Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Recap

Wow, I can't believe tomorrow is New Years Eve. This year flew by. Christmas has come and gone, so here's a couple highlights from ours.

We spent Christmas Eve with Jackie's family. They have a huge family party every year, with probably over 50 people in attendance. The first couple years it was a bit intimidating, but I feel really comfortable with everyone now.

Christmas Day we headed out to Romeo to spend the day with my family. This year my sister hosted. It was fun because Hayley got a Wii for Christmas, so we had a blast playing that with her. Here's some shots from the day.

Hayley and I getting ready to square off in tennis.

Mom even got in some bowling action.

I had the day after Christmas off so I was finally able to participate in the day after Christmas ride the team usually does. It started out as a big group planning to meet up at Stoney Creek. That plan quickly deteriorated as Michigan's wonderful weather had other plans for us. I ended up meeting John and Todd for a quick ride on the side streets of Marysville early in the morning. It was quite cold out, but the bottle of Hot Damn Todd brought helped warm us. About a third of the way through it started sleeting really hard with some strong winds. We made it back safely and warmed up with some coffee.

Two days after Curt and I got out to pedal around the streets of Romeo. That was an interesting ride too, with temps in the low 30's and 50mph wind gusts. Still better than the trainer though.

The last image of Christmas is our cat, Bailey. This one's for our cousin Allison over in England. Bailey is typically the trouble maker between him and his brother. The other day he decided he needed to climb into the Christmas Tree. Luckily its artificial.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Trainers, Pushups and Stairs

Well, racing is over for about 4 months now so its time to do some off season training. My offseason routine is going to consist of indoor trainer sessions on the bike, hopefully some outdoor rides on the weekends, weekly stair runs, road and trail running if its not too icy and lots of strength training.

Back in May I bought some adjustable dumbells from Dave at BFB called SportBlocks. They're great because you can adjust them from 5 to 50lbs in about 5 seconds. I've been using them semi-regularly since and have definitely noticed a difference in my upper body strength. for the winter, I need to start incorporating lower body workouts as well.

Pushups are on my mind too. I recently joined one of the coolest news sites out there, Just Finish. Its a social networking site similar to Facebook, but its aimed at ordinary people who either have or hope to complete extraordinary events. One of the groups I've joined on there is the One Hundred Pushup challenge. Its a six week online program designed to work your way up to completing 100 consecutive pushups. I've only done my initial test so far to determine what level I need to start at. I managed 35, so I've got some work to do.

This past Thursday I did my first stair runs of the year. John got me going on this last year as a great offseason training to build strength and endurance. The hockey arena in town is open most of the time for youth hockey or figure skating so we just let ourselves in and run laps, up and down. A full lap has eight up and eight down. Since it was my first time back I only did four laps on Thursday and let me tell you I'm glad I didn't push any harder because I am really sore right now.

Today is windy with a sleet/rain mix expected throughout most of the day. Plus we had freezing rain last night so everything looks a little frozen right now. Back on the trainer we go.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


At least that's what it looked like when we got there. Sunday was the Michigan State Cyclocross Championships at Waterford Hills. We had been getting snow all week, including quite a bit on Saturday, plus the temperatures weren't supposed to get out of the teens.

I left the house around 7am and drove to Romeo to meet up with Curt. When we were loading my stuff into his car I thought "its not that bad out". Once we got to Waterford I ate my words. Stepping out of the car I realized there must have been something blocking the wind at Curt's place and there was nothing to help us at the race course. It was bitter cold, plus there was easily 6+ inches of snow with drifts much deeper.

I wasn't really sure what to expect. Based on crashes at my last couple races I put some snow/mud specific tires on the bike so I hoped that would make a difference but I didn't really know what to expect. So we got registered, then changed into basically every piece of riding clothes I brought, then headed out to pre-ride the course. At first it was pretty slow going, trudging through some pretty deep snow on the course. Then I look up and here comes Robert (the race promoter) on his 4-wheeler with a plow and he is actually plowing the race course. That's not something I ever expected to see. But it worked great as it was way easier to ride where he plowed. The new tires felt pretty good too.

Before long it was time to line up so we headed to the start. For some reason they decided to start all the men in one big group instead of splitting us into two. I sat on the back and let the faster guys move up front. That ended up making the first lap really slow as it constantly bottlenecked and at times I was almost track standing. As we raced I got more and more comfortable with the tires and pushed their limits. I managed to stay upright the whole race and only had to run one hill, just because the riders in front of me stopped and didn't get out of the way.

Curt and I ended up riding the whole race together. This was only his second race of the year, coming back from a knee injury, but he rode well. I could tell he still had a lot of his technical skills with him as he would pull ahead on me in the tight stuff, but I would pull him back in on the flats. We finished towards the back of the pack, but it was a fun race in the snow.

The rest of the TSB CX crew was out too, including Joe, who hasn't been around much lately. Unfortunately he flatted so he didn't finish, but it was good to see him anyways. John did his usual domination, taking home like a dozen awards on the day (I didn't think you could win that much from one event). Lee was the big surprise of the day, storming the old guy field with his mountain bike and grabbing 2nd place and Ben finished mid pack.

Its weird, racing is over for the year, but I really want to keep cross racing. I question while I do before and during the races, but then after I want to do another one. Time to start training for next year though. I'm hoping to do some more endurance stuff next summer so I better start getting those base miles in.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crossing It Up

In my last post I mentioned I've been doing some cross racing this fall. So far I've done 4 races this year. Of the first three I felt good and was happy with my results at one and pretty disappointed with my finish at the other two. So going into my 4th race I was really hoping to improve. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving at Bloomer Park. The weather sucked, really cold (low 20's) with a heavy layer of frost on the ground. That made it a little tough to get moving at first. After a lap of warm up I actually felt pretty good though, other than numb fingers, so I got some warmer gloves on and headed to the start line.

Other than the cold, it was a great morning. John, Ben and Todd were there racing as usual, plus Curt was out racing instead of taking pictures. It was really cool to have him out there riding his bike with us again. He's been sidelined almost all year with a knee injury, so I haven't ridden with him since early spring. That's made the year seem weird since we really got into the sport together and typically ride together quite a bit. Also, we had some great spectators that day too, with Brian (a fellow TSb member), John's dad Rich, Jackie, and her sisters Jill and Amy there to cheer us on.

So, back to the race. They blow the whistle and off we go. As usual, I can see John shoot off the front with the holeshot. I was hanging about mid-pack, actually feeling pretty good. Then we hit the open grassy area just before the first set of barriers, and as I'm rounding a 90 degree corner my front tires washes out on the frosty grass. I went down really hard onto the frozen ground, skidded and rolled over, slamming my bike into the ground. A couple guys paused to ask if I was okay, and I popped up pretty quickly. It didn't make sense to jump back on the bike yet so I grabbed it and just ran to the first set of barriers. By this point everyone in 39 and under caught me and the 40 and over guys were passing me too. As I crossed the barriers Curt passed me and I thought I could jump on and ride with him for a bit. As soon as I jumped on the bike though something felt wrong. I quickly realized the my handlebars had spun on the steer tube and were off center about 15 degrees. Off the bike again, I tried to straighten them with no luck, so I jumped back on and rode with crooked handlebars. It took a little bit but eventually I got used to it. By this point I was quite a ways back so I started trying to bridge up to some of the other riders. I would make some progress, but then fall back again, over and over. Basically every off camber area or tight turn would make me nervous after the early crash so I know I was riding really conservatively.

I ended up coming in second to last in my class, my worst finish of the year. Actually I think its my worst finish ever in cyclocross. Plus the crash added insult to injury, it knocked my new front wheel out of true and made me really sore for the next couple days. The rest of the team did really well though. John won the C race with a sprint finish against Jason from RBS.

Now on to the state championship race at Waterford Hills. Remember above when I said the weather sucked at Bloomer? Well, it was actually really nice. This is going to really suck. If we're lucky it will get out of the teens, and we're supposed to have a couple inches of snow. I did get some new tires, Michelin Mud 2's so hopefully that helps, though I suspect that it has more to do with the operator than with the equipment.

Here's the link to all the pictures Jill took at the race: http://picasaweb.google.com/JandJSchneider/BloomerCX2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bike Races and International Travel

That's pretty much what I've done since my last post. I had wanted to update this more often, but it just never seems to make the priority list with everything going on. Since my last post I've competed in a couple cross races and the Iceman. Cross has been fun as more of the team has been getting involved. Tomorrow is the Bloomer cross race. I'm looking forward to that one, other than the fact that it will be about 25 or 30 degrees when we race. Should be a good turnout though.

Iceman is one of my favorite events of the year and this year it didn't disappoint. For the second year in a row we rented a large vacation home up in Traverse City instead of hotel rooms or a condo. It works great because we can have more people stay with us and have plenty of room to entertain. Also for the second year in a row the rental agency switched our rental last minute. This year's switch worked out much better than last though. The place we ended up in was absolutely gorgeous, about a 1.5 million dollar home on Long Lake about 10 minutes out of downtown Traverse City. The race went really well too. I managed to take 5 minutes off my 2007 time, finishing in 2:11. Almost everyone from Team Sandbag did really well too, including John and Brad who were both sub-2 hours.

Last night I got home from my second trip to the UK in less than a month. I enjoy the travel and especially working with our rep over there. Just over a month ago I went to Edinburgh, Scotland for an orthopedic foot and ankle conference we were hosting. Because of my flight schedule I ended up with a free day there. I was excited to get to see the city, but the weather didn't cooperate. It was raining on and off and stronger winds than I have ever experienced. So strong that they closed down the castle to tours.

My last trip was to Liverpool, England, the home of the Beatles. I flew into Manchester via Chicago Ohare airport. If you've ever been to Ohare you will know what I mean when I say, what a massive airport. I arrive Monday afternoon and check a monitor for my flight to Manchester. Its leaving from gate M16 so a quick scan of the signs and I should be on my way. Hmm, there are signs for terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5, plus A through just about L but no mention of M. I asked a airport security woman "Is there a terminal M?". She responded like it was a silly question, "yes, terminal 5." My bad, I guess I should have just known that M is always in 5. Everything went well and I made it safely to Manchester. Once there I took about a 10 minute walk to the train station and hoped on a train to Liverpool. The public transportation there is amazing compared to here in the states. Its funny though that the locals complain about it and feel its very limited.

Tuesday I had a chance to walk around Liverpool for a while. What a great city. It has a large portion of downtown closed to traffic. The streets are all pedestrian only and lined with shops, cafes, and pubs. Seems like it would be a great place to spend a few days in. The conference I was there for went well, and before I knew it, I was sitting on a plane again. I was bummed that on neither trip was I able to stop in London to visit my cousins Dave and Allison. They've been living there for 2 years now. Jackie and I were able to spend over a week with them last fall and I stopped in for a visit last March on a trip over. Hopefully I'll get back over there soon. Now I'm back home and should be for a bit too. Next trip isn't until January, unless something pops up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My blog sucks!

That's pretty much what everyone has been telling me, so I figured I should do one of two things, actually make a post or just delete the whole thing. Since so many faithful followers of me would be crushed if I deleted it, here we go.

My last post was 5 months ago. Pathetic, huh? So I'm not going to do the catch up post, because I don't feel like typing all night. There's still a lot going on to talk about though.

Jackie and I just celebrated our 3rd anniversary with a long weekend up north. We stayed in St Ignace (just on the UP side of the Mackinaw Bridge) and did day trips to Tahquamenon Falls, Mackinaw Island, Pictured Rocks and the Soo Locks. Our hotel was right on Lake Huron, over looking Mackinaw Island. Every night they would have a campfire down by the beach. One night while down there we started talking to an older couple who were the only other people there. They asked why we were up there and when I said for our 3rd anniversary they both started laughing. Turns out they were there celebrating their 53rd. Big deal, so we're a few years off. Gives us something to strive for.

Other than Iceman, and a few other races, the mountain bike season is basically over. But cyclocross is in full swing. A few of my teammates are really into cross so I joined them for a race at Stoney Creek just over a week ago. One word describes cross, brutal. The race is only 1/2 hour long, but you're going full out the whole time. If you stop and coast to take a break you will end up with too much ground to make up in 30 minutes. Ben, John and our newest Todd on Team Sandbag all raced as well. Curt was there taking pictures as he's still having knee problems. It's tough on Curt too, as he is really passionate about cross and is basically the one that got everyone involved in it from our team.

The rest of the team did really well. Todd took 2nd (in his first race ever), John got 4th and Ben got 7th. I think I was actually in last place in our class for a little bit, but on our second lap of three I became determined to not place last. One by one I picked off some guys from our class and some from the over 40 class that had passed me earlier. I ended up 23rd out of 28 racers. Not the best finish, but better than laying on the couch I suppose. The races are painful and I spend much of it thinking to myself "why the hell am I doing this?". But once its over I start thinking about the next one. Crazy, huh?

Speaking of the next one, I'll give it a go again this weekend. Then I'm off to Scotland for work next week. Iceman is just around the corner, so I need to get a few more good workouts in. Stay tuned, maybe I'll post up about it, hopefully in less than 5 months.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My First Century

I've been a bad blogger lately. No posts in almost two months. Its amazing how easy it is to get out of the habit. Well, I had a fun day yesterday that I figured would be worth writing about. I completed my first century on a bike (100 miles). It was at the 12 hours of Addison Oaks. Its an endurance race that runs for either 6 or 12 hours and can be done individually, or as two or four person teams. The race is all trails, and fairly tight singletrack at that, but its one of my favorite trails around.

I was a little intimidated by this initially. I really had no idea if I would be able to ride for that long, but I wanted to try. Plus it would be a good training exercise for the Lumberjack 100 race I have coming up in June. That race is 100 miles and I figure is going to take me a solid 10 hours to complete. My initial plan with the Addison race yesterday was to just do the 6 hour race. Both Jackie and my friend Lee had been encouraging me to do the full 12 as training. I'm so glad I listened to them. While the whole race was really tough, the worst part was pretty much miles 40 through about 65 or so. I struggled the most there and that's right where I would have finished a 6 hour race. Later in the race I seemed to get a bit of a second wind and stuff stopped hurting as much.

I finished up the last 25-30 miles with my friend Todd, who was doing the 12 solo as well and is also going to be racing Lumberjack. It was great to have someone to ride those final laps with. We did end up calling it a day at about 10 1/2 hours since we were over 100 miles. Part of me wanted to get out for another lap or two, but the other part really enjoyed changing into dry, warm clothes and relaxing. Today I feel pretty good surprisingly. I'm a little sore in spots, but feel better than I had thought I would. It probably wouldn't feel good to get on a bike seat right now though.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ti 29er

Woohoo, its finally here. My new frame arrived today and it turned out awesome. I had Scott Quiring build me a custom titanium 29er hardtail. Here it is.

I'm still waiting on a few components before I can finish it so it will be a couple weeks before I can ride it. Here's what I have planned for it.
-White Brothers Magic 29 fork
-Industry Nine wheels laced to Stans Arch rims
-Thomson seatpost and stem
-Race Face Deus riser bar
-Truvativ Noir crankset
-SRAM X9 shifters and derailuers
-Avid BB7 disc brakes
-Maxxis Ignitor tires
I am really happy with the finish on it. Instead of paint he left it raw Ti and bead blasted the logo and flame etchings into it. It looks really cool and will be really durable as well. Now I would really like to take it up to BFB, borrow a workstand and start building it. Unfortunately duty calls though. I am off to Amsterdam Thursday for a couple days, followed by a couple days in Edinburgh, then a stop in London. It will be a busy trip, but should be fun. Plus I get to see my cousins Dave and Allison, who live in England. And as a bonus my other cousins Steve, Maria and their two boys Danielle and Matthew will be there as well.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Visiting the Sunshine State

It's been a while since I posted anything here. This is a really busy time of the year for me. In the past month I have been to Baltimore, Long Beach and San Francisco for work, plus I am heading for Europe in just a few days.

Jackie and I did get to enjoy some time away that wasn't work related for me though. The end of February we flew down to Florida to visit my parents, who are down there for a month. Normally they only go for a couple weeks, but my dad has officially retired so they can stay as long as they like. Congratulations Dad!
We flew down to Tampa on a Wednesday evening and my parents picked us up and drove us over to Anna Maria Island, where they are staying. It is an intercoastal island just south of Tampa. We had just over three days there to relax and enjoy the great weather.
The first day it was a bit cool, high 50's, but just coming from Michigan it still felt great. We visited one of my dad's favorite place, Myakka State Park, which is inland a ways form Sarasota. Its a beautiful area with lots of tropical forests and a large lake. We were able to take a boat ride on the lake a see around a dozen large alligators sunning themselves. Then we went for a short hike back into the woods to a canopy walk where you can actually climb onto a swinging bridge around the tree tops and onto a platform well above the tree tops.
The second day Dad and I found a bike shop so I could rent a bike. I was able to get a really nice Specialized Allez for a day and a half. After this long cold winter it felt great to get out and ride in shorts and short sleeves. After my ride we went to the Desoto National Monument, which turned out to be fairly interesting. It was where the Spanish explorer supposedly landed in the 1500's to explore the new world. They had a demonstration of weapons and armor from the time period and I was able to try on some chain mail. I can't imagine doing much of anything in that, expecially fighting.
The next morning I got an early start and rode the length of Anna Maria Island, Long Boat Key and Lido Key, which are all connected with short bridges. All together it got in about 40 miles. What beautiful riding, with the gulf on my side and cool ocean breezes. After that we had a pretty relaxing day, visiting an art show in town and spending some time on the beach. I did brave the ocean, but only up to my waist. It needed to be about 5 degrees warmer. It was still nice though.
That evening we were all treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. Check out the pictures in this album link, though they don't do it justice. Sunday morning we got up early so my parents could drive us back to the airport. Back to Michigan for more snow and cold. At least it was in the 40's when we got home. A lot better than some of the other weather lately.
Thanks Mom and Dad for having us down. We had a great time and it was a really nice, relaxing break.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Do we really need more snow?

Wow, this has been one snowy winter. I've shoveled more snow so far this year than I think I did all of the previous two winters in our house. Last week we go hammered with almost 18". It was so bad that I got my car stuck in our driveway, and our driveway is flat! Then I almost got stuck on the way to work the next morning in the road.

Now it's snowing again. I just shoveled 3-4 fresh inches and it is coming down pretty fast. Hopefully the front passes soon.

I was able to get out and do some riding last Saturday though, but not here in Michigan. I had to go down to Baltimore for the weekend for work. I got in a little early on Saturday and rented a mountain bike from a local shop and headed out to the trails at Patapsco Valley State Park, just outside Baltimore. The trails turned out to be awesome. Luckily I got a guided tour. I bumped into a local rider named Mike and asked him for some directions. He was nice enough to let me tag along and we rode for two and a half or three hours. The trails there are a lot more technical than what I am used to, very rocky, but a lot of fun. Plus the weather was great, in the low 50's. What really sucked was coming back to frigid Michigan though. When I walked into the airport on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore it was 50, when I walked out of the Detroit airport it was below 0. Talk about a shock to your system!

My busy travel season for work is here now. In addition to the Baltimore trip I was just on I have a ton of work travel coming up. Two trips to California, some time in Europe, Chicago and a personal trip with Jackie down to Florida to visit my parents on their vacation. That's all in the next month and a half. I'm dreading all the travel.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Neither sleet nor rain nor snow!

Can keep me from riding my new bike. We were supposed to get 10" or so of snow yesterday, but the weather man was wrong. Huh, there's a surprise. We did get a few inches of wet, heavy snow. I really had my heart set on riding my new bike this weekend so I was relieved that it wasn't as bad as the forecast had called for.

I had to wait to get out and really enjoy the bike. On Monday night I had swapped over my pedals and adjusted everything to fit me only to find the seatpost was too short to extend out far enough. Apparently a lot of people experience this with this particular model so it wouldn't surprise me if Raleigh changes the spec. I had Dave over at BFB order me a longer post. There's a lot of options, but I chose to go with a Thomson. It's manufactured here in the US, is relatively lightweight and is one of the stronged posts available so I should never need to replace it.

So I'm kind of rambling on here. Wasn't this post about riding the new bike? Yes, it was. This morning I got the new post on and all adjusted up. There was a little drizzle coming down, but not bad. I loaded up the bike and headed to the rail trail just a couple miles from our house. It doesn't get plowed, but I figured I would just ride through the snow. There ended up being four wheeler tracks that were pretty easy to follow. Those were eventually accompanied by snowmobile tracks, which aren't very nice to ride in. After about 8 or 9 miles on the rail trail I bailed for the road, which wasn't much better in spots, but for the most part was pretty easy to ride on. Altogether I got in a little over 18 miles in two hours. Really enjoyed the new bike, it was comfortable and rode well in the snow. Now I just need this snow to melt so I can get it on to some trails.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post, yesterday was my birthday. I had a great birthday, celebrating with Jackie's family on Saturday and mine on Sunday. Jackie surprised me pretty well. She made me wait until almost the end of my birthday before giving me my present. Here's what she got me.
It's a Raleigh XXIX 29'er singlespeed. I've had my eye on it at the Bike and Fitness Barn for a while now. Apparently my hints worked. I had another singlespeed, but it was a bike I had pretty much assembled from spare parts and never really seemed to work that great. Plus this is a 29'er (29" wheels vs 26" wheels on a standard mountain bike) which I am really excited about. The bigger wheels are supposed to role over stuff a lot easier and hold momentum better. They do require a bit more effort to get up to speed, but once there they should keep going better.
I'm really excited to get it out on the trail. Tonight I put my pedals on and adjusted everything to my liking. I couldn't resist riding it around a little even though it was dark out. When Jackie came home she asked me who had been skiing in our yard since there were tracks all over the snow from me. So far it handles great and is a blast to ride.
This will be a great training tool for me, as well as a lot of fun. Singlespeeds help you learn how to corner faster and keep your momentum since you don't have the luxury to just downshift. Plus they are great if the weathers not the best. Much easier to clean without all the gears and derailuers.

Testing out the Toboggan

Yesterday Jackie and I went sledding with our niece Hayley, my sister Amy and brother-in-law Sergio. We have been wanting to go sledding with Hayley for a couple years now, but never seemed to be able to get out. For Christmas this year we got them a toboggan so we had to help test it out.

We ended up going to the community center in Romeo, not far from their house. This is where I used to sled as a kid since we lived just up the street from there. It is a bit different now. They have added a big hill in what used to be a low area of the property. The new hill has a step down affect, where it slows down a bit in the middle. The snow was pretty warn down on that section and we weren't moving too fast so we decided to try out another hill there. This is the hill I always sledded down when I was a kid and it worked out great.

Before we left we had to go climb around on the playground equipment a little bit. Click on the picture above to check out the full gallery.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Snowy Day for a Ride

Yesterday Curt and I drove out to Novi Tree Farm for a ride on our single speeds. I have only ridden Novi one other time, with Curt also. The last time I rode out there it was so muddy we had to bail out about half way into the ride. Hoping for better results I had watched the trail conditions on MMBA throughout the week and it sounded fairly promising, packed snow on the trails, but no hidden layer of ice so not too difficult to ride on.

My drive down to Curt's place was interesting. Very snowy, saw a bad accident when a truck couldn't slow down and slammed into the back of the car in front of him, then skidded off the road and hit a telephone pole.

We finally arrived at Novi and got ourselves ready to ride. Riding in the winter can be such a pain. In the summer you show up, unload your bike, put your shoes, helmet and gloves on and go. Not in the winter. To stay warm, but not too warm, you need to wear multiple layers. My feet are always the part that gets coldest. I wear thick neoprene socks, stuff one of those chemical toe warmers over my toes, and wear neoprene covers over my shoes too.

While warming up in the parking lot I ran into a couple guys on bikes who just got done trying to ride. They told me the snow was too thick and you couldn't make it. We decided to find out for ourselves. It was definitely slow going in spots and you need to really pay attention and keep a firm grip on the bars. The snow has a tendancy to push you all over the place. We did manange to finish the entire loop, which is about 10 miles. It took us around 2 hours though, easily double what it normally was. So I still haven't been able to really enjoy Novi. Not to say I didn't enjoy the ride yesterday, but it was tough going. I look forward to getting out and riding it again, but on dry trails next time.

Today is my birthday. Jackie and I are heading out to Romeo to celebrate with my family. First we plan to head to Amy and Sergios and go sledding with them and Hayley. We got them a taboggan for Christmas and are excited to try it out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


For the past few years our friend Laura has organized curling for a group of us. She rents out the entire Detroit Curling Club, which has four sheets (think lanes at a bowling alley). Each sheet will have eight players, two teams of four. It was a great time, as always. I don't think it is a sport I would want to do regularly, but it is fun to do every once in a while and a great opportunity to get together with friends.
The key to the game is to slide the rock, which is around 30lbs, from one end of the sheet to the other end. The tricky part is getting it to stop in the circle on the other end. You only get points if it is in the center, and if someone from the other team gets one of their stones closer you don't get any points. We played for about two hours, which is just about right. At that point you are starting to get a little cold and tired of sliding around on the ice. It's something we look forward to every year. Click here to check out all our pictures.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Partying with TSB

This past Sunday was our annual Team Sandbag party. We have a number of get togethers throughout the year, but this one I really look forward to. This years party was held at Quay Street Brewery in Port Huron. They are a local microbrewer and an excellent restaurant.

The main purposes of this party are to recap last season, discuss the upcoming season, give out some team awards and watch the team video from the previous year. I was second in trail hours this past year so I got recognized for that from Bob and Mary, the owners of Ruby Campground. Additionally, I received the 2007 Sportsmanship Award. This was really an honor for me as all the members of the team have a chance to vote for the winner. It really made me feel good that I was choosen for this, especially considering how much a lot of other members invest into the team. That has really made me realize how lucky I am to be part of such a great group.

After all the awards and such we watched the 2007 team video, put together by Mike with Mashers Media. Mike spends a tremendous amount of time on this every year and it shows. It was a lot of fun to watch it with the team and I'm sure I will see it many more times as it will be great to spin to.

Hanging out with everyone has really made me excited about the 2008 season. Racing season is still 3 months away, but I am really getting excited about it.

Monday, January 7, 2008

2008 Goals

Well, its about time to write (err, type) this stuff down. I have been planning to get my goals down for a couple weeks now. So here we go.

1. Start the mountain bike race season (mid-April) under 190lbs. This is a recycled goal from last year. I was really disappointed I didn't hit this and am determined to do it this year.

2. Finish the Lumberjack 100. I would like to say I want to do it in 10 hours, but I really have no idea what a 100 mile mountain bike race will be like, so pacing myself to finish is my goal for this year.

3. Log 3000 miles of outdoor riding this year. In 2007 I came close to hitting 2000, only missed it by about 40 miles, but I had to throw in trainer miles at the end of the year.

4. Place top 3 in a USAC Cross Country race,

5. Drop my Iceman time down to 2:05 or less.

I'm excited about 2008. My new bike should be done soon so that will be fun to build up and start riding. I'm also really looking forward to getting more involved in the endurance type races, such as the Lumberjack. Though I didn't list it as an official goal, I also plan to do at least one 6 hour solo race, the 6 Hours of Addison in May. This will be good preperation for Lumberjack.

The year will have many other things to look forward to. Jackie and I are planning a trip to Colorado in the end of June. I will continue to travel for work, which may be a bit burdensome on my training, but I need to make the best of it and find time to get some exercise. My first business trip of the year is tomorrow, though luckily it's only for a day and a half. Not too bad.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year and More Snow

Happy New Years! Just when the last snow storm was starting to melt off, here we go again. We woke up New Years Day to 8-9 fresh inches of fairly heavy snow. I was supposed to meet some teammates for the first ride of the year, but have been battling a cold so I stayed home. I was bummed out to miss it as I really enjoy starting the year off with a ride. Oh well, next year. For now, I will have to jump on the trainer.

Jackie and I went out to shovel around 11 o'clock. Here are some pictures of us both working hard. For some reason I feel like I worked harder. Can't complain though, we came inside and I settled down to watch some bowl games, but she got paged in to work. Probably all those people out shoveling. So have a happy New Year and take it easy shoveling, or you might be seeing Jackie!
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