Saturday, October 29, 2011


Since it's snowy, rainy, cold, and just plain miserable today (not to mention the fact that I'm lazy and didn't have the desire to clean mud off my bike all afternoon), I decided to hit the old weights for the first time in a looong time.  To think I used to lift EVERY day back when I was in college is amazing.  I forgot how hard it was!  Moving weight fast, no matter how fit aerobically you are, is hard damn work!  Glad I did it, though I'm not all that excited about how sore I'm going to be for the next few days...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winds of Change

"My life got flipped turned upside down..."-Fresh Prince Intro.

I can easily say that the thirtieth year of my life has been, without a doubt, the hardest.  From an emotional standpoint, everything in my life has seemed to result in some form or another of stress.  In May I took a trip to Spain to see my then girlfriend.  After one day of being there I was super-sick (the kind where it's coming out both ends-I'll spare the details).  To make matters worse, we argued most of the time about things that now seem kind of trivial. And then, to put the icing on the cake, my proposal of marraige was turned down.  To put it simply, I left Spain with my tail between my legs, looking forward to getting home and concentrating on work and training throughout the summer.

I got home to a shit-storm at work.  A loyal client of mine left me to go with another trainer.  She had given me her word before I left that I had nothing to worry about, and that she was only training with this new trainer while I was gone. I was assured she'd pick up with me right where we left off when I returned from my trip.  Instead, through a text message no less, she informed me that she was no longer going to be working with me and that she hoped we could still be friends.  Yeah, ok, FUCK YOU.  Not only had I been denied by the love of my life, but now I was coming back home to what I thought would be the safety net of work, only to be betrayed by two people I trusted: my client and my co-worker.  I apologize for writing this, but both of them can go fuck themselves. 

So I figured that would be the end of it.  I was wrong.  The "safety net" of work became replaced by the safety net of training.  I poured everything I had into training hard and racing harder.  My races results were ok, but nothing spectacular.  Work dwindled, and I wound up having the worst summer financially that I've ever had as a trainer.  Sure this is more likely a result of the economy, but it still wasn't very confidence inspiring for my already shaky self esteem.  My last race of the season (not intended to be) literally took everything I had.  I wore myself down so bad that in the days after the race I had dizzyness and shortness of breath which prompted a doctors visit.  Being a hypochondriac I also began having panic attacks that gave me heart palpatations and tightness in my chest.  The doctors visit and test results didn't show I had any long term health issues, but I was severely fatigued and I believe so dehydrated that I caused some serious internal damage.  I pulled the plug and haven't raced or seriously trained since.  That was the beginning of August.

And then the true bomb dropped.  I got a call from my girlfriend in Spain.  In hindsight, I should've known something was up because she NEVER called me (we either skyped or texted), but when my cell phone rang and her number came up I was grinning ear to ear.  It had been quite a while since I'd heard her voice as the internet connectivity where she was nearly non-existent, and any time I heard from her my world got brighter.  This wasn't a "good" call though.  This was to be the last.  I was being dumped.  I guess the marriage proposal and the distance had proved to be too much.  I was completely blindsided.  My whole world came crashing down around me.  It was one of those moments in life where emotion is more painful than any physical act could ever be.  Even though she was thousands of miles away and we'd only seen each other twice in about 6 months, I felt alone for the first time since we'd met.

I'd never loved someone more intensely and this was the biggest let down of my life.  For the time that we were together I felt like I was moving forward with my life for the first time.  It was good to feel like I had some direction.  I was planning to move and join her in Spain.  With the breakup I felt lost.  I went from having everything somewhat figured out to complete isolation.  I had no starting point.  I managed to keep a cool profile from the outside, but inside I was a mess.  I started drinking a little more, riding a little less, and generally just not caring. Not good.

Fast forward to now.  I'm still not over everything that's happened, but things are looking like they're finally starting to turn for the better.  Work is still not what it once was, but it's getting better and I'm having fun just riding my big bikes and doing crazy stuff on the trails.  I'm not sure when the next time I'll race is, and it's honestly not a huge priority.  Getting my life on track right now is where I want my focus to be. I've got a bit of my motivation back and that's good.

I'm sorry if this is long winded.  I've never really spoken to anyone about what's been going on and I had to spit it all out.  I'm probably not going to reread this, so there are probably some mistakes.  I'm going to take a little "creative license" and write them off as being part of the writer expressing his emotions on the page (I think one of my creative writing professors said something like that once...). 

Thursday, October 20, 2011


In the last two weeks I've had about 7 crashes on the mountain bike.  I NEVER crash.  Maybe a couple dabs here and there, but NEVER anything big.  Once in a blue moon I'll go over the bars, just like everyone, but in the last year plus that I've been pretty exclusively riding in the dirt, I could count on one hand the number of crashes I'd had (and races don't count).

So last Tuesday while riding with a friend, I wiped out hard.  Real Hard.  The type of hard that takes you a minute to get up from.  The type that makes you kind of question exactly what the hell you're doing.  So there, I thought.  I got it all out of the way and it would be another year until I had another big one.  Wrong!

I can't recall all of the crashes, with the exception of the last one today, but damn if I'm not sore, covered in trail rash, and a little sketched out.  This crash today was a real brain-rattler.  I got launched of the bike after hitting a tree stump with my right pedal and landed directly on my head and shoulder.  My poor bike got thrown into a tree, and I bent the ti rails on my favorite saddle.  Otherwise no damage to the bike, but  my body is getting more sore and stiff as I type.

Anyway, it all could have been much much worse, but I think it's time to take a few days off the mountain bike and ride on the road with the crazy drivers where things are SAFE!

I've been thinking of why all these crashes are occurring and the one thing that they all point to is an improvement in skill.  That's right, I said improvement.  Given the fact that I ride quite a lot, my technical skills have gotten to the point where I push the limits A LOT more than I used to.  When I was strictly doing XC riding, I usually kept things pretty mellow-just get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.  Since I've taken my little hiatus from racing, and have been more interested in All Mountain/freeride stuff, I think my balls have grown.  Air is run.  Skinnies are fun.  And power sliding in sharp corners is REAL fun!

All this is to say that I need to be a little more calculated.  I don't mind the occasional crash here and there, but when it starts to become a daily thing, it's time to reconsider how I'm looking at lines.  I'm not 18 anymore for goodness sake!  I think I'll take a couple days off the trails and rediscover my road bike while I heal up.  Let's just hope I don't get hit by a car!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Not much new...

Not much new to report.  Have a few things brewing, but nothing worth talking about yet.  I think since I've stopped "formally" training and racing for the time being, I don't have much to write here.  Not that that's a bad thing, I just need to re-adjust my thinking.  It's been a long time (almst 25 years) since I've not been doing at least something competitive.  To be honest, it's kind of a relief.  My life has been stressful enough without having to worry about the added pressure of racing and training.  Right now, I just exercise for fun (which really means just ride my mountain bike a WHOLE LOT) and enjoy the days.  If I don't get a ride in-which is almost never-I don't beat myself up about it.  Life goes on and there's always tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Muddy Fun

I've said it before, but nothing beats riding a mountain bike in mud-not even 'cross.  Something about being able to go through streams on a bike and then cruise through sloppy mud with slick rocks and roots everywhere just makes me go a big soft one inside:).  Soooo much fun! 

Today was a nice easy 90+ minute ride in a steady rain on my favorite local trail.  Temps weren't quite cool enough, but they'll do.  The humidity here is still getting at me, but I'll take what today gave any day.  The rest of this week is going to be warmer, and I'm hoping to get in a nice little "road trip" this weekend with some friends to go and ride.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Couple of good rides

Coupla good rides the last couple days.  Both on the dirt and both nice and muddy.  I understand the appeal of 'cross racing, but it seems a little overblown when people talk about all the mud and rough conditions.  Seems like EVERYDAY on the mountain bike is a mixture of sand, mud, dirt, and whatever else is in the way.  Rocks, roots, and jumps make things so much fun.  Cross is awesome, but riding a mountain bike, to me anyway, kind of beats it.  Not to mention disc brakes and suspension allow you to do so many things a cross bike just can't do.  I love mountain bikes and I love cross racing, but if I had to choose between the two, the fat tires would win every time.

Anyway, enjoyed the last couple of days riding in the mud.  The weather seems to be looking like rain for the rest of the weekend, so the trails should be muddy and fun for the next couple days.  I'm considering riding the road bike with some friends tomorrow, but that would entail me waking up super early on the one day I get to sleep in a bit ('till 7am instead of 4:30am!).  Looks like it'll be a gametime decision.

On another note, I'm seriously considering this race for next year.  If I can get in it might be the only race I do next year:) Check out this vid: