Posted on 7:44 AM by Schottler

Somehow 2010 is about over, and it turned out to be a pretty good year. I achieved all but one of my goals for the year. Upgraded to Pro in mountain, Cat 1 in CX, MTB state champion, won the Berryman again, and other numerous wins. I wanted the jersey in state CX, however the SI injury came back in time to not let me try, but I am happy that my teammate took it.

I ended up doing 27 races with 10 wins, 3 2nds, and 3 3rds. The biggest being the Berryman Epic, followed by a 3rd place finish at Marathon National Championships at elevation.

2011 is going to be great. I am focusing my training to improve weakness' instead of putting down huge hours like the last couple years. I can already feel a difference from lifting, and it feels awesome. As for races, I am going to have to play it by ear, being a grad student has left me with little spending cash. But as of now, I am planning on doing Marathon Nationals in Bend, Oregon, the Lumberjack 100, and possibly another 100 mile race depending on how that goes. I also plan on hitting up the US Cup Pro Mellow Johnny's Classic in Texas, and another Us Cup race in Wisconsin. If more money shows up somewhere I would like to travel for some more big races.

Winter Training... Thanks Focus on Health!

Posted on 9:14 AM by Schottler

I haven't done much since being reinjured towards the end of cross season. I have pretty much taken an extended rest period for the past month, longest I have ever gone without training. It's been good, I have time to do things, like hang out with my friends and enjoy life outside of training. I've been commuting to school about every day to keep some fitness, but that's about it. I was actually a lot more upset about missing the cx races and the state championship than I thought I would be, I have had no motivation to ride. But now the season is over and I can look towards training for next season, with the motivation building.

I have started lifting for the first time since I started racing bikes... which has come with a HUGE wakeup call. I lifted last Saturday with the assumption that race fitness would equal good strength and quick recovery. Not all, I was surprised to see how weak I was and how much weaker I got by the third sets. I also did too much, I couldn't walk right for the next 3 days and at 5 days later I was still sore. Crazy. I did all this on my own and realized I should probably get some advice. But really I think it's a good sign, it means there is huge room for improvement and will most definitely equal a huge jump in speed, power, and injury prevention on the bike.

Dr. Curt at Focus on Health Chiropractic has gone way beyond helping me this year. He takes a personal interest in helping every patient that comes in the door, and from what I have experienced, will go above and beyond expectations to eliminate issues. Throughout the season he worked on me twice a week to get me in line and able to race the upcoming weekends without pain and getting more injured. He has set up the fit on all of my bikes to help prevent further injury... which has also increased power and comfort. He has come to the gym with me to teach and check lifting form, as well as demonstrate exercises to target the weak areas. A 4 day a week lifting schedule has been set up which consists of 2 days of core work and 2 days of lifting, with about 6 days of riding. I am sure that without his help this season, I wouldn't have been riding nearly as well. A HUGE thank you! If you are having any issues, sports related or not, or would like to get checked out and see if there is anything you could improve, I strongly recommend going to see him!

Done Again

Posted on 3:01 PM by Schottler

I went to my parents house over Thanksgiving to spend time with my family and ended up sleeping on an air mattress. After a couple nights of this I noticed something wasn't right with my SI joint. Day 3 I had nasty sharp pains in my left SI joint, enough that I could barely walk. The next night I was given a bed and it was still there the day after. I definitely couldn't pedal a bike, especially dismount and run, so I had to skip Sunday's race. I am still feeling it today and it has me to the point of ending the season again, after a week of somewhat hard comeback training. I haven't had this kind of pain in the left side yet, probably not a good sign.

It sounds stupid to get a sports injury from sleeping bad, but when thinking back to when it became super inflamed, I had a bad night sleeping on something unsupportive... like a couch or air mattress. I don't know if I should relate the two, but it seems like I should.

Either way, my season is over and I am going to get back to fixing the cause of the issue and come back stronger next season. I am already excited for 2011 CX.

In the meantime, I am going to nerd out and keep myself busy by building a home theater computer (HTPC). It will be set up with a dual HDTV tuner hooked up to my wireless network to turn the computer into a HDDVR and Blu-Ray server with Windows 7 Media Center. Should be done with this on Wednesday. I'll take the opportunity to post about how big of a nerd I really am.

I'll also be building another powertap wheelset for the road bike with the new Joule 2.0 computer. Completely going against the Butthead training plan and what I felt was right this year.


Posted on 8:11 AM by Schottler

I finished my 2 week break off the bike and went for a spin Friday evening and on Saturday. To my surprise I didn't feel all that bad.

I went against my best judgment and decided at the last minute to go race Bubba #9 at Mt. Pleasant. The course is on a side of a hill making it pretty difficult, I won it last year and it was the first CX race I had won. The race really ended up how I thought it would, however things could have gone better.

I missed my call-up at the start and ended up in the 2nd row. Got a horrible start and was pushed back somewhere around 15th. At probably 2 minutes in on a rough descent my bars spun down, got my pit bike, ended up back on the course right near last. Got my bike 'fixed' on lap 2, back to the pit to get it, last place again. Bars were tightened but not rotated back up, couldn't ride it, back to the pit lap 3, ended up back of the pack again. Lap 4 I was back in the pit to get the race bike, bars were rotated back up and tightened... and back of the pack again.

At this point I think there were about 8 short laps to go, Butthead waiting for me the whole time and we had A LOT of time to make up. The leaders were way gone and the course was not at all fast... big time difference. I went as hard as I could at this point with Butthead in tow and we started picking off riders. Butthead was feeling sick and not right, mostly from having the flu all week, and did the smart decision and pulled the plug to not mess himself up more.

I just kept pushing it as hard as I could. I caught up to Jeff and took over the 3rd spot and was closing in on Dan and Devin. With about 4 to go I thought I was going to catch them. Dan then took off and I was within seconds of Devin. Devin was able to hold me off and Dan took the win.

I guess I can't really complain, I rode well just getting over pneumonia and no exercise for two weeks. I would say my fitness was about 70% of where it was before I got sick. Captain Hindsight told me that if I didn't have to keep switching bikes and got a good start I would have given Dan a better race.

The last Bubba race is next Sunday, with the state championship the week after, fitness will hopefully be back by then.


Posted on 12:43 PM by Schottler

I decided to take the time off. The doctor told me I should get back into riding very slowly. I explained to her what cyclocross was and she quickly responded with telling me that racing that would be a horrible idea.

I am trying to take 2 weeks off but somehow talked myself into riding for an hour and a half on the trail on Saturday. Somehow my legs felt great, but I spent most of the time coughing crap up. Riding will pick up again at the end of this week and the gym will start very soon.

I am also going to be changing my winter training a bit. I still plan on 20 hour weeks of gravel, but I will pick up the intensity a bit more, specifically 20 min. efforts.

I decided to race for Big Shark for next mountain season and I'm currently deciding between two new bikes:

The first is the Scott Scale 29 RC. The second is the newer version of my current bike, Cannondale Flash Carbon 29. Both will be equipped with Sram XX. The C-dale will be about a pound lighter with the lefty. Both are super sweet, right now I am leaning towards the bike I am already used too.

Unplanned Break

Posted on 10:43 AM by Schottler

I've had pneumonia since last Wednesday. My fever has been jumping around like crazy, going higher than I think I've ever seen it. The doctor gave me some good drugs and told me not do anything. It's now Tuesday and I've been sitting on the couch doing nothing since Wednesday night. The good news is my fever broke last night and is still normal. I'm going to guess my legs barely work anymore. But that probably doesn't matter since all the crap in my lungs won't even let me breathe anyway.

CX is such a brutal form of bike racing, you need everything to work well or you're not gonna have a good time. If you can't breathe, you won't have any power and will suffer horribly. The rest of the racing season is in question right now. There are about 6 CX races left, 2 of which are this upcoming weekend. I will try riding tomorrow morning easy for about an hour and see how it goes, not expecting much. Racing this weekend probably wouldn't be very smart, I'll see how I feel on Friday.

Realistically, if I could breathe fine, I would probably be back in race form in about two weeks. However I've read it can take a month before the coughing and lung crap come to and end. This means I could push myself to train and maybe be in good form for the last race of the year.

OR, I could take this as a sign to finally quit racing for the year and begin working on the bigger issues I was having which were planned for the winter "off season". That is, the SI/low back pain. I could start the gym time now and most likely get a positive result sooner and be ready for the first races of the year. Gym time now would be good for 2 other reasons. Cortisone still seems to be working and that will make the lifting much more bearable. The second reason is that BOCOMO has no off-season.

The longer I spend typing this thing out the more I seem to be making up my mind. Finally fixing my SI/back now is probably smarter than suffering through the training/racing post-pneumonia for the last 4 weekends. But, I want to race. Bad. I still feel like I have unfinished business and could have improved more by the end of the year. Can't always get what you want.

Suggestions? Or did my fortune cookie just tell me?

Tour of Missouri CX

Posted on 7:49 AM by Schottler

I don't know how much longer this cortisone is going to last, I am starting to ache a little in my right SI joint again. I woke up Saturday morning not being able to walk with sharp pain in my left SI. My season may be cut short, so I want to get as many races in as I can before I am immobile.

I woke up early Saturday morning to head to KC for the Boss Cross #3 race just a few minutes from my parents house. The usual stacked field was there with all the KCCX guys, Tradewind, among others. I somehow got on the front line at the start... and it was a fast start. Almost immediately it was Joseph Schmalz (KCCX), Jeff Winkler (KCCX), and myself riding away from the field together, very quickly.

The course was a lot of fun, but unfortunately for me there were 2 different sets of barriers. One set was up a hill before a full length volleyball court sand run. We had to run the v-ball court long ways twice each lap. I couldn't run that much, both SI joints were yelling at me.

(Photo props to Elizabeth Rangel)

I started pulling after near half away in and I still felt like I was riding well. Then Schmalz attacked and I couldn't match his pace, he rode away and didn't slow down at all. Shortly after that Winkler caught up to me and told me to get on his wheel to finish the race. I did, but then over-corrected a corner and shot into the tape. I tried to bridge back up to him but the running was taking its toll on me... not to mention his ridiculous motor. I think it was about 4 to go at this point and there was no one in sight behind me, I shut off the gas and cruised the rest of the race to conserve some energy for later.

Obviously the best way to recover after a cross race is drive from KC to STL. Thankfully my car has butt warmers, which were set to full blast to keep my back/SI loose. Bubba #4 was that night with a start time of 10PM, I rolled in a couple hours before.

The start was a little silly, more aggressive than the KC race, but for no reason. And there was more sand, great. I was hoping to run some more. The sand section was a 2 parter with a 180 degree turn in grass back to more sand. It was rideable, but there was a 1 foot 45 degree vertical dirt ledge at the end, which wasn't very visible. I tried riding it nearly every lap and managed to fall on it numerous times.

Butthead and I stuck to the team tactics the whole race. Hung out for a while and let the drama unfold at the front. With about 5 to go we attacked, with Butthead letting me sit on his wheel to try and recover. Thanks to him for waiting for me with a few stupid mistakes in the sand.

We got a pretty good gap and cruised the rest of the race with a viscous coasting sprint for a 1-2 finish. Turns out I crushed him by about a tire nob. Sorry.

(Photo props to Eville Mike)

Sunday was another race at the same park. Josh tweaked his back in the night race, and I was worn out. We went for an hour ride to St. Charles on some trails to loosen up. The start of the race wasn't as aggressive, but we stuck to the team tactics again. Josh was having tire pressure trouble and switched bikes twice, so I hung out in the back waiting for him. With about 4 to go we were back together and it was game on. I took a pull and Josh was having some obvious back pain. He gave me the green light to go for the win and he would do what he could. At this point Dan Miller was riding away from the lead group, probably 20 or so seconds ahead of me.

I floored it and bridged up to the chase group, passed the chase group, and bridged up to Dan. 3 to go I took a second to recover and attacked again and opened a gap on Dan. Cruise control at full gas was engaged the rest of the race. Dan took 2nd followed by Butthead and Devin Clark.

This course was the best of the Bubba series this year, lots of fun. HUGE thanks to Mike Weiss for letting Josh and I crash at his house.

Repeat at the Berryman!

Posted on 7:33 AM by Schottler

Like I said earlier, I have been stressing about this race since I finished last year. I was a nervous wreck leading up to it, even dragging Green Beans in to it by driving me around before we left to track down the UPS truck to get the bibs I needed (did not find him.) This strapped on to the front of my bike didn't help the stress level:

As predicted, more horsepower showed up this year. Toeing the line was Steve Tilford, Bill Stolte, Garth Prosser, Scott Henry, Jeff Winkler, Eric Pirtle, Brad Huff, Devin Clark, Mike Best, Dwayne Goscinski, Cale McAninch, Ploch, all the usual local fast guys, and many others... 250 total to be exact. I had a giant bullseye strapped to my back. The start of the race began with an M-80 just a few feet from us, then began the 4 mileish gravel section, mostly climbing, to a section of double track through the woods. The promoters made the start MUCH more interesting this year with a $50 prime to the first one in the single track. Attack after attack, with most of the leaders gauging how I was responding to the accelerations. The pace was fast, but I was able to chase down attacks and stay right in the first 3. Tilford and Scott battled it out for the prime, I didn't contend, I was more than happy to let them pull me in to the woods and save some energy. At this time we were left with a group of 4; Tilford, Scott, Bill, and myself. Once we got into the singletrack it was down to Tilford, Scott, and myself, with no one else in sight.

Scott had a huge motor, he was drilling the climbs, and I was starting to hurt. Thankfully I was able to make up time, recover, and use less energy through the single track and on the descents. All 3 of us were together coming through checkpoint 1 and 2, at 21 miles in. Maybe 4 or 5 miles after the second checkpoint, Tilford flatted. It was now down to Scott and myself. Pace seemed to have picked up at this point and I was trying to figure out what I should do. I tried attacking through the single track, but I ended up going so fast I was shooting past the corners and taking unnecessary risks on the descents, hardly putting any time on him. I came to the conclusion that Scott and I were pretty equally matched, but with different strengths. I couldn't climb as well as him, however I could flow through the single track and descend more quickly. I let him go on one of the climbs and fell back about 15 seconds. This way I could ride my own race, not his, which saved myself tons of energy. All the way to checkpoint 3 we yo-yo'd back and forth.

At checkpoint 3 I was on his wheel again and it was all gravel/road to checkpoint 4. We decided to trade 15-20 second pulls. We were flying, easily averaging over 20. Coming into to Berryman campground, checkpoint 4, we both grabbed water/snacks and took off together. I downed some more electrolyte capsules, a banana, and water bottles 5 and 6 of the day. The next check was the finish and it was becoming obvious it would come down to a sprint finish.

I took a pull after checkpoint 4 and brought the speed way up and nearly killed myself on a technical section that consisted of a drop and some huge rocks, but somehow kept it upright. That was my last attempt of trying to get away. The rest of the race we stayed together and I was able to stay somewhat comfortable on the climbs and comfortable on the flats and through the single track.

The last 4 or 5 miles of the race was gravel all the way to the finish. We still took pulls, but somehow my pulls ended up being after the climbs, which left me no time to recover. Through the last long gravel descent and into the flat finish area I was pulling, Scott was happy to get a draft in the head/cross wind. We slowed way down... just waiting for one of us to do something. We both attacked at the same time through a loose sand section, neither of us got anywhere. All that was left was a flat straight and 90 degree left turn to the finish. Our pace nearly came down to a crawl, with me on the front and Scott getting a small draft... both of us waiting for the perfect time to hit it. The left turn was coming up and time was running out. I accelerated hard, gave it everything I had, and took a sharp inside line to the finish straight and was able to hold it by about half a bike length. I won the effing Berryman for the 2nd year in a row! The record I set last year was completely shattered, I finished in 4:14.41, 25 minutes faster... 25 MINUTES! Here is a picture of the finishing corner, little 2 wheel drift action in the gravel. Photo stolen from Steve Tilfords blog.

The inside line to the finish is how I won, it caught Scott by surprise and he had no time to get around me. I got lucky, again. I also just learned that Scott raced for Trek/VW and has a pretty impressive racing resume... it really is an awesome experience to be able to battle with him and Tilford all day long, I never thought I would ever be able to do that... it's something I won't ever forget. Here is a photo of the top 10 this year, stolen from Mike Best, who is the only person to finish top 10 all 3 years... great way to represent BOCOMO!

The weekend was amazing, weather was perfect, got to hang out with good friends, drank free beer and ate free food. Beans again helped me win by making his secret amazing breakfast. Also a big thanks to Donovan Evans for giving me a set of replacement Time pedals. John and Donovan also sat at the Berryman campground checkpoint all day doing bottle/food handups, HUGE thanks! Ryan and Scott again put on a top notch event, I couldn't ask for more. I can't complain about the payout either:

Bubba #1 and Berryman Prep

Posted on 8:10 AM by Schottler

The 10 race Bubba CX series started off Saturday night. The A race started at 10PM, which has been my bedtime lately. I was way surprised to see how many people showed up, there were well over 200 people there total, which is awesome. Probably about 30 or so in the A race.

The race started with Butthead giving me a rundown of what's going to happen and what to do. It started way slow in the first 2 long straights, much different than what I've been accustomed too in KC. I really wanted to go ape shit like usual, but taking Buttheads advice and not aware of how my SI would react to the race, I held back. Johnson came by and said "let's go", so I followed. We eventually got away with Devin Clark, The Hub, and opened up a gap. I pulled a bit, Josh pulled a bit, and Devin pulled a bit, then took a funny line through a dark part of the course and Josh rolled his front tubular, again. It was then down to Devin and myself, with the gap growing bigger. I attacked through a technical part of the course and heard something happen behind me, I think Devin flatted or some other mechanical. So the rest of the race I turned on cruise control to keep a 20-30 second lead for the win. The best news was I had no pain, anywhere. This was the first CX race I didn't have my back/SI hurt, a big deal to me. All thanks to Dr. Curt at Focus on Health Chiropractic, as well as drugs.

Sunday I had to work my roommates shift, since he's at Collegiate Nationals, so I went for a 4 hour gravel ride into the night. I was going to replace the rear spoke on my mtb wheel from Burnin', but I discovered another broken spoke, which is 3 in about a month. Deciding not to risk it, I rebuilt the wheel with new double butted spokes, brass nipples, new tire, tubeless double layered rim strip, and a new valve core. New chain is going on today as well as a thorough cleaning.

The Berryman Epic is next weekend, a race that I've been stressing out about since I crossed the finish line in 1st last year 10 seconds ahead of Tilford. It's a big money race that almost makes the time and effort I put into training and racing worth it financially. However, it's not just about the money, it's considered the 'big race' of the year in Missouri, and I have to retain my title. My fitness is a lot better than last year, my back/SI pain is temporarily gone, and my handling/racing skills have been improved significantly. I am excited, but ready for it to be over so I can just worry about CX.


Posted on 9:19 AM by Schottler

Last years race with Butthead, Green Beans, and myself vs. DRJ was close. It came down to me going out for a 2nd night lap with a 20 minute lead. My chain broke, I had no tools, and then my lights went out. We finished 3rd. I had a small grudge this year.

This years team changed to Mike Best, Green Beans, and myself. It came down to a close battle the whole day with DRJ again. Everyone was riding well, Ploch was rocking a single speed all day because he can't seem to keep derailleurs attached to his bike. My cortisone shot didn't take effect yet, so I was in pain the whole day.

I went out 2nd after Mike, who had a strong first lap. I wasn't too smooth at the start of the lap, but still wanted a new record as this was the best chance of getting it with a traffic free course. 3 miles in, I broke a rear spoke through a technical rock section, but I kept going and let it dangle in my gears. Shortly after, my SI joint flamed up, great. Thankfully this course had a number of sections where I could stretch my back to get a few seconds of relief. Shortly after the spoke and SI explosions, I got in a good rhythm. First lap finished in a time of 58.47, beating the old record by 1 minute and 12 seconds. Mission 1 accomplished.

Lap 2 I still felt strong but managed to have one of the most violent crashes I have ever had in a race. Through a fast flowy section at about mile 8, I was cruising at probably 20 mph when my left pedal grabbed a small stump and my bike came to a complete stop. I however, did not. I flipped over the bars, landing on my head and shoulder. Then I saw my bike go flipping through the air about 10 feet above me, landing on it's wheels nicely in the woods. I laid on the ground cussing for about a minute staring at the daytime stars, waiting for some adrenaline to wear off and make sure I didn't break anything. Nothing was broken, so I got up and kept going. A little sore for the crash, I finished the lap at about 1:01. At the finish I checked the destruction. My helmet was cracked to hell, my left Time Attac Carbon pedal was cracked on the side and through the body, and my cleat ripped out of my shoe. I haven't ever seen that, but I am definitely lucky, that could have turned out MUCH worse.

Lap 3 I felt great, pain was starting to disappear and the course was faster than ever. A few stupid mistakes, but still a fast lap of 1:00.08.

Lap 4 was my night lap, lap 11 for the team, the last of the race. It was down to me again. I was stupid worried about flatting or breaking something and ruining it all for the team again. I think the time gap was only about 6 minutes or so, so I didn't feel comfortable about just turning on cruise control to the finish. If I were to flat, the race would be too close, so I thought it would be good to at least put on a few more minutes just in case. The lap was perfect, no mistakes, I took all technical sections and descents slow and easy, picked perfect lines everywhere, and hammered where it was safe. The lap was finished in 1:03.59. Two Disappearing Panda's and a Confused Opposum win the 'Wicked Fast' category. Mission 2 accomplished.

Mike Best was putting in some strong times and was even able to stuff 6 fig newtons in his mouth while racing. Green Beans took over my bad luck with 2 flats. However, we wouldn't have been able to win without his cooking. I eat better camping with Beans than I do sitting in my apartment.

I won the fastest day lap (new course record) and night lap of the race, all 3 day laps were the fastest of the day.

Doc Update

Posted on 8:21 AM by Schottler

This time I decided to see another doctor all on my own, without the BOCOMO peloton calling me one by one. The aggravation and pain from last weekend sent me over the edge with an ongoing power reduction injury. Through recommendation by Dan Miller, I went and saw his orthopaedic sports doctor about my SI joint. The results were consistent with another doctor, physical therapist, and Dr. Curt. Nothing major is wrong causing the pain, which I was starting to doubt over the past weeks... but thankfully I am still relatively healthy.

I was told the anterior pelvic tilt, among other things related to this, is causing the SI joint/low back pain. 3 options were given to me; Continue what I am doing with pain, cortisone injection to relieve pain for the rest of the season, or PRP injection to promote healing and fixing the issue. I told the doctor I want to finish the rest of this season without pain as long as I won't cause any damage. He recommended to just get the cortisone injection right now, so I did. It will take a few days to have an effect, but will last a few months. PRP injection would probably be most helpful for long term, but pain is increased for about a week, and takes about 3 weeks to notice any change. I have had people tell me cortisone injection is a 'stupid' idea... but it is put in a very limited movement area, which won't tear itself apart like in a knee or shoulder. But ideally, the cortisone will eliminate the pain I am feeling in my SI joint/low back. If it works, I should be back on my A game shortly.

The plan he gave me was to continue the PT work I am doing (stretching, exercises, etc.) and come back to see him in 2 months. Once the season is over, we will look into PRP injection to help the SI joint and surrounding tendons. This will also be the best time for me to hit the gym hard to help strengthen the weaker muscles causing the imbalance. I will also take Jeff Winkler's suggestion and start yoga for flexibility. Hopefully all of this will fix the issue and keep me healthy in the long run.

I was given the green light to race Burnin at the mf'ing Bluff tomorrow. I am doing the 12 hour team with Green Beans and Mike Best. I am looking for a new course record. I did the fastest lap last year of 1:02.30 on a slow muddy course with a bike and wheel size I've never ridden. If I can keep my back together, 59.59 should be beatable.

But here is a picture that will bring a smile to anyone's face:

Boss Cross #1 & 2

Posted on 5:06 PM by Schottler

Drove up to KC for the Boss Cross series in Riverside. The course was very fast, flat, and a ton of fun... probably going to be one of the best of the year. Huge open field, about 27 people with a lot of horsepower. I started 2nd row and managed to get into about 5th by the first corner. Ended up in the lead group the most of the race, at first with Tilford (Tradewind), Tom Price (KCCX), Jeff Winkler (KCCX), and Brian Jensen (Tradewind.) Crashes and bike mishaps brought the lead group down to Tom, Brian, and I. I was pretty comfortable in the group and hung out waiting for Butthead to catch up to us. I decided to attack Brian coming into a technical sand/turn/hill section and hit the gas hard. This eventually dropped Tom and put a small gap on Jensen. My legs felt great and I was pretty pumped to hold on the gas and go. After maybe 2 laps of this with about 2 laps to go the effort/running blew my SI up bad. My sand/barrier runs turned into walks, the pain in my right hip was becoming excruciating... but my legs still felt great, unfortunately there wasn't anything left to push against. Brian closed the small gap I built and passed me. Then much to my surprise Winkler comes flying by me, I saw him on lap 3 or so standing on the side of the course fixing his bike. He was at least a minute behind me at one point of the race, very impressive. Butthead also caught me and I tried to sit on his wheel the rest of the race. I finished 4th with Winkler taking a well earned win, followed by Brian Jensen and Butthead.

Day 2 was more frustrating with my SI blowing up on lap 2. I was forced to ride at about 60% effort with no high end power, trying to stretch every 15 seconds or so. I was riding with Bill Marshall (KCCX) most of the race, he took advantage of my injury as much as possible, attacking out of corners to try and lose me, which I expected. Pretty much the whole race I was trying to ride as smooth as possible with consistant power to keep some inflammation down. I waited till the last lap to really suffer and hit the gas hard to hold on to 5th spot. I was surprised to see how much ground I made up on the last lap, nearly catching Tom Price at the finish. Most of my family came to watch this race, I wish I could have ridden like I should.

I am not a happy camper right now, very aggravated. We have worked on so many possible weakness' resulting in this injury, but it keeps coming back. I am getting an X-Ray taken on Monday to see if there is something physically wrong with the SI area that is causing the inflammation. This may be followed by an MRI and hopefully a Cortisone injection to temporarily end the pain. It's hard to estimate how long it will last, but from what I have read, 3 days to 3 months. I will completely lose my mind if I have to suffer through this every other race this season, I came way too close today.

Long Week

Posted on 1:18 PM by Schottler

I've been extremely busy lately with school, the last week and a half have felt like a month. I went to Minneapolis for a week to learn how to use a finite element analysis simulation software for my research. It is very powerful, difficult to learn, and will most likely take over the next 4 years of my life.

I raced Hermann CX Under the Lights the weekend before last, I think everyone has read about what happened already. I started 22nd place on the 3rd row, moved to 5th spot after the start sprint into the first turn behind 4 KCCX guys. Rain and lightning started. I moved to the front after half a lap, crashed, back in 5th. Bell rang after the 1st lap. People were running into each other and crashing, I kept moving up. I managed to make it to the front a little past half way through the lap, didn't fall ove, then sprinted to the finish. I "won" the shortest cross race ever. Sunday was canceled due to the whole course being underwater.

I headed to Minneapolis Sunday for school, got to stay in a sweet hotel in downtown. School payed for the rental car, gas, food, hotel, and my class... and I talked them into letting me get an SUV so I can take my CX bikes.

Monday I went to a Twins game, almost caught a home run ball. Maybe would have been closer if I didn't run away from it.

Tuesday I found a weekly CX race about 15 minutes from my hotel, I got there in time after my class. I didn't get to ride Monday and my legs felt like bricks from sitting in the car for 11 hours and 2 solid days of sitting in a class. The course wasn't very fast or long, but at least I got to get some CX practice in. I rode around the whole race with a kid named Jordan Cullen, who's racing for the Clif Bar Development Team this year, he was super strong. I couldn't get him off my wheel the whole race, then I slide out with about 3 corners to go and couldn't get back around by the finish, so I took 2nd.

The rest of the week was very difficult to ride, I got to see what it's like to live in a big city, work nearly an hour away from 8-5, deal with traffic, and be far away from "real" riding. I managed to commute back from our class, about 25 miles away, twice that week (rained most of the time we were there.) Google directions for bikes was pretty accurate, however I managed to get pretty lost the first time. Our class was south east of St. Paul, so I had to ride to and through St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis. However, most of the ride was on bike paths, which cover the entire region. Some of the scenery was awesome, and a lot of the areas had separate paths for bikes and walkers.

Overall the trip was great. Another person from my office and myself were the only ones in the class, so they took us out to nice restaurants for lunch every day, and then we went out to other nice restaurants for dinner to spend all the allocated food funding for the week. I learned too much, ate too much, and didn't ride enough.

I got back Saturday night at about 10pm after an 11 hour drive, went to sleep, then got up and drove 2 hours to KC to race some cross. My back/SI joint were not agreeing with me, this seems to get bad when I take too much time off the bike. This plus a week of hardly any riding made me not expect much out of the race. A strong field showed up on a pretty difficult course on the side of a hill. At the start I was sitting about 3rd position behind Tilford and Shad Smith. I sat there waiting for Butthead to catch up to us, which he did, quickly. Tilford pulled himself out due to hamstring cramping and it was left with Buttface, Shad, and I. Buttheadface attacked and I sat on Shad's wheel waiting for a response. Nothing. I couldn't chase my own teammate so I hung out, building a huge lead on the rest of the field. My back was blown up completely but I still had enough legs to hang on. I made an error and lost Shad's wheel for about a lap, but caught back up on the last lap. At the finish I sprinted for 2nd spot behind Facebutt. Shad apparently didn't know it was the last lap... which still confuses me.

My original plan included USGP #1 in Madison, however UPS sucks. They wouldn't accept my rommates signature for a package containing my birth certificate, which needed to be faxed to USAC to confirm USA residency for my UCI Elite license.

Sac River 6 Hour

Posted on 2:22 PM by Schottler

I haven't ever done a 6 hour race before and I figured this is one of the best ways to get ready for the Berryman. Conditions looked okay leading up to the race, with a couple of days of dry time, but a big storm rolled through Springfield the night/morning before the race. Race was still on, so I headed out there and met up with Dr. Beans and Mike Best. Not many people were there, only 6 in the 6 hr solo, including Best. Probably 50 or so total people, mostly teams for the 6 and 12 hour.

The trail was pretty nasty, especially the first 2 laps. It was not fast by any means, even if it was dry. Lots of turns, tons of sharp rocks, and not much climbing. I took the hole shot so I wouldn't be caught in falling down and sliding out traffic and built up a gap. About 15 minutes into the lap my front tire started spewing Stans and air and I stopped to let it seal up. It did, losing a few psi, which actually made tire pressure perfect. 5 minutes later my front tire kicked up a huge rock and smashed my rear derailleur, slightly bending my hanger. Not really the best way to start a 6 hour race. I stopped again and bent my derailleur back by hand, which actually was back to spot on. I also managed to take out all of the spider webs for everyone, you're welcome.

After the first lap was over, everything started to come together. I continued to stay on the gas, drifted through the sloppy corners, and rode pretty well overall. After each lap, the course began to get broken in, smoothed out a bit, and the mud slowly disappeared. However, the nasty parts after the multiple creek crossings got worse and worse, but all rideable to the end.

My main goal for this race was to ride hard for at least 4.5 hours, which is about the Berryman length. At just under 4 hours I had the whole solo and teamed fields lapped. I did the 4.5 hours at about 75% just fine, then began losing motivation and dreaming of cookies and pizza. The last 1.5 hours took about 8 hours if I remember right. I slowed way down so I wouldn't have to go out for an extra lap. Surprisingly, my legs still felt great at 5 hours, however the rest of me hurt, everywhere. I finished 13 5 mile muddy laps in 6:03, almost 2 laps up on everyone.

That was the longest I have ridden my mtb before, pretty fun. I also got to experiment with some snacks while racing. Coke, different GU, Clif bars, shot blocks, and electrolyte capsules. Coke was great, however upset my stomach by the end, maybe I shouldn't have 3 next time. Shot blocks go down very easy, Clif bars are too dry and hard to eat, GU is always easy and great, and the electrolyte capsules are hands down my favorite. No cramps, legs felt awesome the whole time.

Springfield Racing put on and AWESOME event! Well marked course, super nice people putting on the race, tons of food afterward for everyone, GREAT swag, and a nice payout for all the work.

Bike is pretty trashed, Finish Line Wet lube is by far the best mud lube on the market, chain stayed pretty sparkly most of the time, shifting was stayed great. Red C-Dale kit has been retired, completely destroyed by this race.

Race Schedule & Stuff

Posted on 1:04 PM by Schottler

Mileage and intensity have been picked way up, fitness is coming back way faster than I predicted. SI pain is gone, low back pain is off and on, seems to be dependent on how tight my hamstrings feel like being that day. Race priority right now is the Berryman Epic, so my training is geared towards that and CX... I have learned it is pretty much impossible to train for both at the same time. 6 hour race this weekend, Burnin' 12 hour team, as well as 1-2 long rides a week, and a couple more XC races should get me ready. CX races start up in 2 weeks which will be building anaerobic ability. Even though my training started a few weeks later than planned, I have condensed it all down enough to be ready, basically relying on the big miles I put in over the winter/spring.

Anyway, here is my tentative race schedule for the rest of the year:

9/11: Sac River 6 hour solo -MTB
9/18-19: Hermann CX
9/21: Minneapolis weekly tuesday cx race
9/25: USGP #1 in Madison WI
9/26: MTB race?
10/2: Mizzou collegiate regional championship XC
10/3: Ronde Von Jakob CX
10/9: Burnin' at the Bluff XC
10/16: Bubba #1
10/17: Bubba #2
10/23: Berryman Epic
10/24: Bubba #3 if I can walk
10/30: Bubba #4
10/31: Bubba #5
11/6: Pro Iceman Cometh Challenge XC in WI, if I can get in.
11/7: Bubba #6
11/13: Bubba #7
11/14: Bubba #8
11/21: Bubba #9
11/28: Bubba #10
12/5: CX State Championship

These are a lot of races, some may be dropped due to time constraints/school or me being lazy.

A new CX bike has arrived, pictures will be posted once it's all ready


Posted on 12:47 PM by Schottler

I used to think that I could never get injured from just riding my bike. One of the worst mistakes I made was taking those 2 weeks off from riding. My whole body twisted back to the same injured state earlier in the year, except 10x worse, and taking A LOT longer to overcome. The last 5 weeks or so I have been having constant SI/low back pain, at some points bad enough I couldn't sleep or walk. This is mainly due to a nasty anterior pelvic tilt that I've developed from riding and not doing much else.

Dr. Curt Kippenberger at Focus on Health Chiropractic took care of me earlier in the year and got me feeling better than I ever have while racing, no back pain, and no SI pain. It was my fault for starting to slack on the stretching/exercises/core work and taking the 2 weeks off the bike. But he has been working very hard over the past few weeks getting me back to normal again and the pain is just about gone. HUGE thanks to him for taking such an interest, I recommend everyone go there to get work done, you will feel great.

Intensity training started yesterday, a few weeks later than planned, but it went pretty well. No pain today, which is very promising. I have been limited to 1.5 hour rides on flat trail at grandma pace the last couple weeks, so I don't really have any speed in my legs at all. I will begin upping the intensity to get ready for CX, and hopefully begin to get some 4-5 hour rides in once or twice a week to get ready for the Berryman.

As for CX, I will be joining forces with my arch nemesis/Jedi Master... there will be complete destruction. Everyone else should probably get their excuses prepared.

Recharge Time

Posted on 6:29 PM by Schottler

I came down with some nasty allergy/cold combo last weekend. I went out on a ride Saturday afternoon with some hard efforts to get ready for the Omba Caramba on Sunday, but it was way hard to maintain a hard effort. I couldn't breathe at all and was super uncomfortable/tight. I woke up Sunday feeling the same way. I am not a fan of racing when I don't feel good, especially a mountain race. 6 hours of driving for a mediocre performance with bad suffering didn't sound like fun, especially when you probably won't gain anything out of it. I skipped out on the race and took it easy. I usually take 2 weeks off the bike for some deep recovery twice a year... around now and around Christmas. I looked at the racing schedule and realized it was the perfect time to do it, I feel like crap and no races coming up. It's been about a week now without training (only commuting, but that doesn't count) and I feel fat and slow, not sure if I will make it the 2 weeks... but it's really the best way to get myself ready to start cross training and making it to December without burning out.

The new cross bike has been ordered... I can't wait.

Marathon Nationals

Posted on 7:20 AM by Schottler

For the 3rd year in a row I went out to Breckenridge Colorado for the Firecracker 50, Marathon National Championship. It is 50 miles (actually 54 according to Mike's Garmin), around 11,000 feet of climbing, and elevation between 9,700 and 11,300 feet.

I was racing the Open Men 19-29 category, I finished last year in 10th place and the year before that in about 15th. Last year I managed to improve my time by 33 minutes and my goal was to crush that time again this year. I also changed my strategy, instead of setting my own pace at the start and see how it goes, I wanted to be with the lead group up the first 6 mile climb. The first part of the climb I was thinking "this isn't so bad, they aren't going that fast." But then I remembered I was in Colorado and I was climbing a mountain.

That wasn't a very good idea. I have always been told "you can't push yourself at your limit the whole time at altitude like you can in Missouri." I didn't listen to that advice, I pushed myself like I would with any climb in Missouri and after about 4 miles started to bog down... bad. I couldn't breath and my legs weren't getting rid of the lactic acid. The entire first lap I suffered horribly, my legs never opened up. I wasn't necessarily going slow, but I wasn't riding like myself. I was having trouble getting focused on the climbs, and I was bouncing off tree's in the single track and running everything over. I was coming to a conclusion that this race would just turn in to a bike ride.

At the end of the 1st lap, well over 2 hours later, I began to breath again and remembered how to ride single track and started to get in a rhythm. I came into lap 2 and my wonderful cheerleaders (Mike, Nate, and Jason) encouraged me, handed off a banana, handful of electrolyte pills, and told me I was running 5th place. I didn't think I was doing that well... awesome, huge motivation boost.

I hit the 6 mile climb again with a lot more power. Yuki Saito (Team Topeak/Ergon) caught me on the climb and I hopped on his wheel. We got in a group of about 5 guys and traded pulls up the climb. I took a pretty long and hard pull and was left with just Yuki and another guy. Yuki came around and said "you are riding very well," which was a nice comment and another motivation booster. I grabbed a couple bottles at the aid station and was set back about 15 seconds into the single track, and I tried to chase him back down again but got caught in traffic.

The rest of the lap I began riding like I should. I was powering up the climbs and ripping the single track. I was surprised how much time I was gaining in the single track, I guess that's a benefit of living and racing in the Midwest. I flew past 3 other guys in my age group through the single track and the climbs, thinking I was in 2nd place. I ended up finishing in 3rd somehow with a time of 4.22. I hit my goal of a top 5 finish, but I am super bummed about the time. That is only 7 minutes faster than last year... it should have been a lot faster. The first lap sort of killed me I think, but I shouldn't worry about the time and be happy with the result. 3rd place in a National Championship is good enough for me. Especially when not acclimated to altitude at all and having no training on epic 30 minute climbs. My time would have put me 25/43 in the Pro field, not too bad against dudes that live and train at altitude. My goal time would have had me in top 20 with the Pro's and a Stars and Stripes jersey in my group. I lost my age group by 8 minutes, pretty aggravating. I have the fitness and ability to get that time, it just wasn't the best day.

Next year this race will be in Bend Oregon... already planning on going.

Thank you to Mike, Beans, and Jason for driving my ass around, cooking food, and waiting around the whole race to help me out, it made the trip much better!

Firecracker 50 Prep

Posted on 9:15 PM by Schottler

I decided to keep my bike with me last weekend, then ship it to CO, so I could get another race in... but I was talked into a party Saturday night. I was planning on having a few beers and going to sleep, but 5 minutes later I already had those down. I woke up at 11am still slightly drunk... definitely not making it. So instead of that, after rolling out of bed and napping on the couch, I did a 3.5 hour fast paced gravel ride on the mtb. I actually feel more sore today from that effort then I have from the past races, and probably better training for the 50 mile 12,000 foot climbing Marathon National Championship race in Breckenridge next weekend.

I did this race 2 years ago, my first 50 mile race. I finished in 5:02 at about 15th place or so, I hurt... bad. I did this last year and finished in 4:29 with a flat, huge improvement, still very painful, but only finished 10th. That time would have put me in 5th the year before, pretty disappointing. The difference this year is a faster, lighter, and bigger wheeled bike. Me being 5-6 pounds lighter with much better fitness, and the low back pain pretty much fixed. I really don't like setting time goals because it stresses me out and I like to just see how it goes. But I have to have some goal to shoot for I guess, so I would really like to finish in 4:10. This time would put me in top 5 or even a top 3 spot.

I will be flying out Friday morning to meet up with Green Beans and Mike Best in Breckenridge who have been riding out there all week. I would have joined them if I wasn't stuck doing science experiments at school... I need a vacation. I am super pumped.

Lost Valley Luau

Posted on 1:28 PM by Schottler

Drove down to Lost Valley with Green Beans on Sunday to race some mountain bikes. It was said to be 11.5 mile laps, with the Cat 1's doing 3 laps. There was an excessive heat advisory, 96 degree's with 70% humidity. It was super hot, but I was honestly expecting worse... but the mosquito's made up the difference. I donated a lot of blood to the little bastards, along with every other person there.

The start of the race was a little over a half mile of Katy Trail like double track, where I testing my drafting skills to use as little energy as possible to get ready for the upcoming climb. I hit the double track climb at about 3rd position still feeling fresh and picked up the pace, I looked back and I opened up a bit of a gap, so I tried to stay at a comfortable pace for a little while. Then I see Devin Clark, a strong road racer, coming up on my wheel. We took a couple turns pulling and then Ploch went by to get into the single track first, I immediately jumped on his wheel. I followed Ploch through all of the first section of single track, where we opened up a gap on the rest of the field, then made it to the next double track where we both pulled to keep up our average speed.

Coming into the 2nd and 3rd laps I had to CX dismount to grab a couple cold bottles and hop back on, which seemed to have wasted about 15 seconds each time. I lost Chris on the hill coming into lap 2 doing this, but I managed to catch him at the top of the climb. He told me to lead the single track, I was a little hesitant because I thought he would be running faster through it than me. I felt pretty good and picked up the effort quite a bit, losing sight of Chris after about 5 minutes or so. Once I was on my own I turned on cruise control near full gas the rest of the race. I will have to double check results when they are posted, but I think my finish time was about 1:56, 3 minutes or so ahead of Ploch. Total distance was supposedly around 34 miles... which would equal a ridiculous average speed, but I think Chris told me total distance was 30 miles... still pretty fast.

A lot of this race was flat double track, which is fine for me because I have become a Katy Trail/gravel Jedi over the last couple of years with the bocomo peloton. The single track sections were a lot of fun... pretty flowy, but I was almost positive one of the million sharp rocks were going to get me. But somehow again, my tires survived to let me win the overall a second weekend in a row. And thank you Team Seagal for the PBR after the race, pretty sure that saved my life. Also thanks to Mesa Cycles and Matt James for putting on a very well run race. I can't believe everyone managed to sit out there for 5+ hours in the heat and mosquito's, more impressive than anyone racing if you ask me.

Next weekend my MTB will be in route to Colorado with Green Beans and Mike Best for the Marathon National Championships the 4th of July, so no mountain racing for me. I will either race a local crit or most likely go out for a moderately hard 4-5 hour gravel ride.

MO MTB State Championship

Posted on 6:07 PM by Schottler

This year's race was at Castlewood again down in St. Louis. Temperature was probably over 350 degree's with a million percent humidity, and I sweated right when I got out of the car... might be an interesting race. I was pretty pumped about this race, mainly just because I wanted to get the jersey and wear it around Butthead as much as possible. A pretty strong Cat 1 field was present with the usual heavy hitters, including Elwell who took the trip down from KC, who got a SUPER impressive 14th position in the Pro Mellow Johnny's mtb race in TX, beating some very big names.

I was on the front line and we were off, the start of the race was straight up a gravel double track climb to a pretty technical decent that I would have probably died down if Breslin didn't warn me before we began. I got a good start, grabbing Elwell's wheel up the climb, down the descent, and back up Grotpeter. I looked over my shoulder after the climbs and saw Breslin hanging pretty close, with none of the other field in sight. I followed Elwell for most of the lap, but it turns out he was having some really bad stomach problems and told me to go by, so I did. Right when I did this I looked back and saw some of the group catching back up.

I hit the last climb hard, opened up a pretty big gap, and tried to pace myself the rest of the race. I wasn't sure how my body would react to the heat and humidity for 2 hours of mashing, so I tried to conserve energy and cool down where possible. I hit all of the climbs and power sections hard, and took advantage of the super flowy and fast single track to cool down and be smooth and fast. I was totally expecting to cramp and blow up the last lap.

That never happened. I came through the end of lap 3 and Green Beans told me I had over a minute lead.... that didn't seem like much time... I thought they were catching up. I tried to pick up the pace and flew up Grotpeter again, got in a lot of lapped traffic, and then attacked the last climb hard. Ended up finishing 1st overall, fastest lap a little over 26 minutes, total time of 1:52.03, with about a 3.5 minute lead over 2nd, John Rines, who was followed by John Matthews and Ploch.

Bocomo killed the weekend. Dan Miller took the single speed state jersey, and Mike Best won the marathon state jersey. Another good weekend of showing how we roll in bocomo. Also a huge thanks to Dave Stitz for the ice water into lap 4... I probably would still be laying in the woods somewhere if I didn't get that.

I have the jersey. No kankle power needed.

Luck finally turns around

Posted on 9:36 PM by Schottler

Headed down to Birmingham Alabama with Green Beans this past weekend for the US Cup Kenda Qualifier, Bump N' Grind... 2nd year in a row. Last year I had a ton of mechanicals and excuses, and finished 4th in XC. Trails were amazing then, it was pretty easy to talk Nate into joining me this year... I think he was happy he came.

Saturday was STXC, the flier said amateurs only, but I found myself to be up against all the pro's, as well as the Cat 1, 2, 3's and women. It was called Turn N' Burn... I didn't think anything about the name, but I battled for the 2nd row and as the gun went off they yelled "TURN AROUND, THIS IS TURN N' BURN," uhhhhh what!? Super duper, I was one of the last to turn around, here's what I had to battle through.

There were about 60 people or so in the race, and I had to battle through all of them. By the time I got into an okay position, a group of pro's were way off the front. According to Nate, who was my wonderful cheerleader and photographer during this event, I got through the traffic and began my chase about 30 seconds back. I didn't make up any time and I didn't really lose any time either, so I finished 7th overall. Not too bad really. I was running in the red the whole time, not used to putting out that kind of effort that quickly into a race this time of the year. They encouraged people to do the STXC race with big prizes, an average of $45 prize per $45 entry fee... pretty easy to do when there's a $500 bike frame up for grabs. But somehow, out of all of the people, I won the Niner frame. Stood on the podium with the frame in my Cannondale sponsored kit.

The XC race was on Sunday, with about 18 people in my Cat 1 19-29 field. I remembered last year how I nearly missed the start last year and ended up last into the single track, so this time I was stressing out about getting on the front line and getting into the trail top 5. I managed to get on the front line, but quickly realized the people I was racing were willing to take everyone out just so they could get in the trail first. There was a lot of riding through grass and down a street before we hit the trail, but everyone was just running into each other, cussing at each other, and being SUPER sketchy. I nearly got taken out a few times and didn't want anything to do with this, so I was 16/18 into the single track, awesome.

After 3 miles of single track, a double track gravel section popped up and I accelerated around most of the field. I got back into the trail in 5th position and we picked up the pace, dropping the rest of the field. This paceline through the single track lasted until we got to the 660 foot elevation double track climb. The group broke up, and a Kenda rider, ex-pro Andrew Johnston, took off. I sat on a wheel half way up and then pulled the rest of the climb, brining back another rider, putting me in 3rd position. There was a technical descent after this and he flatted, so I was in 2nd position and was in chase mode. After this I began passing some Pro riders who started 4 minutes before me as well as all of the Pro women who started 2 minutes before.

The rest of the race I rode as smooth as possible to keep myself from flatting... and I would have to say it was the smoothest I have ever raced. I kept seeing the Kenda rider up ahead, with time gaps coming down to maybe 15 seconds, but then he disappeared again, not sure where I was losing time. After a little more then 28 miles of racing in 2:05.44 I was done, finishing 2nd. I finished 3rd overall in the Cat 1 field with all age groups, which is getting me closer to being able to upgrade. My time would have put me in 8th/15 in the Pro field, about 9 minutes behind the 1st place Pro, not too bad. But I took home $210... plus a bike frame, totally worth it.

But anyway, I thought I rode very well, very happy to get a convincing result without a mechanical. Up next is the MO State MTB race, then another Kenda Qualifier race in Indiana. Also a HUGE thanks to Green Beans for cooking every meal... and putting up with the awesome German techno in the car... and pace lining for about an hour at 80-100 mph on the way back.

Birthday Shenanigans

Posted on 8:31 PM by Schottler

We drank all night, then at midnight, my birthday, we decided it would be a great idea to go on a bike ride. Friends that joined in were Brent, Tim, Jesse, and Andy. First I put on my birthday skinsuit. We left at 1am, already very drunk.

Backpacks were stacked full of beer, mainly Mich Ultra so I could watch my figure. We all drank (chugged) the entire way to Big Tree, Nifong to the MKT trail.

I continued to drink and went to the front and picked up the pace, suffering ensued... only from drinking too much.

Made it to the MKT entrance... time to shotgun another beer... hard to do that with a bottle.

I attacked off the trail through some farm field, didn't flat.

Eventually we made it to Big Tree... and chugged another beer.

Took the paved road around the big tree, I attacked in a TT position.

Took the new bypass around the new bridges on the MKT... I've never ridden the bypass before. I slammed into a pile of dirt at full speed, with no light. I didn't flat.

We all rode like drunken idiots the whole way back to Columbia, numerous crashes occurred. Lots of skidding rocks on each other, flying off into the woods, and sprinting around. Once back in como we (Brent, Jesse, and I) loaded up on pancakes, beef, and whatever else was in sight and headed back out again... back to Big Tree via MKT to the Katy Trail to Rocheport... with a lot more beer. We eventually made it with lots of mosquito bites, pee breaks, and beers later. The sun came up when we made it there, 5:30am by the time we rode up to the winery... still very drunk.

Yes, Jesse is a special little guy.

We ran out of beer on the way back and started sobering up... it seemed to have taken forever. Jesse was bleeding from flying over the bars coming down from the winery. My tires were still intact.

I took a nap while riding.

We made it back home by 7:30am... about 6 hours of ride time and around 56 very drunken miles on mountain bikes... completely lost count of beers consumed, still slightly drunk when we got back. Slept about 4 hours, went to Ihop, then continued drinking Trops at the pool all day and lots of beer all night. Definitely one of the best birthdays in a while, I am happy nobody died.