohio.  Only 10 days after I fractured my wrist(hairline) and separated my shoulder there, I returned with my dad and friends for the annual Rays MTB trip. It was a little rough riding with a brace on my wrist and my shoulder in some pain, but I made it through and it was a great time.  The day at Rays always ends at the Cici’s Pizza Buffet, a place where my exhaustion causes extreme amounts of laughter at the most ordinary things. My friends and I stuff ourselves with food and then sleep the whole way home.
Me: struggling to breath and crying of laughter. What is wrong with me?
This year was my first year of training, which sucks. Throughout the winter i spend countless hours on the trainer doing intervals of all sorts. But I just kept telling myself it would pay off when the season came around and I was fast. Spring eventually came and I was able to do my workouts outside and sanity was restored.

The beautiful view for winter

My first race as a member of the Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling Team Powered by Pathfinder was the the Mountaineer Classic criterium in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Well, it was actually the Tour of Battenkill but that was terrible so we can just pretend that never happened. I won the Mountaineer Classic with the help of my great teammates; this was a great start to the season.

First race and first win on the team
It was four months between the Mountaineer Classic and USAC Mountain Bike National Championships, at Bear Creek Resort in Pennsylvania. Boy did those four months fly. Before I knew it I was on the start line at Nationals and all my training was about to pay off. I took third place here and that was more than enough to make me happy. If you haven’t already read about my nationals experience, I wrote a blog on that a few months ago.

You might think people at nationals are classy enough to wear full kits on the podium, but no.
After Nationals I pretty much stopped training so that I could have some more free time to relax for what little was left of my summer. I wasn’t done racing though. Around the middle of August I was racing the Cat 2 race at the Windham World Cup. I got third here as well, again, more than enough to make me happy. If you wish to read more about the Windham WC, I wrote a blog about it a few months ago as well. After Windham the only big race I had left was the Appalachia Visited Road Race in Rowlesburg, West Virginia. This race didn’t go too well either, I got dropped about halfway through and rode the rest of it pretty much alone, I don’t really like hilly road races.

Windham Podium

After Windham and Appalachia Visited, just about the only races I had left were the Month of Mud races and the ABRA cyclocross races. The MoM Series went well, but nothing super noteworthy happened. Pretty much just normal mountain bike races. Cyclocross, however, was very noteworthy. I had never raced cyclocross before so it was a new experience for me, and a good one! My first cross race was the Franklin Cyclocross race. Conditions were perfect here: sunny, dry, and fast — my favorite. I got 10th place here. My second cyclocross race was Marilla Park Cyclocross, where conditions were dark and muddy — my least favorite. It’s not that I don’t like mud, it’s just that I like to go fast and mud is not fast. I got 10th place again here, so I was being consistent. My last cyclocross race and also my last race of the season was the White Park Cyclocross race. Conditions here were awesome again: super dry and super fast. The great conditions as well as my greater experience at cyclocross now that I had 2 races under my belt contributed to my first podium finish in a CX race. Another third place! Is anybody else seeing this trend?

First CX Podium
Sometime soon after white park I got my first car. A blue Subaru Legacy GT Wagon with a 5 speed. This car is perfect! It’s quick, stealthy, somewhat uncommon, and I can fit my bike in the back no problem. It has a few problems but nothing that a little TLC and elbow grease can’t fix.
A pic I took after a ride at north Park

Artsy pic of my new car
After White Park CX I actually had no races left but I still rode every once and a while. A 50ish mile road ride with teammates Jim and Ej. A few mountain bike rides here and there. And most notably, JR’s Birthday ride. The best part of this ride, other than that it was JR’s birthday, was that after the 45 miles of up and down, I was able to justify eating pounds of food. The worst part of this ride was the saddle sores. But thanks to my teammates and their wonderful advice on how to soothe the saddle sores, I was walking normal again in about 48 hours.

Mini team ride
Now it’s December 31st, 2014. The year is coming to an end rather quickly and as much as I like going fast, I really wish time would slow down. Maybe this year I’ll go slow and take in the surroundings. On second thought, I won’t do that; going fast is too much fun.

Thanks to all the sponsors that make this great team possible. Nalini for some great kits. Swiftwick for the best socks in existence. ProGold for the best cleaners and lubes. Pathfinder for having everything I could ever need for my bicycle. And of course Kenda for the BEST tires EVER!

Most importantly, thanks each and every teammate who has made this year a great one. I can't wait to see what fun 2015 brings! Happy New Year, everybody!

Such a jolly team

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Flash Forward

I didn't realize just how long it had been since I last shared a blog with you, until I just went back and read my last entry.  Wow, time has flown by. I can't believe that the entire cyclocross season has come and gone and I didn't have a single story to share.  But the truth of the matter is that I haven't ridden much this past fall. I aggravated a knee injury (running with my nephew in Maine) and it never really healed just right until well into November. But in the weeks since I started slacking, I did manage 1 personal victory... the prestigious Eastern Ohio 40+ Time Trial Series Championship.  On this occasion, I went into the final race with a comfortable lead and finished off the podium for the first time in 6 races. However, I was able to hold onto the top overall spot by only a few points.  The best part of the experience was getting to share it with Teammate and Confidante, Billy Slutz and his daughter Addie (who bagged their own series championships as well)
3 for 3 in series championships!  30+, stoker, & 40+

Fast forward to the present and I'm starting to prep for  the coming season. I believe Albert Einstein is credited with saying that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  Thinking about that, I realize that I am insane.  I keep putting forth the same efforts, hoping to get a better end result, but I keep ending up with mediocrity.  Well, not this year. I have decided to take a step to get to where I want to be.  I have finally bit the bullet and signed up with Performance Coaching Services for the 2015 season. I've toyed with the idea in the past, but always put it off until I got a little fitter to make best use of the financial expenditure. But inevitably I never reached THAT point, and therefore, never signed up for the service. Not this year. No more insanity.  No more excuse. BAM! Check is in the mail!

Thanks to Mom and Dad and Amber for theChristmas Gifts that made this possible!

And the insanity isn't just ending with that.  I am also committing to (I fear using the words Lifestyle Change as it conjours up images of me dressed in drag) "caloric restructuring".  What that means is I am going back to the 90/10 Nutrition program.  I did this once before with good results but got tripped up with a week long trip to Savannah and slowly got away from it. Its not a diet, but rather a change in the foods that I get to eat. I was surprised at how effective it was, and how easy it was to stick to the program.  I tried it again last year and dropped some weight, but my life got complicated and I made excuses.  But no more excuses this year. I am moving "all in" this year and recommitting myself to my goal of being called a sandbagger.  I realize that is an odd goal, but when I was doing my preliminary interview with Coach Rob, that's really all I want in 2015.

So there you are... caught up to where I am headed as the year comes to a close and we start preparing for the new year.  Stay tuned to follow my progress and keep up to date with whats going on with the rest of the team.   Hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year.
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