Tag mountain bike

BEast of the Southeast Video

It was an amazing weekend. This video gets me so pumped thinking about about how fun it all was!




A Mental Battle

Dirty Dozen 12hr Mountain Bike RaceThis past weekend, I raced the Dirty Dozen 12hr Mountain Bike Race just outside of Austin, TX. Being my first 12 hour solo race, I tried to plan as much as possible, but one thing I didn’t count on was battling food poisoning for 5 days prior. With only 3 full meals in my belly before Saturday morning, I wasn’t exactly toeing the line at 100%. It didn’t matter though because I had worked my ass off for months leading up to this and I wasn’t going to let a little sickness keep me from giving it everything I had.

What I didn’t realize was that not only would this race be immensely physically challenging, but by the end, it would be a massive mental battle as well.  I can’t count how many times I wanted to quit throughout the day. Sometimes because of the physical pain I was in, other times because I knew what was still to come. But time and time again, I found a way to push through. Some times it wasn’t me who gave the push, it was my amazing girlfriend (and support crew) Jennifer. She’d tell me to suck it up and just keep pushing.

Dirty Dozen 12hr MTB RaceThat reminds me of one of the biggest surprised I discovered on that day. You’re support crew is INSANELY important! Had I not had Jennifer there with a fresh bottle of PowerBar Perform every lap, handing me food and words of encouragement along the way, I couldn’t have gone half as far as I did. A huge thank you to her!

Throughout the race, I had many ups and downs both physically and mentally. Some easier to push through than others. The toughest downer started about 7 laps in (I completed 18 laps total = 134miles). Due to my depleted levels of energy stores going into the race (I had lost 5lbs in 5 days), I started having severe cramping. I had to back off my pace greatly and even get off the bike a few times to stretch out my twitching muscles. It took Jennifer’s encouragement and a lot of internal cursing at myself to push through the pain. I drank like a fish the next few laps and started to rebound a bit by around 3pm.

Dirty Dozen 12hr Mountain Bike RaceDuring those difficult laps, I lost the 20 minute lead that I had built up over the first 7 laps, and was never able to make a charge back up to the lead. By the end of the day, it was pretty obvious talking with the timing crew that I was set in 3rd place. That made the last few laps in the dark a bit more enjoyable because I was no longer having to worry about racing, just having fun cruising.

Dirty Dozen 12hr Mountain Bike RaceA few things I was incredibly thankful for were that the bike worked perfect, all of my Rudy Project gear (helmet, sunglasses, and kit) worked perfectly throughout the day, I never had to dab (other than to get off for cramps), I never had a flat, and my lights were amazing! Not having to worry about your gear was a big stress reliever. It was the bio-mechanical issues that left me hurting.

So would I do it again? I’m not sure. I feel if I hadn’t been sick for 5 days, I would have been able to hold the pace I set early on in the race and victory would have been mine. But at the same time, 12 hours is a LONG FREAKIN TIME and I’m not sure I want to punish myself for that long again. So for the time being, I think I’ll stick with 5-6 hour races max and see if the bug comes back for a 12hour.

Big thanks to the guys at BobCat13 Photo for being out there all day getting some great shots!



Ouachita Challenge

Blowout MountainI’m so excited to have gotten into the 2013 Ouachita Challenge. It’s going to be an amazing weekend of fun on the mountain bike. On Saturday there is a mountain bike tour that winds it’s way through some sweet single track in the Ouachita National Forest outside of Little Rock, AR. It’s 60 miles of remembering why I love doing what I do.

Then on Sunday, April 7th, it’s time to throw down. We’ll ride the same trails that we rode the day before, but in reverse direction. The legs will be a little tired from the previous days ride, but that’s all part of the fun.

The race sold out in about 10 minutes this past weekend, so you know it’s a good one! I’m so pumped to be heading down there to ride and hang with Craig Roberson and the rest of the guys from the SweatBloodDirt.com crew! Let’s get ready for some fun!




Some South of the Border Fun

What better way to spend your birthday than to head to Mexico for a race?! Last year I celebrated my 30th in the small town of Tapalpa and had so much fun, I went back for my 31st.

Not a bad place to spend a week

I could get used to this view

Out pre running on part of the bike course

Another pre run. Checking out the part of the run through town. Cool stuff!

Out pre riding the course with most of the pro field. That’s how we roll.

Hanging out in town square after checking out the run course

The race was a total blast and loaded with excitement! There were some fast swimmers out there and I had the usual “Out of the water 4 minutes down from the leaders” swim. So there was a bit of moving up to do on the bike.

I’ve only had the feeling that I had as I jumped on the bike a few times, but I need to figure out how to have it all the time. LIGHT AS A FEATHER! I couldn’t believe how great my legs felt. I quickly started to move up to the leaders (I was given time splits by spectators).

As usual, I was pushing it all out on the most technical, dangerous, and hence most fun stuff. There were giant mud puddles everywhere from the rain the day before. 19 out of 20 of those I rode through no problem. That 1 that I didn’t was a little rough. I launched over the bars Superman style at full speed, tumbled down a hill, and the rolled around in pain for a minute or two. It hurt pretty bad, but after a few minutes of soft pedaling I was able to get back on it. I think it was the adrenaline.

Not knowing if I would be able to run, I pushed it into T2. I dropped one guy who had caught up to me, but I couldn’t shake the other guy. Turns out he was an Olympic mountain biker. Oh… that’s probably why I couldn’t drop him 😉

Luckily for me, I was able to run (still thinking the adrenaline had a lot to do with it). I put enough time into my pursuers that when the adrenaline finally wore off on the second lap of the run, I could back it off a little bit and still hold my position.

I came flying down the stairs to the finish line to be treated to one of the most special finishes I’ve ever had. A banner with my name on it! How often does that happen?!?

I was stoked to have held onto 3rd despite one of, if not the, hardest crashes I have ever had in a race. Branden and Paco battled it out from the gun and only during the final lap of the run, was Paco able to edge out Branden. Wish I could have been up there with those guys, but it’ll have to wait til next year!



Strengths and Weaknesses

So if you checked out the schedule page on my site, you’ll see that I’ve already listed XTERRA World Champs as a DNS (did not start). I’m not injured, sick, or incapable of racing in any way, I’ve just decided not to race. My trip around the world really taught me one thing – Know your strengths and your weaknesses. And with this in mind, I decided not to race the world champs. Let me explain…

I love riding my mountain bike. Ripping through the forest at 20 miles an hour, coming within inches of a bone breaking tree, while hopping over a rock and skirting by a precarious drop that could possibly be career ending, puts a big smile on my face. Riding up to a new section of trail and having the confidence to dive in head first is something I look forward to every time I air up the knobby tires. The same goes for the run. The move I have to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge, the better. I like a technical challenge. I like going fast over formidable terrain. I enjoy those aspects of a race and thus they have become my strengths.

As I started the 6 races in 6 weeks in 6 countries, I only had prior experience on one of the courses (XTERRA Forest Drive in South Dakota). I had no idea what to expect at any of the other races. As the trip progressed, I raced on single track, double track, lots of climbing, primarily flat, extremely muddy, technical beyond belief, and more, during both the bike and the run. Whenever there was something technical, I moved up and my strengths shined. Anytime we were pretty much racing on a dirt road (technically thats considered off road), I was struggling to hold pace. I realized that in this point of my triathlon career, I’m not one of the fastest guy out there… on certain terrain. On dirt roads and flat trails, I still need to improve. A lot.

Guys who I could put 30 seconds into on a 2 minute downhill on the bike, could pop me like a festering zit on a flat road or smooth climb. Other guys who could smoke me on a lakeside gravel path, would just hear my goofy laugh as I hurdled a log, leaped into a gully, and monkeyed my way through a dense jungle past them.

The XTERRA USA Champs was the culmination of my revolution about my strengths and weaknesses. In the continental US, this is the biggest race of the year. All the top guys are out in top form (including Lance Armstrong). I went into the race quite excited, ready to show what I had, and improve on last years 9th place. That was until I pre rode the bike course. The city of Ogden had gone in this past summer and plowed down the trails. It went from narrow, rocky, rooty, somewhat technical single track to a “nearly paved” 3 foot wide pathway. I was devastated. Technical skills were only required on about 20% of the entire ride. That meant the area where I could really shine, was only about 15 minutes long. Bummer. I had the best race on the day that I could, but on that type of course, it just wasn’t fast enough. I worked my way up to 8th off the bike, but had pushed just to hard trying to ride like the guys in front of me. My legs were toast and I had a lackluster run, crossing the line in 11th place.

But fret not! If you know me, you know I am not one to dwell on the negative forever. I’m looking at this realization and learning from it. Race my strengths, train my weaknesses. So after a good chat with the coach, we decided that for the time being, until my weaknesses are no longer my weaknesses, I will choose my races wisely. I am a professional triathlete and thus this is my career. If I make poor business decisions, the company could fail. I’m not going to let that happen. So until I can swim 1 day a week like Craig Evans and still lead out a swim, or put out 400 watts for over an hour like Conrad Stoltz, or run like the wind like Frenchman Nico Lebrun, I’m going to pick and choose my races wisely, playing to my strengths.

So when you see me racing an XTERRA this coming season, you know its gonna be a challenging, technical, fun, knee slapping good time!