Wednesday, June 17, 2015

100 Miles Of Florida With Josh Qualls.


I set a goal/challenge last year to ride a century in every state.
The reason for this challenge is due to this quote:

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. --Ernest Hemingway

I remember something special about each century I have completed in the 6 states I have done so far. KY, OH, WV, NY, GA and now FL.

Florida was by far the toughest. Not only was it completely flat (other than a drawbridge, twice) it was 98°+ with 15+ sustained winds and gusts up in the 20's.
I bonked at mile 60 with muscle cramps and heat exhaustion setting in. I couldn't count the times I wanted to quit and try it another year.
I dug deep, kept my legs spinning and pushed my body to the breaking point. Around mile 80 my body started to shutdown. It took everything I had in me to hold 12 mph. I was weak, sick and ready to be finished.

I came across a beach park that had showers and I stood under the shower with my kit on trying to cool my body down. Once the water hit my skin, it felt ice cold, had chills all over my body. I swear I was having or had a heat stroke.

I kept peddling until I finally saw 100.20 miles show up on my Sigma Rox 10.0. I was never this miserable on a bike ride and never happier to finish a ride.

I should have listened to my body and stop but I'm stubborn. I'm not exactly sure what what I did to my leg but I'm walking with a slight limp. I either pulled a muscle in my leg or that muscle is knotted. Rest and recovery is in my future this week/weekend.

So happy that I don't have to do that EVER again.

Thank you Amino Vital for keeping me hydrated. I brought enough mix for 4 bottles, quickly found out that it wasn't enough.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Cuyahoga Awesomefest Special Edition With "Girls With Gears"

Muddy butts at the end of a 47 mile dirt ride through Cuyahoga National Park.

As always, driving up to Cleveland and staying at the amazing Cleveland Hostel to ride bikes on limestone towpath trails is perfect. The National park is always great, even if the last 10 miles of dirt were ridden in 6 inches of mud and a torrential downpour...on road bikes. Gotta' love the adventure, right? We saw big snapping turtles, deer, baby geese, lots of fish, old canal system locks, a guy dressed an Captain Underoo begging for change, LOTS of booze, the Christmas Story House, more mud, an historic train, The Guardians Of Transportation, The West Side Market, Great lakes Brewing Company, and picked up a legendary cake from Sue at Wild Flour Bakery in Rocky River. Thanks to everyone who made the trip and sucked it up to finish the ride! Enjoy some of the photos from the weekend...

Dawn Norris rocking the selfie.

Gina Smith laughing at a really bad joke near Brecksville Station.

Chris Blumenschein, Gina and Dawn heading back to the Hostel after Great Lakes Brewing Co. beers.

Up front with Teresa Setnar and Janis Jett along the marsh south of Boston Mill.

Janis, Dawn and Shanna at Brecksville Station.

"Hello legs? Yes...can you give me more power please? Thanks."

The Christmas Story House.

Chris B.'s BMC getting some petrol for the final push home in Boston Mill.

Ahhh the smell of chamois butter in the hair always makes Gina Smith smile.

Measuring up with Janis and Dawn.

Ara, Mark and Gabe's Big Bear Beatdown.

From the desk of Ara Movsessian;

"It was hot with some hot racing out at Big Bear this past weekend. Even though we registered at Snow Summit but we still can't use the land there. Mammoth Mountain have bought them out and it looks like they are doing great with their gravity trails. Packed with downhillers and enduro riders.

Getting hydrated was key for this race. Loading up on Amino Vital Pro on the pre-ride on Saturday and during our warm-ups in the morning . Pro/Cat 1 course was one big 24 mile loop that was pedal to the metal for the first half and then techy single track for the last half. Skyline trail kept us on our toes and what a relief not doing the "5 bitches" anymore. Had a good start and was with the pack on the beginning climb and then we got stretched out at the top.

Was in contact for the first hour and was in contact with a few of my group. Ben passed me on the single track and we had a fun time chasing each other along the new single track. Had to do a few dismounts cyclocross style and thanks to my Xpedo pedals had no problem getting in and out. Did a mental error on my shifting on one of the rocky trials section and lost Ben. Tried to catch up but I started cramping. I only had one bottle of Amino Vital Endurance, oh how I needed the second bottle of that great nectar! Pounded my last drops of AV and my Sigma Rox 10.0 showed 18 miles to go. Caught my second wind and started to haul ass down Fall Line and into the new Skyline #2 downhill to Fern Trail. Running a nice set up of Small Block Six 1.9 in the back and a Honey Badger XC pro 2.0 in the front gave me huge confidence as I passed numerous riders on the downhill section. Man, those tires grip! Blasting through the rocks would have been tricky because of the shadows being under the trees, but my Ryder sunglasses eliminated any glare and blind spots. The glasses didn't even budge off my nose as I hurdled down the side of the mountain. Finished strong into 4th place and only 7 minutes behind the winner. Big improvement since the last couple of races. I like high altitude!

Gabe Margve got 2nd place in his category only 25 seconds behind first place. He dropped a chain and while he was getting it back on his nemesis passed him! That hurts. Mark Thome through down a hot lap also and looked like he was hurting, but the guy loves it!

Big Shout-out to Stack, Joy, Big Al and his wife, Gabe's wife Dot, and Roger from KendaTire for all the support this past weekend. Can't do it without you guys."

Mark Thome was up there racing as well, and he also admits to the heat playing a major part in how he and everyone else performed over the weekend. He found more great pix of the team at for anyone who wants to check out Mr. Beckman's mad action photo skills.

With lots of "winter weight," Mark was angry with himself at being last in his class for the second race in a row...but understand that he has had a crazy schedule with his recent move back from Missoula. Insane personal lives as adults often don't lend themselves to race training, right? Mark says for each pound he loses, he should take one minute off of his lap times..sounds good to me! On a good note, he said that the last two venues (Big Bear and Sant Ynes) have both been totally revamped and the race courses are so damn fun it's just amazing. Mark is planning to roll back to Montana and do the Missoula XC race just for fun, and toss in some OTH events back at Irvine Lake. GO THOME!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Josh Qualls And The Mothman

From the saddle of Josh Qualls...
"Legend has it that a mythical being has been spotted in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia since the late 1960's.The first believed sighting was November 12th, 1966. Five men who were digging a grave at the cemetery near Clendenin, WV claimed to see a man-like figure fly low from the trees over their heads.
A few other sightings happened over the following year leading up to the collapse of the Silver Bridge, December 15, 1967 and the death of 46 people. People speculate that those sightings and the collapse were connected.
After mapping out a route with the Sigma Data Center I was off for a long solo ride, 124.6 miles (which is my personal record for a solo ride) to see the statue of The Mothman.
With a tail wind, I managed to average 20 mph on the trip up. I made it to my destination a lot fast than I had thought. The statue stood tall, at least 12 foot. It's red eyes seemed to glow as it looked over the Ohio River.

I knew with the tail wind, I was going going to have a horrible head wind on the way home, so I skipped the Mothman Museum and headed home. There were times I was holding 15 mph and my Sigma was beeping at me alerting me about staying in my training zone. I looked down and my heart rate was 170+.
Over the 124 miles I still averaged 18.4 mph. I must say it was worth the ride to see the statue.
Thank you Amino Vital for keeping me hydrated on such a long day on the bike. I can't wait to try the new formula."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ara's 2015 Sea Otter Report


It has been almost a decade since I attended the bicycle racing orgy that is Sea Otter and nothing has changed. You have your gravity punks, XC gram counters, shaved legs roadies, and a sprinkle of trials/cyclocross/average Joe's having fun in Monterrey. The setting shouts fast being on the Laguna Seca Speedway. The festivities are endless and the shwag from companies to wow you. Great excuse to mingle and say thank you to various sponsors.

Wasn't feeling too good going into Sea Otter. Catching a nasty head and chest cold put me out of US Cup Bonelli the weekend before and off the bike for 5 days. Got there on Friday with Gabe and registered for Cyclocross and XC, what the heck, got to have fun! Pre-ride on Friday afternoon was painful. Congested, mucous, and green goo coming out of everywhere. Sleeping in on Saturday was in order.

Cyclocross! It has been over 4 months since cyclocross season ended but it came back quick. surprised on the field size of 43! Had a great start and was holding my own on the techy jump section and fly over. I could feel the power waning as the race went on but was stilling holding on the top ten. Was wearing my Sigma Sport jersey to represent and it was covered in snot, sorry for the mental image. Two laps to go and crowd was going crazy near the Sierra Nevada Beer Garden. Then WHAM! Hit a curb and pinch flatted my front. Just like that I was out. The Kommando wheels are great but the Laguna Seca raceway curb has taken out Dugatis also. Broke my heart. It is what it is. Fun while it lasted. Took a parade lap and chugged a beer from a heckling fan followed by Amino Vital Pro grape to recover.

Saturday night I was coughing up blood (Gabe is my witness). Was not feeling good at all. Woke up at 6am and headed to the XC race. With 5 minutes to spare got in my Cat 1 group and took off on the tarmac. Lets just say I was "racing" the 24 mile 3300ft of climbing course. Had fun, got a good workout in, more yellow mucous with a little bit of blood came out, and most importantly represented our sponsors. My Kenda Honey Badger XC Pro were a great choice because there were some sandy spots and my Sigma Rox 10.0 registered a climb at 18% but still didn't slip. I lost my Ryder sunglasses on a gravel downhill but the guys at the Ryder booth were super nice. Did not cramp up when I was pushing it to finish the course in 1 hour 48 minutes.

KEN is the MAN! Ken from Xpedo is awesome. He rebuilt my mtb pedals and hooked me up with the "Beard" socks. Crash and the Beard are super nice American Classic/Raleigh pro team racers. These guys are rippers! Major respect.

Gabe Margve got 8th place in his category but could have done better if it wasn't for the slowpokes on the single track climb. Great Job old man! Mark is officially back and raced last second on Sunday!

Major props to Ed from Voler, KMC,  and Jay from Royal.

Santa Ynez is in two weeks, hopefully it gives me time to recover and build up again,

Until then,


Three Races In One Weekend For Josh Qualls

Decided that I was ready for some suffering to see how my training did over the winter. I drove down to Tennessee for the Three River Rumble in Kingston TN. (About 4.5 hours from home) 
It's a 2 day 3 race event. 

Day one: Time trail in the morning and a Crit in the afternoon. 

The time trail was a great course with a few fast turns and a couple of small rollers. I held a 25.2 mph average (on a regular road bike) with a max speed over 34 mph. Placed 3rd with just 4 seconds between 2nd and myself.

The Crit
The course was a figure 8 set up with 8 turns in .8 miles. It was fast to say the least. You were either going into a corner, in a corner, or coming out of one the entire race. 
The field was small, which meant more work. No time for resting. We averaged 22.6 over a 30 minute race. 
I was very impressed with the Novatec Impulse Wheelset with the Kenda Kountach mounted on them. I was taking more than 90° corners at speeds of 26+ mph and was never worried they'd lose grip. Grabbed 3rd place again for the second time in one day.

Day two: Road Race

Oh my! Where do I start with this race. With 90% chance of rain in the forecast, I was a little nervous.
20 minutes before my start time the rain let up, only for it to come down harder as the whistle blew. Off we went with 26 miles of hard racing ahead of us. With 11 riders in the group, we stuck together for the first maybe 2 miles. As we crested the first climb, 4 of us had a small gap on the others. We made the descent at speeds of 35+ mph the sky threw everything it had at us. I was soaked to the bone within 4 miles of the race. The 4 (two guys were on the same team) of us worked together to get a nice gap in between us and the peloton. 
We had a 3 minute lead at the half way point. Did I mention that it was raining?? Hard??
The teammates attacked and left me and the other guy working hard to catch up, which we failed....
So it was him and I going for the last podium spot. With 2 races in my legs and him not racing the day before, I didn't have enough gas in the tank to keep him from taking it away from me. 
3rd was just out of reach but happy with 4th place after the weekend I had.

On the 26 mile course I averaged 22.2 mph with 1400+ in climbing. 
I'm so glad I had my Sigma Rox 10.0 set up to alert me with a tone about my heart rate because I couldn't see it the entire race. 

I'm calling this weekend a huge success in my books. I was the only one who had raced all 3 races during the weekend that were in the top 5 of the road race. 

P.S. Shout out to Amino vital for keeping me hydrated even though there was plenty of water coming out of the sky and off the tires in front of me, I still managed to down a full bottle of the Amino vital Pro grape in the road race.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Randy Eats S**t In Fontucky!

Well after another busy week (and no riding) I headed out to Fontucky for the final round of the winter series feeling pretty damn good about myself! Rolled out Friday to arrive late afternoon and get settled in for the night. I'm glad I missed a couple of rounds because those were 60 mile an hour Santa Ana winds and a rainy cold one so damn happy I missed them.
Saturday morning did the usual routine and headed to the stating line. Smaller turnout than the two previous races I did but still ten guys in my class. Actually got off to a decent start running the top ten as Donnie combined four different age groups. After the paved road climb headed up to the elevator shaft I believe it's called I just had a feeling this might not be a great day...more on that to come.

So one guy I've been having some good battles with was just in front of me and I'm thinking just relax and stick here and everything is good. Halfway through the first lap I get stuck behind some slower traffic coming into a section called the luge. At the top of it I get past the last guy and head down. Now I'm trying to make up some time and hit the G-out, head back up a little into a right hander, then downhill and catch a lip with my front wheel and eat shit as bad as I ever have on a bike.
I have never hit the ground that hard on my bike, motorcycle yes bike no! got up and stood there for four minutes or so shaking the cobwebs out thinking "ok they are gone I will just DNF and call it a day." When I got to the finish line I thought "I've never quit a race in my life and I'm not started now." My second lap was slow but did catch a few guys and ended up finishing 7th on the day which was my best finish so far this year... so actually I was pretty happy.

Thank you to all of our team sponsors: Amino Vital, Kenda tires, Ryders eyewear, Sigma sport, Hydrapak, KMC chains, Xpedo pedals, They are absolutely the best in the business!
Won't be able to make Bonelli next weekend but should be good for Fontana national.
Till then have a good one Cap'n.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Randy Hits Southridge!

Well after one hell of a week dealing with waterline breaks in the slab of our house I headed out Friday night to hit round #3 of the Fontucky winter series. Got there a lot later than expected but no biggie, got set up and tried to hydrate (Coors) for the race on Saturday. I talked with the Fuzz the week before and he was headed out to get a little training in for the US cup and drop off some WAY COOL stuff from SIGMA SPORT and Amino Vital!
Saturday morning was a little hectic with Registration and stuff very good turnouts for all three disciplines. Fuzz rolled in we shot the shit and it was time to get the kit on and get warmed up. We had 16 guys on the start for my class and quite a few from week one, we ended up merging with the group in front of us so I was now at the back for the start which is cool for me because its better to pass than to be passed I always say.
So off the start I just got into a pace that I could handle and passed a few guys before the paved road climb, turned off to the single track climb (techy) and was cruising along and a guys falls in a rocky steep climb section and off to walk I go! so I get passed by three guys I passed earlier and get back going pass a couple back and some more climbing.
Me and one guy that I battled with at round one (he beat me) were going at it again, and threw out lap #1 we passed each other five time with him getting the edge again. Lap two im thinking I have to be close to him at the last fire road climb and I can beat him. Lap two I have a few misques and had to walk a couple technical sections and now I cant see him but just tell myself you can catch him. get to the last climb and he's half way up so I go as hard as I can and twenty yards from the top I get him and he says "shit you again" bomb the downhill to the drainage road and pushing as hard as I can and I hear someone on my tail and I'm like NO ******* WAY is he catching me! but lucky for me it was a pro guy so I stuck on his wheel as long as I could and beat the guy by 15 seconds or so.
Very fun weekend felt better than round one but the result isn't were I want it to be. I ended up 12th out 16 this week only one better than last week but had a lot of fun and stayed on two wheels this round.
Thanks again to all of our team sponsors! Amino Vital, Kenda Tires, Sigma Sport, Hydrapak, KMC chain, Novatec wheels,. they make it possible for me to go racing.
Round 4 coming next week till then I'll talk at ya later Captn.
P.s. sorry its a week late just been super busy.

Ara Completes Century Ride #2 Of His "6 Centuries For 60 Years" Challenge!

Completed our 2nd century out of 6 today in and around Palm Springs for 
Mr. Osgood's 60th Bday. Felt good throughout the ride thanks to Amino
Vital Endurance Lemon and Pro recovery. The sun was blazing out there
so my Ryder Sunglasses protected from harmful UV rays. Kenda Kriterium
Endurance tires worked great again even after 2000 miles on the rear
tire. No flats yet (knock on wood) because them tires got Iron Cloak
foo! We knocked out the century in less than 6 1/2 hours and even did
extra 9 miles after the ride. Sigma Rox 10.0 mapped out the whole ride
and my new RC Move kept my heart rate in check. Those two combined make
a great training tool. Xpedo Thrust 8 SL road clips got me out of a bad
jam when a very inconsiderate rider cut us off and was able to unclip
just in time to put a foot down.

Great day to be out there in the desert. Even President Obama was out
in Palm Springs! These are great training rides and looking forward to
the next one which is Solvang Century on March 14. But before that,
mountain bike racing!

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Backbone Welcomes Ricky Lundberg!

New Backboner Ricky Lundberg testing his new bike.
Randy Rush called me late last year and asked if his training homey Ricky could squeeze a spot in on the team...and of course how could I say "no?" SOMEONE has to drive Randy home from events!

Here is his Fontana Super-D report...

Good morning Chris!

The entire week leading up to the race I had a bad head cold. It wasn't until Friday morning I was sure I was racing. I had little saddle time and still was ill. I took two practice runs of the Super-D course, and it was exciting mostly due to the rock gardens. I love rock gardens! I was confident with all the rocky sections, but had little in the tank for the uphill sections. I took it easy on my practice runs to conserve for the race, where of course I gave it 100%. My Norco Sight handled everything with ease. I ended up 9th out of 25 in my category, with first place about 2 minutes up. I think if I can get more hill repeats and sprints in in the next few weeks I'll move up the line quickly! Overall I had a great time. 

Ricky Lundberg 

Randy Is Back And So Is Winter.


Randy Rush is back! Great to have one of our vets back out having some fun.

It's true you know. Hide the sheep, Randy is back! Randy has been out of action for a little while, but has returned with his new sled, a 2014 Giant Anthem. Rolling out of his Ramona, California home with new rider Ricky Lundberg the two lads were set to race XC (Randy) and Super-D (Ricky). Randy's race report is as follows...

Randy's new Giant Anthem looks race-ready!

After a four year hiatus I got back to racing at my favorite course.........good old Fontucky! I was so happy to get back. I haven't done much riding because of work but I didn't care, just wanted to be back around cool people and a great industry. Let me just say "THANKS" to you and our team sponsors for sticking with me! I knew I would get back to it,  just didn't know when. That being said, on to the races.

So I headed out Friday mid day so I could sign up and not fight the crowds in the morning. Ricky Lundberg couldn't come out Friday but was coming out Saturday morning to just ride super D. I chilled Friday night and made sure I was ready to go for Saturday morning. There was a huge crowd this weekend and we had 16 in my class!  I was a little shocked and kind of expected more but a good turnout anyway.

Off the start I wasn't going to push it as I didn't want to explode by the time I got up the paved road.  I didn't have a lot of miles in my legs so far. Donnie had changed the course since I was last there and they go up the paved road only about three quarters of the way. Then you go left up some steep technical single track to the top of the "elevator" (I think you know what that is). I have only ridden once and it is rocky and some parts very technical single track downhill that they also use as part of the super D course. So I was running towards the back on the first lap but having a very fun battle with three other guys. They would climb better than me but I could descend better so it was back and forth and soooo fun.

Starting the second lap I pushed a little and got by all three and was feeling ok .then boom! I hit the deck they go by. I catch back up and hit the deck again! I fell for a third time but no damage done pushed as hard as I could and ended up 13th which I'm cool with.

I was signed up for super D also but after looking at and pre riding the course I wasn't comfortable with it. They had a couple rock gardens in it that for me were kind of sketch and after pre riding those I figure out I was freaking tired! so I opted not to ride that.

I hung out with Roger from Kenda and caught up on BS helped him at the end of the day pack up and had a few beers.

A very big thank you to ALL of our team sponsors.........Kenda tires, Sigma Sport, Ryders Eyewear, Xpedo pedals, KMC Chain, Formula Brakes, Hydrapak, Amino Vital, without all these top shelf companies helping us out I wouldn't be able to do this!

Might not make it to round two as Trevor is back from Italy but I will be at the rest. Til then have a good one man.


Meanwhile, in the great white north of the country the White Death is in full effect. Not one to sit on a trainer for five months of an Ohio winter, a great mobilization has taken place with the help of Jon Hanshaw, also known as "The Angry Cyclist." Heading out from the roll: Polaris location every Sunday in the kind of weather that would make Frosty The Snowman depart for Sumatra, the group defies all common sense and heads out in to the morning freeze.

Sunday, January 11th 2015. It was about 18 degrees, but who cares? We don't need no stinking trainers!

It takes a lot to get out of bed when the mercury sits near zero. That did seem to deter the likes of cyclocross racer David Spurlock, solo Continental Divide rider Ron Young, bike mechanic to the stars April Curatti, roll:'s own Anna Haney, Novatec Wheels' Jake Scott, road racer Meredith Gabriel and the rest of the headcases yesterday. The snow was deep and fresh, and with a variety of bike types ranging from my 26" Ti hardtail to Ritte/BMC/Giant 'cross bikes, 29ers, 26" Anthem W, Felt fatties and a 27.5 steel framed Raleigh everyone had to approach the ride differently throughout the day.

The magnanimous David Spurlock on his Ritte Crossberg on the singletrack..errr..non-existent-track.

It was great to see so many new and veteran riders willing to get together and ride in the snow, ice and pavement for three and a half hours. Think "Bad News Bears" in lycra. The nice thing is that I think we will have just as great a turnout next Sunday:) Watching Ron ride across the frozen edge of Alum Creek Lake with his studded 'cross tires was a sight to behold.
Jake Scott out for some fun in the white stuff.

The old Titanium FCR just keeps on going. Fun bike for the snow!
My trusty old 2006 Titus FCR hardtail was equipped with KENDA 2.35 Nevegal tires, complete with the old Side Wall Shield tape! My trusty Sigma ROX 10.0 allowed me to retrace the steps via GPS later, since I had no idea where in the hell we were. Formula R1's allowed precision braking over frozen logs while in the singletrack trail network, and my trusty Hydrapak Tamarack kept me hydrated and well prepared for anything.

 The overcast day saw me break out the yellow lenses for the Ryders Eyewear pictured below, and as always they fit so well I never knew they were on my giant head. No rust at all on my KMC gold Ti chain either, and I never missed a shift! XPEDO pedal precision meant that I also never missed a cleat engagement or release depsite my shoes being packed with ice and snow...and frozen beach sand...weird.
Pictured with me are The Angry Cyclist (Jon Hanshaw), Jake Scott, David Spurlock, Ron Young and guest.