Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Commute to work - Bicycle Trip Calculator

Check out this calculator...tells you how much money you save in gas, how many calories burned and how much carbon emissions are saved by commuting to work by bike rather then sitting in car. This year I was trying to ride 1-2 times per week (a few times 3-4) from Medina to Akron which is about 50 miles round trip. I've stopped commuting for the winter, trying to get motivated to get out and ride to work in the cold dark Ohio weather is rough. But I'm working on it! Why...check out all the reasons below.

Commute Calculator Link

My Result
Per Day Per Week Per Year
$36.50 $73.00 $3,650.00

Calories burned:
1,800 calories 3,600 calories 180,000 calories

Reduction in carbon monoxide emissions:
2.56 lbs 5.12 lbs 256.00 lbs

This kinda sums it up!

Copied from the website

There Are Lots Of Reasons To Commute By Bicycle
You save money on fuel, wear and tear on your vehicle and may even reduce your insurance rates. No parking problems. Almost faster than driving.


Bicycle commuting is a great way to squeeze regular exercise into a hectic schedule. Commuting time can be used to stay in shape instead of sitting frustrated in traffic. Bicycle commuting can get you to work on time more often, put you in a better mood, and help you to do your job better. And when you are in better shape, you will get sick less often.
Studies show that health benefits of bike riding range from reducing risk of heart disease, maintaining or reducing weight, toning muscles and even improving cardio-vascular fitness. And remember, cycling reduces pollution and traffic congestion.

Even the most powerful sports car crawls in congested traffic while bicyclists ride around it. And parking a car can be a time consuming hassle, but you can park a bike quickly and close to your destination.

Add up what you spend getting to work every day. Bicycle commuting saves you parking fees, fuel costs, auto maintenance costs, and transit fees. A new bicycle and cycling gear would pay for itself in a few months. The largest costs of automobile ownership are paid up front, insurance and car payments. You might be able to save as much as 25% of your income if you can replace your car or second car with a combination of bicycling, transit, an occasional cab or rented car.

Bicycling Benefits the Environment
Autos are the single largest source of U.S. air pollution. Short trips that are more bikeable are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. An average four-mile round-trip bike commute prevents nearly 15 pounds of auto air pollution from contaminating your air. When it substitutes for shorter auto trips, the bicycle eliminates 3.6 pounds of auto pollutants per mile. More bicycle use means less benzene, cyanide, lead, carbon monoxide, CFC's, sulfates and ozone in the air we breathe. Since the bicycle season matches the ground-level ozone season, by biking instead of driving, you contribute to pollution prevention when it is most needed.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A few more Big Valley Race Camp Manatoc Photos

A few more photos just surfaced from the bike 'n' tikes kids festival at the Big Valley Race courtesy of Drew Smith. I'll try to get the rest up on the BigValley website in the next couple of days. Huge props goes to Mike Johnson for managing the kids races on saturday, they did an awesome job, so good in fact that a day hasn't gone by that Landon has not asked to go and ride his bike, "Bike Race Daddy" "go". I'm a proud dad!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Beach Volleyball update - Undefeated season

Beach volleyball in Ohio, who’d thunk it? My wife of course. As most of you know she is a volleyball lunatic. She played throughout high school and went on to play in college. Last year for her birthday I got her tickets to the AVP in Chicago and she went ballistic. I don’t think she was that excited for our marriage. (I’m beginning to see where I rank) At the event she knew everyone, got pictures with her favorite pro players and began my lessons on the rules of the game. She’s been trying to get me to play the last couple of years but I think has been to embarrassed at my skill level and never put together a team I was worthy of playing on. This year that changed, she finally dropped down to my level of play and we got on a coed team. I got a call from my little brother, Todd who is living in Kent OH. They have a beach volleyball league going on and asked if we’d be interested in playing the next session. This was my chance, “Ya…we’re in” How hard can this be, I thought to myself as we drove up the first game. 10 minutes later, sweat dripping from my forehead and breathing hard I realized, dang this is tough, harder then I thought. We were losing our first game and I was thinking it was because of me, I think I missed my first spike, put the first serve into the net…well - we battled back and won the first game and then went on to be the only undefeated team in season play. 24 – 0. I think I was the only 6’-4” guy who could not spike. Towards the end of the season I was spiking 30% of the sets, but man…the other 70% were ugly, I could not get the timing and angle right but I did get slightly better as time progressed, which I guess is all I could ask for seeing I’ve never played before. Connie was very encouraging with her smiling, snickering and all out falling to the ground in hysterical laughter when I would be set up for the perfect spike and I’d shank it. The season ended with us going into the tournament. Since we were undefeated we had a bye and did not start play until 10:30pm, for us that is late. We were both up at 5:30 in the morning, Connie went to work, and I jumped on the bike and rode 1 ½ hours to work in Akron. Well the opposing team climbed up the tourney ladder and was hot after just playing, we had not played at all and here we where in the quarter finals…needless to say we gave away our first game and lost, all of us miss-serving about 9 points…it was ugly. We battled back and won the next two games and took the set. This moved us into the semi-finals and we had our next game at 11:30pm. Once again we played awful. We gave away many points and we lost the set 2-1 to a team we had swept in the regular season. Still pondering what happened - we simply had no mojo that night. The other team did not play good either, it was an ugly semi-final game, I apologize to anyone who was watching. It was a good chance to see how my wife played under pressure…whooo..look out! Intense! I think I played the worst I’ve played all season. It was probably a good thing we lost though, the other bracket in the tournament was behind schedule and if we’d won we’d be in the finals with the match not starting til after 1:00am.

We had fun and I learned a lot. My wife kicks ass at volleyball...this is her game! She has a wicked serve and would make a great coach as she broke it down for me many times. I tried to make my highly critical wife proud, but I’m not sure I succeeded. I did get a couple high-fives from her when I did get a strong spike or a good block. The real test we be if she ever asks me to play on another team with her again, but 24-0 aint bad…is it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reagan Park Time Trial - 4th Place

Finally home court advantage. After traveling to Florida, Tennessee, Michigan and Colorado to race this year it was nice to be able to leave my house on my bike and ride 3 miles over to the local trails to enter a local race. The 3rd Annual Reagan Park Time Trail was Sunday and consists of a blend of old school and new school trail design. Tight, curvy and technical is the first half of the trail verses open, free flowing contour line CAMBA designed trails of the last 3 miles of the course. The best overall skilled rider would win this race…and that would be none other then my Solon team mate Steve Twinning who set a blistering pace at 33:46 minutes. I went off in the 10th starting position and decided to take the first half slow and smooth. That lasted about 10 seconds when I decided to stomp on the pedals a bit, but after the first small hill I felt the lactic acid build up a bit so I backed off and went back to the original game plan of easy the first half and then stepping up the pace on the wide open trail at the finish. The tactic seemed to work decent as I felt good the entire race and was able to maintain a good tempo. I came across the finish line at 35:56 which was good for 4th place. Jeff Cochran took 2nd place at 35:27 and my team mate Ross Clark finished 3rd at 35:30. The Solon Team almost took a sweep of the podium with 1st, 3rd, 4th & Bob Rodgers roll'n in at 5th place. Dustin, Jason, Mike & Larry did a great job running the event. From a rider perspective everything looked well organized the trail was in outstanding shape!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2007 Leadville 100 Start - WOW!

Landon's First Podium

Landon's been long anticipating his first bike race and what not a better venue then the Big Valley Race Bike 'n' Tikes Kids Festival. Landon lined up with the other mini-mites (2-3yr olds) and was eager to get things rolling. He was counting down and inching forward before the start gun went off. Landon and I talked before the race and decided not to go out too strong and save it for the end of the race. So the flag dropped and the kids went off, Landon, Emily and 2 others must have been listening to our strategy as they stayed back a little also. Landon hasn't got the pedaling thing down yet so I pushed him the entire way while he steered his bike like a drunk'n sailer. We rode and ran down the course and the finish line was in sight, we stepped it up and just as it looked like a sixth place finish for us someone fell and Landon pushed on and crossed the finish line in 5th place. He got his first trophy and was so proud he took it to school on Tuesday to show his friends. He are a few photos for Landon's proud day!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Not much riding since the big Leadville 100 race, been super busy prepping for the Big Valley Race at Camp Manatoc which is a race my team and I put on Sept 8th & 9th. Its been concentrating on the detail side of things such as insurance, awards, 9.5 miles of course prep, web stuff. The flyers from Broken Spokes Studios looked great this year. check out the event website at

GREAT NEWS: Connie finally got a teaching gig, she's teaching 7th and 8th grade health over at North Royalton, since this is her first semester she's been super busy getting all her leason plans and materials ready. We hope to enjoy the sunshine this weekend by getting some riding in at Manatoc this weekend between prepping the course.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

2007 Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race

Sub-Eight Dream'n

They call it the race across the sky, endurance extreme. They fill you tons of cool aid and tell you to dig deep, go further. I can save em a lot of valuable thin Colorado air and ink by simply self titling the Leadville 100 with one very descriptive word…sadistic. (1. The deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty. 2. Extreme cruelty.) That was the only description that came to my mind as I pushed my bike up the top of Columbine Mountain at 12,800 feet then again at the lower portion of the power line climb with 80 degrees of high altitude sunshine evaporating the ever so valuable life source; h20, from every remaining living cell in my body. Oh the flipp’n pleasure from this cruelty. The great thing about our human body is we come with a turbo charged air conditioner. When we get cooked, baked, and simply run out of water our built in chemistry cools our body down rather quickly. A nice, very calming cooling effect combined with a change in skin tone keeps you feeling downright cozy. So how did I find myself back in the thin air of Leadville Colorado for a 3rd time climbing over 12,000 feet of vertical elevation and shooting for another sub-nine finish?

Hey Kevin, we’re all signing up for Leadville, you should do it again, it’ll be a great time. By the way, they’ll be 2-3 ex Tour de France racers there, along with a 2 time eco-challenge winner and various other long distance cycling freaks and who that’s guy with all the hype, the 2006 Tour de France winner, ya him -Floyd Landis and there are tiny rumors stirring in certain “BOGUS” cycling publications that sir Lance might appear. Yep, I fell for it. 6 of us Ohio boys sent in our race applications. It would be a party with tons of great riding climaxing with a 103 mile race of truth. I was roped in again! But due to the added publicly of “famous” riders only three of us got accepted into the race despite an added 200 entries bringing the total to a massive 900 entrants. So Ross, Ken and I settled into the mystic and sadistical rocky mountain high of hurt and fortitude that is known as the Leadville 100.

This year I only had 1 week to acclimate for the race. (Mistake #1) Due to all the doping allegations and the unraveling of the sport at the professional level I’ve been able to learn a lot; most importantly you can’t win clean. No wonder I’ve never been able to pull off a big victory. So I’ve been picking up books such as “From Lance to Landis” and taking a lot of notes. Recently I’ve learned to give myself injections and clean my own blood after hard training rides. I found my trusty 4 legged companion; Titan, has the cleanest blood with the highest hemocit level, (Whoa Neely)…I’m a fast f’er when infused with that stuff, but Connie caught me several times licking myself so no more dog blood. But despite all the new secret training, medical experimentation and consultations with an unknown doctor I thought it best to sit low this year and leave the blood bags and paraphernalia in my shoebox at my friend’s house tucked neatly in the fridge behind the Le Fin du Monde (beer) in Medina Ohio and try one last clean race. The only new substances I tried was increasing my Iron and Vitamin C consumption and dosing up on Echinacea a bit to see if it would help increase the red blood cell count with the altitude. So to do this clean we decided to spend a couple days working up to altitude to avoid the swirling vortex of AMS. (acute mountain sickness) We started at 850 feet above sea level for 355 days in Medina Ohio and then moved up to 6500 ft for two days, then over to Crested Butte for 2 days at 8000+ feet then finally over to Frisco at 9100 ft for 4 days before the race. This supposedly allows time for your body to create more red blood cells so the body can process and convert the short supply of oxygen to the muscles or whatever. In the past Leadville experiences I gave myself two weeks at altitude, more would help but this year given the time frame this was the only choice (1 week).

Fast forward to night before the race. No pressure here. I was still breathing heavy every time I climbed the stairs of the condo to get ready for the race. A lot of family showed up this year to give me and my teammates, Ross and Ken much needed support. My wife’s parents from Ohio and her aunt and uncle from Florida made their first journey to see what a 100 mile endurance race is all about. They’ve seen enough pictures and read the reviews, time to experience the experience in person and what not a better atmosphere then Leadville. My parents also made the journey along with my wife and two year old son Landon. (we choose a name close to Lance and Landis but are holding off any name association pending any future arbitration rulings) We all sat down and enjoyed a fantastic pasta and chicken dinner from our head team chief. (Mistake #2) Then Ross and I packed up and headed over to crash with Ken in his RV parked down at the friendly RV Park near Turquoise Lake.

Since I hit the sub nine time of 8:48 two years ago, I was eager to improve on my time and set up two goals, finishing sub-8 and a back up goal of finishing sub 8:30. Why those times? In the previous two 100’s I’ve done this year I hit 8:03 at the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee and 8:07 at the LumberJack 100 in Michigan. Those races actually contained single track and a bit of technical riding, Leadville is all fire road…realistic goals right?
Five, Four, Three, twoone…BAMB we’re off! You gotta check out the videos of the start, I’ve never seen anything like this in mountain bike racing. 900 racers taking off. Ross and I got with the 10-11 hours starters/finishers because we got to the start a bit late and found absolutely no space to put our bikes in the sub-nine staging area. Ken was in the top 100 last year and was upfront relaxing with the fast guys (lucky dude). It took a minute or so for the accordion to stretch allowing our wheels to get rolling, then it was a desperate and hilarious video game trying to crawl, sneak and finagle our way into the top 100. 3 miles later I had moved up into the top 50 and the police escort drove off…race on. Damn that was a lot of unneeded stress trying to get up front, I had no intentions of getting off and walking the first climb and knew you have to be up front at this point, it only takes 1 rider to dismount and then all chaos can prevail behind him. I felt decent, spent more energy then I wanted getting up front but non the less I was there. I settled down into a decent tempo and followed the train up and over St Kevin and then up to the power line where Ross caught up to me. A small group of us soldiered up the hill and the decent down the power line was status quo. Ross was riding full suspension, I was riding a hard tail so he pulled out of site on the down hill but I caught him and a small group before the fish hatchery and we formed a fairly organized double pace line and began picking people off. By the time we made it to the first check point we had worked into the top 30 and I was on track for my sub-eight and feeling good. We hammered through the pipeline over to Twin Lakes. Connie, Karen and Tiff greeted us with smiles and gave us what we needed to for the push up Columbine. We set up our support tent before the scorer’s tent, so when Ross and I passed through I was in 42nd place and he was in 45th. 2:36 elapsed time - 6 minutes off the top 20 guys - my fastest time compared to last 2 years. Legs still felt good, heart rate was as normal as can be for an Ohio boy but something was stirring in the stomach, I kinda dismissed it as temporary and began the assault on Columbine. This is always where 6-4foot 190lb sea level dude gets crushed, but I was trying to redeem myself this year for I trained as much hills as I could this year, but soon realized something was amiss as I was slowing down and riders began to pass me. My stomach was beginning to inflate. I felt my skin stretching and imaginary weight gain in first two miles of the climb. I laughed! I pushed on and backed off the pace, hoping the GI issues were only temporary, by the time I reached the aid station at 12,800 feet I had dropped back to 91st place with a time of 4.29. OUCH! I was losing my split time goals. Ross had passed me at the bottom of the climb and said he would notify EMS at the top to prepare for the first Leadville 100 race day birth. I tried to hang on his wheel but no dice, I offered him my extra 30 lbs of body weight in exchange for is extra 5 lbs of bike weight, but he flipped me off and rightfully so and finished the climb in 77th place at 4:27.

Pipeline1 Twin Lakes1 ColumbineMine Twin Lakes2 Pipeline2 Finish
2007 Actual - 1.54 2:36 4:29 5:05 6:05 8:50:30
2005 Actual - 1:58 2:42 4:39 5:12 6:08 8:48:56
Sub 8 goals - 2:00 2:48 4:16 4:51 5:38 7:57:22
Sub 8:30 goals - 2:00 2:46 4:25 4:55 5:50 8:29:25

I quickly grabbed two pieces of watermelon and hopped back on my bike. The first part of the decent is brutal because the clean line is taken by the climbers. So off in the rough rock, my arms and legs were my suspension as I tried to float over the rocks. I wanted off that mountain fast, we were above the tree line, snow could still be seen on adjacent peaks and the oxygen level was super low for us Ohio boys. Quick decent = more oxygen!? Once I cleared the top mile of rough rock and hundreds of ascenders, I went to hammer down and nothing, my chain was locked up. I slowed down and tried to get it back in the chain rings but soon realized the chain was wrapped around my crank twice. I dismounted, thinking I would have to do major repair but thanks to years spent mastering the rubuix cube I was able to detangle the chain puzzle in seconds and I was off. I hammered the hill and soon caught my teammate Ross who appeared to have settled down in a lazy boy at the Columbine aid station and ate as much as he could. We made it back to Twin Lakes outbound checkpoint together at 5:05, I was 15 minutes off my split sub eight goal. It was amazing, no matter how terrible or good you felt, when you passed through check point zones you got a great dose of feel good energy from the 1000’s support crews and families. It was the closest atmosphere to the Tour de France I’ll ever experience.

Ross and I took off and he helped pull me up the first small hill, then we exchanged pulls and dropped a few guys and caught a few more. When we reached the small open desert climb out the pipeline outbound trail I looked up and it looked like another flipp’n mountain. My stomach was in full arrest, churn’n and burn’n. I was sure a content cleansing moment was near. I had dumped most my Hammer stuff and gone to backup nutrition of Coke and water. My stomach was stretched to the max, I was turning white and a Leadville born mutant was eminent, it was only a matter of time. Ross saw me drop off the pace, we dismounted and began the hike a bike. Despite my long stride and mountain climbing finesse, Ross and the others easily pulled away. Ross slowed a bit and encouraged me, “Hurry up Sally”. I stepped it up in my mind but my body did not respond. I needed to back off and race my own race. This is the point that you train to avoid but sometimes find yourself alone, body failing you dig into your inner reserves and trick yourself and play the little mental games to push on when common sense says to stop and go grab a cold one. I also got severally pissed off, all the time spent training this year, my family was out here in full force, I was hitting my splits and now I was faltering. Flippn-ME! What did I do different, why now? I hadn’t a clue during the race. I turned up my MP3 player and tried to find an easy tempo, I went through several emotional fights with myself but eventually the coke, water and decreased tempo allowed my body to slightly recover, I began to push the pace again but just did not have the mojo I’m used to having at this point in the race. I was only faster in my mind! I came in at the Pipepline 2 checkpoint at 6:05. I was given all my Hammer Nutrition stuff and the thought of drinking it nearly made me sick, I immediately threw the Sustained Energy and Perp back on the ground and opted for another Coke, water and Heed/SE mix. I put my head down for a moment, I felt unusually wasted. They said Ross was 1 minute ahead and that was all it took to get me going again. He must have had high altitude issues also, for he has finished top 10 in many of the east coast 100 milers the past 2 years and here we were both dropping from being fiercely competitive into survival mode, would we even finish? They did not tell me at the time, but I was white as a ghost! Maybe it was my spirit that was getting me through as my body tried to catch up?

From this point, I caught a small group and we paced over to the power line climb. I tried to ride the plank across the creek and nearly fell in, what a wuss! I dropped the gears and began the brutal lower portion of the power line climb. Once again I made it up close to the straight away and then the vortex of thin air and zapping power lines ripped the strength from me, my head was spinning hard and I was fighting for each breath. I knew better but once again pushed that damn climb to hard and had to put my head on the handle bars. Its not that this climb is not climbable but it was not climbable, does that make any sense? Rumors are Floyd and Dave also walked immediately after this photo was taken. After I recovered, I hiked a bit more then jumped back on the bike and pedaled all the way to the top. From here on I basically rode the race alone. Connie met me at the bottom of the power line decent for a bit of encouragement. St Kevin’s was an uneventful climb but I was stoked to hear my name by the volunteers and given a fresh bottle of water without stopping. I looked at my watch; I was close to the sub-nine again. I was beginning to regain consciousness, or so I thought and made the push to the finish. I was looking for someone to share the pace with but no one was in front and nobody was in back. Somehow I managed to get to the Boulevard, just when you think you’re finished you begin the climb to the finish line. It’s a 3 mile at a slight gradient, mid-tempo pace but seems to never end. I saw five different false finishes. Damn my mind is weak today. I finally saw riders ahead but could not bridge the gap, although they got closer. I dumped out onto the final road leading into town, looked at my watch and saw I had 15 minutes til the 9 hour cut off time, this usually puts you in the top 50 or so riders but not this year! I crossed the finish line at 8:50:30. 3 minutes slower than my 2005 time and 3 minutes behind by teammate Ross. Toasted, wasted, and spent; my handlebars became my pillow again. I was told I still had no skin tone looked a tad dehydrated. I was eventually helped off my trusty Specialized steed and Connie began shoving recovery drinks in my face. She knows me. I wanted to dump em but knew I needed to get stuff into my body.

So I guess I should be happy with my finish, coming from 850 feet above sea level and being able to finish in the top 10% is good egh… Dunno, I was pushing for that sub-eight and maybe that is what keeps everyone coming back to Leadville, not necessarily to win the race, but to win your own race. To set individual goals and attack them with feverish vigor and passion. It became very apparent to me what I did different this year, I was in suburb shape compared to previous years but I only spent 8 days at altitude but the big mistake was the big pasta and chicken dinner 10 hours before the race. I never eat that much before a 100 mile race, sure 2-3 days before I scarf down some sizable carbo meals but I just couldn’t resist this year, our team chef whipped up one hell of a meal and I ate it all and wanted more. This had to be a major factor in the GI distress experienced during the race. I didn’t feel I went out to hard, considering the efforts of the other 100’s I’ve done this year, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. So that leaves me with the empty satisfaction that I can and will do better. The only question is why I would put myself through this again. Only those that have done the Leadville 100, the Race across the Sky will ever know!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

2007 Leadville 100

For whatever reason, reentry back to life in Ohio has been tougher this year. Haven't had time to finish my race review but I'll get it posted soon with photos.

Race had its up and downs, I achieved 2 out of 3 goals... first just finishing, second finishing under 9 hours, third finishing sub-8:30 was not to be. (stomach issues and dehydration)

They had 100+ sub-nine finishers...a lot of fast mofo's this year. The atmosphere was huge, it was like a mini tour de france at the check points.

Ross - 8:47.00
Kevin - 8:50:30
Ken - DNF

A huge thanks to Connie's aunt and uncle from Florida and her parents who flew out to support us and again to my parents for everything from race support to babysitting. And of course thanks to my wife for getting us through a third Leadville and to Karen and Tiff for their race support.

Details coming soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Leadville 100 training

It's all in the bank now. Not much more training I can do to prepare for the Leadville 100. I might do the 6 hours of power this weekend along with the training Euro Hill race in Hinckley Thursday evening but thats about it. The last 10 days were my last hard cycle in training, I managed 450 miles of saddle time the last 10 days. So now I sit back and let my body recover, rest and rebuild for the Leadville showdown. Bring it on!

I'm aiming for a sub 8:30 finish which should put me top 50 but secretly I'm looking to pull out a sub 8 performance. The huge variable is the thin, thin, air and long sustained climbs of Leadville. If my lungs can find the little o2 and convert all should be good! If not I'll just sit in and enjoy the ride and soak up all the goodness that is the Leadville 100.

25 days and counting

The Leadville 100 is right around the corner. Its been getting a ton of press lately and if all the rumors are true its gonna be a crazy circus like atmosphere. I'll be packing my clown feet and red fluffly nose. I might even dye my hair. First off, they took an additional 200+ racers this year so thats over 900 racers lining up. Then add the Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong, (both chemically enhanced Tour de France winners) rumors and that place is gonna be wild.

is this the confirming article or another rumor Leadville Showdown

or this one... cronicle

lastly...the scouting article

I guess we won't truely know until the day of the race. Game on!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


100 mile century ride in under 5 hours, average speed of 20 mph.

We’ve been doing these centuries for quite some time now, it’s not a race, but an organized ride where you follow routes of painted arrows on the road and have the option to stop at rest areas full of food and beverages. This ride was called the ABC ride “Absolutely Beautiful Country” ride, rather flat but a lot of rollers and a few small hills. Every year we get stronger and faster, the last couple of times we’ve averaged 17-19 mph and we would think lets push for 20mph next time but it never happened. With the crew that showed up this year I knew it would be possible. Brett, Ross, Bob, Jason, Juan, Ken and Ray. I’ll spare the boring details but mission accomplished. We finished 100 miles in under 5 hours with an average rolling speed slightly over 20mph. The ride served its purpose; it was absolutely a great training ride.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Summer...Summer...Summer Time


Photo taken at the 4th of July family get together at casa da Daums in Medina
Grandpa James Daum
Great Grandpa William Daum
Landon Daum
Kevin Daum

32nd Annual Medina Twin Sizzler Road Race

Medina Twin Sizzler road race.

On the bike commute to work this morning I couldn’t help be replay the Twin Sizzler race in my head a couple of times. It was ours for the taking and with a little more road experience we might have been on top of things a little more, but do I really care, dunno…it was a road race…Leadville is 36 days away! It is what it is, a training race…I’ll take 5th place.

Typical road race from the start, a few accelerations to catch faux breaks. Before we knew it we were at Kennard Rd hill. This little hill always hurts more then it should, very deceiving. As usual this is where the pack gets splintered, last year a small group got away and stayed away so I wanted to be up front. The attack went off as scripted, about 10 guys got off in front of me but I slowly started picking em off and before I knew it I was second behind the AF racer then went right past him. Did not expect this at all but it was a happy revelation that my hill climbing has improved, and with the 1 hour climbs of Colorado looming I feel very comfortable. What to do now?... my HR was maxed, I’m out front…do I break and hope a small group forms…probably… but did not have it, I settled back and waited, a group formed, the pack was cut in half and nothing exciting to report on the remaining15 mile journey into town…until the final sprint of course.

As we approached the final 2 miles into town, the road complexion changes dramatically as we enter the industrial side of town, beat up and broken concrete, huge cracks and holes that try to claim the $5000 race bikes, $1000.00 wheel sets, and limbs and bones of the racers themselves.  Would be nice to eliminate Smith Rd until they fix it but must be more complex issue than we think.  I worked my way up front, but then got caught behind some cashed out riders on one of the hard accelerations into town, with guys flying by me on my left side and slippery slow Joe in front of me I had no option but to hop into the nasty cut up broken concrete to the right and try to float my way to the front….it kinda worked, as I got towards the front another big attack hit and 2 guys got away, I was 4th or 5th making the hard left turn over the rail tracks. Then I expect the guy next to me to swing wide to take the hard right into the final 400 yard sprint into town but this jacko stays tight and blocks me into a tight turn towards the inner curb. Feeling a tad perplexed I did not want to bump with this guy and did not know what was happening behind me so I grabbed a some brake at the worst possible time. Everyone else was carrying there speed into the turn, not me…I had to mash down on the pedals and get back up to speed then continue the effort for another 300 yards. Ouch, that sucked to watch those 2-3 riders get away but it is what it is. We mass sprinted for 3-6th place. Preliminary results are me and Brett Davis stroking over the finish line in 5 and 6 position.

Should I have yelled at that dud, been more aggressive into the turn and forced him to grab brake….dunno. The thoughts and replays kept floating into my head as I watched the sun try to poke through the overcast sky this morning. Overall I’m satisfied, over the years I’ve gone from being dropped by the expert group, to hanging, to snagging a top five…so it’s all good. Bring on the dirt, rocks and the thin air at 12,000 feet.

I did not stop my computer at race end, but for what I can gather; our average speed was 26.5 mph on this 27 mile course. On the final sprint I hit over 1000 watts. I’ll try to peal off some more data from the power meter tonight, its all new to me.

Afterwards, about 30 racers and their families attending our Reload Breakfast feast at casa de Daums. It was a good day!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Nothing left to do but SMILE, SMILE, SMILE





Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lumberjack 100

I tell ya what; I honestly don’t know how I lived without GPS in the cars all these years. Friday I plugged the Lat and Long coordinates of the LumberJack 100 located in the Manistee National Forest in Michigan, up there between Grand Rapids and Traverse City and pointed the Jeep in the direction of the arrows. 7 hours later we arrived at the Big M ski area in Michigan. No maps, no planning, no worries!

We saw Ross and Tif as we pulled in and went off to pre-ride the first 7 miles to see what the self titled Big M’fer is all about. Fun, smooth flowing single track with small pits of sand thrown in to keep ya on your toes is what it is. No huge ½ hour climbs, no rocks, hardly any roots. Connie was digging the flow of the trail! After riding we went to the cabin and then on to the local inn for sum grub. Brett rolled in around 10:30 as Ross & I were making last minute race prep. The one last minute change I made per Ross’s story of last year’s race was cutting back on the thickness of the two hour bottle of Hammer stuff. It made perfect sense per my past experience (not being able to digest Hammer stuff during lasts year 90 degree 160 mile ride across Indiana), race day was supposed to be in the 80’s so I thought that strategy would prevent any nutrition disaster.
5:15am strolled around mighty fast - get up, eat and go. Ross and I rode to the venue to warm up a bit. The race started down the road from the single track at 7:00am. 240+/- racers jocking for position. I got in the top 20 and was witness to the most spastic riding I’ve ever seen my super smooth calm teammate race. The start was straight up a small but mighty hill. What made it so mighty were the troughs of sand leading up to the climb and the heaps of sand on the bottom, steepest part of the hill. We entered double file and then someone fell. This threw Ross into the deepest of the sand and he was all over the place, pinging and knocking off riders trying to maintain some kind of momentum. Then he jumped off and back on only to hear his drive train scream with pain and pop and Ross was off swarming into yet another uncontrollable sand pit and nearly taking out another handful of riders. I held up a bit and he jumped in and then we hit the base of the climb. I guess not one rider made the lower portion of the climb, all dismounted and ran up the wall of sand according to Tif. Ross and I made it to the single track in the top 15ish. As far as I could see we were all pacing along the single track. I was tucked in behind Ross and Ernesto and they were behind a few other riders. I was content and just eased into the pace, but then spastic boy wasn’t finished, we where on a downhill and he decided to pass Ernie on a crazy section, Ross steps it up, pushes down on the cranks and swerves left into the high ferns & grass, sticks popping and flying Ross has nowhere to go as Ernie was on the rear tire of the guy in front of him, they slam elbows a bit, I’m thinking what the F you doing Ross. I thought for sure Ernie was going to hold his line but I guess he figured safe then sorry and finally let Ross in. We continued tempo for ¾ a lap then on the open field climb the pack split. I backed off a bit, content with the start and my position I decided to race my race and see what happens.

After watching spastic boy, the rest of the race was status quo and every bit as normal as a 100 miler could be. It only had 8000 feet or so of climbing but that was very deceiving because the course layout was rather flat. You were constantly working and hammering the flats, pedaling most of the time, trying to not ping off any trees at high speed, there was never any real recovery. The only issues I had was sever lower back pain on lap 2 and 3. I figured it was due to the tight hamstrings but more then likely it was the pounding speed of the course and my week core strength. My hands also blistered up good, but that’s what I get for not riding much single track this year and conditioning my hands to 100 miles of singletrack. I did hit the same tree twice, so hard the first time I really thought I had broken my carbon handlebars, but all was good!

I dig the format of this race, it’s not a 100 mile single loop but 4 - 25 mile laps. Its nice having access to my awesome pit crew - my lovely, smiling and encouraging wife each lap. She finds ways to inspire me to finish faster – like... “hurry up, the bugs are eat’n me alive” so the sooner I could finish… her suffering would end with mine! Also I like not having to rely on aid stations for 100 milers, you just never know if your stuff is gonna be there? I took enough Hammer Nutrition and water to get me through each lap and that strategy worked to perfection for this race. I really did not feel any super lows, or have any nasty stomach issues associated with heat and fatigue. It was also great to be able to gauge your lap times to see how the suffering was relating to previous laps.

Split times
18th place #37 Kevin Daum 1:46 3:47 5:55 8:07

Lap times
1:46 lap 1
2:01 lap 2
2:08 lap 3
2:12 lap 4I tried to stay consistent with my lap times. I was shooting for a under 8 hour finish, once again missed it by a couple of minutes but considering I’ve been off the bike 4 of the past 6 weeks with pulled hamstrings I’m glad I reached my goal of a top 20 finish. Shoot, the rest and recovery probably helped more the hurt! I’ve been trying to figure out ways to get faster and break the top 15 or maybe even the top 10. But when I analyze the results and rider profiles I should be sit back, grab a beer and be happy for what I got. Do I want to sacrifice any more then I already have for the sake of a few more positions - F YA! Sure I could lose 10 more pounds but then I’d be skinny rib cage meth dude. Can’t do anything about cutting down my 6’4” size. I can train and ride more but I'd be stuck with the guilt of leaving my son Landon and wife Connie and wondering if they'll pack up and leave one day. All the cycling magazines are reporting about the abuse of drugs in our sport, maybe that’s the way to get faster, all the cool kids are doing it! I could quit my full time job and have time for training, riding, family, fatherhood, but I don’t think the $500 first place prizes for some of these events could be close to supporting your trip costs plus entry fees let alone costs of living and raising a family.

It is what it is and I’ll take it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lumberjack 100

Quick update.

Race went as well as one of these can go for me. I finished 19th overall out of 250 racers in a time of 8.07. The Ohio contingent faired well. Shawn Adams – 5th, Ernie M – 10th, Ross Clark 12th, yours truly 19th, Brett Davis 30th.

The top 10 were mainly pro and semi-pro riders. Not sure how I can crack into that kind of finish seeing I’m over a foot taller and 30lbs heavier but my pursuit will continue. I’m satisfied with my finish. It was a good fast fun course and all was well. More details soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

LumberJack 100

Off to race # 3 of the National Ultra Endurance MTB Series this weekend. Taking this one for what it is, a see whats up and where I stand race, the hamstrings seem fully recovered so we'll see what I got and if I can dish it out. Looks like its been as dry up in Mich as here in Ohio, so should be a fast dry course in 80 degree weather. Ross and Brett have also registered. The course is a little different from other courses, four 25 mile laps with 99% single track and about 1/2 the climbing of the other races in the series.
The race website can be found here Lumberjack100

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sitting one out

I knew this was going to be a rough week. Connie finally pushed me out the door and on my bike this weekend. She knew it was time based on my level of non-riding grumpiness and my limping and gimping around the house had deminished. This weekend was the Mohican 100 (stop number 2 for the National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Series) I should stay away from reading all the blogs about the race - it makes me even more bummed I decided not to race. I’m still trying to convince myself it was the right decision. So what’s up with sir lazziness?

First off….did not realize how long it’s been since my last post. No racing action to report. Been prepping for the Mohican 100 which was this past weekend, including quite a few visits to the Mohican trail system and was feeling really good about it, but all my prep was for not.

Since the Cohutta 100

Week #17 – 8 hours training (recovery week)
Week #18 - 12 hours training - starting riding down at Mohican
Week #19 - 18 hours training - rode Mohican Forest both ways – 50 miles total. Have the 25 miles of single-track wired, feeling ready for the Mohican 100.
Week # 20 - 2 hours of training - this was supposed to be my 20+ hour week. Pulled/strained both hamstrings working in the yard, did not know it happened until the next morning. Way strange. I’m guessing they were super tight (as usual) and jamming the shovel into mother earth ripped/stained em good. It was tough to stand up and walk the first couple of days. Tried to ride the bike on Friday, did ok for 1st ½ hour but then after 10 minute tempo hamstrings said no way.
Week # 21 - 2 hours of training - Allergies came out of nowhere this year and have been a huge drag, have zero energy and want to sleep, a cup of coffee seems heavy to lift. Fatigue level is strange – best to describe it as Flu like systems with out the nasty of the flu. Combined with the strained hamstrings, I’m bumming but getting stuff done around the house.
Week # 22 - 8 hours of training - rode Tuesday with Connie at Reagan Park. Connie kept me in check, hamstrings felt good. Still unable to stretch them without any great deal of pain. Wednesday hit the trainer and increased intensity and was able to get 1 ½ hour.
Week #23 – We’ll see what happens. I’m gaining my flexibility back. Hamstrings are still tight but does not hurt to ride anymore. Rode to work this morning. Medina to Akron is about 23 miles one way. Takes about 1 ½ hours. So that gives me 50 miles and 3 hours in the saddle each day and saves me about 10 bucks in gas in day.

The good news – time off the bike equals muscle recovery and a lot of free time - been able to finish up a lot of stuff around the house that training hampers. Got the new kitchen floor totally finished, new windows installed, raised garden put in and 10 yards of mulch and 4 ½ tons of stone thrown around with the help of friends and family.

Next stop, the Lumberjack 100 in upper Michigan in two weeks.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cohutta 100

More photos can be viewed here
My Bad - its tough to read with the photos, I'll try something different next time!

Off to the Tour de Georgia

All bets where on Wednesday night! Will all the gear for 3 adults, a 2 year old and the supplies for a 100 mile race fit in the new Jeep? Connie was giving me the crossed arms attitude “NO way your getting all the stuff in the Jeep”. Game on! I don’t play to lose, so I packed super light and took no extra bike parts, just an extra bike to strip parts from if needed. ½ hour later I was plugg’n the geo codes in the GPS and the Jeep was on the way. No maps, just relying on good ole technology for the first time. Thursday morning we arrived on the top of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga Tenn. for stage 5 of the Tour de Georgia. For those of ya that don’t know, this is one of America’s premier professional road races. Teams from Spain, Belgium and wherever in Europe come over to battle the 7 day, 600+ mile stage race. The 18 mile time trail ended on the top of the mountain. It was cool to see the pros go at it and have all access to them. Afterwards we hung out around the Team Discovery Vehicles. Landon scored big when he saw the van filled with after race recovery food and decided to join the team. He did not hesitate to go up and ask the riders for a banana but they did not understand what he wanted so they gave him a water bottle. He shook his head & told them NO, and pointed to the Bananas. They quickly got the hint and promptly grabbed a banana and Landon jumped up with joy, everyone watching applauded and clapped. Afterwards Levi, George, Tom and the team signed the water bottle they just gave Landon.

Soon after we started to head back to the car and Landon began screaming “BITE, BITE, BITE and grabbing at his knee. I was carrying him and glanced down, I was covered with nearly 100 red ants…they were scaling and climbing up my lower body, getting ready to battle the big bad giant that mistakenly stepped on their nest. Then the attack began…sting after sting, after f-ing bite. Connie was freaking about getting Landon stripped down, I was swatting, jumping, swerving and dancing knocking the little battle drones down one by one. Craig jumped in and started flicking the little bastards off. Once I had my shirt off we thought we’d won the battle. No more ants could be seen, just the fresh battle wounds. Then I was hit by the last of the Mohicans…must have been the leader of the special forces of the red army…he infiltrated my shorts and took a couple bites in my crotch! M-F’r! Nothing like grabbing yourself in public with everyone looking and laughing their ass off…very funny! HA! After the battle of Lookout Mountain we packed up and headed to our Cabin on the border of Tenn and GA in McCaysville. That night, after the kids went to bed Bruce showed up with 2 growlers from a local Ashville brewery, Craig had the SoCo and we drowned ourselves in the hot tub.
Friday we headed off to Stage 6, the famous Brass Town Bald hill climb, the end of a 104 mile race day capped off with a visit to the wall, a 5 mile climb to the finish. It was cool stage to watch in person! On the walk up the final mile to the top, Landon was given a piece of caulk by one of the spectators and he wrote on every piece of lettering & artwork as we assaulted the hill. Everyone was laughing and cheering as Landon left his mark on Brass Town Bald!

So…..we were forced to park at the bottom of the mountain and take the shuttle up, but after the race was over the shuttle line was super long, so we put the 2 kids in the Burley stroller and headed down, down, down. 5 miles. Ross, Jason, Craig and I each took turns ripping and tearing up our race ready legs. The decent was brutal trying to hold the stroller from freefalling down the hill. The front brake was useless due to the angle of the slope. Perfect pre-race conditioning…absolutely not! We limped back to the cars and headed over to the Cohutta 100 race registration which was at the site of the 1996 Olympic White Water Center! A beautiful location nessled in the valley near Ducktown, TN. We deposited our drop bags and went back to the cabin.

Cohutta 100
Results are up for the Cohutta
check em out.
Cycling News Article about the Cohutta
check it out

The alarm went off at 5:00am and we packed up and shipped out the race start. It was 40degrees. Ross and I lined up next to former Olympian; Tinker Juarez, down the line was the World 24 hour solo Champion Chris Eatough, last years series endurance series champion; Harlan Price and other notable endurance racers such as Mark Hendershot and Ernesto Marenchin. The race started with a 3 mile climb up the highway; I watched as the top riders jockeyed for positioned right before the single track. We went from 5 wide to 2 wide on the double track downhill. Then a small bottle neck as we entered the single track. I had no idea where Ross was until he upped next to me and said go ahead. I was behind another Ohioan Ernesto. We were cruising the single track at a decent pace for 7 miles, then my first issue of the day struck. I say issues because I’m not throwing out excuses. A big ole 1 inch stick of Tennessee lumber snapped up and lodged in my derailleur. I stopped and pulled the dang thing out, did not even look to see if there was any damage, I was more concerned about getting behind slower riders, we had another couple miles of tight trail to go. I caught back up to Ross and we entered more single track. When we hit the first hill I backed the gears down a bit and they started skipping, jumping, popping and cracking. F-me! 10 mile into a 100 mile race and I lose my 4 climbing gears, it was either the last cog (slow) or 4 up (hard). I could not get it to engage in any of the comfy climbing gears. Whatcha gonna do? The extra derailleur hangers where in my gear bag in the Jeep. As we dumped onto the 70 miles of fire road I was getting passed by three riders on each hill. I was climbing in the slow gear, saving my legs for later was my think’n. I tried not to get pissed off. Then Garth pulled up we started chating, and commenting on how Ross does it, he’s up front, lives in shit for weather N.E. Ohio and has two small kids! “He’s on fire!” We caught several riders and paced together until we hit some more climbing. I could not keep with my gear selection so I backed off. I was alone. The first 40 miles were rough; I was

feeling below average and just had absolutely no funk. A small part was frustration, but a majority of me wasn't feel'n it. I was simply not in the groove. Somewhere along the trail a single speeder caught me and we paced for 10-15 miles together. It passed the time! I lost him at the next aid station when I left before he did. But something leading up to the aid station perked me up. The mojo dropped from the heavens through the canopy of trees and the strength crept back into my legs. It must have been the 10 mile blazing down hill. I was on a flat section and I began picking racers off. I attacked hill after hill and soaked up the clean air and sweet views. When I hit the last aid station I looked at my watch at thought, dang…I was aiming for a sub nine hour finish time but I was more inline with a sub 8. That gave me some renewed inspiration. With the hurt gone I pushed on. I saw Jason, Bruce, Connie, Landon & Craig with only 10 miles to go, sittn on the side of the road cheering me on! (I hope they know how much that little bit of cheering helps!) The last 10 miles was some sweet single track. I dumped out on the road with 1 minute left til 8 hours…I got it! Until I realized where I was! A mile or so down from the finish line…I hammered on and saw 8 hours hit my watch…if I only would have known I would have not stopped at every aid station, I even grabbed two handfuls of Jelly Belly’s at aid station 3. (new favorite race food, guess the flavor as you ride up a long hill) Oh well…lesson learned…never hold back! I crossed the finish line at 8:03:04 in 27th place. My teammate Ross finished 40 minutes ahead of me for 8th place (great job). The Ohio boys did well. Shawn Adams finished 5th, Ross 8th, Ernesto 16th, Garth 20th any yours truly 27th. It was all good!

35 Mile Race
Shortly after our race started, a cross country race went off. The typical 35 mile suffer fest. Once again Ohio looked strong. Good old fast boy Gary Snodgrass took first place, Bruce took 5th place and Jason hung in there for 20ish..not bad considering Jason has not moved up to the expert class yet, but this shows he’s on the way.

All in all it was a very cool trip and race. Unfortunately, according to my wife Connie, it will be my last. On Friday’s hike up Brass Town Bald, Connie decided to sacrifice herself and was carrying Landon up the final mile. She was letting me rest for race day, (God I love this woman) but then she let me and hundreds of spectators sitting on the climb know it. “I carried Landon for 9 months and now I’m carrying him up the largest mountain in GA! This SUCKS! We’re never going on a vacation like this again!” She YELLED! I tried to do the right thing and hold back my laughter, but I was scared, I thought she was going to hyperventilate, her heart was pounding out her chest and she was sweeting & shaking!

So…. what’s my next move? 1) annulment 2) hang the bikes up 3) stick it out – she still loves me-right? Anyone have any good advice, need a little help here!
Needless to say…on the way home Connie admitted she has a new respect for cycling. How do you ride up that when we can’t even walk it! She has a new view on the pain and suffering she witnessed on the Wall!

Here’s a few other blogs of the Cohutta 100 if your interested.