Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Heart Fall

Fall in Arizona is not quite what you northwesterners are used to, but we still have the same things: fall leaves, crisp rides, and cyclocross. The only difference is that we do it in dry, dusty conditions instead of rain ;)

Cyclocross racing is sweet when there's no mud...

Even an off-road triathlon is fun when you go to Phoenix and race in warm sun in October
(even though I can barely swim I got 2nd place overall!)

Finally I got my Pro DH upgrade...Sean will you build me a downhill bike?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cross Crusade #8

Cross Crusade #8 (the championship) proved fairly muddy. And when I say fairly muddy, I mean really ridiculously muddy.Like three-foot high mud puddles (or for all I know, they could have just been gigantic cow patties). And all I had to show for it was a bit of splattered mud. I suppose its the experience of actually getting muddy that counts.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cross Crusade Cyclocross Racing

Well, I tried out Cyclocross for the first time. I went to the third Cross Crusade race at Mt. Rainier High School in Washington.The result was...A BLAST. Cyclocross is crazy fun (not as fun as sitting on your saddle for a 40-mile Sea Otter race, though.) It was dry and fast, which did no represent Northwest Cyclocross racing very well (the dry part at least), but little did I know, I would soon experience the mud. I then went to the Cyclocross Championships at the Washington County Fairgrounds, which was essentially an old rodeo arena complete with barns and cattle guards. I rode through one side of a barn, out the other, and next thing I know I am in three feet of mud. Well, let's just say my body was pretty muddy and cranky by the end of the day (complete with riding thirty minutes back to school from where my ride dropped me off). My Voodoo Wazoo was even less happy. Aside from being smeared and plastered with mud, the drive train sounded like it wanted to start spitting bolts and chain pins out at me. I think its time to hop on a Soulcraft Cyclocross frame (with some new parts, of course)... I am planning to do the next few local Cyclocross races through OBRA, even though the Cross Crusade series is over. I can't wait until next year! I hope I can start getting some pictures of my own, but for now the ones other people people are taking will get the job done (Just joking, they take pretty sweet pictures).

Monday, November 3, 2008

CXSR #2 - Youth Community Park: November 1st, 2008

In true Belgian spirit and weather conditions, the RedNeck and I represented Soulcraft at Bike Monkey's second cyclo-cross race out of the CXSR series that had us smiling the whole time as we suffered like kids out in swampy marshes. Just getting out there was showing commitment enough, but it turned out to be great fun riding through mud at pegged heart rates. It certainly did not start out that way as the only motivator for getting my ass out there to join RedNeck's unquestionable commitment was my wife's accusations of being a total whimp.

I'll let the RedNeck write about how our race unfolded whereas for me, simply trying to stay upright the whole time while all others raced past by me was competition enough.

Encouragement from the spectators including our very own Yuri was well received as we had witnesses to attest to our madness through the mud-slicken and poison-oak riddled trails.

Always humbling to get lapped but this race was all about survival of the machine and the rider. Below is what happens when getting egged on by spectators to, "Get in there, face first"!

Check out Veronika's pics.

The thought of our beloved Director Sportivator siccing the legal team on (us?)me puckers me up&hunkers me down for another lesson in tecnology .The act of finding my way back to the team blog is a minor triumph.Plucking a photo from the ether& planting it here ,routine for many,is...exasperating.Enough of that,sswc08,the tribal thing,different from all other racing,was a blast.Thanks to Curtis,Dr.Sporty,and a host of others,this event went off with a minimum of downers,none of which were part of my experience there.The weather,course,spectrum of racers&spectators(referees!)and a cooling mist of beer everywhere made for an unforgettable day.I didn't even make the activities the night before.There were thousands of photos shot that day,and if you follow this of thing,you've seen them on flickr,mtbr,etc..Dr.Sporty took some team photos that should convey the mood of the day.For now,it's luddite at the key board. 29th overall,1st race on the fresh holy roller,see you in Durango ! I must have gone back to work after that 'cause I don't remember racing again 'till the14th annual DFLCX final in sept..Camron&Kathleen,coronated King-n-Queen,took home the coolest trophys I've ever seen.Next was the Lion of Fairfax,one of the hottest,bonyest CX's I've ever done.Road from home,won the masters class,Holy Rollerd home.Won a nice over sized sweater with the wrong logo.Back to a pattern of contemplating CX,then going back to sleep.Riding for free in the after noon.Biketober Fest,another great ride into town,not enough time to connect with everyone,to drunk /dark to ride home.More good times!Lastly but not least,it was up to Gianni country for the all day every thing.Drew blood that day!Check out the whole thing on RogerBartels1@comcast.Pictures,map,profile,the works.Or wait 'till I figure out how to deliver a photo here.G

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

mw in fruita

Here's Matt Wills on Joe's Ridge last weekend in Fruita, CO on his SS drop bar Holy Roller. More photos can be seen by clicking this here link.

Monday, October 6, 2008

ABC Fall Tour de Trash Rides are set for Oct 18

Hey Soulcrafties,

It's time once again to intentionally get into the roadside ditches, unlike what SteveP usually pulls off during races, but this time to collect trash.

Our "trash-hole" (as Yuri proclaims them to be) is set for October 18. Check out the latest info at the usual ABC Rides blog.

New member of the Soulcraft Family?

It's not every day that former Tour de France champion (?) Floyd Landis comes to town for a charity ride and shows up in your bike shop to borrow your autistic mechanic's Soulcraft while there's a dog fight going on in front of him, and after the ride proclaims the Soulcraft to be "one sweet ride." But, it happened today.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ponca 2008

for the last 4 years a group of lincolnites have ridden from lincoln,ne to ponca,ne. all gravel roads, pretty much striaght north. leave early morn, get there before sunset. stay in a group all day. camp that night and drive back with some friends that drive up the day before with our gear. it's between 155 and 165 miles depending on where you're leaving from in town.

this year it took 16hrs to go north. and this year a few of us agreed to ride home. and that took 14hrs. we cheated a bit with some highway shoulder but 310miles in two days nonetheless.

thanks for cornbread for the pics. i broke my saddle on the way up and had to shim it with a wad of duct tape between the saddle shell and the top of the seatpost. of course, it failed at mile 30. so the rest of the way on a ride-able but painful saddle. i switched it out to a friend's saddle that his wife drove up since she was camping too. the tire lever fix was my first attempt. it didn't work well.

i've got the route on a series of maps i printed from garmin software. it shows all the gravel and paved roads. pretty much a big grid untill you get up north or around the platte river. in 4 years i have the route pretty much in my head, but i like to check it alot so we don't get off track and waste a bunch of daylight.

we'll try to keep this as an yearly event. it sure is a good time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

guitar ted's death ride invitational 2008

guitar ted is the head promoter of the transiowa race. that race is held in early spring and consists of 300+ miles of gravel roads navagated by a series of 'cue sheets'. he is assisted by a serious right hand man and a series of volunteers when the event draws near. he loves gravel and so do i. the TI will be in it's 5th year if it goes off again this spring. mother nature willing. i've attempted but not finished V2 and V4. i completed V3 in 2007, 340 miles in 33 hrs, pink sean crafted single speed flat bar nanoraptors camelback tights and long sleeve LED light.

g-ted puts on a ride as well about this time of year. just a ride. he puts together a route and we all stick together. gravel roads. small towns. rolling hills. peace and quiet. 100 miles or so. two years ago it was 152. depends on the route and the fitness of g-ted. it was fun. photo by guitar ted.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Monday, July 21, 2008

Escaping on a Thursday, chauffeuring my dentist and a doctor, we made our way to Downieville to suck some smoke. Despite the air quality, Friday's pre - race run was flattening. Wrong tire choice.Used tires of mysterious origin.Too thin skinned.Beer resulted in salvation. Next concern was morning deposits. As our campsite was a complete poach we had to scout blue rooms and wait for neighbors to mosey on to other adventures. Thank you fox forks. The Frenchman arrived with buckets of food and promises of buying my old bike. Early Saturday morning, the usual dawn scury/furry/ hurry for breakfast, deposits, bike preping, loading, etc.Off to Sierra City for the start. A mob of faces old and new in a sold out show. Larry Hibberd parted the waters, helping my start go smoothly in an otherwise cluster*uc*. 3000 feet up no conversations. Cresting the hill never felt so good. Rarely have I ever had the opportunity to watch such down hill talent, inspiring me to ride beyond my tires capacity.They lasted two-thirds of the way down the hill before the rear gave it up.In the mean time I caught Mr. Hibberd on the down hill, staying with him over the crest to third divide where he allowed the pass. 5 minutes later I flatted.Many went by (including Mr. Hibberd).Rolling again, regaining the groove, not long before spotting Larry with similar tire issues I went by and flatted again one minute later. To close to the finnish to bother with any repairs period. No supplies left anyway. I rode the flat tire out of the woods to the pavement where it finally became unridable. Fan on sideline with sharp knife sliced off tire and tube and sent me onto Master's Glory. Too bad about the rim. Drank many pain killers.Received fat crome bag of swag.Edibles,Wearables and Inspirationals via SOULCRAFT are huge and appreciated. Thanks for keeping it real. - George
Posted by stinkbomb at 8:01

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Flagstaff Kids Camp

Last weekend I had the opportunity to run a kids MTB camp sponsored by Nova Youth Cycling. I had 7 kids, mostly from Phoenix, who were the top finishers in their age groups in the state series. It was so cool to see kids who are super-competent riders, have good trail manners, and are so eager to learn new skills.

We're lucky to live in places where kids have opportunities to ride bikes at such young ages...can you imagine how fast we all could be if we started at age 8?

The highlight of the whole clinic for me was getting these tiny little 10-year-old twin girls to do a monster log ride. We spotted them the whole time, and they rode the whole thing! That was pretty awesome.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm Baaack!

It's been ten years since I was laid up in a hospital bed…
I’m lucky to be alive, let alone walking, and now riding (“racing” – ha!) bicycles again. Once the doctor rebuilt my busted spine with some custom ti bits I was rolling on the road to recovery and what I hoped would be a return to normal life.

“Normal life” being able to get out of/into bed, walk, go to the bathroom, and eventually, ride a bike without help from anyone else.
It’s been a tough journey, but thanks to my wife, family and friends, I have blown away any limited recovery apprehension my doctor and myself might have had.
Having completed the Skyline single speed ‘ride’ in July proved to me anything is possible as that was the first real (paid entry) event I have done since I was nearly broken in half. I admit I was a little hesitant at the start, but I put all negativity out of my head and went for it. Having my trusty Holy Roller under me helped boost my confidence - just ride as best I could and go.
I now have no doubt that I can do anything thanks to all the support from my family and inspirational friends like you!

Friday, July 11, 2008

2008 Summit Center Classic

Last week was the annual Summit Center Classic stage race here in Flag. Since it was just out my doorstep (I rode to the start line from home), I figured what the hell, I'll go try and race some Cat 4 roadies. Now, this is my first road race...I had no fricken clue what to do. The first stage was a hill climb of 8 miles and 2500 feet, ending around 10,000 feet. That went pretty well since I could just ride it like an mtb race-pin it from the line. I took home the win on that one, and got to wear the sweet purple leaders jersey for the road

race at Lake Mary the next day.

View from the racecourse

Yep, thats a bullseye on my back.

We took off from the start goin about 10 miles an hour, and I guess I didn't realize that was a race tactic...I just thought they were slow. I went away over the first sprint prime hill, and worked with a masters lady for awhile. Then, since I had 'cross gearing on my bike, she blew me away on a downhill and I never got back with her. So I suffered in the wind for about 35 miles, then apparently that bullseye on my jersey worked for some other girls, since I got chased down with 5 to go. We rode together (man, it's easier than being by yourself!) til the final turn onto the 1.5 mile climb to the finish. I attacked around that corner and got a good gap, but with about 30 yards to go I blew up. It was ugly. A girl snaked me right at the line, but fortunately I had enough points to win the omnium! Woohoo!

I'll never again say roadies are soft, it was so bloody hard...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Skyline SSWC warm-up

It’s been a few years since I did an organized & legit mountain bike race of any significance. Looking back on the Skyline event yesterday had me really thinking about the mindset of racing versus riding. The Skyline course was brutal, especially for an obese 40 year old on a one speed. There were sections of ridiculous climbs that no one could climb and those that only the truly strong could handle all over the track. The funny thing is that had I ridden that casually with a bunch of friends, I’d have been grousing and miserable about all the walking. As a race, its part of the game, buck up and deal with it, right? Why does my mind suddenly switch to this weird pain ignorant position once I put a number plate on the bike and pay money to hurt??? Anyway, I guess I need to do more races because that race brain mode feels good and seeing all my friends is even better. Look out, the big man’s thinking about a comeback. Race promoters beware, your support staff will be out on course a little longer than normal!

Oh, and Ario...thanks for the shove. Thankfully the cliff wasn't too big.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

long over due update

I haven't been doing as much racing in the last few months as I would like, but have been consistent with the boulder short track series. I have been placing consistent top ten finishes with a 7th place last week. Super fast racers have been showing up every week, even an appearance from JHK two weeks ago. This summer I have been living the life with no school or a traditional job. Training on the bike and rock climbing are my main activities every day. In my off time I also have been doing bicycle frame graphics check it out My goals are to make it to the rest of the msc races and gear up for single speed worlds, then collegiate mountain season and cross. Hope all is well in sonoma county be back in august for the race.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

He's my Dad....

He's 65, he wears whitey tighties under his chamois, and he adores his handlebar rear-view mirror, but the guy can ride farther than you: he's my dad. It was exactly this guy who invited me to join him in riding the Tour of Colorado this summer,which boasts over 30,000 feet of overall elevation gain in some of the most spectacular country in America. So, I bought the largest rear cluster I could find and slapped it on my pink Soulcraft road bike, lubed the chain and hoped for the best. The Tour of Colorado turned out to provide some of the most epic high altitude road riding I have ever done, and of course, the time with my dad one of the highlights of my life. In the sea of generic, mass-produced, overly gadgetized titanium and carbon fiber bikes, my steel bike was quite the anomaly. In fact, maybe it was the moment when I crested the top of my third 10,000 foot summit of the day and was greeted by a random cyclist with, "I love you woman of steel" that I realized how lucky I am to ride such a unique and beautifully crafted bike in a world where most bikes are stamped out in a factory overseas.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Late Sea Otter Pics

This was a really fun Sea Otter (and my first racing for Soulcraft). The pictures of the Chile Challenge
Mountain State Cup race in New Mexico (which was not quite as fun, due to altitude sickness and other factors)
will be up soon. Also, I took a trip to france to ride bikes with my brother. I'l put up pics from that as well.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My favorite trail

I've been so freaking busy this spring that it was only just last weekend that I made it up to my favorite trail, way up high on the edge of the wilderness boundary. This trail is amazing, tough rocks and roots with big log up-and-overs, snaking through aspens and old-growth pines. It takes you out to this spectacular overlook with views of town, Mount Elden, the Dry Lake Hills, etc. It was almost hard for me to ride my bike cause I was staring at the scenery, I had to stop a few times and just look around...

I've been busy for a bunch of reasons, so I guess I'll start at the beginning. I went over to Gallup, NM in April for a Dawn-to-Dusk 12 hour MTB race, which I raced singlespeed (Thanks to White Industries for the Eccentric wheel!). I wound up winning, but by only 2 minutes or so, since I bonked UNBELIEVABLY hard on the final lap! The trails in Gallup are surprisingly good, since Gallup is such a little town off the freeway, it's not exactly a destination-yet. There's a 25 mile loop that incorporates slickrock, cool hoodoo style rocks to wind around, and fast twisty buff singletrack. Yay! They also had really cool Native American art as prizes, I won an awesome Zuni totem. They did a great job, and if any of you all get out that way you should check it out.

In May, I spearheaded the AZ state championship MTB race. It hasn't been held in Flagstaff in 15+ years, so a group of us decided to try and make it happen. It was a TON of work, but we pulled it off! The expert/pro loop was a 27 mile long loop, with some shorter loops inside it for sports and beginners. I was so happy to be able to design a course that doesn't require lots of small loops, that gets pretty old after awhile. It was ultra-technical in places, so there were lots of spectators out there to watch the Phoenix folks flail on rocks at 8,000 feet ;) I took 3rd in that race and 2nd overall for the series...not bad considering I was out until 7:30 the night before re-marking the course!

The weekend after that was, if anything, even more crazy: I got married. I know, what was I thinking trying to organize a race one weekend and a wedding the next? It was super fun though, despite the fact that it SNOWED! On memorial day weekend! For my wedding! Agghhg. It was outdoors, and we rode a decorated tandem away from the ceremony to the reception.
Not a Soulcraft, sadly, but the Souly was there in spirit as well as in cake form. Our buddy Eric baked us an unbelievably cool bicycle-shaped cake that was colored Soulcraft blue ;) You can see a photo at

So it's been fun...Thanks to Our Grand Director for sending out the awesome care package, it was exactly what I needed! And damn, but do white glasses make me look fast.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Hail" to the Grand Puba

I may not have known Sean that long but I the little that we did ride together, Sean never exposed his desire to race again. Until last week, that is. If you look deep into his eyes during last week's Dirt Crits, you'll notice the that the lion that once possessed this dude to race in his hey-day still lurks in the Soulcraft maker's spirit.
Here's to more appearances from the Grand Puba.
Photos are from Veronika Lenzi. Make sure you check out her web site.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Backroads are cleaner now... or are they?

I have to say that the Spring Tour de Trash rides were a huge success this year and seem to be getting progressively better the more we "cyclists" get out there. What a feeling of accomplishment as cyclists from all over the county pitched in to help with our community services. We were able to get excellent coverage throughout Sonoma and Marin county with the help of neighboring bike teams that continuously support our cause.
The swag from 53x11 Coffee was also well received and finally addressed our constant problem of giving away prizes during the ABC Rides.
One follow up email with the county public works reported that 90% of our waypoints were already sitting in land fills days after our rides were complete. But this year marked the first time that active environmentalist cyclists took it upon themselves to recycle the glass and metal findings along our paths.

Even your Director Sportif, the Grand Pubbha, took time out of his busy schedule to help out, Bob Trailer and all. The help we received was also rewarding as the number of kids that participated in collecting the litter from I-street made all the difference.

This year's ride continued to take us into Marin county again and the trash sites are still existant in the more desirable places to live in the world. What does that say about the people who partake in these criminal activities? Well, that not my cause. I'll leave that part to the politicians. At least the Redneck got the opportunity to clean out the bakery leftovers that fine morning after the sweltering hot Grasshopper the day before.

Having said all this, thanks to all the cyclists out there making a difference for our cherished back roads and giving back to the community that allows us to have the opportunity to ride on beautiful roads. So next time you see a milk truck or hay baler out there make sure you wave goodbye, chances are that they will wave back. You know, the Soulcraft way.

Oh and by the way, I rode up my secret little steep pitch training ride this morning. Guess what I found at the top of the mountain overlooking beautiful Petaluma? Another dump site with nothing less than 20 bicycles and 50 or so rims sitting in the ditch by the road. What are we going to do with these guys?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

08 Howarth Park Dirt Crits

Once again it's time to put it all on the line for local bragging rights. The Wednesday Night Dirt Crits are returning to Howarth Park in Santa Rosa. Check it out y'all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NorCal High School Season, etc.

I have just wrapped up the NorCal High School season, and now I'm ready to relax a bit before
I take off for France on June 11th. The results (as requested by Director Sporty)
are as follows: Race #1 - Fort Ord: 7th place
Race # 2 - Folsom Lake: 4th place
Race #3 - Grant's Ranch: 2nd place
Race #4 - Fort Ord #2: 1st place
Race #5 - Carrera Del Toro: 4th place
Race #6 - Bogg's Mountain State championships: 1st place

Its been a pretty successful season, and I'm hoping to continue racing as much as possible
during the summer. Unfortunately, with Sea Otter being what it was, expectations are a bit high, but I suppose that's
just life. And by the way, give me a call if you're riding in West Marin over the summer months, 'cause I'll be there
(as will George Hope), and both of us will pretty much ride anytime. Home: (415) 669-7652 or cell: (415) 233-3883

Friday, April 25, 2008

My Cohutta 100

This year, for some insane reason, I have convinced myself that I will be an endurance racer. At 6' 185 lbs I am not what you would call of a climbers build. But what the heck, as my daddy told me nothing of worth comes easy. So with that thought I saddled up my texas wagon and made a path for South East TN, and the Cohutta Wilderness.

Fortunately I have some good friends spread across TN, and it was good to reunite with the YahZoo crew. The drive east, from Dallas to Chatanooga was uneventful. Filled with miles and miles of road. A friend from dallas was along for the ride. He would be contesting the 65 mile ride, and to the date had not ridden further than 20 miles offroad. Thus his challenge was substantial.

So I guess I will begin on the morning of the race, and continue through the day.

We woke up at 5:00 am est.... so 4:00 for foster and I UGH! On top of this it began raining about 2:30 a.m., was doing so when we woke. We ate packed and hit the road for the event. We arrive at the Ocoee whitewater center, and I start my pre-race prep. I get my cooler out and give it to Mel Black. Mel fed her husband Will and I at the aid stations. So I guess, like Will, I am DQ'ed. Cooler handed off time to get in character.

I pull my gear out, and begin to get ready. It's then that I notice I do not have any gloves, beyond my winter gloves***farkin A*** oh well looks like they will have to do. I get all my stuff on the bike and in the pockets and tell foster where to put the keys *(in thoughts that he would be back before me). And I head up to the start.

I arrive to a group of riders going thought the rider meeting, and end up jawing a bit with my buddy Sharp from Nashville. It's all good raining a bit, but hey it's a race. I am ready to go and waiting on the word when the guy next to me asks if I am in the 100. Startled I answer... well YES, he then proceeds to tell me that they left 15 mins ago. FUUUUUUDDDDGGGE!!!!

SO in a brief panic I break out of the group, and make my own start. Up the road climb I trudge, on my own in pursuit of my race. Yes this was my own dumbass fault... But, no need to panic I have all day to work this out. I catch a few riders at the top of the road climb right before we enter the single-track. But then the "on your left dance" begins. Into the first single-track section, I realize I am the ass end of a long Conga line, and my goal is to be on the point. I start the process of passing as many as I can, and as politely as possible. 98% of the racers were great and very easy to get around. Normal exchange: "do you mind If I jump by you?" ..... answer " sure no problem" then give me the side their choice. Followed by the appropriate: "hey thanks alot and have a great race." This was to be repeated till the end of the single-track, but with a few exceptions. I catch a new group of racers...about 20 or so, and I am on the tail end. I ask the guy in front of me: "do you mind If I jump by?" he replies smugly: "are you going to pass us all.." and I say: " Well.. that is the goal!"
Anyhow the late start coupled with the passing has me taxed a bit more than I should be cranking. I am into the 2nd coming into the 3rd hour, and spending a bit to much time in the red zon. I know that I should slow down, and ride now for what is coming. But the pressure is on, and being the good Pavlov's dog I am .... A bell was rung so I must CHASE.

The normal problems of SS'ing these events holds true. Climbing in the single-track with geared riders is a problem. Especially when you have not gotten a good start, and are forced to ride with some slower riders. Basically you get backed up in the hills. Not to fret just more passing, and trying to settle into a groove.

I exit the Single-track and set my mind to the task at hand. I know that before me lies the brunt of the race in the form of a long fire road section, that will be full of climbing. Funny but under a task you tend to ignore your surroundings and press on. I hardly noticed the rain, with exceptions of the errant puddle I would hit. I was focused and it was time to go to work. That being said this is where I first encounter the "F*&% THIS S*#% MONSTER."

The "F*&% THIS SH*#% MONSTER" is the ugly thoughts that enter from the back of your mind and push to the front. Compelling you to ask yourself what in the hell are you doing? Why are you doing it.... etc. These thoughts always come for me in the first third of a race. I expected his arrival and planned for his demise. He would talk and I would not listen... He would scream I would not listen. He put barbs in my back ... I push on. I have worked to hard to listen to his hollow chants. I would not want to become him... I push on. An hour of doubt passes and I now Own this demon.. I PUSH ON

The ground out there settles water far better than our beloved TeJaS soil. So it was not so bad, and in some way it set the tone for an epic ride.

I knew from the course profile that I was heading into the bulk of climbing. It would begin around the late 20's and continue on till about mile 55. To think about the duration would only serve to slow me down. Concentrate on what is before you now, and don't worry about what is to come. I kept telling myself I have been prepping for this, and I will be fine. That being said I knew I had been pushing harder than I should, so I backed down a bit. Focusing on what lay ahead.

The climbing on the roads was substantial, and almost humorous. I have climbed like this before and I was mentally prepared for long climbs, with false summits. A lesson to learn is don't place your hopes in the summit till you fell it start to go downhill. So often you will round a corner and think this is it. Only to have your hopes dashed by a switchback up ...allowing you views of riders that are 50-100' above you and up the road. So I settled in my groove and began taking apart the middle of the course.

Climbing is, and always will be, the realm of the "skinny kid." I really do not mind climbing that much at all. In fact there are times I embrace it and actually enjoy it. But I make no pretenses of my abilities. I AM NOT A CLIMBER...Too big to be one, and I only muck up the waters when things go vertical. While this might be the case, I do feel that I am stubborn enough to push where my abilities lack. Thus I pushed.... and kept pushing. The bulk of the climbing on the 100 mile course was as I said btw 20's - 55 mile mark. With several false summits, that afforded you brief downhill respites.

We all know that a SS has three speeds. Standing, sitting, and *(the less popular) walking. I choose the standing and sitting, and occasionally I had to resort to walking. I climbed about 97% and did walk at times. I would make my decision to walk knowing that the effort I would expend would cost me late in the game. Thus I swallowed the pride and walked a bit.

While in the middle of the course I kept trading off places with 4 other riders. They were all on geared bikes and I would cat and mouse them for quite a ways. This continued to the 55 mile mark when the big descent began. But prior to the descent in a brief flat spot on the climbing the guy next me shouted and stopped. Startled, I stopped with him.... and he pointed out the Black Bear down the hill. We both stood there a few min's and watched the little guy bumble around. I looked at the guy and said: " cool bear... but momma must be around.." He agreed we both clipped in and off we went.

I knew when I was getting close to the mid 50's that there was a big downhill coming. The downhill would lead to a flat section with some rolling climbs. Then to a good steep climb, then the last single-track. At any chance I could, I would make up time on the descents. Once the big one came I let it all hang out and hit the jets. I was using up all the road, which was a bit risky when several times I would encounter cars coming up hill at us. The road bed was somewhat gravel making the big corners and bit of a trick at high speed. But that kept me focused and in the game. I had a job to do... I was in the zone for most of the descent till I came around one corner and got into the deep gravel on the outside of the corner. Now here I am in a jam. To my left was a long steep slope that would not do me well ...and falling to save it a this speed was not an option. So I used the body English and rode the razor's edge to a stop. Leaving behind me a long track .... and a good pucker factor. I did not pause long.... I had a job to do.

I hit the flats.... and as suspected the 4 geared horsemen catch up and pass me... FUG! I push on. The flat's pass quickly and I catch my first 65mile rider... surprised I push on, and I think Where's my buddy foster? Not 5 mins after I pass my first I look up the road to see a guy in all black pressing on. As I approach I see my bud, fighting the good fight and winning. I ask him " how you doing?" surprisingly and with a smile "he says great/outstanding or something like that. I then tell him to keep it up that it's all worth it in the end. As I pass him and press on I am inspired. I dig in a bit more and the end is grasp.

To those of you that know me well, you would understand that I am the most barn sour horse you could ride with. When I can feel the end, something kicks in gear and I find that extra bit of punch. This race was no different, with exception of the let down.

I have not talked about my feeds but here his a brief synopsis. I pass through the first aid station, onto the second. There Mel Black gave me two bottles and some food. I pressed on and was going to see her at the other aid stations. But since Will was out killing the course she was forced to keep pace with him. So I just used what they offered, which was ample, and made my own way.

Now the let down. The last aid station was right as you left the fire roads, and entered the final single-track. I pull in fast and make no waste of time there, as I did not in the others. I fill my two bottles and eat part of a pbj. All the while the lady was telling me 12 more miles all Single-track all down hill. Now ...I do not believe in the fairy godmother nor do I trust gnomes. Thus I was not putting stock in what anyone told me about the course. Especially when it was too good to be true. But for fug's sake lady.... make it a little close to the truth. It was not 2 min's from leaving the station did I not find myself on single-track. but it's uphill.

Now most would think the single-track would be the best part, but this late in the game you just want off the course. But being inspired by the promise of the end, I dug in and got into my reserves. I cleaned all the climbs passing riders on the way. I flowed the single-track with an intent focus.... and finally when it dumped me out onto concrete I was ecstatic. Crossing the OCOEE near the power plant ...then hanging that right to the parking lot was such a relief. I hit the parking lot to the shouts of the TN crew, who mostly contested the 65, there drinking beer and I make my way to the line. I cross the line and smile.

In light of the events that place a shadow on the weekend I did have a good time, and I am proud of my effort. Somewhere out on the course I hit 46mph, and I am sure I was grinning. I was happy to see I was only not moving for 7.5 mins of my 9:17 total ride time. I stayed in motion and pressed on. I got to see my friend hit a monumental achievement of finishing the 65 in 11:45. I see his perserverance as an incredible achievement, and it was good to share that with him. And most of all I reminded myself that I am alive and healthy, and for that I am thankful.

Thanks for your time,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring 08 Tour de Trash is set

Looks like we are a go on May 11 for the 6th edition of the ABC Rides. Team Soulcraft will have an open invite to all cyclists to help clean up I-Street as we do twice a year now since 2005.

We are also getting great support from other organizations with similar interests in getting our cherished backroads cleaned up. To name a few,  53x11 Coffee has generously donated water bottles and coffee packs while Sonoma County grant authors are very involved with our progress as part of their "Keep Sonoma Clean" program.

Norcal Velo also continues to support the "Tour de Trash" be covering the northern portion of the county. Claire House from the Norcal Velo Women's Team is doing a litter pickup B-Ride on May 4 from the shop and Jonathan Lee is covering longer distance and larger dumping today by way of GPS donated by REI Santa Rosa.

Hope to see you on one of the rides. Check out Tour de Trash for all the details.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Master and The Grasshopper

That's George Hope on the left and Daniel Boyes. George is the most elder of Team Soulcraft while young Daniel holds down the other end. They both live just south of us in the little coastal hamlet of Inverness. Apparently there's something in the water out there because George and Daniel have been crushing as of late. George won the County Line in Santa Cruz as well as the Solo Vet category at the Boggs 8hr (2nd Solo overall). Daniel has posted 4 top ten placings in the Nor-Cal High School Mountain Bike League and took 1st at the last round at Fort Ord, Monterey. When Daniel returned to Monterey for the Sea Otter, he promptly took the under-18 Expert title. What makes it all that much cooler for us is that these guys are on the team because they're good people and they represent what Soulcraft is all about: Laid back and kick-ass.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fontana, CA NORBA National

It has been since cross season since my last post. Here is the update, I've just started racing again, and it feels great. Not racing for a few months really makes you miss it. Over spring break I traveled out the Fontana California for the first norba national event. Let me tell you rolling into southern california smog after leaving rocky mountain fresh air was a bit disapointing. Regardless of the nasty smog and monotonous stores and homes, the races weekend was pretty good. I saw pretty good because the xc didn't go as planned. I was sitting in on the break away pack at the end of the first lap feeling strong. I decided to attack heading out on the second lap, but to no avail. My chain broke as I passed the second place racer. What a bummer; I fixed the chain and passed about ten guys before it broke again. I took the walk of shame back to the expo area, got a new chain and prepared for the race sunday. Sunday I got my revenge! I felt very confident going into the race. Quickly the break formed with three others and I. I lead out for a few laps then sat in on the wheel of the guy who won the xc race the day before. The last lap I attacked him up the four cross course, establishing a small lead and rode it into the finish to victory. I will continue to train and do races out in colorado, then head back to california for a couple weeks in may to compete in the norba number three. If anyone out there know of some magic chain that cant break pass on the info. Hope everyone on the team is doing well and is racing strong, see you in may.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

So, a few weeks back I headed down to Tucson for some warm weather and 24 hour racing. I have a great team of 4 girls called Menage a Quatre, and we'd won this race last year so we were hoping to defend our title.

We got down there late Thursday night and set up camp, a bunch of tents and an easy-up shelter complete with heaters and lights. And lots of beer. Sweet. Woke up Friday morning to the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen! It's major desert down there (cacti lining the course), so it was pretty amazing. Chollas and prickly pears were totally coated in white, and the mountains behind us in the photo were covered. Fortunately, though, the sun came out the next morning and dried up the course in time for the noon LeMans start. I got to do the run, and it was so cool dashing through the desert with 500 others, with spectators screaming and lining the course. The track is about 17 miles long, mostly singletrack, winding through tight cactus sections, and climbing up to a saddle in the mountains before diving back to 24 hour town. We stayed steady all night long, I got the sunrise lap which was maybe the greatest hour of riding I've ever done in my life. Super fun, riding straight towards the lightening sky, then cresting the top of the climb just as the sun broke above the horizon. My girls and I wound up getting second to the Kenda/Titus pro girls, so we were happy with that. Not bad for a snowy February...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

NorCal High School Series Race Schedule

There are six races in the NorCal series:

1) March 2- Central Coast Invitational (Fort Ord)

2) March 9- Granite Bay (Folsom Lake)

3) March 30- South Bay Invitational (Grant Ranch)

4) April 13- Iron Angels (Angles Camp)

5) May 4- Carrera Del Toro (Toro Park, Salinas)

6) May 18- State Championship (Bogg's Mountain)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This is my winter training

While all of the warm-weather riders are putting in the base miles, I'm shoveling snow. Feet and feet of snow. Work all day, then shovel the driveway. Ride the trainer in the morning, then shovel at work. At least I'm dreaming about my bike while I'm shoveling. Now, normally I wouldn't complain about so much snow-we're in a big drought, and we'll take anything we can get to keep the trails tacky until monsoons hit. BUT there is a big BUT: racing in AZ starts in January...yes, January. The theory is that the earlier racing starts, the more races you can have before the desert gets to be about 150° in April. But damn, racing in January when the only training is digging your commuter bike out of the snow to get to work...thats just mean.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

and some more...

repeat sunday, but add snow. still got 50miles.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

february gravel in SE nebraska

40 or so degs today. made for some good gravel riding. thanks to cornbread for the pic.