Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Welding a frame??

I noticed a 1/4" hairline crack just below the seat clamp where the top tube meets the seat tube. It's at the top of the weld. (Niner Air 9 Scandium aluminum frame.) Has anyone had experience with trying to have a frame welded?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

2014 Recap - Xterra Style

What a year 2014 was.

I made some big commitments and changes in 2014 knowing that I am not getting any younger and if I was every going hit some of my stretch goals it was now or never. Time for the rubber to hit the road. There were three goals for 2014. Lose 10 lbs,  get faster on the swim,/run, and get to Worlds. I was working with Jim McGehee from One on one Endurance and we planned out the year. After getting humbled at the 2013 Xterra Worlds Championships, I knew there were somethings that needed to change if I was ever going to go back. I made a pact with my wife Kate that we would go back if I could earn a qualifying spot for Worlds.

I aged up a category which meant there were only four races and two spots per race in the 45-49 age group in the USA to qualify. The races were Xterra West Champs (Vegas), Xterra Southeast Champs (Alabama), Xterra East Champs (Richmond), and Xterra Mountain Champs (Beaver Creek which was out due to altitude). In each of these regional races only the top two finishers in the 45-49 will get to go to Worlds. I had never finished higher then 5th since 2009. This year there was one less spot then the 3 for 40-45 last year. I had my work cut out.

There was also the Xterra USA Championships in Utah in Sept. where they take the top regional qualifiers based on earned points in the region for a race for the best. Its a small race but the caliber of athletes is off the charts. I was always intimidated by this race but in 2014 the secondary goal was to qualify as a top mid-atlantic racer and get here as well. 2014 also marked the year that USA Triathlon had sanctioned Xterra East Champs (Richmond) as the USAT Cross USA Championships. Richmond was my best chance to qualify for worlds due to it being the home course, but with it being a USAT Sanctioned Championship, I knew the competition would be steep at home as well. So, big goals and big races. That was the theme for 2014.

It did not start out stellar. As in a previous blog, I started getting points in regional races by traveling to Miami for Xterra Key Biscayne. Solid race finishing 8th overall and 1st in age group, but I was not sure how i was progressing. I hit Monster Cross  a few weeks afterwards and flatted on the second loop. At this point the season openers where looking a bit tough.

The first big test was going to be Xterra West Champs in April in Las Vegas. Racing on the moon is what it is dubbed. On this moon it was hot, windy, dry and steep. Ironically, I was given my lucky number #14.
Swim was super cold, bike had 1,400 ft of elevation with 2 climbs coming in around 14% grades.
Had a solid bike, but went from 1st out of water in age group to 3rd by the run. I came out of transition running with the 2013 Women amateur world champion and knew I had to run with her to try to pull back at least one competitor. 
I held on to her for half of the 10k, but got dropped on a big climb and passed by one more competitor in the 45-49 age group. Holding strong for a solid 4th place finish. A long way to travel and no spot for Maui.

I really need to go back to the drawing board and focus a little harder. I had a month to prepare before the Xterra Southeast Champs and with only two races left and two spots to make up there was some work to be done.

A few week later I had a test race in-between scheduled. The Richmond Tri Club Sprint. Its an "open water" swim with a flat and fast bike and run. I was going to start in the 1st group with some local stellar athletes and thought this would be another good test.
The race unfolded well. I was 5th out of the water and fourth off the bike holding on to a strong run and finished the race a solid 4th overall and 1st Master. The run was coming around and the  power on the bike was improving. A glimmer of hope was unfolding.

After a solid build up to Alabama I had no idea how things were going to go. This race is also on the same weekend as River Rock, which my daughter loves to go to. I made a decision to fly in on Friday, not preview the course, race Saturday and out that night. Not the best prep but I was not missing the whole weekend with the family. I woke up to an overnight rain and the forecast was for a chance of showers. Pros go first,  2min gap then all age group men,  2min gap all age-group women. I had a solid warm up, hit the swim start hard and being solo for the race, no one was there to give me a split. I rode like I stole it on the bike. The course was 30k of some of the sweetest single track on the east coast. About a 1/4 of the way into the bike, the skies opened up and it down poured. As other rides started to get timid, I put on the gas full throttle.  At this point I had caught the middle of the pro women's field and rode with Shonny Vanlandingham from Team Luna Chix, one of the strongest pro women mountain bikers. I just followed her wheel with everything I had. We caught a few more  age groupers and pro women and was just rolling. Hit the run and ran out with another pro women and after a 5:45 first mile, I knew i had to dial it back and just run for my life. I had a feeling things were going well since I was around pro women that I have never caught in five years of racing. I finished strong with the fastest 10k I had run in decades popping off a 39:56 on trails. I patiently waited for the results and then saw them place my card down. Boom. It finally happened. I ran to car to call Kate. The only person I wished was there with me that day was her, and I could not wait to tell her. It was a darn special day. 8th overall amateur and 1st 45-49.

The next few races came fast and furious and the fitness just kept building. I had a great experience at Rev3 Rush. Making it into the grand final and racing back to back races and hanging out with some great friends.
Xterra East Champs -USAT National Champs were few weeks later and for the fourth year we housed three pro athletes which makes for an exciting week and a chance to catch up with a great group of fellas. 

With Worlds sealed it was all about going out and leaving it all on the line and having fun.

Maybe it was the monkey off the back. I just had a blast at this race. I had never raced as hard with so much fun as I did this day. It will go down as one race I will remember for the rest of my life. So many friends out there cheering, the crowds and home course it all came together. As usual nerves are always high before a race.
But once the gun goes, you just let it rip. Strong current, hot weather and hot run was in store, But i was smiling the whole time

Mayan Ruins

Then the results. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it was possible but when a day comes together a day comes together. 8th overall amateur and 1st 45-49 for USAT National Champion

The fitness held for a few more races. I raced the  Bath County Tri in beautiful Bath county. The 40+ age groupers start in the second wave so never knew where I stood in the race. I just tried to catch as many people as I could. It paid off with some big success and my first overall triathlon victory happend.

A few weeks later the family traveled up to Rock Gap Maryland for Xterra MD. A great course that's really well attended. A super calm swim, killer mountain bike and a run that makes you honest. Solid swim and by the time I hit the first climb and asked a volunteer how far ahead the next place was he said "no one, your it" put a spark in me. A fella who could race pro Daryl Weaver from PA was there and I knew it  was a matter of time before I saw him and and on the second bike loop he rode away. He is also a stellar runner  but I knew if i dug deep I could just maybe hold on and get on the overall podium. I ran from the heart as fast as i could to get my first Xterra overall podium.

We all know that top fitness can not hold forever and I took a much needed brake in August with a build up to USAT Road Triathlon Nationals in Milwaukee, Xterra USA in Utah and Xterra World Championships. The big three. Kate really wanted to do National Roads and we decided to give it a go. I ended up getting pretty sick with bronchitis a week before and raced Milwaukee on half a tank. I suffered like a dog but was good enough to place 11th in my age group and qualify for Road Sprint World Championships in Chicago in Sept 2015. It was a deep dig to race this one. 

September came quickly and I knew Xterra USA would be a tough race.I was eccstatic to get an invite to this race butt its at altitude, a ton of climbing on both the bike and run. Probably some of the best competition outside of Worlds on the Xterra circuit. The six Regional Champions were named at a dinner the night before the race and I was named  Regional Champion for East Coast 45-49 along with a friend Greg Schott, from RVA in the 15-19 age group. Greg is a real up and comer who is going to go far in this sport. Already a top 5 overall racer it will be fun in the years to come watch Greg rip up the scene.

Race unfolded well and ended up 6th in my age group 32nd overall amateur. First time here and a tough course for me. If I ever get invited back to race I will need to figure out how to rip this one. The climbs don't favor an east coast flatlander like myself. We will see if I can figure this one out in 2015.

Shortly after Utah on a descent I crashed my mountain bike and was in an arm cast for two weeks and a thumb brace for six. This was not the ideal build up for Worlds, but thats what they made trainers for. A bit disappointing but I was gonna make due with the cards that were dealt to me.

October and the Xterra World Championships, Maui, HI

This race is a beast. No way around it. They save the best and hardest on the Xterra circuit for last. Swim is a no joke "rough water" swim, 3200 ft of climbing in the jungle and 1500 ft of climbing on the run. I had a score to settle here and was looking forward to seeing if  I could better my time from last year.

What draws me to this race is the atmosphere and the people. You get to meet and race with some of the fastest folks from every corner of the earth. This race is a great race to catch up with old friend and make new ones as well. The atmosphere is just electric. 

The day before they have a kids race and Maddie as always was jazzed up to take part in the atmosphere. She crushed the race and took the overall girls win. Stoked me for what was in store tomorrow. How can an 8 yr old continue to inspire? Her racing, grit and determination in sport leaves me speechless.

Race morning came and was ready to tackle the day.

Race went really well for me, considering I was racing with banged up thumb in a brace. Swim was off the hook. A 500m out and back, 200 m beach run, 250 out and back in an M shaped swim course 

Bike is a straight up to Maui mountains from the beach and some screaming descents.

Coming off the bike, Maddie ran with me and said if I wanted to she would do the run for me. Gotta love it! Gave me a boost to make her and Kate proud so i dug deep.

Coming into the finishing stretch I could see Maddie and Kate. Maddie was waiting to take it home with me and this is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.

All in all it was a solid day. 24th in my age group and a 15 min drop from last year and one proud kid of her Dad. What more could one ask for in life.

Post race there were some fun times with some of the nicest guys in Xterra. The Tri suit Sunburns for Xterra!

The final days of 2014 were fun. Maddie of course wanted to run the course the next day so we tackled a few sections, paddle boarded and cliff jumped!

 It was a heck of a run in 2014. Could not do it without the inspiration and help of my wife, Kate Fisher. She believes in me more sometimes then I believe in myself. In 2001 she talked me into riding a mountain bike instead of a road bike. Who knew it would bring us to the places we have been in 2014.

2015 has a few changes in store, changing things a little which is always uncomfortable for me. I started with a new coach, Craig Evans,  from , a jedi master at Xterra.  I figure lets see if we can push this envelope a little further in 2015.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Frosty training

Sunday, I headed west for some secret mountain training in the GW. Crossing over Afton on 64 west I noticed the tops of the mountains around me were frosty. All of the valley floor was snow and ice free, but up here the trees still looked touched by Jack Frost.
Photo credit: Mike Coco

My Lynchburg riding buddy met me at the White Oak lot, where we both noted that it was a lot warmer than we expected. 40 degrees did seem a lot warmer than the expected 30. We set out on Tillman and headed for the old school festival trail on Narrowback.

While climbing up onto the ridge, it became clear that this mountain was still frosty at the higher elevations. Patches of trees were covered in a thin coating of ice that was slowly melting. The scene was like riding through a crystal forest. A sporadic rain of ice pellets peppered the trail and our backs as we rolled across the ridge. It was very pretty and some unique riding conditions for sure!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

BTS Bonus Ride

Got a call this morning from Toddy G wanting to sneak out for an early ride before the weather rolled in.  I told him the best I could do was 11am since I had a 9am meeting.  He hit me back up - see you at 11.  We decided to ride the cross bikes on the trails and Todd hooked me up by picking my bike up from the shop on his way over.  This was Toddy G's first trail ride on his cross bike and he was looking a little skeptical about rocking out Forest Hill on the skinny tires. 

After we left the house and were making the left onto Dock Street, there was a dump truck just heading in the same direction.  I yelled at Todd to jump the the back of the dump truck and proceeded to nail it in order to catch the draft.  I got a sweet tow all the way down to Shiplock Park before dipping off onto the Capital Trail.  I looked back briefly and saw Toddy G a few car lengths back.  It seems he did not quite catch the draft, all he caught was the downdraft of the truck directly in his face...  He tried to catch on the entire way, but it was not to be.  Needless to say we both started the ride with a one mean interval.

It was a fun ride over to the trails and we proceeded to run a lap of Forest Hill.  We also took some time out to discuss the VAHS race we are putting on in April.  We looked at the course layout and how we could change it from years past.  As it started to rain harder, we had to head back as Todd had a meeting and I had to get Mason early from school because she is on exam schedule. 

So it looks like Toddy G has once again taken advantage of the Bonus BTS ride!
A TCX kind of day!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

BTS # 4

The day started with me and the boys heading to meet up for trail work. They're 7 & 9 years old. A little young for back breaking trail work you say? Nope! These are my boys! Little Toddy Gs! They've been splittin' & stackin' firewood with me for a good 2 years now! So I knew they were up for the challenge. They jumped right in there, got in front of the trail cutters and started gathering trash into bags. So much trash bottles, cans, bags, papers, old clothes, pots, pans, broken dishes, hub caps, cell phones, broken lawn chairs, even a hand gun!!! Thankfully someone else discovered that!!! It was  quite obvious that someone thought that this hillside was their own personal garbage dump!!!The boys were appalled by all the trash. River my oldest son asked me "Papi why do people throw all their trash in the woods"? I had no answer for him.

They worked hard filling bags with trash and dragging them up the hillside to the stone wall. They had the trail site cleaned up in a little over an hour. Next they both eagerly grabbed a rogue ax and started bench cutting the trail in.

They worked like champs for a solid 4 hours, and seemed genuinely excited about soon being able to ride this very trail they were helping to build. They even asked to come back next weekend and do more trail work.

The showing of volunteers on Saturday was pretty awesome! The trail was totally cut in when we left to ride at 1:00. Paulito showed up with like 20 pizzas and was still working when we left to ride!!!

On to the riding!!! We left out of the Reedy creek parking lot and headed east on Buttermilk. River and Bluesky were proudly sporting their new jerseys. We then headed over to Bell Isle of course to hit the skills park. River doesn't shy away from the techy challenges and always insist on trying the rock garden under the service road bridge.

We then rode around on all the trails up top. I was pretty sure after working 4 hours and riding what they already had that they would want to take the service road back to Reedy creek. Nope! Even though it meant carrying their bikes back up the stair tower(their bikes are heavier than mine) they wanted to "ride the trails"!!! So we did and I couldn't have been prouder of them. BTS #4 was an awesome day for the Green boys. So much that we'll be glad to host it again next weekend!!!

Call out to the team next week bring it!!! Work & ride after!!! If these boys can do it can't you!!!???

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Dave Hardisky hosted BTS#3 a tour of the monster cross course. When anyone offers to lead a ride out there I'm always willing to tag along. I love riding out there but aside of a few sections I'm pretty much lost in that forest.

The day started with temperatures in the low teens, but by the time we met to ride at 10:30 it had more than doubled. Still cold though. Bar mits and booties were a necessity for the start of the ride.

We started out by knocking out the middle loop 1st and then on to the main loop. Dave knew every turn. We even rode one of the new pump tracks. No issues or mechnicals. All in all it was a great day to ride!!! Thanks to Dave for leading me around Pocahontas. Next time hopefully some more folks will show up.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Short Rides Shorter Chains

Sun's out, temperature is above 40, chain's lubed.  First ride since who knows.  Rides have been few and far enough between  that the trail feels new every time.  So much trailwork being done.  New rocks to hop, berms to carve, mud-patches to wash out in.  Only a few mudpatches out on the poop-loop.  The work there is amazing.  2 miles of pump-track action, and so dry.
It looks like a highway is going in on the upstream side of the Manchester wall.  A 20' wide swath has been turned to mulch, presumably for the connector trail up to the belle island bridge.  

Damon initiated this thing.  Jeff and I have very nice wives that watched the babies.  Paul was too 'sick' to ride.  Outside Damon's apartment we wrapped our toes in neoprene and complained about 'ice-crotch.'  There's a market out there for a windproof cycling cod-piece.  Heading east in the shadow of the flood-wall was a slow awakening for stiff legs recently subjected to a half-assed, early-morning, New Year's Resolution-style squat and lunge regimen. 

The Slave-Trail connection to Ancarrow's Landing is a nice carve session now. I feel guilty having so much fun on a trail commemorating so much really un-fun stuff. 

A few other cyclists enjoyed the Poop-coaster with us.  The berms just rail so hard.  
Happy as shit we determined Forest Hill was next.  Barely made it past Canoe Run park.  A bomb went off inside my rear derailleur.  Chain jammed tight between cogs and spokes. Shattered cage, bent hanger.  While I disassembled, bloodied knuckles, shortened chain and reassembled, Jeff and Damon turned trail-detective.  A derailleur-height gash on a rock revealed there was no bomb, just an unfortunate lean of the bike.

A make-shift single-speed roll back to Damon's included revelations about the retarding effect of political correctness on expressiveness, and the need for a new rear wheel.  Today's 9.8 miles got expensive. 


A trip to Coqui is in order.  Need gears. Need a wheel with less hop. Need a straight hanger. 
Stay safe out there. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

BTS #1

 BTS (Bonus Ride) #1 happened on Thursday...  You may ask yourself how you did not know about this ride since it was not posted anywhere but that is just BTS for you.  Bad news is that it involved Toddy G and it was a really cold ride.  New for 2015 - if you are riding downtown mid-day and hit me up to join you, instant BTS Bonus Ride!  If I cannot make it, that is just the luck of the draw.  Just the first of many surprises in store for the BTS this season.  Now get out there this weekend and go score some points.

Congrats to Dave, the first person who offered to lead a BTS ride - 50 points.
Also bonus points to certain riders who have made orders with with I9 or Schwalbe.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

BTS 2015

BTS 2015 coming at you.  Goal #1 this year is to try and find someone who can beat out Toddy G & Plassman.  Not only are you looking at the prize of supreme cycling fitness, you are setting yourself up for some super primo swag.  DPR is going all out and the prizes will be well worth all the suffering.  Rules are slightly tweaked so please read below.  Lead a ride and get a leg up on everyone else.  Game on!

30 - MTB Ride
25 - Road Ride
25 – Cyclocross Ride
20 - Run

Bonus Points:
5 - BTS write up on blog
5 - Pics included in write up

5 - Ride Leader
10 - Raining
10 - Night
10 - over 5 DP riders
15 - MTB ride >30 miles
15 - Road ride >50 miles
20 - over 10 DP riders
20 - Temps below freezing
20 - Snowing
25 - chance gathering of 5 or more DP riders on trails
50 - Over 15 DP riders
50 - Pre-season race (frozen Cross, Monster Cross, Southern Cross)
DOUBLE POINTS - only one to show up at any event
TBD - Epic Rides (50/50, super bowl ride, pantani ride, etc.)

TBD - Supporting sponsors

Demerit Points:
(-50)  Riding on muddy trails
(-50)  Crashing teammate on road
(-20)  Not wearing a DP kit (for those who have them)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Informal Race and my Demons

I have been racing since 2008.  In the past 6 years I’ve averaged 20 races a year.  I think…I am…getting burned out.  Or something.  I’m not sure, but I just haven’t been my usual self.  And it doesn’t help that I lost my race buddy (Tom’s crash that has put him out of commission this summer). This year I just don’t have that spark I used to, that makes me dig deep.

So today I had just left my house for a road ride, turning from my road onto Clazemont in Montpelier.  As I started up the shallow long hill, I heard “on your left”.  “What?” is my typical response, not as in “I didn’t hear you”, but as in “Oh no you don’t, you are not going to pass me!” (Old habits die hard even though my biking Spirit is weak lately.)  I stood up to start banging the pedals and looked to my left and lo and behold it was Frank Yeager, my teammate.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a teammate while I’ve started a ride from my house.  Instantly, I think partly because it was Frank and I knew I didn’t have much of a chance, and partly because of my weak bike spirit, and partly because I’m not in great shape right now (not training hard because of the weak bike spirit), I just sat back down and didn’t chase.  Background- since I started riding I’ve always been a chaser, like a dog I can’t let a road bike pass me without trying to stay on their wheel. 

I slogged my way to the top of the hill, feeling sorry for myself…then when I got to the flat part, I saw him at the stop sign turning right onto Taylor’s Creek.  That was where I was going.  He was quite a ways away from me, just a small speck…but something in me went “I can’t let this go, I’ve got to try to get him” (maybe it was that I had finished the hill, or that I had a little warm-up, or mostly that I wanted to give myself a second chance).  So I put my bike in the big ring and started hammering.  The old chase spirit came back.  My legs eventually started burning, I was breathing hard- and it felt good to suffer, the way it used to.  I don’t think I’ve pushed myself in a while.  It felt good too, passing two other bicyclists that he had passed.  And after a couple of miles I realized I was gaining on him!  Slowly, but steadily I was reeling him in. 

About 4 miles-ish up the road, when I was so much closer, maybe 75 yards from him, he turned right onto Centreville Road.  I was going straight, so the chase was done, but I felt good- it had lit that old fire again.  I’m not sure if it will stay lit or not, but now I know the embers are still there…and for that I thank you Frank.  And please, let me have this…don’t tell me if you weren’t going hard on Taylor’s Creek, if that was some recovery spin for you- I don’t want to know.  Leave me with this spark of hope.