Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I now have Training Peaks software somewhat set up.  My coach has started entering my workouts into the program and I then upload my workout when I am done.  My first four weeks are really just to get my body used to the routine and learn some of the techniques, weights, and such I will be doing over the next year or so.  My first four weeks I am scheduled for about 7 hours of training per week.  This doesnt sound like much, but in the winter with a couple of days off in between, I am already finding it a little bit of a struggle.  This is mainly because I cannot go outside and ride for three hours, I have to do it on my "drainer" (to quote Tracy) or trainer.....more specifically my computrainer.

I am finding two things happen on every trainer ride:

1.  I go numb.  For those non-bikers I will stop there.  For you bikers, yes, this is something I need to get fixed.  I have been "fit" on my road bike and changed the saddle several times to no avail.  But I will succeed.

2.  At about 55 minutes my brain starts telling me to get off of the trainer.  My body is not tired but my mind is BORED!  And no it doesnt matter what is on t.v.....Maybe I should just watch Race Across The Sky everytime!  OK, if you've never seen a mountain biking clip or wonder what I am talking about in this blog, please click on Race Across The Sky link in the previous sentence and watch the trailer for that movie.  I had goose bumps the whole clip!  I think I held my breath through the whole trailer the first time I watched it.  (maybe that will help me the race at that altitude)

On a side note, my bike should be done (redone) at the powder coat shop tomorrow or thursday.  I already have the sticker man (Mike) and the bike shop on notice, so the bike will be back together swiftly upon completion,,,,, I cannot wait!  All the new componentry will be installed at that time.

Go Big or Stay Home

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Coach? No Coach?

I can do anything myself! Right?
I am a confident guy!  No coach needed!  Right?

Well, Tiger Woods has a coach.....
Lebron has a coach.....
Lance Armstrong has a coach....

Could a coach know something about endurance bike races that I dont?  Lets see, how many true endurance events have I raced?
Firecracker 50 on July 4, 2009, oh crap, that was a DNF cause of the time cutoff.  and I went with the wrong equipment and slightly overweight for the competition.
12 Hours of the Canal Loop 2009, I rode 66 miles but Bonked on the next to last 11 mile loop and just pushed my body through the last 13 or so miles.  So, fitness and nutrition were out of wack as I should have road longer and Bonking (hitting the wall) is something you do not want to have happen on race day.
Lets just stop there.  I guess maybe someone to outline a way to build my endurance and help with nutrition and make me accountable might not be such a bad thing.  After all, Lance has a coach.

So, I googled it.  The one thing that seems to overlap in all endurance sports is Training Peaks software.  Everyone seems to be tied into this, especially those crazy triatheletes.  Speaking of those guys, my friend Tracy who just finished IRONMAN AZ, used Training Peaks as well which I did not know until I asked him if he had heard of it.  After hacking around their website, I searched for Training Peaks affiliated coaches and Mr. Andy Gibbs (AG Coaching) of your hometown (if you live in Edwardsville) bike shop the Cylery is a Training Peaks coach.  After a thorough investingation and interview, POW he's hired....

I had a meeting with him this past Friday and he explained the software to me and went over the baseline testing I will do (lactate threshold and stuff).  More to come on this stuff when I understand it more...oh wait, I know all this stuff, I dont need a coach.....Right....

Go Big or Stay Home

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Strength Training

As you can imagine, endurance mountain bike racing is not just about being fit on your bike.  There is a tremendous amount of endurance needed for all of the muscles in your body not just your legs (Especially the triceps).  My triceps are what blew out in the Firecracker 50 in 2009.  So, last night I started with the weights.

Wow am I weak!  Back in my college soccer days I was no stranger to the weight room.  I couldnt hang with the likes of Tom Sontag but could hold my own.....that was many years ago my friends.  I went through a series of exercises with  very light weight and a lot of reps and YES I am sore today.  Not as bad as it could be, I could still put on my deoderant myself.  I did work in a lot of squat type stuff and man is my backside feeling it.  All in all, I did 45 minutes of weights, I know this will improve over time as I do more, but I sure do HATE starting from being this weak.  Makes me wish I had jumped on the P90X bandwagon with my buddy Jason.

Go Big or Stay Home

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bike Selection

For this race, I started from scratch with my planning which meant my current mountain bike.

Is it the right bike?  I currently have a 2009 Redline D660.  Yes the Redline from the days of my youth that was a BMX bike.  Not many people choose Redlines on the Mountain but they make a great ride.  Most of the bike is componentry anyway, the brand is pretty much just the frame.

26 or 29er?  This is the size of the wheels.  In the last few years 29ers (29 inch wheels) have gained popularity as they roll over big obstacles better but are suspect in the handling department.  My current rig is a 29er. (and I love it and have been known to say I will never go back to a 26 inch set up)

Hardtail or Full Suspension?  I used to ride full suspension but feel more comfortable on a hardtail.  I think they are better for climbing but can chatter your teeth on the downhills sometimes.  Overall, the hardtail is my mountain bike of choice.  However, not ever have ridden the leadville terrain I wanted to make sure this was the correct choice.

Gearing?  The main problem with my Redline for Leadville is gearing.  Is has a 1X9 setup.  Meaning one chainring in the front and 9 in the back.  Hence only 9 gears, not nearly enough for going up the side of a mountain.

So, as I have done over the last 18 years or so, I called Steve Wilson (my semi-pro riding, mountain biker, bike shop owner, leadville 100 finisher, friend).  Steve and I worked together in Calvert City Kentucky at BFGoodrich.  This was my first job out of college and we logged some major time on the mountain bike trail.  One major note, this was also when I did my first big race which was the 24 Hours of Canaan (Canaan, WV, we had a blast).
Steve asked, do you like your current bike?  I said, I love it but its not the right one for this race, is it?  And to summarize our hour long conversation, he said....wheels, wheels, wheels!  For a race like this or any mountain bike race, as long as you are on a decent rig, wheels are what make the difference in Steve's opinion.  And as luck would have it, he had a set in the shop he could give me a good deal on!  He aslo recommended changing the gearing on my ride to accommodate some more climbing potential.

So, Steve's overall recommendation's were:
1.  New wheels, Bontrager Race X Lite, Retail $XXX we'll see.
2.  New Crankset, Shimano SLX, $180
3.  New Front Derailer (cause I do not have gearing in the front currently I will have to add this), $40
4.  New Front Shifter $40
Therefore, other than the new wheels which can be added later, the changes are not insurmountable cost wise.

Now for the personal touches.  I have never liked the Green Lettering on my bike, I am a you can have any color as long as its black guy.  So, yes, you guessed it, while I have to take off my cranks to install new, what better time to strip my bike down and paint it!  And because its a Redline, I can get some cool vintage stickers from the 80's to deck it out.

Here is the first pic of the new paint job.  I know it looks black like I like but in the sun it is actually dark blue.  The powdercoat guy talked me into blue pearl and I'm not sure I can live with it.  So it might get repainted black!

 Vintage Redline Stickers from mid 1980's
 More Vinatge Stickers, these flames will go on the top tube and down tube!  It will be awesome!

This bike should be back together about the second week of January.  In the meantime, I will be riding my road bike on the trainer in the basement.

Go Big or Stay Home

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Over The Mountain

Well, here it is, something I have ridiculed other people for doing, the beginning of my own blog.  My intention is to document the next year and half of training, challenges, failures and hopefully ultimate success at the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race in 2012.  I will have to go to Colorado twice in 2011 to volunteer at Leadville events to ensure my entry in the 2012 race.  Entrance to this race is in a lottery format as it is the preeminent endurance mountain bike race in the Country.  This is the race that the Lance Armstrong documentary Race Across The Sky was filmed at in 2009.  It is also the race that starts at 10,200 feet of elevation, peaks at over 13,000 feet and has 14,000 feet of climbing total in the 100 miles.  You must also finish in less than 12 hours....piece of cake!

I grew up riding BMX bicycles and shifted to soccer through high school and college and came back to the bike after college.  I moved to Calvert City, KY which happened to be just a few miles from the land between the lakes (LBL) where I learned to mountain bike with the help of Steve Wilson at Wood-N-Wave Bike Shop.  Since then, I have been on and off the bike as we all tend to get fit, then fat, then fit again (can anyone relate?).  In 2010, I added a road bike and put a lot more miles in than normal and have a decent biking base fitness level built to start my training.

Currently, I am doing research to structure my training in a way that I do not waste time and effort in my pursuit.  I am finding out that a coach and a lot of technology will focus me is such a way to accomplish my task (more on all of those specifics later).  I will track all my workouts so I have a good record of all that I am doing.  My hope is document this trip from recreational bike rider to Leadville 100 Finisher.  Also, as I learned through Tracy Butler's Ironman Journey , I want to inspire my children to set what seems to be an unattainable goal and work to accomplish it.  I really do believe we should live this life setting the best example we can, for others, and as the bible tells us, for our kids.  I also hope that this might inspire someone to bite off something more than they feel they can chew and go for it much like Mr. Butler's Blog and experience did for me.  And to be honest, I do have doubt today in my ability to finish this race even in peak condition. Those butterflies I feel while even typing that sentence are what makes me want to proceed!  

So, please take this blog as a personal Diary of a Madman trying to do something in his 40th year on this earth that defies what his mind (and others) tells him to do.  This blog is about that and for my personal records vs. trying to sell, promote or brag.  I am also not a writer and speak from the heart at times with poor grammar, so please overlook these imperfections.

Go Big or Stay Home