2014 Miles Of Smiles Century Ride

2014-07-26 19.35.41This weekend I rode in the 2014 Miles of Smiles, a local century ride with a focus on raising awareness and funds for St. Jude.  This event is very important to our local cycling community.  The event offers three distances for cyclist to choose from. This years options were 28, 69, and 103 miles, which offered a variety for people to choose.  The event raised over $10,000 dollars for the cause this year, making the great ride that much better!

I had a great ride, and surprised myself with a 2nd place overall finish among those who chose to do the 103 mile distance.  My time for the century was 4 hours 53 minutes, and an overall time of 5 hours 3 minutes for the 103 mile course resulting in an average speed of 20.37 mph.  As the ride started we rolled away from town and I settled into the lead group of about 20 riders.

2014-07-26 07.09.59-1 2014-07-26 07.54.42-5Around mile 40 the group I was in splintered into two when some decided to stop at a rest stop for water and short break.  I opted to skip the stop in favor of sticking with the lead group, as I felt good.

The lead group I stuck with consisted of about eight people, which still allowed me to take in the scenery and enjoy the route in between pulls at the front.  The secondary country roads provided a great setting for the morning.  A mixture of twists, rolling hills, a touch of gravel, and lots of straights kept things fresh and interesting.

2014-07-26 19.44.12 2014-07-26 20.12.08 The course was marked well and allowed for easy navigation of all the distances.
2014-07-26 19.38.50The course offered plenty of rest stops with water and food.
2014-07-26 10.34.53As we continued on two riders were able to get away at mile 75 and after several group and solo attempts, no one was able to bridge the gap they had opened.  About ten miles later, one of the two riders from the break was absorbed back into the group I was in.

2014-07-26 10.27.35-2At around mile 90 our group entered the last rest stop of the day.  After resting for about 5 minutes, I joined one other rider from our group and set off without the rest of the group.  We worked together until eight miles to go and he decided to back off a bit leaving me in second overall.  With eight miles to go, I put myself in a hurt box and kept my concentration on my Garmin and heart rate monitor.  I did my best to keep my heart rate at 90% of max and watched the miles tick off.  The result when I rolled through the finish line was a second place overall, a much improved century personal record time, and an overwhelming feeling of happiness.

The event was great both during and after the ride.  There was a great selection of food, good beer, clean restrooms, plenty of shaded seating, and great people.  This was made possible by a collection of key organizers and great sponsors!

2014-07-26 19.56.01 2014-07-26 20.01.28Ride Data

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Today On A Bike

2014-07-21 07.31.30Sometimes it’s nice to escape.  Be it unplugging from the world or putting aside stress or thoughts that weigh on happiness.  Today’s commute to work was a bit of an escape and really enjoyable.  For thirty minutes all that existed was pedaling, sun, and the wind.

2014-07-21 07.37.52-6 2014-07-21 07.14.51My commute is filled with little fun segments.  One such segment is a tiny bit of singletrack and only lasts about two seconds, but that two seconds is as close to being five years old and out on summer break as it gets.  The best part is if you want to enjoy riding, you can find lots of things like this and link them together for an amazing commute.
2014-07-21 07.23.03 2014-07-21 07.25.04 2014-07-21 07.05.38This summer’s riding so far has been a bit different from what I thought it would be.  I’m having a harder time getting the same level of enjoyment out of racing cat 1 cross-country mountain bikes as I did with cat 2.  I think it’s a combination of putting in more riding and training time and seeing lower ranking results as a product of the field being stronger overall.  I feel like I’m in the best cycling shape I’ve ever been in but the race results don’t reflect that.  I know it’s a part of racing but it can feel discouraging.

I’ve found more enjoyment in road riding with my team and riding my fat bike on mountain bike rides than ever before.  I love the cooler summer temperatures.  I’m looking forward to longer rides more so than ever before, but today I found a lot of happiness in the thirty minutes and seven miles to and from work.

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Today On A Bike

2014-07-14 18.42.59-2It’s always a great ride when I get to spend time pedaling with my best friend, who also happens to be my wife.  I still don’t know how I got so lucky!  We had a family member watch our little girl for a couple of hours and we grabbed our bikes for a fun road ride together!  Today was a good day :)

2014-07-14 18.22.23 2014-07-14 19.29.53 2014-07-14 18.14.42 2014-07-14 18.18.32 2014-07-14 19.02.55

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Today On A Bike

2014-07-05 12.46.20Yesterday I joined a couple of friends on a road trip to ride mountain bikes in St. Louis MO, specifically Greensfelder and Chubb trail systems.  Both trails offered tech above what I typically ride in the form of rocky terrain.  Greensfelder offered equal parts side of hill flow and rocky terrain.  I really enjoyed it.  The tech wasn’t too far outside of my comfort zone and allowed me to push my boundaries comfortably.  My ride data from Greensfelder is here.
2014-07-05 14.30.54 2014-07-05 13.10.03After finishing the main loop at Greensfelder we wanted to ride a bit more before driving home and instead of doubling up on the same trail we decided to go to Chubb trail.  Chubb was a fun trail but it was more technical, demanding, and less flowly.  I walked at least a three sections of downs and climb sections.  The pictures of the trail don’t do the level of tech justice.
2014-07-05 14.33.02 This section of trail had a few drop options, none of which I felt comfortable with.
2014-07-05 15.01.49A far more skilled friend made the 3-4 foot drop look easy!
2014-07-05 15.02.29-3Chubb trail system is fun and I’d recommend riding it, especially if you are looking for some Midwest tech.  My ride data from Chubb is here.  It was a great day on a bike with good friends, a refreshing change of terrain, and smiles.
2014-07-05 16.09.56

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2014 Morton Criterium

20140628_093655_IMG_0512This weekend I raced at the 2014 Morton Criterium.  It was my first crit and I had a lot of fun!  It was a completely different animal than the mountain bike races or cyclocross races I’ve done in the past.  I’m really happy with my race.  I raced in the cat 5 race as this was my first crit.  I was in the action for the majority of the race sitting in second or third.  My numbers were an average of 25.1 mph for the 30 minute race and a top speed of 33.4.  My full Garmin data is here.  A big thanks to my teammates for the advice and help with the preparation and Bloomington Cycle & Fitness for making sure my Tarmac was in tip-top shape!  I’m looking forward to the next crit!

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