Sunday, December 30, 2007

12 Hours of Oleta in Miami in January and a visit to Mack Cycle Bicycle & Fitness

Post race update:
I want to thank everyone for all their efforts and apologize for not making it to the race. I hope it was a great race for everyone.

Well, we just got back from a nice Christmas in Pennsylvania and now I need to work off all that good food so I figure the perfect way is racing for 12 hours! I'm heading down to Miami next weekend for the 12 Hours of Oleta and will stop in to the Mack Cycle and Fitness store on Friday January 4th at about 4PM for a meet and greet. I hope all the locals can stop by!

Have a safe and happy new year.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Little bit of BMX history

I received a very complementary email from a fan recently that was about my early BMX days. It got me thinking about those days and how I never would have guessed I'd be doing what I'm doing now. Then, I saw this posted on the internet and figured Mom and the family would like to see it! Wow - has it really been THAT long??!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2008 Race Season kick off and Otway's Odyssey Down Under!!

My season will start early this year. I'm planning to start it off in January at the 12 hours of Oleta in south Florida, then head to Arizona for the 24 hours of Old Pueblo and then take a long leap across the big pond to Australia for the Otway's Odyssey. I'm really looking forward to heading to Australia to race again. I haven't been there since the 2000 Olympics and I've always wanted to go back. When the race promoter contacted me, I was thrilled! He posted an announcement on the website that made me blush!! Well I have a lot to live up to now!

Looks like it's got some good climbing...

Check out the Otway's Odessey website for more info about the race...

Hope to see you there!



Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fred Dreier's La Ruta Experience

I can describe races, and talk about my experience, but I'm not so good at really describing the experiences that well. So when I was googling La Ruta to see what other folks said about it, I found this article by Fred Dreier at His story describes it well. And I have to admit, I've wanted to quit, too.

Fred's View

PS - Thanks for the nice kudos and photo Fred!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Four days in the Costa Rica Rainforest Filled with, Mud, Guts, and La Ruta

Lots of people want to know how I train, what I eat, how I prepare for a race like this and how I do all that during the race, but it doesn't matter what you do, really, for a race like this. Pretty much what I ate during the race was what was there. Beans, rice, eggs, plantains, fruit, and whatever was on the Denny's menu.

The much needed rest was tough to get. Trying to get to sleep early was nearly impossible since by the time you got to the hotel, you had to go find dinner and then trying to get to sleep after such an exhausting day -- your body has a hard time trying to wind down after something like that. It takes more than the time you have and then a few hours later you get the wake up call and are at breakfast by 4 AM. Then you're back on the bike with everyone else ready for the next stage.

Ok, so how to prepare? I rested about a month since the last race. Got as much rest as possible. I eat lots of either Italian or Mexican food and try to avoid red meat the week before the race. Fuel for the race are Cytosport energy bars and drinks and whatever they have there. The fruit is incredible and I eat as much as possible.

Not knowing who my roomate was going to be left me a little worried. It is so important to get sleep and then to take a risk with someone you don't know is tough. But when Luis told me who I would be rooming with, I knew it was someone I'd heard of before...a guy from France Thomas Dietsch. It turned out that he was the bronze medalist in the World Championship Marathon this year and the UCI Marathon point leader over all. He was the best roomate I could have asked for. Spoke English really well and that's a good thing since I can't speak any French (or Spanish!). We both had a mission to do really well and we had the same attention to focus on. We both wanted the podium. So I got a chance to race with him and talk a lot. It was a good time and we both made the podium.

Making a four day race this year in the hardest conditions I've seen in Costa Rica yet, it was crutial to have a mechanic and help. Troy Laffey, of Cannondale, was there and he made things so much smoother. He took care of everything for me. He took it from the finish line every day and it was ready to go in the morning at the start line. I cannot say enough how much better it was to have him there. I was able to rest a little more and it was so much less stressful. It helped so much. He was there to help me and 9 other Cannondale racers/bikes to work on and he helped everyone else that asked. That guy is a saint. And one of the best and nicest mechanics I've had opportunity to work with. Check out Mike Cushionbury's article about his experience with Troy: Click here.

Conditions were brutal though. It was mostly cloudy and rainy and not super hot, but the trails were pretty much washed out from the rains. There were lots of deep trenches and deep gullys which made the trails and jeep roads technical and dangerous. It was wet and slippery and rocks and boulders everywhere. My heart was stopping - the decents, the scary technical trail, it was crazy. And it was nice to have pavement when we did.

I think it was interesting to hear people there for the first time not really knowing what to expect and out there to race. They had no idea what to expect but what it is - is the hardest race on the planet. You're either going up or down. Roads you never imagined could be so steep around every corner - they are volcanoes! It was amazing to watch everyone finish every day sometimes at the very last minutes of the day and just to get shuttled to the hotel to find food, rest, and do it all again the next day. The fourth day really added to the difficult factor.

There is one thing about the race and that is you can have a conversation with just about anyone. No one has their own agenda. Everyone is friendly, and no matter how much they suffered that day, everyone has the same feeling. They can't believe the amazing beauty of the place and how incredibly brutal it was to raced a mountain bike there.

Seems like most of them don't got to win but rather want to see a beautiful country the best way possible. To ride your bike from one side to the other! And then end the day by kicking off your shoes, grabbing a beer, and talking about how much they hurt that day! It's an adventure of beauty and riding your bike on the hardest trails you can ever imagine.

The new stage - Stage 2 - was probably my favorite of the four days. It was tough but a great addition. I heard a lot of great things about it and the way they had it set up - long first day and shorter second was a good plan. I hope they keep it.

Realistically, to make it on the podium at a race where so much could happen, I was very happy with the finish. After finishing stage 4, the race promoter asked if I would come back and I didn't hesitate - "yes!" Probably when he asked me, I was so wiped out I wasn't able to show as much enthusiasm as I felt. After getting back home and recovering a few days, I'm already looking forward to going back in 2008. Truthfully, being the top American in the field since 2004, makes me feel really good. I worked really hard for this one and when you manage to accomplish your goals, it makes all that suffering go away.

Just want to thank the race promoter and volunteers. It was a brutal but fun experience! Thank you!

Now that the season is finally over, I get to spend some time with my wife and baby and I get to experience the most beautiful thing that life could give you. I get to watch my son grow and learn and have the family time I never knew was possible. I'm having the best time of my life right now.

Many thanks to all my sponsors - each and every one has made my dreams come true for over 30 years of racing. Big thanks to Cannondale for sending Troy to the race. Being sponsored by the best bike company in the world is an incredible achievement and I want them to know how sincerely thankful I am for all their support.

Wishes to everyone for an awesome holiday. May your journeys be safe and God bless to everyone.

See you on the trail in 2008



*** Always do your best.***