Friday, December 31, 2010

Best and Worst of 2010

***Disclaimer-This might get a little mushy (especially at the beginning), but it's my blog and I reserve the right to write whatever I want:).

Best of 2010

1-Meeting Anne. I mean, c'mon, is there anything else that could possibly top this? It sounds cliche, but she is absolutely amazing in every sense of the word. I've never met a person that I've been in awe of more, and she continues to amaze me with every day that I know her. As beautiful as she is on the outside (and beautiful is an understatement!), she's even moreso on the inside. I've never met someone more genuine and honest, and I'm extrememly lucky to have such a wonderful person in my life. If the rest of my entire year had been terrible, meeting her would have still made it one of the best years I've ever had. Oh, and for some reason she seems to not mind spending time with me and all my goofiness and "only child-isms":).

2-Getting to go to Spain-TWICE! Ok, well crashing hard on my second visit sucked, but it was still wonderful to spend about 3 weeks total riding my bike in the mountains of Southern Spain. I'd never been to Europe, and getting to ride a bike around olive fields and up and down mountains in another part of the world was amazing. Not to mention making some great friends and learning how much more I'm capable of athletically.

3-Being blessed with a family that has allowed me to chase dreams, not matter how crazy they may seem. Throughout my life, I've been blessed to have parents that have supported me in every endevour I've chosen. They've never questioned my path in life, and continue to back me no matter how crazy or outlandish my ideas may be. I don't know many other people that have it as good as I do. I'm truly very lucky in this regard.

4-Having a job I love doing and working with the people I work with. Being a personal trainer was never part of my original "plan". As a kid I thought I'd be a pro ice hockey player. Didn't have a doubt in my mind. Then, after college I thought I'd make it as an actor. After doing that for a few years (and not exactly "making" it-though I did make a bit of a living), I decided to focus all my efforts on my passion-health and fitness. I've never looked back and I couldn't be happier. Sure I'm not a millionare, but that really doesn't matter to me. I'm happy as a clam and know that I can do as much as I'm willing to put the time in for. I've learned that if I work hard enough, I have the talent and skills to make a living however, and wherever I choose. Again, I've got a freedom that few others I know enjoy. Also, the people I work with have been such a pleasure over the years. My clients are some of the most generous people I know, and they've all become part of an extended family. If I had the money, I'd train them all for free. There's not one person I work with that I don't honestly look forward to seeing. They've inspired me just as much as I hope I've inspired them.

5-Finding and falling in love with mountain biking. In the same way I fell in love with triathlon, Mountain biking has taken hold of me. There's no form of riding I like more than being out on the trails, and now that I've found mtb racing I'm more pumped. I caught the bug and I don't see it going away anytime soon. Sure I'll still do tri's, but mountain biking is a new love that's definitely here to stay.

The Worst of 2010:

1-Easily the worst thing to happen was the snowstorm of last weekend. It could not have come at a worse possible time-the day I was to fly out to the UK to see Anne. I've never been more bummed in my life. It's taken a couple days to actually sink in. I was sure that the snow would miss us and I'd be able to go, but sure enough, we got snowed in, the airports closed, and I missed the chance to spend the holidays and New Years with Anne. Still can't believe how much this sucks. Will see each other in a few weeks, but the fact is that I miss my girl like crazy and nothing is going to bring back the fact that we're not spending the first days of 2011 together.

2-Nagging foot injuries. It started last November and lasted throughout most of the 2010 season. I woke up the day after Thanksgiving with a terrible, "bruise-like" feeling in my right foot that took months to heal. I couldn't run for 4 months, and missed out on what I feel was some serious development in my run. Then, after about a month of pain free running, the same thing happened to the other foot. The injury didn't last as long, but since, both feet have turned rogue on me. If it's not pain in the ball of the foot, it's arch pain. If it's not arch pain, it's pain to the outside of the foot. Maybe this is why I've grown to love cycling so much...

3-Anne's injury. This was a toughie. She suffered an injury late in the season that ended her year early. She raced with it, and it was extremely hard to watch her suffer with pain and dissappointment. Seeing someone you love go through rough times with something they love is extremely hard. In the end it has turned out to be ok, but that was definitely a rough road to go down.

4-My Dad's health. People get older and that sucks. When people get older and get sick, it sucks even more. My Dad has lung cancer and it's a bitch. He's dealt with it in a way I can't even imagine-must be the 'depression-era' stubborness, but he's never complained once. For me it's been tough seeing someone that was Superman to me as a child diminish a bit, but he's getting stronger and the treatment seems to be working. I guess you can only keep Superman subdued with kryptonite for so long!

So that's it! All in all it was a great year. Some bumps in the road, but many, many more positives than negatives. The older I get, the more I figure things out, and I'm starting to get a handle on this "life" thing:). All I want for my future is to be surrounded with people I love and care about. All the rest is just icing on the cake!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Completely Miserable San Diego

Normally I'm a real "look at the bright side" kind of guy, but in all honesty the last 3 days have sucked ass. First and foremost, my flight to see Anne in the UK was cancelled. We got smacked with a hellish snowstorm Sunday that cancelled thousands of flights and shut down all the major airports in the northeast United States. I can easily say I've never been more disapointed. This sucks, sucks, sucks! We haven't seen each other in around 2 months, and I wanted nothing more for Christmas than to give her a giant hug and kiss at Heathrow. I could get a flight out, but the earliest it would be is Thursday night from JFK. Because I'm scheduled to come back to the states Sunday the 2nd, this would literally be like a 72 hour visit. While I would fly a million miles to see her for 5 minutes, it just wouldn't make sense for me to get there only to turn around a day or so later IF it is possible for me to get a refund on the flight. So we've decided that if it is possible for me to get my money back, we'll save that money, and put it toward a more enjoyable and extended visit for her here in the states near the end of next month. While I'm happy about that, the fact is that I still miss my Anne and want to see her asap!!!
So with that, the next thing to fail has obviously been the weather. While I certainly don't mind the cold and snow, when you have no immediate plans it can tend to put a cramp in your style. The snow on the trails is more than a foot deep, so riding and running them is out. I mean technically I could get out there on the bike, but the workout wouldn't be worth much and I'm not a huge fan of putting undue stress on my mtb because it's the only one I've got at present-needs to last and I'm not rolling in enough cash right now to run through a drivetrain and new suspension.
I did manage a run yesterday, but again, it was on icy, slippery roads, but I can say that at least it was some good "base" milage. It got me out of the house as well, helping to get me to stop dwelling on the fact that I'm stuck in New York instead of the UK.
On another, and more positive note, I did manage to get in 2 of the best mountain bike rides of the year (and most likely the last mountain bike rides of the year) in the days before the storm. Christmas Eve was a short 2 hour ride that felt ridiculously smooth and fast. Then Christmas day was a longer, 3:15 ride that was equally as good. There are two things at play here. First and foremost, I'm getting good on the bike-real good. I wouldn't say that my fitness level is any better than it was toward the end of the season, but my handling and technical skills are just getting better and better. Since I started getting into mtb'ing seriously this past August, techy stuff has always been a strength of mine and now I'm just reading another level. There's still more to go, but I'm more than happy with the progress I've made.
The other element here, is just that I'm getting used to riding on dirt and judging the conditions as I go. I've been able to develop (much I'm sure like all mountain bikers do over time) an inate sense of soil and rocks and roots. That is, I know exactly how each is going to feel, and just how much I can push until I loose traction. This isn't something you can learn over night, and I'm sure with all riding there's a point of trial and error, but with this development in my riding, I feel like I can go faster and push the limits just a bit more. It's exciting as hell!
So that's the good and the mostly bad. I've got some serious cabin fever running right now and the end might not be until next week. It's tough not to dwell on the fact that I'm missing Anne like crazy now, but on the positive we will be able to spend time together in only a few weeks time from New Year's. Here's a quote from an all time cinematic masterpiece, Happy Gilmore: "Harness the good, block the bad. Harness good, block bad." Hehe, words to live by!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Off Season in Full Effect...well sort of...

Been deviating quite a bit from the training schedule this week. With Christmas coming, work has been kinda sporadic this week, so it's left me plenty of time to take care of "life stuff"-which, of course, I haven't done any of:). I need to go Christmas shopping-haven't done it yet. I need to clean my apartment-haven't done it yet. I need to get money (GBP) for my trip to England Sunday-just did it today (and subsequently had to spend an extra $10 to get overnight shipping because I waited so long!). And of course, I need to train-which I have managed to do every day.

However, the training part hasn't exactly been by the book, so to speak. See, I have this wonderful plan laid out for me, and I've almost completely ignored it. Ok, well I've done the workouts, just not on the days planned. Oh, and I might leave a couple out (like the whole swimming thing for example). :) I'm just not really into anything but riding my bike easy and running easy. Just getting some miles in, enjoying the weather, and having fun letting my mind wander a bit.

Running has been joyful again. I'm pain free and want to keep it that way, so when I have run recently I've just let it happen. Not fast, not slow, just at I guess what would be called "conversational" pace for anywhere from 30 mins to an hour. Biking has been more serious, with more frequent and longer sessions, but at the same time, nothing above a solid aerobic effort. Rides have ranged from 90 mins to three hours most days, though I'm really itching for a 4-5 hour mtb ride before I leave Sunday. We'll see if that happens though.

Anyway, the important part is that I'm enjoying it. There's always room for structure, and of course it's necessary, but I really think that at times it just wears my body down to the point where I'm almost forced to slow down, or just fizzle out from burnout and injury. I have some ideas for next year, but I need some solid verification before I proceed.

So that's the happs for now. Just pluggin' along until the weekend, surely leaving it all for the last minute just like I always do:). What else could be more fun??? :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Long Island Cyclocross Series Race No.3

After perhaps the worst start in the history of cyclocross, I was able to claw my way back to a somewhat reasonable finish.
The course yesterday was frozen-fast. I probably should've gone a little lower with the tire pressure, so I had to suck up a lot of the bumpy 'frozen-ness' with my ass and legs. After the bad start I was able to get into a bit of a rythm and fight my way back up through the field, though unlike the first two races of the series, I had no chance to even try and stay with the lead pack. This was a little frustrating as I really feel that I had a chance to hang with the faster guys for a least a couple of laps yesterday, given the development I've made in 'cross, but oh well.
Anyway, I worked with another guy and we were able to make up quite a bit of time and we both finished top 10. I believe I was either 5th or 6th (unofficially) and he was 7th. Overall it was a great race and a pretty cool, albeit low-key series. Next season I actually plan on taking this 'cross thing seriously and doing some of the bigger races. It's such a great sport and I really had a ton of fun. Not to mention racing almost every weekend is such a bonus and keeps things fresh. Keeps the competitive juices flowin'!!!
Here are some pics:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mtb: 2:30

Got out on the mtb today even though I wasn't technically suppossed to. The forcast called for snow tomorrow (that's since changed) and I was thinking it might be the last 'snow-free' ride of the season. Also, mtbing makes me happy, and I wanted to be happy today:).

Saturdays have usually been a longer mtb ride for me in the past couple months, so I stuck to that format and kept things almost completely aerobic. One of the things that I need to fine tune in my riding is shifting. The trails here, while not containing any crazy long climbs or equally long descents, do have plenty of super sharp climbs, and super sketchy descents. It's hard to find a rhythm as you would normally on longer climbs, so shifting is critical to not only making it up the hill, but being as efficient as you can be. Without proper shifting, you can definitely expect a super sore back from all the straining by the end of your ride.

Anyway, I've been working a lot to include the "granny gear"-smallest chainring-in my riding. It's funny how just a small change in riding style can produce a big challenge. So anyway, I worked a lot on using the entirety of my gears, rather than just the largest two rings. Made some mistakes, but in the end I wound up using my energy much more efficiently, and ultimately riding smoother and faster than I have. I'm finding that being smooth is where the speed is, not hammering.

It's the skill work that I really love about mountain biking. Being technically proficient is just as important as being fit. One without the other is never going to get you more speed.


There's definitely something to be said about quality. Whether in training or in equipment, quality is were it's at! I've been riding a couple different bikes lately, one in the hope of making it into a race machine and the other in the hopes of just keeping it in it's already great form. Anyway, due to some mechanical functions on what we'll call the 'training' bike, I had to take out the 'race' bike. Both bikes are set up identically, with similar components, and the 'training' bike even has a better, albeit, older fork. The only significant difference in the bikes is the frame. One is Trek's highest grade aluminum (the alpha red version), and the other is Azonic's scandium (produced by Easton a few years back I believe). I don't think it's necessarrily the material of the frames that makes the difference, I believe it's the design.

As we all know aluminum is a stiff and light material, but not very good at soaking up the bumps. When it's designed right, though, it can make a huge difference. My back has been killing me on training rides riding the generic design of the Azonic bike. I love the bike, it's stiff, quick, and light, but after a ride my lower back feels like it's been torqued every which way it's NOT suppossed to go. On the Trek yesterday, I felt completely fine. Same trails I always ride, just a different bike, and all my pains went away. As I've said, the bikes have identical set ups so I know it's not the fit. It literally just comes down to a better design of the Trek over the Azonic. I'm not bashing Azonic, but the design of the frame just doesn't work for me on longer rides.

So that's my mini "review" of the bikes of sorts. I'm excited to look into other options of bikes, including getting to demo a titainium bike. I also might have the opportunity to build up a sweet carbon bike for this upcoming season, so we'll see where that leads. On the surface, I'm a bit concerned with riding a carbon mountain bike, but I'm sure that since so many people ride them it'll be fine. Excited nonetheless!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fun in the snow!

Gonna keep this one short today...

We got our first dusting of snow today and it rocked. I usually dred the coming of snow (mostly because it means cold temps and cold hands and feet while riding), but when I actually get out in it I'm like a kid in a candy store. The seasonal change is important for athletes I think, because it gives you a natural (and often forced) change of pace.

Anyway, I got out on the trails with the 'cross bike and loved every minute of it. I wasn't alone, so I had to take things slower than I usually would if I could just put my head down and cruise, but being on skinny tires on the singletrack I usually ride my mtb on was awesome. Funny how just a change in bikes can give you a whole new appreciation of how to ride a trail! Not to mention, riding a cross bike on techy trails WILL make you a better rider. After a few more times of this, riding through these same trails on my mtb will be like a walk in the park!

*no pics today-I was waaaay to busy having fun playing in the snow!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Back on the Horse

Got back on the bike today. Yesterday (Sunday) was filled with torrential rain. Sort of a nice early winter nor'easter. I woke up, looked out the window, and went right back to bed. In fact, I managed not to even get out of my pj's for the whole day. Needless to say, the bike, road or mountain, didn't get touched yesterday.

It was still a bit rainy this morning, but I got out for about a 90 min spin that felt pretty good. I'm a little concerned with my motivation right now, but then again it is the winter and I still haven't taken a proper break from training, save a couple days here and there. If this lack of motivation continues, I may consider shutting it down completely for a few days. With my upcoming trip to the UK on the horizon as well, training may naturally take a backseat as it is-which will probably be best for my body and mind.

I was reminded yesterday just how hard it is NOT to move during my lay in yesterday. Sure it was relaxing for a while, but at the end of the day I was feeling sluggish, slow, and bored out of my mind, not refreshed and invigorated as I had thought I might be. Something has to be said for physical movement. I couldn't imagine living that way. Sadly there are quite a few people that do...

Anyway, tomorrow will most likely be a swim and strength workout, but I'm not sure how the day is going to pan out. I might wind up fitting in a mountain bike and a strength session depending on how I feel. The trails are going to be terriffic tomorrow with all the rain we've had in the last days, but I'm worried that the temps will freeze any tacky dirt that we get. Also, I'm going to have to devote some time to taking care of my body. After not spending much time on stretching lately I'm about as tight as a drum, and my IT band is acting up. I did some light stretching yesterday and after my ride today, but I really need to prioritize it some more, even to the point that I may replace a training session for a stretching session. We'll see.

Friday, December 10, 2010

No Exercise

Made the decision NOT to exercise today-at all. I just didn't have the desire to force it, and the weather made things even harder. Most times I'm a hardass. I'll train in snow, rain (though Anne knows that I have to be on my "rain" bike when it rains:) ), sleet, cold-whatever. I usually laugh when people get on me about "but it's raining outside" when I head out of the gym in my run gear or cycling kit. But today was just one of those days that didn't happen.

I started early with a wake up of 4am, and just kept on cruising throughout the day with client after client. When the time came to train I napped and read a book. When I got back home after my afternoon apointments, I pulled out the book again and poured a beer (see pic). I thought a lot about bikes today, but just didn't have it in me to pedal. Anyway, it's the winter! I guess I can afford to be fat and happy for ONE day:).

Tomorrow I'll be back at it, recharged and ready to go with a 3+ hour ride on the mountain bike. Super mellow, super enjoyable. I'm hoping there aren't more of the 'weekend warrior' types about that try and race me after I pass them when they're stopped by the side of the trail. It's not like I'm a jerk and just go blasting by, or that I don't say hello, I guess they just feel the need to try and overtake me. This happened last week and made me want to rip the guy behind me's legs off! He managed to crash on a techy section when he was trying to keep up, and I can't say I felt all that bad. Hehehe:). Rant over...time to drink that beer!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rollin' along

Whacked at the finish...

Pushing hard into a corner

I hope these guys were hurting as me as me!

Some more images from the first 'cross race a couple weeks ago. Funny how time flies. Feels like that race was just yesterday!

Things have been moving pretty fast around here the past few weeks. Work has been keeping me super busy which is really funny for this time of year. Usually things slow to a crawl between Thanksgiving and Christmas for me. I'm almost waiting for the bottom to drop out! Either way, I'm happy to have so much work as it means I have more money:) Funny how that works!

Training has been going well, though I'm really getting concerned about my motivation for tri recently. I still love it, it's just that I've found something special in racing bikes. I'm not the best at it-yet-but it still fascinates me. Mountainbiking has become very special to me, and cross is just rediculously awesome. There's just something about being on two wheels in the dirt that gets my blood moving. More and more I'm really considering a break from tri and a focus on racing bikes this next year. Hmmm.....

Personally things are great. I get to see Anne in another couple weeks when I head back to the UK and to say I can't wait is the understatement of the year. I miss her terribly every day, but I know it's just going to be that much better when I see her beautiful face again. Gotta say I'm the luckiest guy in the world:). 'Till then it's just work, work, train, sleep, and work.

I took things easy, training wise today. Just an easy swim. I'm really pretty shot from a Tuesday that envolved a run and hard session on the mountain bike-hard not because it was really suppossed to be, but hard because I didn't have much time to fit it in before I had to head back to work. Great opportunity to fit in some good tempo work! Tomorrow I'm deviating from the schedule a bit to run in the AM and head out on the road bike for a couple mellow hours in the PM before I have to head back to work. Looking to keep things easy tomorrow as I wanna get in some good miles in the trails Saturday. It's been cold as f*ck here this week and Saturday is suppossed to be warm (mid 40's) before we get some snow and rain on Sunday. More than likely, Sunday will be a rest day for me as I desperately need to sleep late and catch up on my rest. Besides, the Jets are playing and hopefully they can redeem themselves from that embarrassing debockle from this past Monday night. Ugh...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Long Island Cyclocross Series Race No.2

'Cross hurts...bad. When I was 19, in a moment of 'non-thought', I pierced my nipples. I took the piercings out after 6 months, but I'll never forget how much it hurt. 'Cross is similar to that pain, but it lasts for an hour rather than only a few seconds.
Today hurt, but I was rewarded by a better finish than last weekend, and a more thoughtful race overall. Being that this is only my second ever race, I still have a bunch to learn, but at least today I was able to get in the mix a bit more.
I had a great start (mostly because it was a grass, uphill start-but I'll take it) and was able to stay with the front group for the first 2 laps. I got dropped off the back of the 4 or 5 guys ahead of me and basically stayed there for the rest of the race. I managed to move up to 5th by the end, despite a small crash I had on a sandy switchback.
The course was much more to my liking today. Much more techy with some great opportunities to power past folks on the sharp and loose uphill sections. I did the best I could today and wasn't upset to get beaten by guys that have just been doing this longer than me.
I did realize today, though, that in order to get better on the 'cross bike, I actually need to RIDE the 'cross bike more than just on raceday:). I promised myself all week that I'd get out to practice, but the urge just never got to me. I got in some solid days on the mountain bike, and my road rides were strong too, but I really need to get more used to the handling of my cross bike and the gearing to be faster.
The next and final race in the series is in two weeks, so I'll have a great opportunity to fine tune my skills before then. In the end I really wish I'd started 'cross earlier this year. For sure, next fall will be seriously devouted to getting in some real good 'cross races and practice. This is a damn fun sport!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Got out on the trails again for a mellow ride. I know I keep referring back to the 6 hour race, but I really am thinking it took out of me much more than I thought. Though it was three weeks ago today, I think it took until now to get fully recovered. I wasn't strict with my recovery tactics, and tried to get right back to full training right away after the race. The fatigue set in a few days later, but I thought it was only a matter of not sleeping enough-DUH! that's the essence of NOT getting in recovery! So stupid! So anyway, the last few days I've kept things pretty easy and my body feels like it's coming around. My last two rides have been strong, and my legs finally feel like they're back again.

Tomorrow is another 'cross race and I'm totally pumped. I promised myself that I'd practice a bit on my cross bike this week, but in the end I just didn't feel like it. I split time between the mtb and the road and don't have any regrets for doing so. I had fun and that's what this time of year is all about.

Today will probably be a few more mellow hours on the trails with the mtb. Nothing hard, just getting in some pedal time and enjoying the cool weather. It's hovering right around the freezing mark, so it's getting brisk. I'm delighted to see how much warmer it is in the woods though. The combination of slower speed mixed with the blockage of the wind by the trees makes things pretty pleasant as compared to the roads. My feet were still cold yesterday, but overall I didn't need nearly as much coverage as I'm used to on the road. Will try to take some pics today as well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mountain Bike Ride

Don't really know how long I rode for today because it was just therapy:). Not that I'm upset or needed to clear my mind, but the fact is that I haven't ridden the mtb very much since the race a couple weekends ago and just needed to get out there. Just enjoyed being in the woods and tried not to slip on the leaves too much. If there's one thing that I hate riding on it's leaves. There's no telling what's underneath, not to mention being slippery as ice in some spots. Makes for a much slower and cautious ride-especially when you just wanna enjoy things.

Though my major focus is still tri at the moment-and by tri I'm meaning XTERRA, I'm beginning to wonder if that's where my true goals for the next season lie. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love swimming, biking, and running (well not so much the swimming, but what the hell), but I'm just wondering if I'd like to focus more on cycling this coming year. I've really fallen in love with the sport and have enjoyed venturing out into mtb and 'cross races. I found that I enjoyed the 6 hour race more than any other race I've ever done, and really fancy doing some of the longer marathon and endurance mtb races. Even the stage races look awesome to me! Then again, I saw a tri today that made my mouth water and made me want to break out the tri bike and power meter all over again.

I guess my biggest worry is that I CAN'T do everything. I don't want to race just to race, I want to race to do the best that I possibly can. I'm not one of those 'experience' guys, and even if it's ridiculously unlikely, I like to race for the win. What I mean is that I want a definite focus on ONE thing. I don't want to be average at everything, I want to be great at ONE thing. It's all just a bit fuzzy in my head right now, but that's what I've been thinking about recently.

Anyway, tomorrow is gonna be a great day to practice some 'cross again before the second race in the series this weekend. It's gonna be rainy and windy all day-perfect 'cross weather! I even heard there's a possibility, thought slight, that it'll snow on race day! How great would that be!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I've been 'Crossed!!!!

Holy crap that was fun! Did my first 'cross race ever today and smiled from start to finish. It was hard, and I still haven't stopped coughing from the cold, but I have to say that I know see what all the fuss is about. In the end I finished 8th overall, and learned quite a lot. First and foremost, it's not wise to ride an 11-23 set up:). I was a little lax in setting up my bike for this race and just threw on whatever cassette I had at the time. Probably made things a little harder than they needed to be!
The course was awesome, and the fact that it was on the site of an abandoned psychiatric center was ever cooler! Mountain biking has given me a real good hold of technical skills on the bike, and I found that the technical sections were one of my strengths today. Need to work on starting strong from the beginning though. All my training thus far has been devoted to settling in and pacing my effort evenly. This race was a shot in the arm. 'Cross is definitely not something to "settle in to". It'll be fun to improve my 'cross racing tactics in the coming weeks as this series still has another two races to go. Here are some pics from today. The pics are of the psych center. I had a really cool vid of the entrance of the park, with Pantera playing in the background, but it won't upload. As soon as it does I'll share:) Oh and the last pic is what I'm enjoying right now (Great South Bay IPA) in a glass I got from the 6 hour mtb race-gotta love the skulls!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More 6 Hour Race Pics

I'm cheap so this is about as close as these pics will ever get to being purchased:).

Mtb: 1:30

Good ride today. Discovered that I'm not quite as recovered as I thought I was from last week's race. Never having done something so brutal I've realized that I definitely need to chill for a bit more. Today was the first time back on the trails in a week and I felt a bit sluggish and not all there. I'll come around of course, but after not taking too much time to rest properly since last weekend, it was definitely rough today.

On another note, after talking to one of my buddies who races mountain bikes pro, I tried going with a harder tire today. Previously, I'd been running my tires pretty low-around 35psi in the rear and 30psi in the front. I'd never really thought to play with it much since things were working just fine I thought. Certainly I didn't consider going higher, as anyone who rides on the east coast knows how bumpy things can get with all the rocks and roots we have. After talking to him at length about it, though, I decided to give it a try. I went with 48psi in the rear and 45psi in the front. For sure I thought that it was too high for a hardtail, but I was pleasantly suprised today when I found how much easier my ride was. Pedaling was much more efficient, and the ride wasn't rough at all. Of course when you hit something under the leaves that you didn't see there was quite a jolt, but that would happen either way. Also, the rooty and rocky descents I thought would have me jumping all over the place were actually easier to take because there was less of a "delay" from the rear wheel. Overall, handling (particularly in the corners) was improved, and speed was faster. I liked, too, the fact that I was much more connected to the trail. I didn't realize how much of a "numbing" feeling lower pressure gives you. The bike was more responsive, and I felt that every pedal stroke went directly into the dirt instead of being sucked up by a slower, mushy, softer tire. I'm not saying that it'll be best in all conditions, but for now I'm happy that I've found higher pressure.

'Cross tomorrow so the rest of the day is gonna be pretty chill. I've got some cleaning to get done, but then I'll be sipping some South Bay IPA and reading. Somehow the freezing weather outside makes me wanna get all comfy inside:).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Turkey Day Run

Yesterday was not a great day for me. Not because I ate too much or didn't spend time with loved ones-I did both-but because I felt like crap all day. Whatever the reason (I believe it may have to do with a certain "controlled substance" I was subjected to-not that I, in this case, smoked it because I don't do that, but because I was merely subjected to the smoke it produces. I've only tried such substance a handful of times in college, so for the last 10 years I haven't been around it. Basically I'm allergic!) I was dizzy and light-headed for the majority of the day. Anyway, I slept well last night after getting home and hoped to be in much better shape today.

I woke up feeling a little bit like I did yesterday, but luckily it wasn't too bad. Managed to get to see my few clients that were feeling guilty after indulging yesterday, and got in a short, but good run.

My goal for today's run was just to go by feel. I was scheduled for a much longer run, but decided to keep things conservative. Not only was I feeling a bit rough this morning, but I'm still actually recovering from the race this past Saturday. I haven't been on the mountain bike at all since, and it's not because I haven't wanted to, but because I'm still a little beat up. Before the 6 hour race I had never been on a mountain bike for more than about 3 hours. I'd done some longer rides, but not on rough ground and certainly not without stopping to chat. This is something I'll be sure to address before my next endurance mtb race:).

Anyway, today's run brought me back to the fact that I actually like to run. Mountain biking has moved first into my love of things endurance based, but running holds a close second. I find that I enjoy moving to my own pace and taking things as they come. I can be a fast runner when I want/need to be, but for the most part I enjoy keeping things longer and aerobic. I think one of the reasons (besides getting injured every two weeks) this past year for my burnout, dealt with the fact that my running was so numbers based. Numbers are good for coaches and those that have the ability to separate their emotions from their runs, but for me, just being out and enjoying the actual "act" of running is where the pleasure lies. I'll have to speak with my coach to address this in the future.

Tomorrow will most likely be the first time back on the trails for me since last Saturday. Rides this week have been on the road and taken a more than easy tone, but I'm ready to have some fun in the dirt again. Nothing crazy, as I'll be racing my first 'cross race on Sunday, but at least a solid 90 minutes. That should give me my mtb fill, but preserve my legs enough for the thrashing they'll take on Sunday.

On another note I got a new toy today and will be uploading some cool vids and pics regularly. It cost a pretty penny, but in the end it was something I needed and will benefit not only this blog, but my work life as well. Not to mention the fact that every once in a while you need to splurge on something that isn't bike/run related:).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I didn't mean it!

So today was suppossed to be another day off from training. Maybe some stretching and foam rolling, but that's it. What happened was something entirely different. Somhow I managed to ride my bike for 3 hours an run somewhere in the neighborhood of an hour. Not an epic day by any means, but for sure not exactly a "rest" day. However, I've got to say that I feel terriffic. Almost all the effects of Saturday's race have gone away, and my legs feel fitter and stronger. Even the run today, though it was more of a jog, felt suprisingly easy. Maybe tomorrow I'll rest? Or run, or bike, or swim:).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

6 Hour Mountain Bike Race Report

This was by far the hardest thing I've ever done. The 6 Hours of Something Wicked at Cathedral Pines Endurance Mountain Bike Race (that's a mouthful!) was yesterday and I'm just now getting up enough energy to write this. Ok, that's not totally true, but I've never been so wasted after a race!

I've never done any type of stand alone bike race. I've done running races and triathlons, but that's it. Moreso, I'd never ridden a mountain bike for more than 4 hours at a time, so this was bound to be a treat. The only previous mtb racing experience I'd had was in the only XTERRA race I've done a few months ago. I wasn't quite sure what to expect and I was nervous before the race, but in the end just decided to "grip it and rip it". What else would I do? Just put it all out there and see what happens.

The start line was pretty relaxed. The race sold out at 250 participants, but it felt more like 500 standing there in the early morning cold getting ready to suffer on a 10 mile loop for the next 6+ hours. The only plan I really had, other than riding as much as possible, was to get out in front to avoid the sure bottleneck that was to come when we hit the singletrack. Lucky for me, I'm a good sprinter and had a great start. I lined up in front with the "big boys" and hit it right away. Still, I was a little tentative, and held back from getting to the absolute front of the pack which I'm sure I could have. There was about a mile of tarmac and dirt road before we hit the singletrack. I managed to be somewhere in the top 15 when we got in, and that was more than fine with me. All I really cared about was getting in cleanly.

Once in the woods it was fast. The beginning of the loop was probably the most technical, with some rooty and snarly decents mixed with sharp uphills. Furthermore, in the early laps, the trail was entirely covered with fallen leaves making it difficult to see the roots and rocks that made climbing and descending difficult. It was bumpy to say the least. After that little techy section, it flattened for the next few miles, but you were still greated with roots that made your brain rattle. Finally, the last part of the loop greated you with another uphill section, short downhill, and then gradual uphill back to the dirt road where you rode along for about a quater mile before hitting the woods again.

The first two laps for me were a blur. I was riding in the second pack and we were moving. It wasn't until the third lap that I really found myself alone. I can't say that it was a bad thing, though, as for the first time I was able to concentrate on nutrition. The first two laps were so fast I really didn't get much of an opportunity to hydrate and fuel. Also, being that I was still getting a feeling for the course, I really didn't know where I would have an opportunity to grab a bottle before things got hairy on the trail again. Anyhow, lap 3 was where I finally got into my own little zone and raced my own race.

After this things were tough. Adreniline was beginning to wear off, and the fact that I'd be out there for quite a while longer began to settle in. I began passing some riders, and started to worry that I was going too hard. I'd worn my HR monitor and things were staying relatively aerobic, so I felt I was in a good way. Then the fifth lap came. For the next two laps I was in the biggest pain cave I've ever been in. This wasn't bonking. This wasn't cramping. This was all out hurt! I could feel my stomach starting to turn, and every muscle in my body ached. My eyes were burning and even my toenails hurt. I starting cramping to the point where I was terrified to get off the bike. I did whatever it took and eventually things got back on track. By the Seventh lap I was euphoric. Things were getting faster and felt smoother (though I'm sure they weren't), and I was moving well again. I wound up coming in before the time limit and set out for another lap. In the end I compiled approximately 81 miles and won my category (and technically the category above mine as well). Then subsequently spilled beer on myself at the finish:).

This was one of the best things I've ever done. It was painful in a way I've never experienced, and I'm very proud of what I was able to accomplish. Realizing that I have some potential is also something that is very satisfying as well as motivating. This certainly will be the first of many mountain bike races for me.

Things I learned yesterday:

1)Mountain biking is very fun, especially when you can suffer along friendly people for 6 hours and then drink some great beer afterward.

2)Specialized makes a damn fine shoe! I got a pair of the Pro mtb Specialized shoes two days before the race and thought it would be a great idea to wear them for the first time at the race (read: sarcasm). I can honestly say I don't have one complaint. Not one blister. Not one sore spot. I didn't even know they were there. Easily the best shoe I've ever worn-on the road or the trails.

3)Nutrition is king! I know that's obvious, but I had a plan, I stuck to it, and it worked. I don't think I could have done any better, and training for long distance triathlon was my secret weapon. Without the knowledge I've gained in that area, I'd have no clue on how man cals/hour I needed to keep my body moving.

4)Know the rules! As I came in from what I thought was my final lap, the clock was under 6 hours, and therefore I was allowed back out for another lap. Had I read the rules I would have been better prepared for the final lap, and could possibly have turned in a better time. In the end it didn't mean much this time around, but in the future that might mean more.

5)And finally, I'm tougher than I thought. I know everyone says this when the do something hard, but I found a new level of suffering yesterday and I'm elated. Hurt that bad builds you, not only as an athlete but as a person. I'm stronger in every way for the pain I endured yesterday.

And that's it! Can't wait to do more of this endurance mtb'ing!!! Leadville anyone!!!???

6 Hour Mountain Bike Race Report

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back on the bike

Great day today. I've been a bit under the weather the past couple days and seemed to have turned a corner today. I woke up still feeling kinda "eh", but after a little ride today I'm feeling back to normal.

I got a great sleep last night, thanks to my friend Mr. Nyquil, and it showed on the bike today. I've had a lot of trouble sleeping (which may be one of the major issues I've been having with feeling well), so I'm happy to have gotten in a solid 8 or 9 hours last night.

The actual ride went very well. After a pretty crap warmup, I was able to put together a pretty solid session on the road. Originally we had decided to do some course recon today, but my schedule didn't allow for it. Tomorrow will wind up being the day I get to the race course and check things out on two wheels.

As the weekend draws closer, I'm getting more and more excited for the opportunity to race again. Like I've said, this is something totally new to me, so it'll be nice to see what I can do. I really don't have any expectations because I really just don't know what to expect! The only thing I can say is that I'm gonna "play to win the game" as Herman Edwards once said. Why else bother showing up?:)

The rest of today will be dedicated, again, to resting and recouping. I'm gonna get some healthy food in, do some yoga, read, and hopefully turn in early again. Tomorrow isn't too demanding of a day work-wise, so that should be nice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No riding = not fun

Been forced off the bike and generally from exercise the past couple days. Being sick sucks, but being sick for a race sucks more. I started feeling a little sick on friday, and trudged through the weekend, probably not making things better. By yesterday I was really feeling it. Luckily most, actually all, of the symptoms are above the neck, so I'm thinking it's nothing serious. Still, I prefer to be rested and healthy heading into this weekend, so I'm sitting on my bum for the last two days.

In a lot of ways this two days of imposed rest is long overdue. Since the tri season concluded by all means and purposes for me after my last XTERRA race at the end of August, I've been training daily. I don't think I took a complete day off, even though I should have. I did the same thing at the conclusion of last year and it wound up biting me in the arse with a string of injuries that plagued me this season-all running related by the way:(. So, while it's incredibly boring to sit back with your feet up all afternoon, it's needed in every way.

For the race, I know I've mentioned this before, but I super excited. It's a kind of nervous energy that I haven't had since before my first tri. The element of heading into unknown waters is really intoxicating. Though you never know what to expect from any race, heading into a new discipline is exciting and freightening at the same time. It's gonna be awesome and I can't wait to suit up and get out there on Saturday!


Was able to put together some strong weeks of training-stongest on the bike probably-but now I'm a bit wasted. I'm tired, feeling on the verge of still being sick, and generally just...blah. Time to listen to the body a bit and chill out for the time. With the big 6 hour mtb race this weekend, I want to be anything but over-tired when I toe the line. Speaking of which, this is going to be an interesting start to my mountain bike racing career. As this is my first race, I'll be with the cat 3's. This isn't a bad thing, but the fact that we're starting in the last of 3 waves, I'll really have to hit it from the start and try to get into the singletrack first. Obviously this is what you want to do, but I'll also have to fight through the cat 2's that will certainly create a bottle-neck of their own. To remedy this situation, my buddy Brian who will be in the first wave with the rest of the pros, suggested that I get off the bike 'cross style and run alongside the trail to pass people. Good plan and I'm gonna stick to it. Anything to get to the front!

Otherwise today is just going to be an easy swim. I was hoping to get out on the mtb for a hot 60 minute lap of my fav trail, but I think it's better just to stick to the plan and swim. Even the swim will likely be cut down a bit to keep my body and mind fresh for this weekend. I'm just at the point of either getting sicker or totally healthy, so there's no need to push it now.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Race That Wasn't

First 'cross race was yesterday and I didn't even make the start line. As a matter of fact, I didn't even make it to the race venue. I woke up feeling like crap yesterday and thought it best to play the rest of the day by ear. The race wasn't until 2pm, so I had some time to come to an intelligent decision-which is kinda like an oxymoron for me:O). Anyway, after spending the early morning at work, I, and my coach, came to the decision that it wasn't a good thing to race all out when I was feeling less than good.

I think the sicky feeling I had yesterday was a culmination of doing too much on too little sleep and not enough food. I have to admit that when I don't actively think about it, I forget to eat. It's not that I'm not hungry, I just get so busy and occupied with what I'm doing that I forget to fuel the fire. I'll work on it, but it was certainly evident in the fact that I felt like garbage yesterday and got a double migrane in the middle of the week. Gotta remember that it's not just training, but recovery as well that's important.

Looking forward now, the missing of the race isn't the biggest deal in the world. There are about 4 more cross races localy in which I plan to compete, as well as my first 6 hour mtb race this coming Saturday. Honestly I'm most excited for the mtb race, but cross should be fun as well. The mtb race will be a good test of where I am against other riders, and cross will be fun to just crush myself and give an excuse for drinking good Belgian beer:).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Band of Hell

...And I'm not talkin about some death metal band. My shoulders and lats are WORN OUT thanks to some evil work in the pool today. The source of which, you ask??? A blown out bicycle tube tied in a knot around my ankles. Holy crap did that hurt! All a good hurt though, and one that will hopefully put me to bed somewhat early tonight!

Speaking of sleep, since Anne's gone home and the clocks have switched, I've not been sleeping all that well. I can't seem to fall asleep easily, and when I do it's two hours after I originally laid down. Add to that the fact that I wake up super early every day (usually around 4:30am), and you have a recipie for trouble. My body let me know yesterday as I had two migranes, back to back, before I even got home from my afternoon clients. Not good, but it just lets me know I need to take better care of myself.

Tomorrow is another swim, though I don't know when I'll manage to get it in, and perhaps a bike. I'm suppossed to run, but the urge just isn't there. I think it has something to do with all the injury problems I've had of late. It seems like every time I run, it's just another issue. My feet seem to be giving up on me, and I'm scared with every step I take. I've tried support shoes, neutral shoes, and even no shoes (vibram's), and don't seem to be having any success. Though I do have to say that the less shoe I wear (on the trails at least), the more resiliant I seem to be. It might be that I'm running for less time wearing the minimal shoes, or it could be that it just forces correct form and function of the foot. Whatever the case, I'll get it back, but at the same time I'll be weary of my feet and take the proper precautions. For now it'll be all dirt, all the time. No roads until I can get a handle on running on the softer surfaces without issues.

On another note, I'm very close to purchasing a camera so that I can include some picture and video updates. Most of the "cooler", more read blogs include them, and it's only natural that people want to see pics of what they're reading about. Now I'm not desperate for readership (I only write this blog for my own record of what I'm doing, though I do enjoy knowing that people are interested in what I'm doing-Thank you!!!), I just want to add some entertainment for the people that DO read this blog. I have a ridiculously awesome life and it would be great to share the things I do in video/picture form.

Basically I'm looking for something that can record video as well as take still shots. I'd love to get some sort of a helmet cam for my rides, but at the same time need said cam to have the ability to take some quality still shots. I'd say that the priority is video over still pic, but I want the most bang for my buck because I don't have a lot of bucks to spend! If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Little cheating...

Cheated a little today and rode my mtb instead of taking a rest day as instructed. My excuse is this: There really aren't very many beautiful days left for riding before the snow comes, and today was one of those great, sunny, and crisp fall days that are great for riding. So I suited up, grabbed my bike, and set off.

I actually wound up having one of the greatest rides I've ever had. The weather, like I said, was perfect, and I wore my HR monitor to keep me in check. Average HR was 144, and with over 2000 feet of climbing (I know it doesn't sound much but all the climbing is short and sharp. We're talking like 45 degree inclines and such) that's not too shabby. I had to be concious enough to keep it down, but the fact that I was able to actually ride on a trail that is considered to be the toughest around here is a tribute to my technical skills advancing. I've seen my effeciency on the road increase over time, but nowhere is it more important than on the mtb. Becoming effecient has been a process, but I'm amazed at just how efficient I know am. It's gonna be one hell of a season coming up for sure!

This weekend is the first 'cross race of the season for me, not to mention my first 'cross race EVER!:) In all honesty, I'm not overly geeked out about it, but I'm sure I'll get into 'race mode' as the day approaches. I don't quite know what to expect so maybe that's part of my lack of enthusiasm. I'll get up for it I'm sure-I have a knack for getting psyched at the startline.

Otherwise things are just moving along. I'm literally counting the days until I see Anne again. Still more than a month off, but if things go as planned it'll be around Christmas time. In the meantime it's just work, training, sleep, work, traing, sleep, repeat. I'm hoping for a late winter this year as I'm not quite ready to give up my trails to the snow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ride! Ride! Ride!

Recently, there hasn't been much in the way of exercise and training that gives me more joy than riding my bike. I think embracing the "turning of the pedals" has really got my engine going. I've always known that I enjoyed being on two wheels, but being able to explore the different disciplines within cycling has allowed me to see just how awesome and beautiful it ALL is! Mountian biking is of course my favorite, but being on the 'cross bike, the road bike, and even that wonderful and tourturous track bike is just something special. The whrrrr of the tires on the trails and roads, the fluidity of the pedal stroke (and actually having an efficient one!), the wind pushing you (or slowing you down, or making you go sideways:)) all makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Enough with the "romanticism" stuff, but just had to get it out there. Yesterday was one of the best mountain bike rides I've ever had. The only thing that I'd say would beat it was riding in Wales with Anne. Road some pretty techy trails for only 3 hours, but it was pure bliss. Legs felt great, mind was clear, and things just flowed. I found that zone where everything else around you is just like a mist and the only focus in the world you have is on what is coming at you. It's like a heightened sense of awareness that just makes you react. I've never ridden so smoothly and could have just kept going forever.

As far as nutrition was concerned, I think I've finally got a hold on it. It's interesting when your on a mtb, particularly on all these rocky and rooty trails, to get your nutrition right. Obviously, as your skills become more sound and you learn the trails, you know when you can get away with taking a swig from your bottle or a gel from you pocket. Unlike the road, you can't just eat and drink when you need it. I can't tell if this is actual or not, but I'm starting to think that my body is adapting to going a bit longer without nutrition when I'm not able to provide it because of the ride. Whatever the case, I'm feeling more confident in the fact that I'll be ok for the 6 hour race when the time comes. The trails for the race are much less technical, so there will be plenty of opportunity for me to eat and drink.

Today is a road ride and it's coooold out there. I like that my coach has set up this ride the day after the longer mountain bike ride as I really feel like it helps me recover from the trails. No matter how you slice it, you're always gonna be beat up a bit more after a mountain bike ride, so getting out there on the smooth road and only worrying about pedaling and effeciency is a relief. It also serves to keep the trails and the mtb fresh for me. I would hate to be stuck in a burnout-rut because I overdid something that I like so much.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Out Gangstered

For the most part, I've lead a pretty honest life. I've never really stolen anything from anyone, save for some baseball cards from my buddies when I was a kid maybe. I don't make a habit of lying. And I'm definitely not the cheating type. I'd like to think of myself as loyal and honest. What happened today really pissed me off, but made me realize that for the few suspect things I've done in my life, Karma is a bitch!

I went to see the Leadville 100 race movie, Race Across the Sky, last night. When I went to use my debit card at the theater, it was denied. Now I'm not a rich man, but I knew for a fact that I'd just deposited $200 cash earlier that day, and that the $12 ticket should be covered no problem. Alas, the card was declined and my wallet had to get lighter by a couple bills. Thinking this was strange, I went to the bank this morning to find that my card had been stolen, and some little (or more likely BIG) shit went on a mini shopping spree to, of all places, Shopright and Pathmark with my card. Now nothing against those fine shopping outlets, but really? Shopright and Pathmark? At least get something good for your money! Go to the liquor store, Best Buy, or hell, even the adult store! Just get something for my money other than groceries!:) Simply put, someone had stolen my gangsta!

Anyway, I'll get the money back, and I have a new card, but it really made me wonder. After being inspired seeing all the good there is in the world through the Leadville 100 film, it was dashed after some punk scum stole my card. I guess that's the world we living in and the only thing you can do is continue to be good and honest. Be the bigger person, but don't get taken advantage of.

On another note, I got out and did some 'cross practice yesterday. I had a terrific swim in the morning and was dying to get out in the rain and mud to play on my bike. One thing I learned is that although all the pros and elites make dismounting and mounting look easy and fluid, the shit is hard! I'm great at the dismount, but running with the bike and remounting is tough stuff to do smoothly. Add that to the ground being less than perfectly flat (as it might be in the transition area at a tri), and you have the perfect recipie for a momentum suck, or better yet, a silly and embarrassing crash. After about a million reps, I finally started to get the hang of it. Dismounting, running over the barriers, and remounting started to get more fluid. I'm still a long way off of looking like I know what I'm doing, but I was still pretty psyched to actually "fly" through the air and land on my bike while finding the pedals and pedaling away. More work to get done, but it's a good start nonetheless.

Today is a swim and a run, though the swim won't be happening because the pool is closed. Disapointed really, but I'll get it done tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Back in the saddle

Back on the bike today. If there's one thing that I've realized this off-season (thought it's really been anything but and "off" season), it's that I LOVE riding my bike. I don't just mean love, I mean it's like my favorite thing to do! (unless of course you count spending time with Anne-nothing quite comes close to that:)). But it's really incredible how much I love spending time on two wheels and how much better at it I've become over the last few months.

I'd say that my desire to ride so much comes from the different disciplines of cycling that I've been exploring. When I was just riding on the road things became monotonous-boring to be more precise. It's not that I have anything against it-I've even seen a "rebirth" in my own desire to ride pavement in the last couple weeks-but it's just that there isn't quite the same feeling as riding on dirt. It's entirely a personal preference and I'm sure that many people feel exactly the opposite of how I do, but there's just something about having to use more balance and technique to stay upright that just gets me. Also, falling off the bike hurts much, much less than when you go SPLAT! on pavement.:)

Tomorrow it's back in the pool and out for a run that I was suppossed to do today. I'm hoping I can replicate the feeling on the bike I had today in the water tomorrow. The run might be a "bring a pup" run as I spent more time with my bike today than Lucky. Sorry puppy!

Whatever it is, I'm enjoying my time on the bike(s), and can't wait to compete in some stand alone bike races.

Today was a great afternoon on the bike. I was scheduled to ride about 90 mins with some interval sessions followed by easier efforts. I finished the 90 minutes and didn't want to get off the I didn't. Probably rode somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hours (including an errand I had to run), though I didn't keep track. Kinda pulled a Forest Gump out there today: "When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to know, I went." Just one of those days. I started out with one bottle of nutrition, and wound up stoping to fill it up with coke and water a couple times. Just spent time with me, the bike, and the road. And the best part is, I finished feeling like a little kid, grinning ear to ear.

The "errand" actually consisted of finalizing the sale of one of my old bikes. Being that I have WAY TOO MANY, I've been trying to unload as much as I can. This particular one was very gently used and had just been sitting in my workshop (read: kitchen) for over a year. I wound up selling it to a good guy just getting into cycling, thereby furthering the growth of the sport and securing some extra room in my I have a ton more stuff to go from wheelsets, a tt carbon frame, and countless other bike-related things, so if you're on the lookout for anything bike, drop me an email and I'll see if I have it. If I do I'll give you a good price and we'll both be happy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rest Day

I hate rest days. Nothing to do makes me nuts. Sure there's work and "real life" stuff to get done, but not exercising in some way makes me crazy-like a caged animal....So I rode my mtb for an hour to get out and do something:).

Just an easy one today, probably around an hour, but it was nice to get out in the trails for a bit. I put together a couple days of good work, with a great swim session yesterday, so this was my "active" recovery session for the week.

It amazes me (and probably one of the biggest reasons I love to ride mountain bikes) how different the same trail can be from one day to the next. Today was only my second time riding the particular trail I rode, and it was just completely different than what I remembered it to be. Sure getting to know the trail intimately takes a bit of time, but with the leaves on the ground and the sunlight in a different way, it was a completely different riding experience. Good times.:)

Tomorrow I'm on the schedule for a trail run and a road ride. If the weather is nice, I might replace the road ride with a trail ride either on the mtb or the 'cross bike. We'll see. Actually, since there's rain in the forecast for later this week, it might be better to save the 'cross bike until then. Nothing like REAL 'cross conditions to practice in!

Speaking of 'cross, I've got some fun races coming up. On the 13th of this month, I'll have my first 'cross race ever! Looking forward to the experience and trying not to make a fool of myself. Got the 'cross bike dialed in (as of yesterday-still waiting for some new rubber though) and can't wait to get it dirty. The week after that is the Something Wicked Events 6 Hours of Cathedral Pines 6 hour mtb race. This will be my first ever stand alone mtb race. I can't say that I don't have high expectations, but I'll take it as it comes. It's not going to be all about speed (though that will certainly help), so it'll be interesting. Also, it's on a rather non-techy course. I'm very good on the technical stuff but I think that my road riding background will help here. Most importantly, I want my nutrition to be spot on. Coming from long distance tri gives me a leg up on a lot of the other "newbies" that will be there so I'll have that card to play. No matter what I'm sure it'll be a great experience and I'll learn a ton in 6 hours. After that there are some more 'cross races, as well as the local 'cross series here that I'm really looking forward to. All in all a lot of time on the bike this winter and I'm looking forward to it! Nothing like strengthening your strength!:)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Good last couple days

Last couple days have been good both on the training front and on the work front. Busy busy at work which means running around like a psycho getting stuff done. Not bad though as I'd rather be busy than not. Training-wise, things have also been good. I think I jumped back into training a bit too much intensity, and it bit me. Slowing it down a bit though (read: listening to your coach) has allowed me to feel better. I'm right about where I should be for this time of year. Swimming a bit, cycling a lot:), and running sometimes.

Got in a great ride yesterday with a guy I met at the trail and his son. I had posted the ride I was going to do yesterday (3 hours aerobic and chill) on the local mountain biking website. I only got one response so I didn't know what to expect. Anyway, Greg and his son Ben showed up and we rode together. At first I have to say that I was pretty bummed not to be able to ride at my usual pace, but after a bit, I actually enjoyed the liesurely pace. I was still able to ride hard and loop back on them after doing some of the optional singletrack, so I was able to push hard and then rest whilst riding with them. A little bit more of an interval workout than anything else, but it was still fun and still great to be out in the woods all afternoon:).

Getting ready to hit the road in a few minutes, but just waiting for the sun to come up. It's coooold so I'm gonna have to bundle up a bit, but will have a reward waiting when I get out to breakfast with some friends. Then it's on to watch the Jets game this afternoon and hopefully meet someone who wants to have a look at buying my 29er. I'm on the fence about selling it, but if the price is right... We'll see anyway.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just plain tired and why the WTC is sucking the life out of triathlon...

Kind of a long post title today. I'm in that kinda "cranky" mood anyway so screw it. Didn't sleep much last night so I guess I'm gettin' my 2 year old on right now. Training was tough today (from a 'getting up for it' standpoint) and compounded by the fact that I didn't have a car for the day. My old, but faithful Jeep is in the shop with some heat gauge issues. Not sure exactly what it is, but hopefully it can get sorted. You never realize how out of whack things can get when you don't have the convience of a car until you no longer have it. Sure you can get by without it, but it just takes a bit more planning.

Anyway, training was training today and that is it. Nothing special. No big breakthroughs, just got it in and got it done.

On the otherhand, I'm absolutely shocked by what the WTC is doing with this Ironman Access crap. I mean, really? You're not making enough money already? You need to charge people more money just to charge them more money? After having an insider's view of how pros are treated this year, I'm fed up. It's not bad enough that you have a stranglehold on the people who actually make a LIVING off this sport, pimping them like two dollar hookers, but you have to further squeeze the wallets of the people who already pay thousands on a single race? Sure they'll say that race entries are "only" 600 bucks, but when you factor in the travel, hotels, and hundreds spent on overpriced M-dot wear at the expo, your total starts to easily hover around the 4 digit mark. Furthermore, I'm sure the WTC will say that Ironman Access is only an option and not mandatory. Don't let that fool you. You put a brand new carbon fiber bike in front of any age grouper and tell them it's "just an option" and see what happens. Before you know it, you'll have a few thousand bucks in your pocket and they'll be riding off with a hunk of carbon between their legs. My point is that you're telling a bunch of type A, overachievers that they can have an advantage on the next guy (whether it's racing or getting into a race) and they'll bite straight away. The WTC knows this and they have choosen to exploit it.

In a lot of ways the WTC reminds me of the young kids I used to coach. They pushed the limits, looked at how you reacted, and then pushed some more when they realized they could get away with it. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning. To me, the true spirit of triathlon is being threatened by this behavior. Fortunately, series like Challenge and Rev3 will continue to get a strong following when people realize that Ironman isn't the end-all-be-all of long distance triathlon. I just hope that the smaller, more intimate races aren't swalled up by the machine. I haven't been in this sport for long, but from what I can see, the grassroots races are what it's all about. Keep them and you'll have racers for life. Cut them out, give someone a bad experience at a race that seems bigger then life (and more expensive then it as well), and you'll turn off more people than you can imagine before the starting gun sounds.

All of this is probably trivial as I'm sure numbers rule the game. When one person complains, the guy or gal right behind him is just as willing to lay down the cash and take their place in the machine that is WTC and Ironman. All I can say is that all this debate between WTC and the smaller organizations is like trying to be environmentally concious. All you can do is what you think is right and hope that you're making a difference. If enough people think the same way, the boat will lean that way and the course will be determined. Register for races with your heart and not with dollars in mind. An Ironman is made by distance, not by M-dot.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2 hour road bike and new MTB review!!! (finally!)

Today was rainy, humid, and muggy. Not exactly October weather here in the northeasten US, but it is what it is. On the schedule for today was a simple 90 minute ride with 5 x 5 minutes of 350-360 watts. The rest was to be done at around 200 whats with some easier efforts between intervals. Nothing crazy, but easy nonetheless. Of course easy with me is never exactly easy:).

This morning my car had some issues so I wound up riding by bike to work. Nothing big, but just something else to get in the way of things going smoothly. Anyway, after riding home, I set up my Powertap wheel on the bike only to realize it's batteries were dead. Awesome. Finally, I decided to just get out there, rain and all, and just ride. Felt pretty good actually to do a "real" workout without a powermeter. I've been a slave (in a good way) to the thing for the better part of the last 6 months and I definately grew tired of watching numbers and getting frustrated if I couldn't reach what was prescribed. I suppose at that time you should be disciplined enough to realize that the workout is probably over for you, but I'm stubborn so I often would push through and absolutely crush myself. I have a feeling that's why I had a less than optimal season this past summer. Anyway...

So out on the road today things felt good. Mtbing has made me into such a powerful and efficient cyclist it's amazing. I'm faster and stronger on the road than I've ever been, and my bike handling skills are off the charts. I was able to ride today without ever touching the ground with my feet-I know that sounds funny but what I mean is that I never had to unclip at lights. I can hold a track stand for however long, and when the light turns green I'm off. So cool... The workout was strong and I was happy with the efforts. Also I forgot how much fun riding in the rain can be (minus cleaning your bike afterwards). All in all a good day. I was supposed to do a run today as well, but in all honesty just didn't feel like it. I didn't sleep much last night and didn't want to push it. I think, and coach would probably agree with me, that there's really no need to push it at this point in the season. I'm not lacking motivation, I just honestly didn't feel like running. It'll come though I'm sure.

OK, so on to the long aticipated mtb review!!! So, I got a 26 inch bike that will be my primary bike heading into next season. I was really on the fence about going with the 26 inches over the 29er I had been riding, but hopefully the following will explain my decision.

My Old ride: Gary Fisher Xcaliber 29er Hardtail (don't know the year but I think it's a 2008)
I got this bike primarily as a crappy weather winter training/fun bike. It was originally built up as a rigid singlespeed, but this season as I entered my first XTERRA race in August, I decided to invest some cash in it and build it into a geared bike with a Rock Shox REBA SL fork. I got some decent components, stuck with the mechanical brakes, and swapped in a Deore crankset. Also, I went tubeless with the tires, using Stan's Notubes inside Hutchinson Python tires. All together, it's a pretty solid rig. Not the lightest, but just about raceworthy.
The biggest thing I have to say about 29ers is that you can't beat the ride. It may not be the fastest bike in all situations, but when it gets rolling you feel like you could easily suck up any loose rocks, bumpy roots, or sandy stretches with no problem. Simply put, the bike inspires a lot of confidence. It corners decently, but looses a lot in the way of acceleration. Here on Long Island we have a lot of tight and twisty singletrack. Loads of fun, but in many ways hard to close the gap on when riding a 29er with friends riding 26er's. Nonetheless, it's the bike I basically learned to ride on, and I still love it.

My New Ride: 2010 Trek 8000
This bike is amazing in every way. After Anne and I rode in Afan forrest in Wales a couple weeks ago (when I rode a 26 inch bike for the first time), I knew my riding style suited at 26er better than it did a 29er. I've grown very aggressive as my skills have progressed, and I enjoy the nimbleness of a smaller wheel. With the Trek, the steering is so precise I found myself more often than not oversteering, being used to having to overcompensate with the 29er. Also, being able to have a lower center of gravity allows you to take corners at much higher speeds than the 29er. Controlled drifting in tight turns is much more predictable than on a 29er. I can literally predict just how much I'm going to slide both wheels before I loose traction-something I don't think I could do as easily on the 29er. Acceleration is instant as well. Simply put, you pedal, you go. There's no waiting for the bike to "get up to speed". Granted, to keep momentum you need to keep pedaling, but that's something you have to do anyway. Climbing is much much better. I now they say that 29er's climb well, but in my experience, I've found the Trek to climb like a billygoat. The short but ridiculously steep climbs that we have here are no problem for the 26 inch wheels where I had to struggle at times with the 29er. On that same hand, decending can be a bit trickier when faced with the loose stuff and larger obstacles (roots and such), but as your skills progress that becomes less of an issue. And finally, having less bike underneath you makes tight switchbacks and jumping obstacles as easy as riding a BMX bike. Ok, well maybe not quite that easy, but you get the picture.
The components on the Trek 8000 are equally impressive. You've got a Shimano XT groupset-light and responsive, and Avid Hydraulic Brakes as well as a Rock Shox Reba Fork. All in all a super fast race bike that is durable enough to train on, and light enough to race on:). Basically everything I could ask for! Speaking of the brakes, I'd have to say that aside from the wheel size and overall handling of the bike, these are the biggest difference I've noticed. I have mechanical brakes on my 29er that seem to take all day to stop. I've gotten used to it and adjusted, but in riding the new bike, I see what all the fuss is about. Hydraulic brakes are rediculously responsive and powerful, alowing you so much more freedom to brake aggersively or lightly with just the use of your index finger. Crazy!

So, with all that, I have to say that I'm a much bigger fan of the 26 inch wheel than I am of the 29. Maybe it's the fact that I haven't ridden one of the "top" 29ers, or that I ride mostly tight and windy singletrack, but the traditional wheel just seems to be the right choice for racing. With that said though (and maybe I'm backing myself up a bit in saying this ), I have no doubt that there are situations where the 29er has it's advantages over the 26er, as well as those where the 26er is supreme over the 29er. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't believe there is one "end all, be all bike". Terrain, riding style, course, and enjoyment are what really must be considered when choosing which to ride. I'm happy that I'm lucky enough to have both, and I'll certainly ride the hell out of them-just probably the 26er much more:)
*Blogger's note: A couple of days ago Conrad Stoltz KILLED Maui on a Specialized 29er! Maybe they're not all that bad after all:)
*Oh, and sorry I didn't post pics with this post, my camera sucks and I'm too broke to buy a new one right now.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

2 hour road ride

I'm loving this time of year. The fall colours are beautiful, and the air is crisp and comfortable. I've been spending more time in the trails than on the roads lately, but today I got out the old road bike and put in some easy miles. I had intended on doing a club ride today, but because of some legistical stuff, it didn't quite work out. Heading out on my own for a little was all I needed though.
I'm really happy with the efficiency mtbing has given me. Not only am I pretty fast on the dirt now, but climbing on the road bike has taken on an entirely new ease. I had always thought of myself as a relatively strong cyclist, but it's a whole different ball game now. Riding so many different kinds of bike lately has really given me the skills that I imagine "true" cyclists to possess. I'm not saying that triathletes don't have riding skills, but its not all that hard to ride alone at a set pace when no one is around you and no rocks or roots are getting in your way:). "Hard" is a relative term of course as it is certainly a hard thing to put down a blazing bike split over any distance triathlon. All I'm saying is that I've gained a wealth of knowledge and skill by spicing things up.
On the schedule after the ride today was a run, but coach and I have decided to forgo that. Each time I run lately I seem to pick up some new niggle and I'm getting unbelievably frustrated. On the last run my achillies and arch (on the same side) gave me pain. It's almost like I'm made of glass! Guess I'm just getting old:).
For the rest of today I plan on doing a little yardwork, eating:), and watching the XTERRA World Championships on the web this afternoon. My Jets are off this weekend and the Giants don't play until tomorrow. Not like I'm a Giants fan but at least it's a New York team to watch!
Also, I'll have the review of my new bike vs. my old bike up relatively soon. I've had some delays in trying to figure out how to upload photos with my new camera/cell phone. Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

MTB: 50 miles

Ok, so it was more like 48.5. It still kicked my ass. Rode for about 3 hours and had a blast doing it. Have to admit that the time flew by much faster than it does on the road. Also, I was happy that I was still able to go fast and still stay upright in the very technical sections of the trail even after I got tired. I'm getting more effecient as a mountain biker and it shows. No spills today.
I'm still amazed at the difference in bikes. My 29er was very "flowy", but not real quick out of the corners. While it took me a little bit to get used to it, the 26er is much must faster and manuverable. The shorter wheel base allows for tighter turns and getting through switchbacks like you stole something. The biggest difference I notice between how to actually ride each bike is that it's very easy to oversteer when going from the big wheels to the smaller ones. Just evidence that every move on a 29er needs to be exaggerated. In the end I'm still happier to be riding a 26, so much so that I'm putting my 29er up for sale. Nothing personal, just business:).
The review is still coming so sit tight. I'm just a bit smashed from riding hard today. Tomorrow is a road ride that should have my legs feeling better by the end.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Just a quick update:

Training started again for me today with a bit of...well one of those sneaky, weak farts. The kind that just sort of squeak out. Excuse the vulgarity, but that's just how I feel. Had a swim and run on tap for today, but got to the pool to find it closed, then hurt my achillies and arch on the run. Not exactly I wanted to start my assault on the 2011 season:).

I got to sneak in a little mtbing as well, so that made me feel better. I invested in a new bike which I will review in detail very soon. Basically I did the opposite of what everyone in mountain biking is doing-I went from a 29er to a 26er. Why you ask? Because I like to party:). In actuallity, I rode a 26er in Wales and loved it. The 29er I was riding was slow and felt like handling a Mack truck while the 26er's feel much more nimble and responsive. I'm not going to get into it now (gotta save something for the review!), but I've very happy with the change and super excited with my purchase. As I said, I'll have a SUPER detailed review with pics and all soon so stay tuned! Happily though, I have a great bike to race XTERRA with this upcoming season!

Heading to bed a bit early tonight so that tomorrow's training might take better shape:). Stay tuned for the 26er vs. 29er review in the next day or so...Pics as well! Promise!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back Home

Safe to say this is the most dissapointed I've ever been to be home. I had the time of my life in England with the most beautiful girl I've ever laid eyes on:). I could write all the details of the trip at length, but in the interest of not boring any readers, I'll stick to the basics.

Getting off the plane was like being shot out of a rocket for the week. Straight from Heathrow we drove out to see Anne's uncle race is mini. Unbelieveable how cool it is to see a little car like a Mini fly around the track surrounded by bigger Mustangs and BMW's. From what I heard, his Mini goes 70mph in first gear! Amazing!!!

From the track it was home to get changed and then off to Anne's sister-in-law Natalie's 40 birthday celebration. Again, great time! It was formal (I actually had to wear a tux and was able to tie a REAL bowtie!) so added a fun little aspect to the mix. We had a great time, some of which is a bit fuzzy from all the pints I had:), and stayed out quite late.

The next couple days were spent catching up with Anne's family and just enjoying the beautiful English countryside. It's amazing just how beautifully green it is there. I tease Anne about the crappy English weather, but it's obvious that it does its job. I absolutely loved the long walks we'd take with the dogs. Amazing.

Now the crazy fun starts!!! Anne had set up some time for us to ride at a velodrome in Newport, Wales. I'd never been on one so to say I was intimidated was an understatement. Couldn't let her know that though:). We did a two hour, coached session that was some of the most fun I've ever had on two wheels. It's pretty easy to get the knack of it, and once you have the confiidence you can really fly. I really enjoyed a little "scratch" race we did and could easily see myself joining up and racing if the opportunity was there.

The following day, we went to Afan forrest to ride mtb's. Again, having never ridden on an actual "Mountain", I was a little nervous, but still confident. I had the absolute time of my life!!! Anne's friend Ian, who owns a bike shop in Cardiff, Wales and had ridden on the national team for the Commenwealth games (so obviously the dude knows his stuff!), had described the trails as some of the best mountainbiking he's ever done, if not THE best! I think he's spot on! The singletrack was amazing and the views were breathtaking. There's nothing like climbing up one side of the mountain and then smiling your ass off while screaming down the other side on sweet flowing singletrack. I had a couple of "pee in your pants" moments on the way down, but that's just how I ride and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way!

From a couple nights in Wales it was on to London to another family party. It's safe to say that London is my favorite city in the world. The history, the people, the architecture-you name it, I absolutely love everything about the city. After living in New York I insisted that I never wanted to live in a big city again, but in all honesty, I could definitely make my way in London. The party was fun (Anne's brother's partner's 30th), the company was great, and spending time with my Anne in an awesome city was like bliss!:)

So that's the trip in a nutshell. It's been back to work for the last few days and getting rid of the jetlag. Training starts up again soon so I'll just enjoy this time and work my ass off so that I can get back to England asap. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Headin' across the pond...

Headin' over to England to spend some time with Anne today. As I write this I literally NEED to be packing, but, being my procrastinating self, I like to leave things until the very last minute. What fun would life be if you didn't provide yourself with the last minute stress of neededing to do a thousand and one things in enough time to only do one hundred?:)

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to the trip and of course spending the time with my Anne, but I'm a little nervous to fly. Never been nervous before, but with all the terror threats going on right now, I'm a little edgy. However, A) If I DON'T fly, terror wins, and B) If you don't do something that scares you every once in a while (or every day in my case), how do you know you're really alive?

So that's it for about the next week and a half. We'll be having a blast and I'm sure getting in some riding and swimming while we're at it. Fun times ahead!!!!:) :) :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Keepin' Busy

Things just keep on moving along. Not much else since Anne's left for me other than working and riding my bike. A little running mixed in there for fun, but nothing over 45 minutes. I'm amazed at how easy it is to crush yourself when not under the guidence of a coach.

Since dropping out of the Ohio Rev 3 iron distance race, my season has effectively been over. Instead of trying to find another race to jump in to (if there was another XTERRA availible it would have been hard not to!), I decided instead to call it a season and spend more time with my girlfriend and enjoy life as a "normal" person rather than an overly obsessed triathlete:). Not that there's anything wrong with being an overly obsessed triathlete (I fully intend to return to my manic-triathlete-esque state), but I needed a bit of a break after working hard for the better part of the year. Call it burnout or whatever you want, the time had come for me to change focus for at least a little bit until I could get my head around spending a ton of time on my bike again. Not to mention, who the hell wants to ride a bike all the time when you could be spending time with a beautiful girl your crazy in love with...kind of a no brainer!

So anyway, since Anne's been gone, I've been riding and riding, and riding. While it's nice not to have an aim to the workout, it can also crush you too. I find that I ride VERY hard when I have no specific focus to my workout. I like to go fast and I like to ride at the edge of my abilities (on the mtb). Pushing the envelope like that can really be bad news, both in the form of crashing (which I've done plenty of-still having trouble moving my shoulder in certain ways:) though it hasn't effected my swim stroke!) as well as beating you down from over training. After riding hard on the mtb the last 3 days, my skills are super sharp but my legs are wasted. I'm having that "going up the stairs" tiredness going on. It's not the worst thing, I think, at this time to be feeling this way. While I'm sure it would take me out for next season if I kept training this way, I will be taking a break when I head to England this Friday, and I will be getting structure back in working with my coach, David when I return to the states as well. Besides, if I'm going to compete at XTERRA like I want to next year, I've gotta sharpen up my skills on the bike. Riding hard and pushing it like I am seems to have boosted my technique quite a bit. I'm amazed at the leve I can ride at this point and I know it's only going to continue to get better. I'll take the blood and crashes I've experienced so far, it's the only way to progress:).

The rest of this week before I leave Friday will be dedicated to crushing myself further. It might be dumb, but when I get on the plane on Friday evening I want to be completely exhausted. It'll be a good feeling heading into a bit of a break from training a lot to feel like I really need it. Maybe I'm hard-headed (maybe actually meaning "I am"), but I like the feeling I get from training out of my realm. I should rest, and I should relax, but I'm gonna have some fun no mattter what:).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Summer's over:(

Been a lot going on lately, but not much that I've felt was "blog-worthy". This summer was fantastic. Having Anne here was truly the best thing ever. Now that she's gone I realize how spoiled I was to have her all to myself all summer long! Boy do I miss her like crazy! And it's only been a few days since she's gone back to the UK!

So I've been doing a lot of mellow riding in the weeks since my last race. Mostly on the mtb, but I've started to incorporate some road riding as well. I'm shocked at how much my road riding has improved since I've gotten serious about mountain biking. My pedaling efficiency is off the charts. I find myself easily spinning up the short and steep hills around here. My mtb skills have also improved in leaps and bounds as well. I'm faster than I was just last month and my technical skills are getting better almost by the minute. I guess that's what I enjoy so much about it-there's so much skill involved. Not to say that road riding doesn't require skill, but the trails just throw so much at you. Rocks, roots, sand, mud, drops-you name it! And the best part is that they're constantly changing with the weather, the season, and with riding. Some days I'll notice that the rocks on a decent have moved from where they were the day before; a sandy patch is now tacky because of rain; and a short steep climb is now made even more difficult because it's all washed out from a storm. All of that added to the fact that I'm getting more and more capable of riding the rough stuff is why I'm addicted.

It's been great to train by feel for a bit lately, but I'm sure I'll be looking forward to more structured training coming later this winter. With the focus on XTERRA, I'm sure my coach will have me doing much more mtb specific work which will be loads of fun. I think the ironman training just took a little bit out of me. I've never been one for mind numbing stuff, and I just found that type of training to be dull. I'm not saying I won't go back to it, but for the time being it's just not for me. With that said, this coming season, as I've mentioned before will consist mainly of XTERRA races, a couple 70.3's thrown in for fun, and possibly some xc mtb races. I'm really keen to race my mtb and there are some good races in the area that might give me some good experience on the bike.

That's about all for now. I'm off to the UK in a week's time to see my Anne and I CAN'T WAIT!!! Until then it's just some more mellow rides, working as much as I can, and spending time with my doggie:). Good times ahead!!!