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This is where I keep my rantings and ramblings about mountain biking. You can check out the feed of blog posts below or give me a follow on Instagram. I keep track of my (largely unimpressive) race results here.

If you're new here, you might want to check out my popular series popular series about the first big stage race I finished or check out my funny article about heli-biking that the founder of the BC Enduro shared.


The Hills are Alive with the Sound of…Helicopters!?

Posted on Feb 11, 2017 in Mountain Biking | No Comments

Photo courtesy of on Flicker.

Since the beginning of time, mankind has tried to fulfill a deep need for adventure by looking up to the mountains, standing in awe of their beauty, then trying to figure out a way to get to the top to see what the view is like the other way around. As millennia have come and gone, that hunger has been filled in increasingly incredible ways with the invention of new gear and new ways of navigation.

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Photos from Gene Hamilton’s Better Ride Skills Camp in Asheville, NC

Posted on Sep 27, 2016 in Mountain Biking | No Comments

Here are a few photos from a Better Ride mountain biking skills camp that I joined in Asheville, NC. I had a blast learning with everyone in the class and we all loved Gene Hamilton, the coach. More thoughts to come on what we learned.

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Pisgah Stage Race: Finishing Strong and What I Learned

Posted on Apr 22, 2016 in Adventures, Mountain Biking | No Comments

This is the seventh (and final) post in a series I’m writing about my adventure competing in the 2016 Pisgah Stage Race. You can read other posts in the series here.


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Stage 5 of the race—the last day—is no slouch of a ride, but it is a whole lot more approachable than previous stages. In other words, I actually felt like I was able to push myself and finish strong, as opposed to forcing a withered husk of a body through pain normally reserved for military training.

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Pisgah Stage Race: Day 4 – 82% Done, 110% Blue Ridge Mountains

Posted on Apr 15, 2016 in Adventures, Mountain Biking | No Comments

This is the sixth post in a series I’m writing about my adventure competing in the 2016 Pisgah Stage Race. You can read other posts in the series here.


When I showed one of the course elevation profiles to a coworker this week, their immediate response was, “that makes me want to vomit.” As I said before, I was definitely apprehensive about how difficult this race was going to be, but today I was reminded that, if you are going to vomit, being on top of a ridge with a full view of the Blue Ridge Mountains is probably one of the prettiest places to do it.

Today’s route highlighted just how gorgeous the mountains of Western North Carolina are. In fact, one view was so stunning that I stopped completely to take it in for a moment and snap a picture.

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I’d been riding alone for a while when I took that photo and rode solo for what seemed like forever afterwards. I was towards the back of the pack during the gravel road start, so I figured I was in dead last. About two minutes into the first descent, though, I caught up with several riders. The terrain was unforgiving, full of roots and extremely tight…and for some reason I sailing down it with what felt like surprisingly fresh legs.

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Pisgah Stage Race: Day 3 Ups and (Amazing) Downs

Posted on Apr 14, 2016 in Adventures, Mountain Biking | No Comments

This is the fifth post in a series I’m writing about my adventure competing in the 2016 Pisgah Stage Race. You can read other posts in the series here.


Calling today the “hump day” of the race would be an understatement. Take a gander at the elevation guide, which some call “the heart rate monitor”:

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At over 5,000 feet of climbing, it was a big day including three intense “hike-a-bike” sections (too steep and technical to ride up). As daunting as that sounds, I had even more fun today than I did yesterday—and I was definitely more fatigued. My legs felt a little tired during the first few miles, which was worrisome, but once they warmed up a bit I was back in action.

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Pisgah Stage Race: Second Day, Second to Last

Posted on Apr 13, 2016 in Adventures, Mountain Biking | 2 Comments

This is the fourth post in a series I’m writing about my adventure competing in the 2016 Pisgah Stage Race. You can read other posts in the series here.


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I’ll start with a confession: peeing my pants as a 30-year-old was far more satisfying than I thought it would be. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not endorsing the act. If the circumstances leave you with few options, though, I’m not discouraging it either.

 

Ok, I’ll explain. One thing that is universally known about physical fitness is that hydration is key. If you get dehydrated, your goose is cooked, especially during a race. So, I’ve been drinking a lot of water. So much so, in fact, that two sessions in the woods before the race this morning wasn’t enough. Nature called—no, screamed—about 15 minutes after we left the start gate. Fortunately, today’s stage started on pavement and I was riding an exposed area of highway with nowhere to hide. Also, my legs were feeling pretty good and I didn’t want to take a break so early—I was already ahead of some people who beat me yesterday. So, the only option was to let it flow.

When you step back and think about it, the sad part about this whole story is that the guy in last place (me) is somehow trying to explain how necessary a (normally) socially unacceptable act is because of the pressure of competition.

Either way, I’ve made my confession and we can now talk about the race today.

Day 2

Today definitely upped the ante. We started with a ~6 mile ride down pavement on the highway and then dove headlong into 20+ miles of technical single track. One thing you might not expect in a mountain bike race is how many people get off their bikes on difficult sections. There’s a cost/benefit analysis to be done—is it worth it to exert a huge amount of energy to get over a difficult obstacle, or to save that energy to make up time on the flats? Lots of times walking over a really hard section is faster than riding it.

With that in mind, I climbed really well, all things considered. In fact, I made it over a few sections that probably turned an eye or two, considering the fact that I’m one of the few people out there not wearing tight lycra exclusively. (I’m also in last place, so it’s probably better not to listen to my wardrobe critiques.)

The last climb showed me the difference between 25 and 29 miles with more climbing. Tomorrow adds on an additional 1,000 feet, which I’m guessing will land me somewhere in the nacho-fajitas-with-jalapenos-and-a-32oz-beer range.

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One of the more exciting events of the day was going over the bars (that’s a front flip) on the enduro section. I thought the crash would kill my time, but even if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have been in the top 10, further revealing to me how much of an endurance race this is. The timed downhill started after 27 miles of hard riding, meaning I was already tired. My legs just didn’t give me what I was asking for, and my pride didn’t get what it was looking for either. The good news is that I walked away with a small scrape and bruise, neither of which will slow me down the rest of the week.

Overall, the ride was gorgeous. The leaves haven’t come back fully, so you can see deep into the forest most of the time, which reveals the beautiful contours of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It’s the small things

When the results came in at dinner, I ended up moving up one place in the overall results. So, I’m now technically in second-to-last, which is encouraging in a small way. Maybe answering nature’s call on the run made a difference after all.

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One thing I’ve loved about Blue Ridge Adventure’s management of the race is the details (which I also mentioned yesterday). At critical turns, they place race marshals who point you in the right direction. Some of them dress up and my favorite is Popeye—a guy who knows he looks the part and found an outfit to match, cobb pipe, voice and all.

It’s 9:14 and time for some sleep. The hardest challenge yet awaits in the morning.

Pisgah Stage Race: First Day, Last Place, Third Place

Posted on Apr 12, 2016 in Adventures, Mountain Biking | No Comments

This is the third post in a series I’m writing about my adventure competing in the 2016 Pisgah Stage Race. You can read other posts in the series here.


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After a healthy, hearty dinner at the welcome party last night, I headed to my home for the week: the iconic Sunset Motel. Even though I’m only an hour or so from many of the race starts, I opted to stay in town for the convenience. Driving home wouldn’t be too bad, but waking up to drive over an hour didn’t sound fun at all.

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Pisgah Stage Race: Preparation (by an Amateur)

Posted on Apr 11, 2016 in Adventures, Mountain Biking | No Comments

This is the second post in a series I’m writing about my adventure competing in the 2016 Pisgah Stage Race. You can read other posts in the series here.


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Preparation can be a tricky thing, especially if you’re facing a new challenge. In a perfect world, I’d be able to engineer my life to conform to the heavy training schedule that an undertaking like the Pisgah Stage Race requires.

The world I live in, though, isn’t perfect and happens to include ownership in a high-growth startup company, a bathroom remodeling project and a child on the way (which may or may not be related to the remodeling). Those powers combined meant that I opted for the “do as much as you feasibly can” plan. Below is a breakdown of my approach to getting ready.

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Pisgah Stage Race: My Five Day Mountain Bike Adventure

Posted on Apr 11, 2016 in Adventures, Mountain Biking | No Comments

This is the first post in a series I’m writing about my adventure competing in the 2016 Pisgah Stage Race. You can read other posts in the series here.


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This week I’m embarking on a daunting journey: 5 days, 140 miles and 20,000+ ft of elevation gain, on a mountain bike, in some of North Carolina’s most rugged terrain.

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