Wednesday, May 10, 2023

PMBAR 2023


Here I found my self once again heading south for the Pisgah Productions - Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race. After my last attempt I was not sure if I would ever do it again. It was a terrible effort on my part. Then one day I was talking to my teammate from the last attempt, Jason O, and for some reason it sounded like a good idea to sign up again. It had been two years and I'm sure I had a couple beers, but the plan was made to sign up. I had a lot of hope to be in a lot better condition by race day, but that never really ended up working out the way I had hoped. Leading up to the race I was realizing my lack of training was going to be an issue and then I noticed that I was signed up for War Daddy the weekend before. War Daddy is a 68 mile race with 9000 ft of elevation that I still need to cover on here. The combination sounded like a recipe for disaster. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Dirty South Roubaix 2023

 Dirty South Roubaix 2023 was the start of my "season". I have not had much of any seasons over the last 2-3 years. A few races here and there with more of an event type attendance. Anyone who has been around my circle also knows that my fitness level has decreased tremendously over those same years. I am ready to see if I can get back closer to where I was before these last 2-3 years. I won't say I have been doing an awesome job of making this happen, but I have been increasing the effort.

Thankfully my entry from last years race was transferred to this year. This gave me a carrot to look forward to. I am not where I would like to be, but had nothing to loose and figured I would see how the day would go. At the very least it would be a good training ride to help keeping me moving forward. The weather for Friday was not cooperating very well for my plan, so we made some adjustments. We had a great day heading to Alto Pass. Not exactly what one would say is good for making a great race, but I already knew this was less of a race in the typical sense anyway. We stopped at a couple wineries and breweries on our way, including the new St. Nicholas Brewing location where the packet pick up was located this year. I liked that it was a lot closer to the venue that before and there was a lot of room for packet pickup to happen.

I found a VRBO nice and close to the race venue. It was great not having to get up as early to get there and get ready in the car. The bad part was that I didn't get to run in to a lot of the people before the race that I normally would have. I didn't do a lot of warm up and even got to the starting line later than I would have liked. This had me lining up way farther back than normal, but that was not completely bad. Once the race started the bottle neck was way slower than I expected and I was way back in the pack. This kept me from going too hard at the start, but also kept me from benefiting from a bigger pack.

All the rain from the day before didn't seem to make the conditions too bad. Only a few wetter spots and some of the gravel was a little harder to roll through. I tried to not go too hard and maybe I went a little slower than I should have, but with the legs, I didn't need to go too hard anyway. I found wheels and groups to hop on as I could. The first climb never seemed to end, but I was fairly happy with how I kept moving. I bombed down the back side and was out of the road before I knew it. I grabbed a wheel or two, but had to let them go when it felt like I was going too deep. 

Maybe I should have stopped at the first rest stop, but I didn't really need anything. Sometimes just getting off the bike helps and other times it makes things worse. The levee was a struggle for me this. I didn't find many wheels and everyone was pushing harder than I wanted. I think everyone I passed at the rest stop ended up rolling by me on the levee. I did hop on to the back of a group near the end. The next road section I let everyone go to take my vest off. I was getting too hot.

This next climb I knew would be very tough. There were some people around so I know I was not the only one suffering. Once at the top I hopped back on and kept moving forward. I did better in this section that I expected and climbed everything else. Bombing down the last hill there were a couple horses coming up the hill and I had to slow way down and see if they wanted me to stop. This was a horrible place for me to meet them. The best things I did all day was coast down hill. I was feeling pretty good back on the pavement and started rolling better. I linked up with two guys and we were moving along good. 

One fell off at some point and it was just two of us. I tried to pull and he didn't seem interested so I just sat back there. Eventually he moved over so I would pull and after resting a little he took off and dropped me. Guess he didn't like me on his wheel, but I did try to work together. Eventually there was a good sized group of riders that I could hop on with. I stayed at the back because I didn't think I would hang very long, but they varied the pace good enough that I could stay with a few of them for a little while. I linked up with a Rollfast guy and we hung out for several miles.

The rest of the group would get bigger and smaller as we rolled along. We separated a few times but kept joining back up. I stopped at the last rest stop because I was running out of water and starting to feel like a cramp might be close. I did good and kept myself from grabbing the beer and only got some water and orange slices. Off I went ready to be done. Somehow I linked back up with Rollfast guy as we turned right for the last part. We went a little ways and he said he was going to slow up and I should go on. I kept moving forward the best I could. 

I came up on the deep creek crossing and rolled through as some were dismounting and trying to figure out how they were going to cross. This let me catch up to some new guys that I had seen on and off all day. I was doing every thing I could to hang on to the wheels as we cycled through. I was thinking I was going to let them go and the one in front of me let up for me to pull. I tried to keep the same pace, but some how I pulled away from them all. I'm sure it had to do with me being ready to be done. Somehow I find a little extra energy when I know I'm close. The last climb really hurt, but I kept moving the best I could and finally turned the corner toward the finish line. I could see the wife standing there waiting so I gave everything I had left to try and pop the best wheelie I could. I was very sub par in my opinion, but thankfully the picture looks good. That is all that really matters right??

This was by far my slowest time for this race even with some of those years being on the SS. But, I really can't say that I'm mad about my day. I was expecting to be over 5 hours, so was pleased when I was under. I didn't really show up expecting a good result so that was not an issue. I'm sure I could dig in to overall times and see that it was a fast year, but really it doesn't matter. I'm slow and fatter than I should be and I did better than I expected. It was a good day to be on a bike. After hanging out with people that I don't see near often enough, we headed out to Blue Sky to hear some music, drink some wine and watch the sun go down.

Sunday morning we woke up and went just up the road to check out a natural bridge. It was a very short trail, but a cool little site. Then we headed in to town for some breakfast at our favorite breakfast place Cindy B's Cafe. Then we made a short drive over to hop on part of the Tunnel Hill State Trail and put in a little ride. This was a recovery ride for me and Becky's first ride outside for the year. Weather was great and the company was even better. I could definitely handle more race weekends like this. Bikes, Beer and my babe. I want to thank everyone who has supported me. Of course my wife for always pushing me to ride my bike. Cycling Solutions, Twin Six, Honey Stinger, ESI grips, Christopher Bean Coffee and CarboRocket.












Saturday, December 3, 2022

2022 Gravel Grovel


Sorry this was the post that never happened. Here are some pictures from the good time at the Gravel Grovel. I'll be back better than ever next year.



Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Dust Bowl 100 short version

Sorry for taking so long to get this posted. I'm a little out of practice :-)

It has been a while since I have put a number on my bike. I had plans to do this sooner than now, but I was just not where I wanted to be. I have a lot of excuses as to why I had skipped all the other races this year, but in reality, that is exactly what they are....excuses. Some may be better than others, but I am the only one to blame for being where I am. I was signed up for the 80 mile route with the hopes of being ready for that when the time came. Well, as the rest of the year has been going, I was not ready for that. Instead of just not showing up, it was suggested to drop down to the 44 mile race and still ride. Thankfully Marc was kind enough to help me move.

I didn't really take care of myself leading up to the race and stayed out later than I should have the night before. I guess my heart was not really in to the race. I'm sure if anything would have hinted a good reason not to go, I would have just stayed home. Thankfully my wonderful wife said she would ride along with me. The drive up was not bad but I could have used more sleep. I went and picked up my stuff and took care of everything I could before heading back to the car. I didn't have a lot of time to mess around, so I tried to get all my stuff together quickly. 

I watched the other races start and then it came time to line up. I felt a little lost since it had been a while and I was not there with any of my normal race buddies to make this time feel more normal. I looked around to say hi to those that I knew. Some more looked familiar, but sometimes I am not so good with names. Nerves were there a little, not because I was anxious about racing well, I was more worried about finishing. 


Finally the horn blew and I had nothing left to do but ride. My plan was to not go too hard, but I wanted to try and find a group to ride with. After bouncing back and forth with a few different bigger groups that kept changing riders. I passed a couple riders crashed on the side of the road. It was easy to get in to trouble with it being harder to see what was coming. I felt like I was hanging around a few of the same riders so it seemed like this was my group. 

It was fun riding with this group for a few miles. I was trying to not put in too much effort and still be able to hang. Going in and out of the gravel sections and the corners had me starting to feel like I was putting in more effort than I should. I had a few times that I let the group go and then they would slow down or something and I would find myself back with the group. Eventually I just had to really let them go. Legs were hurting a little and I still have several miles to go. I rode alone for a little while until another small group with the tandem rider came by and they helped pull me to the rest stop. 

This stop was an eye opener. I went to get off the bike and the back of my legs were very tight. They didn't feel that bad on the bike, but I was really struggling to walk over and fill my bottle up. I had a couple cups of pickle juice and a little food before forcing myself back on the bike. Legs liked being back on the bike, but I could still tell they were very tight. A couple turns before the rest stop, my gps route said I was supposed to go through a field. It was not happy with me being off the route. I hoped it would find the route and pick back up, but I guess I got far enough off that it stopped tracking. 

The next few miles I was just following the markings and I could see a rider on my screen just ahead of me that helped me feel good about heading the right way. I was thankful for someone having a Wahoo close to me. I was messing around with the screens and figured out how to re-load the route and it was back working again. For most of the rest of the route I would be riding alone. I would come up on a rider every now and then, but we would not stay together. I was wearing out and ready to be done. It was getting hotter and more uncomfortable. There was some crazy looking clouds and some stronger gusts of wind. I would not have minded to get rained on a little, but I didn't want a full on storm. 

The rain never came and the dark clouds moved on. This last part of the route was pretty much a blur. The heat had me pretty cooked, the legs were wore out and I was just ready to be done. I had a couple riders gaining on me a few times, but I kept holding them off from catching me. The trail/fire lane type section helped since I rode that pretty well. I was looking forward to the paved sections since they look less energy to keep moving. Finally I could see the finish area on my map and knew I was getting close. I ended up passing a rider or two on the last road section before hitting the drag strip section and rolled it home. 


I was cooked and remember being disappointed that I didn't have the energy to wheelie at the line. As I got closer I either hear my wife yell ride a wheelie or I hallucinated it, but next thing I knew I was pulling up trying to ride a wheelie. It was by far the worst one I have done at a finish line in a very long time. I was just thankful I didn't fall over. I ended up in 47th place. This put me in the front half. Better than I thought I would be, but much worse than I would like. I have a long way to go to get back to where I was only a couple years ago.


I got back to the car, cleaned up and did some re-hydrating. Did a quick spray off of my bike since the course was so dusty. Headed over to the tent to get a bite to eat and did some chatting with some friends that I don't see much. I wanted to hang out a lot longer and spend more time taking to people, but I was cooked and ready to hit the road. We made a quick stop at the Feed Store Beer Company to do some more re-hydrating. I have wanted to check this place out and could not drive by with out stopping. It was worth the stop and I plan on heading here again at some point.

I want to thank everyone who helped this weekend happen, it's been a tough 1 1/2 years for me. I need to thank my wonderful wife for driving with me, being my support for everything and not letting me back of out racing. ESI grips for sticking with me through the hard times. You are the best! Carborocket for helping my legs turning way past where they were capable. Honey Stinger for having some great tasting ride food to keep my stomach happy. Trucker Co for keeping my tires full of air and for brake pads that do their job with out complaining. Christopher Bean Coffee for some great tasting coffee to get me moving in the morning. Thanks for Marc and company for putting on a great event. I will be back next year and ready for a longer route. 

#carborocket #halfevil333 #esigrips #hshive #truckercoposse #twinsix

Thursday, December 16, 2021

How can I convince you its me I don’t like

As the year is nearing the end, this is typically the season that I look forward to doing pre Gravel Grovel rides to prepare for my favorite race of the year. But, this year....or I guess I really should say these last 2 years have really been strange for me. My riding has really fallen off and I am way out of shape from where I was. I signed up for the GG in hopes that it would help motivate me to get out on the bike more than I had been, but it didn't work. I did ride some, but not near enough to make up for a year of loosing fitness. As the weekend was getting closer, I was really considering not going. There were some talks about a fun ride that day, but the plans were pretty loose and kept changing. I was not feeling fast enough to keep up anyway. I made the decision to just go anyway and get a good ride in even if I would not be "racing". I really didn't want to miss since I have yet to miss one. 

Then out of what seemed like nowhere a shining light appeared. Misty was talking about the race and we came up with the plan to ride together. The last time the race done she completed the route but finished outside the time cut off and was not an official finisher. I wanted to help change that. There were worries on both sides that we would be too slow for the other. I was not worried about going fast since I am not what I would call fast anymore. I really figured she would be waiting on me and I didn't want that to happen. I never know what legs will show up. Some days they do a lot better than others. A 60+ mile day is not a good day for them not to show up. 

We started the race off toward the back half of the pack. Things were rolling along pretty well. The first big climb had me hurting already, but I expected that. As we rolled in to Nebo I was having a blast. That section is so much more fun than climbing up the other side. There were some harry sections that I was really missing my suspension, but I was just happy to be in the woods. Back on the road the legs were acting like it was going to be a hard day. I kept rolling and moving as good as possible. Misty and me stayed together pretty well all day. There were times we got a little apart, but that would not last too long.

As the day went on the hills hurt more and more. We just needed to keep moving. I could not help myself and grabbed a beer at the Hickory Ridge rest stop. It was so good and was ready to call it a day, but I knew we needed to finish. The rest of the route seemed to be a blur with good times and painful times. I know I was fading in and out of a dark place but not sure if Misty was or not. I do know that the chatting seemed to slow down. I'm sure we both were ready to be done. It didn't really help much when we hit the end of blue creek and the mud was soft and took a lot of energy to keep rolling. Eventually we hopped back on the road and I knew we were on the home stretch. 

I kept trying to keep the pace up the best I could but also didn't want to make Misty go harder than she should. Before we started she made a comment about hoping to finish in 7 hours. I told her I thought 6 was more reasonable. I'm pretty sure she thought I was crazy, but when we rolled across the line with a time of 6:15, she was very happy. To make things even better she ended up finishing in 2nd place for the Women's MTB class. Awesome job Misty!!! I figure if I didn't have the beer that made us stay at the rest stop longer than I normally would have, we just might have hit that 6 hour mark. Sorry :-)

I can't believe how long it has been since I have posted something here. I have thought about things to post, but I just never seemed to have the motivation to put it down and after a few days of not posting it, the thought would fade away. So many things I wanted to say, but not really sure how to say it all. I am a mess of a rider. I am so far from where I was at the end of 2019. It is very sad to think about where I was and where I am. My mileage has dropped way off. I have filled my time with other things than riding. Not all of these bad, but not as conductive to riding fast. I have helped do several home projects, deck builds and roofing projects with friends. I have completely loved this time, but it came with eating habits that were not good and also came with a lot more drinking. This has me being back to a weight that I was probably 5-6 years ago or more. 

I thought my miles were way down for 2020. Not that they weren't compared to previous years, but in 2020 I put in around 2,700 miles and 2021 I have dropped that down to 1,600. I have to look back to 2012 to find similar mileage totals for the year. I have had a lot of mental blocks that have been the issue. I developed a severe anxiety about riding on the road. I can't even explain how I feel. There are times I feel like I can't even move and I can't force myself to get out the door. The convenience of riding from the house is huge and really puts a damper on my miles. It even has effected me enough that I just don't have the motivation to load up the jeep and head to the trail or a gravel road that I am more comfortable with riding on.

I have done some very fun rides with some good friends. This guy above put up with me trying to do PMBAR and wanting to quit at the top of the first climb. I made my first trip to Bentonville to ride a bunch of fun stuff there. All of my rides have been slower, shorter and more laid back, but I have still had some fun. I am really trying to get myself out of this funk and back to being healthier and happier. I am at my happiest when I am getting enough time behind the bars to keep thoughts from getting out of control. I can't say thank you enough for everyone that has stuck with me and put up with me whining about being slow. You don't know how much it really means to me. 

I know that the only way to get stronger/faster is to ride, but it is hard to commit to riding with people when I feel like I can't do their pace. I know most of the time they don't care, but I also know that when you have to wait a lot it is not as fun. So, here is to kicking this year to the curb and getting back to track for 2022. Not sure where I'm going, but I sure hope it involves a lot more hours and miles riding a bike. Here is a little photo dump for all the posts that I should have done this year. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

2020 BT pandEpic


Sorry, this would have been posted a while back but I have been waiting on the other pictures to be posted. I'm sure as soon as I post, they will show up. 

This year has been an odd one. Lots of things getting moved and/or cancelled. I had signed up for this race a while back since it typically sells out in the same day that it opens. I had a lot of fun last year and wanted to go back. Most of my schedule has been a mess and when they said they were still having the race, I had a cabin reserved and someone to share the trip with I figured why not. I was unsure how comfortable I would be with a lot of people racing this event and one big draw is the after party is normally off the hook. Those are all things I have been avoiding for several months now. But, I knew that there was plenty of opportunity for me to race the event and still be able to slide off to the side and find a situation that I felt comfortable with. 

I came in to this race not up to the level that I wanted to be in or that I would normally be in. I signed up in the 40-49 class and brought several more gears than last year and a lot more suspension travel. Not only have I not touched my road bike since February but for some reason I have lost my loving feeling for my SS. I still love the whole idea of it and the bikes are beautiful, but I just don't really have the desire to ride one. I haven not really been training or worried about going fast and the full suspension has been a blast to ride. I also figured that being out of shape the gears would be a welcomed addition. I have been thinking that I need a post to cover some of the thinks that have changed in my cycling world, but no one really needs to know what all goes on inside there.

The trip out with E2 was nice. Thankfully when we got there we were able to check in to the cabin. We got unloaded and then headed out to ride the last section of trail. Lots of leaves and super dry corners that were slick. It was a good ride, but I was a little worried about how the legs were feeling. I didn't over think it since my whole plan was to just have a good day in the woods. As we finished the loop we headed over to registration. The line was long, but overall they were doing a good job of keeping it moving. People were staying spaced out and everyone was wearing a mask.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Pisgah just for fun


This trip was originally scheduled as a race weekend. The race was eventually cancelled after being moved once already. The idea to still go and make it more of a couples weekend sounded like a great idea. I have always wanted to get my wife down here to see this beautiful place. It should be a little less hard core rides and a little more relaxing stuff. There is a lot of things I would like to see here, but most of the time is spent turning pedals over for very long days followed by drinking and eating. Not that I'm complaining about that. Sorry, but this will not be like most race recaps and maybe a little more of just a photo show and some highlights.

As the weekend was getting closer old Sally in the gulf was trying to ruin some plans. Thankfully as the weekend got closer, the weather improved. We had some rain on Thursday for the drive down. It messed up the activities planned for that day, but it ended up not really mattering. After the almost 8 hour drive I pulled up to the house and started to unload. It turns out that somehow a spoke decided to break on my back wheel. It was not broke when I loaded. This left me with once again a bike that was not fully functional in a place you need everything to work correctly or you could end up with a very long hike out. 

After unloading everything, I checked to make sure Squatch Bikes and Brews would still be open and able to work on my wheel. Thankfully they said it would be no problem and since they also serve beer, everyone decided to tag along. They saved my weekend twice in the same year. We hung out a little, had a beer or so and did a little shopping before heading back to the house to figure out what was for dinner and maybe drink another beer.

Friday's plan was to do Laurel/Pilot with some Slate loop. The ladies not riding were going to do a hike and Pinkbeds was decided on. With that being where it is, it helped us shuttle up to the Slate parking area to start our ride. I rode all of this loop better than I have done in the last several times trying. I still crashed pretty hard on Pilot right before the big rock stopping spot. This had me a little tentative on all the switchbacks and that was not all bad with how slick the roots and rocks were. Some of us were wearing out and decided to take the shuttle van that was parked there down the hill. The other riders were going to ride down. Everyone met back up at the Hub for a drink and some food. The ladies were already there and then Lexington group showed up. After last call we headed back to the house for more food and beer. 

Saturday's plan was Turkey Pen, Squirrel, Avery Creek and Bennett. The ladies were doing a nice ride at DuPont.  We shuttled out to a very full parking lot for cars, but an empty lot for horse trailers. It seemed like the horse to bike/hike parking area was a little too heavy toward the horses. I actually don't see how any of the horse trailers make it all the way to the parking lot. It is not the best road to travel. 

Right out of the lot is a ripping down hill to the bottom and then we start climbing. I rode way more technical little sections on Squirrel than I ever have. I contribute to having a full suspension bike and more than one gear for allowing me to ride stuff that I never would have made on the SS. After all the climbing and then hanging on for Avery Creek, I was cooked. I made the decision to skip Bennett and just ride on back to the Hub. I was glad that no one gave me any crap or tried to twist my arm because I would have ended up going and would have been even more blown out and maybe even crashed. The only thing I know is I was the first one with a beer in hand. 

We ended up hanging out at the Hub again for a little while. The Lexington group joined us and we were having a lot of fun. I'm not sure if it was last call again or what, but next thing I know I was back on my bike, not in my riding shoes and riding to the house. After slipping off the pedals and almost crashing I decided to settle down a little and just ride with out any wheelies or silly stuff. We ordered more food, drank more beer and had a great rest of the evening. I am so glad that a couple of the Lexington group stopped by. 

The next morning I was moving a little slow. Everyone was up and moving to hit the road or at least the ones who were leaving. I decided to take a little more scenic route back home and went up 276. This road was a nice change from the interstate. We stopped at Looking Glass Falls and we also made roadside stop for a breakfast picnic. Sometime I'll look at heading out the Blue Ridge Parkway, but I thought that would add too much time to the drive. 

It was a very fun weekend away. We did a good job of being socially distant overall and was only close contact with people that I have been with here in Indiana. We ordered take out every night and at at the house. I consider the trip a success since Becky had a great time and wants to go back. We just need to stay a little longer sometime and do all those tourist things I never really get around to doing. The group of people also make the trip fun even with all the verbal abuse. Now I just have to wait until we can do it all again.