Saturday, October 29, 2011

Down but not out

A sprained thumb while warming up at the first cross race of the year is a little bit of a physical blow and a pretty big mental blow. Sadly this is what happened to me at the USGP in Madison about 6 weeks ago today. My fitness up until that point was decent and starting to ramp up for cross season. The funny thing is it was a routine corner I washed out in and just by reaction I put my hand out to break by fall. When it broke it all right! It felt like I destroyed all the tendons and ligaments in my right thumb to the point where I couldn't hold a water bottle with that hand and have it not feel like it was 50lbs and ovular in shape. The medical tent attempted to wrap it so I could attempt to race on it but the tape job was anything but good enough and the pain was anything but dull enough to ride. It only took 2 more practice laps after wrapping the thumb to know the racing for the day was over and quite possibly the next couple weeks.

Although I was down mentally with the thumb I made myself useful and worked the pits that day for Tristan. It's a totally new perspective not racing even though you want to so badly but still being in the middle of the race and watching it unfold. The guys in the pits are pretty hilarious and are some of the best hecklers out there. They not only rip on every rider that is not there own but also the other guys in the pits to keep themselves entertained. I'm glad I helped in the pits just to keep my mind off the thumb and help out Tristan a little along the way.

The next 3 weeks were some of the hardest for me mentally trying not to freak out not racing and trying to train and do workouts as much as possible with the thumb permitting. 3 weeks doesn't seem like that long of a time but when you can barely hold onto the bars of the your bike to ride its an eternity! Slow but sure the thumb was healing and I could actually hold onto the bar rather than lifting my hand off for every little bump. By the end of week 2 I was gutting through through intervals on the road where the pain in the thumb was more than in the legs. One day at a time the thumb was getting it's range of movement back and starting to get better.
It wasn't until last weekend that I was able to do a cross race.... 5 weeks after nearly breaking my thumb off of my hand! The good news is my legs hurt a lot more than my thumb did that day. The bad news is my legs hurt a lot more than my thumb did that day lol. It wasn't my best race by any means but that's for many other reasons and leaves lots of room for improvement. 6 weeks ago today is when it all went down and now I feel like it's healthy enough (85-90%) to resume any type of workout and racing I can thrown at it.

Next up is the annual Halloween cross race at Washington Park in Milwaukee. I'm still not sure if I'll have a costume or not but I'm there will be plenty of other people wearing them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some goodie from Youtube....

Found some clip of our Kuhl rider at Sun Prairie USGP Day 1 @ 2:00 mark


Jesse Rients had a great weekend at the cross races bringing home two 2nd place finishes. Don't hold it against the promoters for placing Jesse on the wrong side in one of the shots. Congrats to Jesse!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Photo by Travis Miller

Travis Miller is a local Wisconsin rider currently racing with KS Energy/Team Wisconsin and will be present at many of the cross races near Madison racing and snapping photos. He also likes long walks at sunset, has no hair on his head and once skipped like a stone in a bike crash but walked away fairly well unscathed.

I would like to thank Travis for his great photo below and you can find all his photos here.


Sunday, October 2, 2011


I would like to thank Brad Keyes of CarboRocket for sending me some samples of his great products. I received in the mail from CarboRocket some single serve packets of Raspberry Half Evil Endurance Fuel as well as two 25 serving pouches of Lemon-Lime and Kiwi-Lime flavored CarboRocket spot like sport drink.

Shying away from Gatorade over the past few weeks has led to me to some new and interesting products in sports nutrition. Prior to receiving my shipment of CarboRocket I received a ton of HerbaLife 24 product in the mail and can happily say that the only products I endorse are their Strength and Endurance rebuild mixes. HerbaLife's on the bike drink mix is Prolong and falls in the same category as Accelorade containing ingredients that upset my stomach and quickly find their way to my garbage can.

My experience with CarboRocket's products is limited to only the past week but will say the Lemon-Lime flavor is great, light and easy on ones stomach during a ride. One bonus to CarboRocket is their all natural approach and simple ingredients, from what I can tell there are no preservatives, no chemical compounds I can't pronounce and no artificial coloring, bottom line don't mix your bottles the day before and store overnight. I do look forward to cracking open the Kiwi-Lime and await for the orange flavor to be available.

My opinion on the Half Evil does need some extra time to mature as my taste buds adapt to a new product, not just the Raspberry flavor by type of product. Half Evil is not a post ride endurance recovery drink but an on bike calorie replenish-er, the product has a slight fizz, strong but good Raspberry taste with a little extra kick. Be sure to check out for new developing products and new flavors. I personally assure you that if you order a 25 serving CarboRocket package you will be pleasantly surprised and if you do like it be sure to drop CarboRocket an email!

Till tomorrow night after 10PM.... good day good evening and good night.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mr Bill Street

The introductions continue with that of a long time friend and long time PCW/Gear Grinder rider that Kuhl is happy to welcome Bill Street.

As a racer Bill has found success racing in three different cycling disciplines, but concentrates his efforts primarily on mountain biking and cyclocross. 2005 marked his first overall win in a mountain bike race in the Sport class of the WORS Series. Since his first win he has consistently improved his skills and knowledge as a racer to be able to race on an elite level. His next big step was in 2008 during Bill’s first season competing in various UCI cyclocross events in which he produced consistent results the entire season leading up to Cyclocross Nationals in Kansas City.

Now that Bill has graduated college, he has stepped up his training and goals by seeking assistance from a professional cycling coaching. In 2011 he plans to race extensively in the fall months concentrating on the following high priority events; Ore to Shore, Chequamegon Fattire Festival, Iceman and Cyclocross nationals. Bill also plans to compete in at least 2 out of the 4 USGP race weekends in the series, in addition to the USGP series he will race at least 3 UCI weekends throughout the Midwest leading up to Cyclocross Nationals in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Leadville 100 Recap

About one week ago marked the one month anniversary of my first Leadville 100 experience and I have finally had enough time to write up a complete race report and recap my experience. Not only was it my first Leadville 100 attempt but it was also the first time I’ve ever had to change a tire mid race and found time to take a small hike while completing the 103 mile adventure in 8 hours and 16 minutes.

Before the race (months before) I was able to catch up with some riders are various venues that lent me some solid advice. It was pointless to talk nutrition, hydration, and equipment because what works for one person may not work for another.  For instance take my breakfast every day, well every day that time allows me to cook breakfast I typically consume 2-3 eggs and 4-6 strips of bacon sometimes with toast and a large amount of peanut butter, most people feel ill when I tell them how much I eat but it works, it works for me and Matt Waite too. The best advice previous participants armed me with was going to Goodwill or Wal-Mart to purchase warm clothes to wear at the start line and abandon just moments before race rolls down the road out of town.   The oversized hoodie sweatshirt I picked up at Wal-Mart and the hot pink sweatpants my dad bought for himself worked well as the starting temperature of the race was roughly 40 degrees.  As the race rolled further down the road we began to wish we had left those garments on or at least packed them in our jersey pockets as the temperature plunged to 31 degrees as we dropped in elevation still in the shadows of the mountains.

The road start to the Leadville was like any other paved mountain bike lead out, very fast and very nerve racking as tandems nearly side swiped riders and riders surged to be the first one to the base of the climb only to be in some cases the last man up the hill from our front group. Leadville’s 3 mile road lead out quickly turns into a crushed lime stone gravel road with dust so fine  that black arm and knee warmers turned various shades of light gray, I can only imagine what our lungs must have looked like.  After a bit on the gravel road it gradually turns into a hard packed dirt fire road as the first assent begins, the climb itself was not challenging but avoiding some of the larger rocks and riders mishitting forced you to keep your head up. I did manage to overtake a few big names on the first climb like Tinker Juarez, although he was fixing a flat at the time I will still consider this a win in my books.  A few miles up the course he did overtake my position on the following climb.

The initial climb is quickly followed by a quick jaunt down and then a sharp right onto a paved road decent where the mountain bikers struggled and roadies advanced. Just as riders do down hill they must then go up hill, the climb starts out paved and after a few minutes transitions to a washboard gravel road up to the top of power line decent. At the first time racers Q & A session, veterans warned about the ruts and run off paths while descending power line the two biggest things they failed to mention were just how long the decent was and the near 30% grade, which really only posed an issue on the return trip trying to climb it home.  On the trip out while at the top of power line I managed to put a nice little speed hole in my front tire that stans failed to fully seal, racing against the clock and knowing I had just added two ounces of new fluid to the tire I chanced just putting more air in the tire and calling it fixed.  My “fix” last about half a mile before the front was down to about 10 psi but holding so I crossed my finger and bit the bullet descending power line like a semi without brakes as the front end wiggled about.  Descending power line is a downhiller’s ultimate dream as the whole run is banked, straight down hill, hard packed and very similar to perhaps the American Eagle at six flags after you cruised of rollers often getting airborne just enough to land and adjust your trajectory.

Once I reached the first support station I quickly tore off my front tire to slap on a new Kenda Small Block Eight to roll on for the remaining 74 miles of the race.  The change was quick and easy but over the course of the day this would not be my only inconvenience.  The route from support station 1 to 2 is very quick and very short, about 14 miles in under 45 minutes, just a few rollers and some fun sections of open bushy single track. One the way out to support 2 there is this little dip most overlook on the way out called the Cobra or little something due to its incredibly short length but extreme slope.

I cruised through support 2 after grabbing new bottle to tackle to climb ahead to the top of Columbine Mine, which for a Leadville first timer this move seemed okay but provided to be the beginning of my demise. When I pre-rode this portion of the course earlier in the week its was a bit windy and cool at the top, approx. 49 degrees but on race day the temperature at Columbine Mine was north of 70 and not a breathe of wind to save my sorry ass. The climb up on race day went well but little did I realize that I was cooking on the way up since I did not take off my long sleeve jersey before the climb at support 2. Biggest lesson learned from this, at Leadville trust in the power and adjustability of layers. The climb to Columbine Mine doesn’t get tough till you hit the Goat Trail which is roughly the last 2.5 miles of the climb to the peak when the trail narrows and kicks up to almost 22% at points with lots of loose rock.

Going down is much sweeter than going up, unless you have an elevator…… descending from 12300 to almost 9300 seemed to take much less than time than anticipated.  On the way down I was able to spot a few fellow riders from the MidWest, while hitting the breaks hard descending Goat Trail and through my chattering teeth tried to provide words of encouragement to Maria Chase and Brian Koeneman of Wisconsin and Minnesota respectively.  On the way down the only I had going for me was the self-generated breeze thanks to gravity while I fought to keep food and water from coming up.  During my charge for the peak I caught myself a good little case of heat stroke.

Upon reaching support 2 at the base of Columbine Mine, I was starting to become a bit delirious and changed the game plan from finish under 9 hours to not dying out on the trails. Before setting off for support 1 and the finish, I performed an entire kit change (bibs, base layer, jersey and arm warmers) to get myself in a better mind set and into something still black but minus the body odor.  With new clothes on my back I set off towards home with pockets full of pizza and snickers. Rolling back toward support 1 was good hooking up with various groups, drafting when possible and eating through the food in my pockets which unfortunately failed to help my nausea one bit.

Every once in a while a second, third, and fourth wind would emerge allowing me to take advantage of my small size of some of the climbs. I managed ride up the Cobra on the return trip home and managed to make it up about 90% of power line climb also, I had to throw in the towel on power line climb once I hit the 27% section or suffer throwing up, in hind sight the latter may have been a good thing.  The stretch from power line to the end may have been the most challenging, during the slow ascent to the top of power line I consumed all of my water still 20 miles out from the finish. Rolling back with no water is the not the best scenario to be in when the next and final water stop of the race is still 10 miles ahead of you. While rolling down the paved road from power line I recalled seeing a river off the trail and determined to make my Leadville that much more epic by going for a hike.  After the hike I just rolled home slow and steady letting all those young bucks from Colorado pass me by as I waved thinking I was only a few miles from the end when one informed me the race is 103 miles and change, SOB.  Eventually after 8 hours and 12 minutes I could see the finish and had no one behind me to sprint with, despite the lack of urgency to finish I tried to put a little pep in my step and found out that my pep ran out a long time ago.

All in all I think my first Leadville 100 went well, and even though at the finish I swore I would never do it again, I may be out there in 2012 again. Best thing if you decide to take on Leadville is to keep it simple, wear layers, don’t try new things and have extra tires and CO2’s handy at the support stations and grab a camelback for the last 27 miles.
If I find photos I’ll be sure to post them here first! Or Facebook.