Friday, November 30, 2012

Cycling As An Introvert's Sport

I read this again in a Sport's Illustrated article last week that was chronicling Lance's predicament. It described racing bicycles as (essentially) an introverted man's sporting event. It went on to say that many high school kids get along with cycling based on a pre-disposition to not compete in a team sport because the need to have time by themselves... an outsider's sport.

This infuriates me. I thought we got rid of this attitude 10 years ago during Lance's first promenade. Maybe this was the attitude during the 1970's but it absolutely should not be how the sport is perceived now.

Maybe living in Colorado has jaded me since I get to see these 15 year old Clif Riders dominate the fields every weekend but c'mon. Legitimize the sport mainstream America. There are plenty of exceptional athletes who came to cycling from another background. Brian Jenson was a phenomenal runner at a collegiate level (came to mind off the top of my head). And he's just a local KC pro.

I want to shake these journalists sometimes. I ran track in jr. high and some high school, and it was boring out sprinting other suburban white kids. I played high school lacrosse and could be considered mediocre to good. Hell, I worked at a sporting goods store selling sporting equipment to "real" athletes... something about baseball bat's and soccer cleats doesn't turn me on. Sport's Illustrated could never tell me that I'm an introverted geek with no friends who rides a bike just to get away from it all.

At the end of the day, in this era, cyclists are as much or more talented than the large majority of high school athletes. I see that drive every weekend on the race course. Some 15 year old kid took that fire that I had in my teenage belly and left it all on the course so he could absolutely demolish a fully developed adult cat3 racer who trains constantly day in and day out.

Maybe the main stream media see's these young athletes as introverted because they don't adhere to traditional American sporting events. But in my mind these athletes are driven. In no other sport can you work and train and claw your way to the top and not be praised.

And for the introverted part, I dare someone not to be taken into a Bad Goat party and not have the time of their lives.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

1 Week in CA

I'm a Body Geometry certified fit technician now.

So... that's rad. I just got back from a week at Specialized's headquarters in Morgan Hill, CA. And if you thought I was over-analytical about bicycles before (I am and I know) this just gave me the tools to go 10x the previous.

I gained more information pertaining to things that I want to make a career out of in 5 days than I did in 1 semester in college (not all of them mind you, but I can think of a certain few). Yes, this is my crack and yes I want to make a living being your crack dealer for a lonnnng time.

I now have the ability to put you on a massage table and measure every inch of every part of you, if you are so inclined, to make your bicycle work ideally with your skeletal structure and flexibility. I knew going in what a good BGFit was all about, I've had a few. But every time I've had one it has just been mine. I knew how great it was for me, since the minute I was done replicating all of my fits on all of my bikes all I could think of was "this is better than everything I have ever ridden and I wish I would have discovered it years ago." But now to have the tools and knowledge to provide that to clients is mind-blowing. I always respected my fitters but the amount of information they hold in their head I never could have guessed.

But onto the good stuff, I got to ride a few S-Works bikes while I was out there. And I was lucky enough to know my fit numbers off the top of my head...err, off of the top of my droid... to make them ideal for me on our mid-day rides.

I'll start with the Venge, this bike has always done it for me aesthetically and I was almost sold on buying one this month. But after an extended ride all I can say is that I am not fast enough in an all out sprint to handle this beast. It rides fast, it doesn't flex all that much and I don't weigh enough to make it "act right." The descending prowess of this beast is ridiculous, I can objectively say (with my strava to back me up) that I can do on this machine downhill in the drops what I can do on any other bike in a full aero tuck.

Roubaix SL4: Holy balls, how did they make my Tarmac SL2 act the same but with more road feel absorption. This thing climbs exactly like my old Tarmac, handled corners exactly the same and rode uphill (wait for it)... exactly the same. I have never been a proponent of the Roubaix, it was always a sloppy and power sucking beast. This new one is ridiculous. I would buy one... if I wasn't 25 years old and a bike snob.

Tarmac SL4: I feel like I have talked about this bike here before. It's my dream machine, in fact it's just my machine. I will buy one this month. Every time I have ridden this bike I have thought to myself, "self, this if better than everything." And it still is. The thing dances up hills, not that I dance up hills all that well but I do it better than some and this thing wants more than I can give it. So bottom line young energetic friends that weigh less than 175lbs, buy a damn Tarmac SL4. I'm a little upset that I can't afford the 13lb S-Works SRAM red version that I rode in CA, but I figure the 16lb Ultegra version with a set of 303 tubulars should suffice for a year or so.

What have I learned from this experience: everything. I rode every bike I wanted to. But the big part of this post is that I can now agonize over your spinal structure and sit bone width better than most people in my tax bracket should be able to. I've spent sooo much time trying to get certain bikes to act and feel certain ways that I am more than ecstatic to be able to provide a client with a service that they need. Yes $4000 road bikes are great, but a $4000 road bike with a $200 fit feels like a $10,000 road bike.

On the up and up. I may have shaved my legs tonight in preparation for a new bike. Yes I talk like a damn roadie and yes if you are in town and want me to fit you than you should.

Cheers, Slater

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Season is Here

I wax poetically about cyclocross every year, no doubt about it. It is the end all, be all of bicycle racing in my opinion. So I figured I should write a little something here.

This is season 13 I believe, which means I have been racing cyclocross 13 of my 25 years on this planet. And I'm stoked I have been. Nothing makes me happier. I would imagine it's pretty rare that someone has been participating in any specific sport for more than half the time that they have been alive let alone a niche of a niche sport such as CX.

I'm 3 races deep in the season, I had to take a 2 week break since I fly out for BGFit school next week and needed some bike shop hours this week (does anyone need a bike fit BTW?) but the season has been a huge success personally. Results wise has been incredibly lackluster, I devoted my season to only racing cat 3's and I'm getting spanked. But fit and feel wise I am miles from where I came from after I took a 3 year hiatus from racing bikes "seriously." I've still never skipped a cross season but for a few years there I spent my time training to climb and racing cross from some weird passion filled part of my heart.

My lungs feel better, I'm attacking on the stairs and barriers again (my trademark junior move) and my tech skills are above average... I'm still getting schooled in the grass criterium part of the courses and after a year that I have already put 4000 miles into the ego doesn't feel great about it, but this might be my rebuilding year. The few Cat 3 races I did last year (before ducking my head and moving back to 4s) were even worse but the cool thing about Colorado is that I get the opportunity to race on the same course 4 time per season, that may sound redundant and like a waste of creative ability but it gives a good baseline for the racers. And my baseline is significantly higher than last year.

So I may not be getting faster right now, but I feel like I'm rebuilding a racer mentality. And that's the hard part, there are guys that will go fast because they can go fast. But there are racers who will go fast because they are physically dominating a field. Once upon a time I was better at that, my goal is to get better at that again. I want to make the 3 field mine, and for some reason I still feel like it's attainable.

Long story short: I will race hard this year and not dick around and take beer hand ups anymore, I will come in midpack at best and next spring I will have a coach. So hopefully next year when I hang my head and pretend that I'm not racing my 14th season of cross when my best season ever was at 14 years old, I can start stomping faces in again.

BTW I'm running a new corporate blog, you all should read it. It get's updated more regularly because I am paid to write it. This is me being corporate, it's still funny and it's still about bikes. You can probably find some of my soul buried in there and it really is worth the read. I feel like the majority of my whit that makes my reader smile is not context but wordsmithing, so if you like this you will like that.

Mic dropped, I'm out

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blogging Used To Be Easy

Blogging used to be easy, blogging used to be fun, I used to look up to bloggers. My whit and wisdom seems to have faded over the years. I don't know if it's a sign of the times "blogging isn't cool anymore," or if it's a sign of myself being an adult with shit to do. Last years Vegas essay was the last decent thing I wrote and that was still a ripoff of Thompson.

I used to be able to sit down once a week with a cheap bottle of wine and too loud of a Dylan album in the background and crank out something meaningful and somewhat witty (in my mind). Maybe working full time and having bills kills that... but dammit I still have booze and the same Dylan albums. I feel like I still have some things to say and I feel like I still feel like I say them better than some other outlets...

Onto the mediocrity... I guess I have been riding and racing my bike some. I can say I did mediocre in some local XC races and mean it. Most people read Steve Tilford's whiny ass blog about doing mediocre (top 10) in pro races and take it for what it is. But I have actually been sticking my neck on the line in some unknown races with unknown courses and coming out mediocre (in Cat 2). And I have some good stories about it, most notably last weekend.

God damnit, I wrote 2 paragraphs about my racing and guess what, it's not interesting. Long story short, I've been racing bikes and not racing bikes well. Nothing to really report on that front. However I did have a great weekend. I skipped racing on Saturday to lay by the pool (I didn't find it necessary to drive 1.5 hours to race 12 miles) and it was good and relaxing. Sunday I hiked to Columbine lake in winter park, which is in my humble opinion, the best place in the world. I rode Breckenridge on Monday with an old college buddy and rode in Golden on Tuesday with some teammates. The end on that front... Things that I am starting to consider mundane that most people save up for all year to experience on vacation.. lame.

Has anyone heard of national novel writing month? It's in November and I guess I've been working on something for it. I feel like I need some way out of the blogosphere and nothing is knocking on my door. I guess I've been mumbling and note taking about a book for a solid 7 or 8 years now, Neta made me aware of it but by no means didn't push me towards it. She's working on her own gig for the month and the things she shares with me about it makes me feel like she has an Orwellian bond. Seeing things before they are fathomable, maybe that's her curse for working at an establishment that has it's chin up to the political agendas day to day. Sometimes I'm jealous of her education and mindset until I remember that I have the exact some one.

Regardless I feel like there's no reason not to take the bull by the horns. I hear Kindle let's you self publish so maybe something will come of it. Maybe not.

So let's hope I see everyone on the other side.

Cheers to the uninspired blog reader.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dirty Kanza 200 2012

I am now one week removed from crossing the Dirty Kanza finish line. I wanted to give myself room to breathe and reflect before I began organizing a weeks worth of notes into a coherent story. Not because I’m slow, but because the journey to my Dirty Kanza finish was an emotional endeavor and I wanted to be able to look at it with some objectivity… I don’t think I will ever be able to gain said objectivity after that experience. My knees still hurt bad enough that I constantly want to sit down and my sit bones constantly remind me that they aren’t ready to accomplish sitting down well either.

The 2012 Dirty Kanza was my 4th time toeing the start line and first time to cross the finish. The quick stats look like this: 210 miles, 19 hours 10 minutes, somewhere around 7500 feet of climbing, no less that 5 new friends made, and more beautiful scenery than one should ever be allowed to take in during a single sitting.

My first three attempts at DK were failures. I look back and realize that while I was young and brash enough to fully believe that 200 miles was within my realm of capabilities, I was nowhere near mentally adept enough to cross the finish line. After I hung my hat up in 2009 from gravel racing I would get asked at least a few times a year if I was coming back to compete. My answer always was, “No way, I know I can’t finish right now.” It was never a matter of being able to physically finish, it was a head space that I could never seem to find. The DK is a patient man’s race for the majority of the racer’s who are not in the front of the pack. Mental fortitude is not something that many 19 year old male’s possess at that capacity. And I can only see that the light I began to shed on that sentiment when I quit attempting at 21 years old was a fraction of what it actually took to earn the title of finisher.

After Dirt Rag magazine held the video competition last year it gave me a sense of how special this race had become to so many people. It had grown massive compared to the last time I had seen it and I knew I wanted to go back, at least in some capacity. I always held DK near and dear to my heart as “that race that starts in the hotel parking lot with 50 people, most of whom I know by first name.” It doesn’t even resemble that anymore, the hardest one day race that no one has ever heard of has turned into a massive start list that transforms a community for one weekend every year.

Putting my name on the start list in January I knew I was going to have a long road ahead training wise. I took a completely different training route than I ever had before and I started early. Long solo rides were the name of my game this year, leaving early in the morning and just sticking my nose out in the wind for 7 hours at a time. I figured this was the best way to begin to break myself down mentally and the stronger I could ride solo, the easier it would be in a draft.

The minute I pulled into Emporia seemed to be when I started holding my breath. Standing in the back of the theater during the rider’s meeting with Joe Fox, Josh Patterson and John Waller I felt a bit overwhelmed. A few years ago we were all sitting around at Bruff’s sharing pitchers of Boulevard and demolishing burgers as pre-race fare. Maybe it was just in my head but I definitely felt a more serious weight to the situation this year as I re-united with old friends, listened to what was un-folding in front of us and promptly returned to our hotel rooms to attempt sleeping.

The actual race: I toed the start line with my fellow Bad Goats. We all put ourselves in the 14 hour starting group. I knew full well I would not finish in 14 hours but my game plan was to hit the first turn onto gravel hidden in a top 50 draft and out of the way of any carnage that I was sure would ensue with a 500 person mass start. My game plan worked and then I slowly started rolling backwards through the pack on my own accord.

My general game plan was to finish within 16 hours. My more immediate game plan was to ride slowly enough that I could breathe through my nose for the first 100 miles, constantly be fueling myself and keep checking the mental dashboard cluster.

The first 60 miles was phenomenal, I just rode my bike and looked around at the scenery. The sun was low and the temperature cool enough that I was in arm warmers. I would hop on the occasional “train” of riders that would pass me until someone took an unreasonably hard pull and then I would just float away and continue on with my own pace. I ended up riding an exceptional section up Texaco hill and met Annie (a fellow Coloradan), a high gear rider who regaled me with stories about the old Flint Hills Death Ride and some singlespeeder who was having a rather difficult time keeping a steady pace and or line. I was all smiles rolling into checkpoint one and was ecstatic to see my Mother cheering and directing me to the camp that she, my Dad and Neta my girlfriend had setup. They helped me refuel and get back onto the road.

I was surprised when I got back on the bike and mile 60-100 was still good. I rolled out of the checkpoint with two gentlemen from Alabama who had just given TransIowa a run for it’s money and had some great stories to share. I saw one of their blog posts already but for the life of me can’t remember their names. I was still feeling good, breathing through my nose and just trying to dispatch the miles with a smile for the time being. I found Chris Burger out on that stretch of road as well. I hadn’t seen Chris since I graduated college and moved away from KS. I think it’s funny that I can be in the middle of a 200 mile death march and end up having a conversation with someone who I haven’t seen for a few years. I much preferred his stories about his kids and what they are doing now to thinking about the gravel under my tires.

I came into checkpoint number two pretty hot. When I realized we were about to hit the pavement I rode away from the group I was with just to get to the shade and a chair. I still felt good but knew that I was starting to crack a bit, I wouldn’t admit it at all though. For all of the, “are you feeling okays?” that I received I just kept saying that I was great. Neta kept telling me to blink, I guess I was pretty wide-eyed and rugged at that point. I don’t feel like I spent too much time at that checkpoint but I probably did, maybe 30 minutes.

Blink damnit! You look like a wombat. 

Leg 3: I knew if I could get through this than I could get through the race, so my immediate focus was the next 65 miles. It was rough. That was by far the hottest and most brutal part of my day. At mile 140 I began to crack hard, I found a tree and laid down under it for… I have no idea how long. I was having a hard time going more than a few miles without taking a break in the shade. I believe I did the math sometime during that stretch and it took me about 2 hours to cover a 12 mile stretch. I finally called Neta and told her that I was cracking but would continue on as long as I could, with an emphasis to be ready for my bail-out call.

It was at that time I encountered Pete. Meeting Pete wasn’t a significant part of my plan at the moment but it’s a significant part of my story. At that moment in time Pete was just someone who was riding around my same pace and at least somebody to ride in the general vicinity of. He told me this was his 7th Dirty Kanza and will be his 5th time finishing. I told him that this was my 4th Dirty Kanza and the longest I had ever made it in the race.

I rolled into the final checkpoint and found my crew. My stomach was wrecked and I couldn’t fathom any more energy food. But I was so filled to the brim with whatever was happening in my head I wasn’t worried about it. I slammed a coke and took a few bites of a sandwich, dropped my Camelbak, filled my bottles and my Dad assisted me out of my chair and back onto my bike.

Leg 4: “This is it”, I thought. “I made it to the final leg without cracking. So what if I needed another human being to help me get on my bike? I have 37 miles to go.” I found Pete again as we rolled out of the final checkpoint and onto the rail trail.

I started cranking out a 20 mph pull on the first flat part of road I had seen all day. I guess I thought I could do that and just end the race that way. I couldn’t and I soon started slowing my pace again. As the sun set over the Flint Hills and the full moon took its place in the sky I was riding the biggest wave of adrenaline I have ever felt. I looked over at Pete and said with a smile on my face, “I don’t know how I am still dong this.” He calmly told me that my adrenaline would wear off and it would hurt again. He was right and I cracked hard around mile 190. We had taken a wrong turn a few miles earlier without realizing it and our sub midnight finish pace was slowly fading away. I began to realize I should have eaten more food and began to dry heave, my abs hurt too bad to actually project anything out of my body… even if my body may have had something left in it. I had lost my ability to stand up on my bike a few miles earlier as my knees politely turned to me and gave me the finger, so I subjected my sit-bones to taking more abuse than they ever asked for.

Then the fun part happened, my light system died. I was about as dejected as it could get. Laying on the side of a road outside of Emporia, trying to vomit, lightless with little to no ability to project forward motion. Pete calmly waited for me a half mile up the road. I rode up to him and he informed me that I would be finishing. He told me to sit directly on his wheel and share his light. And then we just rode, slowly. I was weaving harder on my bike than I used to in college trying to ride home from the bars in Lawrence.

As we rolled through Campus I began to hear the finish line. There were still some people waiting and cheering. My day was over, I had seen the sun rise and set over the Flint Hills on a bicycle, I had ridden my first double century, I had finished the journey that I began as that brash teenager. As I crossed the finish line my parents, Neta, Josh Patterson and John Waller all crowded around me to share in the finish. I turned to Pete to say “Thank you.” My mouth made the word but I was too filled with emotion to get it out. He pointed at me and said, “You did it.”
Pete and his journey saving light setup 

And that was it. I did do it. I never would have done it without all of the Dirty Kanza riders that helped me along the way, or my support crew. This race is special because it is hard, it is draped with some of the most beautiful, rugged and remote scenery in America and it is smack dab in my home state. But the real reason this race is special is the participants, the support crews, the race organizers and volunteers. These aren’t just people who are passionate about bicycles but they are individuals who are more compassionate towards their fellow athletes than anything I could ever fathom.

 Trying to climb off of my very pink bike

So here's to the gravel, the crews and the athletes. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gettin' Deep

Thrice in a week! Don't get too excited, I might just keep updating this thing.

I haven't been on my bike since Monday. I've been on plenty of bikes, just not mine and not for a ride farther than "around the block" to make sure my tune-up shifts as well out of the stand as well as it did in. Rock climbing is an ass kicker and I've been so sore I could not have held my self in my drop bar position to even commute into work the last few days. That's kind of scary when your staring down the 200 mile barrel but whatever, it's all fun.

Anyways this is what I wanted to blog about... be careful in your car. Get off your phone, put your texting away and be mindful. Cyclists are normally amazing drivers in my opinion, we are used to knowing where drivers blind-spots are and better at staying out of them. People still ask me how I inherently know where the cars are and how many are behind me even when I have the old earbuds in while on the bike, skills you grow into I guess.

But as I was driving (gaspppp) into work yesterday on the highway I witnessed an old Honda veer across 4 lanes of traffic and slam into an SUV at around 65 mph. The SUV rolled several times and caught some serious airtime finally landing on it's roof. I was lucky enough to be the first at the scene and managed to get the rear passenger side door ripped off it's hinges and it's driver out with the help of 2 other businessmen.

The driver was a 17 year old kid, it must have been his parents car because it was a nice SUV. I went about the situation all wrong at first. I pulled up in the ol' Crown Vic screeching the tires and went running at the accident and the few people who were stopped parted and must have thought I knew what I was doing. I ripped the kid out of the car without checking for neck injuries and got him clear of the smoking car before I could get centered and go through the steps.

After I got the kid out and centered myself I realized that I needed to get the scene and the kid clear of the car. After I got him sat down and had a bystander call 911, we went through the motions. "What's your name, how old are you, what day is it...?" He seemed fine enough and was wearing his seatbelt so I found his phone on his person and told him to call his parents (with the discretion to not tell them that he flipped the car but was in an accident and needed them there).

At that point in time there were 15 or so people standing around doing nothing so I began delegating to them and left. I know it's shitty to leave as an accident witness but I don't want to talk to cops and I sure as hell don't want to be in an accident report, I've been there and they don't do anything but make a shitty situation more stressful. There were plenty of other drivers and bystanders who knew what transpired and someone else will tell the cops how it happened, that can be their moment in the sun/police report. I was just satisfied that no one died.

I was really shaken up about it all day. The first thing I did was call Neta and tell her how much I love her, I know that's cheesy as hell but it's true. Things like that make you remember the fragility of life on this planet and make you feel lucky that we are here to begin with.

So here's to making sure you tell your loved ones that you appreciate them, because events transpire fast. And it's not always in our control. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend Ramblings

I'm on day two of having three days off in a row, been a while since I even had two in a row so I'm feeling pretty dang good right now.

Neta and I rolled her first 30 mile road bike ride yesterday. She absolutely killed it. We cruised from our house to the downtown REI and back in a little under 3 hours, if you account for all the traffic on the bike trails than that equals out to be a pretty stellar time. She's been going to town with her new to her Lemond CX bike, riding the loop around the lake across the street pretty regularly and I even found her bike in the trainer a few times. There's something special about seeing that girl rolling on a rad CX bike rocking out a BGR kit.

Coffee stop at REI downtown

I got out of bed pretty early today and rolled a gravel/dirt/pavement metric. It was all flat and the majority of the dirt was either sandy single track or wide open horse trails with maybe 7 miles or "real gravel" thrown in. The Schwalbe tires are blowing me away, they roll really fast on the dirt with around 60 psi in them and have some good cush to them too. I'll drop my pressure to 55 for the DK but everything I've ridden them at so far has been impressive, super versatile tire. I've really been enjoying riding south from my house lately, there's not a whole heck of a lot out there and the roads are pretty empty most of the time. There's also a gorgeous extension of the paved city multi use trail that rolls out that way for about 20 miles, not too sure why the city invested any money into building that since I never see anyone out there but I'll take it.

This bridge reminded me of Bundy's Hundy when we were all covered in mud and stamping/scraping our bikes on the first non-clay area we came across

It seems most Denverites all ride into the city or west to the foothills on these crowded paths or busy roads. I can't fault them, once you get to where your going on those road it's normally breathtaking scenery. But I can hop on my bike and never see another rider if I just roll south through the open farmlands. And the consistent view of wildflower fields, ranches and farm machinery shadowed by Pike's Peak in front of me and the foothills behind me makes for some scenery which I've just plain missed the last few years.

On a final note: I'm going climbing tomorrow. I haven't roped up in almost 9 months and am ready to start craggin' again. My job and goals for the year have left me pretty bicycle-centric but it will be a welcome relief to get on some warm granite. A few of my stone bandit friends from KS are out here for the week to celebrate the end of the school year and invited me along. They were actually the big inspiration for me writing today. They're on their way to Ft. Collins to boulder right now but dropped me off a case of BLVD beer on their way. I don't really know why I didn't just follow them up their and camp... probably because I know it will be cold tonight. Anyways, those events made me start thinking about how many friends I really have in the world, or even good acquaintances. I consider myself extremely lucky and I think it's absolutely stellar when you all roll through town and remember that I'm here.

So here's to gravel, girlfriends on CX bikes and my dirty climber friends. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ridgeline Rampage

Well, I kicked off the race season last weekend with the Ridgeline Rampage. My marathon class rode 6 10 miles laps. It was hard.

I went off really, really well. I never once went out of my comfort zone (I don't use the silly hr monitors) and was in a really good flow. Rode the first two laps with one of my teammates and co-workers. We were steadily passing 20-30 people per lap, reeling them in on the flats and then putting minutes into them on the downhills, rode every single up-hill in my granny with the intention of keeping this pace the whole race.

On lap 3 I tried to put a little dig into some other racers as we rolled through the feed zone, what I wasn't accounting for was that the temperature had risen a solid 30 degree since the race started and I was not taking in enough fluids. I exploded in a blaze of fire at the end of the lap, cramps in my stomach and legs and the beginning of a headache. I did set an awesome lap time however.

Lap 4 and 5 I was wasting probably half an hour of each lap standing next to the side of the trail trying to work my cramping out. My overall placing just went straight backwards. I was hurting bad enough that on one short powerful uphill my quads simultaneously locked up and I could not get out of my pedals, slowly finding my way to the dirt on my side from that high up 29" perch. Colorado is funny that way, in KS my body would tell me if I wasn't taking in enough fluids with a little lead time to take them in, simply look at my arms and make sure that my air conditioner was kicking out the sweat. Up here there's no warning, I'm going to start experimenting more with sport legs and perpetuem a little more.

I decided to pull the plug on the race at mile 50, my head was throbbing hard enough and I was starting to get dizzy enough that I knew dehydration might land me with an IV stuck in my arm if I kept going. It looks like I would have rolled in around 6th place if I would have finished the race up and I could care less about that placing. 3 of my teammates, Paul, Barry and Russ, ended up on the podium for their respective age groups while everyone else out on the team rocked it out hard. We had an awesome two tent set-up along pit row and we looked about as pro as could be out there all day long.

I need to get out and roll some gravel miles now. My plan was to get up early and put in a 5-6 hour day solo. But I slept 'til 11:00 and now here I am. I'll probably roll a metric by myself and then wait for Neta to get home and ride a little with her. I don't know about anyone else but I am pretty done training for DK200, it was fun for awhile and I feel like my base is solid but the weather is just too dang hot to be grinding gravel on a cx bike. I'm really looking forward to getting back on the carbon road bike and doing some speed work next month and spending all of my off days back on the mtb or climbing a rock.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kanza on my Mind

Dirty Kanza is all I have been able to think about for almost a month now. The thing is it shouldn't be. I've done this race before... unsuccessfully, albeit I know what's ahead. I've been doting over things that would have never even crossed my mind during attempts 1-3. Maybe that is a good thing, maybe I'm putting too much stock into this. Regardless it's in my head hard and I have enough race experience to know that it needs to get out and I need to settle before I toe the line in 2 months.

I think my biggest concern is my utter lack of gravel miles. I've been putting down big miles just fine but the gravel is lacking. I have maybe been on 5 gravel rides since I left Kansas 2 years ago. I know that it won't be a huge factor come race day, I'm anything but new to gravel and I know what it will do to my body. In all reality I ride enough fire road on the mtb to account for the true midwest gravel I am lacking, but it's still concerning.

I think my second biggest concern is my bike. I still don't have a dk rig built yet. I have the parts but they aren't assembled. Hopefully that will all be remedied this week. I have "officially" decided on tires. I'm going to roll on Michelin Muds. They are skinnier and less resistant than what the majority recommends, but I've done half the race twice on 30c mich tires with minimal flats. My attitude towards this race has always been "run what ya brung and go have fun," I need to keep that attitude but be better prepared in the legs department this time around.

Anywho, I know most people left reading have done this race so I thought some of you might be able to relate. I'm sitting around in compression the rest of the night in preparation to roll long and hard tomorrow. I just need to get this damn cx bike assembled and get off the Tarmac.

Here's to midwest gravel dreams.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Good Coupla' Days

First and foremost: I have no pictures for you, my droid keeps telling me that my SD card can't be read. It will read it when I take the battery off and restart it but only for a few minutes. So the ol' point and shoot looks like it needs to get dusted off.

Speaking of point and shoot, I just got off my Epic and holy balls I am more impressed with that bike every time I ride it. I ended up setting the rear shock against Spec's recommendation and just put body weight in it. Running it in "full soft" mode at all times and the brain works tremendously well without the normal on again off again nature of the brain in it's stock setting. Anywho, I got in a stellar ride at Mt. Falcon Park. I was 5 minutes off my personal best time up the 3 mile climb at the beginning of the ride, and for my first time back to the park since the trails closed I am happy with that. We had to be pushing mid-high 30mph speeds on the rocket ride down as every waterbar air-out ended me up way farther down the trail than I remember last year.

There's a huge rock garden at about the halfway point that has a solid line down the outside and a more technical "airy" line on the inside. I opted for the inside line at way too fast of a speed, made it about halfway through looking like I was riding a bucking bronco on steroids and had one of the most glorious tube blowouts of my life. I've never heard a tube just go that fast on me, it wasn't the normal slow pinch. And I still had way too much speed and half a rock garden left. It was hairy but I made it through somehow, fast tube change and I continued on with my stupidity the rest of the way down.

Anyways, didn't go to MOAB last weekend. Things fell through but the weather looked like crap so maybe it was for the best. Ended up skiing a great blue bird day in Vail and hitting 100,000 vertical feet for the season. Followed it up Sunday with a good hike with Neta and too much Mexican food on a rooftop patio in Morrison.

BTW: got a new Dirty Kanza bike unboxed yesterday. It's gonna be sick, look for an update soon.

Here's to keeping the rubber side down.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Update Time

Okay, I promised at least something. So here it is.

I put my name on the Dirty Kanza start list and come hell or high water I plan on finishing it this year. I've already put in some big days this year and I feel better every ride. I really am looking at 3 races and 3 races only for 2012. DK200, Durango Dirty Century and Laramie Enduro. If I do absolutely nothing else on a bike besides finish those 3 races this year I will be ecstatic. Tall order for sure, but reasonable and I don't plan on fudging it up with little XC stuff in between. Not that I won't enter the shorter races, I just don't care how they turn out.

Second: I bought two new bikes since I updated the blog last. First was a Tarmac SL2 Ultegra build. Yes I am planning on doing some road racing this year. No I do not care how I finish. I honestly bought the bike just because I could and I'm racing road only because I own the bike. There was around a Tarmac's worth of money in my bank account at the same time I was offered the deal on the bike so I went ahead and did it. I don't have many words about the bike for a review. It's my first carbon bike, it's also my first brand new Ultegra build. I have always, always said, "if you can do it on a 16lb carbon bike than I can do it on a 19'b cyclocross bike."

And the fact of the matter is.... I can. But hell it's nice to ride a full carbon race bike. I understand why the road scene spends the money now.

Third: Also bought an Epic 29. Bottom line about that bike is that I love it. One year ago I would probably say that the big red S does nothing for me in their mountain department. But sons of guns that bike rides well. Lelan Dains took me on a 4 hour sufferfest offroad for my 25th birthday and at the end of the ride all I could think is, "damnit I should have been on that bike for the last 3 years." It's that good. I love flipping bikes and trying the latest, greatest and newest. I don't see the Epic leaving my grasp for a long time. It does everything I want better than I expect it to. Weighs exactly the same as my old X-Cal even though they put a rear shock on it and performs like a purebred.

Slater out. Drink a 40 for me. Here's to bikes and things.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Things To Blog About

I've been gone for awhile. I'm back-ish. I don't have a computer so it's hard to blog (my mac blew up in a glorious ball of flame about a month ago).

Anyway, I feel like at times I have may let the blog get a little too personal. That was the main reason "Kansas City" was deleted. It wasn't anything that shouldn't have been read by the people it was meant for, just not something that was meant for the blogosphere and could have been edited better. For the record nothing bad was ever said about anyone, it was just too long of a diatribe that wasn't needed.

The thing is, I want this blog to be personal. The few of you who read this know the day to day grind and I am glad you do, but... for 2012 I want it to be more activity oriented. Races, experiences, days on the mountain, that kind of thing.

So here is my 2012 promise to you who are left reading. It will be filled with hard mtb races, road races that I finished poorly at, cx races that I dominated, 5ks that Neta and I finished together, huge whippers taken off sport cliffs, epic powder days with great friends and general grumblings about how much my legs hurt after a 14er.

So here's to you that still have this on RSS or whatever google uses to update you. I'm here and thanks for reading.