Sunday Morning Pain Train

My Moab adventure didn’t end on Saturday. The Colorado mountains were slated to get ~1 foot of snow Saturday night and in to early Sunday, and I knew that I70 had the potential to be terrible. I talked to a few enduro people about riding Sunday morning with the idea of hanging around until later in the day for the roads to clear and had some possible ride options. Another option was to join Tim Lutz (2nd place finisher of the CTR last year) for a long ride of some sort.

As I’d expected, the mountains were angry Saturday morning


I was sitting around in my yoga pants drinking coffee and enjoying the scenery when Macky and Syd messaged me to let me know they were headed to the trail.


I didn’t want to make them wait, so I decided to catch the Tim Lutz pain train on its way through town (he’d started riding early that morning from his camp north of town and would be passing through Moab on his way up Sand Flats Road about 25-30miles later). Tim’s plan was to do a loop similar to what I’d done last time, linking together the Slick Rock and Porcupine Rim Trails. I met him at the bottom of Sand Flats Road (which takes you to both places), and we were off into the mountains.

This is the part where I realize that I’ve gotten a little soft. I haven’t really been “training” per se, more like riding and taking lots of photos and/or socializing. Basically, I’ve been tooling around and taking lots of pause to enjoy scenery since sometime last fall. So, once we were on the Slick Rock Trail, I felt like I was dying just a little. Tim doesn’t stop much. And, when he does, it’s for seconds. Like this <1min clothing change:


That trail is basically a collection of 30sec-1min steep as hell climbs and descents. My dropper post stopped returning before the final race stage the day before, so I was forced to either not use it or to use it and stop to yank it up by hand once I was down whatever I was descending. Even though Tim was going “I’m not going to burn any matches today” ‘speed, my matchbook was set ablaze and mostly charcoal by the time we finished.

The ~1min bathroom break:


Once we were on Sand Flats Road headed up towards Porcupine Rim, Tim said he needed to lube his chain. In my head, that was worth at least two minutes. Nope. World’s fastest chain lubing:


In my head, I gave myself a little tough love, ate a Roctane, and resolved to this being the hardest training day I’d put in for the past few months. I needed it.

Instead of going all the way up to the Upper Porc Rim trail on Sand Flats Road, we turned off about halfway up and went up a jeep road climb to Lower Porc Rim.



It intersected the Porcupine Rim Trail at a really nice overlook.



We hauled ass on the way down. That’s the 3rd time I’ve ridden that trail now, and every time, I ride a little more and go a little faster (though, I purposefully didn’t hit the “big” drop I’d accidentally done the previous ride on the Mach 6). Not only is Tim a total machine, endurance-wise, he’s excellent at handling a bike as well.

At the bottom of the trail, we split and went to change before meeting back up for food. Apparently, his post-ride appetite rivals that of Matt’s. I was wonderfully exhausted and enjoyed doing mostly nothing for the remainder of the evening.

Sunday morning, the roads looked to be clear. I packed up and went to gather little Indy (happy birthday, Old Man… he turned 15 just a couple of days ago!) from Karen’s Canine Camp. I snapped a pic of Karen and all the other little dogs who he made friends with while he was there:


My plan worked well. The snow was well-melted and traffic was moving smoothly. I went to the shop Monday afternoon and gave my bike a once-over. The brakes had felt funny a couple of times. It probably had to do with the boiled mineral oil inside of them.


I also found out that 24 PSI still isn’t enough:


It still holds air like a champ, though. I trued it and I’m gonna keep rocking it for the forseeable future. I will be somewhat more prepared for the next race. My kneepads came in while I was gone-


And, my Mach 6 is on the truck RIGHT NOW for delivery! Also on its way, a carbon Enduro wheelset from Industry Nine and a RaceFace 35 Bar and Stem. I haven’t been this excited about a new bike for a very long time.

Creeping Spring

It seems like cool shit happens at a pace at which I can’t keep up with, blogging-wise.

Basically, outside of the shop hours, I’m riding either the back roads around Gilpin County, or I’m making the 30-45 minute drive to the lower altitude/not-snow-covered trails in the Golden area.


Following the Sno-Ab snowstorm, the weather was nice again for a little while, then we had another small storm come through that dropped 3-4 inches of wet snow in the higher areas. Case in point- I went to yoga in Nederland, about 1000 feet lower in elevation than the bike shop, and the snow was melting immediately when I went in to class at 9:00 and was straight rain when I left class 1.5 hours later.


Back up at the house, the snow had stayed steady.




So, even though the weather seems to be slowly cranking over towards a Spring-like pattern, the trails up here are still a bit too snowy to ride. I went out on the road bike and showed Matt a fun pavement/gravel ride from the shop. He didn’t seem to embrace the thin mountain air in the same manner as I have.




There’s another less road-bike friendly loop from the house that climbs towards Idaho Springs. I rode the short version early last week and hit the climbs pretty hard to see how I’ve improved since I first moved here. I’m doing about 15 watts better on average for the two significant climbs along the route. The snow was gorgeous, so I took a photo in the cemetery at the top of the long-ish dirt climb from Black Hawk up to Golden Gate Canyon Road.


Thursday, Jon and I went out on a “let’s see how far this road goes until it’s covered in snow” exploratory ride. We actually made it all the way past where the snow was thickest and got back to some maintained roads. We tried to get to Idaho Springs from a long descent off the mountain, but the shoulder of I70 was closed for construction, and we ended up having to climb back up the 1800ft we’d just descended at 35-40mph. If this makes absolutely no sense, you can see the route/elevation profile here:



This backroads-wandering mule is my current spirit animal.



Riding trails down the mountain is equally as fun as exploring and getting lost on backroads. I’ve met Matt (who lives in Lakewood now) a handful of times, and it seems we always end up riding the Apex Park trails. We mapped out one ride from his place to Lookout Mountain and back that took us up the Chimney Gulch trail and down the Apex trail.


Along the way, he got too buck on too little air pressure and cracked his rear rim.


That sucks pretty hard, though it did mean that he volunteered to play photographer since he couldn’t continue to get buck on his cracked rim.


I met him and some of the other dudes from Wheat Ridge Cyclery Saturday evening for a “go hard, then stop for beer repeatedly” ride. It was short, and we were probably stopped for an equal amount of time as we were moving, but it was a good leg burner and downhill practice that netted me three downhill QOMs on Strava. It makes me even more excited to get the Mach 6 on order (happening this afternoon if everything goes according to plan).


Sunday, I rode with Shane and Ky at Buffalo Creek (the same friends I rode Devils Backbone with not too long ago). The trail is tons of fun, and I’m lucky to have met some really cool people to hang out with.



Currently, it’s cold and rainy (but not snowy!). However, warmer days are trying to creep in a little at a time. Indy enjoyed the brief period of sunny/62 on Saturday in his pen behind the shop.


He’s also made friends with Ky’s little doggie, Agnes.


He plays as much as a little old man can (he’s turning 15 in a handful of days) before passing out somewhere in or around his bed.


Just a few more days and I’ll be back in Moab for my first out-West enduro!

Nervousness abounds.

Solo Ride/Sick Whip

Black Hawk was scheduled to get a round of snow on Thursday afternoon, so I decided to squeeze in a ride before it arrived. It was 38 and cloudy- not usually weather I’d ride in, but I wanted to test out the “dry cold” of the mountains to see if I could extend my own limits of personal comfort. The route Jon gave me was ~30miles and about 50-50 dirt vs. pavement. The dirt roads here might as well be pavement. They’re graded and sealed to well that, aside from the occasional brake bumps, you can’t tell the difference beneath your tires.

The first part of the ride went by quickly because it was mostly downhill. It got chilly, and I did end up stopping halfway to put on an extra layer, but the view the whole way was astounding… basically par for the course any time you leave the house when you’re in the mountains.


Soon, the road pitched upwards on Highway 72. I am a slow climber at altitude. Sooooo slooooooow. The road wasn’t busy, but the “Colorado pass” that drivers have perfected takes some getting used to. They’re accustomed to cyclists, and none of them passed too closely, but they seem to have nailed an exact 3-foot buffer at about 30 mph… frightening at first, but not bad once you realize that they seem to know what they’re doing.

With weather rolling in, the top of the climb was in the clouds. I was gassed and a little shaken by the fact that I was in the clouds and didn’t have enough light on my bike to feel like I was visible. Then, I heard music…


Take this photo in just a little. It’s cold, the fog is thick, and you’ve just climbed ~1000ft up a road to the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Now, listen to this…

I couldn’t help but laugh a little as I zipped up all my layers and headed back downhill. Luckily, the descent was fast, and, as I thought about Pina Coladas, I was able to match the posted speed limit and worry slightly less about cars. I made the turn to go back up Gap road towards Hwy 119, and, just as the climb started to get meaty, I saw this sign, and had to take a picture.


I smiled the rest of the way up, mostly on my lowest gear. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is here. The temperature dropped while I was out, and, even though I had “enough” clothing, I was still chilled, miserable, and a little exhausted when I arrived back at home base. It was the greatest chilled/miserable/exhausted I’ve ever experienced, though.

After some food and coffee, I went to the shop and started a killer build on a Mach 4 (and finished it Friday morning, after the snow came through).

IMG_7032 IMG_7033

IMG_7034 IMG_7035

IMG_7036 IMG_7037

Twenty three pounds of awesome.

It feels great to be back in a shop again.

First Week in Colorado

First things first- The Land Run 100 Race Reports are on Mountain Bike Radio now! I’d suggest listening to both episodes, but if you’re just wanting to hear my account of the race, click on “Part 2” on this page:

As I mentioned in my previous post, I packed many of my belongings (including little old Indy) in my car (and a little in my parents’ car) and headed across the country. We spent the night in Hays, Kansas before making the final push to Black Hawk (or, more accurately, a little ways north of Black Hawk).


I spent most of Tuesday dealing with unpacking and worked part of the day at the shop on Wednesday. The biggest accomplishment was likely cleaning the bathroom. Someone had washed parts in the shower and the floor was covered in tubeless sealant. I’m happy to say, it no longer looks like you’ll come out of it dirtier than when you entered. It also snowed Tuesday night and parts of Wednesday… a volume of snow large enough to shut down Memphis, but was barely acknowledged by locals.

IMG_6904 IMG_6907

Indy paced the shop floor until he fell asleep by the door. I moved his bed there so he’d be comfy.

IMG_6908 IMG_6909

He’s making friends with everyone around the house.

IMG_6901 IMG_6900

Wednesday evening, I packed what I needed for Moab and, before sunrise Thursday morning, we were on the road in the 92Fifty/Elevated Legs Sprinter Van heading west. The scenery… holy crap. We went from passing feet of snow on Vail Pass to the vast desert-ish area around Moab in just a handful of hours.




Indy travels in his crate, so Duke was happy to keep the bed warm on the trip out.


That afternoon, after setting up a group camp site, we went for a quick ride on a trail called Pipe Dream.


…supposedly one of the easier trails, yet I managed to fall off of the trail and somersault into some rocks. Oops.


That thing is still swollen & achy.

The next day, we rode up to the upper end of the Porcupine Rim trail. It was a long and gorgeous climb. The whole way up, you watch the La Sal mountains getting closer and closer as you ascend.

IMG_6929 IMG_6930

IMG_6931 IMG_6932

Last stop before you get on the trail:

IMG_6933 IMG_6934

The trail is a relentless one. It’s nearly constant rocks and rock drops. I rode a lot of it. I walked some of it. I wrecked once more on the same knee and cursed profusely.




Back at camp, the vibe was pretty amazing. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and kind, and I made a bunch of new friends.

IMG_6943 IMG_6986

IMG_6926 IMG_6927

I was excited to go to bed at night because of the view I’d have when I woke up in the morning.


Saturday, I hopped in with a group of ladies to ride the Hymasa, Amasa, and Captain Ahab trails. I’ve never really had the chance to ride with a group of like-minded women. I’ve always been a bit of an outlier amongst my Memphis peers (with the exception of Laureen Coffelt, but since we race each other on the reg, we’ve never really made attempts to train with one another), so it means that I am on my own or with the guys most of the time. The ladies here were amazing. We pushed each other, cheered for each other, took photos, and basically had an awesome “LESS YAPPIN, MORE BRAPPIN” time, punctuated with high fives and fist bumps.








Photos of the other ladies on the same rocks are loaded on the 92Fifty Facebook Page.


IMG_6958 IMG_6957

IMG_6956 IMG_6955


Sunday morning, we packed up camp and I went out with the ladies again to the Mag 7 trails. It got kinda warm out there. I love the dry desert air, because the breeze actually cools you off.



It was a great way to wrap up the trip before piling back into the Sprinter and heading back east.


Monday, I worked a full day at the shop before clocking out and recording the first remote episode of JRA. I used my $20 truckstop headphones w/a mic, and the cord needed some guidance to keep the mic closer to my face.


It’s been amazing so far. Coming from Memphis,  I feel a huge sense of awe and appreciation for how amazing this place is.


Indoor Training

First off, I’m trying out a new WordPress theme. Comment here, on twitter, or on the Facebook page and let me know what you think.

Now, back to the weekend’s shenanigans.

Continuing my quest to maintain a healthy level of physical activity in the ongoing crap weather, I filled my weekend with various sorts of indoor activities. Riding was, again, an hour trainer ride with some intervals. That strategy seems to be doing a good job of maintaining my lactate threshold-related fitness level, and keeping to short and focused sessions makes them mentally bearable. Saturday afternoon, I went to an afternoon inversion workshop at Pike Yoga


Though I haven’t practiced inversions in at least a year, the core strength I’ve gained from MMA/Jiu Jitsu made it much easier to balance upside down compared to the last time I was practicing inversions regularly.

Afterwards, I went home and made some dinner and watched the UFC 184 PPV- Rousey vs. Zingano. If you haven’t read about/heard/watched, I’d suggest a quick google search… The fight was 14 seconds long. I have to admit, in my bike racing “career” of going-on 9 years, on more than one occasion, I’ve felt the same way as Cat Zingano at the end of her fight… there’s a big difference between doing your best but still getting beaten and outright losing via your own mistake(s). That’s when experience is more of a motherf$#!^r than a teacher.

P.S. If you’re a fight fan, I’d suggest finding a replay of Friday night’s Invicta FC11 Strawweight bout between Alexa Grasso (6-0) vs. Mizuki Inoue (8-3). It’s one of my favorite fights I’ve watched since the upset/title fight between Dillashaw & Barao.

Sunday morning, I woke up early and carpooled over to LDMA in Sherwood, Arkansas for an awesome Jiu Jitsu training day. It was a ton of fun to train with some other women who were similar in size and ability to myself. Highlight of the day… being told by a guy that my guard was “ridiculous.” (in an “I can’t get out of this” sort of way)


Quick lesson- if you have no idea what I’m talking about, look at these pictures. If you’re holding someone “in your guard,” you’re the person on your back, and the person between your legs is trying to get out, or “pass” your guard.

Between the yoga and the Jiu Jitsu, I felt wonderfully sore all over Monday morning. It’s been a long time since I felt that way, and I’ve missed the hell out of it. Today, I get to continue the cross-training with John and Matt. It’s been winter monsooning here, and the first local race of the season is scheduled for March 28th, so we’re going to go to the trail with shovels and drain any standing water so that it’s got a fighting chance of being dry enough for racing.

Up next? We’re under a winter storm warning tomorrow. Again.

Santos Vacation 2015

Oh gawd, it’s been forever since I posted something. Partially because of the trip I’m about to write up, and partially because I’ve been busy doing all sorts of random things with dogs and my car, which are both in various states of sickness.

If you’ve been reading along, you saw that I recently had to deal with Turbo, my 13 year old Belgian Malinois, nearly dying from side effects of the onset of heart failure. She’s stable and happy now, but the cost of emergency and follow-up care vaporized the budget I’d set aside in my mind for taking a foul weather-escaping trip to the Santos Trails in Florida. Then, Wednesday night last week, I was at my parents’ house when I mentioned how bad the weather was going to be (again) and, while I was glad Turbo was doing ok, I really needed some long training hours that I just wasn’t going to gut out in the slush here in Memphis.

My mom said she’d like to go to Florida. I took her up on it, and, early Friday morning, we were literally outrunning a sleet storm to get ourselves down to Ocala.


Saturday, I had to make morning trip to Target to cheaply replace the hydration pack I’d left at home (again).


Once I hit the trail, I rode out and back along some of the OMBA Epic Ride route. The best maps I’ve been able to find are on this page, though none of them show 100% of what’s there. I stopped along the way to visit folks racing the Santos 12 hour. I was slightly tempted to race, but glad decided to just go out and have fun instead. I found Dicky immediately following his discovery that he and his teammate were in a podium spot and actually had to concentrate on racing.

IMG_6740 IMG_6742

I also saw some old school components


I quickly discovered that the trail was covered in a much-thicker-than-last-year layer of fallen live oak leaves.


They’re super slick, so the turns were occasionally treacherous. Live oak trees are some of the most beautiful living things on the planet, though, so they’re totally worth the leaf surfing. I sort of hate posting pictures of them, because a camera phone doesn’t come close to capturing their enormity.




By the time I made it back through the race course area, I was out of water. I stopped and wanted to beg for some in the pits, but everyone was somehow distracted by racing or partying, so I just took this picture and left.


I made it a point to reserve a nice room with a kitchen so that I could cook healthy meals for my mom and myself. Meal #1 was steak and broccoli (I added some bread toasted with olive oil for a few extra carbs).


Sunday’s adventure started with a little sightseeing. We drove west a ways and checked out the Gulf of Mexico.


Since I didn’t want to ride as long that day, I had my mom drop me off at the far west end of the trail system at the Pruitt trailhead. I found out from this scenic spot where the trailhead gets its name:



I had calculated that my ride would take around 3 hours, so I drew directions on a map for my mom and told her I’d be at the east end of the trail around 3:30. My plan was to have her pick me up at the Greenway Bikes shop. When I arrived, it was exactly 3:30, and I went inside to purchase a beer and sat around enjoying the sun and waiting on my mom.


My mom proceeded to get very lost while she tried to find the shop. The shop closed at 4, though one of the shop guys stuck around until 4:30 because he was trying to be nice. I shooed him off and found a shady spot. Around 5:something, the shop owner, Dano, pulled up. We chatted some, and he was nice, though, he asked me where I was from and where I was staying and why I was waiting around at least three different times. He offered to split a Victory V12 with me, so I didn’t stress his apparent lack of sobriety too hard.

My mom eventually found the shop. Dano was still there, and, in the course of his repeated asking of where are you from/where are you staying/where are you going to dinner tonight, my mom, being the proper Southern woman that she is, though obviously a little uncomfortable dealing with someone who was less than sober, asked him, “where are you from?” He replied back with a crude answer about his mother’s anatomy… to my sweet, proper, Southern, 70ish year-old mom.

Given the absolute absurdity of the situation, I found it to be pretty hilarious at the time, though, looking back, I somewhat regret not losing my shit with the dude and telling him to apologize for being an ass.

IMG_6757 IMG_6759

Needless to say, if you’re at Santos, keep your moms away from Greenway Bikes.

At least the beer was good.


That night, we had chicken thighs and green beans with a spicy mustard & yogurt sauce (the sauce was my mom’s idea).


I was stoked that I’d picked up a little vitamin D while I was out.


My third and final day was the long one. Since I’d stopped for photos and navigation on the previous days, I decided that I’d only stop once an hour for a food break (the Target pack didn’t have hip pockets, so I had to take it off of my back to get to my food). I rode to the far end of the trail system and back- approximately 32 miles out and 23 miles back. I did stop to take a look at this guy along the way:


I also stopped when I wrecked at mile 52.5 of 54.5. Leaf surfing is only one mph away from leaf teleporting. Back at the trailhead, I ate a snack and cooled off a bit. I still had a good bit of daylight, so I wanted to go back out and ride a lap of the Vortex Loop- the tech loop a couple of miles from the main trailhead.


While I was trying to figure out where the loop started, I met Tim, the owner of Spokes mobile bike shop. We chatted a bunch and he showed me a lap of the trail. I like the bermy fast stuff that makes up 98% of the trails at Santos, but the Vortex loop feels a little like Arkansas. Tim and I made a hot lap and headed back to the main trailhead. I ended up with nearly 6 hours of riding for the day… a great way to finish off the 3-day vacation.

Outside of Florida, the South wasn’t doing so well.


I wished that we could have stayed there way longer. The sun and opportinity to train hard on fun trails temporarily hoisted me up from my baseline of mild depression, so it was a mental vacation as much as it was a physical one.

The weather in Memphis is still pretty terrible (as it is most places that aren’t Florida). I’ve only ridden once since I came back, though I’ll probably hit the trainer this morning before going to an inversion workshop at Pike Yoga.

The light at the end of my cold, dark tunnel?


We’d originally discussed my Colorado sabbatical beginning the first week of April. However, Jon Davis (owner of 92Fifty), scheduled the 92Fifty Moab camp for March 26th-29th, and he wants me there A)because they need a mechanic to work on participant bikes, and B)it will give me a chance to meet and bond with the people who come to the shop most often.

That’s not to say it won’t be cold when we return to the mountains after camp, but the sun is bright there, so I don’t think it will be too bad.

Adventuring in the Covington Pike Bottoms

The weather in Memphis has been totally normal this week… that is to say, we rode in short sleeves on Saturday, and on Monday, we awoke to piles of sleet on the ground.

Sticking with our theme of being bored with the same trails (and knowing that since the weather was great on Saturday that those same trails would be packed), Matt and I struck out to explore what local cyclists call the “Epic” trails. More often, they’re referred to as the Covington Pike Bottoms, and they’re equally as popular for ATV pilots as our usual Shelby Farms trails are for runners, hikers, and cyclists. It’s basically a bunch of tracks through the woods along the south side of the Wolf River (and, as you venture westward, crossing to the north and continuing on towards the Mississippi). They stay incredibly muddy year round because of the ATV traffic, though when it hasn’t rained for a couple of weeks, you can pick your way around the bogs and have a pretty nice adventure.

As of Saturday, it was very slow going- the ratio of good riding to “picking around wheel-deep mudholes” was about equal. A summer drought is normally your best chance for a higher ratio of riding-to-bogging. We still had a good out and back adventure, though… occasionally stopping to watch ATV drivers and whatnot.




On the way back, we were stopped at a neighborhood trail entrance by the Memphis Police. More accurately, two cops were arresting ATV drivers as they emerged from the woods and into a neighborhood where the residents were fed up with loud, somewhat drunken jackasses going 50mph up the street and slinging mud all over the place. One cop told us to get on someplace else because they were going to go in and get more people out. We found a suitable detour, though, and stopped to make friends with people we met along the trail back to where we’d started.

As is customary for all weekend blog posts, we met with friends to watch the UFC Fight Night at El Toro Loco. Matt made a matching shirt buddy while Torian and I made fun of individuals who exemplified our respective racial stereotypes.


Sunday the weather transitioned from nice to arctic-ish. People battened down the hatches in preparation for a winter storm that would eventually dump several inches of sleet across Tennessee. We took an evening adventure to WalMart and speculated a purchase of a fatbike, but decided against it. It was an entertaining trip, nonetheless.


Screw the milk, bread, and batteries…


The storm system didn’t disappoint, if it was buckets of sleet you were dreaming about.


I was happy to have a chance to test out my all wheel drive vehicle

IMG_6714 - Copy

IMG_6715 - Copy


High quality entertainment right there.

I was tempted a couple of times to go ride, but ended up deciding against it because A) in order to not get hit by a stupid driver, you’d need to drive to a trail to ride, and B) it’s solid ice… not snow. It’d be like riding on a rutted hockey rink. I’ll stick to trainer rides and donut-ing my car in parking lots.

Urban Adventures- The Nutbush Highway

To be totally cliche, but since my last post, I’ve felt like an enormous weight has lifted off of me, both physically and mentally.

Just so I could slip MMA into another weekend post, I decided to go down to Southaven on Saturday morning to a half-day Jiu Jitsu seminar. It was highly informative. I learned some very useful techniques, though I was slightly disappointed that there was no rolling (think “live practice”) afterwards. I was hoping for it mostly because one of the women there was a blue belt who looked to be in my weight class (me, being a white belt in the 140-45 range). No idea what I’m talking about? Click here: Jiu Jitsu Ranking

I didn’t think I’d feel like riding after the seminar, so I woke up early and did Tabata intervals on the trainer before I left. That was a first… probably not a last. Some of you may be thinking, “WTF are you doing with all this intensity in the Winter?” It initially started as just grasping at straws to maintain some sort of fitness while the trails were wet and I didn’t feel like I could tolerate road riding as I have in the past. That still holds somewhat true, though a much more important purpose is layered on top- I need to get my FTP up to prepare for the initial throes of altitude acclimatization come end of March. I don’t think that I’ll be short on long base mile rides once I’m at 92Fifty, so I’m not too concerned with loading up on those for now.

That doesn’t mean I’m not up for long adventures if the opportunity arises. Sunday, Matt and I decided to continue our exploration of what I’ve dubbed “The Nutbush Highway.” Other than exploring new stuff in the middle of Memphis, there’s not much story to tell, so I just took photos.

On the way out:

IMG_6624 IMG_6623

At the western “end” of our adventure, we found a dilapidated bridge and a parallel 4-wheeler track through the creek that you could see continuing on in the woods ahead. However, the creek wasn’t really cross-able (it’s an inner-city drainage… you DON’T wade in that), so we just played around on the bridge before turning back.




Getting up there was a bit of a climb. Getting down was a little more intimidating


I made it, though









We took side roads back to the more familiar Wolf River Trails, where we found that someone had cut roots out of all two of the “technical” sections of trail (photo credit, Jim Morgan).


It’s probably the same jackass that thinks that “fixing” a mudhole means that you pile arm-sized sticks into the middle of it. Facepalm x Infinity

With a quick excursion east towards Grey’s Creek, our ride ended up at about 4 hours long (not including the bridge-playground stop). With the weather being as nice as it’s going to be this afternoon, it looks like we should at least be able to match that again today.



Big Changes Ahead, Big Adventures to Follow

I know a few of you are getting tired of the somewhat monotonous posting here. That’s gonna change real soon.



I’ll start by hopping in my way-back machine and taking you to the time I spent hanging out at 92Fifty Cyclery while I was in Colorado the weeks before Vapor Trail.  Here’s a link to the blog category that covers the whole trip (and more): OutWest Trip It’s in reverse chronological order, so if you’re really bored at work right now, scroll back to the #1 post about the road trip out and start reading until I’m back home. The 2nd to last rant-y one is highly relevant, too, so at least read that one.

While I was at 92Fifty, I did a fair amount of riding with Jonathan Davis (the owner of both 92Fifty and Elevated Legs) and the (former) mechanic Kyle Taylor. On one ride, we got to the top of a climb (more accurately, they got to the top and were waiting for me… because, “altitude”), and before we hit the dropper switches and bombed down the other side, Jon asked if I’d be interested in joining the 92Fifty/Elevated Legs Pro Team he was planning for the 2015 season.

Yes. Yes I would.

I was admittedly burnt out on doing the “solo pro” thing. I’ve said it before, and I still stand by it- Finding sponsors can be akin to terrible internet dating. Sure, they seem cool when you first meet them, but then they usually stop calling back and returning emails within a couple of weeks.
That doesn’t go for everyone, of course. Gu Energy Labs was, and still is, a huge supporter of my efforts. Not only do I genuinely love their products, I’ve gone on several adventures (Breck Epic and Dirty Kanza 200, to name a couple) that wouldn’t have happened without their support. Really, all of the sponsors that are listed over on the side of this page have remained an integral part of my racing and training from year-to-year. They’ve all been there for me across all of my adventures.

However, the opportunity to be on the 92Fifty/Elevated Legs Team isn’t one that comes calling on a regular basis. So, I’m there. I’m super there, hella stoked, and wicked excited. I felt really motivated to work hard over the winter so I could come out with guns blazing in 2015.

2015 92Fifty/Elevated Legs Pro Team

Then, I got back to Memphis.

Something happened. People I care about got hit by careless drivers. I almost got hit by careless drivers (several times, the first couple of weeks back). My brain short-circuited, and I started having panic attacks as badly as I’d had them immediately after being hit at Rouge Roubaix way back in 2013.
I got depressed. Not like, “a little down/sad” depressed, but, “I wish that woman had killed me” depressed. At my worst, if it weren’t for finding a daily yoga class to go to in addition to Tuesday and Thursday Jiu Jitsu at the gym, I would have stayed at home on the couch and not eaten,  showered, or interacted with the outside world for days at a time. Like a lot of people suffering through depression, I’ve gone through the exhaustive motions of wearing an “I’m OK” mask that’s mostly hidden how much of a mental train wreck I am on the inside. I’ve gutted out some minimal training, and I’ve found some peace when I go to Syllamo- how I feel once I’m away at the cabin and safe in the mountains is literally the one thing that’s given me the hope that I’m not totally broken.

To say it’s been a rough few months would be a gross understatement.

Then, I was presented with another 92Fifty opportunity. Jon asked me to come out and work/live at the shop this Summer. I was torn… most of what/who I know and love is here. However, so is what’s causing me a lot of pain- if you want to train hard here, you’re going to do much of it on the road. I’ve been mentally and physically unable to go on solo road rides since September (and I’ve ridden on the road exactly twice with a handful of friends during that time). The general “Memphis” attitude towards our trails by some in the riding community (example in the “rant” post in the OutWest link above) as well as the general public’s attitude towards physical activity gets me down, too. I’ve always made a decent go at NOT letting that happen, but it’s worn hard on my already ragged emotions.


The mountains are calling, and you know the next line of that quote…

I am a realistic person. I know that depression isn’t wholly treated by just changing scenery. I also know that I’m dropping a lot of personal responsibilities I have in being around for Ryan. However, when I start feeling hopeless on a frightening level, the self-preserving need to be selfish and take this chance to experience the mountains and escape the daily marinating in things that trigger my hopeless feelings overrides everything else. I don’t know what will happen after that, but, right now, this is the one thing that makes me feel like I’ve got a chance at feeling like myself again.

It’s scary. It’s a little overwhelming. It’s also one of the most exciting things I’ve ever looked forward to experiencing.


A Week of Random Things

First things first… remember back in November when tendinitis put a halt to my winter running aspirations? Well, the patellofemoral pain never fully went away. Luckily, it didn’t really hurt when I rode, so I just kept waiting for it to go all the way away so that I could get back to my usual crosstraining with some weights, plyometrics, and kickboxing. When it wouldn’t leave, I finally went to Campbell Clinic and was put under the care of of PT who found a whole heard of trigger points in my left quadriceps. So, between using an anti-inflammatory cream, a knee brace, some manual therapy (basically the PT uses her thumbs to break the knots apart), dry needling, taping, and the foam roller at home, the trigger points and the pain have subsided drastically. I’ve been instructed to test it out this week with something that’d normally hurt, so I’m going to a kickboxing class this afternoon (includes a little running and some other ballistic-type movement that was keeping me from kickboxing before). Fingers crossed.


Along the lines of training, nothing of much interest is happening on the bike. It rained some, so I have stayed off the trails, which means I’ve been isolated to short “linking together little bits of gravel” rides or the trainer. If you haven’t followed along on Twitter and Instagram, Roommate/JRA Co-host Matt determined that when you ride the trainer and don’t post a picture on social media that God makes another armadillo. So, if you ride indoors, be sure to post a pic/video with the hashtag #onelessarmadillo.

In random “around my house” news, I installed two new valves and a new faucet in my kitchen last week. The old hot water valve was broken and a little leaky, and I decided I’d go ahead and replace the cold water valve while I was down there with the water turned off.

IMG_6485 IMG_6487

IMG_6497 IMG_6500

I find plumbing to be very much like working on a bike with Campy. No one ever taught me specifically how to do it, but as long as you understand the basic mechanics and you have some decent instructions, it’s easy to figure out. My biggest issue was other residents of the house coming by and futzing with the new faucet parts while I was waist deep under the counter… No, I don’t know where that hose is going to go because A)I’m under the counter and can’t even see what hose you’re talking about, and B) STOP F*&#KING WITH IT.

They got the point pretty quickly, and the new stuff is pretty pimp.

Saturday, at the gym, Eric (Ingram’s Martial Arts) had invited a school from Arkansas to come and train with us. It was tons of fun, and I was thoroughly exhausted when we were finished.

IMG_6513 IMG_6514

Bonus pics of Eric’s puppy Rory:

IMG_6518 IMG_6516

Saturday night, I helped Matt build a ramp and did my best to relax and recover from the day’s activities:




Then there was the random impulse buy at Target the other day…

IMG_6537 IMG_6539

He’s actually pretty OK with it. I can’t really lead him anywhere, but he seems to cautiously enjoy wandering around the back porch and using the house as a spot to scratch his face.

If I get out and ride some this afternoon, I might post again later this week about these:



I actually rode them once on the trail last week before the rain came in, but I want to get a little more time on them before I’m like, “OMG THESE ARE THE BEST WHEELS EVER”