Sunday, December 26

From A-Cross the Pond

A picture from tomorrows 'Superprestige' in Diegem, Belgium.  Livestream on
coverage starts around 5pm or 5:30 Belgium time = 11 am or so Michigan time.  Will update via twitter when things go live.

Friday, December 24

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. Here's a gift for all you cross fans- Universal Sports (channel 295 on Comcast Oakland) is broadcasting 3 UCI races nxt week, if you missed the live streams. Monday- Igorre, Spain. Wednesday- Plzen, Czech. Friday- Koksijde, Belgium. All start at 4 am and are 1 hour.

Sunday, December 19

Short Recap and Sneak @ 2011

With 2010 being my first real race season in many years I started my training on Thursday, January 14.  My goal was 100 miles a week for 6-8 weeks then start base training mid March.  By the first week of April I was at 89 hours and 1352 miles.  I had a BAD Barry Roubaix because ALL my taining had been Z2 or lower, with no threshold or hard efforts.  The training took shape and the season started going very well.  I had a mishap going into the 6 hours of Stony Creek which caused me to start a hour late and also suffered a rear flat and at Peak 2 Peak my rear derailleur got glogged, causing me to dissmount and clean.  These were my only major race incidents.  Training got derailed a couple of times, but overall went well until September. 

After the Addison Oaks Fall Classic training fell off.  As of September 13, I was at 192 hours / 2924 miles, my current season total is 241 hours / 3563 miles.  This lack of focus and training hurt my Ice Man and later CX races.  I lost my endurance and faded in many late season races.

Next season's training starts now and the plan is changing a bit.  My XC season is focused on the 'classics' (Barry-Roubaix, Ore 2 Shore, Cry Baby, Ice Man) and endurance races (Lumber Jack 100, 6 hrs of Stony, Boyne Marathon), while CX is about 'the series' and 'states'.

2010 Final Numbers- 241 hours / 3563 miles (so far)
XC Expert 30-39 results- 2-1st, 2-2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th (2nd Ice Man / wave 6 start)
CX 'Bs' and Master 35+ - 3-1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th (State Champ 40-44)

Tuesday, December 14

State Champ.....What's Left?

Things where very busy leading up to States and haven't slowed much since.  With the snow and changing weather I've been trying to catch up with the seasons and am almost there.  Enough about personal things, time for cycling and CX States.

As most of us know it was cold and windy, so 'warm-up' was a bit of a challenge for me.  I did manage to get in 2 laps before the whistle blew for line up and I was ready.  As usual I had a poor start, last place going into the first left turn, so I needed to make moves quickly and take some chances.  I worked my way to 3rd or 4th midway through the race and was feeling good / not great, so I decided to try and conserve some energy for the end of the race, so I didn't blow up as bad this time.  I was riding with Goocher, Johnson and Bailey and waiting to see what happened next.  It didn't take long.  David Johnson decided to launch an attack, just out of the woods, to break up our small group.  I went with him and Simon jumped on behind me, we lost Goocher and were heading for 2 to go.

The tempo down the fence line was tough for me and really hurt.  We went over the 'Orange Crush' together but by the time we headed to the Start/ Finish I lost contact with Simon and David and was about 8-10 bike lengths behind.  I dug deep to bridge back but I was starting to make small mistakes and loosing even more time.  Coming to the bell lap I knew anything was possible in CX, so I continued digging for another 1/2 lap.  Soon after the back barrier section I felt the race was over, I wasn't going to catch and had no pressure from behind so I finished in 5th on the day and 2nd in age category 40-44.  David Johnson is from Ohio so I wound up 1st for Michigan Men Masters 40-44.

It has been a great year back (see 2010 races >).  I did some races last season, but planned and trained for this year.  I have more to learn and races to see, so next years plan is already in the works.  So far it looks like I will be focusing on Michigan Classics and Endurance races with a stronger commitment to the Tailwinds CX season.  I will stay with Expert for CX but now will be in the 40-44 group and Masters 35+ for CX.  I'm looking for some changes for sponsorship so we'll see what happens.  Updates will be posted monthly, if not more frequently.  This weekend I plan on sharing my 2010 ride stats and early plan for 2011.

Monday, December 6


Where did I go?  I received my 'trophy and jersey'. I have a valid annual liscense. WTF!

More in a couple days.

Thursday, November 25

Happy Thanksgiving...PLRA

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  Made it out to annual Turkey Day Ride at Pontiac Lake.

Thanks Robert and Team.  Part 2 later tonight.  It's time to head over for Turkey and Football at the In Laws

Sunday, November 21

Bloomer Park CX- Hello Master 35+

Maybe it wasn't that bad, but it felt that way going into the last 2 laps.  I'd like to start by giving out some praise.  Great race to J Osgood!  You attacked and gave it you're all.  States is looking good for you and thanks for listing me.  Nice job Brian W for the win in B's.  You should have clinched the Series, so only States left.  Tough break for Vince, going down twice is rough.  He looked great and I thought he had it.  Joberon, you're funny in the best way and nice win.  I won't bring up all the questionable things I saw today, but most of us know what they were.  As for me, here it is.

It was great racing with these guys today.  I lined up second row, behind Osgood, and was ready.  The whistle blew and I slipped off my pedal on the down stroke and was left to chase hard right off the line.  I made it onto the back by the time we hit the crowd and was making passes.  I caught up to the David Johnson, Osgood, Goocher and Joberon group and was feeling good.  They were chasing the 2 leaders and holding good speed.  The group stayed together almost the whole race, except for me and D Johnson.  On lap 2, just past the first set of barriers, Johnson went down and I came to a dead stop to avoid him.  I lost a few seconds and would never pull them back.  The gap was steady for almost 2 more laps until I popped. 

Going into lap 4 I couldn't match the power on the asphalt and straight sections.  I was fading fast and D Johnson was coming from behind.  I dug deep, but had nothing left, Johnson caught midway through lap 5 and I couldn't hold his wheel.  He was on the DC train and riding away.  With 1 lap left I was riding in no man's land, I was beat up, tired and humbled.  It was a great race and I learned a lot.

I was there for the first 3.8 laps and would have won B's with my finishing time.  I made the right choice moving to Masters and am planning on a top 5 finish at States.  I know that's a lofty goal because of who might show up on race day, but I feel it's possible with a little luck and a clean race.

Thanks to my wife and two sons, who allow me to train, travel and race.  Thanks to everyone who comes out and cheers.  Thanks to those who volunteer and Thanks to Robert for doing this.  I know we have one race left, but I wanted to do this now.  See you guys and gals in two weeks.

Saturday, November 20


Come on MICHIGAN, get out and RACE! Check out these participation numbers. Oregon’s Junior and High School Series Just the Ticket for Cyclocross Growth

Wednesday, November 17

Race Day Decision

We'll I've registered for the Master 35+ today, but I'm still feeling that I have some unfinished business in the B's.  I only have 5 of the allowed 6 races for the series and I'm currently 3rd with 2 races left. 4th place could easily catch me if I don't earn any more points and if I finish 5th or better at Bloomer I think I could clinch 2nd.  Brian has first clinched if I don't race, and do well, at both remaining races.  Most have told me to stay the coarse and finish the season in B's.  A small few have supported my idea of moving to Masters 35+.  So the question is, do I race a double on Sunday or not? The 3 options are as follows-

Option 1- Race B's and sit on for a good finish, trying to conserve energy for the Masters Race.  This will give me 6 races and possibly a top 3 for the series.  I may also have something left for Masters, but won't be 100% and now how I stack up for States.

Option 2- Race B's all out and see what happens.  I won't be competitive in Masters and shouldn't race it.

Option 3- Don't race B's and skip the glory of a possible series podium.  Focus all my energy on the Masters race and get a good idea of where I stand and what needs to be done before States.

As the title says, this will be a race day decision.  I will give a big hint though, as to how I'm leaning.  Unless you've been racing since the late 90's you probably never heard of me.  You don't now my history or were I came from.  You still might not now who I am and you might not care.  Guess what? That's how I like it.  I ride for me!  I race because I like the challenge.  I like to suffer and learn something about myself.  I love what cycling can be and what it has done for me.  I love watching others race and cheering them on, when it seems everyone else has left because their race is over.  I want to do more to help others succeed in ALL areas of cycling.  Sorry for that last part, sometimes I get off topic.  See you Sunday (slight chance of rain, SWEET!)

Sunday, November 14

Stony Creek CX - Change is Coming

A cloudy, windy day at Stony Creek today.  Windchill was about 32 deg, but nothing like the start of Iceman last week.  I lined up in the third row because I decided to stay moving rather than stand and shiver.  That lead to a mid-pack position through the first several turns, then I had to battle my way to the front, patiently making passes and chipping away for half the race.  I finally make contact with Brian and decide to sit on and feel him out.  I stay behind through lap 4 and half of lap 5 when he decides that I've been a passenger for too long.  Just past the beach he pulls offline, sits up and tells me to go through.  I'm not sure if this is a tactical move or he's spent, so I give a small attack to the barriers to test his reaction.  He didn't respond.  I decide to put in a strong tempo to build the gap and halfway through lap 5 I see it worked.  I back it off a bit and check my gap, the next 2 laps, to make sure it's holding.  I cross in 1st place for my 3rd CX win of the season.

By the numbers: Place 1st, Time 45:16, Avg HR 169, Max HR 177, Zone 4 - 6:13 (156-166 bbm), Zone 5 - 38:15 (167-176 bbm), Over 176 bbm - :07.

Next weekend's CX race is at Bloomer Park.  It's only 4 miles from my house and I liked the layout last year.  What does any of this mean?  I'm making a change.  I'm going to race Master 35+ for the last 2 races of the season.  Is this a wise choice?  It depends on what you want.  Do you want a series or State title?  If so, NO!  I haven't clinched the 'B' series and the Masters are faster every weekend.  Do you want to be a stronger, faster rider?  If so, YES!  The best way to get stronger is to race with stronger guys.  When you become the 'big fish in the pond' it's time to find another pond.  I have a short time to make my mark in Masters, with only 2 races left, so I need to focus my training for 3 more weeks and do my best.

Monday, November 8


Friday afternoon I arrive at Williamsburg Rd.  for my preride. A recon of the last 12 miles of this years Iceman.  This was the first year I ever road the trail before race day and I was glad I did.  The trail was snow covered from marker 12 until 8 and some new trail was added.  I made some mental notes and was ready for the race.

Saturday morning was the normal ritual of coffee, oatmeal, OJ and fruit.  Get the gear to the car and head to Kalkaska for my 9:22, Wave 6 start.  I had a solid 30 minute warm-up and checked out the first 2 miles of the start and it was time to line up.  I was on the front row and stripped down with 1 minute to go.  I thought my plan through and was ready!  My plan was to sit on until we got off the pavement then be the first onto the dirt.  It went perfect.  We left the line and within 100 feet, I was tucked in second wheel and saving my energy.  No one was coming up beside me to challenge for the lead, so I continued to wait.  The first surge came after the left hand turn, about half way to the school two track.  I shifted over and followed, still sitting in second and waiting.  Once we hit the grass I moved over and took the lead, lifting the pace to hold off any attacks but nobody was coming. 
    We are now on the dirt and I can hear guys behind me sitting on.  They're close, They're shadows are cast beside me.  I keep the pressure high and charge forward, it's only a matter of time before someone challenges or we start catching riders and slowing down.  About 3-4 miles in we start see riders, the trail is wide open and passing is easy for awhile.  My attention changes from the race behind to the race in front and also how to stop from freezing.  My face and ears are stinging,  my fingers are so numb I can't feel the shifters, break levers or grips. I start to shake my hands when I can and pray things will warm up soon.  It takes about another 2 miles before I start to feel better and now I need to focus on passing people quickly because I can't get stuck at the wrong time or my goals for this year are gone.
    From 4 miles in until 4 miles to go it seems like an endless parade of
riders.  Sometimes I had to wait minutes for a spot to pass, while other times I could get by quickly.  This eventually took it's toll on me.  Within the last 2 miles I was fighting the devil on my shoulder telling me I had nothing left, it's time to sit-up and cruise in.  With 1 K left there is a short, steep climb that took my last bit of snap and power.  Once over the top I was praying for the finish.  It came shortly after and I crossed it in 1:55:34.  My best time and good for 2nd place.  The race was over, but not the Iceman.  The Iceman doesn't end until the Bell's Sunset on the Season Party is over.
This year's party was a blast for me.  I wasn't drinking and volunteered to be the DD, so everything was seen in HD.  Too much to detail, but it was great to see so many friends, pros, Gary Fischer dancing and The Orbitsuns. 

Congratulations -B Matter great race, I loved it.
A Naish, J Colflesh, Ryan K, D Kline and all the other winners and best timers.

Thanks to all who cheered, gave praise and shared what they had.  You keep it fun.

Visit for some great videos and see you there next year. Now it's time to focus on the rest of cyclocross season and the fast approaching holidays.

Wednesday, November 3

The Great White North?

Well the weather for this years 'nice'man is ever changing and with 2 days left it looks like more of a iceman.  Temps in the upper 30's and a chance of snow (30%).  The weather isn't the story though.  The story is how everyone comes together for one day of racing (riding).  Pro's, roadies, mtbers, young and old they all have a reason and a story.  My story, for this year, has not been finalized.  It has a beginning and it goes like this.

 I have a goal for a sub 2 hour finish and over the last 3 years it has eluded me.  A bad crash, flat tire and getting stuck in single track have all cost me.  This year should be, will be the year I break 2 hours.  My goal is a sub 1:50:00 and top 10 finish.  The biggest obstacle this year is starting in wave 6.  I have a 3 minute gap before I catch the next group, but then there's 80+ riders to pass.  All I can do is my best and hope for a little luck.  See you all up there.

Sunday, October 31

Vets Park - Day 2

Today was day 2 (day 1 for me) of Vets Park in Ann Arbor and I had some questions going into the race.  Would missing yesterday have a negative affect on me?  Would I be flat or rested?  Would coming home at 2 am from my neighbor's Halloween party and getting up with the kids at 7 am hurt?  The short answer to all these questions is NO.  I wasn't 100%, but the 85 or so was.

I arrived in plenty of time and was able to have about 20 minutes of warm up.  It mainly consisted of riding the coarse and putting in a few attacks.  To the start line and get positioned in the second row.  Going into the first left hander I'm in 4th or 5th and feeling a bit nervous.  I don't feel great and my thighs feel like their loading up.  I settle in and choose a lighter gear to try and spin them out.  I hold 5th position for half a lab before I make my first pass.  The next pass comes shortly after through the first set of barriers and now I'm sitting 3rd, marking Brian and Mark.  We ride together for half of lap 2 until we reach the short uphill, past the first set of barriers.  On the climb Brian slows and Mark starts pulling away, so I pass Brian and close up to Mark.  Mark leads into the second set of barriers, but has trouble remounting and clipping in.  I hesitate for a second then realize now is the time to attack.  I stand and put in an effort for almost the whole third lap and it paid off.  By the end of lap 3 I have a  15 second lead. 

My plan for laps 4 and 5 was to keep the pressure on and build the gap.  My lap times were 5:58.7 and 5:58.8.  I gained another 17 seconds.

On laps 6 and 7 I could see that I was holding my lead so I was able to back it off a bit.  I crossed the line with my 2nd CX win and 1st of the series.  I was very happy with today's result and thank everyone who cheered me on and congratulated me.

Congratulations to my teammates Keith and Clint for their strong races and too J Osgood for his strong weekend.  I'm looking forward to racing with you soon.

Saturday, October 30

It was over before it started

It was over before it even started today. I blew an oil line on M14 while heading to day 1 of the Ann Arbor Cx races. So while I'm sitting in the auto repair shop instead of racing, I thought I would update the blog. I will be back tomorrow for day 2 and continue the charge towards moving up in the series.

Friday, October 29

Stop Bitching About Races and Coarses

One day the soft folks in Michigan will understand that it can always be 'different'.  You might encounter rain, wind, mud, more than 15-20 guys on the line.  If you're fortunate enough to race in other states be thankful and learn from the experience.  If you're getting lapped, maybe you should stay home next time or fight harder to pass someone.  I don't know what the answer is. Whether you race, ride or both remember that you are in a very small pond.  So enjoy the ride no matter what the conditions.  You can't please all the people all the time.  With that said, here is a video from the Oregon scene. 

Cross Crusade Race #4 PIR from Burk Webb on Vimeo.

Monday, October 25


I'd like to start by saying "Thank You" to The Michigan Scene for listing me.  It's nice to know that people notice.  I love what you do, even if you hurt some feelings along the way.  Actually, I like when you hurt someone's feelings.  There's nothing wrong with being honest or irreverent.  Keep it going and give my best to T and Gary.  Henry, I'll see you this weekend and thanks again.

After this Saturday we'll have reached the midpoint for this years Tailwind Series.  I have some work to put in having missed the Linden CX, but after the win at Mad Anthony this weekend I feel confident.  My lap times were strong and I tried not to soft pedal the last couple laps because I knew the training would help.  I will be at the 'Ice Ice Baby' again this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be dirt roads, the Saturday and Sunday are Vet's Park CX.  My goals for Vet's are no secret- I'm going for back-to-back wins.  Lofty goals given the competition from the young guns (Ryan and Ben) and Brian of Recycled.  There's also the unknowns who show to test there form for the day.  Anyway you need to have goals and things to work for. 

When this weekend is over it's the final week for 'Ice Ice Baby' then on to Traverse City for the 21st running of THE ICEMAN COMETH.  More to come next week on this, but here's a teaser-I might be starting with the 2:05:00-2:10:00 group?  Whenever that is?

Received my rewards today from last weekend- Pretty sweet, chicks in New York are paying top dollar for this.

Saturday, October 23

Mad Anthony CX - Interesting

Racing in Detroit was INTERESTING in so many ways.  First it was the scenery you encounter when exiting the highway.  Burnt houses, graffiti and person on the corner with a sign saying they need money.  Images many think about when you here 'Detroit'. 

Second was the coarse. It was my first race here, so I'm not sure how different it was from last year.  The coarse was a blend of cyclocross and a road crit.  In my opinion it favored a power rider who could take advantage of the long, straight flats.   It also transitioned between several different surfaces, which made for some cautious corners.

Third was the prizes for winning.  You would receive a handmade pottery mug, a pint glass from 'Made in Detroit' and a six pack of beer. (All Lovely Prizes)

On to racing- I lined up on the front row and was ready for the whistle.  Going into the first turn I was 4th-5th wheel and feeling good.  Everyone settled in until the asphalt straight.  Some attacks came and guys moved around, but I held my ground and made it safely onto the grass and over the first climb.  I was able to ride it clean and gained a spot.  I would hold 3rd through lap 1. 

Quickly into lap 2 things changed. Once we past the curb and were back on the grass by the parking area, guys started letting up a bit.  A guy from Racing Greyhounds took over the lead and I was now second.  I sat on down the asphalt stretch and though the grass and fell back a bike or two before the first steep climb on the coarse.  He bobbled on the climb and I made it up clean again.  I decided to attack and get rid of him if I could.  It worked.  I was leading, but someone was still on my wheel.  It was Ben from Maple Leaf Cycling!  He is a strong rider and I wasn't sure if could pop him.  We enter the Fort and I stand and hammer ALL the hills.  I get a gap on the second steep hill and am ahead by 10-15 bikes by the barriers.  I'm over clean and need to hit him now.  Through the start /finish I'm in 1st with 3 to go.

Shortly into lap 3 things change again.  While making the 180 turn behind the Fort I see Ben on the ground.  He went down!  I complete the turn and attack again.  I go as hard as I can for the next quarter lap.  Once I round the field I can see that Ben is gone, he must have had a bad crash or mechanical (I found out later it was a mechanical).  The next guy I see is the Racing Greyhound and he's about 45 sec-1 minute back.  I still feel strong and keep pushing to the start / finish.  Laps 4 and 5 go without incident.  I check my gap on occasion and ride my race.  I finish the race with my first cyclocross win.

Next weekend is the two days at Vets Park in Ann Arbor.  The coarse is a nice blend of power sections, long run ups and off cambers.  I'm feeling good and need to have a strong weekend so I can move up in the points series.

Monday, October 18

Peak 2 Peak - handicap racing

This past weekend I drove up North to Crystal Mountain for my 4th Peak 2 Peak race.  I look forward to this race every year because everything is at one resort and that makes for some stress free racing, if there is such a thing. The weather was excellent with temps in the 60's, but I was disappointed that the Fall colors were past their peak. 

Friday's pre-ride went well, but I was a little tight and a bit concerned about my fitness going into Saturday. 

Saturday morning ran smooth with most of my attention on my buddy J running in the sport race.  He had big expectations and fought hard all race.  It was a blast watching the race unfold and he finished 5th having had his best race of the year.  A quick change and it was time to warm up before my 12:32 start.  I felt 'off'.  The leg speed was good, but I could feel my thighs on the climbs?  I started doubtting my chance of a podium and the nerves began to creep in.  After 20 minutes I relaxed a bit and headed over to the start.  When I got there I saw Adam (the eventual winner) and he let me slide in next to him.  We talked for a couple minutes then it was time to get serious.  We got 30 sec., 15, 10, GO!  The new uphill start was a nice change and it was a dogfight to the left hand turn.  After the turn I was 5th or 6th and thought we would settle in, but on the descent before the cart path guys were attacking up the sides and I couldn't loose position so I needed to get back in place quick.  On the cart path I attacked back up to 4th or 5th and then 'Lady Luck' gave me the finger.  On the grass transition from the cart path to the asphalt road my cassette gathered a whole cluster of debris.  My bike started skipping gears and I couldn't find one to stick.  I tried cleaning it on the fly but it was too thick.  My only option was to get off and clean it.  The whole process took about 20-30 sec., but by the time I remounted and started going the whole 46 man field was already off the road and out of sight.

  The chase is on!  I have very little choice but go balls out and see what happens.  Shortly after getting into the single track I encounter my first riders.  Left! Left! I keep passing and catching and by the end of lap 1 work my way up to 9th and passing some 30 riders.  Lap 2 I'm in the zone, feeling great and by the end have caught 5th place.  When lap 3 starts he is 5-10 seconds ahead and seems reachable.  For the next half lap I try to catch him but I can't.  I slowly loose sight of him and by the time we reach the Betsie River Valley he's gone.  My legs start loading up and aren't turning over as quick.  I begin to fear the worst.  I've hit the wall!  Riders start catching me from behind and passing.  I fight to stay with them for as long as I can.  Telling myself I only have 15 minutes left.  One group rides away and another catches.  The cycle repeats over and over.  Once through the 'Pines' I decide to stay with the next group to the finish.  I succeed only to the base of the first steep climb.  When I stand to push harder my inner thighs seize! I have to get off and walk! I remount and pedal to the top of the final climb.  Just before the final descent I'm caught by Jay and another rider in my group.  We make it together to the final turn and have to sprint it out.  We hold positions and I am finally done.  A tough 8th place finish.

This was one of the toughest races I've done in a long time.  I wanted to quite, cry, laugh and sing all in one race.  That's racing.  Afterward it was a nice hot shower and hanging out with friends.  I look forward to sitting on top of the mountain, listening to live music and looking at the landscape below.

The next couple weeks will be filled with cyclocross until the final CX at Iceman.  See you there.

Sunday, October 3

Munson Park- Night CX

This was my first trip to Munson Park and I'm glad I made the trip.  Earlier in the day I was debating if I should make the drive. I over did training this week and my legs were blown until Friday.  The boys cub scout popcorn sales started and we were in charge, plus soccer, the rainy weather and my new untested wheel upgrades. In the end I decided I needed the distraction.

After a hour drive I'm at the venue and quickly get my number and try to beat the start of the 'C' race so I can figure out the new wheels and tubular tires. I didn't make it, so I waited for the race to end before I could get on coarse and started warming up on the park roads. Half hour later and the coarse is open to pre-ride.  The new carbon wheels and tubular tires felt fast and more forgiving, but the air pressure was off and the carbon breaking was different.  I made some adjustments and then headed to the line.

I lined up second row behind Ben, from Maple Leaf Racing, and waited for the whistle. (Off we go) I have trouble clipping in and get shuffled back to about 12th.  It's time to start chasing and taking some chances. Mistake one happens on the descent down the sled hill. I'm going to fast and lock the breaks into the turn and start a two wheel slide into the tape. No crash, but I loose a few spots.  I attack like crazy on the first long straight and pass several guys.  Mistake two happens half way through lap one, on a 180 turn.  I go in hot and the front wheel slides out.  I don't lose any positions, but 3rd place gets a gap and 1st and 2nd have a healthy lead. GO-GO I scream in my head.  I hit the run up and see 3rd just ahead.  I get to the top and notice he has dropped a chain and is try to remount it.  I get past him and am now in 3rd with my sights on the leaders.  I attack for the next 4 laps with no success of closing in.  I realized I need to conserve 3rd and wait for another day.

My next cross race isn't until Halloween Weekend, so between now and then I will spend more time on the cross bike trying to figure things out.  I know I can win a CX race this year. Just when is unknown.

Monday, September 20

Double Cross Weekend

Two days of racing to kick off the cyclocross season at Waterford Hills Raceway.  For my first full season I am racing in the 'B's' (Cat 2,3,4) and aiming for top 5 or higher finishes.  The competition is broader, because of the open format and guys come from all ages and cycling disciplines. 

Day 1- Saturday morning I awoke to rain and checked the radar to see how long it may last.  It looked like a rainy 11:00 start.  I wasn't fully prepared for the rain, so warm-up was going to be wet. (skip ahead)

I heard the warning whistle and headed over to the start line.  When I arrived there was already about 20+ guys lined up.  I saw a opening in the second row and snuck in.  The 'GO' whistle blew and we are off on 6 laps of slick very wet conditions.  I get a good start and going into the first turn I'm with the leaders.  The remaining of lap 1 we stay together and I come across 5th going into lap 2.

Lap 2 I am feeling good (not great) and feel I can hang with the lead group, but heading over the barriers I catch my front wheel and loose momentum.  I spin around, clear the second barrier, remount, and clip in.  I look up and the group has gaped me off.  It's only about 5-6 seconds so I try and bridge back.  By the time I start lap 3 the gap has opened up to 15 seconds.  Mentally I'm loosing the will to fight, I start looking at the race behind and not getting caught for the next 3 laps.  I stay in the middle and finish 6th of 30 for the day.

Day 2- I have a top 3 goal for the day and hope I don't have any mistakes. The weather is dry and sunny. The coarse is in great shape and I get in a good warm up. I hear the warning whistle, so I head to the car to loose the vest and warmers and arrive at the start line.  It's even worse than yesterday. I'm in the third row behind 35 other guys.  I line up on the far right side and know I have to fight for the first lap or 2. The 'GO' whistle sounds and I need to wait about ten yards before we clear the start banner before I can swing right and move down the line.  Once we do I keep the power on quickly pass half the field.  We hit the grass and I know I still need to quickly move up.  I get by a couple more guys, but then we hit a tight 'S' section and things jam up to a stand still.  I stay calm and wait for the coarse to open up again.  I pass a couple more guys and set my sights on groups ahead.  At the end of lap 1 I'm 13th-15th and 15 seconds off the leaders.

Laps 2-5 are spent chasing and never looking behind.  I didn't want to settle for where I was.  I wanted to put it all on the table and see what happens.  I stood and attacked out of corners and on hills.  Going down the Start / Finish straight I tucked low and bury myself.  It was working! I could see the lead group of 3 coming back.  They where playing tactics and by the middle of lap 5 I was back on the train. 

Lap 6 & 7- On lap 6 I just sat on to recover and watch the other riders.  I was seeing who looked strong when and where.  I liked my chances and was planning my attack for the final lap.  I moved up to second wheel for the beginning of the bell lap and decided to attack early. When the coarse turned uphill I went. It would be 5 minutes all out!  Could I make it stick?  I got the jump and was now leading.  Even though there where u-turn sections I wasn't sure what the gap was or how many where behind.  I had tunnel vision and only new someone was there because of noise and cheering.  Coming into the last barriers Ryan made the pass.  He got about a bike length on me and put the hammer down.  I didn't loose ground, but wasn't gaining. Through the last set of curves before we hit the asphalt straight.  Ryan stands and launches his sprint and I follow.  After 10-15 revolutions I knew I was beat. He held his lead to win by less than 2 seconds.  Congratulations Ryan, what a great race.

I learned a lot this weekend about cyclocross and myself.  I am happy overall with the results and am going to plan and train smarter. 

Sunday, September 12

Addison Fall Classic

Even though it's not officially Fall, the weather these last couple of days has sure felt like it.  Cloudy, Highs in the mid 60's and breezy. September is here and some of my favorite races too.  Today was Addison Oaks.  The coarse was super fast and in great shape.  The weather was perfect and I was ready.  I won't go into great detail about the days events, but the race went well.  I finished in 1st place for the men's expert 30-39 and 2nd overall expert on the day.

Post race is were I had some fun.  I talked with a lot of people, enjoyed some pulled pork sandwiches and road around the various parts of the coarse for the sport race.  I had a few friends racing and wanted to cheer them on.  It was a blast.  Congratulations to Jamie and Carey for there podium spots.

Next stop is the Double Cross this weekend at Waterford.  I haven't been on the cross bike this year, so starting Wednesday that's what I'll be doing.  I hope I can keep the strong results, but cyclocross is a different kind of racing.

Wednesday, September 8

Wednesday Night Short Track

This evening I made my way to Lake Orion High School for the Short Track Race and some cyclocross training. I didn't know what to expect from the coarse or my body.  I put in a good amount of riding over the Labor Day weekend and was still recovering.  The 'A' race was 14 deep w/ some notable CX Elite and Masters guys, so I knew it would be a tough 35 minutes.  The coarse was a nice blend of leg zapping grass, off cambers and short attacking hills.

The race starts and quickly I realize that today is not the day to dance with these guys.  I settle in and try to hold on.  I get gaped off and spend the remaining 30+ minutes chasing.  Laps 2 and 3 are spent battling with myself. Lap 4 I see John Osgood 75-100 yards ahead when I come out of the woods and decide I need to try and real him in.  I dig and dig but I don't think I'm gaining.  Through the woods I can't see or hear him.  I hit the final climb and attack the whole way up.  I come out with John just making the turn around the football field.  I hit the grass and attack again.  I gain some ground, but once he hits the down hill I am too far to close.  He takes me.  I think I wound up mid-pack in 6th.  No regrets and I walked away learning something new. 

The next LOHS Short Track is in 2 weeks.  I'll be more prepared then and hope for a better finish.  Congratulations to Jeff Weinert and Clint Verran for a good battle. Dan from RBS, Don Cameron and John Osgood it was fun.

Sunday, August 29

Stony Creek XC

The final race of the USAC series was held this weekend at Stony Creek.  I arrived at 9 am for the 10 am start, a new best for me, and was able to take my time getting ready.  I finally saddled up at 9:30 for a 20 minute warm-up. A short restroom stop and time to stage.  I must have shown up late because I had to line up in the second row.

Robert blew the whistle and off we go.  Up the first climb I was about 5th.  Entering the 'roller coaster' It was obvious Simmon was slow in the single track and holding up the group.  I called for him to take a high line and Tom and I made the pass.  We held places through the two track and paced behind someone until the 'pines'.  Tom shot around and I followed.  Out of the 'pines' I made my move.  I pulled around Tom midway to the left hand turn.  After the turn I stood and attacked all the way up the next two climbs.  I put a gap in and focused on catching Jimmie.  It took a bit, but I spotted him towards the end of the lap.  We turned right off the two track and headed for the 'sled hill'.  WTF! Jimmie went through the pink flags. Me and some spectators starting yelling that he cut the coarse.  Lap one is complete.

Lap 2- The legs and body were feeling good.  I settled in and continued pushing on.  Entering the 'roller coaster' I notice Jimmie up ahead.  He didn't turn around and cut the coarse.  I caught up and told him the next lap 'go up the hill'.  I sat on and let Jimmie pull me until we reached the 'pines'  I pulled around and entered the single track first.  I tried to gab him and pull away.  It seemed to work, but I dropped my chain on the 'hill' and had to run up.  I lost some momentum and Jimmie pulled me back.  We finished lap 2 together.

Lap 3- Going up the first climb I talked to Jimmie and asked if he was in 1st.  He said  'yes'.  I told him we can work together and finish strong.  Going into the 'roller coaster' we ran wheel to wheel.  I was getting some arm pump and started making some mistakes.  I clipped a tree and Jimmie gapped me.  I had to chase for the remaining of the lap.  Through the start / finish we were still together. 

Lap 4- Going up the first climb I took the left line and passed Jimmie to lead into the single track.  I kept tempo and my HR around 160.  Jimmie was falling back.  I couldn't sit up.  I kept a steady pace and completed the lap. 1st place with a time of about 2:13:xx

The race felt good, but there are somethings I need to work on.  Congratulations to Mark for his win in the Sport Clydesdale and Keith for his 2nd place for the race and series.  Next race is Addison Oaks Fall Classic.

Monday, August 9

Pontiac Lake XC

Going into the race I had a handful of rides in the past two weeks.  The longest being 2:45:00, a couple 2 hr, and a couple 1:30:00.  The form seemed to be holding so I was hopeful of a strong ride. 

I made my way to the front line and waited for the whistle.

The race is on.  Whoops, I can't get clipped in and get shuffled back to about 6th or 7th.  I want to make a pass before we cross the two track, but no luck.  The trail opens up before the before the first real climb, so I make a pass.  The trail now clear ahead so I settle into a rythm.  Soon I see Brad on the side of the trail and it seems he has blown a tire.  (Rough break)  Things go well for me the remaining lap.

Lap 2 continues running smooth until just past the air field.  I was alone for sometime and began talking to myself.  I was caught by Paul and Don, leaders of the 40-49, and dug-in to hold their wheels.  It lasted about 5 minutes.  I rode the remaining race alone.

The full rigid setup took it's toll.  My upper body was tired and I wasn't having any fun the last lap.  I just wanted it over. 

Congratulations to Jamie and Adam for the top two steps.

The final numbers are. 2:09:18 for 3 laps. Avg. Hr. 161 / Max 178.  Z3-00:05:16 Z4-01:34:50 Z5-00:29:07

Saturday, July 31

The Calm Before the Storm

It's Saturday morning and I'm enjoying my coffee on the back patio while thinking about what's to come.  July is over meaning September is quickly approaching.  That means CX and XC racing, kids in school, soccer schedule, Cub Scouts and whatever else comes.

So for now I'll be taking it easy for another week and preparing for the Pontiac Lake XC.

Sunday, July 4

Stony Marathon USAC

The race went better than I expected, even though my goals were for a sub 4 hour finish and podium spot. I met both goals by finishing in 3:50:00 and placing 2nd. Congratulations to Adam Naish for a convincing win. I still have much to learn.

Now that endurance races are behind me the focus shifts to shorter distances with higher intensity. Cx and cyclocross races still to come.

See you all at Pontiac Lake.

Tuesday, May 18

6 Hours of Stony Creek

This would be my first 'endurance' race ever and a good training ride for the Lumber Jack 100.  I thought that 6-7 laps would be a good goal for the day and I was mentally ready.  The day didn't go as planned.

I was planning on being off work at noon heading home for a big lunch then load the car and off to the race for the 2 pm start.  At 1:30 I was finally leaving the job site.  On the way home I called my wife and had her make me 2 sandwiches so I could eat on the way to the race.  I arrive at the parking lot around 2:15, grab my registration, get dressed and drop of my cooler in the pits.  I officially start at 2:40, almost a lap down, and try to calm down so I don't go out to hard.  Lap1 came and went in 46 minutes and upon completing it I see my buddies Jamie and Jeff, so I pull off to chat and see if they want to join me for lap 2.

Lap 2 has me following Jeff 'Lil Pony' and Jamie up the first climb and into the single track.  All seems well until just before the 'pines' when I feel my rear wheel is soft.  I bounce on it a couple of times and it's holding air, so far so good.  Now in the 'snake' the rear wheel is starting to roll in the corners.  It's going down slowly!  I make it through the shoot for lap 2 and head to the car to pump up the tire.  20 psi later I'm heading out for lap 3.

Lap 3 doesn't have any fireworks and things go mainly smooth.  The only notible was the slow leaking tire.  After lap 3 it's back to the car for more air.  20 more psi then over to the pits for a banana, accelerade and water.

Lap 4 is when I am put to the test.  First I experience leg cramps, in my inner thighs, that lock up my legs.  I slowly pedal through it and continue on,  but then the slow leaking tire becomes worse.  By the time I am 300 yards into the 'pine' I realize that the tube needs to be changed.  15 minutes later I'm back on and headed for the finish of lap 4.  I pull of and see Jamie for a quick 1/2 coke and back out for my final lap 5.

Lap 5 has me cramping again in the same spot in my legs and the same spot on the trail.  Again I pedal through it and continue on.  I am still passing people and heading to the finish.  I cross at 7:48 pm, I'm done.  7th of 15 for the 6 hour 30-39.

The day was bitter sweet for me.  I think I could have had a third place if I started on time.  I'm not sure about the top 2 steps, but I would have liked the chance.  I'm glad I showed up and completed what I did.  I will do another 6 hour and next time I won't be late.

Monday, April 26

Redemption.....PLRA TT Report

Going into the weekend I was feeling unsure about my goals for this race.  I was aiming for a 1:25:00 - 1:30:00 finishing time, but the weeks events didn't go smooth.  I was off the bike since Tuesday and Saturday's R&R was anything but.  I finally settled down at 11 pm and watched the news before going to sleep. 

Sunday morning went smooth and I was off to the race.  Arrived about 1 hour before my start and went through the pre-race rituals.  I brought the trainer so I didn't have to ride the wet roads, but when I set the bike up it was a no go.  The 29" was hitting the ground with the fat tires on.  Hit the road for warm up and arrived at the start house with 2 minutes to spare. 

Lap 1-  Go!  I start pedaling and never looked back (literally).  The guy I lined up with was behind me in the first 20' and the rest of the ride I was looking forward.  Even on the switchbacks and other sections I didn't look back.  I had a plan and thats what mattered.  The plan was quite simple- Go all out for the first 5 minutes, settle into the 160's and attack the climbs.  If you dip below 160 push harder.  Leg speed and power seemed very comfortable.  My breathing was good and I was catching riders.  The trail was in great shape, considering the rain, and I was focused.  Lap one is done and my computer says 42:00 flat!  F'Ya I'm on pace to beat my goal.

Lap 2-  Still feeling comfortable for the first couple miles, but then the ride seemed harder and less fluid.  After the 'big' climb I was all over the place and seemingly hitting every rock and root.  The full rigid was taking it's toll.  Just before the airstrip a rider I passed earlier caught and passed.  I wasn't letting him ride away.  I kept talking to myself and yelling in my head, but by the time we hit the climb out of the valley he was gone.  I told myself there were only 4/3/2, then 1 climb left.  I hit the fire road and buried myself.  I crossed the line in 1:24:17.  Good for top step on the podium.  I'm happy, but now the target is on my back?  Or maybe not, I'm still the not very well known, and that's how I like it.

Monday, April 5

Drinking The Kool Aide

Well it's been 10 days since I received the new ride.  My first 29" a Niner E.M.D. w/ carbon fork.  This bike is sweet!  It has just over 233 miles, but that number will be jumping fast.  I have a 35+ miler for tomorrow with the Paint Creek Group then my first hundo of the season on Saturday for the 4 County Gravel Grinder (see previuos blog for link).  Still need some parts to complete the build, but it will do for now.

Tuesday, March 30


The first 'race' of my season is in the books and like the title says I'm disappointed. The event was Barry-Roubaix and my prerace goal was 2 hrs or less. My official finishing time was 2:08:17 for 35 miles. This placed me 182 of 440 finishers overall and 35 of 51 in my category. I just wasn't ready for this race. I have the miles in my legs, but the weeks preperations were less than ideal. Enough crying, I learned my lesson.

Next up is the 4 county gravel grinder on April 10th.  It's 100 mile group ride in SE Michigan. It will be my first century of the year and a good early test for the upcoming ultra endurance events.  For Easter weekend though I will be doing a 60 mile dirt road ride and visiting PLRA for the first time this season.

Sunday, March 21

Let the games begin!

The first full week of Spring and the first race of my season, Barry-Roubaix. I'm doing the 35 mile race in the expert class. My goal is to ride in a certain HR range. This is nothing more than a practice race. I'm not copping out, there are just other races that will be more important to me. I'll get the chance to ride in a new event and hopefully ride my NEW NINER!

I might be one of the last guys out here riding a 26". I know on local rides that's true. Fingers crossed the Niner will be done by Wednesday. It's being built a fully rigid 2x10, w/32c Kenda small blocks for the race. By the time Pontiac Lake TT arrives I hope to have a Fox 100 RLC on the front. With the new bike comes a new team.

I never represented a team or local shop before. In my prime I road for national sponsors and was responsible for me and them (the company) not individuals. I'm excited! I've only met some of the Team, but it looks like they are a good match for me and what I want from cycling.

Well it's another busy week. Something planned every night through Sunday. I'll post pictures from the race/travels. See some of you there and Good Luck.

Sunday, March 14

New Beginnings....New Goals

Spring is a week away and with this new season comes the start of racing, landscaping and goals. I have a new team and a new bike for 2010. (Details to come). New races for me and new goals. It's time to look forward and take what I have from the past and use it to grow and improve myself. As much as a result compares you to others it also shows you how you have progressed (or not). I have a good feeling about where I'm at and where I'm going. Things won't improve over night, but they will be better and when the season(s) is over I know I will be proud of what I have accomplished.

Everything requires a plan and the ability to adapt, persevere and overcome. Only time will tell how all these play out. Two more weeks until Barry-Roubaix and the first measure of where I'm at.

Sunday, March 7

Sunny Days (literally)

First week of March has past and there was sun for multiple days. Temps flirted with 50 deg and the riding miles came easy. 145 miles on the week and 830 for 2010. This week looks 'warm' with a chance of rain towards weeks end. Going for 170+ so I can surpass the 1K mark. Why? Why not! Right now I have fallen back in love with riding. 2-3 hour rides seem the same as 1 hour. Soon racing will start and the real 'training' efforts will take over. I hope it doesn't spoil the fun because this has been a great start. It won't. I won't let it.

Everyday I clip-in and roll down the drive a sense of calm and peace come over me. I'm free. Free to think. Free from my phone. Free from everything else. This freedom makes me a better person. It balances me and reminds me that life is about experiences. I choose to experience things through riding. Find your passion and desire and let it free you. You have the power of choice, whether you believe it or not, so choose.

Saturday, February 20

A Tale of Two (three) Seasons

I've been riding since January 15. Mileage 651.6 / Hours 42:53:00 / Steps 3990. Steady as she goes. The weather has been good, but it seems lately that as soon as conditions improve another snow storm comes and messes things up for a couple days. Oh well, could be worse.

The season ahead will be broken down into 2/3 mini seasons. Endurance races, xc then cyclocross. The progression should work out well. Long Zone 2 miles, then a combination of endurance and intervals, concluding with all out anaerobic riding.

The endurance races are new for me so the main objective is to finish and keep lap times consistent. I have loftier goals for xc and cyclocross that include hardware. We'll have to wait and see. More details to come as 'races' get closers.

The sun is shining again this morning, but not for long, so it's time to get moving and enjoy another ride.

Sunday, January 31

Another Week of Riding

Made my scheduled hours and miles for another week. It was a bit colder with windchills and temps in the teens almost everyday, so getting dressed took a little longer. The body continues to feel better and I am still taking it slow, so I don't get any injuries.

Tomorrow is February 1st. Last year this was the day I started riding. Back then I weighed in at 189 lbs. and it took me until the first week of March to reach 320 miles. Today I am 10 lbs less and have already reached 325 miles in the first 3 weeks of training.

Another month is here. I hope the temps warm up a little. It makes riding more enjoyable, but if they don't I will continue the journey and just enjoy the ride.

Sunday, January 24

Good Bye January Thaw

The 'warm' weather is going to leave for a while. It was nice while it lasted. Exceeded the scheduled training hours for this week and the legs are slowly coming back. I had some nice rides and was excited to ride some dry dirt roads. Finished the week with 8.5 hours and 118 miles.

This week the temps are going back into the low-mid 20's and we have some snow in the forecast. Adding another day of core and starting 'strength' training. I say this loosely because it is a mix of plyo, light weights and yoga. Still aiming for 7 hrs on the bike w/ 100+ miles. Until next week.

Sunday, January 17

First Week Back

The first week for 2010 training has come to an end. All did not go according to plan, but the week ended with some good rides. I took a little too much time off the bike after the cyclcross season, so the miles will be slow and tough at times. It feels good to get back in the saddle(no pun intended) and begin another journey of discovery and education.

I will being riding in some new events this year and seeing some trails and towns that I have not been to before. I have already found some new routes that I will be using. I have ridden past these roads for years and never bothered to see where they went. Now I know and it was worth the look. I know there are still many roads not traveled and I am excited to see were they lead.

Tomorrow starts another week and the weather looks good. I am planning a new ride for the weekend so I hope the dirt roads lose the mud. This week it got dirty.

Sunday, January 3


It was a challenging 2009 return to racing. The early riding went well, but when May arrived the riding slowed. My landscape work kicked in full steam and things remained busy until the end of June. I did most of the races I had planned and finished mid-pack. I would rate the season a B-. I am eager to make a stronger effort for 2010 and I have a feeling this is going to be a great year. Not only for my riding, but also for my family and business.

The new year and season(s) are starting to come together. The schedule is 80% done. The training schedule 70% done. I should have most of it finalized by this weekend. I do know that I start training next Monday. I will post a more detailed report this weekend. There are still some unanswered questions. Should I ride for a shop? Will the snow finally show up and make training tough because I plow? Will my nagging plantar fasciitis slow me down? Somethings will be answered sooner than others.