Friday, August 31, 2012


It's that time of year when all the new bike stuff comes out. First Eurobike, then Interbike here in the U.S. Photos are starting to be posted and I found these on the Bike Rumor site. Colnago has some very good looking bikes coming out next year! New colors for the c-59, a Di2 equipped disc brake cross bike and a new carbon lugged 29er. Check out all those colors and styles of Race Face handlebars!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Seem To Have Lost My Mind Somewhere Along The Way.

Started training again in earnest this week for the rest of the year. With a mixture of events coming up I'm doing a bit of everything. I was planning on racing only cross but Cal Naughton Jr. made the call to request my help for a 4 man team to contest the 24 hrs of Georgia. What am I going to say to So I'll do a 24 hr right in the middle of a bunch of 1 hr races. Then, this morning I saw a link to a 6 hr race near me- the Brunswick Brawl. I can't pass up an event only an hour away. And then, the king of all surprises...........Liza and I are doing the T word. That's right. A triathlon. I don't want to hear one single word about that! training has involved a ton of new elements this week. I've been running, swimming, strength training, and of course riding my bike(s). The soreness from the new movements and unused muscles has come and gone and I am starting to develop a rhythm. Running got much easier the second day ( I'm supposing there were a lot of cobwebs to shake out after sitting in the van for a month ), swimming bores me to death but is not as bad as I thought ( till I drown ) and the strength workouts are no problem. The bike is going well too. Made up some new intervals and tried them out today. I don't see how those things aren't going to get the job done! They were tough ( because intervals are easy right?)! I'm going to do those twice a week for 3 weeks and see what they do for my fitness compared to the usual intervals. Then, if they work like I think they will, my coaching clients can have fun with them! Looks like a busy fall! Combine my races with Liza's running races and we'll be on the move a good bit. See ya out there! DH

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gin & Trombones!

Didn't want to post 3 times today but....some of my cyclocross equipment showed up today! This is a 2012 Van Dessel Gin and Trombones. 7005 Aluminum with a carbon rear end. Easton wheels and Challenge tires to follow soon. Looks like I'm gluing tubies like crazy next week....6 new tires to mount up. This sucker is light! Can't wait to hit up some hot laps on it ASAP! Full review soon! DH

The Much Delayed Leadville 100 Race Report

My race at Leadville started the day before.....and it didn't start well. I'd been riding strong the past week, tapered well, and the legs were feeling pretty snappy. The altitude didn't seem like it was too much of a problem and I was pretty psyched to get to racing. I had been assigned number 208 meaning I'd start in the first 100 or so riders- maybe even get close to a front row start. With 3,000 riders behind me instead of in front, things were looking good.......
That was until I got the stomach bug that had plagued Brad and Bill the night before. I spent most of the night with a swollen abdomen needing to blow chunks all over the bathroom. I finally laid down around 1:00 but couldn't relax. he room was too hot and I could hear and feel my heart pounding in my chest. I think I got to sleep around 3:30. The 4:00 wake up was rough, I felt like total crap. My stomach was back to normal but I felt completely empty inside. It was very hard to get motivated to race but I got ready to roll. Brad and I both delayed rolling to the start as long as possible instead preferring to sit motionless like statues staring off into nowhere. Brad had slept zero hours that night and wasn't feeling well either.
So we head downtown trying not to get run over in the early morning darkness. As we got close to the race start all we saw was a sea of people. Brad headed to the back for his unfortunate 3117 row start and I headed to the front. Finally, I got to the head of affairs and into the first corral of riders. Somehow I got a front row start, making me feel a little more upbeat. After a few call ups for World Champs, past winners, and other somewhat fast people, the shotgun went off and we were rolling.
The trip out of town was nerve wracking to say the least. The first couple of miles were nuetral and this really sketched things out. There was a lead vehicle that we couldn't pass. This was bad due to the fact that they wouldn't drive fast enough causing a massive mushrooming at the front as riders were charging up from further back and then locking up the brakes. Thank God I was able to pretty much stay in the first 5-10 riders and stay out of trouble. Soon, the truck pulled off and it was on! We hit the flat dirt road leading to St. Kevin's and the hammer got dropped. I hit it as hard as I could but the legs protested loudly and I slid back a few spots to somewhere more comfortable. Then the climbing started and I really only had one speed for awhile until I recovered from the early hard effort.
I felt a little better on the rollers leading to the pavement descent from St. Kevin's and was moving forward again. Passing people wasn't as tough as I thought and the short climbs were helping me out. The shallow grade Sugarloaf climb to the top of the Powerline really wasn't bad at all and I stayed in about the same position here. The descent down the Powerline was rediculous. Not a hard descent, I was confused as to what people were doing. It was a double track descent but as far as I could see, everyone was on the left in a long, slow conga line about 10 mph slower than they should have been going. Bizzarre. Yes, the right line was a little rockier and rougher but it was more than worth it to not ride the brakes behind someone all the way down. I took the right and passed probably 50 people on the way down. Things were going great until I was almost down......then I went down. Some ( obviously a west coast rider ) guy, got himself cross rutted at 4 mph, high sided, and got flung into me. I was going quite a bit faster and went down really hard. The dirt on the Powerline feels like concrete by the way and tore me up pretty good. After taking a few minutes to regain my senses, I took stock of the damage. I was bleeding from the knee pretty good and had good bit of pain from somewhere deep inside it, scraped elbow, and quite a bit of pain in my left hip. My bike was fine for once...a slightly bent front disc rotor but quite functional. Remounting, it took some time to get back in a groove and ride well again....something like another 3 hrs or so. I rode terrible for the next 3 hrs. I hurt all over, was in an angry funk, and my left leg felt like it had no power at all.
Pushing on with a 7 1/2 hr finish now out of reach I decided plan B was to get in under 9 hrs and still earn myself a big gold and silver belt buckle. I went backwards all the way until 1/2 way up the Columbine climb. I can't explain it but I then did nothing but go forward. I didn't get passed by anyone else the entire race. After feeling like death for 45 miles I now felt like I was a bike racer again and set to passing folks. The higher I went, the better I felt. All the way up, then flying on the way down. It took me 1:40 to do that 3,300 foot climb to 12,600 feet and 20 min to get back down. Flying back down through Twin Lakes I hit the rollers and moved out. At about 60 miles in I caught another Pro that had gone through some mechanical issues and we started working together. By the time we hit the top of the Powerline on the way back he told me that we'd passed 244 riders. At least we'd be finishing strong! I lost sight of him when I flatted 7 miles out. Assured of a sub 9 hr finish, I soft pedaled in enjoying the end of a tough day. Not the finish I came for but still proud I finished in under 9. The crowd and reception at the finish was pretty amazing. I've done a ton of these 100 milers but didn't really appreciate what this one means to people until I hit the finish. Leadville really was a top notch event with terriffic support. If you can get in- go do it! DH

Back to Leadville.....

Here's some Leadville 100 "action shots". The promised race report will be posted this afternoon. Yes, the Powerline Climb was horrible, I was glad to be finished, and that is a picture of the only singletrack in the whole 100 miles. DH

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Putting off the Leadville 100 race report another day to post pictures from Moab. Rode the Porcupine Rim Trail. It was decent overall. The legs felt like poop from Leadville 2 days prior but when you are in Moab I guess riding is called for. I'd been through Moab three times prior and never ridden so I kinda had to. Porcupine rim started with several hundred feet of climbing up a crummy four wheel drive jeep "road" to the top of the ridge. Technical climbing was the order of the day as I slowly drug my tired carcass up the chunky rocks. 2.5-3 miles in I had reached the top of the ridge and was pleasantly greeted with some spectacular views. After a brief photo stop I was rolling again, looking forward to 12 more miles of downhill fun. I was wrong. I had barely started the downhill when I dropped out of a rocky section at speed when my day went south. At the bottom of said rocks was some very deep sand. My front wheel dug into the sand and washed out bobo style while I was still moving quite fast. Down I go. Not into the sand but past the sand into more chunky rocks. Awesome. My chin was the first thing to take the impact. Could have gotten a hand out but somehow got my thumb caught behind my shifter nearly breaking it off. Anyways- my chin landed square on a boulder, rattling my teeth and nearly knocking me out. I felt the unconciousness coming as tunnel vision was closing down my sight but managed to fight it off. That hurt very badly. As I laid on the ground I tried to assess the damage. It was hard to think with the massive, immediate headache I'd aquired. Once I was able to focus I checked myself out. Aside from my head problems and the blood on my face, my freshly injured (from Leadville) knee was ripped open again and emptying my blood out as it tends to do all over the rest of my leg and the sand. My thumb was already swollen and turning purple. Fortunately, that was all that was wrong ( physically ) with me. My bike was fine as it managed a soft sand landing ( jerk). Back to riding I soon found my biggest problem. I couldn't shift gears. My thumb wouldn't push my shift lever anymore so I had to shift with the palm of my hand. Not very efficient or safe as I had to take my hand off the bar to shift.

Anyways- the rest of the downhill was quite enjoyable. The trail got better and better the lower I rode. Soon, I was off the "road" and onto the singletrack section. The trail flowed much better here, fast but still technical and becoming more exposed skirting the edge of canyons. The last several miles were very cool with a cliff to my left, and a several hundred foot drop into the canyon on my right. Nice, technical sections littered the trail requiring me to remind myself of the consequences of going for it with nothing but a hundred foot drop to my right. Keeping things safe, I soon made it down to the road and the 5 mile ride back to town. My ride back was straight down the canyon and quite spectacular with towering canyon walls all around. Got back to the motel, patched myself up, and we were off to Vegas. Overall, a good trail once you get past the opening section. However, still liking the East coast riding better! DH

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yeah. That's right. Vegas.

Renewed the vows at The Little White Chapel in Vegas. In the Tunnel of Love of course. Sponsored by Specialized apparently. Then we honeymooned in Paris...and then L.A.


Here's some pics from Leadville. Finally home from 3 1/2 weeks on the road. After LV, Liza and I headed west to Moab (Overrated riding....give me Pisgah anyday!), hit up Vegas for a couple of days and renewed our vows, LA for a couple of days, then back across to New Orleans, then finally back to the Riviera. Don't want to get back in the van for a loooong time. Time to settle back into real life and not pro bike racer life now and get ready for cross season! Speaking of....I'm riding for Van Dessel Cycles this fall. Pretty stoked about that. Bikes should be here this week!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Bad race- nasty crash, flat, and not having my head in it negated my front row start as soon as we hit St. Kevin's climb. Was cool riding next to Christophe Sauser and Alban Lakata until the real climbing started. Still got in easily under 9 hrs though earning a really big, shiny belt buckle. Gonna have to go back and take an hr and a half off my time now though! Full detail race report tomorrow probably. DH

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Monarch Crest

With Leadville coming up, I decided I should probably ride a little easier than the all day rides we've been doing. So....Matt lined up a shuttle to take us up to Monarch Pass today. The plan was to ride the CO Trail/ Continental Divide trail 18 miles south, then hit Silver Creek Trail, then Rainbow Trail, then ride Hwy 285 back to Salida. 2,300 ft of mild climbing with 5,000 feet of descending. Awesome....other than the fact that I rode in a van instead of climbing up to the pass. Tough pill to swallow.....until I started riding and my legs felt great! We pretty much rode beautiful, shallow grade singletrack above treeline at 11,500- 12,200ft for about 18 miles. Fast, flowy trail was mixed in with some technical rocky, rooty downhill. Good stuff. Silver Creek Trail turned off the crest and dropped like a rock for several thousand feet. The further down we went, the steeper and rockier it got until our wheels were surfing on loose rock. After this trail we hit up Rainbow Trail and spent the next 9 miles on a dirt rollercoaster. Great dirt, berms, and lots of high speed delivered us back to 285 quickly. Legs felt great over 11,000 today and felt like I could actually throw down some sprints on the climbs without blowing sky high. Hope that holds up till Leadville! DH

Monday, August 06, 2012

Climbing fest 2012

Greetings from Crested Butte, CO. Got here yesterday- what a cool town! First stop- Big Al's Bicycle Heaven for the scoop on the best trails and camping. Check. Stop 2- The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame....much smaller than I imagined but a good bit of memorabilia from the early days. Stop 3- Teocali Tamale Burritos for sustenance. Off to our luxurious accommodations at the nearby Campsite on Slate Creek Rd. Bed.
Wake up at 6 am, choke down some oatmeal and we're off. The plan was to ride up Slate Creek Rd, hit Washington Gulch Rd over to Trail 403, descend that, hang a left up Gothic Rd (to the top of the world apparently), climb then descend 401, hang a left on Gothic, descend back to town, take Lupine trail back to Slate Creek Rd, then back up to the campsite.
Pedaling up Slate Creek Rd in the early dawn was quite chilly as we had a few miles before climbing in earnest. Right about when I was pondering how we would ascend the ridge we hung a right and found out. Straight to the low gear for the next hour as we climbed 2,500 feet asap to the top of 403 and up into the sunlight. Steep and riddled with switchbacks and loose rocks the road seemed to go straight up forever. I focused on turning the cranks over in smooth circles and ignoring the wandering livestock and increasing altitude and soon topped out with a beautiful panorama of mountains. We could see all the way back down the valley to Crested Butte. Matt arrived shortly and down we a big way. Trail 403 was very steep, we dropped 2,000 feet in something like 1 1/2 miles. The trail was steep, rocky, and full of switchbacks but very fast as well. 3/4 of the way down my brakes were suffering from some serious brake fade and the switchbacks were becoming much more exciting as a result! It was a blast after all the climbing so we hung a left right into another 1,500 feet of climbing. Yay! Head down, focusing on pedaling again, we headed up and away. I could see trail 401 about 1,000 feet above me to the right up on the mountainside. Eventually we made the pass at the top hitting 4,600 feet of climbing in 15.5 miles. Time for the payoff and some downhill! Downhill we got! 401 lived up to the hype. Screaming fast and smooth the trail clung to the side of the mountain and dove down through the tall wildflowers everywhere. Soon some smooth, fast switchbacks came on the scene furthering the fun factor. Big time fun descent. Down we went, eventually dumping out on Gothic Rd again near the micro town of Gothic, CO. Looked like population 15 to me. We pushed on down the gravel, then up the gravel. 4 miles went by very quickly and soon we were screaming down the pavement through the Mt. Crested Butte Ski Area at twice the speed limit. After almost blowing a big sweeper on pavement, talk was had of The Wreck of The Century part Deux. Fortunately, that was put on hold as we hit the climb up to the Lupine Trail. The old legs were protesting loudly after the nearly 6,000 feet of climbing already done and being cold from the pavement descent. A rhythm was soon found again as the pavement then trail wound upward. After topping out, we began another ripping downhill with smooth, fast singletrack in and out of aspen groves. Up and down the trail followed the ridge for a couple of miles. Super fun, we dropped off the ridge and the downhill started. Berms and jumps littered the trail as we sped downward on superb dirt. All too soon, the trail ended and we found ourselves climbing again, this time on the gravel back up to our campsite- a welcome sight after a tough ride. Back to town for a well earned Pizza was the next stop Gotta say- Crested Butte's trails have lived up to their reputation! DH

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Stuff I've been using

With an off day today, I've got no riding to post about so I figured I'd post about some of the products I've been using on this trip. First and foremost, my bike! Back in March, Liza got me a new bike for my birthday. She was tired of me getting mechanicals in every race due to using 4 year old worn out components. My bike of choice was a 2012 Specialized Epic Evo 29er. That bike has been great from the second I got it. The first ride on it was the 3rd Snake Gap race and I didn't even have time to set up the suspension. Rode like a dream! Now I've had time to tweak the ample adjustments in the suspension and it rides perfect. The XO 1 x 10 drivetrain shifts crisp and quickly thanks to full derailleur housing instead of stops and exposed cable. The proprietary chainguide for the front chainring works well too. Only a couple of jammed chains there- mostly my fault. I wore out the Specialized Renegade tires in a couple of months. That is a shame because they are great tires and work well in a variety of conditions. After a month or so I had more Stan's showing through the sidewalls than rubber. Anyways- my Epic has proven to be the best bike I've had, Light (23lb), stiff when pedaling, and cushy when descending. I am not a sit and spin type of climber and this bike works perfect for standing in a big gear. Unlimited traction lets the rider keep moving up anything as long as they can turn over the cranks ( with a 34 T single up front this takes some legs!). I changed out the grips to some ODIs, swapped to my trusty Selle Italia SLR saddle, switched the front Roval wheel for my Stan's ZTR wheel, Installed a Cane Creek 11o headset, and swapped the tiny stock stem for a Deda Zero 110 mm to perfect the fit. The only nitpick I have is with the Rock Shox SID Brain fork. I'd rather be able to manually, on the fly lockout my fork instead of the Brain doing it. Definitely has taken some getting use to to preload the fork effectively when pumping or bunny hopping. 9.5 out of 10.
Another product I am using is a Camelbak Charge hydration pack. I really haven't liked using packs in the past. I can't stand the weight, the feel of something on my back moving around, or the way they get in the way of my jersey pockets. However, long rides require a lot of water so they are a neccessary evil. With both of my older models of hydration packs suffering some type of malady, I knew a new on had to happen. Reluctantly, I decided to pick one up. I picked up the charge not just because of it's light weight and silky fabric, but because I liked the color. I have used it every day now ( with the exception of road rides ) and am loving it. Plenty of pockets ( but not too many ) hold my CO2s, tube, Crank Bro's tool, a couple of Clif bars and gels. There is a small top pocket perfect for an I pod or cellphone, a large pocket that I stash the arm/leg warmers and vest, and an expandable "stuff hole" between the two compartments for more stuff. It holds 100 oz of water in a new bladder design ( to me ) that is head and shoulders above my old packs. The straps and waist belt are very thin and fit well, I can hardly notice it is there. My favorite feature however, are the two pockets on the waist strap. My camera fits perfectly in the right one, 2-3 gels in the left. Jersey pocket accessability problems taken care of! Only nitpick here is easily remedied with scissors and a lighter- the excess strap length. Someone buying a pack of this design is not going to need the straps to expand that far for it to fit them. I'll trim them soon though. I give this sucker a 9 out of 10.
More riding pics tomorrow- 401 in Crested Butte is up next! DH