Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lumberjack 100

So once again I decided to subject myself to the punishment of the Lumberjack 100. My first attempt at this race was in 2008. I was very prepared physically that year, but maybe not as much mentally. At about the 40 mile mark that year I hit the wall hard, major dehydration and my blood sugar crashed so I only managed 50 miles. Las year I signed up, but due to a lack of riding had to cancel. So again I signed up for the 2010 edition, hoping this would be my year.

Training had been going pretty well, though I would have liked to get some additional long rides in before. It was too late for that so the day before the race was here and I loaded up my stuff in Todd’s truck and we headed north with Todd’s buddy Kevin to handle our pit duties during the race. We made it up to Wellston, checked into our cabins, then headed to Big M to get the tent set up in the pits for the race and grab our packets. Brad showed up shortly after us so we all headed to Manistee to grab some dinner. After that it was back to the cabins to prepare everything for the morning and get to bed early.

My alarm went off at 4:45am, way too early to get up for a bike ride in the woods, but I dragged myself out of bed to get some breakfast. By 5:30 we were on our way to the race. We were only about 6 miles up the road so we arrived and unloaded with plenty of time. The race was set to start at 7am sharp, about 1.5 miles down the paved road that leads to the parking area there. They do this to spread the field out a bit since the race is a mass start of 300 riders.

For 2010 they had changed the race up a bit. Instead of the typical 4 lap, 25 mile course they went with a 3 lap, 33 mile course. One of the changes was the addition of a couple two track and dirt road sections. I thought this sounded like a good change, but wouldn’t know until we started riding. The promoter gave some last minute instructions, I wished the guys around me good luck and we were off. Right from the start I took it really easy, just pedaling at a comfortable pace. I knew it was most likely going to take me 11+ hours so no need to burn all my matches too early.

The first 5 miles or so were a bit crowded. Nothing too bad, but we were creeping up a lot of the hills. I was thankful for my gears and was feeling bad for those on singlespeeds. Once we hit the first section of two track everything opened up a bit and the race stretched out. This section was a great opportunity to get some electrolytes and grab a gel. Most of the first half of lap one went good, I was feeling strong and keeping my heart rate somewhat under control, considering the climbs out there. A few miles before the aid station I caught a rider who just didn’t seem comfortable on the singletrack. He was weaving around quite a bit and slowing me down on the descents, but I gave him plenty of room and waited for a safe opportunity to pass. On a descent through some pine trees he caught a stump right in front of me, which sent him flying over the bars. He immediately popped up, yelling that he broke his collar bone. By this point a number of other riders stopped so we all asked if he could walk his bike out or if he needed help. He immediately grabbed his bike and started heading towards the aid station so we headed out to forewarn them that he was coming.

The rest of that lap went pretty well. I took a brief break at the aid station, then headed on. Around the 20 mile mark we hit some more dirt road, which was smooth and fast. That felt great to just cruise on. About 5 miles later we hit a section of trail that was new to the race with two steep climbs. After a few pedal strokes I thought I had better save my legs so I was off my bike and walking. Shortly after this section I was on the home stretch of the first lap, an awesome bench cut section of trail that flows amazingly. This section ends with a fairly large climb, but at the end of the climb is a screaming fast downhill, followed by some flat trail, leading into the pits.

It felt great to roll into the pits feeling pretty strong. My first lap time was 3:19, about 10 minutes faster than what I had hoped for. Kevin helped me fill my Camelback and handed me two fresh bottles. He was a bit concerned I might not be taking in enough calories, but I felt good so I stuck with it. Each lap I consumed two water bottles mixed with an 800 calorie HEED solution, took two gels and ate a half a banana at the aid station for about 1050 to 1100 calories per lap. I also went through most or all of a 100 oz Camelback.

Lap two started fine, though I started adopting the save the legs strategy on a lot of the big climbs. I still felt pretty strong and knew I could climb them, but there was a little twinge of cramping there so I figured I was better off walking the worst of the climbs. Plus that gave me a chance to get out of the saddle occasionally. Once I hit the two track that I had loved on the first lap I was alone and I didn’t love it any more. Actually it kind of sucked, a bit sandy and nobody around to pace off of. This was around 40-45 miles in and I figured I was hitting my mid-race wall. That lasted for 10 miles or so, probably until I hit the aid station. Getting off the bike, talking with people and hearing some words of encouragement really helped (thanks Marti). Back on the bike I was on my way again. With about 10 miles to go in lap two I crested a hill to find two of my teammates, Chad and Todd, resting on the side of the trail. I stopped and chatted for a bit, they had started out strong, but were both starting to have a bad day. We rode together for a bit, but I kept pedaling when they stopped for another break. Back through my favorite section of trail and into the pits again. This was a little bittersweet, I was pumped to know I only had one lap to go and still felt pretty strong, but I still had 33 miles to ride. I was already 7 hours into it and had at least another 3 ½ hours to go. The good news was I had beat the cut off by an hour and a half. They had a 3:30pm cutoff to start your third lap to make sure nobody was stuck out in the woods in the dark.

Lap three went pretty good. Probably about mile 70 through around mile 80 was the worst of this lap, but still not bad. I hit the aid station for the last time and was excited to only have half a lap left. Kevin was working a volunteer shift at the aid station so he came right over to top off my bottle and see how I was doing. After a quick rest break I was back on the bike and pedaling pretty strong. I think the adrenalin was flowing at this point because my spirits were good and I was really fired up about finishing. That last 10 miles or so may have been the most enjoyable of the entire race. I was starting to pass a number of racers, many walking their bikes or riding really slow. I would ask everyone if they were okay and if they needed anything, but nobody did, they were just worn out. I didn’t really feel it though; I was just smiling as I cruised through some amazing trails, knowing it was almost over.

There’s a spot on the trail, with maybe ¼ mile to go where you can see the parking lot. My first two trips through it was a rush to get there knowing I was almost back to the pits, but the third lap was something so different. Once I rounded that corner and saw the glare of sunlight reflecting off windshields I hopped up on the pedals and started pushing it. A quick look down showed 10 hours and 55 minutes. My first thought was good, under 11 hours. Then I started to worry though that part of my first lap my timer was on auto pause so it would stop when I stopped. How long had it been stopped for? Hopefully not more than a couple of minutes. As I approached the finish line I heard people start cheering, cowbells ringing, then I saw the clock. It read 10:55 so I had plenty of time. I rolled across the line, grabbed my finishers patch and headed over to our tent. Wow did it feel awesome to be done and have finished the whole 100 miles.

Congratulations to my teammate Brad for killing it in 8 hours and 15 minutes. Also congratulations to Chad and Todd for sticking it out and finishing. Lastly, thanks to Kevin for all the help in the pit.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tour de Cure 2010

Jackie and I are going to be riding in the Tour de Cure again this year with our friends Curt and Noelle on June 5th in Brighton. Its a organized charity ride to benefit the American Diabetes Association. Curt has been a type 1 diabetic for a while now so it will be great to come out and ride with him. We rode it last year with them and really enjoyed it.

If you're interested in donating to us you can do so online, Jackie or Jason. Thanks.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Well, I had a productive and fun day. First up was a drive down to Stoney Creek to meet up with Curt for some trail riding. We got there at 9am, hoping that it would still be cold enough to not worry about slushy or muddy trails since the temperatures have been above freezing for quite a few days in a row lately. It was around 29 or 30 degrees when we got started. Considering the cold spell we had a for a couple weeks it felt really comfortable out.

I was excited to hit the trails, first because I haven't spent much time on the trails in the past year. Secondly, Jackie got me some studded tires for winter riding last year and I've yet to really test them out. Last year I took them out on the back dirt roads a couple times and they felt great in the snowy icy conditions, but I never had a chance to ride them on the trails. I wasn't disappointed as they performed great, clawing through the snow and super stable on ice. There were sections where we were on solid ice and were still able to maintain traction, actually able to climb hills and ride off camber sections on ice. I still much prefer riding in warmer weather, but this does make me look forward to getting out in winter more.

When I left Stoney I called Jackie and mentioned to her that I had a project in mind for the afternoon. She was pretty surprised as she is always wanting to make changes to the house and I'm usually pretty happy with things the way they are. We've been discussing some changes for a while now and I decided to take advantage of a free afternoon. Our home had a half wall between part of the living room and kitchen, about six feet long. We thought it might be nice to remove that, which will allow some additional light up into the living room and make both rooms feel bigger. Jackie has also been wanting new flooring for a while now so we figured it would be better to get it out now.

So I got to work. First thing, disconnect the two electrical outlets on either side of the wall. Got zapped, realizing I turned off the wrong breaker, so I turned off the correct breaker and removed them. Then I removed all the moldings, taking care to not destroy them for later. After that was on to the fun part, breaking drywall and hammering out 2x4's. It all came out relatively easy and we're both really happy with the way it turned out. Both rooms seem so much more open now. The only problem, the cats are upset. They both really liked to sit up on top of the half wall.

Lots of work left though. Drywall repairs, painting, flooring, and I need to figure out what to do with the two electrical lines currently sticking out of the wall. But for now I'm going to relax on the couch and watch the rest of the Chargers/Jets game.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wow, I can't believe 2009 came and went as quickly as it did. It was a very good year in most respects, other than cycling and fitness in general. Let's start out with the good though. 2009 was a good year for me professionally as I received a great promotion at work. That did contribute to a much busier schedule with more time spent away from home. I went back and counted all my trips up from the past year and it worked out to be 45 nights away from home. Add to that a couple vacations with Jackie plus some weekend trips and I was away for around 65 nights last year. The travel can definitely take its toll, but I've really gotten used to it over the past years and whenever I think I have it rough I just think about my cousin Dave's travel schedule. I think he's spent 45 days away from home in a single month before:).

Another great thing that happened this year was our move at work to a new (to us) facility. The building we were in just wasn't the right place for us; poor layout, needed tons of work. After about 14 months of working through environmental issues we finally closed at the end of September. Our goal was to be in by the end of the year. This meant many nights and weekends spent at the new place helping out, then moving loads of stuff once it was time to move. It turned out great though as we began operating out of the new place this past Monday, the 28th. Our new place is really nice; with beautiful offices, a much better layout and plenty of room for expansion.

I've documented most of the fun stuff we've done this year on here, though I've been absent lately with any sort of updates. Since my last post we did have a great weekend up in Traverse City for the Iceman. As we've done the past three years, we rented a large vacation home so some people could stay with us and we hosted a large pasta dinner the night before the race for most of our team members and many other friends. That turned out great, as did the race day. This was the first time in three years I didn't race, but it was a lot of fun just being up there hanging out with everyone. There was a huge turnout this year, around 4500 racers so knowing the campground would be packed at the finish area we rented a campsite for the day of the race to set up our Ez-Up tents, do some grilling, make a campfire, etc. That worked out great as we had a big crowd of teammates and other friends hanging out all day.

The rest of November and December were basically consumed by work with some family activities thrown in there, including my sister-in-law Amy's graduation on December 18th. Congratulations Amy.

Now, getting back to my negatives for 2009, specifically my lack of riding and deteriorating fitness. That's my main goal going forward, to reverse that. We made a big step forward earlier in December. In place of buying each other Christmas gifts this year, Jackie and I bought an elliptical trainer and a spin bike as a gift to ourselves. We've turned our computer room into a mini gym with both of those in there, as well as my flat bench and Powerblocks. It really gives me a ton of opportunities to get some good workouts in. So far it seems to be working. Since we go everything on the 15th of December I've used it every day except for one. Now I just need to keep it up.

Looking into 2010, I think it's going to be a great year. You see all these articles and ads promoting New Year's resolutions, stating "New Year, New You". I read something the other day that said it better in my opinion, "New Year, Better You". That's what I'm going to focus on. I don't need a new me, I need to focus on the good parts and improve the parts of me that need it.

So Happy New Year. Hopefully yours was as fun as ours. We spent the evening with my family; had a great dinner courtesy of Amy and Sergio, had a blast playing the Wii Fit (even mom and dad gave it a shot, and toasted the New Year with a great bottle of champagne. Jackie took the picture above of the champagne. We bought that in Paris almost 2 1/2 years ago and were saving it for a special occasion. It was fun to open it up and share it with our family (other than Hayley, she got sparkling apple juice).

Here's to 2010 and a better me (and you).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vacation - Vegas & Zion

Jackie and I just got home from a great vacation. A week ago Saturday we flew to Las Vegas, intending to spend a day in Vegas at the beginning and end of our trip, then drive up to Zion National Park for the 5 days in between. We got into Vegas early so we had plenty of time to walk around and check out some of the casinos. Neither of us are too interested in gambling, but we did enjoy checking out all the different places. That night we had tickets to Zumanity, which is billed as the sensual side of Cirque Du Soleil. The show was amazing. Definitely not something to watch with your parents or kids (its actually 18 and over), but a really great show.

Sunday morning, after some breakfast, we jumped into the rental car and head to Zion. After about 2 1/2 hours we pulled into Springdale, the town just outside the park headquarters. Immediately we were amazed at the beauty with these huge red rock cliffs all around us. We spent some time in town scouting out some hiking plans for the upcoming week, grabbed some groceries and headed to the house we rented. That turned out to be a great place, fairly new and in a secluded vacation home community. Peace and quiet with awesome mountain views surrounding it.

The next morning we drove up into the high country in the middle of the park. This was a different area as we climbed to 7000-8000ft, and were surrounded by Ponderosa pines and Aspens. Many of the Aspens were turning yelllow for the fall, which made a great contrast against their white trunks.

On Tuesday we took advantage of the still 90+ degree temperatures and decided to hike the Narrows. This is the far north area of Zion Canyon where the canyon walls narrow to as little as 20feet in some spots with walls up to 2000feet. There's only a trail for the first mile, then you literally get into the river and hike through the water, either along the river bed or along the banks were possible. It was a really amazing experience. We hiked a total of about 3 1/2 miles up stream, then turned around and headed back.

Wednesday was our 4th anniversary. We had hoped to hike Angels Landing, but it was pretty windy so we decided on some less exposed hikes for the day. We ended up doing two hikes, Hidden Canyon and Emerald Pools. Hidden Canyon was 1 mile each way, plus some scrambling up a small slot canyon. The main trail included some exposed ledges along a cliff face that offered chains fixated to the wall for some added security.

Thursday we headed up Angels Landing. It was a little over 2 miles of steep climbs with lots of switchbacks, then we got to the chains. The first section was fairly simple and both of us thought we were almost there, then we came around the corner and saw that we still had about 1/2 mile of intense climbing along an exposed ridge. Either side of this were 1000 foot drops. I was pretty nervous, but Jackie encouraged me to give it a shot. We were moving pretty good and it wasn't too bad. We were about 3/4 of the way up and it was getting really crowded with 2 way traffic. Our nerves started getting the best of us both so we opted to grab some pictures where we were and head back down. The view is supposed to be amazing, but I don't regret the decision to head back down.

On Friday we headed back to Vegas and finished the trip off with dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant, overlooking the strip and the fountains at the Belagio. Great way to finish a great vacation.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A beautiful night in Lexington

Yesterday evening Jackie suggested we take a drive up to Lexington. We picked up her mom and sister Jill, then headed up. It was a beautiful night so I grabbed the camera to take some pictures up there. Here are some of my favorites from the night. After walking out on the pier we grabbed some dinner at Smackwater Jack's. Lexington has done a great job redeveloping their downtown area. All in ll it made for a great evening.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wedding Photography

Jackie's youngest sister Amy got married on August 16th. Since I have my fancy new camera I helped out taking pictures at the ceremony and reception. The ceremony was at Dow Gardens in Midland, very beautiful with plenty of good spots for pictures. I got a little shutter happy, taking 1345 pictures, but it was a lot of fun, using the new camera and getting some really cool shots.

Jackie was one of the bridesmaids and look exceptionally beautiful, as you can see in the picture below. Everything went great, and other than being super hot out (in the 90's with lots of humidity) the weather was good.

One of the cool accessories I got for the camera was an external flash. You can aim it in different directions so during the reception I would bounce the flash off the white cealing which made the pictures turn out nice and bright, but without that glossy look from the flash reflecting off people's faces.

If you're interested, all of the pictures can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com/JandJSchneider.