Saturday, February 23, 2013

A New Blog

Those of you who have followed my journey through the pages of this blog...I thank you.  Those of you who have somehow stumbled upon my creative outlet...I thank you too.

I have begun a new for aging athletes like myself.  If you are interested in what I have to say, then come on over and check out my new project...The Aging Athlete (  I think you will be happy you did!

Getting Race Ready will certainly remain accessible, but I will no longer be publishing any new posts to this site.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Local Bike Stores...also known as LBS

There are many 'families' out in the world, our real families, our work families, church get the idea, right?  In the cycling world, there are cycling families, and just like nearly any family, the cycling family has it's share of black sheep.  For the most part however, this family is pretty tight, and they take care of one most families.  

When we are out riding our bikes, we wave at one another and say "hello" or stop to ask is someone who is fixing a flat or making a quick mechanical repair, if they need any help...except for the roadies, those guys are usually too focused to even acknowledge that anyone else has even entered into their space.  I kid, I kid.  I love the roadies...I'm becoming one of them now.  Honestly though, they are those black sheep I was talking about.  Just kidding...don't get your spandex in a wad now...I love you are part of a huge family, that I too am part of.  

An integral part of the cycling family is one's Local Bike Store...or LBS.  You see, without support from a LBS, many of us would be in serious trouble.  There are a number of cyclists, like myself, who have relatively strong mechanical aptitudes, and are able to do a great deal of work on their own bikes.  Heck...I have built my race bike four times now.  I better have learned a little something about bike mechanics huh?

There are those times however, when problems arise that require true expertise.  The kind of expertise that only a trained, experienced bike mechanic can provide.  These guys spend their days standing, building and fixing bicycles in the LBS.  This is where they practice their art...and what an art it is!  

These guys, often known simply as Wrenches, are at times, life-savers.  On more than one occasion, I have wheeled my bike into my LBS, tail between my legs, and asked them to fix something that I screwed up while practicing on my own.  Any Wrench worth his weight, will generally show you how to do it the right way...sometimes just so he wont have to fix it again, and sometimes because he truly wants you to learn so that when the bike breaks out on the trail or road, you stand a better chance getting home on your own power.  Either way...the bike owner can learn a valuable lesson.

Taking a bike into your LBS however,  can be painful for many bike owners, as some shops are extremely busy when it comes to repairs.  A bike owner can find themselves without their bike for days, if the shop is back-logged with repairs.  This is where creating a relationship with your LBS can really pay off. are all part of one big family.

I have been blessed to have found a great LBS...Swiss American Bikes.  Swiss American Bikes has been in business here in Phoenix since the early seventies, and are well known throughout the Phoenix cycling community.  The staff at Swiss has saved me many times, by being willing to take a look at my bike right there and then...which is something that many bike shops will not do.

Yesterday was a perfect example.  With my race fast approaching, I was going through my bike, making sure everything was clean and mechanically sound.  I had made some minor adjustments, and was taking it for a quick spin in the street, when I heard it.  You know, that noise that wasn't there on the last ride, and that grinding feeling that tells you something is rubbing on something else, that shouldn't be getting rubbed on?  

Let me tell you, that is not what you want to experience from your highly tuned race bike, just days prior to a race!  I grabbed my iPhone and rudely commanded Siri to call Swiss American Bikes.  Within seconds the call had been placed...I felt bad for being so stern with Siri, but had no time to apologize to an electronic device.  I could only hope that she would not be offended, and take it out on me sometime in the future. 

Sorry Siri

The call went through, and the owner Gary answered the phone.  My first words were "Hey Gary, its John...again.  Sorry to bother you, but I have a big problem."  Gary is aware that I am racing on Saturday, and replied "No worries, bring it in and I'll throw it up on the rack and check it out."  Now that's what you want to hear from a member of your family...that they are more than willing to help you out, right now.

The bike was fixed, and I was charged some ridiculous amount of money...ridiculously small that is!  Thanks Swiss American Bikes, you saved the day...again!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Little Change of Plans...

If you have been following me via my blog or my Facebook pages, you are well aware that my plan was to build a mountain bike that was light enough, and fast enough to keep pace with a pack of road bikes.  Additionally, I would need to be able to make some relatively quick component changes that would allow me to race the bike off road as well...sort of like a Transformers bike, and possibly just as expensive.

The project was going to be somewhat cost prohibitive, therefore I was trying to secure corporate sponsorship to help offset the cost.  Unfortunately, I was unable to secure any assistance, and have elected to purchase a road bike instead, for the Ride 430 Challenge in October 2013. I recently blogged about my decision not to sell my replacement mountain bike frame from Ellsworth, so I thought it appropriate to share with you what I will be riding on the road.

I found the perfect bike for me at my local bike shop, Swiss American Bikes...a 2013 Trek Domane (pronounced Doh-mahn-ee).  I've always wanted to use phonetic spelling in one of my blogs...and now I have!  Any way...the Domane is new to the Trek line, and was designed to provide both comfort and performance on rough roads such as the Pave' in Flanders and Robaix, within the Tour de France.  In fact, pro rider Fabian Cancellera rode the Domane in the 2012 Tour.

The bike is the first of its kind, boasting a seat tube that is completely separate from the top tube and seat stays.  There is a pivot point where the three sections of the bike intersect, which allows the seat tube to move slightly when riding on rough surfaces.  What does all that mean?  It means a more comfortable ride for an old guy like me who has three damaged vertebrae.

Check out a video explaining the technology that will help my back, here.

Trek's Iso-Speed decoupler system

I am excited to get this bike on the road and begin training for the challenge that lay ahead.  First however, I need to do well in my Dawn to Dusk Race, and hopefully achieve both of my goals...ride 6 laps for a total of 96 miles, and raise at least $1000 for injured U.S. Marines and their families.

If you haven't pledged your financial support yet for my mountain bike race, there is still time.  You have a number of options to do so.  If you have already reached into your pocket and sacrificed some of your hard earned cash, to help those who have sacrificed for us...then I thank you!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Haste makes...

You know the saying, right?  Come on now, say it out loud...Haste Makes Waste.  Yes it does.  I am that know, the one who always comes up short when I am hurried.  By short I mean that I forget something...everytime!

You would think that after 48 years of existence, I would have that whole thing figured out by now, huh?  Well, that's just not the case.  I consider myself a fairly smart guy, but apparently I am not smart enough to figure out how to fix this lifelong problem.  I hate being late...for a couple reasons.  First, I hate to make others wait on's just plain rude.  I also hate being late because when I am late, more often than not, I have had to hurry...just to get somewhere late.  As I have clearly illustrated, when I'm late, I forget stuff.
Today was no different.

Three days ago, when I loaded up my car with the things I just had to have for a 48-hour shift at work, I was unaware that 48-hours later, I would be rushing home to get ready for a mountain bike ride with two of my fellow firefighters.

That morning, I packed my food, my clothes, my backpack, my mountain bike, my road bike, my work-stand, my indoor trainer, my tool box, my cycling cleats, and a couple of workout towels...WOW!  You'd think I was heading out for a two week vacation!  Nope...just another 48-hour tour at the fire station.  

I know what you are thinking.  You are asking yourself (maybe even some of you, aloud) what's with the bikes, and all that other junk?  So here goes...I took my mountain bike, my work-stand, and my tools so that I could do a little preventative maintenance and cleaning on the mountain bike.  I took my road bike, trainer, shoes, and towels because I was planning to get in some 'miles' on the trainer at some point during my tour.  Alright, are we all on the same page now?  Good.

As I pulled into the parking lot at the fire station, I noticed mountain bikes securely loaded onto bike racks, on two of my firefighting brothers' vehicles.  As I began the daunting task of unloading all the junk, I heard one of the guys say "Oh cool, Jim got in touch with you about riding Monday morning."


Apparently, the bewildered look on my face did all the talking, as Dan lowered his head and mumbled something while he sulked into the station...acting as though he had let a cat out of the bag that wasn't supposed to be let out.  Hmmm....was I being cast out?  What kind of underhanded, un-brotherly-like....then I heard Jim say, as he walked up behind me, "Oh crap, I was supposed to call you yesterday...good thing Dan did."  Okay, they weren't casting me out...they were just being their unorganized, unreliable selves.  Don't tell them I said that!

Well...48-hours and thirty-something calls later, it was time to zip home, drop of the road bike, shove some calories down my gullet, pull on some riding gear, and load up my helmet, mountain shoes, water bottle, and Camelbak hydration pack.  This process was supposed to happen quickly, as Dan and Jim were driving straight from work to the trail, and I didn't want to make them wait on me too long.  Remember that whole rude thing we talked about?  Oh yeah, and that whole forgetting stuff issue?

Today would prove to be no different than most other times in my life when I was making haste.  About fifteen minutes into my drive, I realized that I had forgotten my Camelbak pack.  No big deal right?  I had taken a bottle of water that I carried on my bike, so I'd be fine...right?  Not so much.

You see, I not only carry water in my Camelbak, I also carry an extra tube, a chain link, a multi-tool, a small first aid kit, and CO2...which is used in place of a pump, to inflate a flat tire.  What this meant was that I would be unprepared for an who makes a living being prepared for emergencies.  Haste.

Once I realized this I quickly weighed the outcome of two choices...turn around or press on.  I decided to press on, as their were others there waiting for me, and I was already running late.  I phoned Jim to inform him of my impending tardiness, and suggested that he and Dan take a lap prior to me arriving, and that I would meet up with them as they came in from their first lap.  The plan had been to ride two laps (7.5 miles each)...but I was actually going to take in a third, so I could get in the extra miles.  As the words left my mouth, I realized I had made a mistake.  If they elected to start before I got there, then I would not be able to take my third lap, because I would be by myself...without any emergency supplies.  Unable to pull those words back into my mouth, I simply said "Have a good ride" in response to Jim agreeing that it would be a good idea to get started without me.

As is turned out, I arrived just a few minutes after they left on their first lap.  It would take them nearly 40 minutes to complete, so I took my time getting prepped, then rode along the Tempe Town Lake, warming up my old, tired body.  Almost like clockwork, they arrived, just shy of 40 minutes.  Within moments, we were on the trail, pedaling away.  

About 35 minutes later, we returned.  I felt as though I had just warmed up, and was getting into my groove...then it was over.  Our return marked the end of Jim and Dan's second lap, while I had only turned a single, 7.5 mile lap.  I'm not bragging, but it felt as though I had just ridden my bike around the block.  My training was obviously working, but I knew that I would not be heading out for another lap due to my circumstances...resulting from my haste.

When asked, I quickly explained why I would not be heading out for another lap (actually two), and immediately, Dan said "Hey, I'll go another with you."  That was all I needed to hear.  At least I would be able to get in 15-miles rather than 7.5...even if my plan of 22.5 was a bust.  

So while haste certainly can make for this case, it wasn't a complete waste...only a partial waste of time.  You see, the area we were riding (Papago Park) is nearly an hour away from my home.  If I am going to drive that far to ride, I want to get in more than just 15 miles.

Thanks for reading, and remember...please feel to leave a comment below.  It makes me feel good to know that people are actually reading this.

Until next time...get out and ride a bike!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reality Check

As a Sports Performance Coach, I have had the opportunity to work with some very gifted young athletes over the years.  It is always great to see the developmental changes that occur as a result of hard work and sacrifice, both physical and mental.  I have witnessed high school students 'come out of their shell' as they begin to realize the fruit of their labors.  Many of the young athletes I have worked with over the years have come to me with low self esteem, and a very low level of confidence.  I can honestly say that every one of them left confident that they would be able to excel in their chosen's simply a part of training, and realizing one's goals.

I too have experienced this feeling through rigorous training...the feeling that I am getting stronger, faster, and more powerful.  Improving one's confidence is beneficial for everyone, but for an is imperative for success.

Yesterday I took the new bike out for it's first ride.  I was both excited and anxious about getting this bike back on the trail, having broken three frames already.  I decided the best place to put this new machine to the test would be the Pemberton Trail...home to the Dawn to Dusk Endurance Mountain Bike Race that I will be competing on December 1st.  My plan was to ride two loops...roughly 32-miles. 

I am feeling strong, and I know I am on track to tackle 10-hours of riding come December 1st...confident that I will be able to achieve my goal of six laps, for a total of roughly 96-miles.  My bike looks great, and it weighs in at 22-pounds...a lean, mean, mountain bike machine!  

As I was driving out to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, I was thinking of my upcoming race, and what I have done to prepare for it.  I also thought about why I was riding...who it was truly honoring, and the sacrifices they have made for our country.  During my 1-hour drive, my confidence level continued to improve, and by the time I arrived at the trail, I was rarin' to go!  As I pulled my bike down from the roof rack, I noticed just how light it was...another confidence builder.  I suited up, and headed out on the trail feeling like I could take on the world.  Thoughts of the three previous frames that had broken, were non-existent...all I was thinking about was just how fast and nimble my new bike was.

I completed my first lap (16 miles) and felt great.  What a difference between my two bikes.  I was noticeably less fatigued than I usually am when riding my other bike.  You see, my other bike is a full suspension mountain bike...which means it is nice and cushy on my tushy!  It's a great bike, but because it has both front and rear suspension, it is considerably heavier.  It is also made from aluminum rather than carbon.  Like I said, it's a great bike, and I feel blessed to have two amazing bikes, but my race bike is just more efficient, therefore I use less energy for a given amount of riding.  Another confidence builder.

I quickly downed some legal supplements, ergogenic aids...whatever you want to call them.  No doping for me...just legal, evidence-based products that help to keep me pedaling!  I set out on my second lap, feeling great.  I quickly noticed that I was averaging a faster pace than I did on my first lap!  More confidence.  My second lap seemed to be over very quickly.  As I rolled back into the parking lot, I hit the LAP button on my computer, and was surprised to see that my second lap was faster than my first lap!  My training, coupled with the efficiency of my new bike, was paying off big!  

Aside from noticing that I was riding faster, I also noticed an older couple unloading two hybrid bikes from the pack of a pickup truck.  My initial thought was that they would be riding on the roads that meandered throughout the McDowell Mountain Park.  As I was getting my bike loaded up, and putting my gear away, I heard the familiar sound of tires on gravel.  I turned to look, and saw that the man was riding up to me.  He stopped and asked if I had any tools with me, as he needed to tighten the stem on his bike.  As he worked to get his bike repaired, he mentioned that he would hate to get caught "way back, out there on the trail"...insert the sound of a record being scratched right here.  I was unable to hide my disbelief as I blurted out "What!?"  "You are riding those bikes on this trail?"  He looked up from his work, and said "Of course, where did you think we were riding?"  I asked him if he had ridden this trail before, and his response was "Yes, a few times...I love how fast you can get going coming back down the hill on the north side!" 

A typical hybrid bike...

my bike

Alright, let me paint the picture here a little better.  Not only were these folks in their mid-sixties (don't get me wrong here...I'm not saying that they are too old to ride the trails), they were not in very good shape.  Both of them were significantly overweight, and they both only had one small water bottle each...oh yeah...and the guy had a Canadian accent, which means that they were probably not acclimated to our 'warm' weather.  Now remember, this is a 16-mile loop!  

My Canadian friend did his best to fix his bike, but the stem was still a little loose.  He shrugged it off and stated "It'll be fine, it's not that long of a ride anyway."  I stood there, dressed in Spandex, looking at this guy in corduroy shorts, a golf shirt, and tennis shoes, who was about to go out and casually ride the same 16-mile loop that just finished...on a bike that is made to ride on nicely maintained asphalt or gravel roads...and his wife was doing it too!  I was speechless, as he spoke.  I tried to wish him a fun, safe ride...but I'm sure my words got jumbled, as I noticed him tilt his head sideways slightly as if he was saying to himself "Strange American."  He and his wife rolled off together, calmly attacking the trail.

My confidence faded.

So what is the moral to this story?  I'm still trying to figure that out.  If you have some ideas for me, please leave me a comment at the bottom of this page.  I'll be here...trying to build my confidence back up.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Cave Creek Bicycle Festival

Yesterday I raced...OK, maybe RODE is a better way to describe what I the 2012 Cave Creek Bicycle Festival 25-Mile Mountain Bike Race.  While I would like to think that I raced...I finished 38-minutes behind the winner of the race.  So...with that little tidbit of information in mind, it makes more sense to describe what I did, as riding rather than racing!

Cave Creek, Arizona is a relatively small town located just north of Scottsdale.  It is a major tourist attraction due to it's eclectic shops and it's western heritage.  I have been visiting the Town of Cave Creek since my childhood, and have always thought it was a great little town.  Cave Creek is also the home to my favorite wine bar...Brix Wine Spot, and Brix is also where I met Josh, whom I rode with yesterday in the race.  Bryan, the owner of Brix, has also committed to ride in the 2013 Ride 430 Challenge, so he I and will be tackling the challenge together next year as rookies.  

Alright, enough shameless plugging of a great wine bar, owned by great people, and full of great customers (Brix family)!
I wasn't sure I would even be racing...riding...due to the weather.  You see, winter finally arrived here in the Phoenix area, and it didn't mess around.  Cold temperatures and rain were welcomed however, they threatened my participation in the race...I don't particularly care for riding in the rain.  I will be riding on December 1st, come rain or shine.  It's the least I can do.  Those brave men and women of the US Marine Corps are willing to put their lives on the line for you and I 24-7-365.  The least I can do is ride in the rain for 10 hours to raise some much need financial support!

The forecast was calling for rain all night long on Friday, and not letting up until 0600 hours Saturday morning...just three hours prior to the start of the race.  In the sport of mountain biking rain can be beneficial if it is in the right the right time.  The Arizona soil tends to soak up the rain like a bone dry sponge, usually resulting in super tacky, Velcro-like trails that beg to be ridden fast.  Fortunately, that was the case in Cave Creek.  The rain let up early enough to be helpful rather than hindering.  Trail conditions were perfect!

My new Ride 430 Team proud and thankful!

This would be my first ride, sporting my fancy new Ride 430 team gear.  I was so proud to be wearing it, and even more proud to be riding with Josh who was also wearing his team gear.  Go team Ride 430! 

As the 0900 start time drew closer, the sun began to rise over the roof-line of the Frontier Town buildings.  The warmth was certainly welcomed, and I was glad to know I wouldn't have to wear any arm or leg warmers.  The problem with wearing those on long rides...especially those against a that as the temperature increases it becomes necessary to peel of the warmers.  Doing so requires stopping.  Stopping during a race means losing valuable positioning that you may have had to work very hard to gain in the first place...and as it would turn out, I'd lose some places anyway, so I didn't need to give up any more.

Let's rewind to Friday afternoon.  In my last post I mentioned that I was working feverishly to build up my race bike.  I also mentioned that my efforts were in vain, as I was unable to get it dialed in and working just right.  Thankfully, I have been blessed with a second bike.  Something that I am very thankful for, as many people do not even have one bike...let alone bikes like mine.  My 'everyday' bike is an amazing piece of machinery as well, and is limited only by it's  Unfortunately however, I had noticed that the rear wheel was experiencing some problems.  It had a fair amount of lateral play, which is a fancy way of saying that I could grab it and wobble it from side to side about 1/8".  Even if you don't ride bikes, you know that that is not good.

I took the wheel to my local bike shop Swiss American Bikes, and they were gracious enough to look at it for me while I waited...Thank you Gary!  What he found however, was not good news.  It appears that the 'pocket' that one of the bearings sits within, has become wallowed out, and is allowing the bearing case to move around.  This ultimately results in the wheel wobbling side to side when riding...aka, lateral play. With no other wheel to use, I had to just go for it and pray that my wheel wouldn't fall off, or the hub seize up and lock up the rear wheel.

While Josh and I waited, mid-pack, amongst the other riders for the start of the race, I began to get a little nervous about my wheel.  Moments before the start, and Episcopalian Priest prayed for our safety during the race...I prayed specifically that my wheel would stay intact!  

The countdown started...5-4-3-2-1 GO!  We were off!  I have never ridden in such a large pack of mountain bikes on an asphalt road.  The sound of the knobby tires along the tarmac sounded exactly like a large swarm of bees.  A police escort lead us West through town, then North toward the trail head, where the race would really begin.  Less than a mile into the race I began hearing a strange sound coming from my rear wheel...great.  Those of you who know me well, know that I absolutely hate noises from my bike, and that I am a little neurotic about finding the source of ANY noise that should not be occurring.  While certainly irritating, the sound from my wheel was less of an annoyance, and much more of a concern as I thought about the fact that I had another 24-miles to go.  
I plugged along mile after mile, climb after climb until we reached the summit of the first big mountain.  As I neared the top I began to think about the stress the my rear wheel would soon undergo as I raced downhill, through tight turns and over quite a few rocks.  I was certainly concerned, but I knew that if I rode apprehensively, my chances for a significant crash were far I tried to put it out of my mind.  As hard as I tried however, I could not ignore the feeling of my wheel shifting under me as I leaned hard into high-speed corners, fighting to keep the bike on the right line.  

One of the complications of a wheel that has lateral play is a condition known as chain-drop.  Chain drop simply means that the chain falls off of the sprocket in the front, or the cogs of the cassette on the rear wheel.  Unfortunately, when this happens it is often while climbing steep sections of the trail.  If the chain drops, you stop.  When you stop, you lose valuable time...remember?  Well, I had at least three chain drops that I can remember, each resulting in the need to place the chain back on the sprocket, and the need to hike my bike up a couple sections...all of which caused me to lose time and position.

At the 20-mile mark, I was faced with a large section of the trail that was covered in large rocks.  There really was very little recognizable trail...just rocks all the way down the hill.  At the bottom of the hill was a thick, sandy dry creek.  As I entered the sand section, I heard the unmistakable hiss-hiss-hiss of a punctured tire turning...hiss-hiss-hiss.  "Great...only 5-miles left, and I've got a flat!" I said out loud.  I stopped, quickly dismounted, and flipped my bike upside down so I could inspect my tire.  

I was looking for some white liquid seeping out of the hole in my tire...but it was not there.  Let me explain.  You see, I run tubeless tires on my bike.  Tubeless tires use a liquid sealant to quickly seal up punctures, and prevent the tire from deflating.  Typically, you hear the tell tale hiss-hiss-hiss...but it usually goes away quickly as the sealant goes to work and plugs the leak.  This time, the sound was not stopping.  So I did.  No sealant to be found.  That meant that I had allowed the sealant to dry out, and I had not added any more to the tire...a big mistake.  Fortunately, I carry a small tube of sealant and a valve core remover, as removing the core is necessary to inject the sealant into the tire.  I quickly added the sealant, replaced the valve core, grabbed my CO2 (compressed air) cartridge to re-inflate my tire, and...and nothing, the CO2 wasn't coming out.  If it wasn't coming out, then it was not inflating my flat tire.  In a bit of a panic (due to the roughly 15 riders that passed me while I fumbled with my tire) I replaced the CO2 cartridge with another, and voila, an inflated tire.  A couple of spins to disperse the sealant within the tire, and I was back in the saddle...roughly 7-minutes later.

As I pedaled off, hell-bent on catching some of those riders I had worked so hard to pass before, I once again heard the ominous hiss-hiss-hiss. Once again I dismounted.  I lifted my rear wheel off the ground, and rotated the wheel so that the puncture was as the bottom of the tire.  I held it there to allow the sealant to seep into the puncture, then patiently counted to sixty.  Another 90-seconds, and five places lost. 

A few minutes later I crossed the finish line, and pressed the STOP button on my Polar CS500 cycle computer.  The readout read 25.0 miles, and 2 hours 11 minutes in duration.  I was finished, and my rear wheel was still attached to my bike...although I had thought about ripping it clean off while trying to fix my flat.

I would later learn that the winner of the race finished with a time of 1:36:19.  There was a discrepancy between my official time, and the time on my computer.  Officially, I finished in 2:14:56, roughly three minutes longer than my computer had calculated.  No need to argue the results, as I am sure the podium did not have enough spots for my 95th place finish.  Yep 95th place...not the story-book, Tour de France-esque finish that I have dreamed of many a night.  

the official results

I suppose, barring any mechanical difficulties, I could have finished somewhere around the 2-hour mark...somewhere around 75th place...oh well, still no podium.  There were 196 racers who began the race however, so...I was in the top 50% of the riders, and I can live with that.

All in all, I had a lot of much fun as you can have riding 25-miles on your mountain bike!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Adapt and Overcome

As a professional firefighter, I have made a living at being able to make critical decisions on the fly, adapt to chaotic situations, and make it look like it was a piece of cake (when in fact, it truly was NOT).  But hey...that's what the public, whom we so proudly serve, expect of us.  It's kind of like when you hear voice recordings of airline pilots just moments before they crash...utter calmness and professionalism over the radio.  Okay, I'm not comparing myself to a pilot, but the concept is similar.

Yesterday was one of those days when I just needed to let go, release control to God, and adapt to HIS plan...and apparently he was not big on my selling my $2000 carbon frame that I got for free.  I think He was telling me that I should be happy and satisfied with what I was blessed with...and to stop whining.

So I adapted.

As you may remember, my plan was to build up a mountain bike that could keep pace with a pack of road bikes for next year's Ride 430 Challenge.  To do so, would require a considerable amount of money...hence my reason for seeking out generous corporate sponsorship to help offset a portion of the cost.  That plan however, has been scrapped as of yesterday.  I viewed the constant barrage of Craigslist scammers, as a clear cut sign that I was not supposed to sell that frame.  So what then?

Build it up just as it was amazing racing mountain bike.

I have been selling off some of my fitness equipment to 'raise' money for the bike, but I realized yesterday that I should use that money to purchase a road bike instead.  You see, I still need something to train on, and ride next year with the Ride 430 crew.  So instead of riding an extravagantly priced mountain bike, I'll be riding a road bike.  I know, I know...I'm straying from my mountain bike roots, and it's a little disappointing.  If I had money to burn, you know I'd be building up the coolest mountain bike ever, to set fire to the tarmac...but that's just not the case.

I think my decision made my wife happy, and let her know that I can still make some sound choices once in a just takes me a little longer.  

I was scheduled to race in the Cave Creek Bike Festival 25-mile Mountain Bike Race this morning, and once I made the decision to build rather than sell, it was game on.  The trail I was riding has a fair amount of climbing, and it would have been really nice to ride a 20-pound bike rather than a 27-pounder!  So of course, I got right to putting it back together, only to find out that it just wasn't going to happen.  Another lesson in releasing control.

It's almost finished...just need to take it over to my local bike shop for some fine tuning.  Check out the picture below to see what it is looking like.  I have to admit, it's a great looking bike, and the new white graphics really set it off. 

Today was a great day!  I got to race with someone whom I consider both a friend, and a finely tuned machine.  This individual is the one who inspired me to become part of the Ride For Semper Fi team, and has completed the Ride 430 Challenge himself...twice.  This year he was awarded the Yellow Jersey, an honor reserved for the individual who raises the most support for the Ride 430 Challenge.  This year Josh...oops I let his name out!  Any way...Josh raised nearly $50K for injured US Marines and their families.  Strong work Josh!

Check back in a day or so, to hear details about our race today.

Until next time...