Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Never knew Mr. Pot Pie John Williams had a blog until today...its obviously awesome! check it out:

and here's his trans-iowa's too good to not repost...

rode hard and put away wet
Trans Iowa V7 recap

Last October in a moment of confidence, or ignorance, I decided I would sign up for Trans Iowa V7. I wasn't sure if I was capable of riding the 320+ mile course in one continuous, unsupported effort, but no better way to test your mettle than trial by fire. So I signed up, trained like hell and showed up in Grinnell, Iowa to race what could be the most physical challenge of my life. What follows is my story.

Friday night was the mandatory racer meeting and sign in at the Grinnell steak house, one of those kitchy cook your own meat restaurants, of which I'm a fan. After signing in, greeting familiar faces, and consuming the largest steak I could find in the cooler we filed into a meeting room. Guitar Ted gave us a once over of the rules, course conditions, as well as hand had out our race numbers, that came in the form of Buddhist prayer flags and inform us of the documentary film crew that was to be on course filming. The shin dig was fun but soon it was back to the room to make final decisions on what to wear and how much food to carry ect. Sarah surprised me with a little good luck charm, a Madonna del Ghisallo medal, the patron saint of cycling. I pinned it on my camelback along with my prayer flag thinking I'm not a religious man, but it can't hurt. When the alarm rang at 3:00 AM I felt my first streaks of fear, not the mix of anxiety and excitement that had been rolling threw my guts for the last 5 days, but real what the hell am I about to do fear. Luckily I was able to fend off those feelings and replace them with hurrying to get ready to make it downtown for the 4 A.M. start time.

The start was good, a thick blanket of fog quickly cleared up revealing a beautiful starry spring night. The roads were fast but wet and mud was flying everywhere, giving everyone healthy splattering grit. Through this I was able maintain a decent spot in the lead group, I even offered a few brief pulls. By the time we reached the first checkpoint at the 53 mile mark my drive train sounded as if it could explode at any minute from all the mud and gunk thrown up form the road. I felt good as I feverishly checked in, tried to clean out my drive train, and refill my water bottles. The vibe at the checkpoint was hectic at best. I tried to spit out a few clever thoughts to the film crew about savoring the moment, all 30 hours of them, but I'm sure it came out as a jumbled mess.

The leaders were quick to head out, so I latched on to a small group and headed out a few minutes after the lead group of three took off. The pace was fast and I was consequently spit out out the back about 5 miles out, and was strung out between two small groups. This is were I resolved to ride my own ride and settle into a pace I could maintain for 24 more hours. It was sunny, warming up and I had a long stretch of tailwind, I was content and confident.
After missing a few turns I ended up with a group of about 10. We were a random assortment of riders that seemed to have a good dynamic, and we would stay together for the what would be the majority of the race. The rest of the afternoon past by with mile after mile of ideal gravel roads and muddy unrideable B roads through the hills and farm lands of rural Iowa. I was in hog heaven, getting the Trans Iowa experience that I came for. While on this stretch the film crew got lots of footage of us, I even managed a few shameless close ups. We rolled into checkpoint two at mile 177 shortly after the sun went down and about 2 hours before the cut off time, this is where the real challenge began.

As the night wore on the affects of sleep deprivation mixed with exhaustion created a difficult mind frame, something I think everyone in our group was experiencing. The pace began to slow and the stops became more frequent, talking was almost none existent as everybody stared blankly down the spotlit road. Soon the hardest challenge just to keep my eyes open. I would sprint a hill to get my heart rate up and a blast of energy only to nod off on the downhill, waking as I started to swerve. I tried to talk to any of my companions about anything I could, just to try to stay awake, I even told the old Mcdunna nails joke (it was Easter by this point). After a few hallucinations and a couple more nods the sun finally started to rise for second time this race. With the sun came the realization that we had slowed down so much that if we stayed at our current pace we would finish with only a few minutes before the 2:00 cut off time.After a long set a big rollers I had opened a pretty good gap, I stopped to let 2 other riders from our group catch up and there I suggested we take off to ensure we make it in before the cut off time, the other riders agreed and off we went.

The three of us pushed on the last 70 miles at a pace that would easily get us to the finish line before the cut off. During this time we deiced we would ride in together not attempting any attacks on each other, reaffirming the gentile roots of our sport. As the last few miles ticked by the realization that I was going to be Trans Iowa a finisher was filling me with euphoria. Although when I finally crossed the finish line for 7th place in 32 hours 13 minutes, after hugging my family and shaking the hands of race organizers, Guitar Ted and David Pals, all I could get out was "I'm really tired." So we returned to the hotel for quick shower and hot tub before Sarah drove us home.

In the end I felt elated, I felt proud, and mostly I felt like A dragon slayer who had just killed the baddest beast in the land.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

school pressure

why do i procrastinate and ride every opportunity I get, amazing weather or not, until the very last week of classes when I then have to kill myself? cause it's better than not riding as much as you possibly can :)

for those of you lucky enough to be out of school, I just finished up a 10 page beast, to be followed by a 20 page, a 3 page, a 20 page, a geostats final then a spanish lit final...all in the next ten days...I would be graduating but I need pell grant money next year too. it's about working that system baby!

I'll see you may 5th.

paece and riding!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

bend these bones

i'm poor so couldn't do bonebender this year :'(...instead I packed some peanut butter sandwiches, some cap'n crunch and two water bottles and had my own enduro ride :)

it was hard, and I found lots of cool stuff! I was "on" the bike for about 5:45 yesterday during this ride. Included in that is tons of expolration, lots of hike a bike, and re-water breaks. Did I mention I "found" lots of cool stuff? (I should say I was keyed in a little by some wudchuk fellows, but they weren't very forthcoming about directions :)

when the trolly trail starts to turn east, there's single track all over the place! i knew about the dirt jumps back there, but not about the single track northwest and south of them...sweetness.

then jumped on holmes to bannister, found out that the indian creek trail is done past lydia now! and wouldn't you know it? as soon as the pavement ended there was single track off to the right :) sweet moto trails...I acutally talked to the guy who built them behind his house, when I popped up in his yard and he and his wife were on their deck :) good stuff, and he keyed me into some more stuff! oh yes.

basically from 103rd to red bridge there is single track/rail road riding :) then at red bridge you can get to the actual minor park trails. I rode the river trail and part of highline/bo ha ca before calling it quits there...trails were still super wet, and honestly i probably shouldn't have been riding them, but in reality I was probably helping them a bit getting some hoof prints and ruts flattened out a little bit. minor trails need some extreme sustainability work. if i were trail manager I would seriously contemplate just closing all existing trails and starting from scratch. there are some really really not good spots out there.

So i headed north towards the promised land of swope...found more moto trail near 87th street and blue river...rode that, then continued on my journey. got to swope, went to water up then did 1.5 laps on phase 3 and 1 lap of phase 1/2, watered back up and headed towards the climb up to swope memorial golf course to punish myself a bit. did that, then climbed this point i'm feeling dumb haha, get through the park, head back across the river to hadesty top pick up coal mine road towards the stadiums. do that, find more moto trail/singletrack in some other park (near where coal mine turns into winchester)...ripped that then went north some more towards riverfront/cliff drive. Didn't quite make it where I'd planned cause I realized whe I got to winner and indy ave that it was already 4:45 pm and I'd been riding since 11:30 am pretty much without a substantial break on my carbon Jamis SSs 29r geared 34-20 with 30 psi in the 2.0 barro race tires. so i decided to climb st. john's ave, then do some rollers on 9th street before hitting paseo for the extreme grinder climb going home (into a good headwind of course). ended up with roughly 60 miles...I'd say the map is fairly close, might be missing a few spurts of singletrack swing there and again, but I'd say pretty accurate.

so that's it, my own: bonebender, version shoff.0

peace and riding!

Friday, April 15, 2011

good stuff from stevie T.

<--that's why I love stevie T. good home grown kansas boy like myself who just likes to ride bikes and loves life.

peace and riding!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

roanoke planning

been doing a lot of trail planning between homework, well mainly after homework after my brain starts to shut down and only think mtb.

should break first dirt after memorial day sometime.

peace and riding!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011


I'm stupidly busy, but I do it to myself I guess.

Last Thursday I rode to/at/back home from swope for 4.5 hours, without eating anything all day. Bad idea...I ate about 1800 calories when I got home after I went down to the store. Still less than 2000 cals a day! Which the last 2 weeks I bet I've only had 2-3 days where I've eaten over 2000 cals that day. Its not that I'm necessarily trying to lose weight, although that is an added benefit, I'm just poor. Food prices are ridiculous, especially nutritionally-good food. I can get 2 brats and a bag of chips for $3.27 at quik trip. Unfortunately, I eat this meal WAY too often for my liking. This post isn't about food or my diet though I swear; it's about pimping other stuff!

like swope!

This weekend was the first gig I had played in probably 3 years or so. it was at prospero's in blue went well. Just me, a guitar, and harmonica. also, met a young lady with the most beautiful golden voice ever. ever. It made me melt like only Zooey Deschanel can...mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

After that it was to volker 18 & the spray booth gallery for a continuation of first friday. tallgrass ale was consumed quickly then a walk to enjoy the scenery was in order. It's getting nice out kansas city!!! /short skirts & long jackets

saturday I went to the shawnee local food expo...we showed up a tad late and all the good stuff was gone. I'm too much of a sleeper to wake up that early to get the phirest produce. and yes, that ph is an f...

saturday afternoon I got drunk all day with justin bieber and then took a nap before the bright eyes concert! it was awesome, even tho ms. jackson decided to take a little nap of her own...glad she's ok :) conner also had a little rant against kris kobach and fundamentalist christian crazies, it was sweet! here's a video to show the goodness of bright eyes:

sunday I slept in until like was awesome. The we finished flagging phase 1 of roanoke park! check it out!!!
roanoke park trails, click me.

rest of sunday, most the peeps got back from spring break...we kicked it and jammed on some electric guitars...mmmmmmmmmmmm, plugged in is a whoooole other world.

I have 2-20 page papers, 1-10 page paper, have to read a book in spanish and do all that class jazz and wahtever we get assigned as well in geostats. The next month I will not sleep or ride much, guarenteed :/

peace and riding!!!