Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Redneck Christmas

The families plan to go snow skiing in Colorado during the holidays were postponed due to Carolynn's back injury. She is starting to feel better which is great news. Hopefully she will be back to normal in a month or two. I know from personal experience that back injuries can take a long time to heal, especially in some of the areas of the lower back with limited blood flow.

We then made plans to head south to Arkansas, but Christopher wasn't really motivated and I did not want to go alone so the decision was made to stay home and catch up on some projects, get in some long MTB rides here locally and chill out and enjoy a week with the family without too many worries.

Christopher called this Christmas a Redneck one. I kind of agree with him. Especially with his new toy - Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun. I must admit that the kid is very good with guns, which is kind of scary when you think about it. But seriously, he handles them extremely well and has a tremendous amount of respect for firearms. He certainly knows they aren't toys!

Got in some very solid rides this week and learned some valuable lessons. Most importantly is that what would be warm enough on single track will not provide the same level of warmth when you have 20+ mph winds on a very cold day on the open road. I already knew this but it hit home hard on Christmas day when I went for a 3 hour ride. I had to bail into a QT (thank goodness it was open) to warm up. I think I actually saw Santa Clause in there or at least a fellow who looked liked a very tired Santa. I always enjoying riding on Christmas day because there is hardly any traffic and you really get to enjoy the ride. Well, at least until you start to freeze to death. For a moment there, I feared that I would end up like the little squirrel I saw on the way home.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Great MX Memories.

After a very wet and cold ride this afternoon working on those Festive 500 miles, I spent the better half of the day cleaning the basement. Found some old news paper clippings. Man I have been doing this racing stuff way too long. I remember racing against some top guys including 2 time super cross champion Jeff Stanton. I mention him because he will be in the 2011 Supercross special on Sunday night. I can not wait until round #1 of the Supercross season to start.

Some very fond memories from these pictures. I remember having to step-up my game when I moved to the Pro/Expert class in 85. At times I could run with just about anyone. Funny thing is fitness was my weak point. I tired to put in the time, but there were so many family conflicts back then that really prevented me from reaching my potential. I always tell Christopher that he is very lucky that he has my support in anything he does. I sure wish I had the same growing up. My brothers and I did the best we could in MX and we have several state championships to prove it along with a lifetime of memories. Some great battles with these two riders. Old Glenn was a nut case and kept it pinned the entire way around the track on his Cagiva . Tom Rice was a very talented rider that came from New York and raced in Florida to stay warm I now realize :-)
I am right behind Tommy Watts in this photo. Working it hard trying to stay with Stanton. Man that guy was a work horse and could ride a steady speed all moto long.

I will throw in one bicycle pic just because I won on this day :-)

Hard to tell it's me because I was wearing a mustache - third from the left sucking some wheel back in the day racing the Great Coconut Grove Bicycle Race. I can remember getting in a three person break with two other riders who did not speak English. I think they were pros from Cuba that had defected. They had legs the size of my chest. They would try to kill you to win a messily $150.00 prize for 1st place. I good part is I showed em how it was done on that day taking the win.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Festivus of Nights.

Tonight was the annual Festivus of Nights Gravel Grinder. Rich Anderson hosted our ride on the Little Blue Trace trail which is just about perfect for night rides, especially when you have a group and need to stay together.

We ended up doing all 29 miles of the trails (out-back). The new section that leads to Lee's Summit Road is not completely open yet, but we still some how managed to make it to the end without hurting ourselves.

A very fun night of riding and perfect to burn some of those holiday calories off. Looks like there are several fun rides coming up over the holiday break. I plan to be riding everyday and am looking forward the snow that is in the forecast.

Pictures from tonight's ride

Festivus of Nights Gravel Grinder

Thursday, December 16, 2010

500 Christmas Kilometers

Finding motivation to train this time of year is hard. But I just came across an interesting challenge that just might help.

Ralph Performance Roadwear has come up with the The Festive 500 which takes place during December 23 - 30. Their premise is "rather than let the holidays get the better of you, they want to see riders worldwide taking up the challenge and joining us to ride 500km in a week".

Sounds good to me. Let's just hope the weather around the Midwest cooperates

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CIRREM - Hell Yea!

First objective of the year is CIRREM. I am registered and will begin my GG training this weekend....

This Christmas season, give someone you love (or don't love) the gift that
keeps on giving: 62 miles of unpredictable weather, potentially horrible
road conditions & hill-after-hill-after-hill-

induced suffering. Really,
what's better than the sense of accomplishment that comes after 62 miles of
Madison County gravel, chasing after Jerome (big guys can't climb?) & some
dude from Minnesota for 4+ hours, then sitting down in a
gravel-filth-covered haze to free beer and a sandwich with some fellow
smelly, dirty, exhausted cyclists at a local dive bar? On second thought,
don't answer that...

So give the gift of the memory of one of the *(pick your adjective)* bike
experiences of the year. Your loved one will grow to love you again a few
weeks after the event. Trust me. I'm sure the secret to marital bliss lies
in learning to forgive each other's misguided gifts. And we have the
coolest hats ever, so you'll get one of those, which is nice. Coolest.
Hat. Ever.

Merry Friggin' Christmas!

*CIRREM 2011: Race it. Ride it. Love it.*

Jed & Kent
Des Moines

*CIRREM registration is up!* go here & click *"buy now"*

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Am I Really Good At?

The race/event calendar for 2011 is starting to fill up. One of my "must do" events is the Ouachita Challenge. I have done this event for the past 4 years and even thought I have never had a great race down there something always calls me back to do it again and makes me get up at 1:15 in the morning to register before the event sells out (which it did in record time).

This year Christopher is planning on participating in the Ouachita Challenge with me. He was on the fence for a few days and kept asking if the course was harder than the Dakota 50 which we both raced in during the summer. I could not answer his question because they are both very different events/courses. I think he will enjoy the event and if he puts in some saddle time should be able to finish the OC before the cut-off times.

I am still working on building a program for 2011. Doing some fitness testing and bike fitting right now. The problem for me is I like to do some many things that I end of being a "jack of all trades and master of none" and we all no that in today's world you must specialize to succeed. The problem is what should I specialize in???

Saturday I had to be at work mid-morning so I was not able to partake in the Gardner Gravel Grinder. Bummer because I always enjoy a ride in hard conditions which I hear they encountered on Saturday.

I did have time to race in the Kris Kringle 5K run out at Swope Park. A little 5K race held at the new Southeast Community Center. A very nice center which the city of Kansas City should be proud off. One of the reasons I signed up was to support the center the other was to do some fitness testing with my run - my biggest weakness in the past. I wore my little Garmin 305 and raced barefoot. Well not really barefoot, but I did wear my Vibrams. I feel my time was a little slow running in the uneven fields of Swope Park, but still good enough for 2nd in my age-group. I do not think I will be racing the the Vibrams anytime soon. 3 days later and my calf's are still killing me and I ran slower in them than my normal trail shoes. I actually thought I would be faster but I was wrong.

Pics and Garmin Connect info below:

I guess the real question is what am I really good at anymore? Do I still have the ability to succeed in cycling or triathlons? Should I put myself out to pasture and become an adventure racer. I have never been able to excel in any one sport (well, except Motocross :-)) and that is why I think I do better in triathlons than any other sport I do. I guess my results will let me know for sure or maybe I should just do what I enjoy and do not worry about it results?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tip of the Day - Zone Training

I have decided that I am going to use a more systematic training method for 2011. My training plan for this past year did not work very well. Once of my worst seasons ever, but I will get to that later. Why didn't it work? Basically because I had no plan. I just did what I felt like doing at the time. I had no real measurable goals nor objectives, no schedule, no workouts focusing on my weaknesses and my biggest mistake was always training outside of my "zone". End result was becoming totally over trained and never getting enough rest.

Below is one of the best "Zone" descriptions I have seen in awhile. Training comes up often, especially when riding with someone new. I always talk about training, workloads and training in the zone.

So when you go flying by me this winter you will know that I am in "My Zone" and working on achieving my goals in 2011.

Zone 1: Barely above normal. Light and relaxed
Zone 2: Deep steady relaxed breathing. That’s your aerobic, endurance-training zone. It’s an Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) of 3 to 4.
Zone 3: Slightly labored. This is a steady “tempo” pace, where you’re working just a hair above your endurance comfort zone. It’s where you’d be if you were riding with someone just slightly faster than you. RPE 5 to 6
Zone 4: Short, quick rhythmic breathing. This is your lactate threshold zone. Right where you’re hitting your sustainable upper limits. Also known as race pace It’s an RPE of 6 to 8
Zone 5: Hard, gasping-for-breath breathing. This is your VO2 max training zone, which is a fancy way of saying, the top of your limits, as hard as you can go. It’s an RPE of 9 to 10.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Follow Your Own Path

Today was the annual Possum Trot XIV. What is such a thing? Well it is the big annual orienteering event put on by the Possum Trot Orienteering Club and is held at the Heartland Presbyterian Center out in Parkville, Missouri. It is a mass start event and covers about 15 Kilometers of some rugged terrain.

Part of my off-season training is to better my navigation skills and running skills. I will need both for the planned adventure racing in 2011. It has been nearly two years since my last orienteering event. Over the time period I forgot everything I learned on that day and was basically starting over. The Possum Trot is a mass start which you would think would make it easier. Well for the first three controls it is. Until you lose your pace setter :-)
Today I got to try out my new Rudy Project Rx glasses that Carolynn bought me. I got the new Magster model with transition lenses. With age my eye sight has gotten so bad that I just can not ride off-road anymore and see the trail - this is part of the reason crashed last month. And yes the chops are coming in nicely.

Here is the course we had to do. Let me tell you there are a lot of hills on this thing and a heck of a lot of briars and thorny plants. No I know why most everyone was wearing these funky things on their legs.
Before the start I was looking for anyone who might have earned their Orienteering Merit Badge. I did find this one guy who had a nice Cow Town hat that I need to get. He was having nothing of my offer to buy it. Eventually I did find one and once the gun sounded I was on his heels. In hind sight I should have followed my own path and used today's event to actually learn something. Well, I got all competitive and decide I would just follow this youngster. Like I mentioned above this worked for the first three controls. By the time I left control 24 I lost my young merit badge winner and was lost in the woods. I got my trusty compass out and tried to use it, but gave up once I saw a couple of my fellow participants. It just seemed easier to follow someone who knows where they are going. This only lasted for two more controls until we all got lost. I soon realized that I just needed to settle down and follow my own path.

I found control 30 on my own and felt good about myself. I then used my compass (based on my limited knowledge of said device) and plotted a path to 31. Things appeared to be going well and I gain felt a sense of accomplishment t when I spotted another control. Only problem was it was not the control I was looking for. After wondering around for about 15 minutes I decided to head up to a clearing and find a location on the map (like a pond) that I could reference. Being down in a frozen creek bed was just not working for me. After just about giving up hope and deciding to give up I finally found a reference point. A large cross out in the middle of a field. A quick look on the map sure enough there was cross - I had found the holly grail.

I took my time and 2 hours 15 minutes later I finally reached the finish line. I learned several good lessons today namely that you should always Follow Your Own Path in life and in Orienteering events...

The Possum Trot club put on a very nice event. Great vibe at the event, plenty of hot food and I for one am looking forward to the next event - Shawnee Mission Park 1 Hour Score O. Until then plenty of Gravel Grinding to do and of course some more map reading practice.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gravel Grinder Season

This time of year is one of one of my favorites. Why? There is no more pressure from events (either racing or promoting), the holidays are upon us, easier days at work, we get to spend some more quality time with the family and we get to go do things like ride our bikes on frozen gravel roads. Over the past several years riding gravel roads has become my favorite type of riding.

This years gravel grinder calendar is filling up fast. Check out for complete info on local rides. The first weekly ride starts with Brett's. We have weekly gravel rides out of Stilwell every Wednesday evening. These are night rides and will require a light and rear flashing light. If you would like to add a gravel grinder yourself to our calendar please us know - email Chris.

Here is a little more information and tips for our gravel grinders this year.
  • Ride pace will be announced prior to the ride. The majority of our rides will be a moderate pace to allow proper "winter training" (i.e. Long Slow Distance). We will use a fat, old, out-of-form guy as a pacer (me).
  • A cross bike is the preferred weapon of choice but we get plenty of MTB and road bikes out on our rides.
  • Ride terrain will include: gravel roads, double track, levees, easy single track, hills (big ones) paved trails and tarmac among other things.
  • Ride time will be between 2 to 4 hours depending on conditions and terrain. We are planning some longer ones which will be announced to allow for training for events like Trans Iowa.
  • Rides are self supported and you ride at your own risk.
  • Details on rides will be posted on our Gravel Grinder site.
  • Ride start time is 9:00 a.m (unless posted otherwise for longer or shorter routes).
  • We usually eat lunch after the ride and enjoy some food and adult beverages.
  • We ride in all kinds of weather but when temps get below 0 degrees we usually hit the MTB trails and stay out of the wind instead. I say we, but it is usually just me when temps get that cold :-)
  • Dress in layers and use embrocation for an enjoyable ride in the cold.
  • Keep those feet warm with a pair of winter cycling shoes - trust me they are worth it!
  • Another thing to keep warm is your head hands. You loose a lot of heat out of your head so you can also keep a lot in with a nice skull cap. I sometimes bring a lighter cap (or ear covers) in case I heat up and need remove my thicker cap.
  • Tip of the day: Frozen water bottles a problem? Use insulated water bottles and fill with hot water. My water bottle stays "none frozen" for most of my long winter riders when filled with hot water (or the beverage of your choice). If you use a camelback beware of frozen tubes/bit valves - keep under your clothing close to your body to keep the bit valve from freezing.
  • One last thing, do not over dress. I see this all the time. Riders show up with thick baklava's and winter coats and can hardly pedal or breath. Just wear what I do and you will be fine :-)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bike vs. Motorcycle

Can a bicycle go downhill faster than a motorcycle? After watching the 2006 National Downhill Championships a few years ago I am not surprised by the results of this race.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Road to Recovery.

The 2010 Cyclocross season has ended for me. A little crash at the start of the month caused a premature closure to the season. Most likely for the best because my form this fall has been crap.

It has been 21 days since my little fall out at Landahl and I am still not recovered. Turns out the cut was a lot deeper into the muscle than we first thought and I have a nice bone bruise to go along with it. A follow up visit to the ER to remove the stitches resulted in a dose of antibiotics to help with the little infection and swelling that I had going. Things started to look better a week later so I ventured out for a ride last weekend. While at the visiting the the Wheel Cyclery to order a new MTB rig (11' Anthem X w/Fox Fork and XT) I noticed some bleeding again. When I got home I started to clean up my cut and noticed it felt very swollen and had a lot of fluid build up. I pressed on it and out comes this thick black blood. It did not hurt coming out so I just squeezed it all out of the part of the cut that had not closed up yet. Carolynn was not impressed (actually she got a little sick) but at least my leg felt better. I feel I am on to the road to Recovery.

Fast forward a few more days and I think it is time to get started working on the 2011 season. Things start slowly with tomorrow's Gobbler Ride. We meet at 9:00 a.m. out at Clinton Lake State Park. I talked to Gerard and he does not believe this little dampness we got going today will cause us much problems. With overnight temps at 18 degrees things should freeze up anyway. We should be able to get in a good 2 hour or so before things heat up. Worst case we head over to the River Trails....

This past month has really put life into perspective. Most of the time we take our health for granted, but things can change at anytime. Just a little reminder that we need to live life to the fullest and enjoy every day. The journey to 2011 begins now.....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

De Stad Cross Cup Report and Pictures

Where do I begin? Well lets begin by thanking everyone who made the De Stad Cross Cup possible. The Cow Town Cycling Team, The Wheel Cyclery, Pot Pie, Breakaway Consulting, Santa Fe Trails Bike, Heather Jordan, Roger Harrison, Dan Oldehoeft, Scott Bikes, the University of Saint Mary, our sponsors and all the great volunteers - especially guys like Mark Krause who is always there to lend a helping hand without even being asked. I know I forgot a few and will add once I get my wits about me. It goes without saying that none of this would have been possible without my wonderful wife Carolynn and my son. They both worked hard as usual this weekend and had to do double duty because they had to put up with me.

I would also like to thank all the racer and their families who came out and supported us. It has been a long season so far with dozens of races and I really appreciate your support.

I hope everyone enjoyed the course. Sorry it was a little long. I think the evil Cross Guru got a little carried away when he made everyone come back up and do that devilish climb up from the ball fields.

Well I am off to get some rest and heal up. Hopefully I can get back to racing soon myself and join in all the fun. Today's event got my motivation going big time.

Some photos from the Cross Guru. If anyone wants a higher res pictures just let me know.

De Stad Cross Cup

Some vids from Michael Ruder:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cross Training

First a disclaimer: I am not the best self coached athlete out there. In fact, I may be the worst as I sit here all sore, bruised, cut and tired from a week of my style of cross training.....

After a couple of days off I got back to training with a MTB ride at Landahl. My plan was for an easy ride with my teammates (Tige, Rich, Ashley and Roger). This easy ride turned into a pain train down the single track of Landahl and lead to a trip to the emergency room for me. It turns out I forgot how to ride my mountain bike and ended up crashing on the easy section of the trail. I still think Ashley tagged my rear tire, but he says "I did no such thing..."

After a couple days off my leg starts to feel better so I come up with the bright idea to go ahead and run the 5 mile Wilderness Trail Run. I signed up for it several weeks ago and have always wanted to run it (Cross promotion for the past 10 years has always kept me from it) Carolynn advised me against such a feat as well as all my co-workers. But what could it hurt? If my stitches broke or my leg started to bleed heavily, I would stop. Besides, I have all but given up on this years cross season and basically am now just training for next triathlon season. I need to start my run base which Saturday's run did. I ran the 5+ mile off-road event is a blistering 42.58 which was good enough for 6th in my age-group and 48th overall out of 236. Yea I know I need to focus on my run for next season. Running is my weakness and I hope to improve for next year.

Sunday was Roger's Veterans Cross race on a new venue (private land). Like I mentioned above, my season is all but over and I am basically just using any race events to stay fit and do something over the winter months. Which is what cyclocross was originally designed for - training.

The course was in an open field with part of the course on a hillside that lead down to a pond. It is a perfect location to raise cattle or grow crops. After yesterdays run I should have stayed home and just worked getting ready for next weekends De Stad Cross Cup, but like I said, I am not the best self coach. I basically rode around for 30 minutes and came up with this brilliant idea - full suspension cyclocross bikes. I know what you are thinking, but with the latest crop of cyclocross courses one could really use a FS CX bike. I know I needed one today.

It was nice to ride the bike today and hang out with some friends. Even if it is not at the level I would like, I still have fun riding and racing. I hope to see a lot of my friends next Sunday at the De Stad Cross Cup. It is going to be a great day for cross on the University of Saint Mary campus.

De Stad Cross Cup Course

The course for this years De Stad Cross Cup is just about finalized. I was out yesterday working on the course with Cross Guru and my son, Christopher yesterday. Some cool new features have come into play due to some recent construction on the USM campus. By combining these new features and some classics from years past, I do believe this will be the best course yet and that says alot. The long term forecast does has some cooler cross like weather coming to us and who knows, maybe even a repeat of last years classic.

This years course features: Cobbles, dirt roads, double track, gravel roads, steep run-ups, climbs, flowing corners, grass and a little mud.

2010 De Stad Cross Cup Course:

More information about the De Stad Cross Cup can be found at

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bad Karma?

You ever get that feeling that you should just go home? Well yesterday I had such a feeling. Not because I did not feel like riding, but because it was my lovely wife's birthday and a nice evening out was awaiting the family.

But fall is such a great time to ride mountain bikes and our local trails are in awesome shape. Besides, Carolynn was o.k. with me riding as long as I was home in time to head out to dinner. But was she? After receiving 5 stitches last night in the ER, I am thinking she voodooed me or something. Or maybe it was just bad karma and next time don't plan anything on the wife's birthday.....

Last night was an very restless evening to say the least. Bled all night long and I am not looking forward to removing the dressing and cleaning the injury this evening. The only good thing about last night was I got to pee in a jug while lying in bed (did not want to drip blood all over the carpet...). I just remembered that I forgot to empty that jug......

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary Carolynn. The last 17 years have been wonderful. I am looking forward to many more.....I still remember the first day I saw you and have been in love ever since.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Smithville Cyclocross Challenge Report/Pictures

The Smithville Cyclocross is one of my favorite events. Great venue, awesome course (that has a good mix of everything, including a beach) the food, coffee and homemade baked goods always make for a pretty good time. I was jealous that I wasn't out there racing with all of you. I chose to make it a work day as I heal up - both physically and mentally.

I especially want to thank everyone who helped out. It is always a humbling experience to have good folks go out of their way to help you. You guys make all the hard work worth it! I also want to thank everyone who came out and supported the Smithville Cyclocross Challenge. I know there were other events on this day, which is why I sincerely appreciate the riders, their families and the spectators who chose to support us.

Here are some photos from the day. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Smithville Cyclocross Challenge

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Smithville Cyclocross Challenge

It is time for the ever popular Smithville Cyclocross Challenge. Sunday, October 24th is the date. The beautiful Sailboat Cove in Paradise, Missouri is the location. I do not think you can get much better of a location with the views of Smithville Lake, the sweet cyclocross specific course (designed by Cross Guru himself).

Things get started in the morning with a cross clinic and a race for first times. If you new to the fast pasted action of cyclocross or have been wanting to try it out for yourself this is your chance. A class just for you. There are plenty of prizes, custom awards, free food and a very nice payout in the Men's 1/2/3. Get all the information at Here is the event flyer - Smithville Cyclocross Challenge

Here is the course map:

This course has a little bit of everything. You have your sand beach, your run-up, nice flowing course along the tree line, smooth flowing corners, legal size barriers, a money tree, plenty of pavement, and some very cool switch back features.

Here are some pics from past events: