Saturday, November 30, 2013

Events of November

November has been an eventful month. First, I bought a new car. So far it has been great and should be awesome for traveling to bike races next year.

Second, I got a new mountain bike. It is a Cannondale Flash with 27.5 inch wheels. Earlier this year I bought a Cannondale F29er which was my first 29er, after riding it a few time I learned that I do not like 29ers. I felt like my mountain bike had monster truck wheels and that the bike was very hard to control. The 27.5 inch wheels are awesome, the bike is so much easier to control and still rolls over everything easily.

Third, at West Pennsylginia Cross I got 5th place! Which was my first cyclocross podium for the year, just in time since it was the last ABRA race. In the Women's 1/2/3 ABRA cyclocross series I got 4th! The ABRA series was fun, but cyclocross is not over for me yet. There is a race I am doing in Kansas City tomorrow and 3 more I will be doing while in Kansas City for Christmas. These are all apart of the 2013 Series 60 Cyclocross races.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Reflections In A Mirror (The Year That Was 2013)

So the time is upon us, when we reflect back on the year that was and think ahead to what the New Year will bring to each of us. So, I have compiled my ‘Top Ten Things I am Thankful For’ list in retrospect of 2013 ranked in order of importance.(1 being the most important)

10. Inventor the ‘High and Tight’ Haircut

10a. Carbon Fiber (Especially Zipp Wheels)

9. 11 Speed Shifting

8. Power Meters

7. Gu Energy Gels

6. E Bay

5. Pro Gold Cleaning Products

4. Craft Beer

4a. Health (Attained by drinking craft beer and riding...Not necessarily in that order)

3. Military Personnel (Especially My Family Members Serving or That Have Served)

2. Family and Friends (Team Mates Included)

1. Lady Friend (You know Who You Are)

**In all seriousness, I am thankful for many things in my life and they say that you are a reflection of the people that you associate with on a daily basis……So I must be the luckiest person in the world to have so many great people in my life!! They make me the best person I can be and, more importantly, the person I want to be.

Have a wonderful holiday season and an even better 2014!!!

Ride Safe and Hammer

Hubs Out…….

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 starts to draw to a close.

As the 2013 starts to draw to a close, we here at the team would like to thank all of our great sponsors! With their help we have reached new heights this season and we see no sign of stopping anytime soon!  We can't wait to do it all again in 2014!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cyclocross season so far

I don’t know about anyone else but I’m finding these darn cyclocross events pretty difficult after a long cycling season. But that’s what they are supposed to be, right? I’m hoping to sneak into a 6th or 7th place of Category 1/2/3 in one of these final ABRA races. I’ve been pretty happy about my effort and fitness in these initial events but my handling skills weren’t up to where I wanted them. Those are progressing along though. I’m a little sad that none of the races have had a hard “run-up” section, which is partly due to the really dry conditions thus far. I’ve been in the pit swapping bikes just a little too often to be successful. Hopefully my changes for this weekend will prove fruitful. My Kenda tires have never given out on me in these last few weeks of cyclocross racing and training. Except for the one that my German shepherd decided to bite through. My consistent favorite has been the Slant Six because its volume is high for a 35 mm tire and there are just enough knobs to stay very grippy. It’s really been working well in a variety of conditions, including scenarios where I surely thought any tire would fail. I’ve climbed some of my leafiest, rockiest and wettest trails on my cross bike and wasn’t spinning out. Any of the courses that climb or have some bigger power sections tend to be my favorite. I really liked the Franklin Cross for that reason. I haven’t raced in White Park since I was a teenager but the mountain bike race that once occurred there was always a ton of fun. I believe I won the junior expert division in its final year. I watched the cyclocross race that happened there back around 1999 but I hadn’t quite gotten on that cross bandwagon yet.
Start of "Go Fast If You Are"

Mountain bike racing through White Park as a youngin'

Everyone loves the White Park whoop-dee-doos

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cross Is Boss

Lately I have been hearing the phrase “Cross Is Boss” by many of my friends and fellow cyclists.  Well, I don’t know about that, however, I will say that I do enjoy the laid back environment and the sharing of adult soda pops with my fellow friends around a fire pit.  I would probably describe cyclocross as interestingly fun and entertaining with hopes of improving my bike handling skills for next seasons MTB races.

After doing two CX races in the past month I will definitely say that it provides for a great workout similar to a criterium all the while testing your bike handling skills which is needed in mountain bike races.  So hopefully the skills and experience I gain from doing cross races will allow me to see the podium in some mountain bike races next season.
(Rare occurrence)
Another cool thing about going to a cross race is that there are usually multiple races throughout the day so you have the option to race more than once and there are usually kids races which makes it a great family event.
(Look of determination)
If I can gain anything from the MTB training rides with JR, Jeff & Shawn along with the cross races I hope that it’s learning how to ride more obstacles and rugged terrain.
(I can ride this!)
(Maybe I can ride this?)
(I will never ride this!)
Either way I am having fun riding my bike for the DynamicPhysical Therapy cycling team powered by Pathfinder this year and I am meeting some very interesting people like this girl dressed up as a Ninja Turtle.
Once again thanks to all of all sponsors for supporting us!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Empire of the Sultans

The Sun comes up one morning in October and I take a deep breath. I realize that it has been a long but satisfying cycling season. I am excited for my teammates to start CycloCross and in that same moment I remind myself what a privilege it is to have the support system of the Dynamic Physical Therapy powered by Pathfinder Cycling Team. I still have a desire to compete but I know my body is in need of a break and so I shift my focus to other responsibilities.

This is the time of year that family asks if I'm going to crawl out from under the rock which I've been hiding under since New Years. Family and non-cycling friends are almost always neglected throughout the my race season so this is the is the time of year I choose to grab my wife and some friends to explore foreign cultures.  This year I told everyone that I wasn't going to come out from under my rock so they would have to crawl down into the catacombs with me. This years adventures were in Turkey!

Lycian Tombs of Myra

I love to explore the nooks and crannies of the villages we travel because that is where you discover the true local culture. I'm always amazed by the sense of togetherness brought about by simplicity. This group of family and friends didn't speak any English yet invited us over to help to make fresh pita bread and prepare ripe olives for fermentation. They rolled fresh dough with bamboo sticks and cooked on an open grill. In spite of the language barrier we were able to learn their traditional ways and laugh at each other along the way. Sometimes I am reminded that material things are not as important as quality time and being able to enjoy the moment. The most memorable thing about this time was that we were fed by the local people that barely had enough food for themselves. I found this trait to be common among the Turkish people-they would go to any length to help. They would include their last piece of bread.

Back Streets of Cappadocia

We spend days exploring the caves of Cappadocia! It's amazing that people used to inhabit these caves. Best known for their appearance in Star Wars, the rock formations of this area are otherworldly...




After cave hopping and spelunking we decided to challenge ourselves and climb Mt. Nemrut to watch sunrise. I always feel I need to push myself to some new fitness. It was worth the 2am departure!

Mt. Nemrut
The climb to the summit wasn't easy so we decide to end this adventure with a trip with a  Mediterranean sailing voyage! 

Mediterranean waters

Sunday, November 3, 2013

'Cross season is finally here.  Although it is the third race in the 2013 ABRA cyclocross series, Marilla Cross felt like the true start of cyclocross season in WV.   The first two races were unusually warm and dry for cross races.  In fact, they were warmer and drier than any of the mountain bike races from May through August this year.  On the other hand, the weather during the week leading up to the cross race at Marilla Park in Morgantown was actually cold and wet with a few snow showers.  Although this is only my third season racing cyclocross, I've been able to gather from other racers that these are the conditions that they look forward too.

On the day of the race, I woke to temps in the upper 20's and a heavy frost.  With a heavy baselayer, warm gloves, and winter riding shoes with longer toe spikes packed, I was prepared for the worst conditions, and the typical conditions seen at Marilla park cyclocross races.  Surprisingly though, the temps warmed into the 50's by the start of the Master's race and much drier trail/course conditions than I   had apparently prepared to ride.  

Marilla park has always been one of the more challenging courses due the bump-filled trails, a steep run-up, the gravel pit with barriers, and the acorns.   But, for the first time ever I had loaded a second "pit" bike.  And it was a good thing that I had.   After a fairly good call-up position, I was able to get into the woods and past the bottle-neck unscathed.  Pushing hard to keep up with the 10 or so riders in front was hard enough without my chain jumping from one cog to the next every time I shifted.    I realized within the first lap that I wasn't pedaling as hard as I normally would, fearing I would break a chain.   Those that I typically raced near--Chris H., Betsy S., and Danny W.--were pulling further and further ahead.  So I swung into the pit area after a lap and a half to switch bikes with the help of a good hand-off from teammate Shawn.  Now it was time to catch up and regain a few positions in the field.

My Cannondale Caffeine F29 was the pit bike of choice today...mainly because it was the only other suitable bike that I have.  The 29er was quickly proving to be the right choice.  Front suspension, 2.2 tubeless tires, and disc brakes instilled confidence on the rough course ahead.    I began passing racers
in the field...Chris, Danny, and a few others.  Zipping through turns appeared much easier with less to no braking than I would typically do with my Cannondale CAAD8 cross bike.   The mountain bike would simply flow over the roots in the upper portion of the course and eat up the steep downhill and gravely sections.  

Although I was loving the feel of the mountain bike on the cross course, I was beginning to feel the leg fatigue of pushing the heavier bike with greater rolling resistance several laps later.  I was still holding my field position, but barely.  Just before the final lap, Chris would overtake my lead.  "Not a problem" I thought, "I still have more than a mile to get this back".    Surely with the bike I had, I could regain and drop him on the last straight by rolling through the roots easier and faster than he could.  However, he began pulling away after a faster transition back to the bike at the top of the run-up.    With every twist and turn of the course, he seemed to be a little bit farther into the lead.   My motivation was there.  The legs, on the other hand, were not.  They had just become to worn out to maintain the level of acceleration that they had during the first half of the race.  Another 10th place finish was in the books.

Thanks to Gary Rodosta and Mark Glass for another great race.
Thanks to JR for a great fall race series to keep me on the bike.
Thanks to PathfinderWV for keeping my bike ready to roll.
Thanks to ProGold for keeping the bike clean.