Cheap Action Camera

I recently found a cheap action camera at Menards for $30.  I figured for $30 even if the camera wasn’t great, I could give it to one of my kids and it would make their day!

I tried the camera with different settings to see if I could get a steady picture while connected to my mountain bike, and nothing worked.  This camera does not have any kind of stabilization control and I would not recommend it for use on any moving platform (bike, car, running, dog, drone, etc).  You may be able to use a gimble and get it to stabilize, however I do not have one and was not going to buy one to see if it worked.

I also had to mess with the saturation settings, as it came with the settings making everything overly saturated.  This is pretty easy to fix in the settings.

The camera does have an ok slow motion setting in which it takes video of an action sport and puts it in slow motion.  I would grade it average in this respect, and for $30 it’s pretty cool.

The camera does work well for shooting video of the action and not being a part of the action, again, worth the $30 to have a camera I can set on the trail and catch some footage of someone going by, doing a jump, smashing a corner, etc.  I just set it up on  a mini tripod and its good to go.

It also takes pretty good pictures as you can see in the second video below.  Overall I would recommend a buy on this if you need a camera to shoot the action as opposed to being a part of the action.  If you need a part of the action, action camera then I would go with a GoPro as they do a good job.  See the videos below for proof of what I explain here.  PS the sound quality of the camera is not good at all!

VIDEO 1 SHOWING THE QUALITY DIFFERENCE

VIDEO 2 SHOWING SOME OF THE GOOD THINGS OF THE CHEAPY

Intervals

The MTB season has not gone how I would like it to so far.  The asthma issues pushed training back a bit,  and because of that I did not have any really great races so far this year.  I have had fun races, just not performance great races.

To add to that, I have recently been coming into form for racing, but then I decided not to race a race because of rain.  I had enough rain in the previous race and did not want to deal with it again.  And then the last race I was planning for the spring season, I missed the sign up deadline and there are no day of registrations.  So coming into to shape for nothing is kind of a bummer.

The good news, I have been able to get on intervals, and these really are great for MTB racing, and I can feel the power living in my legs after a few weeks of these.  I was able to try out the fitness on a local trail and I felt pretty good last weekend.

If you are not including intervals in your training routine, I don’t think you will see the improvements you are looking for.  They help you get off the start line, they help you fight and attack, they help you get up that crazy hill, and they get you the sprint finish win at the end of a race.  Intervals = Matches, how many matches do you have in your pocket?

If you need help with your training, visit https://urbikelife.com/product-category/mtb-training-plans/ and pick something that is right for what you have in mind!  Thanks for stopping by, let us know what your favorite type of interval is?

 

Mud, Sweat, and Beers Mountain Bike Race

MSB, one of my favorite races.

1. Because the weather is usually perfect for racing bikes, it’s not super hot and it’s not snowing or freezing rain.

2. Because the trail system in Traverse City is vast and the course seems to always change with the millions of trails they have.

3. Because the event is killer from everyone racing, to the people that bring MSB together every year.

This year was no exception, the weather was great, the announcer was entertaining, the guys I race with were great, the people I don’t race with were great, and the mtb community up there was great.  I was excited to get on the line to see what I could do again this year placing 14th in a close group of guys finishing from 12th place to 18th.  No complaints from the results considering a rough start to the season.

Check out the video, I have been trying to have fun and keep interest in the videos, so I have shortened the races. Instead of being 1.5 – 2 hours long, I try to keep them under 20 minutes, closer to 10 if possible.  I also have added some funny commentary to the videos to keep people watching.  The names given are in no way meant to make anyone cry, it is just for fun!  Check out the shortened race video, as always thanks for racing, be sure to subscribe, and let us know how your last race went?

Yankee TT

The Yankee Springs Time Trial is one of my must do races every year.  The amount of people and riders at this particular race brings so much excitement to the sport I just can’t miss it!

This year I did not start first like last year, I started second!  Which brings up a very interesting topic, do you sign up early and get a top spot so that the real fast guys can pass you, or do you just sign up before the race so that you start last and are not humiliated?

I choose to be humiliated, and why not?  When a faster rider comes through, this gives me a chance to try and hang on for my life until I can’t anymore.  I believe this is a great way to learn and get faster.

I didn’t do too bad this year, placing better than last year in 13th, check out the footage and enjoy the commentary!  And most importantly, we are very happy that Tumble Tim was OK!

Racing Elite is like having a punching bag that only punches me!

I guess you could say I am somewhat new to the MTB scene, this being my fourth season riding the bike.  I still have a lot of questions, I still have things to get better at on the technical riding side, I still have to improve the engine and cardio, I still am not 100% capable of doing everything I need to maintain my bike on my own, but I have learned a lot over the last few years and have grown to really love the sport.

One thing I have learned as far as what category you should ride in is this; if you are beginning to mountain bike and want to race, start out in the beginner category for a couple races and see how you do.  If you like and want to get serious about it, keep riding and racing.  Once you have made a few podiums and/or won your age group at a race, it’s time to move up to the sport category.

Once you move to the sport category and start doing the same thing, getting on the podium, then it is time to move up to the expert category.

This is where it gets tricky, do you stay in this category even when you win and stand on the podium all the time, or do you move up?

Things to consider.

The Elite/Pro Category is a totally new animal, and I believe there are these same levels within this category.  There is a beginner elite, a sport elite, an expert elite, and a pro elite.  At the end of my second season, I tried one of these races and was a beginner elite for sure, posting one of the slowest times of the day in that category.

In the beginning of my third season, I decided to race this category for the whole season and actually raced my first REAL Pro race.  In the spring I showed signs of major improvement, I would have considered myself a sport elite, but I did hit a couple races that I would consider myself a low level expert Elite.  Since those spring races I have not been able to get my fitness there for a number of reasons, being sick, overtraining, and taking time of to recover from a race.

This year I sit around that Sport Elite level, and have not been able to get where I thought I would be, again, kids bringing bugs home from school, time off training to recover, winter dragging on which unmotivated me, etc.

Another thing about this category, there is no glory from where I sit.  I get my ass beat everyday at 99% of all the races.  If there are not a lot of fast guys that show up, someone makes a wrong turn,  then I have a chance at getting a low spot on a podium, but if the dogs show up, I am off the front group very fast as my level of fitness can’t hang.

Getting your ass beat all the time is tough, but I am not giving up.  Let’s see how the last few races shape up for the srping, and then how the fitness comes together for the fall.

What are your thoughts on the topic?

The Mohican MTB Race

I’m a little behind on posting, so I will try and catch up in the next few days with the recent races I have done.  First race of the year I decided to go down to Ohio and race the Mohican. I spoke with a couple of riders from Michigan, Marc and Jorden fast as shit guys, who were riding to see if it was something I wanted to do.  Of course after brief conversations I was in, who wouldn’t want to go race on one on of the best singletracks in Ohio, one loop for 25 miles!

SO I packed up the car the night before, and woke up pretty early to make the 5 hour drive, the day of the race.  The nice thing about the races in Ohio, they start racing at 12pm!  That gave me plenty of time to get on site, pick up my packet, get a warm up in, say hi, and get on the start line!  All in all they do a great job of putting on races, with tents, a well marked course, a fun finish, and good prize money!  Oh, and their crazy shorts post race, I should have grabbed a picture.

I do want to get back down and ride the Mohican trail with friends and enjoy it a little more, it was nice to have a guide (another racer that knew the trail) during the race.  My performance landed me 4th place in their Pro/expert 40+ category.  Check out the footage and see what the trail has to offer and how tough the race was for me, definitely was not great race shape yet, and not knowing the trail system did not help either.

Coldwater Mountain

Our journey to Oak Mountain was amazing, the weather was great, the southern hospitality was even better, and the park had a lot to offer not only for mtbers, but for the whole family.

When friends noticed I was down there, I had several messages telling me to MAKE SURE I stopped and rode Coldwater Mountain.  It wasn’t until the third or fourth suggestion that my wife and I made it a plan to get there.  The kids can miss another day of school right?

From Oak Mountain, it was only about an hour drive northeast to get to Coldwater, at least it was sort of on the route home.  My wife and I split time again, I went out and rode from the coldwater parking lot to the Anniston parking lot and back taking different trails.  While I did this, my wife took the kids to eat lunch and then to a park to play.  We switched and she took on the trail while I hung with the kids and ate some of the deep south cooking they picked me up for lunch!

Check out the video below of Coldwater Mountain, I highly recommend you try the trail out if you are in the area!

 

Oak Mountain State Park

Oak Mountain State Park was a real blast.  We had planned on a trip down to Brown County to ride the rad singletracks in Indiana, there were a couple problems.

The weather was going to be cold, but an even bigger problem was the 5 inches of rain they got the day before we were going to go down there!  Not to mention the freeze thaw cycle they were about to have while we were there too. I contacted the trail coordinator and a buddy I was going with contacted another trail coordinator of a trail system that was close by.  They both had the same thing to say, trails will be closed with all the rain and also with the freeze thaw cycle.  So the option was to get up early and ride when everything was frozen, or go somewhere else.

I was damn tired of all the cold weather, the spring felt more like winter, I needed to get to a place where I could experience that warm feeling of the sun.

Thankfully my wife did a quick search and picked either North Carolina or Alabama. We had some friends going to NC, but I looked at the weather and saw how warm it was going to be in Alabama and really wanted to go there. But my thoughts of Alabama where of swamp land, not mountains.  I did  little research and found that they had some cool stuff at Oak Mountain, so that was the ticket.

Day 1, we arrived and got out of the car, and the sun was shining and the wasps were flying!  I could not be happier. I quickly phoned my buddy Rob that was coming and they were at the store, so I threw my gear on and headed out, check out what happened in this video, I just wanted to get my legs moving after that drive!

After I finished riding my wife sent it as well, she is really becoming a good rider! After that it was time to get some southern food.  We ate and Megan wanted to get back in the park to look at other things the park had to offer.  She talked me in to riding another quick ride, so I did and hit pretty much the same trails I rode earlier.

Day 2  Rob and I had planned a long ride that included hitting a lot of the trails in the park.  We started off great, but things changed when I got a flat tire on a very sharp rock, you can watch that action below.

The flat was actually a blessing in disguise as we ran into Lon with singletrackskills.bike who provided me with everything I needed to motor on for the day.  MANY thanks to him! After we fixed my tire, we rode to Lon’s vehicle and put the fix it kit back on his car not expecting to bump into him again.

As Rob and I rode up the mountain past were the flat occurred, we bumped into Lon and his assistant on the hill.  They wanted to show us around, this was going to be epic.  These guys showed us some Big Boy Lines for sure!  The GoPro effect sucks, but it still looks pretty sick.

I still am amazed at what they rode while we were there, it was a great eye opening experience on what you can do on a bike!

Day three was a little cooler, but we dressed appropriately and made our way to a few sections that we did not ride to this point of our trip.  We rode the red road hoping to see a glimpse of the plane crash wreckage but were unsuccessful, so we made our way to a trail called Jekyll and Hyde!  Wow, this was a blast, let’s ride that again!

I highly recommend you check out Oak Mountain State Park.  Not only do they have trails for every rider, but the have fishing, swimming, hiking, wildlife, nature centers, a live Eagle-Owl that is not native to the US, a BMX track, camping, and much much more!  Hope you can get there and enjoy it for yourself!

Not Recovering

It has been awhile since my last post.  We have been busy catching up from two biking trips, you know all the bills and shit to do around the house and with work.

I have been staying on the bike, but I have also noticed that I have not been able to recover very well from workouts, and seem to have a persistent cough that I picked up from one of the kids.  Every time I would try and go for a hard workout my asthma would flare up with this cough, and I try and push through and not use the asthma medication.  I have not had an issue like this for over 10 years.

I have recently found that not taking the medicine was probably a bad idea.  The Reason, well, when you push through an episode like this you build up free radicals in the body, and they cause damage or a lot of inflammation.   Another stimulus that isn’t helping the issue is the new dog in the house irritating the asthma as well.

I don’t like taking medication, but it looks like I am going to have to, and hopefully I can get this under control so I can get a few hard training sessions in to see some results for this season.

What am I doing?  I have a high quality vitamin that has anti-inflammatory properties that I am taking along with making sure I take the asthma inhaler to get this cleared up. My wife has also stumbled on a natural remedy that we will give a try too.  This has made it very tough to be ready for this race season, but with the knowledge, I am pushing forward and hoping for the best!

Stay tuned for the next article on our trip to Oak Mountain State Park!  Hopefully if you have the same issues I do this will give you insight.

OverUnders

I was not going to write today, tired from high intensity riding, a new strength routine, kids being home more because they are on spring break and still trying to handle the work and training schedule.   But I wanted to share with you my workout for the day in hopes to help you in your training.

Today I spent doing over unders, basically you ride just above and just below threshold.  In this particular workout I would spend 2 minutes recovering and removing the lactate while just under threshold (power was at 303 and heart rate was at 162), and then I would build the lactate back up again for a minute (power averaged 355 and heart rate 167), and follow it again with 2 minutes just below to train the body to get rid of it faster while continuing to ride at at good pace.  These numbers are both in the correct zones that I am suppose to be in for this particular workout.

This workout, if you have not guessed it already, is a great way to train your body to deal with being above threshold better, and at the same time, recovering faster when you drop just below threshold.

This type of workout is really important for mountain bikers as they need to be able to push above threshold many times during a race, and they need to be able to recover while still hammering on the pedals.  If you have not tried a workout like this before, you need to throw one in your routine!

As always the best way to perform workouts at the appropriate level is to to a test to determine what fitness level you are at.  After you do this test, you will be able to figure out what zones your power and/or heart rate should be in, in order to train effectively.  I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing what zones you should be with different workouts.  If I had to choose what method to train with I would tell you both.  By using both power and heart rate, you can easily identify if you are starting to over-train.  If you have access to only one method, I would recommend using the power meter as it is instant feedback and you know you are on the right path.  Using the heart rate you will get lag in your readings because the heart responds to what you are doing, it does not react instantly.

Good luck and let us know what your last hard workout was!? Feel free to ask any questions that you may have regarding over unders.