The Road Less Traveled…Gravel!

Saturday morning I started gearing up for a 50 to 60 mile gravel ride that some friends with the West Michigan Coast Riders had planned.  The night before I heard that a road had washed out so I also had planned a different way to get there which involved more gravel roads and a few more miles!

I made sure I packed a couple ensures for the ride, which by the way I did consume and they kept me going again without any issues.  I am very pleased that I came across these shakes!

Overall the ride was beautiful, the sun was out, seemed to be in the mid 40’s, and for Michigan that was perfect for March.  We had a good group of guys, a few I knew and one I had never met before.

Throughout the ride we actually hit soft sand and dusty conditions, wet peanut buttery mud conditions, icy/snowy road, and also perfect conditions.  I am doubtful that I have ever been on a ride in which you wished it would have rained to knock down the dust, wished it were warmer to evaporate the muddy conditions and iced roads!

We had good conversation during the ride and I saw something that I was not expecting, a bunch of people were camped out on the side of one of the gravel roads that ran along a small river or creek, and they had a fire going and their fishing lines in the water.  I thought that would be a nice way to relax and enjoy the day with friends and cook fresh fish!

Pee stops were tough due to a lot of open farmland, so I made the best of a deep ditch along side the road when there weren’t any cars coming or going.

As we neared the end, I decided to take a different route home for the last 7-8 miles and I wished I would have stayed with the group.  I was trying to get home to do a family bike ride, not realizing that my family had left for the other side of the state instead!

When I did arrive home and learned of this development, I almost decided to make it a century, but I decided against it!

I hope you enjoyed my 60 mile ride as much as I did, let me know about your last epic gravel adventure in the comments!


Friday night has been a night that I have reserved for rolling with my son on the BMX bikes at the indoor BMX track in Greenville, MI.

I feel as a mountain biker, we tend to lose that all out power from long rides on the bike.   My son started doing this BMX thing, and after about 4 or 5 months of watching him, I decided to get involved.

I was looking at getting a p3 pro instead of a BMX bike because I wanted the versatility of the p3.  But after looking at cost and what everyone else was using I decided on a BMX 24 inch Redline, which is kind of in between the p3 and a normal 20 inch BMX bike.  Here are the p3 pro and the redline mx24.

Now back to my point about losing power.  I started really thinking about how BMX could get the fast twitch muscle fibers working well again, and that was my second reason to get into it.  More power for hard hills, more power at the start, and more power for that needed sprint finish!  My first reason for doing it was obviously my son!   This has now led to my son and I getting the proper gear and number plates for racing.

For now, BMX has provided me with safe and fun interval training while at the same time, spending a good amount of time with my son in a way we both enjoy.  I don’t think I will get too serious about racing BMX myself…to be continued!

To learn more about BMX or see some action, watch the video!  Thanks for BMXing with us today, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube page!

Bike Path vs Road

On my ride today I was quickly reminded why the road is still far safer than riding a bike even at 12-15mph on the bike path.

I was only a mile and a half into my ride today when a car traveling the same direction as I was had to make a left turn.  If you really think about this situation, the car has to wait for oncoming traffic to clear before turning left, and he was crossing two lanes of traffic on a busy street to get to a parking lot.  I was traveling the same direction as he was so I was not clearly in his view as he was looking forward.  Luckily I was on the fat bike today and locked up both brakes and stopped pretty fast, not sure that would have been the case if I were traveling 20+mph on the gravel/road bike.

The guy was surprised and said sorry.

So I thought about this, if I would have been in the road on the proper side, I would have been in his view as he went by me, and would have not been in his path at all, hence a safer choice.

The bike path and sidewalk pose a lot of other problems and challenges for cyclists traveling over 15 mph, here are a few: root bumps (or other transitions that are uneven) in the path that would be like your car hitting a speed bump at 60 mph, cars pulling out of their driveways that do not have good visibility, children playing on the path create unpredictability, dogs on leashes on the path want to chase you and bit at your feet (not all dogs, but a lot), even people walking will move to the left if you say on your left, and at the same time they about have a heart attack, etc.  You can see these scenarios and others play out in your head!

Riding in the road is safer, riding gravel is even better, and riding on the singletrack is the best!  What are your thoughts, post in the comments!


Fish on the Beach

I promised the Georgia write up, but I have to wait until I get the videos done that go with it!  I am working on them, they just take time to edit and then upload!

Today the sun came out and the wind was only gusting up to 20 mph, sustained winds were around 12-15 mph, so this was a lot better than yesterday.  The sand on the Grand Haven beach south was premium for some reason, only one day from yesterday’s tough ride.  Before I hit the beach I rode the pier out to the first lighthouse, I could hide behind it and still be in the sun without the wind, it felt like 65 degrees!

I left the pier and hit the beach, there were a lot of seagulls all down the coastline and I soon realize they were eating a few dead fish that had washed up on shore, nothing like a free meal!  One of the fish was being consumed by this little guy, I was really impressed with his courage to let me ride right up next to him and stand there while he ate.

I still can’t believe how hard the sand was today, I went a little farther than I had planned.  I started with a warmup pace in my low Base Endurance zone (105-134 for me), and then tried to keep my heart rate in my high end Base Endurance zone (135-148 for me) for most of the ride with a spike above and below here and there.

I think people visiting the beach think I’m crazy riding in 33 degree weather near the water, I have gotten some pretty funny faces over the last couple of years!  I hope you enjoyed the pictures today, I enjoyed my ride, now go and enjoy yours!

Super Wind and Soft Sand

The combination of all the climbing, riding, driving, and lack of good sleep this past weekend still had me feeling a little run down today.  So I jumped back in bed for a little more sleep which was a good idea, I woke up ready to rock!

First I jumped into my strength routine in which I am using kettlebells for every exercise except the last exercise, kneeling opposites with fire hydrants. 2 sets of each exercise 14 reps. I also planned on getting in the massage chair but ran out of time if I wanted to get some work done and get a ride in before clients and kids.

I loaded up the fat bike and headed to Lake Michigan where I was expecting to see icebergs, but unfortunately they were all gone.  They provide shelter from the waves when the wind is strong, and they also allow you to ride close to the waters edge where the sand is more packed.

Today the wind was extremely strong along the open water, gusts seemed to be above 45 mph, strong enough combined with the soft sand, that I was riding below 4 mph into the wind.  It was suppose to be easy day with a few sets of 12 pedal sprints, the easy part was hard to do with all the wind and soft sand!

Even though the conditions were crazy today, with a mix of sun and snow, the beach was still beautiful and I was able to get my workout in and feel good about it even though I cut it short to allow for more recovery.   Hopefully you enjoyed my ride as much as I did, even with the conditions, it was way better to be outside!




I have been missing in action for a few days, and for good reason!  I just went on trip with about 25 guys down south to ride my MTB in the mountains!  I’ll talk about that more later, so be sure to look out for that post and links to YouTube videos of all the fun we had.

Yesterday, Sunday March 11th, a friend and I made our way back from a pretty good trip with a lot of riding.  That involves a lot of sitting.  That equals a lot of junk in the legs!

Today I decided to ride a local trail on the fat bike for recovery, very easy going, keeping the average heart rate below 125.  This was meant to keep the legs moving, and recover more while being active.

I felt good, the sun was out, there was a little snow on the ground, and the trail was riding nice!  I felt good, but could tell I should not push it, so I kept a slow pace and blasted my music over my JAM speaker!  After a little over 8 and a half miles I called it quits, later tonight I will try and get a little yoga in!

Thanks for checking in, hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

A Century

As many of you know that know me, I have struggled with 100 mile rides, my first two 100 mile rides being last year.

My first attempt was in February of 2017, I started off with a little bit of a stomach ache, and was way overdressed and overheated quickly.  I found that I was not consuming enough of anything and started to really feel the pain.  There were multiple times I wanted to stop and call for a ride, but somehow with the aid of Coke and a pickle, I was able to finish the ride.  When I arrived home I was unable to do anything, very sick feeling, dizzy, etc.  I had to have my daughter run up to the store for pickles, chocolate milk, and a Coke!  After about 20 minutes I was starting to come back and feel normal again. I don’t like feeling like I am going to pass out.

Fast forward a few months to June of 2017.  I had a few friends ask me to to this 100 mile race on a MTB called the Lumberjack.  10 miles and around 10,000 feet of climbing.  I immediately thought of the 100 mile ride I did in the spring and thought it was a bad idea, but I decided to try and train for it anyway. Long story short, I was doing really well in this race, on pace to break the 8 hour mark by a lot, when all of a sudden with about 10 miles to go I got a double leg cramp, one in each leg.  I told my friend I was riding with to go on without me.  I probably should have stopped trying to finish this race and found medical attention, but instead I pressed on for things to only get worse.  Just after I worked through the cramps by going slow I had to pee really bad.  Wow, that was the worst burning urine I have ever experienced, I never knew that you could pee razorblades! Somehow even after that I tried to ride my bike, but started to get dizzy, light headed, and sick to my stomach.  The feeling of passing out was right there and I had to manage myself to stay just under.  I walked my bike up hills, thankfully I could coast downhill and try for that sub 8 hour mark.  I eventually finished, and did so still getting under 8 hours, but I was in rough shape.  Way worse than the previous century, and I really thought I was going to die.  A nurse had brought over the smelly stuff to keep me conscious, and thankfully I had my wife and friends around who slowly brought me back to life.

I will get to the problem in a second.  I had packed a ton of food and drink, bought a bag to go on my bike that held plenty of food.  The problem I quickly found, I could not swallow food that I had to chew during a race, so yet again, I did not consume enough and had the biggest bonk of my life.  This was a huge learning lesson, and led me to think of what I could do to make it 100 miles and feel good the whole time.

The race footage:

Thankfully on Sunday March 4th 2018 I was able to test out my plan for making it.  For me it was really simple, while riding, and having dry mouth, I brought Ensure to consume which worked like magic.  Not only did it replenish, but it allowed me to continue to drink the sports drink and stay hydrated. Without the Ensure, my body would normally start to reject all the sports drink, so it was a great combo for me.   When we would stop for pee breaks I would eat a recovery bar with liquid, and we also stopped for a quick sweat potato fry snack to recover before finishing up.  Because of the liquid food, I was able to ride the whole 105 miles without any cramps, dizziness, or feeling sick to my stomach.  I also felt great the whole time.

I am hoping that if you have this problem, this solution will help you!  Thanks for reading today, maybe this will cut down on your learning curve!

Overtraining, a great overview.

Endurance athletes all over the planet in some way shape or form have either come close to overtraining or have dealt with it. I put together some great information that you can use to realize you are overtraining and what to do, how to come back from overtraining, and what to look out for so that you do not overtrain again.

In video one I talk about the signs of overtraining, do you have the signs?

In video two I tell you what to do if you are overtraining, hint, you can do quite a bit to speed up the process.

In video three I show you the road back to training and normalcy, and also what to pay attention to so that you avoid overtraining in the future.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay healthy during your season!

High Water Equals Fun on the Fat bike

Riding along the flooded Grand River today was more fun than expected! When the water is in areas that are normally dry, it brings the wildlife closer for viewing, and I ended up seeing some animals that I normally wouldn’t, I wish I would have strapped on my good camera like Rob Meendering does!

I didn’t ave any crashes or wipeouts so it would have been safe to bring it. I wonder if anyone makes a good biking camera bag that is easily accessible?

I made it over landscaping boulders to stay fresh on mountain biking skills and I tried a few soft snow piles with success. When I made my way close to the river I experienced some deep water riding that I was unsure of at first, but quickly realized that going through a foot of water on a fat bike is rather easy. I also explored some two track sections with mud pits that made it look like I crapped myself!

All in all, it was another good recovery ride!

I did notice something on the ride that was rather disturbing, plastic…plastic garbage everywhere, on the side of the road, floating down the river, washed up on shore. This makes me pretty sad that as a race we can’t do a better job of cleaning up after ourselves and recycling. Let’s be more mindful as a society in keeping our one earth clean for our future and the future of our children.

Get out and enjoy the weather and your bike, and hopefully you enjoyed my ride as much as I did!

Recovery Spin

Today I was scheduled to do a recovery spin for training, and I had thought about taking the cross bike out because the weather was beautiful! Sunny and 53 degrees! Instead I turned to the fat bike and I am glad I did!

I started away from the house and left the sub division and onto the bike path. As I made my way down I climbed landscaping boulders and rolled over small snow hills that are left over from winter…oh wait, it’s still winter! Anyway, I was having a great time on the bike, as recovery days should be. I made my way over the bridge that crosses a section of the lake I live by and proceeded to leave the bike path for pedestrians walking their dogs and themselves. Occasionally I would hit a nice rock garden that the fat bike would completely absorb.

Up ahead I notice a significant snow hill at the end of a parking lot, it was in the shade so I figured I would give it a go, and it ended up being awesome! I made it up two snow peaks and back down to the parking lot. As I approached the other end of the parking lot I noticed another snow pile, this time out in the open and in the sun, I inspected the back side to make sure there was not a big drop off. I still had a funny feeling about it but proceeded to gain speed on my second approach, this was steeper and I was going to need a little more speed to get over the top. Not doing the math, warmer temps, snow pile in the sun equals soft snow, I ended up sinking in near the top and going over the handlebars! I am sure a few people in their cars passing by got a great laugh!

I continued on to Lake Michigan and then on the way back home I found a new two track that was recently made and had some cool wooden planks in place to get over a marshy section. This was a great new experience, not sure I want to try and cross the railroad bridge over the river…

Hope you enjoyed my ride as much as I did!