2012 Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 29 1

Posted on 8:08 AM by Schottler

My first full suspension race bike, and all I have to say is "Holy (insert creative profanity)." The first thing I notice is how easy it is to sit down and pedal through anything. Most importantly to me, how little energy the bike still takes to propel, it really isn't much different than my hardtail Cannondale Flash 29er. Any extra energy taken from the rear suspension can really add up over a short or long race, so it's important that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Which is why I am choosing to keep both the full suspension and hardtail for this year, each bike has an advantage on different courses. Also, it's VERY nice having a bike to steal last minute parts off of.

The first thing you probably notice are the tube shapes and design. It's beefy, yet it weighs nothing. It's obvious a serious amount of computation time and head scratching was put in to create shapes with specific material thickness' at different area's to obtain one of the lightest, stiffest, and most efficient 29 full suspension frames on the market. Seriously, look at the headtube.

The seat stays are also specifically shaped:

It almost came from factory the way I wanted it. I swapped out the wheels to Stan's Race Gold's, which are about 1,300 gram wheels, down from the 1,750ish gram DT Swiss Tricon XM 1550's. I am still using Sram XX, for now. I might be changing both bikes to Shimano XTR at some point this year, just to experiment. I'm not sure of the weight after the wheel swap, I am guessing 23 lbs with pedals. Tim Johnson's Scalpel 29 weighs in at 22.1 lbs. I got to check his out back in August, sort of, while he passed me in the Leadville 100 going up Columbine.

The only concern I have, which isn't really big, is the clearance of the bottle. Solution is to be careful or just use a smaller bottle and throw a spare in a jersey pocket.

And of course, Ergon GS1 grips.
I've always heard people tell me how amazing Schwalbe race tires are. Amazing in how well they hook up, compliance, and ride quality. The only experience I had with them were flats, instant flats. But, the tires I was using were designed for tubes and I was running them tubeless, with too much pressure. So, I don't feel right basing my opinion on them by my own incompetence. The bike came with Schwalbe Racing Ralph Tubeless Ready tires. The first ride I did with them, with tubes (too lazy to take them out,) they flatted... because I was running 20 psi. So I put Stans in them, and to surprise, they seated with a floor pump instantly. I took them out to Swope Park for a couple hours and was amazed. If you've ridden there recently, there are numerous technical rock sections just waiting to shred sidewalls. The result: They are still intact! In addition to this feat, they hook up better than any other tire I have used and conform to anything they roll over. I kept going faster and faster around the corners and they never let go, far beyond the speed that my trusty Bontrager 29-3 2.00 tires could handle. I've used those Bontragers for over 2 years with zero flats, but they really don't handle very well, especially around low speed tight corners. Not to mention the compliance is pretty horrible, mainly due to how narrow they are. In the end, it doesn't matter how great a tire performs if it can't keep air half the time. You'll lose A LOT more time and positions fixing a flat than going slightly slower around the corners. I'll keep riding these Schwalbe's this winter and see if they stay together. I wish they had a bigger selection of 29er tires, especially ones with sidewall protection, I'd buy them in a heartbeat.

Swope Park, here in Kansas City, is amazing. So many people riding the trails while I was out there, it was great to see. Unfortunately it's about a 30 minute drive from my house and there really isn't a way to ride there without getting run over or shot. I'll probably be riding to Smithville more this winter.

First real training rides start tomorrow, the 3rd. I've been working out 6 days a week for 30-60 minutes, which is starting to catch up with me, but I can feel a huge difference. Hopefully this low back race pain issue will disappear... the full suspension should help that out as well. I cannot wait to start training again.

2011 Wrap-up

Posted on 10:18 AM by Schottler

I feel like I just wrote about this for 2010, weird. This year has absolutely flown by, I am not sure why that is, maybe because I have been anticipating big life changes, waiting week by week. Unfortunately for me, I've waited the whole year with not much to show. If things start going my way, 2012 will be a great year. I mean it better, it is the last year of all our lives.

Racing in 2011 went pretty well with the effort I put in to it. I have to admit my motivation to train and race has been pretty low the entire year. I hit a plateau with my fitness and training plan (or lack thereof,) and wasn't able to clear my head of finding a career or finishing grad school. It's apparent that 2012 will obviously need some huge changes if I actually want to get faster on the bike and make it through the whole season with a smile on my face.

Anyway, I still had some race results I was really happy about, despite breaking my wrist and being stuck on the trainer for 6 straight weeks early in the year. Finishing Leadville in 7:37 was a huge accomplishment for myself. Tying for 3rd overall in the USAC Pro UET MTB series was pretty cool. A 2nd place finish at the Spa City 6 hour, racing with Manuel Prado for over 2 hours and only finishing 6 minutes behind him after 6 hours. 7th place at my 2nd ever 100 miler, Shenandoah 100. I didn't get that many mountain races in, but I still had some strong fitness coming in to cross season, which lead to a bunch of wins and a 13th place finish at UCI Gateway Cross in STL. That fitness really disappeared as the cross season went on, so I continued racing for fun.

Like I said earlier, a huge change in training is in store for 2012. I think it's called a training plan or something. Coaches can make them to get you doing the correct thing to build fitness and prepare your body to survive the entire racing season. So instead of mindlessly pedaling around in the endurance zone every day, workouts are prepared. It's time to quit winging it and jump over the plateau and set some real goals and get fast.

Before the heavy training gets started, all the bikes are getting ready, and finally cleaning my poor car after destroying it from 20k bike race miles.


Posted on 8:20 AM by Schottler

I'm sure most of the 2 or 3 people who read this probably know that my step-dad passed away unexpectedly on the 8th from a heart attack. I really don't know how to express how we are all feeling, so I won't say much. My Dad passed away when I was 11 from a heart attack as well. Joe was my step-dad for 11 years too, and losing a Dad for a 2nd time doesn't get much easier. I learned a lot the first time and know more about how to deal with it and what to expect, which includes a lot of bike riding.

He was a VERY respected man, who accomplished about 100 times more than most people do in their lives. He made a huge impact in my life and will be missed greatly, but everything I was taught from him will always remain, which is how he will live on. Without his encouragement and support the last 11 years, who knows where I would be.

My sister Kelly called me on the morning of the 8th while I was sitting in my office and I flew home, literally, 1 hour 35 minutes from Columbia to my parents house by the airport in KC. I come around the corner of the house and see about 15 police cars with officers lining our entryway.

We had a police escort to the visitation, which never happens, as well as a 16 KCPD motorcycle and 5 police car escort to the funeral. The visitation had an estimated 400 people come by and the funeral completely packed with at least 30 people standing at the back. It's obvious how much of an impact he made to so many people's lives.

Here is his obituary:

"Joseph P. McHale, Ph.D., lovingly known as "Big Joe," of Kansas City, Missouri, passed away on December 8th, 2011 of natural causes. Joseph was born May 13, 1950 to Joseph and Orpha McHale in Riverside, California. During his youth, he relocated numerous times to the different military bases his father was assigned to in the United States Air Force. While living in Macon, Georgia, in the mid 1960's, Joe married his first wife, Starlette Rose White McHale, and fathered two children, Stephanie Marie and Joseph Frederick McHale. Joe married his second wife, Suzanne Schottler, in 2001 and had the honor of becoming part of the Schottler family. This included daughters Kelly Schottler and Melissa Bodine, and sons Travis Graf and Jonathan Schottler. Joe was a dedicated and proud grandfather to Amelia and Michael McHale and Eleanor Bodine. The mother of his heart was Amelia White, of Milledgeville, Georgia.

Joe began a distinguished career in law enforcement with the Macon, Georgia Police Department in 1971, where he remained until he was hired by the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in 1975. He remained with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department until 2001 when he retired at the rank of Major. Joe gained vast experience during his tenure but was most proud of the Traffic Unit assignments he held at every rank. Joe became Chief of Police of Platte City, Missouri in 2002.

He obtained a Doctorate Degree from Northcentral University in Business Administration with a specialization in Criminal Justice-Homeland Security & Terrorism, as well as dual Master's Degrees in Public Administration and Information Management Technology. He was also working on a third Master's Degree in Homeland Security Terrorism. With his educational achievements, he began teaching at several universities. Joe was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and a very strong supporter of the United States Military.

The countless people whose lives he touched had the opportunity to know an extremely caring, supportive, intelligent, honest, and giving man. He was the rock that everyone could rely on when help or advice were needed. Joe was so widely known in the Kansas City area and in the KCMO Police Department that many of his stories are legendary and not in short supply. Every time he went out, he always ran into someone he knew. It was an equal rarity that he encountered a subject that he did not know something about; he was a walking volume of encyclopedias. His vast knowledge on a wide range of subjects, most notably history and military history, was awe-inspiring for even the most seasoned trivia buff. Though he had devoted much of his life to public service, his family always came first. Even as that family grew after his marriage to Suzanne, in Joe's eyes he had six children and he treated them all equally. He was a wonderful, loving husband and father, devoted grandfather, a teacher and a truly great friend."

I'll be moving back to KC tomorrow to live with my Mom until I find a job somewhere, which will be at least a month. My Master's thesis was accepted by the graduate school this morning, which means there's nothing left to do, my graduate degree in mechanical engineering is finally finished. I never want to do that again. It's a sad feeling leaving Columbia, my home the last 7.5 years. I've met countless lifetime friends and have had the time of my life, there are so many good memories, I can't believe this part of my life is over. I say I am leaving, but will probably be back quite a bit.

Good Training Week + State CX

Posted on 7:38 AM by Schottler

My plan was to put in some endurance/tempo paced rides for the next couple weeks to burn some holiday cookies and enjoy myself. Last year I gained about 10 lbs in a month from not riding and eating a million cookies... which lead to trying to lose it through most of my base mile period, not fun. Breaking even is the plan this year. I even got in a fun near 6 hour ride with Pam Hinton and Mike Bruzina on Friday, with no plan of racing state cx. Saturday night Butthead asked why I wasn't racing, I had no excuse, so I thought what the hell, I can just have fun in the mud.

That was my goal on Sunday, have fun playing in the mud and see what would happen. Mike Weiss was kind of enough to loan me his set of 303's with Challenge Limus tires. I also had some friends working the pit for me, unfortunately there was no water, they were kind enough to pick the mud off while I was out on the other bike.

I started on the last row and managed to get in the first corner in last place, neato. "Have fun, have fun, have fun." A few motorcycle sounds and a lap later, I was in the front group with Dan Miller and Travis Donn. I felt alright, my legs were sore and hurting from the long week of training, but I usually ride the mud pretty well. I stayed with them for a few laps and then got tape caught in my cassette, which required to me to take out my wheel and I lost at least 30 seconds, as Butthead flew by. No one in sight behind me, chase mode. Low back was hurting and my legs didn't really have much. I then passed Dan running with his bike, with another failed derailleur. Here is the front group for the first few laps, Dan, Travis, and me. (Photo credit to Jason Watkins)

With about 3 laps to go my low back pain went away and I got in a groove and started flying. Casey Saunders seemed to be having some bike problems as we were lapping him, I was coming up on him fast, and I didn't say which side I was passing him on, since I didn't really know until I was on him. He swerved over to where I was going and I slammed in to his bars pretty hard. I went flying over the bars in to a mud puddle and he went down too. Whoops, sorry Casey. Lost another 15ish seconds and was soaking wet and cold the rest of the race. I was still making up time, but not enough to overcome my issues. Butthead won again, Travis Donn had a freaking awesome race in 2nd, and I finished 3rd, only 20ish seconds behind Butthead.

I am happy, I didn't have any expectations, didn't prepare at all for the race, and didn't break any bike parts. I guess it is possible for me to race for fun.

Como Awesomeo and 2012 Schedule

Posted on 9:00 AM by Schottler

Columbia's one and only cx race took place on Saturday about 9 minutes from my house. It's so nice to race with such a short drive, tons of time to accomplish things, like sitting on my couch more. Actually, working to finish my thesis revisions.

Anyway, the race was lots of fun. Mr. Josh Johnson designed the course with CBC's help setting it up. It was tons of fun, super flowy, good to know he's still good at something. Actually, he was riding very well too. Butthead lead the first lap, followed by Dan Miller the next two laps. Pace wasn't very hard at this point and I was comfortable and figured it was my turn to do some work, so I pulled the next lap and picked up the pace, hoping to get a small gap on Dan through one of the sections and hit the gas. I felt alright, and jumped the railroad tie section and my tire popped off the rim when I landed... and crashed. Dan then crashed in to me, sorry Dan! Limped back around the course to get my pit bike. I stayed behind Dan as we bridged back up to Butthead, but I eventually lost his wheel with my low back starting to seize up. From here on, I sucked. Forgot to let pressure out of my clinchers and I was bouncing all over. It would have been difficult to stay with those two anyway, Dan is fit as hell, Butthead was riding very well, and I just want to ride my bike and have fun at this point. They rode together the whole race and sprinted for it, Dan took the win. I skipped Sunday's race to finish and submit my thesis revisions. Strongly considering riding for fun the next 3 weeks instead of racing, next year will be a long one.

I have put together most of next years racing schedule already. I learned this year that big national endurance races can fill up in just a couple of minutes, so planning ahead and setting an alarm to register is important. Schedule is currently based around me getting a job and being able to afford the travel... and vacation time. Here's the tentative schedule:

April 11, Ouachita Challenge
April 28, Cohutta 100
May 19, Syllamos Revenge
June 2, Dirty Kanza 200
June 16, Lumberjack 100
July 14th, Breckenridge 100
August 11, Leadville 100
September 1, Park City P2P
September 15, Chequamegon Fat Tire, Hermann CX, or Marathon Nationals
October 20, Berryman Epic
November 5, Iceman Cometh

5 of the races are the NUE series. They take best 4 for the overall championship. It will be a busy season, but I am pretty excited about it. I have my coach set up for next year as well, I really have no idea what to do to train for so many long races... besides riding a lot.

Bubba #7 & 8

Posted on 9:17 AM by Schottler

Before the couple of people who read this get bored, Columbia is going to have it's 1 and only CX race of the year, put on by CBC. We drive to both ends of the state every weekend for everyone elses races... so come to ours... or else. Or else what? Exactly.
On to the boring racing stuff. Saturday was Bubba #7 at Concordia Seminary. I got a horrible start and shoved back to 10th in to the first couple corners. I got to the front on lap 2 and put in an effort and got a gap. Eventually it was big enough that Butthead tried to join up with me, so I slowed down. But, he took a digger on the log so I picked it up again. I ended up taking the win. The course was one of my favorite of the year, pretty mountain bikeish. Jumping the log every lap was pretty fun. (Thanks Dennis Fickinger for this awesome shot!)

Sunday was Bubba #8. Pretty much the same story. I attacked and Butthead rode up to me, and we rode the rest of the race together. Furious braking across the line photo finish, Butthead got it. Also, I suck at cornering and sprint out of the corners too hard apparently.

(Thanks Chris Creed for all of these other good photos!)

Thanks to Mr. Butthead for gluing up a couple of tires for me.

NUE Series

Posted on 9:47 AM by Schottler

The 2012 series was just announced. After doing a couple 100 milers this year plus numerous 50+ mile races over the years, I am becoming addicted. People warned me of this.

Before I get in to it, something quickly caught my eye. The Berryman Epic may be in the 2013 calender. I guess I can say goodbye to some easy money and hello to some insane sub 4 hour competition.

Anyway, I've raced pretty much everything at this point besides a stage race, and I really enjoy it all. Traveling to bigger races will probably be my thing next year and the foreseeable future, but it's expensive. Green Beans always had a good rule of thumb for traveling to races, if you get to ride almost as long as you sat in the car, it's worth the trip. I am not too strict on this rule since I would rather not ride for 12 hours with a one-way trip, but it's a good thing to think about. So, for me, the longer races make the drive and preparation well worth it. Not to mention the buzz experienced post-race lasts for weeks, instead of a day at the most from a short 1 hour effort. So, I will probably be doing 5 of the NUE races, plus some others along the way.

As for the NUE, here's what I sort of have planned:
Cohutta 100, Tennessee, April 28, already registered
Syllamos Revenge, Arkansas, May 19
Mohican 100, Ohio, June 2
Lumberjack 100, Michigan, June 16
Park City P2P, Utah, September 1

I put my name in for the Leadville 100 lottery, hopefully I will get to take a crack at that one again.

In addition to the races, I think I have decided to something with my training I've been against. Get a coach. This year I have had very little motivation to get myself out on 'hard rides' to do intervals or power tests. I didn't even do a power test this year, I can count how many timed intervals I've done. I don't even know if I got faster this year. I think I got smarter, smoother, and improved my racing skills, but powerwise, I don't think I improved much. Anyway, having someone tell me what to do who knows what they are doing will get me more focused. Not having to worry about when to ride or what to do will take a huge weight off my shoulders, especially while having a full time job. I want bigger results next year.

I started riding again, a little. Motivation to race is still sort of lagging, but I'll try to race cx for fun for the rest of the season. I won't travel anywhere, only local stuff.

This will be arriving either this month or early next year. Will be rocking a hardtail and full suspension 29er. Gonna be sweet.