Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March/winter is here

It's March and it feels more like winter than it has all...winter. It's been a flurry of coaching nordic skiing, lots of downhill skiing, some excellent mt biking, and just a few rides on the trainer.

I like doing the early road races, but this year the skiing has been too good to ignore so I haven't focused on the bike very much. I think I still have some of the top end fitness left from cross, but I don't have the base for longer road races and mountain bike races quite yet. I'll get there as the weather cooperates.

Had some of the best days skiing I have ever had including a cat skiing trip to Mt Bailey that was just ridiculous. The pictures below don't do it justice.

As the days get longer it'll be a bit more time and light to get out on the bike and get outdoors. Right now winter is treating us well and I certainly don't long for spring quite yet. It's a great time to be in Bend. Get out there and enjoy it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bend (life) is Amazing

I have been super busy with work and coaching. Once 'cross season ends it is the start of nordic ski coaching for me. I help coach the team at school and though this season they had already been practicing for a few weeks without me it's good to be back at it (though these workouts HURT).

We've had races at Diamond Lake, Hoodoo, Willamette Pass, and Bachelor. Only a couple more left in the season which will wrap up at the end of the month with the state meet at Hoodoo. Last weekend after racing around all day in the sun and snow myself and the head coach took off for a little workout of our own while the team was getting packed up...lots of climbing and a great way to finish the day. On Sun it was off to Mt. Bachelor for more sun and quite a bit of really nice snow that folks hadn't found out off the Northwest chair. We called it a day at the mountain with quite a bit of daylight left, so Kris and I busted out to Horse Ridge for some of the best mountain biking there is in Bend. We had the place mostly to ourselves on a Sunday afternoon and nearly perfect trail conditions. It was beautiful.

This weekend was more of the same. It was tough to choose between skiing, road bikes, mt bikes, downhill, nordic. In the end it was lots of skiing, good company, and some beautiful weather.

We are so lucky to live in a place where we can be on the mountain skiing in the morning and riding bikes in the afternoon...All surrounded by amazing friends. Thanks ya'll.

Monday, January 23, 2012

CX season wrap up

I went into this season more focused than previous seasons, I had goals, and I had a plan and coach to help keep me on track (Brig Brandt at Rebound...I highly recommend working with a coach if you haven't), and I had one of my most successful seasons. What does that mean though. I've talked at length with Serena, D, and Don about how you define a successful season. It's not as easy as it sounds, it doesn't just come down to results or one single race (as Serena wrote about) it takes looking at the whole season, but that's not all. As Don put well, it is also about attitude, both in victory and defeat. Every season will have it's ups and downs. Days where you feel unstoppable and on top of your game can be followed up with heartbreaking defeats, it's all part of this game we choose to play. You have to take what comes and if it goes your way or it doesn't you have to learn from it. I learned a lot this season. I define my season as successful mostly on what I have learned, but also by how much I enjoyed the season. We racers put a lot of pressure on ourselves, we train, sacrifice, and suffer for months on end in pursuit of a successful season, and often it gets into my head that success does depend on one particular race, even when I know that is not all there is.

Nationals tend to feel that way, like a final exam, it's the race(s) that you think about for 13 months straight. Nationals are what you aim all your training towards. So it's easy to be let down if a race doesn't go as planned, it's hearbreaking, it's devastating, it SUCKS. I was nearly in tears myself watching Serena run around the course, derailleur hanging from the bike. I couldn't believe when Molly had a freak crash in the week leading to Nationals that made it too hard to race. Your heart goes out, because you know what goes into getting ready for that race, you know the months of prep and sacrifice it took to get there. It's easy to forget it's just one race. You know that the success of that season isn't measured by one race, but it's not that much comfort in the moment.

One of the amazing parts of cyclocross is the community that is created because we all know about the sacrifices of training, the heartbreak of defeat, and the elation that comes with a good race. We share in the joy, the sorrow, the pain, and the laughter.

Photo: 541images.com

I had an amazing weekend, I was focused on my masters races, and it was my best race of the season. Everything came together as planned. There was a stacked field (check out the cx magazine recap) with some big names at the top of the list. Without all the details I raced the entire race like I wanted, I battled, and I never let off physically or mentally. I rode a smart race, I had support in the pit and was able to switch bikes nearly every lap. I had a group I was riding with and was able to drop all but one guy and set up an awesome last lap battle. When I was done I collapsed (Proof in the background of the interview 39 seconds in) not just out of physical exhaustion, but I was mentally spent. I had thought about this race all year and I had given everything I had to be there, I was as tired and happy as I could have been, it felt amazing. I was surrounded by friends, teammates, and even family that understood what had just happened. It made it all worth it.

It's too much to write about the entire weekend, but what stands out is how awesome it was to be there with teammates and friends and to support each other in both victory and defeat. It was amazing to watch the junior racers I have worked with this season do the same and come away with some amazing results. It was especially amazing the support we received. It can't be said enough how much we owe the season to those that made it possible. Don has been there all season, not just with advice and guidance, but with mechanical support and a helping hand with whatever we needed, it wouldn't have been the same without his help and knowledge. Bill who drove a mountain of gear (not to mention a bunch of juniors) across the country was an amazing help. He made sure we were set with bikes and gear, and there he was each lap in the pit as I handed off a muddy bike. Even the juniors who ran alongside the course, shared equipment, and just generally spread the stoke made it great. We also have some amazing sponsors who made it all possible by believing in what we were doing and supporting us in it.

I am overwhelemed with how the season was a success, not just because of a single race, but because of what I took away from the season. Thanks cyclocross for being amazing!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It's been a crazy few weeks since I last had a chance to post here. The crusade series wrapped up, there was the state championship cx race, and I made a swing out to the east coast for Thanksgiving and managed to jump in a race there.

Cross Crusade #8 out at PIR didn't end up being as muddy as I had hoped, but it was slick in spots and the course was excellent, I really like this venue that usually hosts the USGP's. I had a horrible start position and some bottlenecks early on in the race set my position that was hard to make up. I realized I had a pretty good race, I raced well, I had some battles that I won, and I was moving up most of the time, but when you lose a minute or two on the first lap it's really hard to make that up unless folks in front of you are screwing up...You'd just have to be going much faster than the folks up front to catch up and I was racing fast, but not enough to close any gaps. So I wasn't disappointed with how I raced, but I had been hoping for a better result. Regardless, it was a fun day of racing and I felt strong.

(Photo Will Sullivan)

State CX. We made our way over to Eugene in a snowstorm on Fri night. Sat started with some showers and the promise of mud. It was cold and slick out on the course. The singletrack section out at the back of the course suited me well with some tight slick corners and some slog sections of mud. I had a better start with the smaller group and stayed in a decent position through the first laps. I was losing some ground on the wide open power sections, but then making a lot of it back up in the woods and single track. I went back and forth with a lot of folks and managed to stay ahead of a few before I settled into a good battle with Alex Wentz. We went back and forth a few times before we managed to separate ourselves from others and it came down to the two of us. He would open it up on me as we came out of the woods towards the start/finish and I would get back on his wheel as we went through the corners in the woods. It went this way for 3-4 laps and with one to go he led through the single track with me on his wheel and I knew what to expect as we came out, he hit the gas and I did my best to stay with him, we went through the mud together with him a couple bike lengths in front of me, we hit the barriers nearly back together, but he was on his bike first and across the line a few seconds in front of me. It made for a good race and certainly made me push myself.

The high school kids I have been working with and coaching finished up their season with a strong second place, the boys had been dominant all season, but the final total is based on the co-ed results and we didn't quite pull it off. Regardless of result, the team had some really strong races and it has been super fun and motivating to work with these young athletes. Though the HS series is over, many of them will keep racing through the USGP's here in Bend and even on to Nationals.

We took off for the east coast on Mon night and I got to sneak in some amazing rides. I love riding around New England when the weather is nice. It was great to have a week of to just focus on riding, resting, and catching up with family and of course some eating. The racing kicked my ass and I didn't do as well as I would have liked. A tough first lap and just not stellar legs, but it was a solid effort and I am glad to have been able to get in the race. A much tougher course than we are used to out here, twisty, technical, and lots of up and down. A solid race that I would love to jump in again.

East Coast Phone Photos

The next couple weeks I will focus on getting in some solid training leading up the the USGP races and then buckle down for the last few weeks leading up to cyclocross nationals in Madison. It's still a ways away, but I am psyched to keep riding and training.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween in Bend

What a super fun weekend of racing! Too much to write about, but when Bend does a Crusade race they do it up right. Lots of events around town and tons of folks out enjoying the whole scene.

I came out on Sat feeling pretty rested and ready to race. It's great to wake up and make breakfast without having to rush out of the house and sit in a car for 3 hours before racing. It was a much better pre-race ritual.

I didn't have the best postion to start and knew from the gun that the first lap would be a mess...there was dust and some corners that were technical enough in traffic that people would be running. It was a slow first lap with a lot of chaos, but I think that is the very thing that helped my race. I didn't blow up that first lap, I didn't expand all my reserves, I just stayed calm and avoided crashing or spazzing out. Once we got most of the way through the first lap I was able to settle into a pace that I could maintain and worked my way up. I felt really good about where I was even if I didn't feel like I had a lot of snap in the legs. I felt a little tired and heavy, but I still managed to move up and win a few little battles within the race. Though we're halfway through the crusades I still have some serious work to do. I was happy with the result because I knew that I can do even better and that I rode a smart race. I put my legs up and got some rest for day two on Sunday.

I had a better position to start the day on Sun, but my tin man costume was a little tight on the legs and the foam front was gonna be warm, not to mention the silver face paint. That's what this race is about though...It's an amazingly fun day because most people show up in costume and still give it their all. I gave it my all, it worked out well. I had my best A finish in crusade race coming in at 16th, and I still didn't feel like I had my best race ever, so I am psyched to see where my fitness will take me in the coming months. There's a ton of racing left.

It was a great weekend that reminded me how amazing my teammates and friends are, we all pulled together to make it a blast. The town was out, friends were out, it was what cross should be, a community of awesomeness. I am more motivated than ever to race again, Sun can't come fast enough. See you then!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crusades 3&4 - No time anymore

Well, just like that we are halfway through the crusade season and I have had no time for writing here. I like to use this blog to reflect, to set goals, and to get psyched in a way, I haven't had much time for that. Work, training, and coaching are keeping me slammed...No complaining though, I love what I am doing.

Here's how it's gone down-
PIR - Crusade 3: I had a great race, the results don't show it, but I felt amazing, and I moved up the entire race as well as won a few little battles within the race. I had started in the very last row but rode smart and fast and kept calm. It was sunny and warm and just a great day to be out racing cross on a flat fast course. I think this course suited where I am at with fitness and I felt like I had some power in the legs when I needed. It was the first race on a new cross bike for me and I couldn't have been happier about how the bike rode and performed, this bike is sweeeet - a huge thanks to trek and to sunnyside for setting it up. I will get some photos up of it and more details, but sufice to say it was a big step up in performance from old bike which I thought was just fine.

Wash County- Crusade 4: I was looking forward to moving back up where I wanted to be, I had a great start position, and it was a similar course to the previous week with no rain and mostly flat and fast. I started great and held a good position for the first half of the race, I just didn't have the legs though. About halfway through I started losing ground and fading back, I couldn't hold the pace on the long power sections and there was big group behind me that came right past. I was pretty destroyed by the end, but it was certainly a good workout so I know that the racing will pay off.

Though the last couple races didn't go as I liked I am psyched about how the season is progressing. I realize that it's a real long one this year so I am not worried about how I am finishing yet, I feel like I am still building fitness and I will be fresher and stronger at the later races which is what I am hoping for. We're headed back east for thanksgiving this year which also means a chance to jump into a race in New England and test the fitness. I also just locked down a ticket to Madison for cyclocross nationals. Even if the crusades are already half done,the season is just getting going!

This weekend is the Halloween races and Bend is hosting the crusades and it's the Day of the Dead Cyclocross Festival which means no driving and also means that we are going to put on a party like no other...check out the events planned >>Printable Schedule and come out to see the team race. We'll see you out there!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cross Crusade #2 Rainer

Meh, that's my feeling about the race. I felt like I went way harder and pushed myself more than Alpenrose, and I ended up 7 spots further back. I just didn't have it after the climb and couldn't recover after the power stuff out in the woods.

That's not to say that it wasn't a good race, just not thrilled with my result. The course is great though, I love that it's a combo of all skills, there's sections for everyone, I just need more fitness. It was a little frustrating with the lap count. We should have had one more lap to go and when we came through and I had saved a little something for that last lap. They finished everyone (not because we were getting lapped) without warning.

It was so rad to be there for Serena's first cross crusade win and to see Don and Renee win their races. We had Serena's folks down from Seattle with their grandkids and that made for an amazing cheering section, I could hear them every lap, it was awesome, it really does mean a lot to have people shouting and cheering...THANKS! Don was always at the top of the climb with a much needed word or two.

Regardless of how it turned out, it was great to be out racing with friends and be doing what I love.

Check out the recap and photos over at Swellvelo.com.
See you out there this weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cross Season in full effect

It's going now. The preseason races are through, it has been a good early season, but now it's time for trips to the valley, the weekly cleaning, washing, maintenance, and planning.

I love this time of year, the cold mornings, rain, frost, pumpkins, leaves...making it home just before dark for a hot meal and some rest after a hard training session.

Alpenrose was last weekend and it went well. It's early in the season for me and I had a hard week leading up to Alpenrose, but still I ended up doing well. I had a great start, but faded a little for the effort. I got into my pace and settled in to trying to move up. Picked a few off, held my position, and felt good all the way to the end. It was a good early season test and I was psyched with the result. Had a call-up which made a big difference on the start. I finished in 18th (good for 1 little pt) and hopefully that will continue the call-up.

Between work, coaching, and training the weeks fly by. This coming weekend is Rainer, one of my favorite courses. It makes for a long weekend, but it'll be a good one. I'm trying to make plans for the rest of the season and hopefully even sneak a trip in to the east coast to combo up thanksgiving and a race. Need to get on plans for Madison real soon to, I put in for the days off, now I just need to track down some tickets.

It's been awesome to have such amazing teammates who are on the same page, we've been sharing ideas, training together, racing together and generally getting each other psyched. We are so lucky to have an amazing bunch of sponsors as well, they have set us up and taken care of us. Please let them know you appreciate their support of bike racing and our team by supporting them and thanking them!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hood River Double Cross

This pictures really sums up the weekend...Happy and dirty.

It was another round of the Grand Prix Molly Cameron and Hood River Double Cross...a great excuse to camp out in the van with friends and race bikes around.

I crashed pretty hard on Saturday. Face planted into the sand (which would explain the dirt in my teeth). I fought my way back and had a decent race, coulda done without the crash (my leg is all torn up, that's about it luckily). Such a fun course, felt decent, but wanted to be a little farther up.

Sunday was a great race, felt suprisingly strong and had a blast battling it out with some friends. Was really happy with where I finished and I am real psyched for more races and to keep testing out this early season fitness.

Thanks to Matt Lasala for the photo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A new season...

It's been a while. Lets catch up shall we?

We had an amazing trip to Tanzania (check out this photo set it's just the "best of" not all of
our photos). An amazing country, some amazing learning experiences, and so many friends made that we won't soon forgot. Our host family was so amazing and welcoming. You can read our blog from the trip on the GR site, too much to put here, but if you ever have the chance to travel to Tanzania we highly suggest it, put it on your list and let us know if you make it, we'll introduce you to some amazing people.

Had a great trip to Montana when we got back to the states, some kayaking, hiking, and a wedding. It's easy to be away
from Montana for a while and forget how amazing it is...I was reminded to be sure.

Getting back on the bike! Had a little less hectic schedule than last year in terms of getting back and being able to focus on finding some fitness. The weather cooperated and I feel like coming into Sept I am more focused and better prepared than I was last year...The fitness still has a way to
go, but it's Sept, it's always hard to balance my actual fitness with the level I want to be racing at this time of year, but I will be patient, it's an extra long season this year and I have cyclocross nationals on my calendar for January in Madison Wisconsin.

I was able to jump in a couple races already. Did the Grand Prix Molly Cameron #1 and had a blast. And the Thrilla races have already gotten underway. Gonna race my way into shape this month. Headed to Hood River this weekend for another couple...

It's Cross Season!!!!! I couldn't be more psyched about it.

Keep up here and at www.swellvelo.com

See you out there.

Team News!

Below is the update for the team we sent out this week. We are so thrilled to be starting cyclocross up again. It's been crazy getting back from Africa, getting back on the bike, and getting back to work. A whirlwind for sure!

Watch out for some more updates coming soon.

With numerous wins and even more podium finishes, Silverado/Sunnyside was on top of the results page for the Oregon XC Mountain Bike Series, took the yellow jersey in the Cascade Classic Cat 3 race, brought home a medal from USAC Mountain Bike Nationals in Sun Valley, ID, helped to organize Pickett’s Charge, volunteered for the most successful Tour de Chutes to date, mixed it up in the Hullabaloo’s Northwest Crossing Criterium and even took a trip to Italy to show off the new kit overseas! All of that and the 2011 racing season has only just begun (for us cross crazy ones anyway).

Bart, Brig, Bruce, Damian, Greg, and Serena are all healthy, happy and racing well. Matt took a 2-month sabbatical from the bike to lead a youth service project in Tanzania through the non-profit organization Global Routes, but he’s been back in saddle since early August and is looking forward to finding his legs again! Matt also took over coaching duties for the local high school cyclocross team which was 2nd in the state last year and is looking for the win this season. Coaching the high school students as well as working with juniors through Bend Endurance Academy is keeping him super busy.

The long days and warm weather of August and September have allowed for a lot of quality training and hold great potential and continued success for the team. Bart and Brig raced in the USAC Master Road Championship, which were held in Bend, and Brig will also be racing USAC Mountain Bike Marathon Nationals on Sept 17th. Despite flying the New Zealand flag, Bruce Cole-Baker will also be racing Marathon Nationals in the Single Speed category. Damian, Matt and Serena are gearing up for cyclocross season and they hope to convince Bruce and Brig to extend their seasons a little longer! Bart should be flying the colors this fall as well making sure to show off his legendary barrier skills (none of which Damian showcased last Thursday)! We are all looking forward to the increased number of cyclocross races being held this fall in Bend and are excited to able to race strong at home; in front of our community, friends, and sponsors.

Thank you for your continued support; we are exciting to be part of this incredible team and have you to thank for making it possible.

You can keep tabs on us through our blog at www.swellvelo.com , our Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Thank you!

Swell Velo

Silverado Gallery p/b Sunnyside Sports would like to thank its sponsors:

Silverado Jewelry Gallery, Sunnyside Sports, Todd A. Schock Facial and Oral Surgery, Studio 930 cosmetic + general dentistry, Lazer, Smith Optics, Hammer Nutrition, Thump Coffee, Action Dynamix Massage, Mad Alchemy, Powered by Bowen

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maji Ya Chai and Arusha

Jambo from Tanzania,
I Spent the last couple days in the village we will spend the bulk of our time in. Maji ya Chai literally translates to tea water, the community is named after the tea colored river that runs down from mt. Meru and through the area. The village was extremely welcoming and what they lack in comfort and amenities they more than make up for in hospitality. It's also very beautiful, surrounded by sunflowers (which they harvest for oil), corn, beans, and mountains in the distance including Kilimanjaro on a clear day.

I'm very slowly learning my Swahili, many of the families have someone that speaks at least a little English and Mohamed (our contact who will live with us in the community) has been helping immensely and will be amazing to work alongside.

I'm back in Arusha and all it's bustling goodness. I'm starting to find my way around and know where things are. I will spend the next couple days getting the last details for the student orientation planned out and dialed in. Lots of visits to the bank, making maps, putting together welcome packages, and finding good spaces for our group of 20 in all this chaos. Ruth and the students will arrive at the end of the week and we'll be in town for a day before we head out on Safari.

There are monkeys in the trees outside my hotel room.

Hopefully we'll have some more exotic photos for you once we return from safari until then... asante sana for reading.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Quick greetings from Tanzania. After a whole lot of flying I have made it. It's already been a super productive day, meeting with contact, exploring Arusha (the main town in the north), hitting up banks, internet, and meeting with contacts.

Tomorrow I will travel to our community about 30km out of Arusha where stay for a couple days to hold community meetings and meet/visit with homestay families.

Tanzania has been wonderful so far, so very friendly and welcoming. It's not as hot as I thought it would have been and has been really comfortable. Arusha is a bustling scene full of safari vehicles and people heading off to various places and sights. We are surrounded by mountains (though I haven't seen Kilimanjaro yet) So much to see and do.

I will keep some updates coming here as I can, that's all for now. If you haven't donated to the project there is still time.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Project Tanzania

It's that time of year again (I know, I know, I seem to ask for $ every spring, but you have been so generousand it really makes a huge difference in the communities we work in). Ruth and I will be leading a trip to Tanzania this summer (there are some details on the link below) and we are asking if you will donate to the project. Many of you have helped in the past and it has been so great to have your support, we would really love if you canhelp us out again. The nicest part is that you know where your donation goes. We literally carry the project money with us and buy supplies (it does not go to any administrative costs). We work with the community to find the best use of
the donations and put them towards a sustainable project that will have a lasting impact. It's all tax deductible and it's a great organization (more info by following the link).

I understand that many of you are going to school, in-debt, working part time, not working, not getting paid enough, maybe need some charity yourselves ;-) etc. We realize it's a tough time to be asking for money. However, if you can help or if you know someone that can (maybe your work place will match the donation?)please feel free to spread the word for us and pass this on.

Here's the link to donate and some more information... http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/matt-fox/tanzania2011

Thanks in advance for anything you can do. Even $5 will be a huge help.We look forward to sharing stories and photos with you over
the summer as we can.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A poem

It's been a tradition of mine to put a poem up today. Don has told me before, that poetry on cycling blogs is great. I think it's great just about anywhere, but particularly where one doesn't expect it. This poem is found somewhere you wouldn't expect it. Here's the story of the Methow River Poems (some of my favorites of all time). They are all published on porcelain plaques at six locations along the Cascades Highway 20, in northern Washington state. Here are their names and locations:

- Time for Serenity, Anyone? --where the Methow River meets the Columbia (pictured above)
- From the Wild People --between the towns of Methow and Carlton
- Ask Me --north of the ranger station in Winthrop
- Is This Feeling About the West Real? --also north of the ranger station in Winthrop
- Where We Are --near the suspension footbridge, south of Mazama
- Silver Star --in front of Silver Star mountain
- A Valley Like This --at the scenic overlook in Washington's pass.

If you enjoy these poems, they are published in a book titled Even in Quiet Places

Time for Serenity, Anyone?
I like to live in the sound of water,
in the feel of the mountain air. A sharp
reminder hits me the world is still alive;
it stretches out there shivering toward its own
creation, and I'm part of it. Even my breathing
enters into this elaborate give-and-take,
this bowing to sun and moon, day or night,
winter, summer, storm, still this tranquil
chaos that seems to be going somewhere.
This wilderness with a great peacefulness in it.
This motionless turmoil, this everything dance.

~© William Stafford~

Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back on the bike...

...in a big way. I have been in the thick of it and the season seems like it's steaming ahead. Tues night group rides, working with the Bend Endurance Road Team, early season MTB races are all in full swing.

Jumped in the first Mt Bike race a few weeks ago and felt really strong. It was an awesome day riding around in the sun on some sweet singletrack.

I Just finished up a weekend of stage racing in the Dalles. The Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic is one of my favorite races to do. Amazing courses, super well organized, great competition, and seems like always nice weather. A few years back this was the first stage race I had done, back then I raced as a 4 and felt really strong. It was great to race as a 3 and still feel strong, but I know I still have some work to do. I finished in the top 20 which I was happy with. I got in a ton of really good riding and racing and know it will pay off. Gotta work on my TT though. Regardless, great racing, with a great group of folks.

Looking at the calendar is a bit shocking as it seems most every weekend from here to June is filled with racing.

We just found out we are headed to Tanzania for another amazing summer with Global Routes, an organization I am constantly impressed with. Check these guys out when you get a chance and pass it on to anyone you know who would be interested.

A lot of exciting developments with the new team: "Swell Velo" stay tuned as we get a website up and uniforms start showing up at races. Gonna be totally radical! In the meantime check out our facebook page.

It's snowing right now. Figures. Bend spring weather is what it is, but I have managed to get outside enough and get over to the valley for the early races. Here's looking forward to more!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The "Off Season"

Wow, been a bit since this blog has been updated. It's been a good "off season" ...of course by "off season" I mean training with and helping coach the H.S. Nordic team, riding the bike in the garage, getting outside when I can, skiing, and working on getting ready for the season.

I already jumped in a road race which seems crazy. Felt really strong, but didn't have the smartest race and missed the break that I needed to be in.

It's gotten more winter like as we have approached March, and it's been a struggle to ride inside after already getting in some beautiful outside rides, but so it goes. I am looking forward to jumping in a bunch more races and getting outside.

There are some exciting team developments on the horizon, stay tuned for more on that and I will keep this a little more up to date as the racing starts.

Music that is keeping me sane on the trainer...

- Kid Cudi
- Herma Puma
- Free Energy
- The Black Keys

Friday, December 17, 2010

Post Cyclocross Nationals

I have been struggling with how to start writing about the chaos that was 3 different races and 5 days of racing. In all honesty I wasn't really sure how I felt about it all. Coming back to work on Mon was tough for a lot of reasons.

How did the races go? people kept asking...It was good. That's all I could come up with, I sounded lame. Good, that's it? I didn't want to explain how I felt, I didn't have the energy, they didn't want to hear what I really had to say.

What I really have to say is that it was an amazing cyclocross nationals to be sure. Did it end up how I wanted, no it didn't. I wanted to be better, I wanted better results, but I think in reality I ended up where I deserved to end up and that's what's hard to say, that's the toughest part to deal with. I went as hard as I could, there wasn't a part of my races where I felt like I could give anything more. I rode around after my time trial for nearly 20 minutes, shivering cold, too dizzy to stop moving, trying to shake the nausea. I had gone as hard as I could, I ended up finishing 25th, I wanted better. I raced my ass off in my masters race, I did everything right, I can't remember a spot where I could have gone harder, I was seeing stars. I ended up finishing 6 places further back than last year. It's hard for me to balance how I raced and how I ended up, because in my mind I am better than than my results, but results don't lie. Those races are the hard cold reality of where I am. When the racing was over I felt alone with my results, I had to own them. This isn't meant to be negative, but it's not an easy truth to handle when you have unrealized expectations. You shake it off and as Heidi said "there's motivation in those memories". How do you explain this to someone when they ask how your race went...the answer is you don't. You say it went well and it was fun.

It was fun, it's not that I didn't have a blast, that I wouldn't do it again in a heartbeat. I don't think we do this just for fun though. It's something more, its much more important. I once told a good friend who understands... fun doesn't win races. It's true, we go out there and suffer, we pound the shit out of ourselves, we crash, we hurt, it's cold.

I've often read a piece written by Doug Ammons, an amazing kayaker who I looked up to when I was doing a lot of serious kayaking and still look up to. Someone once asked him why he paddled class 5. His response has a lot to do with some of the same reasons cyclocross is so meaningful to me.
We solved outrageous puzzles of movement and timing; played games of speed chess with the water, just at the edge of what we could handle. We wove ourselves completely into the river and lived for those moments of clarity, when you were committed to the line. To that thread of truth. And all those days of friendship and worry and concentration and smiles melted together into the best feeling...
Read Doug's entire piece "The Real Shit" it's amazing.

In cyclocross I have found what paddling class 5 gave me (without the life or death consequences) and that is clarity. When I race there is nothing else. It puts me in touch with part of myself that I don't find any other way and it's addicting. It's clarity, it's truth, and it's raw. But it's not always an easy truth, it's not beautiful and nice. I will keep seeking that truth no matter how hard. I need it.

I get choked up when I think about my friends who understand this, share this with me, yell their ass off at me, and are the first faces I see after a race, those who are there to support me. You are amazing people THANK YOU.

Go read posts from people that understand and can explain this even better than me!
Heidi Swift
Serena Bishop
Damian Schmitt
Don Leet

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Here we go! Cyclocross Nationals Bend

It all kicked off this morning. The TT's are underway. I can't think of a better person to kick it all of than Don Leet. He is literally the second rider of the entire crazy weekend. At 9:01 am Don will race around the TT course in preperation for the Masters 60+ national race. Don is an inspiration to me. I hope I can be racing cyclocross nationals when I am 60 and I hope I have as many friends cheering as Don will. Get out there and cheer him on, this is what it's all about. Go out and have a blast!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Make Local Habit...For Cyclocross Nationals. Food picks for Bend Visitors

Updated from last season for 2010

We have a saying in Bend about this, you'll see the bumper stickers. It's about trying to buy local (from small locally owned businesses) whenever you can. If we support the businesses that support Bend and in particular the businesses that support the bike community and make it a great place to live we are also helping ourselves.

There are a ton of great local restaurants, bars, brew pubs, grocery stores, bike shops, and more. How great would it be if we could support some of our local businesses that are supporting cyclocross nationals and our community too. There is a ton of information to be found on the visit bend site for all matter of things from accommodations to meeting spaces, so check there if you are looking for a comprehensive list.

On the other hand Bendcyclocross.com is a place to find recommendations, share inside tips, and ask questions about these local businesses, a source of where to eat, drink, hang out, etc. during nationals.

This is not a comprehensive list by any means, there are a ton of great local businesses, these are just a few of the favorites spots we frequent. It would be great if you share your own inside knowledge and leave comments. Chances are if you live in Bend you have some favorites too...share them here. I'll update the post as more comes in. Without further ado here are some of our favorite local spots.

Deschutes Brewery - The beer is amazing, food is amazing, tons of options, right downtown. They are nice enough to let the nationals course run all over their property and they are big bike supporters, be sure to thank them!
Jacksons Corner - Amazing food (handmade pasta, sandwiches, wood fired pizza), great casual atmosphere, awesome beer selection, very reasonable prices. Kombucha Mama on tap!
Common Table - A non profit restaurant with farm to table food...every meal you purchase provides a subsidized meal for someone that can't afford it. Great food and beer. Downtown.
Spork - Globally inspired green conscious mobile streetfood kitchen. Amazing food and a big supporter of cyclocross. Check the website for details of where they are and what they are up to.
Kebaba - Amazing middle eastern food, tempeh burritos, falafel, lots of veggie options...sooo good.
Chow - A great breakfast spot! They serve lunch too.
Parilla Grill - Burritos, cheap, healthy, PBR tall boys for $1.
Sparrow Bakery - Stumptown coffee, pastries, and excellent sandwiches. Not far from the old mill.
Taste of Thai /Thai on the Fly - Hard to find, super extra friendly delicious take out thai, cheap. Next to the expresslube in a little shack...really.
Pizza Mondo - Downtown Pizza
Ariana - Upscale Mediterranean
900 wall - Posh downtown, good happy hour
Brother Jon's - Sandwiches, beer, mac and cheese, excellent beer selection!!! Lots of good food cheap.
Nancy P's - Baked goodies
La Rosa - Creative mexican/latin by the TT course in Northwest Crossing...Excellent Margaritas
Ben & Jerry's - Not cold enough? Need an ice cream fix? They are in the old mill and really support the bike community, drop in and say thanks. Happy Hour 3 scoops for $3 from 4p-7p daily in December 2010. Plus deals for racers .

Thump - Our go to coffee shop, Stumptown coffee, espresso, baked goodness. Big bike supporter. I was worried about coffee in Bend till I found this place. Pick up some Kombucha mama here too.
Strictly Organic - Excellent, local, organic. Try the Sunnyside espresso blend. Don's favorite.
Towsends Tea House - If you're into tea...Downtown
Lone Pine Coffee Roasters - Tin pan alley excellence. French pressed goodness.

Newport Market - Great beer and wine selection, gourmet groceries, cheese, bakery, more.
Natures - In the wagner mall on 3rd st. Health food, juice bar, vegan goods, teas, herbal medicines, local meat and poultry, bulk goods.
Devores- Small grocery, deli, produce, take out, veggie and vegan options.

Action Dynamix Massage - Sports massage by Amber, a cyclocross racer from TEAM BEER who will give Nats racers a discount! make your appointment soon!!!!!
Silverado - A jewelry gallery, but a great place to get a souvenier...a big bike supporter, that's why we list them here. Stop by and say thanks!

There's all the typical other grocery stores and a Trader Joes as well. You'll see em. Rays and Safeway are close to the old mill on 14th.

What else are you looking for? leave a comment and we'll help out.

Winding down and Cyclocross Nationals in Bend

Hard to believe that it's December already. I am overwhelmed by all the amazing things about to go down with cyclocross nationals this year. Molly said it well in a recent post.
"There is a lot of beauty in this world. Beautiful things to create and beautiful things to experience. I can’t stop myself from doing everything full-on."
How do you do it all? The next couple weeks are going to be CRAZY fun.

It's been a super a super fun season, I am still just as smitten with this sport as the day I jumped in my first race. I've managed to jump in a couple races since the crusades ended. I am happy with how my fitness is at the end of the season and heading into nationals. Had a super fun race at the state championships and felt strong at the end of the race. That course was so rad. I've been riding snow and ice a lot, both with the juniors and at the last of the local races. The amount of snow in town and the current forecast make it look like it's going to be a cold slippery cyclocross nationals. Gonna jump in the USGP races this weekend and chase 'em.

Can't wait.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Barton Park - Cross Crusade # 8 finale

Damian said it well in a twitter post "the crusades started with a bang and finished with a whimper" the same held true for me. Some strong early season races had me really psyched about my fitness and how I was riding, but mechanical issues in the last 4 races have left me with less than stellar results. I know it's not just about results though, I don't let that discourage me, and the Crusades aren't the only game in town. There are still a few more local/regional races coming up and then it's the big show- Cyclocross Nationals in Bend. It's 'cross and sometimes mechanicals are part of the game, flat tires, broken dertailleurs, busted spokes, wobbly wheels, and shitty luck sometimes factor in.

I had a blast out there yesterday despite my flat tire. I was having a good race, loving the mud, and feeling strong, I ended up running almost an entire lap to the pit, not because I had any hope of finishing the race in a good position (I was as far from the pit as could be) but because I wasn't done, I wanted more, I wanted to keep going, because it was a blast out there. And I had a blast even though I had no chance...I tried to pull some teammates and Bend folks around when I could, I snagged some hand ups, and just enjoyed chasing folks around. This morning my legs were more sore from running than riding, my shoulder hurt from carrying the bike, and I still had mud in my eyes. It's cross, I love it despite the frustration it can dish out. You just have to take each race in stride and go after the next one.

Sometimes it all clicks and you have an amazing ride, that's what it's about, and that's what makes it worth it. I'm gonna get back on the bike and keep chasing that ride.

Speaking of rides...Serena had one! An awesome finish in 2nd and a super strong ride. Mike put in a big effort to finish off a super strong season. Don was back home after some serious driving across the country and he was out battling and looking smooth on all the stuff that made everyone else flounder. D was up with a strong group and suffered a flat with a couple to go. There was a whole crew of sunnyside folks out racing and cheering, that's what cross is for, cheering on teammates through it all. See ya next weekend!

Photo- Matt Haughey

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cyclocross Crusade #7 -

This little guy ended my race before it even really started. After about 2 laps as I stood up to spin up onto the gravel the derailleur broke in two and managed to go into the spokes and take a few of those out too. My race was over, no pit bike, far from the pit I walked to the hose and called it a day. It's frustrating, I've had mechanical issues the last three races, but sometimes that's how it goes. It definitely takes some of the motivation away, but I got on the bike Monday and will put in some solid training in the next couple weeks before a little taper going into cyclocross nationals. There's only one crusade race left, then USGP's which are always crazy fast and fun, then cyclocross nationals. A huge shout out needs to go out to Mike and to Sunnyside Sports, they've taken the bike week after week this season and got it back and rolling even better than it was previously. The thanks and beer I deliver them for their awesome service and attention to detail don't even cover it. THANKS!

This afternoon I rode around with some of the junior and high school cyclocross kids from town at the site of the time trial course for nationals. It was cold, a little windy, and there was a couple inches of snow on the ground. I can only hope that conditions aren't too much worse during nationals. It was fun out there.

Damian has a whole slew of race reports and photos up go check em out. Serena had a weekend of dominating the ladies up in Seattle, check out her report. Don had a great race in the mud and won again, he is on the road doing intervals in hotels, read up.

Back to riding in the garage as the darkness keeps catching me with no time...With that comes a hunt for new music to listen to while doing intervals in a sweaty garage...any suggestions?

Here's what I have going right now
-Kid Cudi - the new album is super good
-Ghostland Observatory
-Free Energy
- Pandora - Rap

Whatcha got?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Seeing as it's already Wed night and I am just now turning some attention to this blog, I feel like last weekends racing was a long time ago, and I don't have the energy to remember back that far to recall the muddy, pain filled, crash-fest that was my weekend. I had a blast, that is the report from last weekend, really, it was fun, and I didn't have great results, but it was a great time.photo- pedalpowerphotography.com

What I have been thinking a lot about lately is balance. How do you balance work, relationships, chores around the house, bike maintenance, training, racing, and all the other things that don't fall into these neat little categories...There are lots of sacrifices that must be made, prioritizing done, things pushed aside until...well, thanksgiving I guess.

I have a relatively easy schedule to balance compared to those with 9-5 jobs. I have never been one to get up early and do a workout...I suppose if I didn't have to be at work till later, maybe I could pull that off, but I work roughly from 7am to 3pm (usually its more like 4pm). I am not about to get up at 5am to do intervals. I don't have more than 40 min at lunch. Most days I am lucky to be home and on the bike by 5. These short fall days, getting on the bike at 5 means packing the blinky lights and finishing workouts in the dark. By the time I get home I clean up, stretch, make some dinner and by the time that everything is cleaned up I'm left with maybe an hour of free time. There is so much that gets pushed aside, put off, delayed, left out. That's cross season, that's the way the fall goes.

I am in awe of riders who are successful with much tougher schedules, with families, with different work schedules, with hours that make riding outside nearly impossible. I don't have a lot of patience for riding in the garage when it's beautiful outside. It's all about priorities and balance. The sacrifices we make are part of playing this game we get to play. Sure, it's hard, but you make it a priority because it's something you do, it's who you are, because it's more than a hobby. Some days it's a fight to get on the bike with things getting in the way, other days it's it's a mental fight. Some days it's the exhaustion, it's been a long day, and sitting down with some coffee and magazine sounds like a great afternoon. But, getting on the bike is more than a hobby, it's something I need, even when I am exhausted, especially when I am exhausted. Staying balanced is just as big a challenge as any 'cross race.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chasing the Dream

I recently wrote a column for Cyclocross Magazine. It just got put up last week, the timing was rather appropriate as I was having a rough week and feeling misunderstood, I think this sums things up well. Check it out, leave a comment, and thanks for the encouragement, it really means a lot.

Read it Here