Monday, December 14, 2009

Bush-league, psych-out stuff

I debated with myself for a few days whether or not I wanted to blog about what I'm about to blog about. The last few days I've been feeling quite shitty about what lays in store for me during January. Basically I have a weird chronic disease, that doesn't seem to want to ever go away. In a way, it is just like diabetes, depression, lupus, and a host of other conditions that modern humans may have but can still lead relatively normal long as they take their medicine. My medicine comes in the form of thyroid hormone pills, which I have taken every day since March of 2005, when I had my thyroid and 52 lymph nodes removed all of which were filled with cells which looked like this:Arranged in the following pattern:When in fact, the thyroid should have looked like this: Unfortunately for me, the little buggers were also in my lungs. Fortunately, the cells can't do much at all if their signal to grow and divide is blocked, which is one of the things thyroid hormone (my pills I take daily) do.

Anyway, this is all to say that ever since 2005, I've had cancer in my body. Although most of it has been killed or removed with 3 surgeries and 4 radiation treatments. There is a blood test that I get every 3 months which is my tumor marker and a good indication of how much disease is left in my body. It has been low, but stable for the past 3 years. The fact that it is still there however warrants hopefully my last radiation treatment...which has been scheduled for the last 6 months for Janurary 7th, less than a month from today.

I generally don't think or talk much about all this. I view it as a part of the natural history of cells, that sometimes, they go awry to no fault of our own...and there's absolutely no 'meaning' to that in my opinion. It is what it is.

My current fear is that, if there are cancer cells in my lungs (which no one is actually certain of anymore), then those cells will concentrate the radioactive iodine I have to drink in January. The problem then, is that normal lung cells get damaged in the process....and people that like to ride bikes quickly, climb mountains, ski down hills, run after frisbees, play with kids, run through the woods, and even scream at cyclocrossers need their lungs.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cat 3 State CX Champs (edited!)

I'm a bit speechless right now...don't know how to sum up the race or the day without launching into some narcissism. Oh well, I'll just plow forward:

Today was a long, euro-style cyclocross course complete with mid- to low- thirties temperatures, gray clouds overhead, and a course which was completely different than yesterdays pre-ride. After helping Yielding set-up the course, we went to eat some awesome barbecue and some of the best chili I've every eaten at Montague's (really you should go there sometime). The belly full of protein wasn't the best pre-ride meal, but it did the job as I got to ride around the course for about an hour on saturday. You may not believe me if you raced on sunday, but it really wasn't very soft at all on saturday. That S section after the hill climb was just a little soft. I hardly anticipated what was to come the following day: a total mud-fest.

Looking at the field before the cat 3 race, I had the feeling that it could be anybody's day. A small bobble or a ambitious turn could really handicap. The KC dudes looked intimidating, Martin had a road course, Matt James crushes in the mud, Gino and Chris C. didn't have much of a disadvantage on their single speeds as there was only one climb, Scott P. and Drew B. seemed ready to pounce (as evidenced by Scott's BRUTAL acceleration at the start and eventual hole-shot), and that's about all I remember from the start.My game plan was to ride very steady the first half of the race and try not to fall, then accelerate a bit the second half, but to keep all my focus on riding solid. I held second or third wheels for the first two laps, then took my obligatory pull across the long road section. Sometime during the 3rd lap a leaders group formed with me, Matt James, Martin, Alex Edwards, and Travis Donn. I led most of the next few laps and slowly Matt James and I found ourselves on our own with 2 or 3 to go. Matt and I raced wheel-to-wheel a few times in the B races last year (actually in almost identical conditions to today, except I think it was snowing and colder). We ended up working together and both focused on riding swift (not fast) and solid.Neither of us attacked but during the last lap, while I was in front by 5 or 10 seconds, I think Matt must have bobbled going up the hill-climb and next thing I knew a 30 second-ish gap had opened. It was almost robotic, but my body just zeroed in on riding steady and the next thing I knew, I was crossing the line with tons of friends cheering for me in first place!

It was an incredibly fun day to get cheered for by teammates, friends and strangers, be able to cheer for the P12s, race hard, win a race, and just act like a child and animal...playful and hungry.

Racing has been my self-renewing compulsion over the past year and I'm stoked on the life that has come with it.
A HUGE thank to everyone who helped make this an incredible season...especially my amazing team and support from my incredibly supportive wife!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Season's almost done!

Only a couple of days left til Hermann! After that, I'm racing my single speed only for awhile and taking every handoff I can get.

After much thought, I've decided to race the Cat 3 at Hermann. It had been a goal for a year to get on the podium for that race and I want to follow through with that goal.

It will be really crazy to have an inter-family dual with cousin Martin. We have pretty similar riding styles but definitely different overall strengths and weaknesses. It should be a blast!

As soon as the race is over, my cannondale (which has already sold!) is going to be stripped clean and a new frame is going to take its place: my future road bike for the year and steed of A class and Cat 1/2 POWER....can you guess what it is? Thanks Cory!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bubba #9

Everything seemed to be in slight excess this past week of thanksgiving: riding more than usual, drinking more than usual, hanging with friends and family more than usual, eating way more than usual, sleeping...well, almost everything.

Last year was my first season racing cross and a return to racing bikes after 10 years of doing other stuff. I had decided to do the cat 3 race for last year's cx state champs after having some success in the Bubba B races. It was a hard, rough race. I remember being totally exhausted after having raced every weekend on virtually no serious training, a new baby at home, and the life of medical school hanging over me during the weeks. I think I ended up in the bottom quarter of the race but still managed to be satisfied with just being out there. After, I told myself that as long as racing bikes stayed fun and within the yin-yang of life that I would return to the same race in 2009 with more experience and training behind me.

Today was the last bubba race of the season. Dark skies loomed in the distant and the threat of another course assembled by the dark, sick minds of CFR, Mason Storm, and others made it hard to get very excited. At least it looked and felt a lot more like a cx race, although at this point in the season sunday afternoons feel, well, I'll let Jack Handy summarize for me: “What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk?”

Anyway, Butthead was gone today but just about everyone else was there, including Nate Rice, who's a beast to watch on the muddy stuff. After looking around I kind of wished that I could just sit back and watch the race unfold, because it seems like on any given day, the top 10 of the A race receives a pretty serious shuffle. However my predictions at the beginning of the race were 1. Nate 2. Shot 3. Dave or Grman

The whistle sounded and I found myself in the top 10 holding a wheel and barely hanging on to the blistering pace that Dr Mark was setting. That's the way things stayed for the first lap or two. I think I was probably somewhere 5th-8th until sometime during lap 2 I fell. That seemed to set off a chain reaction where 3 more times, I just fell over, for what seemed like no good reason. Oh well. I had a great time, despite the fact that my tires seem to hold mud like no other. Once again, my teamates provided some serious fucking motivation and kept me going strong despite all the bobbles. I think I ended up in 6th or 7th, right where I started!

Cousin Martin had an amazing race today until the mud took him out as well. Dave (STPAF) B. also rode well today along with Jay and Jeff Yielding. Otherwise, it was just about like I had thought with Nate, then Shot, then I think Dr Mark.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bubba #8

I woke up today after having slept 9 hours for the first time in forever (probably years?). We had already gotten a babysitter and Maggie decided late that she felt like she needed to study all day, so I loaded up my stuff and got ready for a trip to Augusta, MO all-by-myself.

The course was hillside. Literally. I like hills and wish there were more in cross, so it seemed to be the perfect course for me. Also, Josh mentioned to me that on this kind of course, there isn't much strategy involved, it is just a question of legs (which I wasn't sure was either good or bad before the race).

There were all kinds of things that came together today, I was really excited to come across the line in second although I still can't figure out how it happened:
(1) an exercise physiologist would note that I trained 2 hours tuesday and got 2x20minute hard intervals within that time, an hour easy wednesday, 2 hours with hard 30sec on, 30sec off x20 on thursday, easy 1 hour on friday, and a 2 hour mountain bike ride on saturday

(2) a doctor would note that I slept 9-10 hours, took a gu right before the race, drank some H20 during the race, and managed to not drink any beer on the day before the race

(3) a bike gear guru would note that I was riding with fancy latex tubes today and therefore reduced my rotational weight and got to ride at 28psi fron and rear. plus, apprarenly my wheels are pretty damn nice.

(4) a social anthropologist would note that I had my hommies cheering for me on the hill and providing some serious fucking motivation

(5) a superstitious person would note that I wore a good luck charm today:There are so many variables in sports, especially bike racing. Its funny that I didn't feel all that much different than other days, except for getting a bit more support from the amazing crowd and having a very nice feeling coming across the line!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bubba #7

This month, I'm doing a rotation on the autopsy service, which has been very interesting so far. The coolest thing has been working with the cops and learning about the ways in which bullets are designed to kill people. Since I'm a pacifist, that is all new shit too me, and really insane. Anyway, one of the things that I had the pleasure of doing this past week of 'cutting-in' a brain. Which means: every dead person that gets an autopsy has their skull opened, brain removed, then sectioned like a bread loaf to see if there's any bleeds, tumors, etc. When you actually cut a brain up into 1cm slices, it is quite difficult since the consistency of brain is pretty much the same as a fucking jello mold.

If I would have died right after the race today, and someone would have 'cut-in' my brain, they would have found a melted blob of gu, much more soft than jello.

Today's race was awesome. For a course description, go here

Since every word of coach Ryback's rhetoric is indeed true, I must give a big thanks to my teamates and everyone else who put that course together, cus it was awesome.

My race went well, I felt great today and only fell once (in that sandpit, on my face). I ended up top 10 again, which I'm super psyched about especially considering the following:
1. Despite all the talk about carbon wheels and tubulars being so much faster, one can still place top 10 with clinchers and used $350 wheels
2. I rode a hard pack tire in back today (Kenda Small block 8), so apparently tires don't matter all that much either.
3. I put my front wheel on backwards (because I'm a moron), so my michelin mud tire was actually set up for low resistance, not mud.

In no way do I mean the aforementioned statements to sound like I'm talking shit...all I'm saying is that the whole deal about cross specific, high-end equipment probably doesn't matter as much at a local race in missouri as some would like to think. Of course, I didn't win this race...maybe I would have been better with more fancy stuff and without so much haste in setting up my bike; but who knows.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bubba #6-Recreating with the wifey

Another 80 degree weekend in...November? Shit that sucked. Anyway, besides Uh, the usual; bowl; drive around; the occasional acid flashback....the wifey and I like to go ride cyclocross. However, I prefer it much more cold. Maggie looked great out there (thanks do Dennis Fickinger and Eville Mike for the shots!!). She's loving her sweet new (used) kona and I have to say that it is was one of the hottest bikes out there.

A wiser man than me once said, "Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes...well, the bar eats you". That about sums 'er up for my 4th attempt at the A race. I hung on for 9th and it hurt. My legs are good but my lungs aren't happy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bubba #4 and 5

The bicycle racing this weekend began with a decision about which bike to bring and which tires to use. Maggie decided that she wanted to do at least one of the races and with the recent torrential fucking down-pouring we figured we'd end up with some serious mud on our bikes. That made the decision pretty easy; I could only bring one bike (due to room on the rack) and I didn't want to race at 10:30pm on saturday night...single speed was my call.

Thankfully, I ended up taking my hard-pack tires off and putting on the mud-tires, cus the race on saturday night was pretty damn muddy. Nothing too ridiculous, but I was glad to have the muddies on. The Seagal crew and other single speed buddies came out with true-to-form, superior attitudes and superior states of mind and rocked the costumes on saturday night. It says a lot for the single speed category, that almost all of us were in some pretty serious costumes.

Saturday night's race was awesome. I felt great, rode har, and ended up winning with about an 80% effort. I figured that the course and the conditions were spot on for my single speed, so decided to try the A race the following day, still with only one gear. Its always nice to race with little or no expectations for yourself. I truly had no idea how I'd end up, especially considering our daughter woke us up at 2:30am and didn't go back to sleep saturday night. Luckily my teamates and buddies TTM were there to cheer me on...I could hear them yelling for me from half-way across the course!

The race experience sunday was a big blurr. All I know, is that instead of trying to get off the line first and ride in the first group as soon as possible, I held back for the first few laps and ended up having enough reserves to ride into the top 10, then slowly and methodically pick riders off. It felt totally natural for me on a single speed. The experience was totally different than a geared bike, since I'm usually unable to talk during an A race due to complete cardiovascular exertion. The single speed was different. My legs were grinding the entire time, but my heart and lungs were in a very nice and powerful comfort zone. I still think it is course dependent, but I'm pretty excited right now about keeping the major one as my weapon of choice for most A races. Shifting slows me down (I'm not saying it slows everyone down, just me. I suck at shifting), and when there's lots of turn on a course, it is nice just to be able to focus on cadence, grinding my legs, and that dude in front of me. I'm not sure what it says about my bicycle skills or physiology (slow-twitch vs fast-twitch blah blah) that single speeding is just as fast or faster, but I don't really care because I felt a ton better this week than I did the prior week after racing my geared bike.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bubba #3

Rode hard today, but not hard enough. I just couldn't hang on with the lead group after 3 laps and fell back to somewhere around 6-8th for the rest of the race. I ended up riding with Jeff Yielding and Dave B. for most of the race. It was good to ride with Dave, he's got a ton of experience and is stronger, but we have pretty similar riding styles so I was psyched to pedal with him. During the B races I usually could talk to whoever I rode with, A races are much harder...just about all my energy went to me legs.

Maggie rocked it again today on her mountain bike...although she's now definitely wanting a cx bike. Too bad we're both in med school and have to plan every little detail of our finances...cus it would be nice just to grab her a bike before the halloween races. Let me know if you know of any cheap 48-50cm cx bikes out there! My cannondale is a 50cm and a bit small for me, I may talk with Kona this week about a Major Jake and see if I can set up the Cdale for her.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Listening to my body and my wife

First, thanks so much to 'GoPate', whoever you are for taking so many awesome pictures of so many people this past weekend! My self indulgence it as a new level of satisfaction.

So there I was, lining up for my first 'A' race ever, feeling like I had done everything right. I had eaten well throughout the day, didn't drink the night before, rode easy on thursday and friday, had good clothes, and felt super psyched. Then of course, there's reality. I feel like whenever I do all the right shit before a race, something happens (shit). Then, whenever I have a couple of beers, get woken up at 4am by the baby, and generally don't feel that great, I race my ass off and feel fantastic.

The A race on saturday night was weird. I was off the line with a great start and felt really good for the first lap. I was probably 5th and feeling like things were very fast but that I was prepared and could hang on. I don't know when or how it happened but at some point during lap 2 my knee started to hurt. It was the kind of deep, throbbing pain that only hard exertion could bring out and possibly torn connective tissue. I looked down to see a 2cm cut on my leg and dark red blood gushing down my shin. Oh well, at first I thought merely a flesh wound. Then the pain continued and I started thinking about the fact that the pain was internal. Various anatomical landmarks came to mind in addition to tears and breaks through those particular landmarks. I ended up bailing after lap 3. A decision that, looking back, I think was the right one to make
After some beers, we headed home for wound cleaning and sleep. Which each respictively, hurt and didn't happen much. The next morning, my knee felt great but when I brought up to my wife the times of the 2 races I wanted to do (A race and single speed), a certain period of spousal negotiation began. You see, driving between St Louis and Columbia with a 1-year old can theoretically be done at any time, as long as you can stand periods of crying. But, the consequences of a drive at 3:30pm or later, means a later than normal nap, which means not going to bed until the whee hours of the morning. Since I have to be at the hospital ready-to-go for a 10 hour, busy-as-shit day at 7am...the possibility of getting to race A's and single speed started to look glim.
Enter compromise. I figured that I'd be slower on a single speed cross bike. I had thought, much slower. So, I decided that if I raced the B race, I'd still get a race in (first ever on a single speed cross bike) and that I woudn't be sandbaggin because of my 'handycap'.
Single speed mountain biking often makes since. The feeling I get from carrying momentum through twisting and turning single track, while on a single speed is akin to feeling one with something, as if my bike is an extension of myself. I've had similar feeling on a geared bike, but I think that because I suck at shifting and have descent legs, the zin-type experience is closer while on a single speed; almost as a default.
Cross of course, is different than mountain biking. But apparently, the course and conditions determine how different. It turned out that I ended up looking like a total sand-baggin asshole out there today in the B race, despite my expectations that I'd finish in the pack due to my preconceived single speed disadvantage. Oh well, live and learn. It was a great time and I'm super psyched on my new Kona major one. Scandium is good shit.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Pictures are worth many thousands of words in this case.

Burnin, 1 year birthday, cross, Avery Old Jub, Coffee stout, cross, new buds, walking baby, cool weather, college football. hells yeah.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


It has only been a week since my last post, but a bunch has happened regarding the riding of bicycles so I wanted to load up some pics before the glory that will be burnin at the bluff.

Last wednesday-ish I succumbed to the good vibes, new and old friends, superior attitude, and superior state of mind and joined team seagal. Which basically meant that I picked a nick-name and jumped aboard. Later that day I got a plastic bag stuck in my shit.

Then I saw a dude doing tai-chi on the street, got my hair cut and drank a 16oz PBR while doing so, ate at the new broadway brewery here in columbia, and saw some sweet bras.

Riding this weekend was basically prep-work. A nice 2 hour road ride with lots of steep climbing with coach and my cousin Rory and 3 hard 15 minute intervals on the cross course before work on saturday. The weather is rocking and I'm super psyched on life, fall, and the hilarious pictures of my daughter eating steak and pancakes for her 1st birthday meal (her favorite meal).

Monday, September 28, 2009


Should've race expert.

The wheels are turning in my head about single speeding. I'm thinking about selling my surly commuter and building a single speed cross bike, then doing both the single speed and some of the 'A' bubba races.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Saturday, September 19, 2009


The bike ride with 1000 people was insane and epic. I learned a ton today and despite how amazing the trails are out here, I honestly feel like the race scene in Missouri is fantastic. Just a few summary thoughts of the experience today:

I had a good place on the starting line and was next to the coach of Ft Lewis Mountain bike team (real deal dude who rides with Lance). JHK, Jesse LaLonde (actually, someone told me it wasn't him), Carl Decker, Ned-fucking-Overend, and many others were all nearby. The race began with a neutral start and a cruise down main street before taking a right turn and putting the hammer down.

As I had said in the course description part 1, the course began with a long steady climb leading to a crazy steep section of switch backs with the highest point on the course the first summit. Up until the hike-a-bike section I was feeling really good and was super psyched with where I was riding. I think I was probably in the top 30 or 40 riders and with the competition mentioned previously, I was stoked. Then the hike-a-bike came and I basically hiked like a small child, taking frequent stops to let people pass me who were able to run while I was basically crawling.

The next section was a truly insane ridge. If you've ever ridden lake binder, and know the rocky turtle shell section, imagine those rocks x5 or x6 with a cliff on the side and a ton of people around you who actually know the trail and had ridden it a bunch (or were totally pro). This is the part of the race where I began to feel a bit bummed with my company. As I said, I was riding well, and the people I was with were either good and from Colorado or excellent mountain bikers from wherever. Anyway, there were a ton of sections I didn't ride and kept trying to let people pass, but of the 50-100 or so people that passed I bet 4 or 5 called out "passing" or "on your left". Instead, I heard numerous people bitching about how congested the trail was and how that was screwing up their riding. Really? SSWC....with 1000 riders from all over the place and you're bitching about congestion? Like I said, I was pretty bummed. Of course, I don't mean to make a blanket statement about all the riders, but it was a good example of how a handful of bad attitudes can make it a bit harder to have a good time and stay positive.

At the bottom of Raider Ridge, the course was relentless, up and down with multiple sections of trail that I couldn't ride, but I ended up having a serious blast and riding with some friendly people from Leadville and Boulder (which, made me pretty psyched I could climb with them).

One thing I'm taking away, is how incredibly the majority of the people I was around could descend. If mountain biking was like karate, I'd have a blue or brown belt on descents and most of the people I was around had black. They were amazingly fast.

I have no idea how I finished, but my time was somewhere around 2 hours and 2o minutes. I'll find out tonight how I placed, but honestly I don't really care.

There was 3200ft of climbing on this course and it ended with hand-offs of Oskar blues canned beer as soon as I crossed the line. That, in combination with no flats or mechanicals and I'm one happy (but tired) boy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Part 2 course preview

So my prior description took us to the high point of the course. That long slightly uphill slog prior to the heinous 18% grade does indeed have a bit more single track and technical sections than I previously thought (I rode it today).

From the high point on the course, racers will take a high ridge line descent with a cliff on one side and crazy boulders as the riding surface for many sections. If there is a section that prevents people form riding the course under the allotted time, it seems that the ridgeline will be the culprit. At the bottom, the course is more than half way over. At that point, there's a feed station but I've decided to carry a camel back with 72oz of water and a bottle of perpetuem on my bike.

The last 2 hills are what many of the locals are freaked out about. The hills lie on a loop of single track trail and usually are ridden in the opposite direction, I assume because one of the hills that we'll be going up, is a lot of fun to ride down. I don't really know what to expect from that section of trail, as I didn't get a chance to get over there. Oh well, much like the rest of the riding around this town, it will probably rock some socks, snap some wrists, and all that other stuff.

Next post will be after the race!