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.


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


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

Colorado 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.