Never Forget 100 Race and Music Still Moves Me

This week I am preparing to race in the Racers and Chasers event called the Never Forget 100. I am nervous.  Racing this thing on a single speed with no suspension and there are cutoff times that require me to have an average speed greater than 10.3 mph in order to make them.  That isn’t too tough normally, but if I get a flat, cramp up, or have any other unexpected issue, I may end up with a DNF.  That would be sad.  I am not going to give up though.  Its time for visualization and to reflect on all the training I have done this year.  God has blessed me and I have gotten much stronger.  100 miles is still more mileage than I have ever done in a day though.  Pray for me people.  I appreciate it.

Encouraging music often helps. This week, I am listening to Lecrae’s just released new album entitled Gravity and have been blown away.  I found myself listening to more and more of his songs he previously released and am truly amazed by his lyrics.  Now don’t be fooled, I like hip hop.  I am a guitarist and prefer some intense blues rock usually from a melodic jam band type group, but man…Lecrae’s lyrics are some of the most moving, theologically sound lyrics that I have ever listened to.  Pure poetry.

Here is a part of a verse (coming in at 2:10) from one of his older songs in the player above called “Overdose”.  It especially rings true with me and my love of geography.

“They ask me where to find the Lord they ain’t never seen Him
Homie God ain’t got no longitude or latitude
He’s on another level you can’t put a ladder to”

Also, I realize the fact that no matter where I am at, no matter how much I am hurting during this race, God will be there with me and I can call on Him.  I love that. Also, nothing I can do on my own will allow me to climb a ladder to get closer to God. I only can know Him through faith in Jesus being the payment that He provided to pay for my sin which broke His law of perfection.  Through that faith, I can know Him and call on Him to dwell in me through His Holy Spirit which leads and guides me in this life.

He is very much alive.  Call on Him.  Ask Him to dwell in you.  See the second birth He will give you as your old life dies and He guides you in your new life.  He is the God of the universe and knows you better than you know yourself.  He knows your strengths and weaknesses and loves you very much.  He knows you need Him.  Call on Him.  He will be there for you. Trust. Pray. See.  See?

 

 

More from Lecrae.

Posted in Geography, God, Guitar, Mountain Bike, San Diego, time, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Music Moves Me, What Does It Do For You?

 

I am constantly listening to new music.  Josh Garrels is one of my favorite artists at the moment.

I used to listen to music on my MP3 player while riding my mountain bike.  It literally MOVED me.  I would move faster at least when I had songs come up with that bpm that pushed the cadence a little faster than what I would ride at without the tunes in my ears.  I realized that I may not be as much of a blessing to the others I came across on the trail though, so I have been on a music-free training kick as of late.  

What are you listening to and what does it do for you? 

 

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Single Speed MTB Racing and New 1×11 Mountain Bike Gearing (SRAM XX1 system)

I love my Salsa El Mariachi as a single speed.  I have almost had the pleasure to have ridden it for a year now.  I never would have thought I would have liked single speeding this much.  It has really changed who I am as a cyclist.  I have raced it 4 times now in marathon style races put on by San Diego’s grassroots MTB racing promoter, Racers and Chasers. Last time I raced, I placed 3rd in the Men’s Open MTB Marathon class. Below are some pictures from that event up in Julian on June 23, 2012.

3rd Place!

 

I was the only one racing on a rigid single speed.  It obviously works well for me.

These races have a “do as many laps in a certain period of time” format to them so I get well acquainted with the hills, flats, and terrain in between over the hours that I ride them over and over again.  I usually go out harder than I really should on the first lap, but it keeps me motivated to keep up with the pros in the front of the pack.  Often I am one of the first racers up the first few hills, which is good since my single speed gearing only lets me go at a certain rate up those climbs and it is not a granny gear rate.  That makes sure that I don’t get stuck in a trainwreck of riders heading up a hill when one guy slows to a crawl to pace himself early on. The negative about being up front is that I burn up a few matches in my matchbook early in the race and often don’t have much left for the last few laps when it really matters if a close competitor is nearby. I also tend to run a little during the marathon MTB races.  I am not a runner and couldn’t do a 10k if my life depended on it.  But I can run for very short distances, especially when I can run faster than my competitors can pedal in their granny gear up hills that will burn up my matches in my matchbook when I am single speed racing.  There is always at least one hill in the Racers and Chasers courses that I decide to walk/run up instead of grind out on my single speed.  This saves my legs, allows me to choose a single speed gear that will keep me spinning well enough on the flats, and helps stretch a little while using other muscles when I walk/run up the hill.  I often think of having gears at this point though because, like most MTB riders I know, I love being able to clear a steeper section, stay on my bike the whole ride, and stay in the groove.

I love all the benefits of single speeding and I won’t turn this into a “Pros and Cons of Single Speeding” blog post, but suffice to say that in my mind, the pros definitely out weigh the cons…at least so far. 😉

Enter the SRAM XX1 drive train the is set to be released in October 2011.

 

I think SRAM is heading in a wonderful new direction for drive train.  Simplifying shifting to rear derailleur only duties and hopefully lowering maintenance time/costs is long overdue in my opinion.  After single speeding exclusively for a year now, I have been thinking that if I ever go back to gears, which I likely will one day with some bike, but definitely not all my bikes (man I love single speeding), I will likely go to a 1x system.  I do not see the need for a large or small chain ring if I have one chain ring in the 28-38 tooth range.   What are your thoughts?  I especially would like to know the thoughts of single speeders that prefer training on single speeds, but ride geared bikes as well, maybe even in endurance race situations.

 

Twenty Nine Inches’ Post on the Subject

Bicycling Magazine’s Post on the Subject

SRAM’s XX1 Page

 

Thanks for visiting!  Let me know what you think about this subject by commenting below.

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Garmin Etrex 30 GPS Receiver

I recently purchased the Garmin Etrex 30 GPS receiver. Quite a bit of research was done prior to pulling the trigger on this unit. I considered many other units, mostly Garmin units like the Edge 500, Edge 800, and Oregon receivers.
I really wanted one that was compatible with heart rate and cadence sensors, but also one that was able to import base maps with topo, points of interest, and hopefully satellite imagery.

I have been using the GPS in my Android phone for a few years now to record the routes of my mountain bike rides, as well as any hikes, runs, walks, etc.
Although the accuracy and precision of the different smartphones are less than desirable by my standards, I was enjoying the different challenges and social sharing of this geospatial data.
A few of the web sites with these features which I have been using are STRAVA, Endomondo, Ride With GPS, and Geoladders.
At first, I preferred Endomondo (I still enjoy many aspects of it), but I quickly became a huge fan of STRAVA. Ride with GPS is my new favorite, but since it hasn’t caught on as much by my fellow riders in the San Diego area, I tend to still use STRAVA a little more often.

Back to the Garmin Etrex 30.
I found out after purchasing the Etrex 30, that neither STRAVA, nor Ride with GPS support direct uploads from the Etrex 30.
STRAVA supports the EDGE series and many of my friends have the Edge 500. Its great, but no base maps. I had an Edge 305 about 5 years ago and enjoyed it, but it didn’t have base maps and I realized quickly that phones and almost every other GPS device you use now have an ability to display base map information so you can see where you are in relation to the world, not just in relation to your own recorded tracks and points.
The Garmin Etrex 30 has a barometric altimeter, full ANT+ wireless functionality to use with cadence and heart rate sensors, but it is able to load base maps and is a wonderful handheld GPS device for other things beside cycling. (EDIT: (12/17/2015) Endomondo now supports ANT+ sensors if your Android phone can receive ANT+ signals. My Samsung GALAXY S5 supports ANT+. Unfortunately, STRAVA still hasn’t gotten with the program to support ANT+ devices like heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, etc. , but they do support Bluetooth accessories.)
I put in a request to STRAVA support to see if they would someday support the Etrex 30.
Here is STRAVA’s response to me about supporting it:
“I’m sorry we don’t have full support for your device. We do our best to offer support to as many devices as possible. At this time we do not have plans to add support for the Etrex 30.”
For less than the price of a Garmin Edge 500, I have exactly the right GPS receiver for my needs, too bad Strava won’t support great devices like this one. My current work around is to upload my activity to Garmin Connect, export the .tcx file, then upload to STRAVA. It works for getting the recorded track and heart rate into a Strava activity, but I wonder why Strava wont support it directly.

>>>Here is a great webpage on setup for the Garmin Etrex 30:

http://www.aukadia.net/gps/lw3_0.htm

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Manufacturer Description

The Garmin eTrex 30 takes one of the most popular and reliable GPS handhelds and makes it better. Enhanced ergonomics, an improved interface, paperless geocaching and expanded mapping capabilities makes eTrex more versatile and user-friendly, while maintaining its toughness and durability.

See The Way

eTrex 30 has an enhanced 2.2 in 65K color, sunlight readable display. Durable and waterproof, eTrex 30 is built to withstand the elements. It has an upgraded interface and stands strong against the elements – be it dust, dirt, humidity or water, none of which are a match for this storied navigator.

New Tools For Your Trek

eTrex 30 adds a built-in 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass, which shows your heading even when you’re standing still, without holding it level. Also added is a barometric altimeter which tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude, and you even can use it to plot barometric pressure over time, which can help you keep an eye on changing weather conditions.

Go Anywhere

With an array of compatible mounts, eTrex 30 is designed for use on ATV’s, bicycles, in boats, as a handheld or in your car. Use the auto mount capability and City Navigator NT® maps for turn-by-turn driving directions, or the rugged mount for your motorcycle or ATV. Wherever you think you might take eTrex, it has the mapping and mounts to get you there.

Go Global

The new eTrex series is the first-ever consumer-grade receivers that can track both GPS and GLONASS satellites simultaneously. GLONASS is a system developed by the Russian Federation that will be fully operational in 2012. When using GLONASS satellites, the time it takes for the receiver to “lock on” to a position is (on average) approximately 20 percent faster than using GPS. And when using both GPS and GLONASS, the receiver has the ability to lock on to 24 more satellites than using GPS alone.

Add Maps

With its microSD™ card slot and 1.7 GB of internal memory, eTrex 30 lets you load TOPO 24K maps and hit the trail, plug in BlueChart® g2 preloaded cards for a great day on the water or City Navigator NT® map data for turn-by-turn routing on roads (see maps tab for compatible maps). eTrex 30 also supports BirdsEye™ Satellite Imagery (subscription required), that lets you download satellite images to your device and integrate them with your maps.

Share Wirelessly

eTrex 30 lets you share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches wirelessly with other compatible Garmin GPS devices. So now your friends also can enjoy your favorite hike or cache – simply press “send” to transfer your information to similar units, and let the games begin.

Keep Your Fix

With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix® satellite prediction, eTrex locates your position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons.

Find Fun

eTrex 30 supports geocaching GPX files for downloading geocaches and details straight to your unit. Visit OpenCaching.com to start your geocaching adventure. By going paperless, you’re not only helping the environment but also improving efficiency. eTrex 30 stores and displays key information, including location, terrain, difficulty, hints and descriptions, which means no more manually entering coordinates and paper print outs. Simply upload the GPX file to your unit and start hunting for caches.

Small in size, but big on features. The new eTrex are the perfect companions for all of your outdoor adventures. ”

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So that’s a quick rundown on what this GPS receiver is all about.

Here are some pictures of the receiver.  Hopefully I will do a full review with mentions of the various features and which I use most, as well as why.  Comment if you want to see me post more on this GPS….I intend to.

Posted in Android, Geography, GPS, Mountain Bike, practice, San Diego, space, time | 1 Comment

Learning how to mountain bike

My youngest, Caleb, had a strider balance bike first. Then I got him the hot rock 12 off craigslist for 40 bucks.
I let him pedal around with training wheels just to learn about the pedaling motion, but that was only 6-10 rides. Then, a couple weeks ago, I decided to take off the training wheels. He was trying to ride it like the push bike, but the pedals were in the way.
I told him to put his feet on the pedals and I would balance him by holding the back of his seat while he pedaled. We did that for a good 3 or 4 times, but he was balancing on his own as long as the pedals were moving. I let go when there was a slight dh our he waskeeping his speed up, then he would slow, wobble and put a foot down to catch himself…that’s when I knew he had it.
Took him and his older bro to los pen and ride from the parking lot for a half mile down the new fire road. They love the new bridge!
I only had to help Caleb get started, then he was off! Him and his brother ride side by side,  all on their own and it rebounded me of us. I told them, Boys, today you are mountain bikers.
A pivotal moment in this dads life for sure.

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20120303 – Forgivenick’s Off Road Metric Century Loop

2012.03.04:

I did my first metric century last night. Off road.  It is the largest ride I have done to date and I loved it.

I have been wanting to do this loop since I moved close to Penasquitos Canyon in September 2011.  This is one of the larger loops you can do in the western portion of San Diego Country and stay off road for the entire route, except maybe 5 miles of asphalt, much of which is inaccessible to vehicles.

I found out that my parents were taking the kids overnight AND my wife was going to be out with 15 other ladies to celebrate my sister in law’s birthday.  My wife asked what I would be doing, but really meant, where will you be riding?  I figured out that I had about 6-8 hours to plan a ride.  I had just calculated that my loop would be about 60 miles and I had wanted to break the 100km barrier for an off road ride, so I knew that this was my opportunity to do it.

Preparations

I had just raced last weekend in the Racers and Chasers Winter Series Marathon Finale at Black Mountain and got 6th overall in the series.  50 miles at race pace left me tired to say the least.  I hadn’t ridden at all during the week after that race, but had been wrenching on my bike a little.

I bought a new saddle recently and decided I was going to put it on right AFTER the race.  Switching things like a saddle right before a 50 mile race is just asking for it. 🙂

I had been running the Selle Italia SLR XP titanium railed saddle which was very lightweight, weighing about 150 grams!  It was pretty comfortable though.  I found that it flexed really well and even though it had minimal padding, it was comfortable.  I found though that after about 30 miles in the saddle, I would start feeling just a very slight bit of discomfort on my sit bones.  The soft tissue parts always felt great, but the sit bones got a little bit tender.  So I was going to try a new saddle with more padding in the sit bone area to try to allow longer rides to be more comfortable.  I still wanted that flexyness, especially in the soft tissue area. I read great reviews of both MTB endurance racers of the Fizik saddles, primarily the Gobi for MTB.  I had also been reading roadie reviews on the Fizik Aliante and realized there were roadies spending all day on the Aliante and found they were still comfortable after all that time in the saddle when they hadn’t been with previous saddles.  Some even compared it to the Selle Italia SLR XP which I had been running as well.  The general  feeling I got from the reviews was that the Aliante would be worth trying and should be as flexy, but slightly more padded than the SLR XP.

I found a green “test” Aliante on craigslist and got it mounted up.

This metric century would be my first MTB ride with it. SUPER RISKY. I can’t believe I was so reckless. This could have RUINED me and made this ride HORRIBLE. Seriously. Do not follow my example. Messing with your saddle at all before a big ride (this was the longest ride I have ever attempted by the way) is a bad, bad choice.
Fortunately, the Aliante is the most comfortable saddle I have ridden to date. 🙂 I had to stop 3 times to adjust my saddle HEIGHT, but the saddle angle was near perfect out of the gate. One small adjustment to get the nose pointed downward half a degree and it was perfect. One weird thing about it is that it feels less comfortable when I wore my jeans and rode it around on surface streets, but in my riding shorts it feels perfect. A HUGE blessing.

Ok, so that was big risk #1. Yes, I was acting foolish in more ways than one. This is not like me, so I hope I don’t come off as a guy who tries to be foolish and hope for a divine intervention to prevent or reverse the consequences I should be bringing upon myself. I try to use the wisdom I have been given and apply it to my life whenever possible. I had a brief lapse in judgement I guess…it just happened to be immediately before my biggest ride ever that I was also attempting solo. Whoops. 🙂

Risk #2: New nutrition. Nothing else brought but this new nutrition. New nutrition in quantities greater for longer duration than any other nutrition I had tried previously. Foolishness.
I had been using Hammer Perpetuem along with Hammer Endurolytes consistently in long training rides and the last 3 marathon races with great success.
Infinit Nutrition had a yearly sale and I got wind of it by being on their mailing list. I decided to order some and try it out on a long ride during a time of training to see if it worked better for me and my body’s nutrional/electrolyte needs than what I was already using.
I brought 6 servings with me on this ride. Single servings in each of two bottles, double servings in each of two other bottles, as well as one bottle with plain water to wash down the more concentrated bottles. I planned on stopping at a gas station to buy another liter of water and refill bottles as necessary at the halfway (50km) mark as well. So, God richly blessed me, despite my foolishness of trying another critical new piece of the endurance puzzle. My nutrition was perfect. At least more perfect than it ever has been. I felt great during the whole ride. Tired at times, but good.

Here is the route I took:

Below are some photos I took along the way. Maybe I will add more text to this post in the days to come, but for now, this is a good overview of what I did.

 

 

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Bikepacking Planning

What makes a good bikepacking experience? Planning and being prepared. At least thats what I have been told. I hope to do my first bikepacking adventure this spring with more to follow this summer and fall. I had hoped to get my new El Mariachi out on a 24 hour overnight jaunt in the fall, but the schedule was just too busy. Yeah, thats a terrible excuse. I know.

I am planning a trip with some guys on a forum as well as with a coworker and some really good MTB friends that I don’t ride with nearly often enough.

If all else fails, I might even go solo and have my family meet me.

One thing is for sure. This IS going to happen. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Here is a Map of Possible Bikepacking Routes for 2012 that my coworker made of the mountains in the east part of San Diego County. This is where my bikepacking journey is likely to begin.

Download the Google Earth (KML) file here.

Feel free to comment here and discuss/plan with me on this topic.

Posted in Geography, Mountain Bike, San Diego, time | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments