Cycling and the Great US of A

I used to have a wonderful outlet for my cycling fix. The Universal Sports Network was my baby.  I would tune in there to watch the Tour de France, cyclocross, UCI XC Mountain Biking.   It was my little heaven.

I have checked the listings again and again, and just found out my provider no longer carried my beloved USN channel any longer.  No, they replaced it with NBC Sports.  Why? I have no clue.  They are both owned by the same company, but for some reason I no longer can see my favorite sport throughout the year.

I started searching and came across a gem of an article.
Cyclocosm – Why Americans Can’t Watch Cycling on TV

In conclusion, PLEASE PROVIDERS, PLEASE, MAKE CYCLING EASIER FOR US FANS TO WATCH!!   It would not be hard to maintain a site that simply has cycling news, videos, and live streaming of events.  Okay, maybe the life streaming would be a bit tougher to pull off, so how about just a post coverage site?  Maybe 5-days or so after the event, post up the video for all of us paying subscribers to view?

Sure, us cycling fans are not near as numerous as football or baseball fans here in the states; yet we are there.  Just because you cannot make as much money as another sport, well, that does not mean you should abandon it all together.  Seriously, the footage is being recorded anyway.  If you charged people, say $100 a year to view all your content, times that by a few hundred thousand people (I am sure many cycling fans would pay this amount to view events year round), and you are making money.

Please don’t abandon us fans in the USA.  We are still there.  Besides, how can a sport grow and gain a following if you never show it??

I’d also love to watch some WRC coverage as well if you don’t mind.  🙂

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Time to start new

It has been far too long since I have been on this site.  My life has been crazy lately.  With a job ending, and now starting up a new business, it has been all over. 

I still ride, mainly my cargo bike.  Since I am working from home, I tend to ride my bike to run those simple errands.  It is wonderful actually.  I have time for church, I have time for family, and I have time to sell off those things I do not really use anymore.   It is really nice to remove clutter.  I guess you could call it clutter.  I mean, we are “living the American dream” I suppose.  A huge house, bigger than we really need, that can hold just under 3,000 square-feet of stuff.  

It is really humorous actually.  We have this huge house, and yet we desire less “stuff”.  I just sold off my old punching bag.  I had full intentions to get back into using it, I just got busy with life.   I also planned on upgrading a lower end bike, but that went by the side once my job ended.  I just sold off my old Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29-er.  You were a good bike Rocky, you will be missed.

My blog will still include some bike stuff, but it will also include some of what my new business is about.  I will be doing photography, artwork, and some graphic design.  I am no pro.  The graphic design just kind of fell into place once I started doing web design.  I have been trying to save people money by doing both.  So far they seem rather happy with my work (nothing fancy, but useful).

That is what will be changing about this blog.  Oh, and that I will post more often than every 200-days.  If you have ever been in my seat, losing a job is no fun.  It is really stressful and takes a toll on your nerves.  We are blessed in that my wife has a great job, and this has opened a window for me to do something I truly love.

I hope everyone is staying safe with this lovely winter weather we are having in the states!

My HiFi is all ready for some serious riding now the hardtail is gone.  Since I only have one mountain bike, it will be used quite often now!  My roadie will be for training and tiny trips where I really do not want to take the cargo bike. I say training, it will most likely find a home on my bicycle trainer, and there it will probably stay.

I have the Trek/Gary Fisher HiFi 29-er hanging up in the garage, totally prepped for warmer weather, ready to go!


So “Millennium” (short for Millennium Falcon from Star Wars) is ready to hit the trails. I name only the bikes I really like. Rocky was named because that bike got me back into mountain biking. Millennium got named because it is by far the best bike I have ever been blessed to own. Seriously, this bike is like heaven going down the trails or down the street. I love it!

Okay, okay, before you complain, the rear rack has a purpose. For starters, I am not all that concerned with weight. However, I do like having fun. Having to remove my hydration pack because I want a protein bar is not fun. So that rack will hold a Topeak trunk bag. I had that on my roadie for ages. I decided to put it on my mountain bike because it will be used a lot more, and, well, sometimes I really do not wish to have a hydro pack on my back, so this would work great.

I also hope to do a little light touring, maybe even a marathon race on it. The trunk bag may come in handy if I do not have a support crew!

I will leave you all with that. I Just need to make it a habit again to update this blog. Maybe I will link it to my website, I am not sure yet. However, if anyone is interested in my artwork or photography, feel free to check out my Facebook page for my business! I would post my website address, but I am still building that site. At least the Facebook page is going and updated as I get content.

Click here to visit the Facebook page!

As always, ride on my friends!

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Spring is here

I suppose it is time to drag out my Trek HiFi 29-er and prep it for the trails. The brakes need some bleeding. Well, that and the drive line needs a slight adjustment. Other than that, the bike is ready to go.

I cannot wait to hit some trails soon. All the trails near by are a bit too wet right now. I will wait a week or two before I hit them up. I like suffering in the heat, apparently.

Get out and enjoy the great weather!

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Long overdue

It has been too long since I have been on here. Life has been busy!

Okay, so I left you all with two weeks left until my big ride. Good news, my neck was in top form for the ride! The pain I had was rather weak when I got on the bike.

I did two rides before the big ride. I told myself I would “go out for an easy ride”, but that was not the case. No, I headed out and went hard shortly after a warm up. For some reason, my ability to ride hard is based on how hard I start out. If I do an initial “shock” to my muscles at the beginning of a ride, I seem to be able to push harder than if I ease into it. I think it is a mental thing.

Anyway, that Monday before the big ride I did 40 miles. Tuesday I did 40 miles as well, but at a much easier pace. I am not saying I did not have some fun on some short climbs, but I was not all out for the entire ride.

I then took the rest of the week off to relax and stretch. I packed up my tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, tarp (to protect the bottom of the tent), and all my stuff into two bags. The camping items went into an old sea bag, and my required items (clothing, gear, etc) went into a small carry-on sized bag.

Friday I headed out with my buddy to drop off our gear to the truck. The trucks would meet us at our midway point on Saturday.

We left the house by bicycle, and passed one of the official starting locations mere minutes after the start took place. Oh, before I forget, I promised you all a photo of my ride, so here it is:

I was one of three people I saw who were on mountain bikes for this 160+ mile journey. People kept doing double takes, especially as I passed them. It was a lot of fun riding out in a sea of road bikes on a mountain bike.

Only 25 miles into the ride, I accidentally dropped my water bottle. I shouted out “BOTTLE!”, and then yelled “SLOWING”. I wanted people to be on the lookout for it and know I was slowing down, so they did not run into the back of me. My friend stopped with me. Apparently a truck that was passing us ran over my bottle, shattering the lid. I had to limp for an additional 30 miles on one water bottle. That was not fun.

At the lunch stop I purchased a new bottle, rinsed it a few times and then filled it up with water. We headed out and I started to take off, having fun on some of the little hills. I heard something fall and saw something bounce across the road. I did not think anything of it and kept pedaling. About 2-3 miles later I thought, “My MP3 player sure went quiet, maybe it is a lower volume song, I will turn it up.” Well, I looked down and had a missing MP3 player. It clicked right that second that it was my MP3 player that I saw bouncing off behind me earlier. So I turned around and headed back for it. I did notice something black in the road after a couple of miles, and it was my MP3 player. It had been run over by a vehicle and was no longer round. It was more of a scratched up, and abused oval now. However, it was still working. All the buttons still worked, the speaker still worked, despite it being ran over by a vehicle most likely weighing over 3,000-pounds. A nice $40 investment.

Anyway, it just was not my day. At least I did not get a flat! So I arrived at the mid-point insanely early, even with my stops and going back for items that got ran over. It was a record for me. 92-miles in roughly 7-hours. Including the few stops for my friend to go to the restroom, lunch, and locating a water bottle. Also some traffic hold ups, and other things. Not too bad. I remember I did a 65-mile training ride before last years ride and I did that in 4:45. That is quite an improvement. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I neglected to lock out my front fork on the climbs. That ate up some power. I did not make that mistake on day two.

After camping for the night, I woke up insanely early and started packing. Even waking up at 4am, I still slept 8 hours. I was ready to go. I could not say the same for my friend. He stayed in the main tent. Apparently the lights went out an hour later than when they said it would. He was surrounded by people who snored loudly, and then the lights went on an hour early. So he maybe got 4-hours of sleep. I did not have room in my tent for anyone else other than myself. He said if he did the ride again and had to camp, a tent would be the only way to go.

I packed up my campsite and threw my bags on the truck. They provided us breakfast. I ate and was really chilled by the low 50*F weather we were having. This was not because it was in the low 50’s, it was because I was wearing less layers than the day before. I did not want to be stuck trying to find places to put my heavier jacket, heavier gloves, etc. I knew once I got on the bike I would be okay. There was a delay with the start. We left out about 30-minutes after we should have. Once we got on the road, I was gone. I went easy while it was packed. The second we turned onto the main road, I saw a window and tore off. I was still cold and I wanted to get my heart rate up as fast as possible to warm me up. Well, my friend was left in my dust, and I did not even see him until the lunch stop (we decided that morning to ride as fast as we wanted to). I was finishing up my lunch when he showed up. I walked with him to snag his lunch, and I was gone. I got back on the road as soon as possible. My legs cannot take a long break very well. They tighten up (acid build up) and it takes a solid 15-20 minutes to get them going again, sometimes even longer.

I stopped once on the second half of day two. I was drinking a lot of water, so I made a pit stop at the last rest stop of the ride. I filled up my water bottles and grabbed a quick snack. I was back on the bike again and flying up the hills. At the top of a particularly nasty climb, I passed two guys on road bikes. They were at least $3500 bikes. One guy was giving the other encouraging words. The one receiving those words looked like he was suffering pretty good. The rider that was doing okay saw me, then told his friend, “Dude, you just got passed by a mountain bike.” We all started laughing. Best comment of the ride!

About 45-minutes later I crossed the finish line. Day two record broken. I arrived at the finish line over 1-hour earlier than my previous best, on a bike that weighs in over 10-lbs more than my road bike.

I had a blast! I do not think I will ride that bike again. The bike is a cheaper Specialized model and I really dislike a) the weight, b) the gruppo (SRAM X-4’s, I prefer the X-7’s), and c) the front fork. The Suntour fork is horrible. It has a ton of flex in it and really has no good adjustments. If I decide to ride in it again next year, I will be on my more expensive full suspension mountain bike, unless I get a new carbon fiber 29-er between now and then.

I really do not care to ride a road bike anymore. I love mountain bikes too much now. Plus, I like passing roadies on a “slower” bike. hahaha

Ride on my friends!

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A pain in the neck

Literally. I have less than two weeks until my MS 150 ride comes around, and I have a huge ache in my neck. It is because of bad posture. A lot of times I lean forward when on the computer, playing video games, or some other things. I have been on the computer quite a bit lately. Transferring DVD movies to digital copies takes time. I want many movies on my computer so I can watch it via AppleTV in another room. Also, it is nice to have a few movies on my phone when I am stuck on an international flight or even on vacation. Sometimes you just need to unwind and relax, watching a movie is a good way to relax.

Also, leaning over a piece of paper when I draw can wreck a neck too.

For the past week or two I have been focusing on posture, stretching and exercise. It has kept me off the bike. I can push through pain, but I am trying to attack it at the source. Due to this, I have not been on the bike much (typically no longer than 1.5-2 hours). I stretch and I try to relax my neck whenever possible.

Also, I am working out the area lightly. Increased blood flow to the area can speed up recovery. I am also planning on getting a massage next week before the ride, possibly two. Sometimes you just have to “work” it out.

Hope all is well with everyone! Ride on my friends!

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I have been thinking

I do believe I am at a point in my life where life is going to be lived much more than in the past. If that makes sense to you.

I think that life is going to be moving in a great direction for me here soon. I do plan on training for a mountain bike race in September. If I train hard and do good, I really do think that mountain biking will be my sport. I just love it in the woods.

I know life is slowly getting more and more crazy, but also getting more and more satisfying. Things are starting to line up for me in a great way. My wife and I are in a great place in our lives and I hope things will only get better.

Because of all this “greatness”, I know I will not be making posts nearly as often on here. Life is worth living, not sitting behind a computer all day long. While I do love to write blogs, I really love being outside so much more.

I started to write 2x a week on here, but that fizzled out. I still plan on writing, just maybe once a week, or once every two weeks. I hope this will make for better posts, and great subjects to post about. Many times I feel I just throw topics out there just to say something. That is no way to post.

So, starting now, I plan on at least getting on wordpress once a month, hopefully twice a month, and post worthwhile subjects. Besides, my schedule will be getting a bit more crazy here in the next month. Training for the MS150 and working on items around the house will take up most of my time.

I hope you all are having a wonderful “spring”, even though it still feels like winter to a lot of you! Do not worry, the weather WILL get better!

I shall see you all in another two weeks or so. Ride on and be safe!

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Inspired

I am sure there are several people who can inspire you in your life. The whole concept of inspiration is a wonderful thing.

Defined by Merriam-Webster.com:
inspiration – in·spi·ra·tion noun \ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spi-\

1 a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation
b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions
c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
2 : the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
3 a : the quality or state of being inspired
b : something that is inspired

Well one of my fellow bloggers, who I happen to follow on WordPress is Lesley Carter. Her blog is called Bucket List Publications. Her desire: to visit 30 countries by the time she turned 30. A quick summary of what she is doing can be found here.

It is awesome to see someone chasing their dreams. She is currently trying to win a contest. Please visit this page for the Biggest Baddest Bucket List Contest and vote for her! You just need to tweet (post it to facebook, or whatever) it to vote for her. I did my voting. When someone inspires you to follow your dreams, it is hard not to try to help them achieve their dreams.

What is my dream? Well, having a family is a work in progress. I used to want to race cars, but that is so expensive. So I toned it down. I really did not have a dream for years, now I do. So what is my dream? To race mountain bikes. I do not even have to turn pro to achieve that dream. There is a local series here in Texas that I can participate in. I just really enjoy cycling, so to race mountain bikes would be just awesome.

In order to be somewhat competitive, as with any sport, equipment is key. My desired equipment is a Trek Superfly Comp.

 photo TrekSuperflyComp_zps94f01c24.jpg

That bike is about $3,700. It is pricey, but it is a good split between the low end and the high end, right in the middle. I am dead serious about being a competitive racer. I do not expect to turn pro, but I do like to see how I stack up against other people. I love being out in nature and in the woods, so mountain biking only makes sense. I have no desire to road race. To me, it actually feels a bit weird being on a road bike now. Road bikes were my forte a while back, but mountain is just so fun. I like the constant variations in terrain and elevation. Road is just long and straight, especially here in Texas!

I hope to achieve the dream of winning a mountain bike race. I think it would be amazing to do so. Even if it is a Cat 3 race, to win would be an amazing high. However, I would honestly be quite happy with a top 10 finish!

I hope to be in the middle of the field my first year out. My first time racing I finished towards the end of the field. It does not help that I had a flat about 10-minutes into the first lap (I also was racing one of the heaviest mountain bikes in production that year). That flat cost me 10-minutes according to my computer. Those 10-minutes would have only granted me 3 places (42nd instead of 45th out of 56), but I also believe the mental side is what hurt me as well. Not to mention being caught up in slower traffic! Despite all that was against me that day, I still had a complete blast!

It is always good to step back and analyze what you really want out of life. Do not focus on the material things, but the simple desires that will make you feel that your life was great to live. I have played baseball, soccer, basketball, I even played music in high school. All of these were competitive. In sports you play to win, in music, your competition is the other musicians in your band. You compete for “chair” positions. First chair is the best player, and it goes down the line. Then during national (or regional) band competitions, you compete against other bands to see who the best is. So the competitive spirit is inside of me.

Back on topic, racing and experiencing all the people associated with it would be great. I have always been an active person, but I miss the competition. I have lived in Texas for years, but I have seen so little of it. This would give me a chance to meet new people and go to new places. Of course, having the good equipment would help quite a bit in my case.

What about you? What is your dream?

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A bit chilly

Now people up north may not think that upper 30’s (F) is all that chilly, but it is chilly on a bike. That wind can cut through you just as well as a wind in the lower 20’s.

I geared up for an easy, but long ride. I even put on my wool socks and overshoes to help keep my feet warm. No help there. You see, my problem is with cold feet. People always tell me, “You know, that is a sign of bad circulation! You need to get checked out by a doctor.”

And I think to myself, “You do realize that you have no medical degree, not even a CPR certification, yet are diagnosing my medical problems. I think you can take a walk off a cliff.”

Okay, okay, I am not that brutal. Honestly though, why is it that people feel the need to jump into your life and try to make an impression? Would you really want to be remembered as the one who told someone else that they had bad circulation? Hahaha

I am a bit moody today, I will admit this. Yes, I just lied. I am not moody, I am just being silly. No, my problem is not bad circulation. My issue is with evaporation. You see, my feet like to sweat when I work out. We each have our own spots that dump more sweat than others. Well, my feet just happen to be one of those places. My feet are toasty warm and then start to sweat. Then the sweat starts to evaporate, cooling my feet, and bam, my feet are frozen. Even with those overshoes!

I want to fix this problem, but I want to wait until the clearance rack is stocked with goodies before I pounce. No point spending top dollar for something that will hardly get used before it starts to warm back up again!

Anyone else have this problem? If so, how did you fix it?

I suppose this is why I love wearing flip flops and sandals so much during the summer months.

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Hard ride

This week was a strange week. Earlier I got out on my mountain bike and did a training ride. For some strange reason, I wanted to ride even though the wind was 20-mph, gusting to 30. The day was just too beautiful to not get out on the bike.

I loaded up and headed out. In the end I did 44-miles in 3.5 hours. My average speed was very low because of the wind, but my heart rate is what surprised me. My average HR was 175. My max is about 188 or so. Several times I looked down to see it in the 180’s. I was flying up hills, spinning easily on the downhills, and just having a blast. That HR average is not totally spot on either. I paused the computer when I stopped to take breaks. So I was not constantly pushing myself. I took about 3 or 4 breaks during the ride. I think the breaks totaled 30-minutes or so. I did not want to overdo it.

In the end, my Garmin said I burned 2600 calories. Wow, what a great feeling. Since my MS 150 charity ride is just a touch over 1-month away, I am changing gears back to long and easy rides. Just getting the seat time in and building up quality endurance. I now know my power is there, I just need to get my endurance back up.

Before you scold me for pushing myself so hard, I must let you know, I rarely do it. If you divide the training zones into 6 sections (starting at around 110-bpm), I typically sit in zone 4 (150-165). This was a zone 6 ride. My next several rides will be zones 2-3, with maybe a zone 4 on occasion. I just need to put some good music on my MP3 player and sit back and enjoy the long ride.

Have a good one my friends!

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Ride more

We all should ride our bikes more. Not because we need to “save the planet”. Not because we need to reduce congestion on the roadways. We should ride more because it is just so bloody convenient. Seriously, I can ride up to the local market in just about the exact same amount of time it takes to use a car. Benefits? Simple, exercise and reducing costs. I get a little exercise in, I get a front parking spot at the market, and I save in gas and wear and tear on the car. Makes complete sense to me.

You do not believe me? Well give this a read….

“In Many Families, Exercise Is By Appointment Only” via NPR.org

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