Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

When I first saw a fat bike, I thought wtf? A year later I rode one in a parking lot and thought about the possibilities. Then I bought one and haven’t picked up my skate skis since. Well, I have moved then around a bit, but that doesn’t count. I rode that bike though the winter and decided to race it in my first multi-day bike race, the 300 mile AZT300. Then I rode my Blacksheep custom Singlespeed fatbike in every race that year. I was addicted. After a fusion of 2 Cervical disks, I decided it would be best to leave the rigid SS community. Summers are spent on one of my full suspension bikes and winters are reserved for my fat bike. It’s a lonely time when the ground is still dry and the temps are cold. I really prefer the ground to be covered in snow before I put the fat tires out. Plus it just feels weird now. I’m blessed to have, IMO, one of the best fat biking areas around at the Pole Mountain / Happy Jack trail system.

I think often about how Fat Biking has changed how I look at the Wyoming winters. I used to sit on an indoor trainer, now I hit the trails as much as possible.

It’s strange now that I have 2 ‘I dislike to ride’ seasons. One after October-ish and another when the temps warm and the snow is soft.

For now, I’m happy to be riding on cold snow. I’ll hit the dirt north of Tucson next month at 24HOP (not racing this year) but will be back on snow again the next week.

Indoor training with Zwift may or may not be needed depending on trail conditions before racing in May. I can only hope the snow continues.

Even the best mountain bikers need a little help getting forks and shocks dialed to their riding style. I recently purchased a Niner RKT with a RockShox Reba fork and Monarch shock. Try as I could not get it tuned to my liking in the 2 weeks prior to Pierre’s Hole.  The fork was still too stiff even after adding one Token and the shock rebound and pressure didn’t exactly add up to a pleasurable 100 mile experience.  I had been wanting to try out Quarq’s new digital suspension tuning technology, the ShockWiz, after reading numerous online reviews of it:  MBR 🇬🇧, Bike Radar,  Enduro MTB mag, etc. 

 I’d seen a few non local shops that offered rental of these units.  But unfortunately the rental would add up nearly half the price of one.  Luckily, I discovered, Rock on Wheels in Cheyenne was currently in possession of a few of these with the intent to rent.  George, the owner, was keen to hear what I thought of it, and offered me an opportunity that I could not pass up.  I was able to get a few rides in to see how well it worked between shock and fork to reach suspension Nirvana (or as close as possible). 

After watching a couple YouTube videos and reading a bit of the downloaded manual, I proceeded to install the unit on my shock , and fired up the pre-installed ShockWiz app loaded on my phone (I had done that a few weeks before in anticipation). I updated the firmware and went through the calibration to determine my compression ratio before airing up to what I thought my pressure should be.  Forgive me if I didn’t save the screenshots of that first post ride evaluation, but the recommendations were spot on as far as rebound and pressure.  The low speed compression reccomendation will require another look as my lowly RS Monarch may lack this adjustability without a tune.  Regardless after the suggested rebound and air pressure changes it felt quite better than before.  

On to the fork, a no frills RS Reba 120, which was my main source of ride harshness.  I had already stuck one Token in to try and soften it up and lowered the pressure. It was still harsh and I could easily bottom out on big hits. Yes, I know it’s no Pike but my RS1 @100mm (post 2 tokens) could eat them up without breaking a sweat. After a few hours of riding, I checked the Shockwiz app on my phone to see the results. It was recommending 2 more tokens, 2 clicks less, and lower air pressure and that’s what I did.  After the next 2-3 hour session, I felt the results of the adjustment difference within the first 3 miles.  Tune perfection achieved.  


Is it for anyone?  Are you suspension noob? Are you looking at those dials and recommended pressure settings and thinking, set them at the mid range on everything and I’ll be happy? Do you want to improve the suspension settings of your bike to enjoy the trails you ride?   If yes, I definitely recommend it.  

For those riders that know, or think they know how to set up their suspension properly, I would also recommend the Shockwiz, if only to verify what they thought was a great setup.  

Do I recommend you buy one?  Not unless you have a fleet of bikes or are a bike geek and want to share it with friends (karma pays dividends, right?

I recommend you rent a unit (or 2) for a day of riding and see the results.  You might be impressed as I was.  

The app is so good in its recommended settings that I was really impressed. 

Let me put this here.  The app assumes that you do not adjust the compression settings during the ride. For the fork,  leave it alone.  For the rear shock, leave it open.  Read the manual and additional questions can be answered from their Zendesk online

My week of using this product was amazing and I can’t wait to try it on all my bikes to see the results.

At $399 ($449 for RS1 model) I really wanted to try it out before I bought one.

Rock on Wheels has them to rent, and I wholly recommend you do that if you live in the Cheyenne area.  If not, check in with your local shop to see if they have 1 or 2 available for rent.  Get with your riding buddies and split the costs for an all day/weekend rate with them.

Did I buy one? 

August 5th 2017

There are only a few races that I really like returning to year after year.  This race, situated on the western side of the Tetons, is definitely one of them.  Great venue, awesome trails, outstanding aid station work, post race fun, and a course that has changed slightly – each time for the better. I really don’t know how the race director, Andy Williams, does it.  In any case, I appreciate the hard work he puts into this fine race. 

I arrived Thursday and and setup camp alongside my friends, Christian, Milissa, Tim, and Barb. 

Pretty sweet base of operations if you ask me. 

All setup, we headed out for a ride up Action Jackson (named for the late AJ Linnell), riding essentially the first half of the 2nd&3rd loop of the race.  No one else would see this trail as they were only doing the one lap affair. The alternative would be the service road, nobody wants to ride service roads when there is single track. 

At one point during the ride we stopped to make some bike adjustments and heard this weird noise nearby. It ended up being a Sage Grouse most likely protecting her nest.  Too cool!

Moving along, we ripped down 38 Special and onto Millcreek trail.  Cow poop trail would be a better name for Millcreek btw. Looking forward to next year’s race without the “Trail of Poop”.  A road ride up to the resort (yep there is ~2.5 miles of pavement)  then a jump onto the singletrack again for a few miles with Barb finishing back at the camp, much to the delight of my dogs. 

A night of beer and conversation, very typical for us.

The next day, after coffee and such, we got an earlier start and rode the 2nd half of the course and the best trails of all.  The gentle climbing of More Cowbell leads to the super fun Perma Grin.  If they could just do laps of this I’d be ok with that. 

It was off to the North Woods and back to the start area.  Tim, Barb and I then rode up the starting road so that they could see the “fun” they would have at the start before heading back down Andy’s trail.

The fun of camping among others, outside of us, was quickly eroded as generators droned on around us that evening.  I had not slept well the prior evening and was hoping to get an early start to bed the night prior to the main event @7am the next morning. Barb, sensing my frustration (and my loud vocalization), decided to have a talk with a few of the offenders.  It was very much appreciated as I was able to get some good sleep.

5:45am alarm rings and my pre race prep commences.  Less than an hour before I’m on the 🚲, I feed the dogs (dogs always first) and prepare engine with 3 Hammer Nutrition Race Caps and 2 Anti-Fatigue Caps, grab my Perpetuem from the fridge and lay back down in bed and do 1.5 X Compex EMS warmup routine on my legs. For what I’m about to do, riding around for 30minutes prior to 100 miles is not on my agenda.  Warmup done I kit up and grab my running shoes for a short jog with the dogs before putting them back in their crates. One last check of my tires and I head to the start.

As I hit the start area with 10 minutes to go, I see Sten and congratulate him on his Tatanka 100 win.  It was a race I had won last year and couldn’t participate this year.  He was a deserving winner.  I expected him to do well at this race as he had finished 2nd the year before.  Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak/Ergon pro rider) would roll to the front just before the start and started to record a video from his GoPro. A multi year winner of the PH100, he would go on to win again.  

Race starts and I’m riding within myself knowing the climb is about 40 minutes.

Being that my birth year was 1966, number plate 66 was pretty cool. 

I rode pretty solidly up the road.  I didn’t push it and when we slotted into the singletrack I found myself a rider behind another 50+ rider,  Jeff Clayton.  He had never ridden here before and I was taking full advantage of relaxing on stretches that I knew not to push the pace on.  By the time we hit the 38 Special descent I was on his wheel and having to brake more than normal. It was after a few switchbacks that I asked him if that dropper post was just for show.  We had a good laugh because he had totally forgot about it.  We quickly rolled up on another rider and we were held up even more on the descent.  At the bottom and clearly at the limit, she pulled aside and let us through.  For all the apprehension on the 38 Special trail Jeff showed, he lit it up on the lower Millcreek section.  Pretty much riding like there was a fire he was trying to outrun.  By the time we hit the road climb he was ~15seconds in front of me and kept on driving.  I settled into my pace, not wanting to blow up early. We haven’t even gone 15 miles yet for pete’s sake. It was about this point when I realized something weird. Where were all the racers?  I looked up the road and behind me, only a couple of us.  Was I really that far behind or did everyone get caught up behind slower riders on 38? This would go on the rest of the race for me.  There’s not much to say about the next half lap other than I remembered where I was when I heard Tim’s 8:45 start cheers.  Completing the 2nd half I headed through the start finish area and was greeted by a familiar face as Milissa was standing on the side of the singletrack with camera in hand cheering me on.

As you can see, I was feeling good with 70 miles to go.

Again, riding within myself, not trying to crush it, I made my way back up to the high points and descended 38 Special. This time there was no one to hold me back and I took full advantage of it.  On about the 15th switchback I saw a huge deer standing in the corner.  I’m not sure what I said but he jumped downhill.  A good thing as I was not stopping for him.  He appeared lower down but thankfully not on the trail.  After 38 I had my near race ending moment as I drifted sideways on some dirt and a root or something caught my front wheel and sent me over the bars. I landed hard on my right side with my elbow and thigh taking the most damage. From that point on I started to entertain thoughts of dropping out due to the pain and general lack of training for an event such as this.  I stopped at my first aid station of the day and filled my Camelbak with race supplied HEED and dumped my Perpetuem in too for the calories and fueling I would soon need.  I had gone 45 miles on my first 70 ounces Perpetuem and had refilled for another 45 or so I thought. Over the next 18 miles I would drain my reservoir to almost nothing. I was still thinking of dropping out at 2 laps.  65 miles, that’s a good effort I thought.  Downhills were painful to my elbow as I would cradle it in between sections that didn’t require 2 hands on the bars. The thought of quitting was real. More real than I have ever experienced. When I finally came through the start/finish area for the 2nd time all my friends were there cheering me on.  Sten had pulled out after 2 laps, he was cheering me when I passed his camp heading out onto the 2nd half of lap 2. He was the first to give me encouragement. Then the wild bunch was dancing and cheering me on as I rode through. Christian was even drinking a beer telling me he’d save one for my finish.  I headed back onto the singletrack and continued to climb.  It was about 1/2 way up the hour climb that I realized I was out of liquid. So focused was I at dropping out that I had forgot to refill my Camelbak. Mouth parched and now feeling the full extent of elevation and sun, I went into major conservation mode. My trip through the high points and down 38 Special were guarded.  38 had eroded spectacularly to the point of no fun.  I winced every 5 or so minutes that my elbow was subject to the brutality of the trail.  At the bottom I was lucky to get water  from the safety guy and a couple of riders that were out for a day ride, I drank deeply draining what they gave me in less than 2 miles.  I eventually rolled into the aid station and took a seat while my chain was lubed and I contemplated continuing on.  I was pretty devastated at this point.  I did not want to ride up the road again.  I had hit my physical limit, or so I thought. 

So, just to prove what I’ve experienced in my life as a Hammer Nutrition athlete, I have not had one cramp during this race.  I’ve maintained an intake of Endurolytes throughout the course of the race.  I’m not sure what others went through but to be offered pickle juice at every aid station because they believed it would help me was kinda funny but annoying.  Just goes to show how few riders really know how to prepare themselves before a race. End rant.

The aid station workers were great.  When I told them I was thinking about quitting they told me how close I was to the finish. Easy for them to say that as they didn’t have another +2 hours to race.  Rested from my 5 minute stop I headed out again up the road.  Each lap up I watched my speed drop.  9-10 mph the first time, 6-7mph the next.  This time I expected 5mph.  I pulled out 7-8.  The short break did me good.  Coming through the midway point of the lap I again came across my friends as I pulled over for the aid station to refill one last time. I really wanted to quit. Elbow pain and 70 miles of racing when I haven’t done more than 56 all summer weighed heavily on my mind. Whatever Tim, Christian, and Barb said to me I was on my bike and enjoying the push off from Tim as he gave me a few last words of encouragement.  The light switch turned on for those last 15 miles.  Thinking it would be 2 hours plus I realized that I still had a chance at a sub 11 hour race.  I pushed my pace knowing how far I really had to go to finish under 11.  Rounding through Snowdrift I pushed it hard knowing there was 2 miles to go and the goal was in sight.  Racing up the final hill I crossed the line in 10:57:04 in 25th place and 3rd 50+ Master.   

There is no way I would have finished this race if it wasn’t for the support of my friends, co-racers, aid station workers, and Hammer Nutrition pushing me on.  This podium finish is a tribute to all those that helped me.  

The bonus was that everyone in our group podiumed

And my spoils of victory were 

Special thanks to Milissa Melle for a bunch of the photos!

Tatanka 100

Posted: July 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

There’s more to Sturgis SD than motorcycles.  Well at least for me there was.

It was the location of the finish for the Tatanka100 Epic. A point to point 80 mile race with over 10000′ of climbing that starts at Mount Rushmore and for the majority of the race follows the Centennial trail. The race is part of a larger race series called the National Ultra Endurance Series that showcases some of the best ultra the country. 

Two things worth mentioning about the day prior to the race. I suffered a crash while pre riding the finishing miles that I had to bandage up the wounds.   That evening I had a severe alergic reaction to something that caused me to break out in hives across my body. It took 2.5 benedryl to clear me up as I looked up the address of the nearest hospital. I did not get a good rest prior to my 4:15am wake up. 

I was lucky enough to have Christian doing the same race and was able to bypass the shuttle ride to the start.  The start time was originally 6:20 but was delayed 30 minutes due to the late arrival of the shuttle busses. It was already warm and the projected high was 91 degrees. Proper hydration was going to be key today and I had filled my 70oz Camelbak bladder with a HEED and Perpetuem mix that would carry me through to aid 2 at 30 miles.  I also filled a bottle with the same dry mix to add to my bladder as that has been my standard fueling strategy for awhile now. Turned out it was a good thing as the aid stations only had HEED which I would rely on from mile 50 to the end. 

A few big heads watching the race start 

Another Hammer athlete, Beverly Enslow from Illinois 

Beverly and myself

So with no idea how my race was going to go I headed out in the large group following the US Park Services vehicle as we sped around the pavement which let us to the singletrack. I maintain the position towards the front but not in the front on the back of all the faster riders knowing that they were going to burn some matches way before I wanted to you and I like to warm up in the my race. Those first few miles of singletrack a pretty hectic with tall grass, rocks, riders going off course and having to rejoin. There were some rocky areas where some rider had issues and they were having to pull off trail to let me through as I rode throug. There was the section about 7 miles in where it was hike-a-bike, playing to my strength since I do that kind of stuff all the time, I passed several riders there and soon found myself riding alone for the next 40 miles. I had no idea where I was in the overall or in my ‘old man’s’ category. 

I sped through the first aid station where Milissa, Christian’s wife was waiting for him

cruising into aid station 1

From there it was another awesome section of singletrack and fire roads leading to aid station 2. When I got there I asked where all the other master men were, thinking they were in front of me. NUE series director Ryan O’Dell, who was following the race answered that I was the first one. Dumbfounded I couldn’t believe it. I thought for sure that someone made the cut in front with the faster riders. Knowing I was in the lead I headed out on the third section of trail towards aid 3 with renewed energy and promptly started cramping. The thing about cramping and me is that I don’t stop, I grit and bear it and pedal on through softly. It’s always work for me and within minutes my legs hadloosened up and I was cruising again, alone.  

smiles when i found out i was in the lead

Within a few miles of aid 3 at the 50 mile mark, I was caught and passed by a singlespeeder and th eventual women’s winner. Not alone I was able to finally have someone to pace with. When I got to the aid, I proceeded to pour ice cold water over me as I had been cooking out there in the heat. It was the precise moment when the second place Masters rider, Marland Whaley, would show up, grab two water bottles from his support crew, and head out. I was a bit relieved to finally have someone else in front and worried because I was really suffering and he looked really fresh. I took off after him with Ryan taking photos of us as we headed into the next 17 mile section.  I cramped as we headed up the first climb out and backed off the pace to recover. In my mind I knew the 2 things I had going for me was I had been hydrating all day whenever I wanted due to my hydration pack vs his 2 small bottle setup and his hardtail bike would have shard time competing against me on my full suspension Salsa Spearfish. On the next road descent I couldn’t believe my luck as he almost overshot a turn onto the singletrack. I was on his wheel as we entered the climb and it was apparent that something was wrong as his speed was much slower than I expected. We both pulled off the trail for a couple faster riders in the shorter race. I deferred to him to go as he was in front and he said “no you go”.  Was this a trick I thought?  I decided with approximately 2 miles of climbing before a big descent to burn my matches and almost doubled to pace we had been climbing at to see what his reaction would be. Several minutes later I was all alone with no one in sight.  I bombed down the descent throwing caution to the wind as I drifted through switchbacks. I ended up crashing at speed as I slid on the pine needle covered trail and went over some rocks. Only some scrapes, I got up and charged down the descent again, and again the pine needles had their way but it was only a slow speed fall and I was quickly riding again as the trail straightened out. I had my GPS with course overlay showing the elevation profile and distance to next stop and hammered it out to the aid station. I didn’t waste any time and was quickly back on my bike with the final 15 miles remaining in a mostly downhill trending profile. I kept on the gas as best I could feeling much better than I did during the middle half of the race. As I crossed into Ft Meade recreation area I knew short of a race ending crash nobody was going to catch me. I eased off the pace so as to be focused on the final few downhills as I had crashed here 24 hours earlier. Even then I still struck a boulder with my pedal that sent me in the air. Luckily I landed in control and with 3 miles remaining irelaxed entirely to enjoy my first individual win in a long time. 

It was surreal as I crossed the line.  Ryan was there to congratulate me on a great race. DirtWireTV even did an interview with me. I was like, wow.  Now where’s the beer?  

Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes, Anti-Fatigue caps, and Endurance Aminos were used at regular intervals throughout the race. My main fueling was HEED and Perpetuem for the first half and HEED and 3 Hammer Gels the 2nd half. I never needed more but the cold coke with 15 miles to go sure tasted great. 

Later talking to Marland I found out that when I went by him he was suffering through cramps and had stopped to stretch. Furthermore he probably hit the same rock I did but was not so lucky as evidence of the blood on his arms and legs. 

Hammer Nutrition 1-2

custom TATANKA100 trophy

It was such a great course, I can’t wait to do it next year. 

The forecasted storm for this past weekend, upwards of 10″ of snow, never materialized at my latitude/longitude. It did snow some, maybe a couple inches, but the constant drizzle of rain and cold temps sucked. Prior to the ‘Storm’ I was up snowshoeing with my dogs, a friend, and his son. Under calm conditions and deep snow it was a treat. 
Of course Lily could only think of how big a stick she could carry.

Then Thursday afternoon came with rain and sleet. Followed by more of the same on Friday. Yuck and double yuck. 

Waking up Saturday and looking outside at snow flying sideways with the wind I made the decision to stay indoors as the temperature never crested freezing. 

Sunday warmed up under sunny skies and I felt confident that the trails would be passable. Lol, who was I kidding, I fully expected to turn around at the first full road mud moat that often happens when the snow melts fast.  To my delight the dirt roads were rideable. I dodged the mud holes to stay as dry/clean as possible. Thoughts came in my head ” do I climb to Buford or ride through Gowdy? Dirt or snow/mud?”  I chose Gowdy singletrack. 

There was rideable trails and snow.

And not so rideable snow

I had fun nonetheless. It was probably about 75-25% ride vs hike on the trails. But beautiful regardless 

The weather looks good for the next week.  I’m going to enjoy it. Next weekend I’m going to the Wyoming state bowling championships in Lander. Maybe I’ll bowl a 300… Over three games.

Thanks for reading. Leave a message if you like or dislike, feedback is important for me.  


2016 12 Hours in the Wild West hosted by Zia Rides


9 April 2016 Ruidoso, New Mexico

The month leading up to the race I had rode less than 80 cumulative miles.  A flu bug bit me and bit me hard the day after I received an entry into the race representing Hammer Nutrition.  My enthusiasm for racing hard for 12 hours waned significantly due to my perceived lack of training.  So in the interest of making it fun in the case that something didn’t go as planned I brought my dogs and running shoes. Whoa, as planned? Who was I kidding, I was already planning on beers and heckling other riders by noon with my dogs by my side. 

The Thursday prior to the race I started my trek south to Ruidoso with a stop in Albuquerque to pick up my Airstream that had some repairs and upgraded batteries installed that would also serve as my sleep quarters.  I think I won the unofficial “Furthest Drive” award from the promoter Seth Bush and his Wife.  Having never been to Ruidoso I had no idea what to expect.  I certainly did not expect the high elevation forested hills set in a resort community.  It was fabulous. 

I arrived around noon Friday and discovered that all the good “Solo alley” parking was already full to the point that I was not going to even attempt to set up there.  So I parked about as far as one could get from the transition tent and set up camp for the dogs and I.  After having not ridden my bike for a week I figured I’d better get one lap in to plan when I would be cracking a cold one.  The course, 11 miles long that starts with ~5 miles of ascending and what seemed like an equal part descending was killer.  I was grinning ear to ear as I ripped through the downhill sections noting the warning triangles at danger spots.  Maybe tomorrow won’t be so bad after all I thought to myself.  Returning to camp I met my weekend neighbor Trevor and his son.  They were the kind of neighbors you want to have at an event like this, fun and outgoing. 

I prepped all my gear, Hammer Endurance Aminos, Race Caps, Anti-Fatigue Caps, and bottles of HEED and Perpetuem with the thought that all would be fine. I decided to use a hydration pack instead of bottles due to the nature of the course, almost all singletrack. So the bottles would be my refill option every couple of laps. Mistake 1 and 2 discovered.  1: only one bladder and 2: not enough bottles.  As I drifted off to sleep thunder sounded outside and I brought the dogs inside from their kennels. A light rain started soon after. Mistake #3 was not deploying my awning. I was awaken around midnight to a pounding rain outside that made me realize how much I hate riding in mud let alone in rain. If it came to it, I would be a volunteer under the tent instead of a race participant.  5:30am, up and feeding dogs and drying off my wet bike. It’s low 40s outside and wet, I put on every bit of clothing I have brought including my fleece gloves and vapor barrier under the socks to hold off any Reynauds reactions I might have. To say I’m none too delighted by the wet and the temps would be an understatement. I was looking so forward to warm southern New Mexico.  it was not what I expected, FYI, the high was in the low 60s. To be honest it was warmer than the 40s I left behind in Wyoming.  6:15 am racer meeting, we find out amongst other things that the city had voted to change the ordinance that forbid camping in city limits just for this race weekend. THANKS RUIDOSO!

7 am race starts with a shotgun blast and I calmly ride in the mix. No trying to move forward, just pedaling along like it was a big group ride.  Honestly, I can’t recall ever doing this. I usually just hammer it and settle in to an endurance pace later. On the long climb I find myself in the conga line that forms in races like this on trails like this. Everyone was so silent, no talking, no music from somebody’s Bluetooth speaker… No fun.  I commenced to get a conversation going with everyone around me, ringing my bell, and requesting some jokes and where everyone was from. It was not the crowd I thought they would be.  Listen up people, it is 12 hours of solo/duo/team riding, have fun, talk it up, it’s the first lap, you will never be any fresher than now. Oh, and put a freaking bell on your handlebars.  By mile 4 I finally was able to make a break from the doldrums to excitement. I pleasantly, or annoyingly, found myself with a large gap in front of me to ride as fast as I wanted. And I did exactly that. At mile 5 the drop in elevation commenced and the 2 rock gardens endorsed by Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid did nothing to slow me down (till later, but only just a little).

There was one thing that I have neglected to mention, the mud. Remember that rain?  Yeah well it turned that awesome dirt to mud. During the conga line, more than a couple times I was forced to hoof it when a rider fumbled. Shoe cleats, pedals, and drivetrains were coated. Coated in a thick muck.   Back to the race.  The final few miles of trail included some fresh cut trail that were fun. They included a couple banked sections that, try after try, I could never master completely without braking. 

The arrival at the start / finish tent was worth it. Crowds of applause every lap. The announcer proclaiming your name and, for me at least, commenting on my kit and how she hoped Hammer Nutrition knew how well I was looking in it. This was before she ever knew I was a Hammer Ambassador.  One lap down and my bike in the second lap was sounding like a screech owl when I got on the power. There wasn’t a rider around that didn’t know I was coming up their backside that lap. I made it through lap 2, informed the announcer of my Hammer Nutrition affiliation and was rewarded with her announcing to everyone about how she uses Hammer herself. It was pretty cool. She continued to cheer me on every time I came through letting the race venue know. I pitted this lap to fix my obnoxiously loud drive train. Mud crusted over my derailleur pulleys causing issues and my chain was in need of some lube. Oh, and dogs needed to get out. See, still not taking the race seriously. Issues and dogs taken care of, I rode back to the course. Lap 3, sweet jesus, I felt like I was riding in stealth mode as I overtook the other solo riders that didn’t have to ride off course ~.25 miles and walk dogs who had moved in front of me.

finishing up lap 4 I pitted to refuel.  For fun I checked the standings online.  WTF? 7th place?  What the hell am I doing in 7th place overall Solo. Now I need to seriously ride for 12 hours. New Goal: put my personal problems aside and race for 12 hours.

The dirt was getting seriously good but the lack of training and the repeated hammering from the rock sections was taking it’s toll.  It was taking longer up the climb to feel good before I could push it and the descents were killing my wrists and neck. 

I had half jokingly said to myself that I could make 8 laps during the drive down.  The joke was on me as I finished lap 7 and headed out on lap 8.  Seth’s wife was ecstatic as she announced one more for me (which is what she did for everyone) BTW, Seth your wife is an awesome announcer/motivator.  With no one to push me through most of the lap I rode a bit slower than before knowing I would easily finish the lap under the 12 hour limit.  My last mistake was letting 2 riders, who I perceived to be team riders as fast as they were riding,  pass me… one in the final 1/4 mile finished 3 seconds in front of me.  I dropped from 7th to 9th overall in the Solo category, a minor disappointment as I had ridden further than I initially thought, had pushed myself past the point of breaking and owe it a lot to my buddy Tony that had told me “dude, even when you are sick your a better rider than most people”.  I’m not sure if that was meant as a compliment or a way of shaming me but it worked. 

Seth’s wife handed me my finishers award, a doughnut.  I was like “where’s the beer for finishing?”  she kindly handed me a pint glass off the table and directed me towards liquid pain reduction therapy. 

I have to thank the people that believed in me, Hammer Nutrition, Zia Rides, and my 3 patient dogs for an awesome weekend of racing.

Pierre’s Hole 100 (km)

Posted: October 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

My lack of early season base miles due to my surgery really did me in on this one. No amount of shorter speedwork can prepare you for the suffering that is found in Grand Targhee resort at the Pierre’s Hole 100. Initially I had chosen to foolishly enter the 100 mile race. My thoughts were that I had done plenty of 100s in the past so why quit now. A week out I realized that those times were on healthier years. Fact was my longest race this year was a 70 mile race I did 2 weeks ago and it didn’t go as planned. So I downgraded my race to the 100KM, still hard but not as hard as the 100M. Most riders that race this race actually start big but usually end up in the 32M race eventually because even that race is hard enough but yet easy enough that they still enjoy themselves. Let’s say I enjoyed myself for ~45 miles of a 62 mile race, there was a ~20 mile stretch that I was just hanging on by a thread. Thank goodness nobody offered me a couch and a beer or I might never have finished. The one thing that I do when I race ~5 hours is to not utilize aid stations. I prefer to load up my 70oz Camelbak bladder with Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem and Heed. This method is best used when I have no direct support otherwise I would opt for a lighter pack and swap it out mid race. For those unfamiliar with the PH100 it starts on a steep climb up a dirt service road and continues onto singletrack for approximately 30 minutes before you even see a drop in elevation. And drop you do. The initial descent is filled with a few bermed switchbacks that set you up for the test to come. after a bit of descending, you do a small climb on 2 track that leads to “38 Special”. It helps to have good brakes and top notch descending skills to make the most of the ~50 switchbacks as you drop down the mountain. After the fun there is a short bit of up and down before hitting Aid 1 where you could get your chain oiled by JayP himself while you indulge in some Hammer Nutrition HEED, Endurolytes, and an assortment of fruit, chips, and soda. There is a pavement climb after this that lasts for awhile before you head back onto dirt. The fun singletrack continues again until you exit by the horse corrals and pass the self aid station. Then you ride up a dirt road that gets steep to the point of absolutely no fun before rejoining fun singletrack. There is a whole area of singletrack up and down, all I remember is the “North Woods” trail and how much I couldn’t wait to get off of it and back to the start/finish. The next time up the starting climb was VERY different. It lasted about 1 hour. 1 hour of climbing before the fun descending started again. This next time around I was dead tired, and backed off the pace significantly to recover. This “recovery” lasted for the next 10 miles before the power switched back on. I can only relate it to running out of juice and getting refilled with Hi-Octane. I came back alive firing with all cylinders for the last 5 miles. In the end the result wasn’t too bad, 13th in age group and 48th overall in the 100km race. Looking forward to next time and doing better when I’m at 100%


Last year I raced what many endurance mountain bikers call the hardest category to race in a 24 hour format, Duo or 2 Person.  There are many reasons but mainly because it involves riding at a high race pace for each lap followed by a short recovery and then back on the bike again.  As a team, you rely on each other, for motivation, support , keeping spare batteries charged, and above all being ready to lay down another fast lap when it’s his/hers turn.  Recovery is at a premium and there is more to do than just ride a bike and wait to go out on your next lap.  My example: A respectable fast lap in 24 The Hours in the Old Pueblo is under 70 minutes.  After the baton is handed off to your teammate and you have made your way to your camp (~5 min), you park your bike in the workstand, sit down and grab some food and take off your jersey (~10 min).  If you are a Duo team with no support, it is up to you to go over your bike and make sure everything is functioning well before you put your feet up and make sure batteries are plugged in and charging (~5 min).  Mind you, problems do happen and you may find yourself changing a tire, wheel, or worse if you crashed on your lap.  Stay calm, refuel, and take care of what is needed.

What is needed after you have ensured your steed is ready to roll is your recovery.  The time between your post ride checks and the 10 minutes prior to your teammate arriving at the transition zone, the hopefully 40 minutes you have to lay down, put your legs up and fuel some more.  During this time I suggest grabbing your personal soignier, masseuse, your Compex EMS unit and hooking up for an Active Recovery session.  My personal experience is with the Compex units and I travel with 2 and spare batteries to speed recovery sessions.  This works out great when your teammate doesn’t have one also.  The 24 minute workout combined with stripping down, hooking up electrodes, disconnecting everything and getting re-dressed to head back to the transition tent leaves you with little else to do but will pay huge dividends on that next lap when you feel like it’s your first.  if you are in a 4 person team, you have even more tim to relax and flush out the legs before kicking back the next 3 hours.  When using Active Recovery, it is best utilized from a setting of 50 to a max of 100.  And set your alarm when using in the late hours of the race, you may find yourself drifting off to sleep and your partner won’t appreciate not seeing you in the exchange tent on time.

There are many aspects of 24 hour racing, I find EMS to be a integral part of it.  My duo teammate Tony summed up the experience utilizing EMS during the perfectly when he described it as our secret weapon”.  We went on to a 5th place finish in Mens Duo in 2014.  Although we were unable to compete this year, we are looking forward to the top step for 2016.  Hammer On!

For more information on Active Recovery download the pdf @

While there are many “white papers” out there on the subject of EMS for sport, I have not come across any that addressed the use during 24 hour racing.  I hope this has been helpful.  Any thoughts or questions please feel free to share/ask.

I’m 11 days post-op, I honestly feel good. There is a plate holding 3 vertebrae with material for bone to grow through in place of 2 disks. Pain has been near non existent and I started walking and riding a stationary bike 2 days after, as allowed by my neurosurgeon (NS). I’m wearing a brace for everything except showering. I can’t drive or go back to work yet and no lifting more than 8 pounds. That I hope will change after my 1st follow up with the NS in 12 more days. Till then it’s more of the same, indoor cycling, outdoor walking with my dogs, proper nutrition to aid in healing, and lots of rest.


It’s crazy how fast some things can change especially medical issues. I’ve been suffering from chronic pain due to an injury I sustained 20 years ago. The last year and a half I’ve noticed reduced strength in my left arm along with an increase in neck and shoulder pain. A trip to the doctor and I was diagnosed with an acute muscle imbalance. 6 months of physical therapy later I felt a bit better but still felt something was wrong. This past year I raced some very long races on a rigid Fatbike. This action, along with several crashes (IKR, like that doesn’t happen MTBing) probably resulted in an accelerated degradation of what was going on in my body. A revisit to a doc that finally listened to me hastened the review of my problems and sent me to a neurosurgeon. On the first visit after a review of all my exams and images I was given one option, a fusing of my C4,5,6. Deep down inside I probably knew this was going to happen but chose to ignore it.
Here is what the MRI of my neck with it’s bulging discs and narrowed spinal column look like

I was told I’m one severe crash away from possible paralysis.
So, with that knowledge and the possibility of being able to ride with less pain (or, hopefully none at all) I opted to have my discs removed and 3 vertebrae fused together.
I’m optimistic and scared at the same time. Surgery is in 12 hours. See you all soon