Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas in Cancun

Well we're off to Cancn pretty shortly here. That's right, a nice break from this god aweful winter weather here in Michigan. I can't wait! We went all out with the all inclusive package... let's just say it may take till July for my cycling season to come around after all the food and drinks are burned off. Michelle and I will be be making appearances over by the swim up bar if you need us...

I haven't really gotton into my training program for next year yet. "Old Joe" has been holding out on me... says I need rest or something. That'll be a new concept for the Simonster this year. It's easy to get wrapped up in all the all hrs and miles. So and so is doing this... this persons doing that. I think you have to really be individualized about your training. Take it day to day. Ask yourself, "what's the best thing I can do today to prepare for the season?" That's about all I have to say about that.

Here's some good Mickey/Rocky quotes to get ya in the winter training mood. If you've ever worked with a coach before, these are right on...

Mickey: You know what you are?
Rocky: No, what?
Mickey: A tomato.
Rocky: A tomato?
Mickey: Yeah, and I'm running a business here, not a goddamn soup kitchen.

Mickey: Your nose is broken.
Rocky: How does it look?
Mickey: Ah, it's an improvement.

Mickey Goldmill: I've seen wrestlers that was bigger than dinosaurs! You ever fight a dinosaur, kid?
Rocky Balboa: No, not lately.
Mickey Goldmill: They can cause a variety of damage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

29 inches, 29 years old, and 2009!

So far 2009 is shaping up to be a good year. As you may allready know, Trek has decided to pull the plug on their US based teams. I had a good season with them in 2008 and now it's time to move on. It's unfortunate, but it's a part of the business. On that note, I've aquired new sponsorship for 2009. The Michigan Trek/Fisher sales rep, Mike Shrift, and Travis Ott of Gary Fisher stepped up and came through with a spot on the Fisher 29er crew. Thanks guys! I'm really excited to be switching back to the 29" wheels. I'll be 29 years old, riding on 29" wheels, in 2009. Coincidence??? Perhaps fate brought all that together.
My weapon of choice is the Superfly. 3lb carbon frame with all the Bontrager trimmings. Bontrager is also comming out with a couple new tire choices like the XR1 which will help keep the wheels turning fast!
After a 2 week layoff with a bad cold, the winter training program is underway. My wife Michelle and I joined a local gym and I have a permanent trainer setup in the basement for getting in some time after work, or on those days where it's just unberable to be outside. My favorite movies to watch are the Rocky movies, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars... yeah I'm a nerd.

I decided to work with a coach this year which is a first. He's a local guy and most people know him as Art. Imagine trying to tell this guy you don't feel like riding today (see pic below). I think he coached Rocky Balboa at one time, but I'm not 100% sure. I'm sure that's where Rocky learned about the running the stairs. (see pic above)

I think a viewpoint outside my own head will help tremendously to help make sure I'm doing the right things at the right times. We make a good team. Here's Art after our first training session on the stairs.
I'm looking forward to another fun season of traveling and making new friends. That's all for now. Gotta get back to the daily grind. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Iceman Aftermath

Well another one down and another season in the books. Wow, that flew by! This was my 9th Iceman in a row. I was pleased with 7th overall. I just didn't have the legs at the end going into the final piece of singletrack. The course was smooth and packed down which made it hard to break up. We had a group of 8 for most of the race. I took a few hard pulls and tried to make a few moves early which had me paying the price later once we crossed Williamsburg Rd. I got spit out the back, but somehow managed to claw my way back to the group. After that, it was survival mode to hang on for 7th. Overall, this is the funnest race for me all year. I've raced all over the country and I have to hand it Steve Brown. He's got the best event going in the country right now, hands down. And of course the Bells party is always a blast.

Now it's time to take a break from racing and relax before I start going to work on preperations for next year. Not sure what the plans are for Trek yet. I'd really like to stay with them for 09, but we'll see how it pans out. If anyone is looking to add a team member, feel free to contact me. I'm open to options. See you in the spring!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pre- Iceman Update

Well... it's Thursday before the Iceman. Things have been going well. I've been working with Art Flemming on a daily basis trying to squeeze out any additional fitness I may have missed over this past year. I think we made some definate improvements. I decided to forgoe the cross races, and instead, we have been motor pacing in a super secret location on the weekends. I can tell you that these are the hardest efforts I've ever done on a bicycle. It takes about 4 days to fully recover. It's intense. I've also managed to drop about 5 lbs since Chequamegon by riding to work and back everyday. I've logged well over 2000 commute miles this year, and I'm still going. That alone has made a tremendous difference.

My bike is ready, my fitness is primed, and I'm feeling healthy and ready to take on the Iceman! I can't wait! Should be a tough one this year. A stacked field along with some not so nice weather will make this race one for the books.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Peak 2 Peak

There's something about racing in the fall that just gets me fired up. Maybe it's the anticipation that there's only a few races left in the season, or maybe it's just that clean crisp air. Whatever it is, Peak 2 Peak at Crystal Mountain had it this past weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect and the fall colors were peaking. Endoman promotions did a fantastic job of setting up the venue, I was impressed. They went the extra mile to make the event feel like everyone racing was important. The trail was super fun and it was a great warm up for the Iceman. Drafting seemed effective on fast flatter sections of the trail, just like the beginning of Iceman.

The start of the race quickly thinned out to 3 of us which was me, Mike Anderson, and Derek Graham on the 1st lap. I had no idea how long the last climb was, so I attacked on the bottom slopes and severly paid for it at the top where Mike Anderson slipped away with a 5 second gap. Luckily Derek and I were able to close it at the bottom. 2nd lap we traded pulls back and forth until the big climb at the end. This time I waited until the top to put in an acceleration. I got a gap, which Mike Anderson closed by the top. We lost contact with Derek on the decent, and it was down to me and Mike Anderson for the win. I took a pretty hard pull to distance ourselves from Derek. Near the end of the lap, I asked Mike to come thru. I could sense he was tired and went around him. I quickly opened up the gap and held on for the win.

I'll definately be back next year. The course is great for attracting riders from all discilpines of the sport as it seems to have something for everyone. Plus I'm also a big fan of racing on SATURDAY because it gives us a chance to still have a weekend after the race.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stoney Creek CX

The kick-off to Iceman training has officially begun. Cyclocross is great way to get in some lung seering efforts and bring out that final edge for the end of the MTB season. This year Stoney Creek was no exception. I decided to skip the UCI race this year since they won't let me ride my MTB, so I had no prior preperation for Stoney. I hopped the barriers a couple times in warm up and I was good to go. The pace of the race was instantly uncomfortable. We hit the beach and I decided to ride it. Big mistake. I totally redlined my heart rate and completely blew up trying to get to the other side. After a bit of recovery, I worked my way back up to Tim Saari and John Card. They kept working me over on the beach every lap, until I finally copied John's method to running with the bike. What a huge improvement! John ended up having some trouble in the end which left it down to me and Tim on the final lap. I bridged up to him on the run across the beach and got around him with a ginger elbow tap. Michael Wissink and Jeff Weinart were long gone off the front and I rolled in for 3rd. It was a fun race and I can't wait to get out there for some more racing. This weekend Michelle and I are headed off to Iron Cross in Southern PA. It's a 62 mile CX race up and down 6300ft of rolling mountains. Sounds brutal... I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Addison Oaks Fall Classic

Addison Oaks is a very near and dear place to me. I got my first win there and it was also one of the first races I ever attempted in my sport level days. My wife and I also got married there! Entering the park and driving through the old weeping willows is so cool. So much work has gone into this trail in the past few years. They have done an exceptional job with the course.

I had been training pretty hard the past few weeks, so I wasn't real sure how the legs were going to feel. Joe Brzuchanski took the hole shot like he was shot out of a cannon, and I remember thinking, "this is way too fast for me today." Joe ended up with some mechanical troubles which left the pace making up to Christian and me and Kyle Stang followed. We were absolutely flying through that course and soon Christian and I were alone. Chrisitan never let up on the pace the entire race. He upped the pace at the end of the last lap and I was cooked by the time we got to line. He won the sprint and I ended up 2nd on the day. I felt pretty good about the result considering where I was in my training. No mechanicals, no crashes, and no mis-haps of any kind. In the end it was a good race.

I had a great time hanging out with Fraser Bikes guys after the race! Thanks for the beverages and brats! I'll definately be back for another race at Addison.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chequame-crash out

11th Place... My excuse... the "random tandem" crashed me out in the neutral roll-out. I raced like a mad dog to get all the way back into the top ten. It was a good workout.

The start/roll-out is an absolute hazard. 2000 people all cramming to get to the front. After getting crashed out of contention for two years in a row, I'm officially done with this race. Every year there's 1 or 2 major crashes at the start. They're not little bobbles into the soft grass either. It's head over heels doing 25 mph into the pavement. Not sure how the problem gets solved, but I guess ignoring it has been working for the last 10 years.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Stoney XC

Thanks to the guys who came out and hung tough in the rain. Perfect prep for the next leg of the tripple crown... THE CHEQUAMEGON!

Results below:


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shenandoah 100 Report

This has to be one of my favorite race courses in the country. It has it all. Knarley decents and killer climbs. The race went pretty well for me. I stayed with the leaders (Eatough, Schalk, Koerber, and Beck) after the first climb and downhill. Then about halfway up the 2nd climb, Chris Beck slowly pulled away from me. He was about 20 seconds up on me at the top and I thought for sure I could bridge on the decent. That was when the first flat happened. Dang! 5 or 6 guys passed. I chased on the decent and caught fellow Michigander Greg Kuhn. We road together all the way to the next big climb. We slowly brought back 3 guys on the climb which put us 6th and 7th. I pushed pretty hard on the climb and Greg lost contact, but came flying back at the bottom of the decent. We continued together on the pavement and up to the next climb. I pushed hard and kept it in the middle ring the whole way up and Greg again lost contact. After a quick decent...sure enough, Greg bridged back up. We continued to work together all the way to the "sole crusher." I distanced myself from Greg by the time I got to the top. At that point I was pretty sure it was going to be 6th place for me as 5th was over 10 minutes up. I continued to push all the way up and over the last climb. Then... dun dun dun. I got another flat. This time it was the front. I had an extra tube, but not enough air to fill the tire. That's when Greg came rolling up and saved the day. He gave me a C02 and I was back in business. We rode to the finish together and crossed the line 6th and 7th.

I was happy with 6th. I matched my time from last year with 2 flats, so that's a good sign things are going well. I also managed to finish without going into the bonk zone. I finally think I have my nutrition plan figured out for these 100 milers. I was really proud of Greg Kuhn (my training partner) for having such a good race and a big THANKS goes out to him for hooking me up with the C02 at the end. Next up is the Chequamegon. I've got two weeks to prepare. I should be fine if I can survive the insane rollout and avoid mechanicals.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Home Course Advantage

Made the big 30 minute drive yesterday out to one of favorite summer classics, Pontiac Lake XC. I consider it to be my home course. I've been riding there ever since I was 14 years old. I did my first XC race there. It was a Paul Bunyon in January I believe and it was extremely muddy. I DNF'd. A lot has changed since then. The course has undergone many changes and improvements. In my opinion, I think it's one of the most technically difficult courses in MI. It's 10 miles long and has about 760ft of climbing per lap. There's lots of fast challenging downhills and some tough steep climbs. I chose to ride the Trek Top Fuel and it proved to be the right choice because... I won! It's amazing how full suspension keeps ya so fresh on bumpy courses. Congrats to my good friend Joe Brzuchanski on the Bells MTB Team for sticking it to the end in 2nd place. He rode a good race.

This weekend is the Shenandoah 100 in Virginia. It's a beast of a course at 100 miles and 12,000ft of climbing! The first 25 will be fun, the last 25 will be grooling. It's good for me though. I gain a lot of experience and I learn a lot from riding with some the best riders in the country. After 100 miles you pretty much know what you're made of. You know your strengths, your weaknesses, and your limits as a cyclist. I recomomend everyone try one at least once.

Monday, August 11, 2008


What a fun weekend. The 7 hr drive was worth it to experience Marquette at least one time this summer. The weather was pretty good, except for the downpour 30 min before the start, which turned out to be a blessing as the course was the best it's ever been.

How it unfolded:
The controlled roll-out suprised me. I almost ran into the back of the motorcycle. Oh well. Up and over the Luge climb with Brian Matter by my side. We pulled out a group of 6. It was Me, Matter, Swanson, Anderson, Marko, and TJ. Matter flatted in Ishpeming, then Doug went down in the puddle of death, which left the 4 of us to battle it out. Soon after, TJ attacked super hard on the power line climbs and I could tell he was feeling good. All was going well until we got to Misery Hill. Ugh. I was put into difficulty on the hike-a-bike. I chased through all the rough stuff and latched back onto the group when the trail flattened back out. After a discussion of the prize list breakdown, it was time to get down to business. From there on out it was all shadow boxing. This is the fun stuff. It's what racing is all about. We were all testing each other here and there on the little rollers. I wasn't sure who had the best legs. Finally on the long paved road section, I knew it was time to go for it and lay out all my cards. I tested them a couple times on the pavement, but nobody was willing to counter-attack. As soon as we got back onto the trail, I attacked on the downhill and got a little 10 second gap. I kept telling myself, "you can do this! Go! Go! Go!" I thought back to Iceman from last year when Brian rolled away with 10 to go and I just kept that thought in my head every time I looked back and saw TJ chasing. It was the perfect mindset as I was able to hold off TJ and roll in for the win! A little more tactical than in the past, but a win none the less. It seemed that anyone of us could have won the race out of that group of six, but a little luck with good timing and patience proved to be the key.

Next up Shenandoah, followed by "The Chequamegon." My goal is to just finish that one in my lifetime.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Marathon

I woke up to the sounds of rain on the roof last Saturday morning before the start of the Stoney Creek Marathon race in Rochester MI. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to race in the mud, but the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) kicked in and I had to be there. I threw on the Bontrager mud tires and the Fuel was prepped.
A blow of the whistle and we were off. Lummis took the whole shot and lead most of the lap before I took over in the singletrack. Christian went to work on lap 2 which whittled it down to just me, Christian, and Randy Laprarrie. Christian punched it hard a few times till it was just me and him. Then, he punched it one more time before we got to the uphill singletrail and he was off on his own. I thought that was the last time I’d see him, but much to my surprise I saw him on the side of trail heading into lap 3. I think he caught a flat. In the meantime I put it on Auto pilot for the rest of 4 laps and brought home the first W of the year followed by my training partner Greg Kuhn in 2nd. Nice work Greg!
It was nice to see all my friends again. I think we all suffered together with the heat, the mud, and the humidity. It made for a tough race and I was happy to finish.
From there we took the party over Keith Riege’s for some relaxation on the deck along with some good old fashioned grilling. We had a fun time well into the night and we made some new friends too.
Thanks goes out to all who support me in this mountain bike racing endeavor. I couldn’t do it without you guys!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Commute

So I accomplished something very special this week. I biked to work and back an entire work week! 19 miles both ways puts me at 38 miles a day in approximately 2hrs 15min, unless I take a deviation on my way home. I did the math on the gas savings and it comes out 27 dollars a week with gas at $4.15 a gallon. Woohoo! That buys me and Mitch a celebration dinner tonight! In a way, it almost feels like I’m getting paid to ride my bike.
It’s a great route too. It’s mostly all rail trails. I start out bright and early at 6AM as our neighborhood connects right to the Polly-Anne trail for the first couple miles. From there I take back roads down to Lake Orion where I pick up the Paint Creek trail which takes me on a scenic route all the way to Rochester. There’s a nice little connector trail which leads behind the library and over to the Clinton River trail. I head West for another few miles and the trail drops me off just a few hundred yards from my work front door.
I’ve discovered there’s a whole sub-culture of bike commuters around here and I’ve run into a few old friends. Just this morning I ran into a friend that I used to work with when I was at Chrysler.
With no showers, baby wipes and Right Guard have become very useful, and I’m sure everyone here at the office appreciates it too. Every minute of the commute is worth it though. I highly recommend bike commuting for anyone looking to save time, or money on gas. It’s a very rewarding experience.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lumberjack 100

I think the best word to describe 100 mile MTB racing is "tough", and the 2008 Lumberjack was no exception. 100 miles of pure Michigan singletrack. With this race being in my home state, I really wanted to give the full timers a run... well for at least one lap. I took the whole shot and was first to the top of Big M mountain with Jeff Schalk glued to my wheel. I continued to push the pace for the entire first lap. At one point I was all alone off the front just after the epic "swamp" section. It was the craziest thing I've ever seen on a mountain bike course! The water was up to my knees in some spots and lasted what seemed like a 1/4 mile. My efforts proved to be too much too soon as I faded after the first lap. The good thing is I felt the best I've felt all year and it's something I can build on! Another plus was I got to race on my Top Fuel for the first time. It was definately an awesome bike for the course. Thanks goes to Chris Shaw and the people at Trek for supporting me this season!

The most rewarding part of the weekend was spending time and getting know better my father in law Dan O'Dea. We left together on Thursday after work in the motorhome. I am now completely spoiled and road tripping it again in the PT Cruiser will be tough to swallow. A big THANKS goes out to Dan, and the entire O'Dea family for taking care of my every need for the entire weekend. It made a huge difference!

Two new friends of mine DJ and Fuzzy at the after party. I've got some work to do on my beard if I want to catch up.

This is me at the finish line with Rick Plite. He put on a very well promoted event and brought some stiff competition into Michigan from all over the country. WELL DONE RICK!

I had a great time racing in Michigan and it made me realize how much I miss all my racing buddies this year. It was good to see everyone again and I hope I can see everyone again soon. I'll do my best to keep everyone posted. Bye for now.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

2008 Mid Season Report

It's the middle of June and I've got a few races under my belt now. I trained more hrs in the off season than ever before. Couple that with 5 100+ mile races, three agonizing weeks of the flu, and you've got one tired bike rider... and it's only June! It's OK though. I've got tons of miles in my legs and all I need now is to back off and work on a little bit of speed for the rest of the season. My plan this year was to step it up, and try to take on some of the bigger events (NUE) with the toughest competition. So far it's been very tough. I spend most of my time trying to recover at my desk from 100 mile MTB races, and specific training during the week seems to just be a thought for now. But on the bright side, I'm 100% healthy, and haven't had any major catastrpohies this year so far. Well that's it for now. I'll keep the readers posted on the events of the next NUE dun dun dun... The Lumberjack!

Start of the Mohican100. Rigid was probably not the best decision! Ouch!

The Introduction

Hello, and welcome to the Simonster Blog. I figured I would start out with a brief introduction and look into my life (for anyone who cares).

After a long period with Bells/Quiring, I switched racing teams this year and I'm now racing for the Trek Midwest Factory Team. The Bells Team was a great experience for me and Quiring makes great bikes. However, I felt this was a good opportunity to hook up with one of the most prominent professional MTB team in the United States. Oh yeah... and they happen to make great bikes as well!

Full suspension setup for longer more bumpy courses. Minus the suspension fork for right now.

69er (hu-hu) for the faster point to point races ala "The Chequamegon", O2S, or Iceman.

This is my beautiful wife Michelle. We've been married now for almost 4 years. She suuports me and my racing 100% and I couldn't do it without her. She works for Clarkston public schools and recently graduated with her masters degree in special education, (more sponsorship $$$!).

This is our home in Oxford MI. We've lived here for 3 years now. I like the location because I can ride to work on all rail trails, or head North and get away from the traffic. There's about 5 different MTB trails within riding distance from my front door.

This our dog Buddy. He's full of energy and loves to go on bike rides. We got him when he was a puppy. Seems like he's always in a good mood. Nothing bothers him.

This is our cat Tigger. He sleeps constantly. He's about the most chill cat I've ever met. He weighs 20 lbs and can be seen most of the day just as he is sitting. We don't know much about him or what he does for a living, other than he lives on our couch. He's good entertainment though and he loves to nestle in your lap.