Midwest Love – Racing and a Wedding

Well… a LOT has happened in the last month since my last post. For starters, Evie and I are engaged! Racing has begun, and I kicked things off with a win at the Hedge Hog Hustle in Arizona.

February was a pretty wild month with some unexpected travel and happenings, but such is life. If I’ve learned anything from my closest friends and teammates is that you have to be able to roll with the punches and adapt to unexpected situations.

Wedding Proposal

Evie came to visit in February which among other things meant amazing home cooked meals and fun portable snacks for on the bike :p. I was excited to introduce her to my Arizona friends and show her around.

There’s nothing better than ripping around on the local trails with your best friends and the past few weeks have been just that. I had planned a trip up to Sedona to which turned into a trip to Sedona plus Prescott and Flagstaff.

I secretly planned on proposing at Slide Rock park up in Sedona and after a fun hike along the river we sat down for a picnic that we’d packed with some wine and a little music and I got down on one knee and popped the question.

She said yes! And we’re set to get married on July 5th.

Sedona Wedding Proposal

She Said Yes!

A Game Changer

Along with growing my hair out (the #1 best way to make yourself faster on the bike), I upgraded to an XX1 group on my hard tail. Complete game changer. Not only does it remove the likelihood of dropped chains, it opens up a world of possibilities for suspension designers with free range of shock placement since there’s no need of a front derailleur and cable routing.

SRAM XX1

I never realized how much I use my front shifter until I jumped back on my Top Fuel. The 1x setup is phenomenal. We liked it so much Evie put it on her bike with a 32t up front and is crushing it!

I’m running a 34t up front and the 10-42 in back. I rode up and over four peaks, a monster climb and bombing with no problems on either end of the range.

I also went ahead and ordered a Wolf Tooth 36t for my Top Fuel to run with my 11-36 tooth cassette. After talking with a few other riders who already made the switch I’m stoked to get that setup and rock the 1×10 on the trail bike!

BIG Rides

Four Peaks

As I finished up the base miles portion of my pre-season “training,” my rides were getting bigger and more epic. I put in an incredible 10,000 ft day at Four Peaks with one of the coolest gravel descents overlooking Roosevelt Lake the entire way down.

The next weekend Evie and I headed down to Tucson to conquer the beast of Mt. Lemmon which this time, ended up getting the better of us. As we approached the halfway point the temperatures started to plummet and fog started to roll in, and a wet mist filled the air.

Wayyy underdressed with just a pair of arm warmers and a vest I fought my way to the observatory, the highest point on Mt. Lemmon at 9,157’. It way maybe 20 degrees and I was cold and wet. I started my descent and met up with Evie at the Summer Haven peak at 8,000’ and we started our hour long descent.

Mt. Lemmon

I’ve ridden in some cold temperatures, even a few sub zero, but this is the coldest I’ve ever been on the bike. 20 degrees, snow, and at altitude, it wasn’t until we got to the bottom, got changed and went to dinner that I finally thawed out. Some call those character building rides; if that’s the case I’m now Mickey Mouse.

Racing begins with a Big W (that stands for Wisco!)

The mountain bike racing season began for me on Saturday with Arizona’s mountain bike series #4 Estrella Hedge Hog Hustle. I hadn’t ridden this course in 4 or 5 years, but all I could remember is it’s a real mountain biker’s course. Rugged, rocky, a few grinder climbs, some fast descents, and a couple really long tech sections. I was pumped.

No series can hold a candle to WORS, but the Arizona mountain bike series does put on great events with pretty descent turnouts (the first race of the season pulled in 700 riders). For this race though, it was a little further out so there were 6 pros and 20 or so Cat 1 racers.

Just like a WORS race the pros and cat 1’s started at the same time. It was cool to see some familiar faces as TJ Woodruff lined up along with Brian Matter. The gun sounded and we were off.

Early season races are all about blowing out the cob webs. I think it’s important to use these races to determine where you’re at fitness wise, practice various aspects of your race routine, and flat out remember HOW to race.

MBAA Estrella - Photo Courtesy of Frozen Motion Photos

Local races are great for this, and it’s an awesome way to get in a tough workout, figure out what things you need to still improve on, and get back into the racing groove.

It’s no secret… I’ve been training, a lot. This was only my first week of real structured intervals, but I’ve been putting a lot of hours in. I was second row right behind the pro guys and my first objective was simply to stay with the front group, and I did.

The race consisted of two long loops (10-miles) and two tech loops (5 miles). I felt okay at the start and after some jockeying for position amongst the pro riders I jumped in 5th wheel.

TJ lead the group up a gradual climb where a group of three, TJ, Brian, and one other pro rider opened up a good 15 second gap. I made a jump around the rider in front of me once the trail opened up before a good 2 miles of twisty tech trail and managed to close the gap by the end of the section and jump onto Brian’s wheel.

The lap finished with a 3-min gradual climb and bombing descent so at the start of the climb I attacked because well, why not. I dug in and lead up the climb, but it wasn’t long before TJ came around at the top and we started the descent to lap 2.

I stuck with the lead group for the start of the 2nd lap, but TJ and Brian turned it up again on the gradual climb to the tech section and my legs weren’t able to hang on so I just settled in and finished out the race for a 1st place in Cat 1, 4th overall.

It felt great to race, great to win, but even better to know that my hard work the past few seasons is starting to pay off. Every so often in the race I’d glance at the time, 20-mins, 1-hr, 1.5-hrs and think to myself, okay am I about to blow up, but it never came I felt good (relatively speaking) for the entire race and finished just a couple minutes off the leader (Brian), who I should also mention, was on his remedy :p

MBAA Estrella Cat 1 - 1st Place

So it was a Wisco podium all around, Brian for the Pro race, me for the Cat 1 race, and then Evie for the Cat 1 women, and Andrea for the Cat 2 women.

The next day we hit the trails at McDowell for a 4-hr jam session with the girls and had a blast! That’s what mountain biking is all about!

Thanks to Mike’s Mix for helping me recover through these big training weeks, Team Wisconsin Cycling, Jake over at Fit Squared, and Evie, you guys rock!

And thanks for reading!

I’ve also brushed up my web design portfolio, feel free to check it out.

New Year, New Adventures, Back at it!

After what I would deem a successful off-season, 2014 brings a ton of new and exciting adventures to the plate.

My 3 areas of focus are mountain bike racing, growing my blog EminiMind, and growing my website design business. I guess I should add a special category for growing friendships and committing to another year of amazing adventures with the people I love.

Hard Man Winter

Winter

After I got back from Colorado at the beginning of November it was nice to be able to chill out for a bit, stay local and spend time doing things I don’t often get to do with people I don’t often get to see. Racing bikes and traveling around the country is great, but having the time to recharge and do different things is just as important and gets me motivated again for the coming year.

The holidays were fun, but also a challenge. Looking ahead to next year, my good buddy Steve is getting married the week before Sea Otter in California, so I decided to target that race, or at least be in decent shape by then (hopefully). That means base miles began in December.

Midwest winters are tough, but this was the toughest one by far. Some people might think I’m a bit of a weenie for running off to Arizona for the winter where it’s warm and sunny and I can ride my bike in short sleeves everyday (okay I’ll stop there). Really though, I’d like to think I’m a pretty “hard man” when it comes to the elements.

Last spring after I got back from AZ it rained for what seemed like 3 weeks straight. I had no problem kitting up and getting out for training rides in that kind of shit weather.

When December hit things got REAL shitty and cold, like -10 and windy cold. I picked up a set of XC skis and went for a lot of hikes through the snow, but still kitted up and put in a fair share of 3 and 4 hr rides in 0-10 degree weather. When your toes go numb in the first 45-mins, you just grin and bear it.

In reality though, you have to be careful. This early in the year it’s important not to burn any mental matches that you’ll need later in the year. When the roads got too shitty and downright unsafe to ride, you have to find alternatives.

Back at it, AZ Style

Mt Humboldt Looking down to Horshoe Reservoir

Now though, back in Arizona things are progressing nicely. I’m ahead of where I was last year in terms of fitness for this time of year and feel like I have my eating, training, and work/life balance dialed. I learned a ton last year, most by trying different things and noting how my body responded. Spending every weekend traveling with awesome teammates and friends really helped too.

2014, the Best is Yet to Come!Tim and Joe

This year is all about making a splash. A big splash (and not just in racing). I evaluated the areas I still struggle with and things I need to improve upon to become a smarter, faster racer and really spent the time working on them. My fitness is building, my weight is dropping, and my handling is improving.

I’m at a good point in my life, I’m happy, like really happy. I don’t expect to get a call from the Trek Factory Racing team asking to come on board, but I do have really high expectations this year to make a splash as one of the top Cat 1 riders in the country.

So far this year is off to a great start!

EminiMind & Web Design

I’ve also seen a lot of success in my business, both businesses actually. The blog, EminiMind.com continues to grow its readership every year, averaging about 150-200 unique visitors per day and generating a nice amount of (for the most part) passive income. I love being able to share my experiences with other traders, and help them become financially independent and in the end, live a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.

My web design business has also been doing really well. Along with business development, I have a strong passion for developing and streamlining processes. Creating websites for clients and developing a streamlined process for my entire business has been an absolute blast. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really cool businesses and have a real impact on their bottom line, helping to deliver new customers, and generate sales. I added a portfolio section to my blog you can checkout if you’re interested in some of my latest projects.

To wrap things up, I’m definitely excited about 2014! If you know anyone who might be in need of a website or need help with online business it’d be awesome if you could send them my way. If I can’t come up with a solution, I’m happy to help find someone who can.

To all my friends, family, and everyone else who’s been a part of my life thus far, I can’t express enough my greatest thanks to you for all you’ve helped me accomplish. Things are about to get even better.

A Colorado Road Trip

With the racing season over it was time for some R&R. Well not really…

In October I set out on a fall road trip with my dad. We planned a route through Colorado and down to Scottsdale, Arizona. I wanted to checkout Durango and my dad wanted to do some hiking so the trip seemed like a perfect opportunity for both.

As we set out on our trip the government with into shutdown mode so all the National Parks were closed on our way out. Luckily there were only a couple national run spots. The rest were state run.

The Climb to 10,000’

We spent the first day driving. Crossing Iowa and Nebraska on I-80 is pretty boring, but once we hit Denver the mountains were in sight! Denver sits at 5,000’ elevation, which would be one of the lowest points of our trip.

Colorado Mountains Ouray, CO

Our first main stop was Breckenridge (Breckenridge Brewing Co. to be exact). They had just got a dusting of snow and the bartender said the ski resorts were starting to open that week.

From there we headed south to one of my favorite places, Leadville. The town sits at 10,150 feet and coming from 1,000’ you can definitely feel it just walking up the stairs. Leadville is a super small old mining town of ~2500 people.

We had dinner in town that night at Quincy’s where M-TH they only have one thing on the menu. A steak dinner for $8.95, it was delicious.

The next day we drove out to Turquoise Lake and hiked around a bit, the lake was super calm and there was no one around, super peaceful.

Turquoise Lake - Leadville, CO

As you head south from Leadville the scenery changes from pine trees and snow to sandy and dry as you enter the Gunnison high desert. Along the way you drive along Black Canyon which has some incredible hikes some 1300 vertical feet down to the bottom.

Black Canyon - Gunnison, CO

Montrose was the next stop on our tour. The town itself was pretty plain, but they had an excellent microbrewery that just opened up, Two Rascals. They had a small tap room with some locals playing acoustic guitar and violin. Everyone was really friendly and the beer was good (making it worth a stop on our return trip).

Montrose is about 2-hrs straight north of Durango and contains one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever been on in my life. Snow had covered the mountains the morning we began our drive down to Durango. We passed through the small town of Ouray nestled right in this little mountain valley. Probably the quaintest town I’ve ever seen.

A Mountain Biker’s Dream

Silverton, CO

Silverton was just south of Ouray, another small mining town with amazing views, then finally Durango. When we got into town we drove through the downtown and up to the Fort Lewis College campus which rests atop this mesa overlooking the town, amazing.

We grabbed a hotel room and then went out for a hike in the Animas mountains. Following, we cleaned up and headed downtown to grab food and checkout a few of the local breweries. The town is the perfect size, about 20,000 people with an awesome downtown, good breweries and endless amounts of trail, what more could you ask for!

Animas Mountains - Durango, CO

Durango, CO

Durango, CO

As we left Durango and headed down to Scottsdale the scenery began to change real fast. Pretty much everything south and west is bland excluding Flagstaff and Sedona.

Warm and Sunny Slide Rock

One of my favorite spots in Arizona is Slide Rock state park. We stopped to do some hiking along the river. It’s incredibly beautiful.

Slide Rock- Sedona, AZ

Slide Rock- Sedona, AZSteep & Rocky Climbs

Once we got to Scottsdale I was stoked to hit the trails with my friends Jake and Brent. The Scottsdale parks and recreation department does a fantastic job with their trail head and trail systems. Saturday a new trail head was opening north of town so we headed up there to check out the ceremony and ride the new trails.

Arizona riding is sure different than around the Midwest. Not much dirt and wide open views. Nonetheless the riding challenges you in different ways. The climbs are incredibly rocks and steep and the corners are loose. I put in a solid 5-hrs on Saturday and then another 4.5-hrs on Sunday.

Brown's Peak, AZ

Superstition Mountain Hike

My dad does pretty good for a just-turned 60-year-old. Monday, we hiked up Superstition, a mountain to the east of town that rises from 1500 to 4800 feet and consists of a lot of steep climbing. It took us about 4-hrs and was a lot of fun. I always enjoy hiking with people, everyone is super friendly and gives you a chance to talk about a lot of interesting things.

Flat Iron Peak - Superstition Mtn

Superstion Mtn, AZ

This concluded the first half of our trip. On the return trip we headed back through Durango and Ouray and then up to Glenwood Springs to once again check out another brewery. Trail Ridge Road, the pass through Rocky Mountain National Park was closed and the surrounding areas were still affected by the flooding from a few weeks prior so we decided to head to Boulder instead.

Boulder Beer, Fort Collin’s, and O’Dell

Boulder has some fantastic breweries, Boulder Beer Co., Twisted Pine, and of course Avery.  We did a fair bit of sampling while we were there and also checkout out the Celestial Tea factory which was pretty neat.

I had never been to Fort Collins before so on the way out of town we detoured north and stopped at O’Dell brewery up in Fort; another fantastic Colorado brewery.

All in all the trip was a great way to kick back after 9 months of a successful racing season, spend some time with my dad and get my mind off the bike (for a little while anyways).

I love Colorado, but it was nice to get back and ride the home trails with my friends. Fall is such a great time to ride. No training plan, no stress, just ride.

Something Old and Something New

The Dakota Five-0

Mixing it up this year, I decided to make the trip out to Spearfish, SD on Labor Day weekend for the Dakota Five-0, a 50-mile endurance mtb race of mostly singletrack and no shortage of climbing.

The race was HARD. Not so much in the technical nature of the trails, but more in the length of the race. The leaders finished in 3:45, and I was about 15-mins back at 4:00 even at 15th place.

Dakota Five-0 2013

Making the trip out there was me Evie and our friend Ben and boy was it worth it. The few days leading up to the race we got out and rode the trails and they were some of the most fun singletrack I’ve ever ridden. Hilly, flowy, and fast!

The race kicked off with a 2-mile climb up this gravel road which forced a selection pretty quick. I was riding in the front group of 10-12 as we headed into the singletrack, right where I wanted to be.

When you’re racing in a local WORS race you know all the riders and everyone’s abilities. Traveling across the country to race you lose this capability. There were a few familiar faces in the likes of Nathan Guerra, Brian Eppen, and Trevor Olsen. A few guys stood out with prominent kits, but otherwise I was going in blind.

We spent the first 23-miles mostly climbing. I think I had something like 4500 feet after 1.5 hrs. The climbs were long and grinding, my kind of climbs. I put a dig in on Dakota Ridge, one of the harder and longer climbs on the course. I managed to drop the group I was with and then put more time in on the descent. I felt good at this point, but knowing there was still around 2.5-hrs left I knew I had to stay in control, keep fueling and manage my fitness as best I could.

I finished the last 3rd of the race by myself, knowing that everyone would be riding at their own pace by this point. As soon as I hit mike 36 I knew I was home free because the last 14 miles was mostly downhill.

Crossing the line felt amazing, and the after party of free beer and food for racers was even more awesome. Pretty satisfied in my finish for my first marathon style race and I’ll definitely be back again to ride the trails in Spearfish!

Chequamegon 40

The Cheq 40 is pretty much the cap to the mountain bike season and this was it’s 31st year running, needless to say there’s a ton of talent and history here.

After slating the D50 into the picture this would be my 10th weekend in a row of racing and traveling. Looking back, my only real weekend off of racing was before nationals in June. This season has had a lot of high points and I have a lot to be proud of, but I really wanted to cap things off with a top 25 in the Cheq 40.

Cheq 2013 Photo by Tom Kelly

The race started out pretty tame. A mass start roll out keeps things somewhat controlled and as long as you tuck and hide from the wind on the highway before Rosie’s you can conserve energy. I made sure to come around to the front just before Rosie;s and was in good position (although the left pro line was fenced off this year).

Once we hit Rosie’s field I knew things would start to break up so I made sure to stay on it through the descent. As we hit the first few Birkie rollers the front group of 20 or so riders opened up a gap and I settled in behind the riders in my group. I wasn’t going to burn any matches to chase this early in the race.

The rest of the race was pretty textbook. Conserving energy on the gravel roads, staying near the front of the group (but not on the front), and carrying your momentum through the corners to conserve energy and move up as needed were all things I made a conscious effort of doing.

The most defining point in the race is Fire Tower climb 3/4 of the way through the race. As we passed mile 28 I knew it was time to get to the front. Moving to the front at the right time just before Fire Tower allowed me to lead up the climb and ride my own pace without worrying about other riders. Once we crested the top and made the bombing descent down I looked back and our group was down to about 5 guys from 20, perfect.

In the last few miles it was myself, Dallas Fowler, and Justin Reinhardt. I rolled in just behind Dallas for 27th overall and I was more than satisfied as I raced a flawless race, doing what needed to be done, putting myself in the right place at the right time.

Sometimes you try and turn yourself inside out pushing as hard as you can early in the race until you begin to fade and hope you don’t fall to far back. This race was more about delivering a realistic result to cap off the season on a high note.

Now that I’ve finished Ore to Shore and Chequamegon in the top 30 and been inside the top 10 in WORS, I can feel more comfortable taking bigger risks in hopes for bigger rewards. Another result for the race resume, but more importantly a mental boost to carry through the off season.

Mountain Bike Nationals

Tuesday morning Joe and I headed down to Illinois to pickup my dad and start the trip out to Bear Creek Resort, PA. This will be the home of mountain bike nationals for the next 2 years. We made it to the course on Wednesday afternoon in time to get a couple of laps in.

I heard the course was technical so I was excited to see what we’d be racing on. The course was littered with bowling ball sized rocks, big enough that you had to pick your lines and work the bike through the obstacles.

Things started with a big climb which was pretty protected by tree cover as it was 100+ degrees and 90% humidity every day. There were some very technical rooty uphills and once you made it to the top the real technical part began, the descent.

The amateur course was about 6.5 miles (the pro course only ~3 mi). I chose to race my Trek Top Fuel and didn’t even do one lap on the hard tail. The descent was so physically demanding even with the full squish you had to do everything you could to focus on taking clean lines while going as fast as you could down the switchbacks with little or no brakes.

After the pre-ride I was pretty spent, a few crashed and couple dabs, I was ready for bed. We rolled over to the hotel in Reading and passed out.

Mtb Nats Short Track

Thursday was the Cat 1 short track. I did my warm-up and the legs felt good. There were only about 30 guys maybe in the short track race. Once the gun went off and we finished our first lap I filed in to a comfortable top ten spot and pretty much finished the race at my own pace, finishing 7th. I wasn’t 100% amped for the race and didn’t want to burn too many matches for Saturday’s XC.

Friday was a rest and relax day. My dad and I went over to the Martin Guitar factory which was pretty cool. I got in a short spin to keep the legs loose, ate dinner and went to bed, trying to focus on the progression of the race and running through the course in my mind.

Race Day!

The alarm went off at 5am and we grabbed our stuff and headed over to the course. Luckily the Cat 1 race was at 8am so it was only in the 90s, but still humid. It had rained the night before and made the first couple laps really sketchy.

I got called up 2nd to the line behind Tyler Jenema which was really cool. Racing was broken out into waves by age group so I was in the 25-29. As the gun went off I had a good start and slotted in 3rd into the single track. As we made our way up the climb we immediately ran into slower riders from the 19-23 wave. A few guys made a pass in a tight corner, I wasn’t able to squeeze in and had to run up the first technical climb.

I put in a dig to latch back on to the lead group, but knew it would be a 2+ hr race so backed off a little at the top of the climb. It was so humid everyone was already completely soaked and I could barely hold onto my grips.

I felt better on the descent than in the pre-ride. Some of the lines were worn in a bit more from races earlier in the week. It also helps when I break the course up into sections so I can focus on one section at a time during the race.

On lap 2 I was by myself and made sure to keep the pace hot, but ride within myself on the descent so as to not get too cross-eyed. There were tons of people on the side of the trail with flats and others who had crashes so I knew if I could stay on my bike and be smooth to conserve energy in the super technical spots I could hold my position.

Near the end of lap 2 a couple guys from my wave and the 30+ wave bridged up to me on gravel climb. I knew this was the last time up so I took a gel, had a sip of water and tried to hold on, but they were just a bit too fast for me so I continued to push my pace and keep things controlled through the last descent.

Here’s a video of the pro racers coming down one of the technical descents.

On my way down there were even more people on the side of the trail with flats. One guy asked if I had a 26” tube, figuring I’d be one of the only guys on a 26” bike I ripped it off from under my seat and tossed it to him. I think all I could let out was a deep sigh “uuhhhhh” as I kept pedaling past.

Coming into the final switchback descent I could hear another rider creeping up on me so I flipped my Fox CTD shock to full open (descend mode) and pushed it as hard as I could to keep the gap, making sure to stay extra light on the pedals to float over the rocks without flatting. I think he ended up crashing because after blasting through the final rock garden and coming out into the final 200m I looked back and didn’t see him behind me.

Rolling to the line I was completely spent. I knew I gave it everything, that was good for 5th place, a spot on the podium, and satisfaction all around. Capping off 6 months of training that began back in January out in Arizona I was super happy with the result.

Mtb Nationals 5th Place

Later in the day Joe raced in the pro race along with fellow WORS mates Tyler Gauthier and Justin Piontek. I helped out in the feedzone. It’s super nice to have two of us in different races because while I’m racing Joe does bottle hand ups for me and vice versa. He had a great race and got 21st.

It’s great when all the hard work early season comes together. We were both happy with our results, and exhausted. We left it all out there, and that’s all you can do.

Mountain Bike Nationals 2013 Cat 1

Subaru Cup ProXCT

Wow, July has been a whirlwind. WORS, Subaru Cup, peaking for Nationals. I’ve finally had time to wind down and think about the last few weeks. I’m guessing this will be a two-parter…

This season’s focus was around mountain bike nationals in mid July. Leading up to nat’s was the Subaru Cup ProXCT a great primer the week before nat’s.

Joe and I drove up to the course the Weds before to get in some hot laps and really get to know the course. Doing this earlier in the week was really helpful for two reasons. We had time the rest of the week to visualize the course, which spots to attack, which spots to rest. It also allowed us to ride at race pace without worrying about going too hard for too long if it were the day before.

Coming into the weekend the legs were feeling awesome I could tell I was peaking. I wasn’t 100% sure on the timing of the exact day of the peak, but when you’re training for 6 months leading up to a big block of races feeling good on race weekend is close enough. Mentally I was psyched and ready to go.

The course at Subaru Cup was pretty much the same as last year with 1 or 2 small alterations. When the gun went off we climbed a short, but steep climb into the first section of singletrack. I put in a solid dig and filed in for 2nd. As soon as we rolled the Bontrager boulder in the amphitheater I could see we and opened up a small gap on 3rd wheel.

During pre-ride, while it’s helpful to get a feel for the entire course, it’s that first section of single track that really counts. Knowing which line you are going to take off the line and how hard you need to pedal to be where you NEED to be is something I’ve really come to understand after this last month of racing.

The pace on lap 1 was really high. I could tell I was riding just outside myself, but new if I wanted to win I would have to hang with the leader as long as I could. After the first lap I began to lose contact and that was the last I saw of him.

On the start of lap 2 Trevor Olsen put a dig in on the climb that I went with, but I could tell I needed to slow the pace down if I wanted to hold my position. On lap 3 I was caught by Ben Jenkins and Tyler Jenema and felt my pace starting to slow a bit going into the last lap.

In the end I rolled in for 11th. Not the result I was hoping for, but I went as hard as I could to stay with the leader as long as I could so I was satisfied. After the race I talked with the winner, Dario Frederick. Turns out he’d won nat’s the past 4 years and runs the Whole Athlete/Specialized team. Super talented group of kids.

For short track on Sunday my legs felt pretty good, but a dropped chain multiple times kept me from the podium. All in all a super fun weekend good friends, good eats in town after the race, and lots of laughs.

It felt good to shake out the nerves. Next up the big one, mountain bike nationals in Bear Creek, PA.

WORS is Underway, Summer is Not

With the Wisconsin Off-road Series kicking off the season with 3 straight weekends of racing I’m glad to have a weekend off. There’s a lot that goes into gearing up for a mountain bike race, most of which is mental, and hard to describe, but I’ll do my best.

After 3 races I’m sitting top 10 in the WORS overall, but that will certainly change as the season goes on. The first two races Iola, and Rhinelander were at the end of big training weeks so I was pleased with my results on somewhat tired legs.

Iola & Rhinelander

The best part of WORS racing is the people. For Iola Joe and I stayed with Lukas a UW rider and had a really chill evening making dinner and relaxing.

I flew solo to Rhinelander and met up with a few other people to camp out for the night before the race.

Weather was perfect, temps in the mid 50s during the night. We had a super relaxing evening sitting around the campfire listening to George play guitar as we ate smore’s and had some good laughs.

Sunday was another good day. After my warm-up I could tell I still didn’t have a lot of snap and my HR wasn’t responding that great, but managed to roll in for 14th.

The Red Eye Rendezvous

Wausau was past weekend, such a fun race. JPass and I drove up on Saturday to pre-ride, the course was really muddy and slick, but a perfect mix of technical single track and open fire roads.

Alex’s parents graciously offered to put us up for the night which was great. We all met for dinner at the Red Eye, a local brewery in town. This is usually the spot we frequent anytime we’re in Wausau, great food, good beer, always a good time.

Sunday didn’t see any more rain, but instead cooler temps and wind so the course dried out a lot overnight. My legs felt good during my warm-up and I was excited to get a #9 call up and 2nd row start.

The race itself ended up being kind of boring. Not exactly sure where things split apart, but after the long fire road section a few miles in to lap one I found myself all by my lonesome and finished the rest of the race that way.

Time to Recharge

With the weekend off, I’m looking forward to recharging my batteries, getting in some good training and gearing up for Camrock in two weeks. Not having to travel far will be nice. I had my best start there last year filing into the single track at 8th wheel after the relatively long climb.

With 3 races down there’s still a ton of racing to go this year and lots of gains to be made over the next few months.

Mt. Lemmon, MadTown, & Mtb Racing

Well, back home in Madison, thngs are exactly the same as when I left, 30s and cold, seriously? Today I got word that the first WORS race of the season (set for May 5) has to be rescheduled due to snow, ridiculous. I did find another Illinois race taking place on the same day that I might do instead.

That brings me to last weekend’s racing, what a blast! It felt great to get the first race of the year under my belt and have a solid results, but before I get into the details let me share a little bit from my trip home from AZ.

The Beast – Mt. Lemmon

A couple weeks back my dad flew out to Arizona and we packed up my things, loaded the car and headed south to Tucson. It was a pretty typical day in the 80s and I was headed up the long 27 mile climb that is Mt. Lemmon.

Mt. Lemmon is probably my favorite road ride in all of Arizona, and probably the most fun climb I’ve ever done. This time though, I rode from a friend’s house to the base (about an hour) then started the climb. I ended up running out of water about halfway up which sucked, but the temperature dropped to the low 50s near the top so it wasn’t a total death march.

After climbing for two hours comes the fun part, the descent. Mt. Lemmon is super open with wide turns so you can pretty much cruise at 50-mph down a good portion of it. It’s actually the cars that slow you down.

Tucson, AZ

After Mt. Lemmon my dad and I made our way to Las Cruces, NM for the night and set out the next day for Austin, TX. We spent the day in Austin checking out downtown, stopped off at Barton Springs, and had an awesome lunch at this brew pub called Uncle Billy’s, some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had.

From Austin the plan was to head down to San Antonio to spend a few days with my dad’s aunt and uncle. It was nice to stay put for a few days and eat some home cooked meals. Riding in San Antonio was not so pleasant, traffic is a bitch, but hey at least it was warm.

On Thursday we drove north. It took two days to get back to northern Illinois, but it felt good to be home and see my family after 3 months in AZ.

Team Wisconsin Kickoff

The annual spring Team Wisconsin meeting kicked off on Saturday. It was nice to see all the teammates and get a little ride in.

I’ve only been back for two weeks and I’m already sick of Mother Nature. 40s and rain everyday is getting old fast, but whatever, just gotta suffer through it: riding outside in the cold, wind, and rain beats riding the trainer.

Team Wisconsin 2013

2nd Place Finish at Sylvan Island

So back to the race on Sunday, I came across this race in Illinois on the Mississippi river, near Iowa on MtbCalendar.com. I figured it’d be a good alternative to the GDVC crit in the rain so I decided to race MTBs.

It turned out to be an awesome day, 70 degrees and sunny! The Cat 1 field was small (compared to WORS), only about 30-40 guys. The only guy I knew from WORS was Kevin McConnell.

I’d never ridden the course before so the first lap I sat in around 5th wheel. The course was short, about 4-miles and we were doing 6 laps, plenty of time to find my rhythm. I was racing the Top Fuel with my same XR4/XR3 tire setup from Arizona so traction was no issue.

After 2 laps I put in an attack across an open windy straight and got a small gap on the field. I lead laps 3, 4, 5, and most of lap 6. We were a group of 5 for the first few laps, but by the last lap we had dwindled down to 3, myself, Kevin, and Kevin’s teammate Aaron.

Towards the end of the last lap we came to a long straightaway where the prior laps I was putting in some big digs to keep a gap, making the other guys work just as hard, but this time I could feel Aaron hot on my heals.

He shot inside right as we hit the single track and I followed him into the finish line, sprinting with Kevin for 2nd.

2nd Place Finish

All in all I was super happy with the race. Good to know my fitness is coming around, my legs and HR were solid through the entire 1hr 50 min race.

Looks like the next mtb race will be another Illinois race, then hopefully we can get WORS underway!

Things Are Heating Up, Oh and I Bought a New Bike

I left off with preparing for my trip to New York City to speak at the Trader’s Expo. All in all it was a pleasant trip. Temps were in the upper 30s, low 40s, nice for walking around the city. I decide to stay at the Tryp hotel after reading a lot of great reviews.

The modern décor gave off some great vibes and using a few of my ninja travel tricks I booked my room for the same rate as the holiday inn! Another win for the thrift savvy.

Tryp Hotel Room NYCAs for my presentation, I had about 80 traders show up to hear my 45-min talk on how to develop a winning trader’s mindset. It went great, in fact even better than I expected. I had people coming up afterwards thanking me and some even saying it was the best talk they attending during the entire event. That meant a lot. All the hard work, rehearsing, and preparation paid off.

NY Traders Expo 2013

The big Apple was fun, but after 3 days I’d had enough and was ready to get back to AZ and riding. Eating out 3x a day really sucks. Even with Yelp and Google restaurant reviews it’s so hard to find healthier options in the city. I did manage to find a Trader Joe’s and a little Asian place, Yum Yums that was really good, along with a few stops in for a cold beer.

Time Square New YorkEntering the Last Phase of Base Training

With the weather here in AZ starting to heat up, so has my training. I started a new block this week (Base 3) and am beginning to increase the intensity. I’m looking forward to jump in the Saturday group ride this weekend.

With training intensity starting to build, so is the excitement for racing. Team Wisconsin has been super fortunate to have some great sponsors over the years including Dennis Klumb of KS Energy Services. On top of that, I’m super excited to have another huge sponsor on board the Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (MOSH).

This additional 3 year sponsorship allows for the team to do a whole lot more and provides a lot more race support to the elite guys, more than we’ve ever had in years past. With more support and fellow teammates travelling to bigger national level races, I may be joining them.

My New Toy…

Yes, I bought a new bike.

This was totally unexpected, sort of. I’m super happy with my current bike (and latest purchase) my Trek Top Fuel. In fact, I absolutely love it for riding out here on Arizona’s rocky desert trails.

So here’s how things went down. After making some new friends at the shop and getting out to shred the trails the subject of wheel sizes arose (as it always does). After spending last season on a 29er I was super content with my new 26″ wheels.

McDowell Mountain ParkWell, one of the guys just bought a new Cannondale Scalpel 29er and was selling his old bike (a 2010 S-Works 29er) and let me take it out for a spin. I’d never ridden a top of the line Specialized rig before. I was totally and completely… blow away. It handles more like a 26er and climbs like one too.

On top of all that he offered it to me at a great deal (I’m talking smoking ridiculous deal, thanks Brent!).

Out here it’s a necessity to have full suspension if you want to be able to ride for more than 2-hrs without trashing yourself, and I’m a pretty tough dude and for that I love my Top Fuel.

After taking both the Top Fuel and the S-Works out on the McDowell race loops and up some serious 20 minute climbs the S-Works 29er HT will be my bike of choice for specific WORS races and of course, Chequamegon.

2010 Specialized S-Works 29er HTNothing will ever climb like my old Giant hard tail 26er, but this new S-Works comes closer than any other bike I’ve ridden.

The technology in the new 29er full suspension bikes is pretty incredible though. If I had the same deal in front of me for a Superfly 100 or Epic 29er full suspension and it rode like this thing does, I may have considered.

Here are the Specs:

2010 S-Works sz M
Fork:  Brain w/ Pro Tune (it’s basically a full rigid until you hit bumps, it’s amazing)
Drive Train: Full Sram XX 2×10 (So far I’m impressed)
Brakes: Avid XX World Cup (They do the job, but I may end up switching to XTRs)
Wheels: Stan’s ZTR Race (They’re not carbon, but at 1370g they’re frickin’ light)
Weight: 19.0 lbs
Cost: Too good to pass up.

Yes it is a Specialized and haters gon’ hate, but let me tell you she is unlike any other 29er I’ve ridden. Thanks to Jake over at Fountain Hills Bikes for hooking me up with 170mm crank arms and Doug for always throwing some extra goodies my way.

All Good Things Come to An End

Only 3 weeks left in AZ before I start my trip home. I’m actually super excited to get back. My dad is flying out at the end of the month to help with the drive back. Our planned route is to head down through Tucson so I can have another go at Mt Lemmon then swing over to Texas to visit with my aunt and uncle in San Antonio then north to the (hopefully) dry and sunny Midwest.

For now, I’ll let the good times roll.

~Pura Vida

Road Trip, Male Bonding, Cycling & The Big Apple

Well, I’ve owned Tim Racette (dot) com for 3 years now; it’s about time I write something. For the few who care to get inside my head a little bit and find out what’s been going on in my life here it goes…

Arizona

2013 kicked off with packing up my things and heading back out to Scottsdale, Arizona which has now become like a second home. After spending 4 years of my life out here while at ASU, it’s a place full of great memories. But the college days are over, on to bigger and better things.

Being self employed and able to work from home has opened up a lot of doors. This biggest of which is the flexibility to live wherever I’d like (oh the power of the internet).

This would be my second winter in AZ where I could train for the upcoming mountain bike season. Last season had some bright spots, but a fair bit of frustration as well. This year I sat down and mapped out my entire 2013 race season, breaking my training into blocks and planning for when I’d like to peak (we’ll see how that goes).

I learned a ton last year about training and racing from my teammates, roommates, and those a few years wiser than I. It’s all helped. So are I’ve discovered it’s more about doing those little things, developing in a routine, and staying focused on one goal at a time.

Road Trip

So I high tailed it out of Wisco after spending the holidays with my family in Illinois (a lot of “socializing” with old friends was fun, but I was glad to get a new year underway).

A few days before I left I took a quick trip into Chicago to hit up Revolution Brewing with my uncle. It made for a last minute addition to my cargo as he decided to join me on my trip down.

The drive was fun and relatively uneventful (in terms of flat tires, missing lug nuts, blizzards, and construction –all of which have occurred on past trips).

Sierra Nevada NarwhalMy uncle and I both share a love for craft beer. He is what some would call a “hop head,” along with a certified home brew judge so we spent the first week touring most of the breweries in the valley. He flew back to Chicago after a week and that left me to getting my office setup and start logging miles on the bike.

What More Could You Want

The riding out here is so awesome, both mtb and road. The McDowell Mountains are a few miles to my north; lots of climbing, wicked steep descents, and lots of new trails. It’s great being able to ride to the trails right from my front door.

In terms of road riding, the pavement is super clean and wide, very kind to cyclists. There are a few lakes and reservoirs that have some awesome climbs, along with South Mountain, and all the surrounding areas. There are group rides on a daily basis, which makes it easy to find people to ride with.

Saguaro Lake

A Few More Visitors

My dad and grandpa came out for few weeks, it was nice to spend time with them while still being able to work and ride. Grandpa is getting older, and while it’s his condo that we stay at, he has a harder time coming out here alone these days.

We got in a little golf, went on a bunch of walks, and had some good story telling. Once they left it was time to get down to business.

Getting into a Rhythm

Trading stocks, building websites, and riding my bike, that’s pretty much been my daily schedule of events. So far I’ve logged a good chunk of base miles. Got to ride with some old college friends and met a bunch of new fast guys at the shop in Fountain Hills.

There are some new trails up along the Sonoran ridge that I rode last weekend. It was pretty much like riding along the cliffs in Tsali, only a few hundred feet higher, with some gnarly switchbacks, and then tack on what feels like a 15-min free flowing descent.

There are still a few other sections I haven’t ridden at McDowell including Thompson Peak, a 25-min climb with an average grade of 17%, and then there’s Tom’s Thumb and East end, which are similar in elevation only super rocky.

Trek Top Fuel

I can feel my aerobic fitness improving as I head into this second block of base. I’ve started to throw down some very short efforts and dropping weight along the way. I should mention the Top Fuel has been incredible. It’s so much more fun riding a full suspension out here.

I’m already excited for the WORS season. Yes, the racing, but even more so the enjoyment that comes from traveling to the races, camping out, and sharing stories with good friends. Oh yeah, then comes Sunday where we push our bodies to the limits and cap it off with a humongous meal and a good beer, that’s fun too.

Next Up NYC

I’m headed to The Big Apple for a few days to speak at the NY Trader’s Expo. I’ve been preparing my talk for a couple weeks now. I don’t really get nervous when I have to speak in front of people (or many I do, but I trick myself into channeling it into adrenaline).

I’m looking forward to seeing the city as I’ve never been to New York before, but a few days is all I’ll need to get sick of the hustle and bustle. The big city life is just not for me.

So that’s it! Cherry popped!

The blog is pretty bland right now. I’ll work on giving it some more character when I get back from New York.

Until next time,

~Pura Vida