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!