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, 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.

Something Old and Something New

Chequamegon 2013 Post Race

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.