One Relentless Life

Relentless Forward Motion

Category: Training

A Quick 300 Miles

You never know what’s inside of you until you test the rest of yourself. You can read all of the books, study all of the guides, read every blog, but until you have an experience first hand, you only have an idea. My training partner Indy and I have been training for months for our upcoming bikepacking race. We’ve spent lots of hours in the gym, on the bike, and meditating. We’ve worked on our mobility, reviewed tons of gear, and competed in a number of single day races. The real bread and butter however, is multi-day bikepacking races. So recently we set out to do just that; 3 days, 2 night, and 300 miles of self-supported bikepacking.

Friday night classes were winding down and my ride prep was done. I had my bike all packed excluding the Jimmy John’s I planned on buying across the street on our way out of town. I bought my sandwiches and Indy and I hit the bikepath as a light drizzle fell on our rain gear. We had about 15 miles of path and road until we left town and hit the start of our adventure.

As we turned onto the trail leading out of town, we stopped and took a break to eat. The wind was picking up and the rain was turning into sleet and snow. It was getting colder too. Nevertheless, we pushed on. Heading east with a wind out of the north, we were making good time but not as great as I had hoped; I planned on us making it 65 miles before midnight.

The further we went the more the wind picked up and the colder it got. The sleet started to burn the side of my face and neck. I stopped and put the hood up on my new Patagonia jacket, which was super comfy. We crossed county roads, small bridges, and pedaled through the sand, grass, and moss as we made our way. Indy asked me if the moss felt soft for it being that cold out.

“I don’t know, I guess so, maybe.” I replied.

A few minutes later and his tire was almost entirely flat. I sat with my back to the wind as Indy changed his tire. It only took a few minutes. We can still make it, if we ride a little longer than we originally planned.

Indy got his wheel remounted and we took off again. After a few minutes of pedaling we finally shook off the cold. I was getting used to the sleet. I almost forgot about it pelting me, honestly. I was really losing interest in riding though and I started to dream of my bivy and relaxing for the night. We had a big day coming up tomorrow. Then I heard the womp womp womp of Indy’s tire bouncing as it lost air again.

When we stopped I could heard Indy getting frustrated. It was only a little after 23:00, almost an hour before we planned on stopping for the night, but I was ready for sleep. Indy said he would fix his tube and set up his camp gear if I could find a decent site for us. I pedaled down the path about 100 yards and found a nice spot behind some brush that blocked the wind. I struggled a bit with frozen straps as I wrested my sleep gear out.

I was snuggled in my bag for 20 minutes and hadn’t heard anything from Indy. I wondered if he missed me tucked in the bushes and pushed on down the path looking for me. I sat up and looked back he was still in the same spot. When I climbed out of my bivy and walked down the path, the wind cut right through my clothes. It was getting brutally cold. When I got to Indy he had his mittens on trying to get his tire back on the rim. To me it looked like he was getting too much exposure to the cold and needed to get in his bivy and warm up. He agreed to call it a night and fix the tire in the morning.

I lay in my bag tossing and turning. I was trying out a new bivy sack but it wasn’t quite big enough. With me and my bag inside, I couldn’t close it completely; I could pull it pretty tight, but there was still a pretty large opening right over my face. Sleet hit me right in the face as I lie there. I tried pulling the hood of my jacket over my eyes and my buff up to cover the rest, but it quickly got soaked and uncomfortable. I rolled to my side. The wind was shaking the trees and howling just a few feet above the brush that was blocking our camp area. Whichever side I chose to put up, the wind quickly sucked the warmth right out of me. Tossing and turning, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to wake Indy up and move to a new spot.

I called to Indy to tell him we were moving. He had thought I was comfortably asleep and he welcomed the idea of moving. It was wicked cold getting out of the bag. The straps that held my sleeping pad on my bike had frozen solid. I shivered as I put my rain gear back on to block the wind. I reached out for my shoes and noticed that they had been a nice layer of sleet in the bottoms of them; I took a couple of deep breaths and slid my feet in. So cold! My hands were hurting and the wind was beating the shit out of them. As I slowly packed my gear I took a break every 30 seconds to warm my hands in my coat. Ice formed on my gear in just the few minutes that I had been out of it. Indy packed up and started to fix his tire.

Shivering, we climbed on our bikes and headed back to an overpass we had seen just a few hours ago. As we pedaled, I shook the shakes, and everything started feeling good again, other than my hands and feet. 20 minutes later we hit heaven; a dirty overpass blocking most of the wind. We leaned our bikes and sat back in between the pillars. Just having the wind off us was like taking a portal to a tropical paradise. I unzipped my jacket, took my gloves off, and had a good laugh with Indy. As we were sitting back we could see the waves on the canal pushing upstream, and hear the trees still shaking, but we were covered and comfortable. We ate a quick snack and decided to sleep until the sun came up to get some extra warmth. I laid out my sleeping gear and climbed in. Out of the wind, I didn’t even have to zip my bivy up all the way to be comfortable. My eyes were heavy and sleep came easy this time.

I woke up to Indy’s alarm going off. What the fuck? The sun isn’t even close to being up? I yell at him to turn it off. He yells back that it wasn’t his. I got my phone out and that wasn’t it. What is it? I yelled at Indy again, and he replied that it must be crickets. I was fairly certain that there aren’t crickets in winter in a 0 degree windchill. It was pretty rhythmic too. Half asleep I tried to sort out what it could be. A few more cycles of the sound and I remember that I set the alarm on my Garmin Etrex to see if it would wake me up. It did. I crawled out of my bag, walked over in my socks and shut it off. I climbed back in my bag and immediately fell back asleep.

The next time I woke up, I saw the reflection of the sun coming up. I sat up and looked over my shoulder at the crisp landscape and soul warming sunrise. There is safety in the light. Something mental changes when the sun comes up. You just feel more at ease. The wind had shifted a bit but it was still amazing to be a troll under the bridge. Indy and I packed up again and decided to back track to the gas station we had passed late last night. According to the GPS it was only 5 miles away. We took off riding into the wind.

As we pedaled we discussed where things had gone wrong and what we could do to improve for the future and the upcoming race. The wind blowing in our face sucked but it was only a short way to be indoors. My left shoe wouldn’t lock in straight and I figured the cleat had come loose.  As we pulled up in front people stared at us like we had something wrong with us which is debatable. I had been dreaming of foot warmers the whole way there. I leaned my bike, grabbed my wallet and headed in as Indy made a video to post. I cut a line for the foot and hand warmers. I grabbed them and made a circle by the counter to drop them off. The attendant looked at me like I was an alien. I made another lap of the store and grabbed a whole pile of food and a coffee.

Indy came in as I was sipping coffee and taking my shoes off to put the foot warmers on. As we ate we discussed the plan for the day. We checked the forecast for where we were headed up north. It was supposed to be the same conditions we had last night and 20 degrees colder. We went back and forth and ended up deciding it would be better to pull the plug and head home to fight another day than to push on and risk getting injured. We were to have another 250 or so miles in the loop or we could head back directly into the wind for 50 miles and learn from what we had done the previous night. 50 miles it was. We settled on a plan of riding the 35 miles to the next town and taking a break to warm up again.

Out the door and moving, my feet were warm and the sun was on my back and the wind was in my face. Nice and steady we paced around 7.5 mph. 20 miles in we stopped to eat a bit from our feed bags. I took a leak in the bathroom and sat down outside to eat a half frozen sandwich. I didn’t want to be in the wind. I went back in the bathroom and stood and ate my sandwich. I would rather smell piss and be out of the wind. Food done, we got back on the bikes. There was a guy getting ready to go fishing as we left. We joked about who was crazier. On we went.

35 miles down, 15 to go. We hit the next town, ordered the top notch $5 breakfast pizza and got some Gatorades. All warmed up we hit the road again. A mile down the road and I was thirsty again. Good news, I had 2 of the 3 liters of water left in my bag. Bad news, it was frozen solid. I considered stopping every time we passed a store. I also knew that I would be home in a few hours and all would be well. Slow and steady we made it back.

I walked inside my house to the greatest feelings; warmth and food. I ate until my stomach hurt, took my wet clothes off and showered. I napped on and off for the rest of the afternoon and slept all night.

There’s something to be said about getting out of your comfort zone. It makes taking it easy so much nicer. If I were to just wake up and get on the couch, I wouldn’t appreciate it. After a hard fought ride in the cold, sleet, and wind, my couch was one of the most amazing things in the world. We tend to take for granted the amazing things we have in life when they are available all of the time. Take a minute and be thankful. Thanks for reading.

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24 Hours of Wausau Mountain Bike Race- Training Program

Here are all of the phases of my training program from the Wausau 24 hour race. There are some events that are not listed on there that I took part in addition to the training.

I rode TOMRV , I had a week of climbing 14ers, I ran the Grand Canyon rim to rim, as well as a few miscellaneous things. I also strained a ligament in my hip about 5 or 6 weeks out from the race and had to start my taper early. This was a completely random injury; I don’t feel like I was over trained, these things just happen sometimes.

You can see that I was pretty strict about filling out the numbers when I started but after a few months, I just went to writing it down in a note book and talking to my coach (Nathan Tackett- #Tackettraining) whenever I felt the need. He is a stellar coach and bases his programs off of science and proven training methods. I can’t praise him enough.

In no way am I saying this program would be best for you, as it was built specifically to my needs. Every person has different base training levels, strengths, and weakness. It might work for you but, I will make zero guarantees.

Without future ado- here is my training program.

If you have any questions about any of it, shoot me an email using my contact page.  If you want to talk to Nathan about having a training plan set up, let me know and I will have him get a hold of you.

Do Not Accept Being OK

You have the choice to wake up every morning and choose whether you are going to be an unstoppable monster or you are just going to be OK.

If you tell yourself that you are an unstoppable goal crushing monster, even if you are not 100% there yet, you will work yourself in that direction. If you have settled for OK, any result that you have, positive or negative, will be fine because you have settled.
If you had a friend that followed you around all day and said negative things to you, you wouldn’t stay friends very long. I want to ask you why you would do that to yourself? Do not ever take away your own self worth. EVER.

Wake up, put your feet on the floor, remind yourself how god damn amazing you are, and get to crushing whatever your goals are.

You have a very limited amount of time to be alive. Make every day worth it. You are one of a kind, but you are not better or greater than anyone else. If you want something bad enough, the world doesn’t owe it to you, you owe it to yourself to get it. Work on your skills. Learn, put the time in. I will always be there to help you.



Training Logs- Does anyone want to see them?

I haven’t really published anything in the way of my training logs, or anything in depth about my training at all. My questions for you, the people that read this, what would you like to read about or see? I am more than willing to post all of my rides, workouts, events and what they are comprised of if anyone thinks it will help them.

With that being said, my training program for the Tour Divide 2017 starts tomorrow. I will have ten months of prep on top of what I have built up since last fall. I am ready to crush it and I will only get mentally and physically stronger. So if you want to read about any of my training,  comment below or shoot me a message via my contact page.

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I was dead last. I liked it: Thought of the day

So I rode a cross country mountain bike race yesterday. I had my ass handed to me by the Category 1 racers. I knew it was going to happen. I had no dreams of being on the podium. Okay, maybe I did imagine it one time, but I realistically knew that it was very unlikely. That is exactly why I was in the race class.

You really have to go for broke and let it all hang out to find your weaknesses and improve on them. Most people fear being last. I would much rather be last place with the big boys, than win playing it safe. It is just like beating up your little brother. You know you can do it. It makes you feel good to win. You get confidence in your ability. On the other hand, you never get better if you don’t face adversity. That is why you runs sprints, lift heavy weights, go farther.

It would have been no problem for me to go down a class and blend into the field. I looked at the times and I would have been mid pack, other than the last lap when my tire went flat. I could have finished, had a beer and chatted with the boys and then headed home. My times were consistent, my pacing was good, I just flat out didn’t have the power or skills those guys have. That is what I need to see. I wanted to know where I was at. It is easy to step down classes, throttle back when you get tired or when it gets hard and coast into the finish. I am not into taking the easy route. I will never race to collect medals. What I want is to grow. I want to grow as a person. Physically, mentally, spiritually.

I have no dreams of being a world class cross country racer. However, these types of races are a wonderful tool for me to become a better endurance/adventure racer. If I can increase my power and pace by 1% over the course of a few days of a bikepacking race, that is a huge spread in mileage. If my technical skills are stronger, I will use less energy climbing, descending and attacking obstacles. I will never get faster by taking the easy route.

I had some people get all butt hurt about one of my posts other post about race day. Some people assume I meant that if you weren’t first you were a loser. That is not what it is about. It is about pushing yourself to do things you never thought possible. I WAS LAST PLACE AND DID NOT FINISH! It was glorious. I learned. The taste was bitter in my mouth when the leaders were having a conversation climbing the first hill and pacing a couple miles an hour faster than me. I will be back again for more. The Wausau 24 hour is coming up quickly and I have lots to work to do before then.

Relentless forward motion.

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The fiery battle of race day- Thought of the day

There is just something about racing that sets the spirit on fire. You can train as hard as you want but, race day will always be an all out war. Adrenaline is flowing. You are sweaty before your warm up starts. Little bit of the bubble guts. The battle is about to begin.

When the gun goes off the focus of your world shifts in. From line to line there are no outside events happening. You are either the shark or the chum. The person in front of you is leaving a trail of blood in the water. You can smell the weakness. You will catch them. You will hunt them down.

Behind you is always a bigger badder shark. It can smell you getting tired. You are leaving little drops of blood in the water. Can you dig deep enough to keep out of their reach? Will you give into the weakness in the back of your head that says can’t? You will not. You are unwavering.  All of the hours of hard work. Last heavy sets in the gym. Last big hill sprint during training sessions.

Through all of the anguish of pushing you find your zen like spot. Your legs are numb from the pain. Your lungs are on fire. Still, you are focused on breath coming in and power going out. Relentless forward motion. Win or lose, no one will outwork you. If it comes down to a battle of guts, you are willing to die with your shield in hand or on it dead with grace.

This is what you trained for. Do not go out to just complete a race because you are fearful of blowing up. Give it everything you have got. Battle it out. Your mind will quit before your body does. Do not let it. You will not be outworked. Relentless forward motion.

Mental Strength-Thought of the Day

The largest thing that I am working on now is mental strength. You might look in the window to my life an see all confidence, drive and hard work. That is true. On the other hand I want to refine my craft of mental strength. Self doubt happens to everyone. From the best to the worst. The difference is that the best have the ability to have the doubt come in, shake it off and keep pushing. All of the “what ifs” come to everyone. The only thing you can change is how long you dwell on it.

The other side of the coin is that you have to be willing to suffer. All of your gains come when you struggle. It isn’t the nice sunny days when you are feeling it and all of the stars line up. The last few reps. The last hard sprints. When you are beaten, deep down in your spirit, and you find that glimpse of confidence to get up and keep moving. You do not have to be fearless, you have to be able to control it.

Smile and be happy. Life is for fun. Take your learning seriously, not yourself.



Speed work- Week 2 Phase 2

I have been giving myself a beating lately in the gym and on the bike. I don’t remember feeling stronger than I do right now Usually, whenever I look back, there is always a point where I can say that I have been in better shape, faster, stronger – you name it. Today, I am sore from going hard on power work yesterday. I lifted 4×5 on hang clean, push press and front squat. Then 3×5 on bench. I know I don’t need upper body to race bikes but, when I am not on the bike, I like to be able to put on a heavy pack and hike. Or, God forbid, there is an accident on an adventure and I need to carry someone. After bench, I had three max sets of pull ups. Last, I did a variety of box jumps and explosive power moves.  I like the soreness. Today I have speed work on the bike. I will push all out for 4 x .25 miles, 4x .5 miles, 4x .75 miles and 4×1 mile. I love it. Spin hard and fast. Try to push my limit on how hard my body will work for me. The 1 mile repeat will be a mental game of how long I am willing to suffer and keep the pace up. Most people will give up mentally before they do physically. I don’t want to be like most people. I want to be the best me possible.


As always- Comment, share, ask questions, or even offer some knowledge to me. Catch you outside.

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