Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Saturday Ride

Wheels hot errrr...wet at 8am from FBC.

Spring has sprung in Arkansas. It won't be long now before warm days out number the cold days. We had a solid group show up for a wet one this morning. It's always great to ride with folks when conditions are not so friendly. Group text messaging also helps to motivate peeps to get off the couch. If only I could share the word play that goes on around 7:30 on Saturday mornings! No one wants to be the first to pull the plug. We road for about 3 hours 50 miles or so. Good times in good company.

Steady tempo for the first hour with very little chit chat.

I drank my share of road grit this morning.

Arkansas scenery is just beautiful stuff.

Tim looking tough. He had the quote of the ride. I think he's done with "epic rides."

Black Oak is a favorite route in NWA.

There will be a lot of lions flying in Europe tomorrow.

I still haven't figured out what color Art's bike is. I like it though.

Let's eat! Breakfast burrito from Ozark Natural chased by a slice of pizza (not pictured) from Sam's Club.

Monday, March 25, 2013

NWA Spring...

a Classic.

I do not have much street cred. to begin with as a bicycle racer and I do not claim to be good at it. I just really enjoy it. Starting and finishing the NWA Spring Classic yesterday meant way more to me then the result at the end. 32 degrees, snow/rain/snow, 20 mph winds, 40 mph gusts, wind chill in the teens. 72 miles, almost 4 hours in the saddle. I am so glad I showed up. I am so glad I finished. I am so glad it's over. A race I will not soon forget.

Key moments. #1 The first 10 miles we road in the gutter with harsh accelerations and very little draft in a vicious crosswind. I told myself, "if this is what we are going to do for 3 hours...I'm out." Finally, one of my teammates went up the road with a guy from the other team that had numbers and the bunch settled down. #2 I flatted just after Weaver Hill. I could barely change the wheel with my exposed freezing hands. It took longer than expected consequently I chased for about 6 miles. The worse part was going past the start finish and knowing my truck was parked there. I told myself, "if I don't catch them before we hit the crosswind section...I'm out." #3 I paused...took a few mental pictures. Thought of how ridiculous the conditions were how crazy this adventure truly was and finally cracked a smile. The phrase "meet the moment" came to mind.

What an awesome day.

About 15 minutes before the race I received this picture from Paige. Cozy on the couch!

 Derailleur cables completely frozen. Zero use of the 11 cog (useful for sprinting.)

Zero use of the little ring.

Let's eat! Classic combo for a classic race.

Let's eat part 2! Four hours in the saddle means you can eat a lot. Lebanese couscous, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes and shrimp. Yum! Thanks Paige. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Saturday Ride

What do you do the day before a road race?

Ride the MTB of course. Checked out the new single track at Lake Fayetteville this morning. The trail is bumpy as expected but you still get a sense of how it flows. Progressive Trail Design/OORC did a great job.  Following the contour line will make this trail fast and fun. Adding more singletrack inside the city limits is...awesome!

Drops you almost to the lake water line.

It seems like this popped up over night.

Paved trail runs just above.

It's a real gift to have this in your backyard. Get out and ride it folks!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hell's Kitchen

Road Race. Part II.

Embracing rule # 5 bicycle racers from Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and small towns all across the Natural State toed the line. Racers were greeted with light rain and temps in the mid 40's. Around 8am I started to wonder who would even show up. Slowly but surely cars started pulling in and the old white church we use for registration transformed into race HQ. What is it about this sport that draws out ordinary folks to push beyond their normal boundaries, comforts, security and sometimes sanity? Thank you to all the volunteers yesterday who also embraced rule # 5.

It's ironic that registration for Hell's Kitchen is in an old unused church. 

Big thanks to Snapple & Clif Bar for supplying product to participants and volunteers.

Staging begins in Hogeye.

A natural with a megaphone.

When does tomato hill turn into Hell's Kitchen? 


Teammate PZ in good position before the steepest ramp.

Tomato hill turns into Hell's Kitchen here 17%. Some racers won't make it up riding their bikes. Thanks Bob for appropriately naming this hill many years ago.

Category 3 winner had enough left to raise a arm.

PZ winning the Master's category.

Looking down into the belly of the beast.

Pro 1/2's still on the course. Levi trying to close the gap. He goes on to finish second.

Hardest earned tool in the garage. All smiles.

Let the 'big ring' tales begin. One of the best parts of racing. Story telling and memories.

Shutting down race HQ, see ya next year.

Up next, the NWA Spring Classic.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Saturday Ride

Hell's Kitchen Road Race. Part I.

Every year in early spring the Snapple Cycling Team puts on the Hell's Kitchen Road Race. The course is a 20 mile loop and includes a very demanding climb called tomato hill. At some point tomato hill turns into Hell's Kitchen? I think it has something to do with the 17% ramp near the top. It's a brutal climb and depending on your category you will have to go up it several times.  

The profile speaks for itself. Steep.

Cyclists have very poor upper body strength. I'm going to be sore after sweeping the course.

What do you get for 1st place? Some cash and the coolest trophy ever. Engraved pitch fork. I love when races give out useful trophies. This one is great for home defense...or gardening.
Big thanks to Creative Awards. Check them out at

Hardest earned pitch forks on the planet.

CLIF BAR KOM prime. First one up the hill in each category will get some serious energy for future races.

After course prep and registration set up we squeezed in some pedal time.

Spring has sprung and we are loving it! Check back for part II.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Three races four days.

It is impossible to ignore the 'nervous belly' before the first race of each season. My first race in 2013 was a criterium in the Okie State. Switching your mindset from group rides and winter training to racing a criterium is not a easy transition. I was happy to keep it upright for 50 minutes. Happy to survive some vicious acceleration's and pleasantly surprised to have good enough legs to bridge gaps and get into potential breaks. Unfortunately, the breaks did not stay away. In the last lap the bunch was together and riders swarmed like angry bees to the front. I lost about 10 spots in the blink of an eye. Coming into the finish a rider managed to unclip both feet from his pedals and landed on his top tube. He swept across the road almost crashing half the field. I've never seen someone lose both pedals like that. It was three long seconds of terror, fear and relief. The sense of relief after the first race is such a great feeling. Everything slows down and the next race is met with less anticipation and more peace of mind. Bicycle racing is fun for so many reasons. You really experience a lot of different emotions.

The Okie State has some great races.

Nathan is all smiles & thumbs before the Hyde Park Criterium.

We start recruiting future teammates pretty early.

This Sunday is the Hell's Kitchen Road Race. Oh, and La Primavera that other race.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Highway 71

a Classic.

Yesterday was the Highway 71 Classic. A fundraiser race ride for the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks. The BCO is a local advocacy group doing good things for all of us who like to ride bicycles around here. I'm always glad to participate in this event. This year's race ride was sponsored by Creative Awards. Thank you!

Link to Creative Awards

The BCO mission statement:
'The BCO is a 501(c)3 non-profit working to create a more bicycle-friendly community through Education & Infrastructure. A more bicycle-friendly community is a happier, safer, healthier, more people-friendly community.'

The route is a 70 mile out-n-back, mostly flat with two wrinkles. Mt. Gaylor tops out right around 2,000 feet and you go up and over twice. Ascending from the south takes roughly 30 minutes. What makes this straight forward route interesting is the folks who ride it. I have been doing this race ride for almost 10 years and it's always a knife fight for at least 40 of the 200+ participants. Why? Once a bike racer always a bike racer. My favorite moment was the 20 mile stretch back into Fayetteville. With a stiff tailwind the now much smaller group is going full gas at 30+mph. Some of the accelerations are savage and the average speed which the group collectively achieves is just awesome. Too much fun.

You don't show up to the 71 with a dull blade.

 Paul after his heavyweight title bout. 

My prize. Let's eat!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Saturday Ride

Dirty Black Oak.

This morning we tackled what I'm calling the dirty Black Oak. Black Oak is a popular road route here in NWA. The dirt loop is inside of the road loop.  It's roughly 40 miles with 2,800 feet of climbing. We had a solid group on another cold Ozark morning.


The adventure in full swing.

Changing a light bulb errrr repairing a brake cable. MG's only option, finish the ride with no front brake.

The road surface constantly changes color.

Bennie did not regret enduring the cold temps.

One of the savage ramps on the Low Gap climb. The view at the top was worth the pain.