Monday, June 29, 2009

New Adventure

In 2000, I connived a plan to ride my bike across America. I rode from San Diego, CA to Wilmington, NC in roughly 57 days. My awesome wife Rhonda was my SAG queen!!! I did it as a fundraiser for a youth program that I was working with then.

I've been in the mood to do something big again. Obviously to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief. I believe in what the organization does.

Having a family, house, job etc makes it difficult to get away for two months for a huge adventure. I considered riding the entire Blue Ridge Parkway. I've done it before, and will probably do it again, but the time is not right.

So, what to do? And then:



The Pisgah MTB Adventure Race.
It's a no brainer. It's in my backyard, it's a huge challenge, logistics are taken care of for me. Perfect.

So, in October of this year, I plan to race this stage race.

But the bigger challenge for is to raise $5000 before the end of the race.... I think it can be done.

If you are interested in kick starting this fundraiser, click on the World Bicycle Relief logo to the left and you will be sent directly to my fundraiser page. Thanks in advance!!!

Have a great day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Good One!!

I was standing in the parking lot at Kitsuma waiting for OJ and telling Jim about how my best time at ORAMM, was my first year. I didn't know what I was doing and riding a cluncky Specialized Hardrock stock single speed.

As I was pushing the pace later, after parting ways with those guys, I started to feel overheated. So, I dropped the pace, and spun, making sure that I kept drinking. 5 minutes later I felt back to normal.

Again, I thought back to that first ORAMM. I realised that the pace that I was now maintaining, not too slow, but not fast enough to overheat, was my race pace. If I'm gonna finish, and not be finished, this is my pace.

Jarrets Creek Rd is pretty grown up with waist high weeds. It was fun and a little scary flying down the gravel hills, not being able to see everything that was on the trail. A month ago I had to use caution in the corners, due to mud puddles. Now, the puddles are dried up, and the loose sand is just as slippery, I almost lost it a couple of times.

There is a tree across the road. A small one, someone with a hand saw could clear it up easily. It is split from the main tree at a fork. The fork is charred.

As I was getting towards the end of the road, I startled something large in the woods, about 20 feet of the road. In return, it's crashing through the woods startled me!

With one hour left to get back to the parking lot, I realised that I did not have enough fluids. Oops. So I held my pace, and cut back on drinking. I manged to make it back but knew that it would have benefited me to have more.

All in all, another successful ride, learning about myself, pacing and nutrition.

Have a great day!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Who Cares....

...about my tooth sob story? Check THIS out. I'm looking forward to 10-15 yrs from now, excited to see the change that will be brought about by this project!!!

Thoughts on Teeth

It was last year about this time that I was having some dental issues and ended up selling to of my favorite bikes to pay the bills. (I will never again sell a bike to pay the bills, I still miss those bikes). The dentist was great and let us pay gradually.

Now, Jubal has quite a bit of work that needs to be done. We have been going to a dentist here is Asheville for a while. Oddly Jubal did not enjoy the visits at all. There was just something weird, something strange in our guts that told us that this was not the right fit.

We should have listened to our guts. After regular checkups, and being told that Jubal's teeth we great, we decided to make a change. We first took him to our dentist, who is excellent, but they could not get the bite wings to fit in his little mouth for the x-rays. We were then referred to a pediatric dentist.

Jubal's first visit went great, and Jubal said that he had fun!!! Nice change.

The bad news though is that she found 6 cavities, two of those were nearing the nerve. What? She informed us that those had been there for quite a while and there was no way that the last dentist should have missed them.

And then the estimated bill......$1600. What? ouch!! But we are going to go with her. Why not get another opinion? Because Jubal is at ease with her. He did great for his first two fillings. There is some trust forming.

Hmmm, what to do? Fortunately again, they are going to work with us, and give us a little time to pay it off.

But the point is this, a client and doctor/dentist have to have a bond of trust. Much like a friendship, if the friend does things to break trust, then you typically end the friendship. If your gut is telling you not to trust the doctor, then don't. There are others out there. Get recommendations/ referrals, ask around. And most of all take care of yourself.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Specific Training

I have been wondering recently how "on track" I am with my training. Am I doing things right? Doing the right workouts? and many more questions.

I am using Joe Friel's Mountain Biker's Training Bible for a guide. I had the realisation last week that the book targets XC racing and not endurance. The book was written before all of the endurance events got big. I sent Joe an e-mail thanking him for his work and told him that I could see improvement in my fitness. I then asked if there was anything I should be doing different from his training manual, since I am training for endurance events, rather than XC. I was please when he responded quickly. Basically he said" I don't know because I don't coach any mtn bikers". Hmmmm.

So, I turned to local pro/coach/ fitter and super nice guy Andy Applegate. Andy has recently switched from road to endurance MTB and has been ripping it up....and winning. Click here for his race reports. I asked Andy the same question. He took the time to write a long e-mail, although if he types as fast as he rides, that did not take long. His response was, in a nutshell, specificity. I need to be doing training specific to the racing that I am doing: ie. endurance.

Great info for me to go on. The e-mail had lots more info but I'll not share his secrets.

What does that mean for me? Basically that I will be trading some of the short sprint type interval workouts for some longer aerobic/ race pace workouts.

Some day I'm going to hire a coach to help me out with this stuff on a daily or weekly basis. I could hire a coach now, but then I wouldn't have the money to replace bike parts..or pay for entry fees.

Oh well, the upside is that I am getting stronger, and I am having fun.

So, I'm gonna get out, give it everything and then go home satisfied.

Have a great day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's on...

Thursday July 23rd, 2009
9:30 pm
Asheville Pizza and Brewing on Merrimon Ave.
$3 at the door
Proceeds benefit World Bicycle Relief
"I hope your day goes downhill...fast!!!"

Cowbell Challenge '09

Some pics of the pro race...

Marshall Hance on single speed:


Nathan Wyatt:

Will Black on SS:




Nathan Wyatt:



Harlan Price: bunny hopping a log on a steep downhill tech section.. amazing!!!







Sam Koerber: hucking boulders in the steep downhill techy section...also amazing!!!!



In the above picture, 99.9% of the racers took the middle line. Only a few dared the right and left lines, and it was amazing to watch the skill and confidence as they pushed the pace even through this section.

The Trip:

We left Asheville Friday afternoon and got to Davidson. Checked in and went for a pre-ride... Well, tried to pre-ride. At 3:30pm it was 90 degrees in the shade. I rode 40 minutes and called it quits. I loaded up and headed to the hotel where Jubal and Rhonda had wisely taken some pool time.

Off to my parent's for some delicious pasta dinner, thanks mommy!!

Back to the hotel, a dip in the pool and then bed.

The race didn't start until 10 am which was nice. I left the family sleeping, made some Kinetic Koffee in my aeropress, ate some, then headed out to the start/finish/pits. I got set up, hung out and chatted with friends for while, headed back to get my family, then to the start line in downtown Davidson.

10am- 92 degrees: The race kicked off with a 6 mile paved ride to the trails. Then up the steepest climb to the pits, then another 6 laps. I was doing fine through the pits, just taking it easy knowing that I am prone to overheating. My pace was a little higher than what I wanted, so I backed off a little bit more. It was hot. I kept drinking, I drank more than I thought I should...just in case. At the end of the first lap, I stopped and got cold bottles. I was feeling fine, but not sure if I should keep going.

The second lap I was on pace for 1 hr 15 minute laps. And it was HOT!! 92 in the woods, 96 at the top of the last climb, 102 under the tent at the pits!!!! I have the best family for hanging out there waiting for me and pitting for me.

I realised, after doing some calculating halfway through lap two, that this was not my time to shine. That I was able to calculate, told me that I was still thinking properly. I was still sweating, but I realised that I was not going to make the 5pm cut off. Knowing that it was only 1pm, and it was going to get hotter before it cooled down. I decided that today was not the day to push my limits..any more than I already had.

So, I pulled into the pits, and called it quits. I am pleased with what I did do, I feel like my nutrition was right on and could have kept going. But, I played it safe, and made my wife happy!!

Sunday:

The race started shortly after 9 am. Approx 14 miles of XC racing. I don't race XC so I knew I would get dropped. I pushed the pace until 20 minutes in my head started throbbing, it was only 92 degrees at the start. So, knowing that if I kept that pace nothing good would come if it, I backed off to my endurance pace and just had another training ride in the heat. Good stuff.

All in all it was a great weekend, hanging out with friends, and watching some really talented riders, from juniors up through masters and pros.

My new plan for summer time races is to pay the higher fee, and register late. That way if the temps are too high, I can bail. Any other weather I can handle, but 100 plus is HOT!!!!

Next up, Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell

Have a great day!!








Friday, June 19, 2009

John Henry

Siren Bicycles is working on a steel 29'er called the John Henry.

I've heard plenty of people talk about steel being their choice for a smooth ride on a 29'er. Well, how about handcrafted steel? Build with pride in America? This ride is for you.

And for $5 you get the chance to win one, fully built!!!! Click here!!

Finally, inside the 24 hr window to race day. I'm fairly nervous about the heat, but just keep reminding myself to take it slow and steady.

And the countdown continues....

Have a great day!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Taper

I enjoy sleeping in as much as I do getting up early to ride. Not setting the alarm, laying in bed as the sky gets lighter. The birds chirping and singing.

I just got word that the Cowbell Challenge Marathon has a staggered start. Bummer, now Jeremiah will have a 15-30 second lead on me from the start..... he had better not slow down. You too Harlan!!!


Be kind to your neighbor..

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The bike

Check it out: the bike....

Have a great day!!

Pacing

I did some more research about pacing during racing vs training. What I read confirmed that I have been riding too hard for too long.

Several weeks ago I rode in a zone for 2.5 hrs. What I read said that in that same zone, I should only ride for 1 hr max, no wonder I got sick.

And riding in the next zone up...I should only be riding for 6 minutes. I can think of several times that I have faltered when riding in that zone for way longer.

I am very excited about the Cowbell Challenge this weekend. Putting all that I have learned in the past 9 months and hopefully seeing some results. I'm not looking for a podium at this point, I don't want to put that pressure on myself, (I'm sure Jeremiah Bishop and Harlan Price are relieved...).


But I do want to finish with a decent time and feeling like I just raced 52 miles...and not lying on the ground feeling like I am going to die!!!

So, I'll pace myself, and if people pass me that's fine. I'm going to ride my race at my pace and see what happens!!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Racing


What could be better than a race? How about 4 races....4 days in a row? Or how about 4 races....4 days in a row..... in my backyard?


Yeah, The Pisgah Mtb Stage Race is on. This is the first ever stage race that I know of on the east coast.


Starting on day one with a 6 mile time trial, followed by 3 days of 40-50 miles.


From the web-site:


"The Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race is a 4 day epic journey in the back country of Western North Carolina. You can race individually or as a team. All four days will count for an overall time to crown the top riders. This is designed as a true race, not a test of survival. We have fully stocked rest stops, however if you want to send anything extra to the rest stops we will shuttle your items each day. Medical staff and mechanical help will also be at the rest stops".
Get signed up today, only 124 spots left!!!
Have a great day.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Good News

I got word that my wheels should ship later this week. The fork is ready to be shipped. Headset and stem are also ready to be shipped. This project is coming together and I am so excited. I don't think it will be ready for Cowbell Challenge, but it looks like it will be for ORAMM!!! Sweet!!

I have a couple of fundraisers for World Bicycle Relief coming up that I will announce next week. I am really excited about both of them.

Training is going really well. I'm going faster and using less effort, that feels weird. The training program/ heart rate monitor seem to be helping exponentially. We'll see where I am compared to other this weekend.

It also helps that I am mostly finished with the house addition. It is so nice to come home and NOT work on the house. Just relax, and chase the kid around the yard!!! The timing could not have been better.

Well, another 5 days of workin!!!

Have a great day,
Stephen

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Project

I'm looking for a financial sponsor to partner with for an upcoming project. Please let me know if you are interested.

Have a great day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Arrival

I'm bad about watching the UPS online tracking if I'm expecting something really exciting. This time that thing was a hand built, custom WBR/Siren Bicycle frame. And it took soooo long to get here from AZ.

But now it is here. But, the wait is not over. I'm still missing some parts...back ordered. Yech. Oh well, I guess this is a good test of whether or not I really believe my theories about timing. But wow, that frame looks so nice, it is so light, the welds, the paint the decals....all of it, built with pride.
And for a purpose. One that goes deeper than racing: World Bicycle Relief.

While I am sitting here, in my nice house, drinking my coffee (that was made in a coffee pot that I set up last night, and didn't have to get up until it was brewed), knowing that there is breakfast several steps away, not having to worry about lunch, getting ready to ride my bike to work, taking a whole lot of stuff for granted ( you get the idea), there are others here in this city and around the world who don't know where their next meal is coming from, who don't get to drink delicious coffee out of a mug while typing on the computer.....

So, my dilemma is this. Compared to American standards I am close to the poverty level of income. ( I'm fine with that, not complaining, just making a point here). But compared to world standards, I am quite rich. How can I sleep knowing that I am comfortable while so many others are suffering? At times I feel like I need to sell all my stuff and go live with them, share in their misery, help them cope etc.

Someday maybe. But on the contrary, I believe that my place is right here right now. I am here for a purpose, and I believe that that purpose is to raise awareness/ funds to help my brothers and sisters around the world.

I know time are tough, but would you really miss an extra $5 per week? $25 per month? I challenge you to give it a try.

You decide what kind of world you want to live in. And, oh yeah, don't expect anything in return, you'll be disappointed. Do it because you care.

Have a great day!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Delivered...

Yeah!!!


Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Package

The package passed through Mesquite, TX yesterday. MS,TN, ATL today? Coming home tomorrow? The fork is back ordered, wheels are being built.....soon!!!

Have a great day!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Open

Check out the World Bicycle Relief Store. It is now open and you can spread the word about the Power of Bicycles.

Follow WBR/ Siren teammates Chris Strout , Brad Majors, and Todd Carpenter as they go for it at Big Bear.

Check out the handbuilt bikes they will be racing. Holy cow those are some sweet rides.

Have a great day!!!

Rides

This is the map and elevation profile for last Thursday night's ride. For some reason, the profile shows less mileage, it is about 5 miles short of what I actually did, and therefore less climbing, but I got in closer to 5500 feet of climbing in 33 miles.





Then I did a map and profile of my ride on Sunday: 55 miles from Pineola, NC to Craggy Garden Visitor Center, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The profile showed 9700' of climbing!!! Sweet.

Friday night we took off for an overnight camping trip in Pineola. The plan was to get some breakfast hang with the family then ride my bike back to Asheville for a total of 75miles. We got breakfast, Jubal rode his bike, then we hit the road.

The short story is there was some miscommunication between me and the SAG, and two hours into the ride, I ran out of liquid and nutrition. So, what to do? I kept riding at a moderate pace, thinking they would find me. 30 minutes went by and I'm still riding, wondering where they were. After one hours of riding and still not seeing them I stopped at an overlook. I waited until a tourist stopped and borrowed their cell phone to call the SAG. We got reconnected and I got refills on liquid and nutrition. It turned out that I had ridden for two hours with food, 1 hour without food and water, then another hour with refills. Good lesson. One thing I am learning that might be obvious to a lot of people is that when I slow down, I don't overheat.....hmmm.

When we got to the Craggy Gardens VC, I took a look at my family, assessed their condition, and decided to call it a day and spend some more time with them.

Good day, good weekend!!1

Have a great day.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Curtis Creek

I arrived at the Curtis Creek parking area and got ready to ride. The sky was dark with rain clouds and it was spitting rain. There had been a steady drizzle as I drove through Old Fort but that had let up for now.

I stretched, got on the bike and road. It was such a beautiful eveing. The plan was to ride the ORAMM route up to the parkway, down the other side, past Black Mountain Campground-at the base of Mt Mitchell, back up another dirt road to the parkway, north on the parkway to Curtis Creek rd, then back down to the truck. Time to get some climing in.

It remained cloudy and foggy for the entire ride. The climb up Curtis Creek is brutal, it always will be. I was glad it was not 80 plus degrees. I reached the parkway in 1h 10 minutes. It was chilly, 57 degrees at 4000 feet. I dropped down the other side. It was exciting, being so far from the truck, knowing that if something happened, mechanical or injury, it would not be easy getting back.

Passing the campground, the clouds parted a little and I could see the powerline cutting up the side of Mitchell. Several years ago, I used to come up here from Shelby and hike from here to the top of Mitchell. Preferably in the winter months when it was freezing with snow on top.

On up the dirt road headed towards the parkway. This climb is not as brutal as CC rd, but it is still steep. There are creeks cascading down most of the way, this provides some distraction.

I got to the parkway and thought that it would be mostly down hill to CC rd. Oops, I was wrong. It was up hill for another could of miles and 700 ft of elevation gain. The reward? When the mist would swirl around and part, I caught glimpses of fog way down in the valleys, with the mounaints climbing up into more clouds and fog.

Before decending Curtis Creek, I stopped to put on my vest and arm warmers, and I still froze. I was soaked and it was sprinkling. Wow it was cold.

Halfway down I startled a black bear, he didn't stick around.

Back to the truck, almost dark, load up and head home. Great ride!! 30 miles- 3 hours. aprox 6500 feet of climbing!!

Have a great day.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Record Time

I made a new personal record last night on the way home from work. It has always taken 50-55 minutes to get home going the short way. Last night I did it in 46 minutes. If I hadn't stopped to relieve my self early in the ride, it would have been 45. I even got stopped at most of the stoplights. Yeah, getting stronger? Seems like it.

I've also spent a lot of time evaluating my response to different heart rate zones and how my body responds to them. I'm realising that my target zone for racing might be too high so I'm gonna try a lower zone and see what happens.

I get to do a race pace ride tonight so I'm looking forward to going up and over a mountain, then turning around and coming back.

Have a great day!!