Monday, January 30, 2012


This is what I did today...

Procrastination Nation

Kinda where I'm living right now.  I've had some projects at home that have gotten the best of me lately, the biggest of which is a new floor that I put down in my apartment.  I took up the nasty, "dog scented" carpet and put down a nice "wood" floor.  Ok, done.  Well, not so fast.  It took me a little longer than I anticipated, and that's had a bit of a residual effect on other things that needed to be done.

My bedroom is a disaster-though it's getting better day by day, and my kitchen/bike workshop is overdue for a cleaning as well.  Add to that my bathroom looking exactly like a bachelor's bathroom should, and you have one messy apartment.

I say all the above to illustrate my point for this short post: It's time that shit get's done!  So, in an effort to the mature and responsible 31 year old boy that I am, I'm going to forgo a planned mountain bike excursion for today, and finish everything in the apartment that needs finishing.  No doubt finishing will take this huge monkey off my back.  The whole project would only take a few real hours of work...kinda silly that I haven't done it already.

So here's a video of what I'd rather be doing with my day.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Migranes Suck

And that's all I really have to say about that.

I've had a migraine going on about 3 days now.  The first hours were the worst, actually bad enough to make me sick (see: throw the f*ck up).  It's been years since I've had one that bad.  Knocked me out of my socks.  Totally unexpected.  The only explanation I can find is some of the weight lifting I've been doing this week.  A lot of power movements involving my traps, neck and shoulders so I think the stress and soreness might have caused tension which resulted in the headache.

I lifted yesterday, but I think I'm gonna try and take things easier for the next couple.  Hitting the weight pile hard was probably not a good idea.  Maybe some rum could help...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Change'll do ya good!

This is the first winter in recent times that I can remember NOT being inundated with training, training, training.  Still, for most people I'm "training" a ton, yet for the average, "type-A" endurance athlete, I'm a lazy bum.  And I'm ok with that.

As I've said before many times on this blog, I'm taking a break from nearly all things competitive.  I haven't, since the time I was 5 years old, not been involved with some form of competitive sport.  I never took a season off, and I never, mentally, relaxed.  A lot of my childhood was taken up with trips to games, tournaments, and the like.  Hockey, baseball, and lacrosse really ruled my sporting world.  I never thought, or even cared, to give myself some time to be interested in anything else.

Fast forward, and I'm now on the doorstep of 31 years old (9 days away!!!), and I'm a little burned out.  I've done everything from Badminton to MMA fighting, from triathlon to bodybuilding.  I feel like that Sinatra Song: //I've been up and down and over and out// get the gist.  My body is still in some of the best shape I've ever been, though my mind is about as ready to compete as a soggy paper towel.

I've been in a good place with my riding these past months and I think it's the direction I'm looking to go in the future.  Recently, there's been a lot being made of the "new" form of Enduro Mountain Bike racing popular in Europe.  (see for explanations in their "Enduro Week")  This type of racing is right where I need to be.  Fun, mixed with social interaction, and more fun.  Most parts of the "race" (see "ride") can take as long as you want them to, and when it's your time to bomb downhill and actually "race", it's short and concise, so as to get back to the palling around and heckling with friends.  To me it's the reason, be it subconsciously, that mountain biking attracted me.  There's more to riding a bike than lycra, power meters, aerodynamics, etc., etc., etc....  Enduro is what we do with buddies on any given weekend.  It's what mountain biking is about at its core.

So as I look out on the raindrops falling outside, and the chilly temps, I'm content to forgo riding the bike for today and instead take care of house chores and other "real life" things that I most likely would have neglected if I were still in my "type-A" endurance athlete mode.  I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, I'm only saying that for me, it has been enough to take a step back and evaluate what I really want and expect from riding my bike.  Be yourself, to yourself, and forget about what you should be doing.  Do it because it speaks to you.  Do it because it makes you happy.  And most importantly do it because it makes you smile.  Just don't forget that while you're doing it, there ARE other things going on in the world.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Woke up this morning with the king of all migraines.  I don't think I've ever had one so bad.  I've been getting them for at least the last 15 years, but rarely have they put me completely out, or made me sick.  Both happened today and they put a huge damper on what could have otherwise been another good day.

Not much else to say today other than "DAMNIT!"  Oh well, tomorrow is another day and hopefully I'll be back to normal and back on the bike.  I'm planning to ride some of my favorite trails either tomorrow or sometime over the weekend, and I'll hope to have some pics and MAYBE even a video.  Gotta make the most of my awesomely awesome MacBook Pro!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Make it new (again)

Crazy what a little "swapping things out" can do to a bike.  I have a 2012 Stumpjumper FSR from Specialized that I've really been lukewarm about lately.  I got the bike back in November, and rode it like crazy.  Loved it from first ride and didn't want to change a thing.  Fast forward a bit, and I got back on my Cannondale Jekyll that had seen off time and I remembered how much I loved THAT bike!  Then, after getting back on the Stumpy I found it to be squishy and slow, with crappy handling...or so I thought!

The other day I had the idea to build it up with much of the best components I have.  I had been on the fence about selling it, so I figured if I could build it up exactly like I wanted to, and it STILL wasn't what I wanted I would pack it up and ship it out to the highest bidder.  Thus began the "test".

Today I spent time working on it and getting things dialed the best I could.  I put on a shorter stem, wider bars, and a 150mm fork (as opposed to the 140mm that came stock).  My thought was that I'd slacken the head tube angle a bit, shorten the stem to grab some lighting quick handling, and widen the bars to add some stability.  Oh, and I also threw some new, faster rubber on the wheels.  I swapped out the stock Specialized tires for some less aggressive, but equally sticky, Schwalbe Rocket Ron's.  Unfortunately, just about every part came off the already "dialed" Jekyll, so I had to really commit to the project.

After the build, I went off to the local trails for a test run.  I brought some tools along as I knew I'd have some small changes to make as I rode.

The first impression wasn't much.  There's a lot of pedaling in the beginning of the trail and the bike felt almost no different than it had previously.  Ok, no biggie. The first hill came and the climbing was a bit better, but nothing life changing.  I'm chalking this up to the adjustable suspension the Jekyll has (90mm or 150mm).  It's not a totally fair comparison though, so I don't blame the bike.  A 5.5 inch bike is gonna pedal like a 5.5 inch bike, and a 90mm bike is gonna pedal like a 90mm bike.  Physics don't lie.

After a bit I got to the first extended and flawy downhill section... and now the grins began!  I was very pleased with the performance and the handling of the bike.  The shorter stem showed up right away, and the extra bit of suspension and slacker geo made a big impact.  The only difference I'd say is that the smaller top tube of the Jekyll gives it a slight advantage heading downhill, but not so much that it can't be overcome by good bike handling.

The more I rode the better the bike felt.  I had to play a bit with the compression adjustments on the fork, as well as the rebound, but once it was dialed the Stumpy was shredding.  It's truly like an entirely new bike.

Now, I'm not saying that the Stumpy will replace the Jekyll in my quiver, but they are very closely matched bikes.  I'm not disappointed that I dismantled one bike for the other, and in reality, it's not like I can't just do the same in reverse whenever I'd like.  It's nice to have options and it's nice to ride different bikes.

Bottom line: The Stumpy is going to stay as for as long as it keeps performing like it did today.

The only add-ons I'm looking to make to it in the future would be an adjustable seat post and a set of Crossmax SX wheels.  The wheels will most likely be some time off, but an adjustable seat post is almost an immediate need.  I never thought I'd be so hooked on them, but after using the one on my Enduro, I almost can't ride without one!  One of those things I guess...

Pics to come of the build soon...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Too much of a good thing

Since I "stopped" racing at the end of this past summer, I've ridden my bike almost every day.  Maybe one or two days every once in a while would be "off" days, but for the most part there was never a day that went by that I wasn't pedaling.

The past three days I didn't sit on my bike once.  Well, ok, I mean I sat on my bikes, but no riding.  I didn't plan the break, nor did I intend it to last 3 days, but I did other things (like finishing the new flooring in my living room, lifting weights, and having some fun).  I missed my bikes, but didn't think much of the little bit of time off.

Today was back on the mountain bike and it rocked.  Because of my "ride every day" mentality, I really haven't allowed my body to rest like I had when I was actually riding for training and not just for fun.  I hadn't realized the toll it took on my legs and body, but today's ride was evidence that some time doing other things does a body good.  I felt great and rode great.  My skills felt sharper than they have in a couple weeks, and I was able to rip, shred, and do rad things the whole way through.  Two thumbs up for sure!  Hoping that tomorrow will be more of the same!

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Toy, Weights, and Snow

We got the first snow of the year this past weekend. Some would say "finally", but I could live without it. It's not that I'm opposed to any snow, it's just that it kind of takes away from my riding.  Riding in a dusting of snow is fun, but once it gets to be more than a couple inches most of the fun is taken away-at least for me.  Some guys go crazy and get snow bikes, but to me that's just not mountain biking.  I actually think of it as another sport entirely.  Anyway...

Most, if not all, of the snow will be back tomorrow and I'll get my trails back.  In reality there's not much to complain about this year and I should be thankful for the mild weather we've had...for goodness sake, it was 55 degrees today!  It'll be muddy and fun tomorrow, and even the next day, but I'll have fun nonetheless.

On another subject I finally pulled the trigger and bought myself a MacBook Pro the other day.  I've always been on a PC, and looked at Mac users as uptight snobs that hang out in Starbucks and work on Macs because it's the "hip" thing to do, but I can honestly say that I've seen the light.  These things are just plain amazing.  From the moment I opened the box I was amazed at how neat and tidy the packaging was.  Even before I turned the machine on, I just sat and stared  at how nice it looked.  It's taken a bit to get used to, and I'm sure they'll be much more to learn as I go, but I'm saying it now: I'm forever a Mac user from now forward.

Lastly, I've been off the bike for about 3 days now.  I know it's nothing crazy, but I honestly can't remember the last time I took more than a day off from riding.  With the weather being as it has, the opportunity to get out really hasn't had much of anything get in its way.  A little rain here or there, but the temps have been warm and the riding has been good.  Getting in a workout with weights (something I almost never do these days) was actually welcomed.  I'd rather be riding my bike, but moving heavy objects makes you feel good and hits different endorphins than riding.  If I had to take one or the other I think we'd know which that would be, but in honesty, the weights today weren't a bad substitution.

Oh, and here's the latest of my favorite viral vids... I'm sooo stoked about this vid!

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's funny... your interests dictate your "life decisions".  Ok, maybe "life decisions" is too strong.  More like day to day actions.  When I was hellbent on racing and squeezing every ounce of fitness out of this body to go from point A to point B faster and faster, everything in life was geared to that pursuit.  Eating, work schedule, bathing (yes, even bathing!), etc.  Now that I'm more of what my friend Pete calls a "lazy Freeride/Downhill guy", I'd say that much more of my daily decisions are based by how I feel.  More and more I'm concerned with things like "fun", and being "totally stoked" on shredding the trails.  I can't remember the last time I actually timed a ride.  Now it seems I ride to actually lose track of time.  It's my escape and it's the place I go when I want to focus on nothing more than the trail and the outdoors.

There's a trail I've been driving up to once every week for about the last month that's kind of my "special place".  To me, it's the closest thing to a mountain bike heaven that is accessible within a reasonable car ride.  I'm sure there are better trails out west, or in Europe, but I'll be damned if this place isn't the best thing going right now.  It's super techy and has some super gnarly sections.  While it's probably much safer to ride with others, I've gone it alone every time but once.  I like the solitude, and in a strange way, the "danger" of riding a rough area alone attracts me to it. 

Back to the point (if there even was one) of this post...  I guess what I'm saying is that it's nice, in a way, not to have your interest (sport? hobby?) dictate your life.  I ride when I want, and I live how I want.  Somewhere inside is that type A obsessed athlete, but the "lazy Freeride/Downhill guy" is having a sweet time while old stuffy nuts is being suppressed. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Geo, Head Angles, Suspension....

Crazy stuff!  It's amazing how much geometry can change things on a mtb.  Back in the day (last year!), when I was racing xc, it was all about steep head tube angles and aggressive geometry.  These days that I'm on more of the enduro and downhill side of things though, it's all about slack head tube angles, and relaxed geometry.  Short stems and wide bars rule, just as small wheels and long legs (long travel) have replaced the smaller travel xc bikes.

Don't get me wrong, it's still fun to go fast on a 100mm xc bike, but catching air, ripping downhills, and "falling" down impossibly steep rock sections are what I'm all about these days.  Not to mention the fact that I think I'd have snapped quite a few xc frames by now if I was taking some of the drops I've been taking on my big bikes.

To get to the point, I LOVE big bikes.  I LOVE getting crazy, and I LOVE riding hard.  I don't love crashing hard, but it happens and it's part of the game.  Go hard or go home.

The point I'm getting at is that I've recently re-discovered my Cannondale Jekyll.  I was planning on selling this bike until I blinged it out with a nice chainguide (MRP mini G2), new Schwalbe tires, wider bars (Answer pro taper), and a sweet Sunline V-One All mountain 50mm stem.  In a word, the bike is pinned.  I'm lucky enough to have a Specialized Enduro EVO and Stumpjumper FSR.  The Jekyll is like both of these bikes rolled into one.  For the fast and smooth xc stuff it flies when I lower it to 90mm of travel in the rear and 120mm in the front, but for the gnarly downhill stuff it rocks it out in the 150mm front and rear travel options with slacker geo.  It's an amazing bike and I'm super stoked I held onto it.

With the current quiver of bikes I've got, it's going to be a fun season.  I'm hoping a Specialized Demo DH bike will find it's way into my "bike room" sometime in the near future!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Resolutions are like a$$holes, everyone has one.  The only difference is, they usually don't keep them.  Being in the fitness industry, I see it each and every year.  The gyms are packed for the first few weeks of the year, and then slowly but surely, people stop coming in and get back to what they were doing before they made their decision to get in shape for the new year.  Therefore, I really am not all that keen on making resolutions myself.

Now, with that being said, I've decided I need to "revamp" my nutrition, and what better time (read, excuse) than the new year to make a shift.  Simply put, I eat A LOT of shit.  Most of my diet is composed of quick meals, cookies, chips, and the like.  It's rare that I eat many vegetables or fruits.  In reality, it's amazing that I've been able to train and recover as good as I have in the past.  Now that I'm not exactly racing anymore (though I still ride for at least 10 hours a week), it's more important than ever to be better with my daily intake. 

So blah, blah, blah, I'm going to start to make an effort in the new year to eat better and make more healthy decisions on food.  I'm realistic in saying that I'll still have plenty of cookies and chips, but for every cookie and potato chip I eat, I'm going to try and balance it with good and nutritious food.  Good take care of this body while I have it!

*Disclainer*-I'm also planning on only drinking "good" beer and wine in the new year.  Priorities!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It finally happened.  Cold air finally hit us yesterday and came with some venom!  First day of the season for us here on Long Island where it was below freezing for the day, and today isn't going to be much warmer. As I type, it's about 15 degrees out, with a projected high of about 27.  I'm not ready, not do I want to stay in this!!!     A trip to a warm locale can't happen soon enough!  As soon as the snow comes in, I'm out!