The time has come...

Posted on 9:42 PM by Schottler

We all know Ethan has retired, and Butthead isn't getting any younger... or skinnier. He is definitely showing his age when he lets a rookie college student kick his ass on every ride. Refer to picture for the only real option left for these two. I can imagine the long weekend trips down the Katy Trail, pulling their trailer with cookies, brownies, and other old fat guy food.

The end is near...

Posted on 9:16 PM by Schottler

I will be graduating in a little more than two weeks, and these last few weeks are taking years out of my life. Our Capstone project, countless other projects, and countless presentations are totally stressing me out and getting in the way of having a consistent training plan. Right now all I am trying to do is get a ride in every day to maintain some fitness until I graduate and can focus a little better. I never got to race in Neosho a week ago, due to the fact I had a discrete math test the next day I needed to study for... which turned out to be a good decision since I didn't understand anything, so the whole day of studyfest payed off. I am very disappointed I haven't been able to race and am getting very ancy, but at the same time I am getting very stressed out with school and realize I need to put it first and get gradumated.

I did get a few mountain rides in last week to get used to my new bike on some of the tight and fast Missouri trails, and it is money. It is so fast, stiff, and fits me like a glove.... and it is true... we are getting married.

There is a race coming up this Sunday at Castlewood in St. Louis that I plan on doing... unless it is a huge mud fest or is pouring down rain, because I know I don't have a free day to dedicate to rebuilding it. We will see how it goes, I seem to screw up my first races of the year pretty bad, so I won't be taking the results very seriously.

Feelin stronger...

Posted on 8:15 PM by Schottler

So I finally started intensity training about 2 weeks ago, after about 4,000 base miles since the beginning of the year. I am feeling stronger than I ever have in the past, thanks to the 7 days a week of long long gravel rides on the cross bike in teens/snow/rain/wind. Now it is time to build up the intervals and improve the high end. According to my powertap, I have gained about 35 average watts over a 5 minute period, which is pretty significant. I have already broken numerous power records, with barely any intensity training. This data is making me pretty hopeful of having a successful season.

I am pretty disappointed I haven't been able to do a single race yet this year. I had a 6 hour race and a normal 1.5 hour race scheduled in April but they were both rained out. The next two possible races in my area were on, however I was in Moab Utah training. There are two more races this upcoming weekend, one is the 6 hour again and the other is a race down in Neosho, MO. Unfortunately my shop needs my help on Saturday and I won't be able to get off, but I plan on heading down to Neosho if it isn't pouring down rain. I am hoping for a good result.

Graduating from the University of Missouri is coming up quick... down to 4 weeks now. 30 hour work weeks, 20 hour riding weeks, and finishing up my classes and my capstone class leave me with very little time for anything. Thankfully I am almost there and I can focus more time on training and riding. Hopefully the race will be on this weekend..

Spring break, Moab Utah

Posted on 8:30 PM by Schottler

This was the 4th annual trip for the Mizzou Cycling team to travel to Moab Utah for spring break. If you haven't ever been out there, it has some of the best mountain biking trails in the country. But I have also discovered that there are some of the nicest roads to ride on. Our trip consisted of 3 cars carrying 9 people, with the Walt's Bike Shop trailer and about 15 bikes.

We took off Friday the 20th of March at about 6:30PM and did the 16 hour drive through the night and morning, arriving in Moab at about noon, with plenty of time to ride. However, the campsite we always stay at was reserved... along with nearly every other one around. So, we ended up going way up near the porcupine rim trailhead to find a good site. We camped Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night. We rented a condo for Tuesday and Wednesday night, so we could relax a little and get a much needed shower, and some good grilling. Thursday night we camped in Fruita, Colorado, in 20 degree's.
As for the riding, it was amazing. Ideally, the best bike to ride out there is a 5 inch all mountain bike with a slack head tube. About 90% of the cyclists in Moab are all mountain riders wearing baggies and camel backs looking forward to the crazy descents. I usually feel a little out of place wearing full Lycra while riding a hard tail, and usually get a lot of looks. However, those looks are usually while I am riding by all of them on the gnarly rocky descents. The GT rode amazingly well, the head tube is so stiff and solid it gives a very predicable ride, and the carbon has enough give and vibration dampening that it was amazingly fast and relatively comfortable.

Once camp was set up on Saturday, Lou, Brent, and I headed out to do Porcupine Rim, the maiden voyage of the GT. From the campsite, it was up and up and up and up, and then a pretty crazy and rocky decent. It is definitely a good way to learn how your bike rides, right on the edge of complete loss of control. On Sunday I decided to do a 5 hour road ride through the LaSal mountains. This ride has an initial climb of about 6,000 feet, followed by a very very fast decent. One section of road has about 10 straight minutes of 40+ mph speeds, which is something we don't always get to experience in Missouri. Besides the 30+ mph winds the entire ride, it was amazing. Monday and Tuesday we did some more good riding, including another porcupine rim ride with everybody. Wednesday was the big riding day for me, 7 hours in the saddle. I rode to the porcupine rim trailhead from our condo, which was in town, which is a LONG way up. I continued on the gravel to the LPS trailhead, which is a lot more climbing, eventually leveling off at the highest possible point, about 20 miles from town, all climbing. From here, I waited in the surprisingly cold snow showers (didn't plan on the cold, wearing full lycra) for the rest of the group to shuttle up. After taking the trail back to town, Lou and I rode the Amasaback trail, which had my favorite technical climbing of the trip, but the descent had a lot of hike-a-bike. Thursday and Friday were getting painful and the lack of sleep and not enough eating were starting to get to me. I lowered the effort and dropped the hours back for the last two days to keep from overdoing it, since it is so early in the season.

Besides the unusual cold weather, and the sand storm, the trip was blast. I recommend everyone go out there and try out the trails, and if you've already ridden it, go do it again. You can't ride in many better places in this world.

The Bike...

Posted on 7:42 AM by Schottler

My bike arrived March 19th... and I was to leave on the Mizzou Cycling spring break trip on the 20th. Of course, I had to bring the bike, because there is no better way to get used to a bike than a 30 hour riding week in Moab. The bike came set up very well out of the box, full XT with XTR shifters, Fox 32 fork with remote lockout (one of the best designs I have seen.) But I have always had a problem with building bikes up differently from stock to make them my own. A few changes were made.

I have replaced the XT cranks with an FSA K-Force Light 2x9 setup, with a 44/29 gearing setup, with a seperate 42 tooth depending on the course. These cranks are one of the stiffest and lightest on the market, with a ceramic BB, and shift very well. I have replaced the rear derailleur with an XTR shadow, and the front is also an XTR. The stem was replaced with a Thomson Elite X4, and the seatpost is Thomson Masterpiece set back. The bars were replaced with a Truvativ Noir Team. Fizik came out with a new mountain saddle that I just had to try out, the white Tundra with carbon braided rails, and I have to say it is one of the most comfortable I have ridden on, especially for long rides. I have a couple sets of wheels that I have been using that I can seem to part with. The first set is the Mavic Crossmax SLRs, which are the fastest and lightest wheels I have ever ridden, and are generally just used when racing. I built up my first set of wheels a couple of months ago that I have been using for training rides, which are red 28 hole Chris King hubs laced to Bontrager Race-X-Lite rims with red spoke nipples and DT Revolution spokes. As for pedals, I am using Time Atac Carbon.

I chose to go with an XL frame because the large Zaskar we have at my shop is a little short for me. At first glance and first stand over, I was afraid this frame was way too big for me, but after riding I have found it is a perfect fit, almost identical to my last bike which I am very used too. My first impression on the ride is how incredibly stiff the frame is, and how stout the front end is. There is no flex in the huge head tube, giving a very solid, stable, and predictable ride.

The maiden voyage of this beautiful bike was on our spring break trip, so I was really hoping everything would work perfectly, more to read on the trip later...