Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ready to shred. Iron Maiden style.

Man...busy few weeks.

Fits are coming at me fast and furious. I'm busy, but happy Flex Fit is working out so far. Couldn't do it without Melissa. She's awesome and and always listens to the crazy ideas I have brewing. I have some new stuff for you mountain bike folk that is pretty killer if I say so myself.

Others seem to like it as well...

Did a quick ride to try out my new fit from John Karrasch.  I already had my CX bike fit by him and thought he might be able to help me out on the MTB.  Since he has a professional background in physical therapy (he is a physical therapist 40 hours a week), and is also a total bike geek, he seems to understand the intersection of the body and bike better than most bike shop folks.
We made some fairly substantial changes to my fit, especially shortening and widening the cockpit on my bike.   
Honestly, I'm a bit shocked by the difference it made.  Can't believe I've been riding around way too stretched out for years.

Thanks John.  Look forward to getting my road bike fit by you.
I usually caution people of an awkward period post fit while getting adjusted but sometimes it feels pretty solid out of the box. I'll take it.
Road, cross, mtb and all the other disciplines all have their needs and I'm happy to apply my knowledge to the best of my ability to get you moving and riding more efficiently. 
If you wanna get in you can get all my info on the sidebar to your right or go to the FLEX FiT site.
On the racing front, I'm sure some of you remember the Burn 24 was awesome. Now it is sadly no more.
Chainbuster Racing has you covered with the upcoming 24 Hours Of Iron Maiden! Great people and great trails. Can't or won't ride for 24? No prob, plenty of duo and team options. Hit the link HERE and go get in while online reg is still open. See you there!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Flex Fit Testimonials

"The verdict? The fit has made me feel dramatically better on my cross bike. My handling is wildly improved as is the back pain. It has taken me a few weeks to get 100% adjusted to fit, and during that time I’ve been backing off the intensity but still doing longer road rides on the cross bike and the difference has been noticeable and pleasant."    

"The exercises were good and I liked that you included the YouTube channel. I'm more of a visual learner and it helped me to remember what exercises I needed to be doing. My fave was the one I can do on the couch that stretches my quads/hip flexors. I can do it while I watch tv :)"

"John Karrasch has a bike fit business now. I went and had one done yesterday and was pumped about my new setup when I left. Nothing against any bike fits that I've had done in the past, but John's was unique combination of his PT knowledge, years of bike shop know-how, and real world application. It was more than just millimeters, the guy is thorough. Took 3 hours. He even gave me a list of exercises to do at home to help fix my goofball riding style."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Jerry Gerlich Bike Fit and Austin trip

Melissa and I went all the way to Austin, Texas this past weekend for a bike fit! Here is the how and why of it all...

I have had my Fuji Roubaix now for a few months and it has been a good bike so far. Nothing fancy, just a solid road first one in about five years I would guess!

I have fiddled with the position here and there but due to the fact I cannot watch myself ride some things were not quite dialed in. I knew I was close but needed some help.

Whats an obsessive bike fitter to do? Find another obsessive bike fitter of course!

My experiences with traditional fits have been disappointing to say the least and one of my inspirations for finally getting my own fit business started.

I came across Jerry Gerlich of Castle Hill Cycles in Austin, TX through Steve Hogg's website. Steve has an amazing mind and a boatload of common sense on his website. Some of it may seem a bit out there but it holds up to the important question, "Does it work?"

Anyone that has ever had a bike fit or is thinking of getting one should read the Perspectives on Fitting article on Steve's site. Read it. Trust me. "Pro bike fits" are not all the same and range from great to quite poor. Choose carefully.

I have felt best on my bike through setting myself up based on comfort and advice from Steve via email. Steve has only trained a few people in the world and Jerry happens to be one of them! Steve only takes a select few fitters to train and there is no guarantee you will pass if you go train with him. Those selected to train with him stay for three weeks of learning. I hope to make the trip to Australia in the next few years to train with Steve myself.

Melissa was nice enough to get me a fit from Jerry for my Christmas present this year and we had a great trip out to Austin aside from a mild panic over a broken starter in downtown Austin.

The Castle
Jerry is super knowledgeable about all things bike and body related. He knows his music pretty well too. The gym at Castle Hill Fitness next door to the shop is probably the coolest one I have set foot in. Tons of free weights (sorry...) and Pilates equipment. There are a variety of yoga and indoor cycling studios in the building. There is also some wild Jacob's Ladder contraption people climb which fortunately I didn't have to suffer on!

Equipment inside Castle Hill Fitness
Jerry had me warm up on a Total Gym squatting tower with very light weight and listen to some music while he measured my bike. Afterwards he showed me some of his methods of measuring and I even learned a couple new tricks to use with my own fits. I warmed up for a few minutes on the bike and did a brief time trial at what was supposed to be an 8/10 effort. I hit it a bit too hard and barely made it two minutes but he now had a good idea how my body functioned at high intensity. He briefly went over with me some problems he noticed with my position and how they were affecting my body.

Next we went through an extensive off bike analysis of how my body worked off the bike. This is one of the most important parts of the fit because limitations in your body's function and symmetry can really limit on bike performance. Despite my current holiday beer gut I am still fairly flexible and stable so I did pretty well on this portion. Jerry did find some areas I can improve on to be more stable while riding and I look forward to integrating his suggestions into my off bike exercise routine.

Before I got back on the bike, Jerry did some testing to determine leg length and posture to make sure I was functioning as well as possible before we went through the rest of the fit. Turns out I have a right leg that is a bit shorter than the other and this was playing a role in my pelvis tilting to the right under high load. We went through some of the "weird stuff" that Jerry learned from Steve in Oz which made a significant difference in my symmetry and posture. One of the longest sections of the fit was optimizing my cleat position and foot correction which includes proper arch support and wedging to tilt the foot to where it is most stable on the pedal with no pressure points. This helps optimize proprioceptive feedback to the parts of your nervous system that coordinate the pedal stroke.

Just from the foot adjustments I was more stable on the bike and felt more powerful! I was still dropping that damn hip and while I left the room Jerry made some adjustments to the bike. He didn't tell me what they were but when I got back on it felt different but good. We did another time trial and the hip drop was gone. The stability was further improved as well. We did a quick adjustment of the bars which I had pretty close but they were now more comfortable. Road bars are way harder than mountain bike bars to setup!

We went outside and I did a couple hill climbs to check everything out. Looks good, feels good...I was happy. Jerry did one last measure of the bike setup so I have a reference in case I ship it anywhere. Six hours later and we were done! The time totally evaporated while I was there and I was pretty damn tired when we were done.

Overall it was a great experience and totally worth the trip. Jerry offers a great approach to bike fitting that is individualized to the client to get them as comfortable and efficient as possible. The fact he offers a money back guarantee made me confident in his methods and I felt like he really wanted to help me and not just line some stuff up to make a buck (quite a few bucks really haha...). He wasn't worried about my knee or hip angle while pedaling. No goniometers or plumb bobs to set me up. No plugging numbers into a computer to get a readout. No fancy motion capture. Everything was done by him watching me ride and making adjustments to improve my function on the bike. Cool stuff! I did a ride on the rollers yesterday and felt comfortable although uncoordinated in the new position. I plan on doing some easy rides the next few weeks so my body can reprogram as needed.

Austin itself was a great town. Cool stores, avocado margaritas, barbecue trucks. I'd go again. We also stopped at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop on the way out of town which was fun. Bit of bicycle sensory overload there.

Guy with a cat on his shoulder

Mellow Johnny's fit area

Huge shop

Rapha envy

All Lance, all the time

LA LT100 bike

Awesome Project One commuter

Old Lance tour bike

TT and barely ridden madone

Fastest bikes in the shop

Trek fixed gear conversion. Campy Record cranks

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Flex Fit for Cyclocross? Sure.

Bike fitting can be a complex puzzle to solve and becomes even more so when the high intensity and technical handling demands of cyclocross racing are added to the mix.

Here is a review of my fit process by Andrew Boyd, local fast guy and Team Momentum racer.

Off-season fit | Team Momentum

For those of you interested in fits, more information can be found here:

Flex Fit

Sunday, December 1, 2013

2013 Oak Ass 50/100 Blog Post List


Brian Toone

Scott Thigpen

Jacob Tubbs

Gretchen Mcelveen

Jeff McCord

Jan Jenkins-Ardovino

Tracy McKay

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Oak Ass 50: What I Learned by Jan Jenkins-Ardovino

If you told me two years ago at this time that I would be riding in a 50 mile mountain bike race, I would have thought you had seriously lost your mind. I had just started riding and thought lake trail out and back was a big ride day. The first time I added snake trail to my "out and back" I bragged about how many miles that was. But here I was two years later sitting at the starting line for a 50 mile race. Over those years I had met two girls, Holly Carmichael and Gretchen McElveen who became the catalyst for my cycling goals. I blame (give credit) to them for my new addiction. If one of them suggests something I have to try it even if it sounds insane. We are all a little competitive like that. But I think Oak Ass was my bright idea. Gretchen was in because we both wouldn't miss a race on our home trails but couldn't convince Holly of this endeavor, this year. We'll work on that for next year. (At one point Gretchen proposed 100 miles, but I think she was delusional that day or something.)

Having never really done anything quite like this solo I had grand plans of training etc. But hence real life sometimes gets in the way and it was just bad timing this year for proper preparation. But I was still was determined to see if I could ride 50 miles solo, even though I had not ridden more than 30 in over 9 months. Not really a good idea but I set a goal of 6 hours and not to die.

In the weeks before the race I had a nagging lower back issue that I really couldn't shake, so I was worried it would be a problem. And race morning my back was hurting before the race even started. But I was excited anyway and had Gretchen and Jeff McCord from my team MG&G doing the race also so there was no way I was going to bail! I would have taken way too much grief for that.

My race itself was rather uneventful the first lap. I have learned over the races that I have done this year that you should always try to be the first in the woods. I didn't use this strategy for this race since it was 50 miles thinking it wouldn’t matter. NOT TRUE, especially on courses that you are more familiar with than others. (And yes, I ignored good advice on this) I was surprised that at the start everyone took off and I caught the entire group at the entrance to seven bridges and was bottle necked. Wet slick roots were tripping a lot of riders up. So until camp road I was in a pace line it seemed. I decided to take the first lap at a pretty easy steady pace just to get through, hope it would ward off lower back trouble and make sure I didn't wear my legs out too fast. But alas, by the time I got to Jekyl and Hyde (JNH) it was time for some more Advil, so I knew it was going to be a long day. Shockingly though I passed quite a few riders on the technical part of JNH which put a big smile on my face. I love technical stuff. Then the climb up Peavine, and I was passed by one rider that I passed on JNH. But only one caught me. That was actually quite an accomplishment for me. And I caught another rider. Another huge accomplishment for me! As I finished the first lap I knew I just had to survive the second.

My legs were OK but there was no way my back was going to let me push too hard. I could spin and the pain was tolerable but too hard and "no go". Gretchen and I "pitted" about the same time. I had really hoped to keep far enough ahead of her to get out of the pit before she got there. (Sorry Gretchen) Pete Foret was grabbing our camel backs off of us and refilling while we grabbed our pb&j's. Pete, who always has a car full of anything you can imagine, had a thermo wrap thing that I put on my back to see if it would help. Gretchen tears out of the pit saying "see you at JNH". While I love my cycling friend we are competitive and it’s every man for themselves during a race. So I hated that she was gone before me, but thought I may be able to make up some ground on technical stuff because she would kill me on the climbs. Well that thought was short lived when I somehow had a nice crash on seven bridges. I still don't quite know what happened but taking a handlebar to the armpit was quite painful. And the calf cramp had me leaned against a tree trying to get the knot under control. So no way to catch her now! (BTW...Mitch Moses seemed to come out of nowhere to help me on my feet and hold my bike so a belated thanks to you!) I decided just to ride out the last lap to finish.

 I had no idea who I was racing or where they were but this was going to be a personal accomplishment for me and I needed to treat it as such. I was alone for most of that lap. So I began making a mental list of "Things I learned today" to keep my mind off of my back and arm! Here are items that I can remember from my list:

1. I have got to figure out what the heck is going on with my back.
2. I am not too bad of a technical rider. But I hate climbing.
3. I'm glad I still have a triple on my bike.
4. I really want a full suspension bike!
5. I may have been too old to start this sport.
6. I would like to ride an endurance race and not be lapped by Brian Toone (as he went around me topping Pevine falls road on my second lap and his third. He did say Good job though. But then Lee Neal, as I’m about to go up Johnson’s, says “Hey Jan, Brian Toone lapped you.” I yelled back “It’s on my list!!”)
7. I wish I could get a different song in my head. I like "Some nights" by Fun but I need a new song. (And the Mosh up of the Lords Prayer, Some Nights, Third Day and counting pedal strokes is really a weird mix.) 8. I count my pedal strokes. Why did I do this??.
9. Is eight Advil and two Excedrin too many?
10. This is all Holly and Gretchen’s fault.
11. I will not quit. Monty Morris will never let me live it down.
12. I'm glad I have family obligations or I would have to race a cross race tomorrow because if Gretchen and Holly do it then I will have too.

There were many more, so it’s clear that my mind was all over the palace as I finished that lap. On JNH (I passed some more riders, happy day) someone was behind yelling at me. I thought I was in his way so I said go around. He yelled back "No way, I'm following your line!". I think that is one of the best compliments I have ever received!!! I met him after the race and he told me he had walked some of that on his first lap and he got behind me on the second and got through it. I coasted to the end at 6:20. Not my goal but I finished. As I went over the finish line someone said "I'll get your timing chip you need to get to the podium. You’re fourth.” I was so confused. I walked my bike over to the podium and was handed prizes. I still had on my gear: helmet, camelback etc. The picture is priceless to me. I may not have accomplished the goals I had originally set for myself, but I learned a lot during that race one of which was stubbornness will trump pain. Later Jacob Tubbs said “That was pretty much the most badass podium walks I have ever seen!” (I have to admit, I usually think the superfast guys don’t usually pay much attention to us slow pokes, so that WAS the best compliment I have ever gotten!)

As I sat with my friends waiting on some 100 miler friends to finish, I devoured some of the best stew I have ever eaten and we all told stories of our day and cheered other riders on. I was already thinking of the next big race I will do. I love this sport and the friends I have made. I may not win, but I’ll have fun trying. So a huge shout out to all of the organizers (I was glad to finally officially meet this legend, John Karrasch) and the Birmingham mountain biking community. You rock.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Jeff McCord's Delusional Oak Ass 50

Pre Race

So I half assed a race this past weekend. The Oak Ass 100/50. I did the 50 mile option, and John Karrasch, the brain behind this race asked me to do a race writeup. Well he said "Jeff McCord, the tale of how I nursed you back from your broken bird wing to make great endurance racer would be welcomed by all I'm sure." How can I turn down anyone that's deluded enoughto call me a "great endurance racer"?

I met John 4.5 years ago in the summer of 2009. I purchased my first mountain bike in late May of '09, and one week later I ended up landing hard on my head and shoulder going down a drop I had no business attempting. It was REALLY dumb! I mean, the day I got the bike, I went to Mr. Toads trail, and turned around when I saw the first root - yes, Really. I was 33, and hadn't biked since I turned 16 and got a car. I had zero bike skills or fitness.

So I landed upside down, and ended up breaking my helmet, and a level 1 to 2 A-C separation of my shoulder. John was one of the guys who I went to see for physical therapy that summer. I was off the bike for a few weeks, but thankfully I kept at it. I was so horribly out of shape from a sedentary lifestyle that I couldn't ride to the end of Mr. Toads for the first few weeks I did ride. John mentioned he mountain biked too, but he was more into the 6-9 hour endurance rides. I thought that was absolutely CRAZY! 6-9 HOURS!! Pedaling on a bicycle!?!? Who does this crap?? The only thing I did for 6-9 hours straight was sleep or play World of Warcraft frag noobs in Call of Duty.

So that summer I worked on my fitness by riding my bike, and I grew to love the wondrous places that bicycle took me. I loved being in the woods as a child and teenager, but hadn't experienced that in a couple decades. In August I was able to complete my first loop of Oak Mountain and then I started coming to the Thursday evening rides at Oak Mtn.

I did two races in 2010 - Bump'n'Grind and Dead Dog, but I didn't really enjoy either one. I took BnG seriously, and tried really hard - rode beyond my skill level and crashed three times. I did make it down Blood Rock for the first time ever in that race, and have some really cool scars to remember it by! I didn't take Dead Dog as seriously, and enjoyed it more, but still can't say I "loved" racing.

Flash forward to 2013. My fitness had come and gone with Facebook relationship statuses. In April of this year I picked up my riding. I lost around 30 lbs over 5 months, and started racing with my friends Jan Ardovino and Gretchen McElveen. Jan talked me into racing Yargo, and that led to riding the Tour de Blue and the rest of the AMBS races for the year. I even did my first road race - a time trial, and picked up a cyclocross bike to reach an all new level of cycling obsession with that flavor of racing.

I'd heard the rumblings of the Oak Ass race for about a year before it happened. I'd even done a few of the early proposed Oak Ass loops that were 33 miles with fellow racer Nick Kirby. That was about the farthest I'd ever ridden my mountain bike before I really started training for the Oak Ass, and 41 miles is the longest ride I had before the actual race.

During my training I'd planned on keeping my heart rate in a certain zone and keeping it there. That was my plan, and to try to hold a 10mph pace to finish in 5 hours. That worked great in training, but not so much in the actual race.

So on race day, I found myself with my friends and MG&G teammates Jan and Gretchen lining up to race 50 miles. This was the least nervous before a race I'd ever been. Often my heart rate is up around 130bpm at the start of a race, it was hovering around 78 this morning. The horn was sounded and we started moving. I weaved through some of the pack on the parade lap, hit the downhill on Terrace Dr. towards 7 Bridges, and tucked down and caught a number of folks. The bottleneck at the singletrack began, and the jockeying for position, passing, and general race nerves set in. Heart rate quickly went to around 175, which is threshold for me. I wanted to stay closer to 150-165, but with the stopping, and starting, running around folks after we all stop in a big line... Keeping below threshold or even anaerobic wasn't going to happen for awhile.

We made it through 7 bridges, and hit the fire road, but it seemed everyone else had my same plan which was to hit the gas and pass on the fire road.. So I pushed even harder because I was very familiar with the trails and didn't like stopping and walking over sections I've ridden hundreds of times before. Heart rate still too high. I knew I was burning more energy than I needed too, but it seemed unavoidable. Made it through Garrett's Gulch, and the Rock Garden with only a few more bottlenecks. The crik crossing (it's not big enough to be called a creek) in the Rock Garden served as another bottleneck. Everyone stopped, I got off my bike and ran with it through the woods parallel to the trail to get around as many as I could. Heart rate at nearly max - 186. (I'm not a runner, obviously.)

Made it through Chimneys with another bottleneck on the climb around one of the roots. Hit Cat-Dog-Snake, and was riding the wheel of this girl who was riding really well. We hit a bridge and she went down. I asked if she was ok, and she said yea, so I got around her and hit the gas to catch the next rider. My friend Scott Thigpen was up ahead, and we exchanged a few words, though I can't remember what they were. Once we got to the fire road, I unloosed my camelbak to grab a gu. I normally stick them in the legs of my shorts, but since it was cold and I had my full pants on, this didn't work. I attempted to snap my camelbak back on while riding, but ended up having to stop to snap it all back together. I'd lost some time and let some riders pass me while I struggled with the camelbak, but now that it was all together, I ate my gu, and hit the gas. I kept my heart rate below anaerobic - I knew I was going to burn some extra energy here to pass as many people before we hit Jekyl & Hyde.

Climbing red road, I passed some folks and came up on Scott Thigpen. He was pacing for the 100 mile race, and I gave him some words of encouragement as I went by. I wasn't trying to set any records on this climb, but I still ended up doing it in under 16 minutes. This would have been a massive PR less than 6 months ago. Cresting the top of the climb, my friend Nick Kirby was there and he was also pacing for the 100 mile. Just prior to the BUMP connector, I passed Nathan Hodge (also a 100 miler - but on a full rigid SS - he's "special"). I passed another couple girls on the BUMP connector, and one of them was the female leader (John Karrasch was at the JnH/Blood Rock split and I could hear him give them time splits). I was behind a couple people on JnH, and while I'm not an excellent technical rider, I'll say I am adept. The two in front of me eventually bobbled, and I was able to get around them and then let it fly. Other than the dab behind the two when they stopped, I cleaned Hyde. Hit Jekyll, and kept going. The ground was still wet from the previous night's rain, so I kept my speed in check going down Jekyll since I was afraid of washing out on one of the outside turns in the pine straw.

I use a drop seat post and I have had zero problems with it. Until now. While doing the climbs on Jekyl, I noticed it felt like I was riding low. I thought maybe my drop seat post switch was getting gummed up, so I hit the remote switch and pulled up on the seat. Felt like it was going all the way up, but I still felt low. Maybe my seat was dropping in the frame. Once I hit Peavine Road, I could tell my seat was definitely low. I hopped off the bike, and grabbed my multi tool. The dropper itself was collapsing. So I raised the seat to counter what portion it had collapsed,and kept riding. Nick and Nate passed me and asked if everything was ok - I said "yea, dropper is collapsing."

Nick and Nate

I ate a Gu on the climb, and hit the CCC trail and then Blood Rock. I was right behind someone coming into Blood Rock, and I should have given them more room. They were going slower than I could manage, and I had to dab at the last tree. I peg legged down the rest of BR, and caught back up to the guy on Quarry Road. I planned on passing him once we hit Johnson's Mountain, but my seat had dropped some more. I had to stop again on Johnson's and raise my seat WAY up. It went from 5 inches of travel to about 3/4" of an inch. I cycled it a few times as hard as I could, but it wouldn't stay up. I raised the seat up about 3-4 inches above the minimum insertion points (I realized that AFTER the race), and kept going. The seat was too high, but with the 3/4" of travel I could get it into the Goldilocks zone.

I finished Johnson's, Foreplay, Toads, and Family, swung through the timing mat, and I'd planned to grab my sandwich and/or banana out of my camelbak and eat on the move. At the timing mat, there was a box full of bananas, so I just grabbed one of those, and kept on pedaling. I debated on dumping the extra weight in my camelbak, but figured it wasn't much and this way I could keep moving and make up time without a pit stop.

Tucked on the descent on Terrace Drive back to 7 Bridges and caught back up and passed Nick and Nate. I made it through the lower trails and felt really good. I knew from my training that I'd start feeling the pain around mile 35-40. That was pretty accurate. There were no bottlenecks, and I was able to keep my heart rate under control for the second lap, but I had burned a lot more energy than I planned on the first lap (Isn't that how it always goes though? You'd think I'd have learned this by now.)

Throughout my second lap, I'd slowly approach another rider, take and overpass them. Everyone was really cool about being passed. Good sportsmanship all around. I made it to Jekyl & Hyde, and was on someone's wheel. They bobbled on the top section, and I made it around them. Again, other than this one bobble I cleaned Hyde. I felt pretty good about that since when I get tired I usually start making bad mistakes on tricky technical sections... like fresh pavement. However I was getting the beginnings of cramps in my legs. Had a quiver in my left thigh that led to a wave of twitches that went from behind my right knee to my diaphragm. I backed off a little and started sucking down more water. I'd opted for my bottle of gatorade instead of another Gu on the 2nd red road climb, and I ate another Gu when I hit the Peavine Road climb.

Kept sucking down water, and now I had to REALLY pee! OMG! I wasn't stopping though. I knew that once I finished Peavine it was pretty much all down hill.

I made it through blood rock to the tree I bobbled on on my first lap.. and hit it. I should have walked as tired as I was, but I love going down BR, and I hate to punk out on it. I was tired though, and swung too wide on the last turn, and clipped the tree with my handlebars. I unclipped and put a foot down, but it was too late, and fell on my right side.. luckily on a flat rock. Got up, swallowed my pride, and walked to the base. Descended Quarry Road at a controlled pace, and started the last climb up Johnson's. My legs were exhausted. I hurt all over, and I just wanted it to be over. I never felt like I bonked, but my legs were shot and the pain was making it "not fun" anymore.

Descending the last part of Johnson's I saw one rider up ahead, but I had no energy or desire to chase him down. I kept seeing him, and almost caught him in the switchbacks of Foreplay, but once he saw me on his tail he hit the gas and was quickly out of sight. I kept at my pace, and saw him up ahead from time to time. I knew the race was almost over and my competitive edgekicked in. I picked up my pace. By the time I hung a left onto the Rattlesnake connector from Toads to Family, he wasn't that far ahead. When we hit family, I was on his wheel, and he let me around. I didn't want to get caught by him or anyone else, so I hit the gas. The race was almost done, and I wanted to finish strong. Finished Family, and hit the road. I was alone, but I sprinted to the finish.

My goal was under 5 hours, and I finished in 4:47. I put 40 seconds into that last rider I passed, and ended up 17 of 43 for solo 50 milers. I did pretty good on my second lap despite the pain and cramps because I was in the mid 20s after my first lap. My second lap was actually about a minute 40 faster than my first lap. According to my Garmin, the mechanicals cost me about 6 minutes. Not bad, and I'm pretty happy with my results.

The BUMP stew was awesome, and I want to thank John Karrasch for scouting the routes and being the force behind this race. And also nursing my broken baby bird wing back to health so I could become this "great endurance racer"! I'd like to thank BUMP for maintaining and building the trails, and Chainbuster's for hosting this event!

I had delusions of grandeur prior to the race and was afraid that when I committed to the 50 mile option that I would have wished I'd done the 100 after it was all said and done. I'm proud to say that was NOT the case! 50 miles was exactly right for me. I wasn't pedaling 10 more feet!

Gretchen and Jan pulled in a little while after I did. Jan pulled in at the exact moment she needed to be on the podium, so she literally got off her bike and took her spot for the podium pic. Pretty epic moment! Gretchen took 3rd and Jan took 4th! I'm so proud of my teammates!

MGG Podium Girls

We hung out with some other friends and waited on the 100 milers to finish their race. We encouraged them as they came through after 75 miles, and I was astounded when they finished 100. Amazing feat!

After a few beers and a bottle of wine (for Jan), the pain and agony had receded from memory, and we were looking forward to do it again next year! Maybe I'll do the 100... There it is again... Delusions of grandeur.

I can now say I "love" racing. The competition is fun, but the friends and camaraderie amongst us is what has made me fall in love with the sport. Life is good.

PS - I've never played Call of Duty.