Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BTS#8 Snow and Ice at Westcreek

Last night the temps dropped and we got a lot of powder snow everywhere.

I didn't pack my bike and gear into my car this morning, I was running a bit behind after cleaning the cars off and had to head out.

I thought that Todd my cancel the west creek ride, but I decided I should check. I didn't want to get punked by missing the ride and watching Todd roll off with double points again!

After checking with Todd I decided to go back home and get my bike, and all my winter gear.

It took me about 15 minutes to get all geared up and head over to west creek. When I got there, I noted that the road was half covered in compacted snow in lots of places.

Todd arrived and we rode the first lap fairly gingerly checking the traction and noting the 20 deg temps.
There were  patches of ice and snow everywhere and one side of the lake was frozen and covered in snow.

Good thing we decided riding mountain bikes was the way to go.

We knocked out a few more frozen laps and finished when the cold was creeping in to much and the bikes started picking their own lines through the increasingly icy snow covered sections.

It was more fun than I expected and not quite as dangerous as I thought.

Thanks Todd!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

BTS Sunday Jan 26th

Great ride with a great group of 9 DP riders. The day started a bit sketchy with a lot of ice in the parking lot a few low speed crashes on some corners in the beginning, but we all got our game on for an interesting loop of the Monster CX course. It got down right balmy hitting 40 deg at the end so we almost had to break out the sun screen.  Thanks all for coming out! No pics, cell phone was down for the count today. -JF

Saturday, January 25, 2014

BTS #6 - Poco Snow Ride

When I left for Pocohontas State Park the temps were a balmy 20 deg F. But that was a good thing because it meant the trails would have a nice solid coating of snow and would not be muddy. And so they were with more traction than you would expect.

I arrived solo and completed my winter riding dress in my car not daring to lose precious body heat before getting fully geared up. No one else from the team had confirmed they would make it out for the days scheduled BTS ride. I did hear from Joe Fish that he might join me at 9:00.

After a quick GoPro test I got ready to roll out and Joe showed up. I rode around the trails a bit as he got geared up.

We rolled out and knocked out a bunch of the Green and Blue trails before heading over to Lake View and riding all three of those trails. Conditions were awesome!

I brought my GoPro and made a short movie, check it out!

After our first “lap” that was about two hours we stopped back at the cars to get some food. We saw Dave H. had just arrived and was getting ready to ride. He hopped on our train and we rode the green, blue, and red trails for about an hour and a half.

Riding in the snow is a ton of fun and really sharpens your mountain bike skills. I had a great time riding with Joe and Dave H.

After about three and a half hours ride time, I was really glad to get back to the car.


Friday, January 24, 2014


It was 18 degrees at the start of  the BTS#5 ride at Westcreek!!! So I was not really surprised when no one showed up to ride. I decided to ride the mtb just in case there were some icy spots on the road and there were. Nothing too bad though. The ride was bitter cold for sure! So cold that my shock froze stiff, I noticed as I was standing up to hammer one of the climbs. Now that's cold! Uneventful bitter cold ride  that's all I got to report. By the time I knocked out three laps and got back to my car  the temp. had dropped a couple more degrees. Spring is on the way right?

Monday, January 20, 2014


After a random BTS yesterday, I actually participated in a planned BTS on MLK day from the Hopkins residence. Great day out with not only Jason, and Mason but a bonus of riding with the Croft Family. As many of you might know Adam Croft and Mason Hopkins are two juniors that not only rip up the local scene but bring some damage to the national scene as well. So after three hours of following Adam and Mason around JPRS, I feel like my skills are coming around. Nice job guys!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Random BTS gathering #1

Random meeting of Design Physics riders, an impromptu promotion to ride leader, and I got hit by animals again!

Every six weeks I have to carry the “on call” phone for work. I develop software that supports many business functions of a large retailer. So in order to make sure there is someone to fix something if it breaks we have a support phone that alerts us when problems need fixing. You never know when problems are going to happen.

This means I need to stay close to my car and my laptop. It really puts a damper on any scheduled bike riding such as races or team rides since I can’t commit to either when I have the phone. No me gusta.

I had the phone this week and had to miss Wednesday’s BTS ride and Toddy G rode away with double points!

I would have liked to lead a ride this weekend, but I could not commit to it because I did not know what was going to happen with the “phone”.

When I’m on call I usually ride alone, at a park where I can stay close to my car and laptop. So today I headed to poor farm again to ride the trail sections that dry out well.

As I unloaded my bike and geared up, I noticed a group of riders on the other side of the parking lot. I saw several kits I recognized. Carytown Bikes, Design Physics, and Jesse’s trademark polka dot pajama kit. I rolled over and saw that Jim Fisher and Byron were there. Now we had a random meeting of team riders.

As we rode the first section of trails, it was suggested that I lead because of the extensive poor farm trail maps I’ve burned into my brain. And so began Sunday’s random gathering of DP riders with me as the random ride leader for about 8 or 9 riders from all over RVA. We managed a good pace and flowed around the park for a couple of hours. It was much warmer than when I rode on Saturday when the temps barely got above freezing.

Jesse, Gary, and Me put in an extra credit lap for about 30 minutes. At one point I got rammed by couple large unleashed dogs that had started chasing and gnawing at each other. Luckily the three of us riders had almost come to a complete stop when the tangle of running k-9s careened into my front tire. They hit with enough force that the torque transmitted from my wheel to my handle bar jarred my shoulder and made it pretty sore.Too bad I did not have my GoPro this time! I'm a magnet for wildlife.

There was no more drama as we finished up a wonderful afternoon of impromptu riding. The phone did not pester me this time and I got to roll with some great riders. I really enjoyed catching up with some of RVA's finest cyclist out there on the trails.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Journey to Xterra World Championships - Oct 2013 Maui

Living in Richmond it's hard to stay away from XTERRA when it rolls into town each June. In 2005 after moving from Minneapolis I witnessed my first race and then convinced my wife to run and a buddy to mountain bike for a relay team the next year. At the time, I had no idea how to mountain bike and from an outsider looking in at XTERRA, the full event looked to be intimidating as well as unattainable. I had been deep into racing road bikes and doing on-road triathlons since 1993 after college, but mountain biking...that was insane. After having a blast at the relay I had one thought in mind. I was going to do the full XTERRA Championship course.

Fast forward to 2009 I raced the full XTERRA East Coast Championships and have never looked back. In my journey to get here I knew I had to be the best mountain biker I could and really started to race the VA circuit. Once I hit the local race scene there was always one team that impressed me not only in the standings but in attitude and that was Design Physics. I knew to race well I had to ride with the top guys and approached Jason to ride with DP. Jason didn't know me from Adam but Toddy Green vouched for me and soon I was part of the DP family. Honestly without following you guys and gals on the trails and the tips I don't think I would be the rider I am today.

One morning in August when I was traveling for work, Kate called me at 6:30AM in the morning.  We had received an email giving me a spot at the XTERRA World Championships. Apparently my XTERRA Richmond Race got me in. So, 5 yrs after my first XTERRA I finally qualified for the the World Championships. This had been a reach goal since I started mountain biking. At first, I was not going to go. It was a roll down spot but after some urging from my beautiful wife, Kate, we decided to accept and start the planning process. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and Kate was not going to let a fun trip to HI pass her by. Then started the three month build to get ready for the race. 

I knew it was going to be tough, but tough was not even close. I had a great training build from Aug to Oct. and worked closely with Jim McGehee at One on One Endurance on the prep. I have worked with Coach Jim since getting serious about XTERRA 5 yrs ago and without his structure and keeping me on track for training and racing I would never be in the shape I am in to compete. A week before the race we were off to HI!
The race headquarters was the Ritz Carlton Resort at Kapalua on Maui. We checked in and got a room upgrade to boot. So the week was starting off well.

First order of business was to get out on Wednesday, build the bike and pre-ride the course. Now everyone said it was power to weight ratio course and they were not kidding. Again when I mean not kidding....I mean not kidding. I went out with a bottle and a little food thinking 20 miles, no big deal take it easy and get a lay of the land. 3 hrs later I returned. This was by far one of the most brutal, steep, dry courses I had ever ridden. I believe the bike climbs went from sea level to close to 3,000 feet by mile six or so. Then a series for descents and repeat climbs hit you over and over until you get to the last 4 miles which are so some super, sweet, technical, single track sections. The entire course is on a former pineapple plantation so the smell of pineapples and guavas are everywhere.  I was able to ride that day with racers from Alaska, Texas, Italy, South Africa and New Zealand. A truly unique experience. Here's a pic at mile 6 on the pre-ride.
The run on the race follows the first 3 miles of the bike and then descends for 3 miles. This was a climbers paradise. For me it was going to have to be a race of conservation at times and all out racing at others. On Thursday, I hooked up with some folks I had met at the Richmond Championship race and we scouted out the swim. The swim was going to be an M shaped course which meant you had two entries and two exits on the swim with a 200m run in between. It was critical to know the currents as well as the surf. The water was known to have some big swells and be a bit tough. Ironically when it comes to racing, swimming is my strongest of the three legs so the rougher the water on race day the bigger the smile on my face would be.  Kate took some great shots of us in the water.
The waves were pretty spectacular. The week was a ton of fun leading up to the Sunday race. There were dinners, pro clinics to attend and just some lazy time at the pool. What impressed me the most was the caliber of amateur athletes from around the world that are at this race. The running joke between Kate and I was how ripped everyone looked around the hotel. With 800 racers, you could spot an XTERRA athlete a mile away. A bit intimidating to say the least.

The night before the race, we hung out at the start to get in the vibe.

Racing morning crept up soon an I was ready to rip.
The race had three wave starts. Pros first, 5 min later all men, 5 min later all women. So mass start with 500 plus men racing for the first buoy 350 meters out. Whats crazy about this race is the media coverage they have. A helicopter following the race, numerous scuba cameras under the water, which freaks you out when you swim over them. Then cross motorcycles on the bike and run course.

The crowds where huge and and the energy level was over the top. Exactly why I love XTERRA. I had a solid swim getting out 70th or so out of 500 + or - for the men...Feeling good. Great start
This is where it was tough. I went from 70th to mid 200's off the bike. I clearly struggled on the climbs, but was able to bomb the descents and made up a bunch of spots on the last 4 miles. I took in great nutrition and was hydrated.  It was all going to come down to the run. After holding back a bit on the bike I knew I was in good shape for the the 10k up the mountain that followed.
The run is typical my tough sport. Even though I came from a running background, I have lost races more the a few times on the run. Today was not that day. I picked off at least 5 guys in my age group on the run and was able to bomb the descent. I went to some dark places in my head on the run, but was able to dig deep and come in strong.
I ended the day 37th for 40-44yr olds. The pre-race had 82 in the field with 71 finishers. The 40-44 is the largest field at XTERRA World Championships and often one of the most competitive. I have to say what I truly love about racing XTERRA is that it is not much different then mountain biking. The people are awesome and this being a international race was no different. On the bike or run as someone was around you they gave words of encouragement or a pat on the back. XTERRA are like no other triathlon.

Our neighbors had two bottles of champagne delivered to our room when we arrived back after the race. Thanks Grace and Vince!

There was a lot of emotion after the race for me. It was a 5 year journey to get to this place. I met some great new friends from around the world. What I love about doing big races is that it changes you. I makes you step up your game, rethink how you train, and how you can get better. Make no mistake, I want to come back to HI. This year is about stepping it up and racing the bigger races,  races like XTERRA Vegas, Alabama, Richmond, USA Championships in UT  and then hopefully Worlds again and doing it on a hard tail Giant 29r will be the bomb.

I could not have gotten to this race without the help of some great people. Design Physics Racing for getting my groove on the mountain bike, Andrew and Jesse (Formally) at 3Sports in 2013 for getting the orange crush in top shape. Coach Jim McGehee at One on One Endurance.  Last and most important the crazy support of Kate. She helps me keep things balanced, in perspective and motivates me more then anyone I know. She also inspires me daily in her achievements to be a great Mom, athlete and wife.

Hawaii 2014...who wants to go?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

BTS#3 Where's everybody at???!!!

BTS#3 had me riding alone. Jeffro had a situation at work. Tom Haines intended on coming out, but a diesel dump truck in need of repairs trumped any riding plans he had. The rest of you, well just save your excuses for next week!!!
Last week WestCreek was desolate! This week there were a couple other riders, but I remember winters past there were a ton of people out riding. There was always a peloton or two of roadies to chase us around. This leads to the question. Where are all the cyclist at???!!!Did they quit riding for the winter???!!!Maybe they are at home riding"the trainer". They can have that little slice of monotony!!! I'll take the outdoors anytime even if it is cold.
So anyway I knocked out my 5 laps. Practiced my track stand for a minute or two, loaded up and split for home. I didn't even make it out of WestCreek and BAAAM!!! Lightning, BOOOM!!! Thunder then it preceded to hail, yes hail!!! Almost the size of marbles!!! Following that was pouring rain and more thunder & lightning. Strange weather indeed!!! Oh well at least I snuck in a ride!!! And DOUBLE POINTS!!! Yeeeeaaaaah Boooyeeeeee!!!
Ya'll come out next week and ride with me!!!

BTS #2 On the Road

Hit up a road ride with Jeffro, Jason B., Mason and myself.  We decided that heading out to Poco and hitting up the far side of the Monster Cross course would be a muddy affair, so a road ride from Rocketts was in order.  Since Jeff seemed to be the only one of us who has been riding regularly, he pulled the majority of the day.  I loved the time he pulled off the front as we were hitting a nasty headwind and Mason could not pull past him....  as he pulled back in, I came from the back and gave him some relief.  It was a gret ride, but I was definitely at my limit by the time we were done.  As we came back into Rocketts I stood to go up the last hill and sat right back down, I was cooked.  I really need 5-6 of these rides a week, but I cannot quite figure out how to make that happen.  We thought Jeffro was going out for some more, but once we got back, the french toast awaiting him had a stronger pull than riding his bike another hour.

Good times, until next time...   Jason

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chill start to 2014 BTS series

Toddy G and Me kicked off the BTS series with a frozen ride at West Creek. Starting at 6:00pm was nice since the traffic was down and I had plenty of time to wrap things up at work.

We started the ride at or below freezing, and the temps dropped from there. No one else was out there, not on a bike or running.

We dodged a spot of black ice after riding by the icy lake.

The face mask I was wearing kept my face comfortable, but I looked like I was going to rob a bank.

Photo: Todd G.

It's been a long time since I rode a bunch of freezing laps at West Creek, but good company kept things rolling along. I think Todd's thermometer read 25F when we wrapped things up. I drove home with the heat blasting and my toes finally got warm after dinner.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

BTS Version 3.0

BTS Series is back in full effect starting this week. After going into hibernation for a year, it is back and promises to be better than ever.  For those of you new to the BTS Series, it is DP Racing's way of getting everyone out there during the winter months to train and have some fun together.  What says friendship more than a two hour ride in sub freezing temperatures?  We will be starting rides this week, Toddy G is already on the boards by volunteering to lead a weekely ride.   Ride schedule will be posted to the right under team news.

Good luck to everyone - have some fun - suffer as much as possible - come into the season ready to race.

There will be some swanky prizes given away at random and to the top 3 point snatchers.

There is a 100% chance rules will change so Toddy G & Plassman does not walk away with prizes again... Even though a few of these rules were written for Euro D, we are keeping them in just in case he shows back up.

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

Bonus Points:
5 - BTS write up on blog
5 - Pics included in write up
10 - Raining (not on muddy trails - see demerit points)
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-sesaon race (frozen Cross, Monster Cross, Southern Cross)

DOUBLE POINTS - only one to show up at any event

TBD - Epic Rides (super bowl ride, pantani ride, etc.)

Demerit Points:
(-50) Riding on muddy trails
(-50) Crashing teammate on road
(-10) Not wearing a DP kit (for those who have them)

Friday, January 3, 2014

  Back in black.  2014 DPR kit.