Back in the saddle

Refueling at about 30 miles in before heading back
(left to right = Me, Shawn,Randy,Scott,Tim,Matt )


So its probably been a couple months since I have done any long rides. I have been just short 1 hour rides by myself. Most of my friends have been doing trail races and riding trails so haven’t got hit up for a training ride in a while.  Sunday morning Matt sent a text out to meet up for 3 or 4 hour ride. I was looking forward to it but at the same time a little worried as I didn’t know how my legs would hold up from the lack of training if we are going hard the hole ride.  I just figured I wouldn’t do any pulling , get in the draft and hopefully the pace would be mild.

I got over to Matt’s and was checking out his new ride. 2013 Madone with carbon fiber bontrager Aeolus 3 D3 wheelset. I was a little jealous of those sweet wheels 😉  I took a short little ride on it while waiting for the other guys and they are very stiff and rolls well as expected.  Anyways the rest of the group showed up and we headed off. Very nice weather conditions in the 70’s and not much wind. We headed out of town to the south then headed west towards chase county this is a pretty hilly area.  The pace felt pretty hard , I wasn’t sure if it was just me or if we were going fast or not but my heart rate was pretty high even  drafting. When we got to chase county Casey’s  about 30 miles in to refuel we had averaged 17.5mph so with the hills and loose gravel we were riding on it wasn’t  just in my mind we had a pretty good pace.

When we left my legs weren’t feeling so fresh and I had a feeling at some point I might blow up and be riding by myself, but would just try to hold on as long as I could. A few miles out of town we had a unfortunate event… we all were riding very close to each other I was 3rd back. We missed a turn and it caused a ripple effect and Tim towards the back went down. I didn’t see it just heard the sound of what sounded like a slab of meat hitting the ground. As we turned around and rode back I thought he broke his collar bone the way he was holding his shoulder area. He layed there for a while and then when he finally got up and discovered he was ok , with just some mild rash and I am sure some bruises as we were going 20+ mph when it happened.  After we confirmed he was ok we continued on.  The closer we got in to town , Matt picked up the pace some more and  most of the group got split up. I just keep trying to hold his wheel and stay in his draft as long as I could.  Surprisingly my legs held up long enough until I convinced him to slow down so rest of could catch back up. We rode into town together and it was about 55 miles total. I was glad to be done as I was pretty tired from my lack of current fitness. Luckily the other guys did most the pulling for me or I would of blown up long before.  Hopefully it will jump start my training again before the winter gravel races.

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Olpe ride

Start of the ride


Been a little lazy updating recently. I did get a gravel century in with my buddy Randy Smith about 2 1/2 weeks ago , the week after was olpe 35 mile ride. Which always kinda turns into a race, well at least with the group I am with.  This year we started out pretty hard Matt was putting down a fast pace and I got on his wheel. Also had Randy Smith and Mike Wise with us. Didn’t take long and we couldn’t see anyone else anymore behind us.  We stayed at pretty good pace until some of our group started to fall off and we backed it off a little and rode in together. Afterwards headed back to Emporia and tried to empty the tank  . Was fun day and was early enough before it got way too hot out. Speaking of the heat it has been crazy hot out. Seems about 105 high everyday.  Today only got to 98 and it almost felt cool out, no joke.

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Triple digits and TDF

Thats right its that time of year again. The Tour De France. I really look forward to watching it each year but it does eat up a lot of my time for 3 weeks 😉

As far as training I have been taking it fairly easy it has been over 100 degrees everyday and still training consistantly but cut back on volume the last couple weeks. Until I decide on what event I am doing next then will start increasing it back up.

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2012 Dirty Kanza 200 recap

Getting ready for the start of the race. Look at all 420 riders! ( thats me on the left)

Well I should probably do a recap while it’s still fresh in my head. Last year I only had 2 hours sleep before the race. I was able to double that and get 4 hours this year. I actually felt like I slept plenty and was feeling pretty good.  We had some rain the day before and was a little worried about some of the dirt roads that is only about 5 to 10 miles into the race after what happened year, I also still had a game plan of taking it easy the first leg and stay consistent the whole race and take short rest stops. Right before the start I moved back a little bit so I wouldn’t be holding up anyone wanting to go fast at the beginning I was probably still about half to 3/4 the way up. The race started and while still on pavement just focused on not tangling up with any other riders. We quickly hit the gravel and I felt like I had a pretty mild pace but soon I was passing a quite a few people and I wasn’t really expecting that. I soon caught up to friend and teammate Scott O’mara we stuck together and when we got to the dirt roads luckily they were a little soft but not too bad. I felt a lot less worried now and we had a good pace. Soon after we found one of the very front groups got slightly off course and was coming back towards us so we were in a good spot. Not too long after that about 15 miles in on a climb my chain came off and fell on the inside between my wheel and cassette we stopped I got it back on in less then a min  Scott stopped and made sure I was ok and we back off again. At this point Randy Smith and Garret Seacat some other teamates that were actually ahead but got off course caught back up.  The chain coming off may of been a blessing atleast this first time because shortly after the group I was in went down in a wreck I would of been caught up in it. Luckily no one was seriously hurt.  So we keep going and later climb texaco hill which is a cat 5 climb which is about 30 ish miles in , I was still keeping a decent pace but was feeling good on the climb. Rebecca Rusch came up and passed me which surprised me because I thought she would of been way ahead but she must of got off course earlier too. There defiantly was some times where I was probably going a little harder then I wanted but sometimes you had to or you wouldn’t be in a draft. Not too much farther in my chain started popping off again more frequently I figured I would try to adjust my limit screw on my rear derailur a little then double check it at the checkpoint. Well I accidently went the wrong direction which made it worse and it came off again and this time got wedged somewhere to cause the wheel to lock up. I was lucky enough I got it out and got back moving again but now my chain was skipping.  I was starting to lose a lot of time now and decided to go ahead and adjust my limit screw again Garret was with me at this point still and realized my mistake and we got it corrected now and was no longer popping off but was still skipping. I was not sure at first what was causing it or what I had damaged, I tried adjusting tension with no luck,  but as I got closer to the check point I thought it could be a sticking link.  We got into the check point and although I lost a lot of time from the chain I was still ahead of my planned time. As I was looking my chain over I did find the link was stuck but it was from being bent probably when it locked my wheel up. Some friends tried to help get the link out and put a link from a used chain on, then we used a spare master link I had with to connect it but was having trouble getting it on. Long story short link shot out into the grass and had a heck of a time trying to find it. Finally it was ready to go but had lost another 1 hour and 15 min now at the checkpoint. I was frustrated to say the least watching several other people come and leave and lose all that time. Luckily my good friend and one of my training partners getting ready for the DK Shawn O’mara came in and said he was going to stay until the bike was ready and we road off together.

When we first took off my legs felt like crap from sitting that long he pulled for me and then I started to warm back up and felt a little better and we started picking up the pace but legs still didn’t feel great. Luckily Shawn did a lot of pulling for me and we were making good time and he helped me mentally get back in the game. I did get a tire puncture on my rear and was thinking great lady luck just isn’t on my side today. Luckily it sealed within a min or so and we were back going again. We pulled into checkpoint 2 and people were surprised we had made up as much ground as we had so were doing good. We stopped and tried not too take too long , changed clothes in to fresh dry ones and refueled. We were back off.  A few miles in we caught up to our good friends Bobby Wintle and Mike Wise they were in good spirits and we chatted breifly.The day had been really great cool weather ( well for DK weather anyways) and we thought it was not going to get any warmer. Well it did and although not horrible it was getting a lot warmer now.  It was kinda funny because last year the beginning was much hotter but now that we were on the third leg last year a cold front moved in and we got rained on it was then much cooler then it was this year.  About half way in was probably the worst I felt for the day but  just had to suck it up and keep going. We passed were I had to walk in mud for 2 hours last year and was very thankful it was dry. About 20 miles left we stopped briefly and ate rested our sore butt and feet for a couple min while we eat some food then got back on.  The next 20 miles seemed like it took forever. And about 10 miles out we were on a low maint road and there was a drop off with some broken concrete chunks I about wiped out on that, luckily saved it. That woke me back up. Rolling in the council grove was a great feeling. We got our final map and only 37 miles left. We got refueled. I really didn’t want to stay there long as I was ready to get this done.  Shawn took a little longer then me getting ready , but no big deal. I defiantly wasn’t going to leave him after all he did for me. We got going and was probably about 8pm at this point. I was actually feeling the best I had in a while , the temps were dropping and it was a nice night.  Once it hit dark though It was a little nerve racking. My headlight doesn’t work very well and goes in and out on bumps… yeah I should of got a new one lol, yeah not one of my best decisions. I had really wanted to get in before dark and convinced myself I didn’t need to worry about it ( I probably would of if not for the chain issues)  Anyways I had to concentrate , luckily at one point we came up to someone with a light brighter then a car and I rode his wheel a good chunk of it which helped. When got right before town you hop on the pavement for the last mile or so and it was a great feeling. I felt a lot better then I did the year before at this point. We came into the finish line around 10:30pm to lots of people at the finish line (most of them drunk) I hugged a lot of my friends and some people I didn’t know 😉
I stayed for a while and watched some other friends come in. It sure was a relief to be done and to get home and relax. I really need to think my wife Renee’ and nephew Kyler for doing my support at the stops. I also need to thank Shawn for helping out on the ride after my chain issues. My friends Matt and Stephanie Brown of High Gear for all they do for me.And of course have to thank God for helping get through it all. I think the gravel is my church because that is when I do the most praying 😉

I took 3 days off from the bike and actually just did a hour tonight and felt pretty good. Looking foward to next year.

My fearless leader Matt Brown , was nice enough to spray me with water in my face when I came in.

O’mara brothers. Scott on the left and Shawn on the right.

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Painfully Close

I stole that title from my buddy Garret Seacat. This was the title of his last blog post before the Dirty Kanza 200 back in 2010. Hard to believe it has been 2 years since then.  The DK this year is a week and a half away now.  At the moment still planning on decent volume ride this Saturday then just a few short easy ones after that with 2 days off prior the race to make sure legs are fresh.  Also give some my nagging injuries some rest also.  Been a lot going since last post. We did have a gravel ride “Gravel Ride for Maisie’s Pride” this is the second annual one, and it was a week and a half ago. It’s a race/ride fundraiser to help keep the local pool open in eskridge ks . They have a couple shorter rides and the longer 70+ mile ride. Its extremely hilly to say the least. Also with 2009 DK 200 winner Mike Marchand and several other fast riders the pace was very fast right out the gate as I expected.  There was a large turnout and a lot of riders but after a few miles we had got in a pretty select group of about 5 or 6 riders. It was raining a little bit but not bad, there was a few spots where is was a little muddy. About 30 miles in we went thru “little Egypt” it is very rocky and hilly about 5 miles later my legs started feeling the effects on the climbs and then started to yo-yo off the back and the top 4 guys Marchand, Kevin Collings, Matt Brown and Bobby Smith started to fade away in the distance.   I spent most the time by myself the rest of the way. It was a lot of fun though and got to hang out with some good people.

Last weekend got a 50 mile’r on Saturday and then did a 75 mile road ride mixed with some nature trails. It was a fun ride with the O’mara “twins”

In other news not sure if anyone watched any of the tour of california road race. My buddy Lelan Dains who works for CTS traveled out to the event for “work” and even got to see him on TV. There was a awesome battle on stage 7 and at about 200 meters from the finish seen him running and cheering next to the top two riders battling for the finish.



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Wilson lake fat tire race, and back to the Grind.


Some of the High Gear crew before the race.


The front of the Elite group early in the race. Shad Schreiner in front, Aaron Elwell behind him , Cam Chambers , then Garret Steinmetz 


Matt Brown coming in at the finish line. 

(see my facebook page for a lot more pics)

I really should of been training with DK coming up so soon, but last Sunday Matt needed support to hand bottles during the race and I had some nagging old injuries bothering me so figured it was meant to be. Plus some friends from Colorado and Oklahoma were there so I had to go. They had a Elite group above Cat 1 that a $1000 payout for first place and a lot of high level riders showed up.  The race started out fast and furious as expected. Elite class was about 30 miles of trail that is pretty tricky in some places. Cat 1 and 2 was about 21 miles. Matt Brown was in the Elite group and did a awesome job, he got either 7th or 8th against some of the best riders in the country. My good friend Lelan Dains got 1st in cat 1 which was very impressive. It was a great race and got to see a lot of friends so it was good times. I have to admit was feeling guilty about not riding though as Sunday is usually my longer rides. And it would not of been so bad as I was planning on making up on that the day before on Saturday but cut my tire about 40 min in and had to limp back home.  Anyways yesterday got back to the gravel grinding and got in 35 miles with the O’mara brothers Shawn and Scott after we got off work, and then I had scheduled today off a while back and luckily the weather was awesome 70ish and sunny mild winds. I got in 51 miles of the most hilly gravel roads around here this morning. I averaged around 16.5mph which was good for some if the hills I was on but legs were more fatigued towards the end then I expected which not good with a hard 70 mile gravel race/ride this Saturday which is extremely fast and hilly coming up in a few days. I guess we will see what happens. I will report back afterwards.

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Camp Alexander race and DK training

Was a great weekend of riding. This last Saturday was a local Camp Alexander race which started with 5 miles of gravel then 2 laps of the trails. I didn’t race this time as I was going to hand bottles to Matt Brown, but also I was planning a long gravel ride for my DK200 training. Plus sometimes its fun just to sit back and be the cheerleader and watch other people suffer 😉

The race was at 9:30 in the morning I met up with Matt at 8am and we got in about 45 min to a hour of gravel to warm up , the race got delayed some because of the trail run before that was still going on so not sure how much the warm up helped though.  The race started off pretty fast. Matt , Scott, and Tim had teamed up on the gravel and came in together on the trail, when I seen them about half way thru Matt had opened up a huge gap that kept getting bigger. At the finish he came in at about 51 min I believe. This is including the gravel and 2 laps. Scott came in a few min later in 2nd and Tim in 3rd. I believe Shawn came in around 6th. Afterwards we rode back into town and hung out for a bit I then went out for some gravel and got about 40 miles in.   The next morning Sunday went out with Shawn for some more gravel DK training. It was typical super windy kansas day 30 mph winds with some nasty gusts that was pushing my front tire several times in the crosswind. We got about 60 miles in with some pretty steep climbs north of Kahola lake.  I took monday off, then I just got another 35 mile gravel ride in after work I just got home from so training is going pretty good. Below is some pics from the race that Shawn Honea from IM design took.

Matt Brown crushing the field


Scott O'mara charging hard

Tim Mohn

Shawn O'mara and Rick Becker coming in from the gravel section.

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