Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - Year In Review

Happy New Year World (2010)Image by Lel4nd (be back soon in Dec) via FlickrBy: Jeff      

Brent and I have come a long way since starting this blog on January 6, 2010 [see original post], we have ran/biked 1,812.45 miles to be exact!  With our original goals of this blog being to document our pursuits in becoming more fit, reviewing products, and reviewing races; I would say that this year has provided us with a great start to pursuing those goals.

One of the first big mile markers of the year was Brent's training for a marathon. This training culminated with him running the Glass City Marathon in Toledo [read about Brent's race here ].  What a great feat and a sense of accomplishment for him. Then in June we both ran in the Sunburst races in South Bend.  This is one of the several races that Brent has done on mulitple occasions.  I imagine it will be one that is on our calander every year, as it is practically in our backyard.  Brent did the 10k version while I did my first 5k race ever [read about my 5k race ][read Brent's 10k race here ].  After that we had a bit of down time until we made two important purchases.  In July I purchased my Cannondale Synapse 6 bike [Read about Synapse purchase ].  About a month later Brent purchased his new ride, a Cannondale Six Carbon 5 [Read about Brent's purchase here ].  These purchases allowed us to do some serious road bike training and allowed us to participate in our first organized riding event.  At the end of September we participated in a huge annual cycling event know as the Apple Cider Century.  We decided on riding the 50 mile version of this event [rear about our ACC ride here ].  After that we again had nothing scheduled so we didn't train as much, however we did start riding with the Elkhart Bike Shop's group ride.  In Novemember we decided that we would break out our mountain bikes and do some trail riding.  Our first adventure was to Dr. T.K. Lawless park, this provided for some nice single track [read about TK here ].  With that adventure we wanted to capitalize on our momentum, which led us to try out another park, Rum Village [read about Rum adventure here ].  We really liked this park, but it led to my meta-carpel mishap [read about my broken hand ].  So as we went into December my training would have to wait until the end of the month, and I have been able to get back on the trainer.  Christmas was good to both of us, we both got some new gear, that we will be reviewing in 2011.  Also in early December Brent realized that he had a real chance to end the year with over 1,000 miles of movement.  I am happy to announce that with his bike ride this morning Brent now has 1,002.55 miles for 2010; that breaks down to 388.02 miles of running and 614.53 miles of cycling!!!  I'm sure that we will both do even more miles next year!

With all of that I will say that it has been a pretty succesful year.  As we still try to figure out and utilize this blog we would like to ask all of our readers to post a comment about what they would like to see us do and write about next year.  Also to all you cycling and running companies out there we would love to review your products, do you hear me Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Asics, Nike, Garmin, Fizik, Saris, Pearl Izumi, Sugoi, Louis Garneau, Giro, and any others!!!  We wish everyone a very happy new year!!! Look for our 2011 preview post soon.
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Minute Switcheroo.

By Brent:   

During the day Jeff and I had been talking and prepping for the group ride when we decided it would be in our best interest to call the shop to confirm there was a group ride to go to. GLAD WE DID! The owner of the shop was on vacation so there would be no riding. We quickly came up with a new plan. Once again Jeff would come over and ride our stationary bike, while I would use his trainer again and log miles on my bike. I was able to show off my Garmin Edge 500 to Jeff and we kicked on the TV. To keep with the spirit of cycling we watched the Cervelo Test Teams podcast called Beyond the Peloton. It is a personal favorite and well known series within the biking community. Now with the demise of the CTT cycling team and its joint venture with the Garmin cycling team, there are many people hoping these podcast continue on.

So with everything set up we hopped on our bikes and set off down the non existent road and pedaled our little hearts off. I managed to log another 16.51 miles averaging 76 rpm's and maxing out (for a split second) at 56.0 mph. The trainer gets buzzing pretty good at that point. I can only imagine the damage should some bolt give out and your rear tire would make contact with the carpet. It would be quite the sight to see.

With this 16.51 miles added to my previous figures, I am now up to 992.87 miles leaving me 7.13 miles to go to hit 1,000 miles of running and riding. This is something I will be pretty proud of and look forward to crushing next year. Can I hear 1,500 or 2,000 maybe?

After the riding was over it was "Geek Time". We hooked the Garmin up to the computer and uploaded all its information to Garmin Connect. This is some cool FREE software. Check out below my ride (mind you I forgot to turn off the GPS portion of it so the map is a little awkward, yet in the same breathe be impressed that I was in the basement, and I still picked up a signal!)

After "Geek Time" concluded we began plotting our outings for 2011. We will post those hopeful outings soon and add them to our Schedule tab.

See ya in 7.13 miles!
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quest for 1,000 and Holiday Cheer

Milestone km 1000 on the SS16 road (closer look)Image via Wikipedia
By Brent:

Happy Holiday's everyone! I hope all is well and the cold isn't keeping you down to much.

As November turned into December I caught a nasty flu bug that really set me back and working out really didn't feel like the thing for me. I knew that I could hold off the holiday binge eating and that should be good enough. Well time kept passing and I kept not working out so finally on the 14th of December I finally mounted back onto the stationary bike and logged 8.3 miles. I did my monthly tally of what I had run and walked in November and honestly it wasn't bad, but the numbers didn't "wow" me. 107.48 miles biked and the ever impressive goose egg in the running category. All I could do now is total up my year and see if that makes me feel any better. As I did that I realized how close to the 1,000 mile marker I was. 900.07. Well now to settle at 9XX miles seemed like a real disappointment so I sat down to figure out with the days left what it would take to hit 1,000.

6.2 miles EVERYDAY. 6.2 was kind of a interesting number. 6.2 miles is known as a 10k in the running world. Why all of a sudden we decide to go metric, I will never understand, however, it is what it is. So after thinking 6.2 miles isn't that big a deal, then realizing that that has to happen EVERYDAY for 16 days, it starts seeming a bit worse. My game plan was trying to do no less than 5.0 miles on bad days, try for a longer (like 12.0 miles) 1 day a week and rest 1 day a week. If I had the ability to get out I wanted to add running back into the mix but with the bitter cold, I knew that was going to be few and far between.

At this point I am sitting right on target. I managed one (blistering) cold run. It was the kind where when you finally get back to the house after 4.91 miles you realize your breathe has turned your goatee into an ice sculpture. Everything else has been done on the bike. I have taken 3 days off total so far but after last nights 8.06 miles my grand total is now up to 976.36 miles moved. What this means is somehow I must have missed a day that I thought I had covered on a previous workout and now with 3 days to go I must average 7.88 miles each day. The good news is tonight is a "group ride" night at All About Cycling for an hour so I should be able to rack up some good mileage there, the bad news is I can feel the head cold rushing into me quickly.

Part of my motivation these last couple nights is my new toy. The Garmin Edge 500 cycling computer. I will be writing a review of it soon but I personally must tell you the 2 reviews that I used were by fellow bloggers, the always funny Fat Cyclist here, and the always overly informational DC Rainmaker here.

3 days to go! I'll post when I break 1,000 miles of moving. Current tally, 388.02 miles run, 588.34 miles biked. Man were cutting it close!
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Topeak Joe Blow II vs. Serfas FP-200 se

By: Jeff

The Competetion
Last Friday Brent and I decided to conduct a very informal, yet highly scientific competition between our two bicycle pumps.  Brent own a Topeak JoeBlow Sport II Floor Pump.  I own a Serfas FP-200 pump.  First lets compare price; the Topeak has an onsale price at of $29.99, the Serfas is offered at for $39.99.  The Topeak has a bright yellow color, the Serfas is offered in six different colors (mine is white).  The Topeak has a dual sided head with a switch that locks it in place, the Serfas has a single head with a switch on top. Both pumps fit Presta and Shrader valves.  Here are some other random technical specs:

Topeak JoeBlow Sport II Floor Pump
GAUGE: Elevated Mount
HEAD: Dual
MAX. PSI: 160

Serfas FP-200 Silver, Black, Satin Silver, Yellow, Red, White (tested)

Simple Valve Pump Head — Fits Both Presta and Schrader Valves
Durable Metal Barrel and Base
Ergonomic Handle
Top Mounted Large Gauge
Equipped with Ball and Accessory Attachments
PSI Capacity: 160 PSI
Topeak on left, Serfas on right

Our Findings
We tested both pumps by seeing how many pumps it would take to inflate a tire from 50 psi to 110 psi.  The Topeak took 12 pumps and the Serfas took 14.5.  We also noticed that it seemed to take less effort to hook up the Topeak compared to the Serfas.  Both pumps are high quality, the Serfas has a slightly more industrious look.  We found that the handle on the Topeak was a bit more comfortable.  The Serfas has a guage toward the top which we liked, but it wasn't a significant difference from the low mounted Topeak guage.  We also found that the flatter base on the Topeak is a bit easier to use with cleats.  Overall we would recommend either of these pumps, but based on price and comfort we give the edge to the Topeak.

Topeak on left and Serfas on right
On a side note: My cast is off.  Just have to keep it wrapped for a couple more weeks.  I have permission to ride the trainer, but couple more weeks before I can ride on the streets.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hands and Feet!

By: Brent

So to catch everyone up to speed on the "Metacarpal Mishap" the official word from the Doctor was that Jeff had a inter articular fracture the base of the 5th Metacarpal bone (in line with the pinky finger but within the hand portion, not the finger) on the right hand and that the bone itself was also displaced (no longer in line with where it should be is how I interpret that) but after more testing it would not require any future tweaking to get it back to where it needed to be. This is now cast in a pretty blue hand cast. Per Wikipedia, this is also the most common bone to be injured when throwing a punch. At this point, Jeff will be placing his biking and MMA heavy weight title fight on hold for at least 4 weeks.
Jeff's arm in a cast

Also this week, I signed up to run my first half marathon in what will be 2 years. I will be participating in my second running of the "Indy Mini", part of the Indy 500 festival weekend. I was asked by a co worker if I was doing it this year and I said that I hadn't really thought about it. My first running of it, which was also my first half marathon was a slightly bitter experience which I wrote about here. Long story short, the Indy Mini brings in about 35,000 runners and my friend Jonny the Fox signed me up and put me in a terribly slow pace causing me to get stuck in a Corral S, plus the road we started on was under construction so by the time the gun went off to start the race, it was 45 minutes before I got to cross the START line. Keep in mind the people that win this thing, were crossing the FINISH line 15 minutes after I started the exact same race. But after the road now being fixed and I was able to talk my wife into joining me in this race and the co worker, and as I am signing up I am hearing about more and more people I know running this, I was a sucker to say yes.

So being a 3 time half marathoner and having run a full marathon this year I want to tweak my training plan. Running gets boring. In the marathon, no amount of music on an iPod can keep you that entertained, so to train for 16 weeks, then have to run the run, I have a plan for success.

1) Start running, but don't start "training". It's one thing to just "go for a run". It's another to have to "go for a run". See how "just" and "have" changed how exciting that sounded.

2) Don't get hurt, or try any stupid mountain bike tricks.... well, we'll see how that pans out.

3) Re-re-re-read "My life on the run" by Bart Yasso. Every time I read it, it makes me want to not only run, but make sure I am happy with the decisions I am making in life.

4) Slightly revise the amount of Ice Cream I eat in the evenings. SLIGHTLY.

5) Keep up with the group rides on Wednesday nights at All About Cycling. Nice change of pace from running, plus keep my legs for and during cycling season.

6) Portion control, portion control, portion control.

7) Reduce my training plan down to 10-12 weeks, but get myself comfortable on my own schedule prior to training actually beginning with being able to run 6-7 miles hard.

I would love to see myself drop the weight back to the 200 mark, however, I leave that decision up to God. I am not a "dieter" by any means. If I lose it, awesome, its less luggage I have to carry with me around the course, and I know I will benefit from it, but again, I always have this mental image of myself from high school graduating at 6'-3" and 154 lbs. I looked fairly sickly.

OK, I think thats it for today. I will let you know how things progress.

May 7, 2011. Indy Mini. Goal Time: 1:55.00. Current P.R. 2:01.51.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

A Little Rum in the morning!

By: Brent

So after a great time at T.K. Lawless last Sunday Jeff and I were on a mountain bike high. We needed more. The next logical place was Rum Village in South Bend. My personal concern was that this is a much shorter course in comparison to T.K., 5 miles compared to 10 miles.

Jeff and I were being joined by a friend of mine. We all met at the trail head and got suited up for a fine 50 degree morning. As we pulled onto the trail, the first thing I noticed is it is obviously a year round trail. the leaves were well ridden on making following the trails a lot easier. In comparison to T.K., the trails felt wider and a bit easier to get around on. Still with year round riding on these trails the leaf coverage over roots and branches and garden gnomes still makes for some tricky riding.

When you arrive on the trail head, you are greeted by a map that shows that everyone starts off on the "Beginner" course, then it breaks off later on to the 2 harder trails or you can stay on the Beginner path. Problem is from time to time you ride up on a literal "fork in the road", but you don't know where the paths are sending you. As the three of us kept riding along things kept getting better and better. The course a little tougher. The jumps a little taller. We pushed a bit harder the further into it we got. Jeff had a rear derailleur issue so Rob and I kept on riding. Then Rob and I ran into the hub of this riding paradise. In this small area there were about 6 trail entrances surrounding a fallen tree. This tree was maybe 40' long and of massive width. Along the top of it lumber had been placed across so it was a great spot to ride across. What added to the excitement was under this tree was a space of 7 feet that another track ran under. The gap was a hard corner than when you ran into it, you had such speed that you rode what felt like at an angle parallel to the ground. I had seen a picture of this creature but had forgotten about it, and honestly didn't know if it was a generic picture or just folklore. As best I can recall it may be called "The Ladder", or least it is now, according to me.

So the recipe to ride across such a sweet obstacle? Not tons. 1/4 cup Confidence. 3 tablespoons Control. A splash of speed. So while Rob and I waited for Jeff we rode around to the high side of this beauty. I set up first and with out giving myself enough time to think about it, I went. It started pretty wide. Maybe 36" but as it stretched out you notice that it starts narrowing up on you. By the end of the trip its down to 18" or so. As it starts its downward but quickly comes up on a tree that also serves as a support and also creates a nice little weave. At this point it banks up and to the outside a bit which causes you to start to think a bit and get a bit nervous about whats left. Keep in mind at this point you are about 10' above whatever is going to catch you. Past that tree now it's all downhill, which comes the next part, the transition from tree to ground. Needless to say when Mother Nature knocked Goliath over and made a very cool mountain bike trick, she forgot about our dismount. Man made up for this by adding a 2x6 piece of lumber. Now that only covers a small part of the transition but its enough to get your front tire over and your back tire just kind of gets beat on a bit to land you back to Earth.

Flawless. Now Rob took his turn and like 2 seven year old boys hearing a new episode of the G.I. Joe cartoon was on we flew back to the top to do it again. We ran it again and knew we had to try Russ's Roller coaster, that stretch that runs under The Ladder. At that time Jeff arrived and said he had found a good drop off so we went in search of that. Once we jumped off of Jeff's little treasure we headed back to the Disneyland of Rum Village. Upon our return to the Ladder, Jeff had apparently made a decision to give this a shot. As I noticed him at the mouth of The Ladder I yelled up, "Back up so you have enough speed!" The purpose here is if you are going fast enough, you won't need to pedal and wobble your center of gravity or tweak your body's movement in anyway, just follow the curve. Jeff backed up to the point where Rob and I had previously started.

Brent riding the ladder

He started well. Maybe a notch slower than Rob and I had gone but nothing to shake you off. He conquered the hump and started his descent. As Jeff was ending the ride he then lifted his right foot apparently tweaking his balance and things started downhill from there, literally. Now realizing the transition wasn't as obvious as he was wishing, bad things started happening. The front wheel missed the 2x6 and with good speed he went head over the bars and used his face and body to serve as a replacement brake pad.... on the dirt... and roots... and everything else.

Nice execution. Poor dismount. As he propped himself back up against a tree he had come to a rest by, he was declaring he had his breathe knocked out of him but that he was okay. We evaluated the bike and it was in okay shape but the combination of Jeff and the bike, Jeff would be walking back. As he headed back by foot Rob and I got ourselves turned around and somehow did some odd loop, but eventually, by way of the "Advanced course" we got out. You could tell the difference between the "advanced" and the "beginner" sections. We had a couple sections that in the middle of nothing you had these 24" drop offs, at slow speed, up hill, both ways, and try to not mimic Jeff's dismount. We finally got to the end and we were glad to be done.

No question in my mind, other than looking for new trails, Rum Village will be visited many more times over T.K. Lawless. T.K. does single track well. Rum Village does obstacles. Both are fun but the other advantage Rum Village has is year round riding... at your own risk.

By the Way, the X-ray of Jeff's hand is due any moment now. Very exciting!!!!
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Single Track Lawlessness

Mountain biker gets air in Mount Hood National...Image via WikipediaBy: Jeff

 Last Sunday Brent and I decided we would like to do some Mountain Biking.  Now again I will mention that we live in a fairly flat portion of the world, so let's call it trail riding.  We had heard about a park not to far away called Dr. T.K. Lawless Park.  It has about 10 miles of meandering single track through the woods.

It is about a 45 minute drive for us to get to this park. We had done our research and knew that there is a $3 charge to get into the park, however we had also heard that no one is ever there to collect the money.  So being that it was an early Sunday morning we pull into the parking lot and we are the only car there.  No person to collect money.  The next thing we see is a sign that clearly states "all bike trails closed Nov. 1, see you in the spring".......ummmm it is Nov. 14 and their website clearly stated "all trails are open".  So we pondered for a few minutes as to what to do.  This place is in the middle of nowhere, and no sign of anyone coming around, so we decided [as if we were breaking a law {lawless is in the name of the park}] to go ahead and ride the trail anyways.
Now Brent has been trail/mountain biking before, I have not.  I've always owned a mountain bike, but never did any actual trail riding.  So I let Brent lead.  I immediately take note of how much more concentration it takes compared to riding on a road.  Now mind you there are no big hills on this course, but you are never going flat either, it is up or down.  When going up your pedaling hard, when going down you are concentrating on the terrain.  Essentially you never get the break of coasting like you do in road riding.  We pass the first mile marker, which seemed to take forever to get to, and I am all ready starting to get into the red.  Just when you think you are making progress on your fitness, there always seems to be something to humble you.  Brent seemed to be handling all this just fine, me on the other had, not so well.  I have to admit it was a lot of fun, but it embarrassingly kicked my butt!

The trail at the park is very nice.  Obviously this time a year it was covered with a lot of leaves, but it provided for a lot of different obstacles and turns.  I look forward to riding it when it is officially open in the spring! It will  be a place we visit often.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


A windmill style of anemometerImage via Wikipedia
By: Brent

After buying a bike, no matter the price, you have a constant urge to ride. If you paid $7.50 at a garage sale for a 1984 Huffy, you bought it with the intention of riding it.

After the purchases of Jeff's and my bikes, we have been lucky enough to meet other cyclist through local group rides. We joined 2 different shops, the Spin Zone crew in Granger where we got our bikes on Thursday's, and All About Cycling in Elkhart on Wednesday's. Due to work, family, and logistics, the Wednesday ride is a lot easier to get to. We have joined them a number of times now and have always had a great time. With a group ride a couple things happen.

1) You get to ride and talk about riding with other people who ride and like to talk about riding.
2) You get to wear Lycra amongst others who will wear Lycra, and not have to hear, "Hey, you're wearing Spandex!!!"
3) Clears your mind. Stress relief. Helps let it all go.
and as the Middlebury P.I.G.S. tell me
4) We ride so we can drink beer.

Wednesday was to be the last outdoor group ride of the year. Problem was, Northern Indiana has been laid on its side with high winds. There has been one tornado, and 30 mph winds have been pretty standard. AAC (All About Cycling) decided we would just ride indoors on trainers, but of the normal 8-10 riders, I was the only one to show up. So Steve (owner of AAC) and I decided, what the heck, lets go for it and tackle the wind.
We set off into the wind as much as possible heading 6 miles south east. It seemed to be a crosswind of maybe 10-15 and we averaged about 19 mph. All in all, it felt pretty good. I can't say at this point there were any concerns. We crossed the tracks and I expressed my want to go down to CR 28 and climb what I refer to as "Hall's Hill" (my group of friends know the guy at the base of the hill (Mr. Hall, hence....) This is the most significant climb anywhere close to this route so I really wanted to hit it. Well as we set down the one mile road of CR 15 I thought, huh, this is a bit windier than that last stretch, then we made the turn down CR28. I believe "OMG" says it best. First we tackle Hall's Hill were by the end of it, I was struggling to stay above 10mph, then to get to the flat and deal with what must have been an F4 tornado coming across the road. For 3 miles we got smacked across the face by what Steve declared "The second windiest ride he had ever been on." Mind you at any point Steve could have dropped me and left me for dead, but he stuck with me and we toughed it together. Then the greatness began, WE TURNED. Within an instant, 22 mph was no issue. You don't even notice the wind. When you have it in your back, you forget all about it and tack it up to your own personal greatness. "Wind? What wind?" Then, about 6 miles from the shop, I felt this tiny piercing in my right calf. "Odd. I wonder what that crazy feeling in my leggggggggg!!!!!!" Charlie horses are the work of the Devil. I knew then, I was done for. But (what I felt was a relatively quick healing process) for about 90 seconds, I got my leg extended, stretched and kept pedaling. My biggest concern at this point was the daylight. It was vanishing quickly. We do ride with tail lights, but still, darkness is darkness. My concerns of finishing were growing greater. Luckily, by starting into the wind I know that we have the luxury of being pushed the rest of the way back so I didn't mention how close we were to my house so I wouldn't get dropped off. Really, the last 6 miles, post Charlie, were pretty uneventful. We did have to wait on the end of a train but again, there is not a lot of story there.
Upon return to the shop Steve took my bike in and discovered what I thought was a bad pedal, was actually a bad bearing on my BB30 bottom bracket. Now I get to call Sarah at Spin Zone and ask her again, "Why BB30?". I asked this question when shopping for the bike, where she told me, "Because it's the best." Hmmmm.....
Next week.....TRAINERS!!!!!
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Cider Century 2010 - 50 Mile Review

Rider Braclet
[sorry this review is a little late, but better late then never]
By: Jeff

The day was finally here.  Brent and I had been waiting for this day for awhile now.  Bright and early on Sunday morning Brent and I headed up to Three Oaks, MI.  The temps were in the high 40's, needless to say we had multiple layers on.  It was partly cloudy, but overall looked to be a great day to test our legs on our first official biking event.

As we approached Three Oaks we were seeing more and more cars with bikes attached to them.  This only added to the excitement of the ride ahead.  The Apple Cider Century attracts 5,000 cyclist every year!!!  When we finally entered town, the realization of how many cyclists this is finally hits.....Holy Cow that is a lot of people on two wheels.  I have to give it to the organizing committee though, there were plenty of people to direct you to parking, and also plenty of people to direct you where to go for packet pick up.  After packet pick up we went back to the car and unpacked the bikes.  We got everything ready to go.  We got on all our geeky bike gear, helmets, gloves, drink bottles, cycling computers.  We were ready to go!!!

ACC Starting Line
Brent Fixing Flat
 At this point we headed away from the parking lot and towards the start/finish line.  Honestly with so many cyclist around I was just thinking, "don't hit anyone". We then proceeded through town and then towards the countryside.  I wouldn't say it was crowded, but still a good group of cyclist were all around.  The only hills of the event were as we crossed into Indiana.  (Now let me point out that I am talking about northern Indiana and southern Michigan, if you live here you know that it is flat. So if you are from a mountains type region please disregard all talk of would be laughing at me.)  About 10 miles in a pack of racer wanna-be cyclists passed us....oh they were all decked out in their "team kits".  As they zoomed by us I thought, hmmm we'll never see them again.  But then Brent says, "do you know that guy?"  After looking ahead I thought, hmmmm maybe I do.  So I stepped it up a bit, and was able to latch onto the back of the wanna-bees.  I was actually a bit surprised I was keeping up.  I finally got beside one of their riders and asked for the guy's name that I thought maybe I knew.  Turns out it was not him.  So then Brent says, "does this mean your going to slow down now?" , "No I'm feeling pretty good". As we started up a incline that is when it happened.  15 miles into the ride I hear Brent say...."Jeff.......Flat".  So we got a slight break as Brent put a new tube on. At 25 miles in we got to the first SAG stop.  It was a nice setup.  Again you are reminded how many cyclists are there.  Everything was orderly, Food and drink tents, and bike repair tent.  It was great having a bike repairman on duty, Brent was able to get his tire properly inflated, and had his shifting tweaked.  We are not sure where the repairman was from, but thanks for the help!!!  The food setup was great, grapes, bananas, Clif Bars, cookies, hot potato soup, and of course apple cider!  It was pretty comforting knowing that we were all ready at the half-way point.  The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful.  The wind picked up a bit, but wasn't unbearable.  Over all we had a really great time and a really great ride.  We finished the ride and then had the included spaghetti lunch. Next year we plan to do the full century.  Can't wait!!!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Myth Of Preparation

riders enjoying the fall rideImage via WikipediaBY: Jeff

This coming Sunday, Sept. 26, Brent and I will be doing 50 miles of the Apple Cider Century.  Here is my question. When does one truly know that they have prepared enough to accomplish their goal?  Oh we have prepared plenty!, but is it enough?  We have road several miles and hours over the summer.  We have joined group rides.  Heck Brent has even done a full marathon this year!!!

One thing that I know for sure is that we will look like  we have prepared well.  Both of us have shiny new Cannondale bikes.  New gloves, cycle clothing, newer Giro helmets.  We have nice cateye cycle computers to tell us how close how far away we are from the end of the ride.  We will look like we have done a hundred of these things!

So here is how I intend to accomplish my first half-century bike ride:

  • Do not focus on the 50 miles, just take it one Support And Gear stop at a time.
  • Try to get Brent to start talking so he slows up enough for me to catch my breath
  • Hopefully my butt will go numb after the first ten miles so that way I don't feel the pain
  • Eat and Drink a good amount at each SAG stop (1 to rest a bit, 2 that way I know I will not bonk!)
  • Draft as much as I can.
  • And most of all, Just have fun.
I know I am really looking forward to doing this ride.  Honestly I do feel prepared to accomplish the 50 miles.  Ultimately there is only one way to tell if you are truly ready for something, and that is to go out and try it!
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Monday, September 13, 2010

The Newest Fit.

By: Brent
I love running. I am really loving biking. I really love my family.
One of the hardest things about the marathon training was the 18 and 20 mile weekends. You have been working all week, over 45 hours in my case, and now you get settled for a nice long weekend and you have to head out for 3-4 hours. Kids don't get that. Other adults might not even get that. As a runner, you want to deny that. Maybe I could skip the really long runs.... fat chance. Running is a great sport. I love it. Biking is as good. Maybe better. I know one thing tricky about it is when you are out on a ride, it can be hard coming back in. You know you can cover so much more mileage, you always feel the need to add a little more distance. It's all great stuff to do but it all comes at an expense, not being home.
My oldest daughter Layla is 6 and at the age where the youth sports are really being offered. Tee ball, swimming, hot dog eating contests, gymnastics, and of course soccer. She wanted to do gymnastics. She wanted to do swimming, she of course wanted to take a cheerleading camp. Soccer took a little talking into. She agreed on one condition, that I tried to be the coach. So I said yes. Being sneaky, I signed up for an assistant spot. Little did I know, Concord Youth Soccer did not know my sneaky ways and I was the newest coach for the first grade division.
My back ground is extensive when it comes to soccer. I had a flourishing career in first AND second grade where I managed 2 successful campaigns in snack delivery at halftime. I still remember the time I actually kicked the ball DURING a game. I did watch the world cup 2010 this year when I thought about it. I may or may not have stayed at a Holiday Inn express also. "Seems like you should have more experience" you think? How about this, I bought a soccer ball to have at home! Ladies and Gentlemen, let the season begin. Whats the worst that could happen. CYS has a large meeting at the beginning of the year. I'm sure they will give out all sorts of helpful coaching tips and we will watch film and we will be overwhelmed in the knowledge that is pertaining to SOCCER.
Coaches meeting No. 1. We are handed a packet and told, go call your players. End meeting.
So with a lot of research on the Internet I have assembled (been given) 9 wonderful kids to coach. We had 4 or 5 practices before our first game. Having no idea how we rated compared to another team I was a bit gun shy. I know I have 3 solid players. You can tell. You can see it in them. I have 4 that have good aggressiveness. I have 2 that are just having fun (one being Layla).
Game 1. We get all set up. Whistle blows. Score. Score. Hmmm. This seems to be going well. Score. Score... you see how this is going. We win 10-1.
I am not going to recap every game, but we are doing REALLY well. After this weekend, we are 6-0-1. We have now outscored our opponents 46-9. This weekend we play the last place team 0-6, and we are in first place right now. We have 3 more regular season games and then the tourney starts.
As far as the fitness goes, it is as much as you want it to be. I personally am out running with the kids as much as they are. I don't think that I have seen another coach as involved as I am with the team (not that that is wrong or right) but its my personality, and honestly, I think my kids see me running and that moves them a little bit more. I have great parents, but they have not just offered to step onto the field and help out during practices so I am grabbing pylons and directing bodies and getting people here and there for the next exercise, so again, I am in motion a lot.
I never expected to have this much fun coaching it. Winning doesn't hurt the fun factor, and these kids would be 6-0-1 with or without me. Layla and I fell into an amazing team. I hope Layla plays again next year, but I can see her trying more gymnastics or swimming but for me this has been great time spent together, getting fit.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brent's Bike Bonanza

Cannondale Six CarbonImage by Dave Haygarth via Flickr
By Brent:
About a year ago, Jeff and I started tinkering with the idea of getting back on the bikes. Our youth, that I remember, is mostly of us getting outside and riding. Not the occasional here and there, but at all times riding. Making "race tracks" on the church parking lot with each of us remembering where the track was in relation to the parking lot lines. Biking was not seasonal. It was mandatory. Snow would fall, we would ride. We would go as far to make paths in the snow in the driveway, into the garage, and (for some reason) ice up parts of the track to make it more "fun". We even invited two of our friends over one year for a big race (that I won). We rode anything we could find, including Jeff's mom's three wheeled, basket toting bike limo. I think the only time's we got in trouble was for what we were doing on bikes. Riding through the grave yard on Hively, or digging up the grass from racing around the pool on Coolidge Ave.
When Jeff (or I) came up with the hair brained idea of trying to ride to Noblesville by bike, the biking bug exploded again. We borrowed two poorly fitting, tired, yet functional bikes from two guys we barely knew and tossed them as far down the road as we could. Our efforts came up short of Noblesville, but even factoring in the horrid weather conditions, it was a great trip. We knew then that we wanted back out on the roads riding again.
Jeff and I visited as many local shops as we could. We saw almost every major brand of bike out there. Trek, Giant, Specialized, Felt, Cannondale, Kona, Fuji, Scott, Jamis, Bianchi.... and I could go on. We visited many stores. Pro Form, Elkhart Bicycle, Spin Zone, Outpost, Albrights and again, we could go on but one brand and one bike store stood out.
Cannondale at Spin Zone. Jeff and I are tech geeks. We know by the books the details as well as any sales person. We were always approached by sales people, but at Spin Zone, Sarah made it a little easier for us to ask our dumb questions. Sure we knew the bikes by the digits, but as soon as it came down to fitting and purpose, we never thought about that.
I wanted a do-it-all bike. I want to ride a century (100 miles). I want to do Triathlons and Dualthons. I want to commute to and from work. I don't want to steal my kids college fund to buy a bike either.
The first bike I was set upon was the CAAD 9 5. I was fitted for a 60 but I fought Spin Zone's judgement and went with a 58. The geometry was okay but the ride was punishing. Jeff was in great comfort but I couldn't get over how abusive the make up of this aluminum bike was. We left and returned a couple weeks later for a Thursday night group ride. I was excited about this nights group ride. Spin Zone had assembled bike's for Jeff and I, but I had recieved a call informing me the SIX Carbon 6 I was testing was damaged in the box so I was going to be sampling a bike I had only dreamed of. The Felt F5 Team. At $2400, this was no bike to take lightly. 3T components. Fizik saddle, 105 gruppo, areo rims and a great FELT racing team graphics. It looked AMAZING. I sat upon this dream ride and with in 3 miles was ready to toss it to the gravel pit. How in the world can a carbon bike costing almost $1,000 more than an aluminum bike be no better feeling? I finished the 26.6 mile ride very confused.
Sarah from Spin Zone called back a week or so later and had brought in and assembled a bike for me. A Cannondale SIX Carbon 6 in a 58. Had it assembled and waiting for me to come test ride. A while later I returned for a ride and before I got out of the parking lot realized I made a mistake. The 58 was too small. Sarah went back in and brought out a 60 but in a model one step up. This brought me up to a 105 gruppo (10 speeds on a full double), RS10 wheel set and more full carbon specs than the model I just sampled. I set out for a fast and pleasant 4 mile ride. I left the store very happy, yet empty handed. I knew I needed to talk to some other stores, talk to the wife, and I wanted Jeff to join me on a longer test ride. After good talks with Elkhart Bicycle and Pro Form I returned with my fellow rider and his Cannondale and we went out for an 11 mile ride. We returned and made I made my purchase.
The 2010 Cannondale SIX Carbon 5 was the winner. It serves its purposes. I love the comfort. I can ride it for good distances. It is aggressive enough in the geometry to race or fit clip on bars to and do tri's. I was torn if I should wait for the 2011 but was informed the SIX model was being dropped and "upgraded" to the Super Six. The problem there is that takes away some of the comfort and sits you into the bike even more aggressively and as nice as that would be for the tri's, it isn't as great for my commuting and leisurely riding which will be more common than the tri's.
Befrore leaving the store we set the bike up on a stationary trainer and I was measured for angles and moved and asked questions about my comfort. We tweaked a couple things and Jeff and I headed back home. I have only added another 25 miles to the bike so far but I look forward to adding many more, and taking another stab at Noblesville!
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bicycle Indiana

By: Jeff

In a previous post [Here], I have talked about cycling awareness.  Recently an organization in our state, Bicycle Indiana, has successfully manged to get a license plate made to help promote cycling awareness.  Here is a post from their recent blog:


We Did It! We’re pleased to announce that the BMV has approved Bicycle Indiana’s application for a special group license plate. That means beginning Jan. 1, 2011, you can pay an additional $40 for an “I Share the Road” plate, and $25 will go to Bicycle Indiana. This milestone was accomplished because of all of you who signed petitions in support of the plate, so thank you! Stay tuned for details on how to get your plate. In the meantime, thank you for helping make this happen!
We’ll be sending out information to all who signed the petition, but you can also indicate your interest in the I Share The Road license plate by completing this form: License Plate

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Slackers and a brand new purchase!

By: Jeff

Well it has been awhile since we have posted, well, anything.  Quite honestly it is because not a lot has been going on.  For some reason as the summer has become very hot we have decreased our workouts, minimal running, and a little better on the biking.

It is with that apology that I am very excited to announce my new purchase:  A Cannondale Synapse 6 bike!!!! Brent and I have been have been looking at road bikes for quite some time now.  We have visited several local bike shops.  I had my eye on two bikes,  the first a Felt Z85 and the second a Cannondale Synapse 6.  The main thing I was looking for in a road bike was something that would be comfortable on a century bike ride.  The Felt has a very stiff frame.  It has a somewhat upright riding position, but you feel every bump.  The synapse also has an upright riding style (for a road bike that is), but with its' S.A.V.E. rear frame it absorbs the bumps much more effectively.  Both the Z85 and the Synapse 6 are in the same price range.  With the Z85 you do get to move up to Shimano 105 components, as compared to Tiagra components on the Synapse 6.  So with all that being weighed, and with comfort and century riding as my goals, I decided on getting the Cannondale Synapse 6.

Now for the good news about purchasing a new bike.  Suddenly my biking mileage for July has gone way up!!!  It will easily be the most miles I have ever covered in one month.  So far, after having the bike a little over a week, I am loving my purchase.  As with any new bike there are things setup wise and fine tuning on components that will need to be tweaked, but overall it is a fun smooth ride.  It is something that when I get done with a ride I can't wait for the next one to begin!  When we were trying out bikes, Brent and I went on our first group ride.  I will let him write about that.  For now welcome back, to us I guess, it is time to get back to work, on getting fit.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunburst 2010, the 10k story....

 By: Brent

A weekend prior to the Sunburst race I did a practice run with my good friend, Jonny the Fox. Jonny is a great guy, and also my biggest running enemy. I have never beaten him. I have run with him and he always is encouraging and we always have a good time. When we train together we can keep together but on race day, he always steps up. On the Saturday prior, he was "off". He had literally just gotten back from a week in Italy (I don't feel that bad for him) and then a couple days in New Orleans. He had not run at all in quite a while so needless to say the training run was a bit shaky. He told me a couple times to "go on ahead" but I stayed. I wouldn't have been that much faster so I just enjoyed the company for 6 miles.

RACE DAY: JtF and I planned for him to pick me up at 6:30 and ride over together. We SQUEEZED into our parking spot and got over to the waiting area on the turf at the Hall of Fame. I knew Jeff was around somewhere so I ditched Jon in search of Jeff so I could maybe run a bit with him. Low and behold Jeff and I met up and after the 5k crossed the timing strips, I hopped in the pack and ran 5 city blocks or so with him. As I was leaving Jeff, I reminded him the two things that I figured out my first Sunburst race.

1.) There is one significant hill. When you get there, just walk it. Don't blow your energy on it today. Just walk it.

2.) As you enter the tunnel of the stadium, it slopes down, then flats out, then slopes down before you get into the stadium. As you enter in, and the crowd noise is piped in like a Colts vs. Patriots game in Indy, and the intensity picks up, I have seen someone every year just about take a spill.

So I met back with Jon and a couple others for our start of the 7:45 10k. When the gun fired Jon and I got into our pace quickly after fighting a bit of traffic from the other 1,205 other runners. It did take me by surprise the pace Jon picked. The weekend before we were struggling to keep a 10:30 pace and today we were just barely into the 9 min mile. We talked a bit during the run. checking on each other and talking about how the course seemed totally different from last year (which by the way, it was identical). He requested a walk here and there and honestly I was fine with it. We got to the hill and I think we were both eager to walk that. It is a 2 part hill. You cover the first 200 yards or so, turn right, then the last 100 or so hits you. It is one of the steeper and tougher hills I have been dealt in my road racing career (ALL 13 races...). The race continued on and we entered the tunnel, high fived and as soon as we hit the turf, I sprinted my butt off.

In my head, I knew Jon crossed the starting timers maybe a second before me. I really wanted to have beat him by at least a second. When the results came back officially, I was a 58:50 to Jon's 58:52. I know this wasn't a real issue for Jon, nor was it a fair training prior to this race with him traveling and I had my marathon, but I needed to see a win.

I don't think I would have P.R.'ed my 10k time. I had taken things a little to relaxed from the marathon, but I think I may have cut off 2 minutes at best. My 10k P.R. is 55:32 at this same race last year.

After the race I saw and got updates from most everyone I was hoping to see. Another nice Sunburst was had by all!
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My First 5K! Sunburst 2010

 By: Jeff

Since January I have been preparing for my first 5K.  This past Saturday (June 5, 2010) I took on this challenge at the Sunburst races in South Bend.

On Friday night I drove over to South Bend to pick up my bib and my timing chip.  I was pleasantly surprised with how easy that process was.  There were a few people, but it was by no means crowded.  Saturday morning I woke up early to take my son to the babysitters.  I was in downtown South Bend about 40 minutes before the start.  It was fun to watch people mill about and talk about their race strategies.  Fifteen minutes before the start time they announced everyone to begin lining up on the road for the start of the race.  There where 3,169 runners in the 5K.  The road could not handle the mass of people, so I just stood off to the side of the road, towards the back of the crowd, and took a picture with my cell phone. There was the singing of the National Anthem.  And then the gun went off, the race was underway.

The Start:

So as people started to move towards the start line they would move, and then stop, and then move, and then again stop.  Brent has talked about this before, and apparently it is a common phenomena at most races.  After a couple of minutes I crossed the start line and eased into a nice beginning pace.  I was feeling pretty good, Brent joined me for the first half mile, then he had to return for the start of his 10K race.  I ran the first, lets call it three-quarters of a mile.  Then there was a little downhill towards the St. Joseph River.  Once you crossed the bridge over the river, which is a little over a mile into the race, the course goes uphill for about the next three quarters of a mile.  This was defiantly the toughest section for me, and I probably walked more of it, then I ran.  I passed the two mile marker, and honestly felt like I was having a slow race.  Mile three was mostly flat, and I ran more then I walked.  Finally I saw the stadium.  By far the coolest part of the race was entering Notre Dame Stadium through the tunnel.  The finish line is at the 50 yard line in the stadium.

The Finish:

So I made sure that I ran all the way through the tunnel and all the way to the finish line.  When I crossed the line they announced my name on the P.A. system, which was kind of cool.  After the race I got some grapes and some water.  People mostly just hung out on the field.  I got to watch the winner of the 10K cross the finish line.  I also got to see my friend Gary cross the line.  I stayed and watched as Brent had a strong finish to his 10K.  Overall it was a lot of fun and I finished with a time of 0:46:16, which is better than I thought I did, but not as good as what I wanted to do.  So that means I have to keep training, and start working on my next race.  Brent will have a review of his 10k posted soon.
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Friday, June 4, 2010

Pursing the Sunburst

By: Brent

The Pursuit of Fit team (Jeff and I) are proud to announce tomorrow's big event. Jeff will be tackling his first 5k (3.1 miles) and I will be participating in my 4th Sunburst event, this being my second 10k (6.2 miles) at this venue.

The Sunburst's claim is "From the Hall of Fame to Notre Dame" starting you next door to the current College Football Hall of Fame (that will be leaving in the next couple years) and you finish crossing the line on the Notre Dame Stadium 50 yard line.

The 2010 event is figuring for good crowds, but maybe not the best weather. The 5k is figuring 3,500, the 10k 1,200. The Half Marathon (13.1 miles) is counting on 1,000 runners along with 650 people looking for 26.2 miles of punishment. is showing a less than pleasant 50% chance of rain with temps moving up from 60 degrees to 75 during the day.

We will post updates when we have official times and I have a feeling Jeff will post a first organized race review.

Our next event we are hoping to attend will be Steve's Run in Dowagiac, MI. They offer a road 5k and a road/trail 10k. I ran the event in 2008 as my first 10k ever run. It was a run that I had a blast because the course was so challenging with the trail sections mixed into it. There are a couple other races and rides we have our collective eyes on, but we'll update the "Schedule" tab when we know more.

Good luck to all the runners tomorrow, especially our reader Amanda, who is running the full marathon. Enjoy it!!!!
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lance @ Leadville vs. Brent @ E-Town.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong visiting the NIH (Nati...Image via Wikipedia
By: Brent

There is a movie out called "Race Across the Sky" that tells the story of the 2009 Leadville 100. A very exciting story about the 15th running of the 100 mile mountain bike race from Leadville, Colorado, up a total elevation change of 14,000 feet and back to Leadville. The movie is outstanding even in its "low budgetness". Some very big names in the biking community appear, including doper Floyd Landis, accused doper Lance Armstrong, 6 time winner Dave Wiens and others that have proven themselves in the sport of Cycling.

*Spoiler Alert*

Lance is a winner. This is something that I just can't deny, but as I am watching this movie for the first time, with 7 miles to go and the movie still giving you that feeling that he has people hot on his trail something happens. Lance gets a flat rear tire! 7 miles out. No mechanics. No support. LA dismounts and starts to inspect the tire. He decides that rather and waste the time to fix it, he will just ride to the finish on a flat. For 7 MILES! Lance goes on to win by a landslide, but it only adds to the excitement and you walk away from the movie in amazement.

After watching this (a handful of times) Jeff and I adopted the phrase "WWLD". What Would Lance Do. Did we have a reason? No. It was just so impressive, it made sense. Whatever it takes. WIN. Maybe not the race, but a P.R. or a finish, or be the first place winner to the fire hydrant and be the only competitor. Who cares. Get the job done.

FAST FORWARD to Monday. I arrive into work to have the feelings of stress magnified over and over again. My family is dealing with 2 people fighting cancer, one so fatally serious we are feeling blessed for the days we have left with him, then add a broken hip in an 89 year old Nana, and on the lighter side, my computer hard drive dies. It just added that much more stress. So this week is "Ride Your Bike to Work" week. I needed the break. At lunch I grabbed the normal PB&J and headed out to the garage. I grabbed a G2 (Orange), one water bottle, one Clif bar (Crunchy Peanut Butter) and swapped out my shirt for something sweat wicking. Out in the garage I topped off the tires with as much air as I could get into them. It was a third voyage out on new street tires on my beloved mountain bike. I headed out ready to let out some steam.

The ride from home to work is a 8 mile ride on back country roads with a 2.5 mile stretch on a wide shouldered State Road right in the middle of them. As I hit the 5 mile mark and was turning on to the next county road the front end slid a bit and my first thought was "Man, these new tires are like slicks!" but as I ventured forth I could tell bad things were happening. I was deflated. Literally. The front tube had given out with 3 miles to go and I already knew the greeting I would be getting from a certain boss of mine if I was even remotely late. I never stopped pedaling, but there was that "Lance moment", one in which you have a coupel of thoughts run through your mind...

1) This is going to be an awesome story.


3) Wait til Jeff hears this!

4) My boss is going to yell at me.

5) When my wife notices "WWLD", she will know I am a geek.

It was my Leadville moment. It was almost exciting to think that now, without choice, I too could ride a flat tire. WHY IS THAT AWESOME!?! you ask. I have no idea, but let me tell you, it was. I instantly thought how this could be tricky as the resistance was obviously a lot more and the solid high noon sun was beating on me the thought of ditching the bike and walking leisurely was a solid option. I pedaled on and hatched a plan. I would ride the next 2 miles up to a house I knew I could safely rest the bike and helmet and with a mile left, I could run out the rest running down a grass runway. Without any flaws, that was just what I did. Just like Lance would.

It cleansed me that day more than I think anything could have. In the moment I never got pissed and gave up, but I almost welcomed it and enjoyed it. After picking up my bike after work, I noticed that BOTH tires had gone flat, not just the front. Now I was twice as impressive.

And yes, I was greeted by my boss the way I had expected.

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