Friday, December 31, 2010

ThE ThREE FiDdy Revisited...

I would like to claim that I was the very first to at least coin the phrase Tree Fiddy.

I was even going to make T shirts,m but there was no momentum.

BUT its important to rehash and recap what 3 fiddy is.

Its doing all the famous off road 50 milers that come at the start of the year in a row.

Now I would like to claim I was the first to do this, but I don't honestly know if I was.

BUT, I have done 3 fiddies every year for as long as I can remember. Sadly this will be the first year that I wont make them. I guess I don't see the financial investment worth it this year, not the Fitties fault because they are indeed fun and they are indeed great.

NOW whats the best Fitty in the state???

Well, the first one I ever did was Suwanee. I remember pedaling in the granny gear across the flat cause my legs were cracked. And it continued to be a challenge in the following years requiring even Naps to complete the rides. NOW, I smoke the trail on a geared bike and crush it on a fixie. This one has to be my personal favorite only cause of the fact that you get to sit 50 feet above the river and see some big rapids. Big for Florida of course. By far the coolest shirts are from this ride and the food is the best and they tend to have the cutest local chicks...LMAO...

I remember how I first heard about the Tour De Felasco. I was looking in Mountain Bike Magazine and read about this ride, it would be the first running and I was there. In fact I was there every year since and I never missed a one, this will be the first year I miss. It has the most climbing by far and some kick ass singletrack. The only issue with the Tour is that its almost always cold, but I still love this place, and its so much fun to clean all the climbs. The first couple of years I caught some of the worst cramps in my life out there. But I learned, I got stronger, and now Its a joy ride, even when its freezing. I liked it when their shirts perpetuated the conquistador theme and bones i.e. like the original shirt. Now they strayed away from that and I dont even wear last years shirt at all, it just hangs there.

Croom 50 went on for a long time before I got to experience it. And by far its the hardest of the 3 since its 99.9% singletrack and offers no place to venture off mentally and escape like you can do on forest road or on double track. This place requires 100% concentration. And contrary to popular mythology, this place is chock full of descents and ascents. Seems like there are barely any flats and it has some HUGE stuff way in the back that will blow your mind.. PLUS the folks from Swamp know how to put on a event, simply put, some of the most interesting sag stops from all three as well, although they did borrow the wine and cheese Idea from Ididaride. If you like to suffer and you want to make sure you can get registered into the ride, this one is by far the easiest to obtain a spot too out of the three. I like that they experiment with the swag. Sometimes they do a shirt, or socks or a mug, thats good, makes it different and I for one appreciate variety.

Now some rare few have obtained the sacred four fitty feat. And with that being said, the raddest fitty of the state is the Naked Indian ride. Why? Well its free and I made it up... email me cause its next weekend and if you wanna join you got to ask,

take care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DaNGeH WiLL RoBinSOn!!!

As a rider, one who ventures into the unknown and one who takes his kid with him into he unknown, its important to know when to realize that there is a significant opportunity for danger.

What is Danger when you are riding a bike?

Traffic of course should always be considered.

Course conditions, steep drops, technical terrain as well.

BUT weather can be the biggest danger of all. Hypothermia, heat Stroke can all affect core temperature and potentially cause a life threatening situation.

And When we set forth this past Saturday to add some singletrack to the the Huracan route we fully expected rain, around 12 pm to 2pm and instead got rain about 9 miles into the ride. With no sun in sight, no warmth for miles what do you do.

1. We assessed what we did have. Two strong riders one 11 year old boy, two equipped to handle the conditions, one in cotton save for his socks.
2. We made a plan.
3. I insulated my wool shirt with paper and asked Rob who had 27 gears at his disposal, and the stronger rider of us two to tow Kai back to the start. We called a ride abandon, we figured after wading across the river there was no way we could get dry and handle the cold without the appropriate gear. I was unprepared.
4. Execute plan. As Rob prepared the Tow rope with Kai, I took off setting the fastest 85% tempo I could muster. I gave clear instructions to the team to keep going even if they caught and passed me. "I told Rob, get him back there, and get him warm."

1 hour, soaking wet in the cold for Kailan was totally manageable. But anything longer than that could potentially cause a drop in body temperature and a risk for a serious 911 emergency. The decision we made was the right one.

Team Kai and Rob, were not able to pass me, which was good, so we stayed together till the end. And once back in the car I warmed him up with a thick blanket and we called the day early, both agreeing that during the hard effort that we just mustered, we did not feel any cold, and truthfully I was not cold, I rode my ass off to get back, and every time that Rob would pull up next to me I would stand up and pedal, just to mess with him a little. Hey, towing is hardwork and I would like some first person point of view recognition on how hard what I do with my boy is, LMFAO!!!!

Even though it was a plug pulled ride, the adventure was still in the ride... Read this carefully folks, if your ever trapped in this situation, make the right call.

Later on that day, after that gigantic blob of precipitation did its business across the state, the temps were right where they should have been, when we were supposed to be mapping, o well right....

You know what they say about Florida don't you.... If you don't like the weather... Wait ten minutes... It'll change...

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Saturday, December 18, 2010

HoW To TrAiN a DrAgOn

Two is the number of Florida State Champs that I have trained.

One was LIL NI who won the State Championship for the 6 to 8 year olds, even completing the season with a broken arm after a post ride accident in Tom Brown Park.

The Other was LIL'R NI in the 3 to 5 year old class.

Huge props to Dave Berger from Gone Riding dot com. Not only did he Literally give birth to the sport of competitive off road racing in the state, but, He helps families create memories that will last a lifetime and then some.

Recently I have decided that I wanted to give a gift to LIL'R NI. Give him the opportunity, if he so chooses, to become a singletrack samurai like his father. I am giving him the chance to enjoy and cherish the joy of off road cycling and touring and the special unique opportunities that it manifest for the participant.

I feel deep passion for the task of cycling. The whole reason I started single speeding and fixed gear shredding was to refine my skills. And I can tell that Kai Tai sees that. He asked me one day, when was he gonna start riding a fixie. I told him, soon enough.

We train Dragons in my house. AND the first epiteth of Dragon training requires a rider to prove mastery of one chainring and one cog before even bothering or attempting to master 18 or 27 or 30(goodness we are up to that many gears on a bike now arent we).

The ethos runs deep. The dedication unique. And I think Kai is learning to appreciate what his adventurous Daddy does for FUN. Like 200 plus miles over a Saturday and a Sunday.

SO it came to pass that another glorious weekend had reached its maturity and I didnt have any ride plans made so I decided Kai Tai Needed to go work on his tech skills. Afterall to be a true Singletrack Samurai you have to be able to ride anything, and comfort zones are meant to be explored and dominated all the while avoiding injury, cause injuries are not allowed.

The plan was to ride Santos, Edward, Kai and I, and work the yellows, then the blues and then some reds. Not a long ride, but a skills ride, a confidence building a ride, a ride to learn to find the flow.

And thats what we did, we had a lot of fun, I had to hold my breath in some moments as I would look over my shoulder and suggest to Kai that maybe he should dismount for the sake of safety, but NO, he was rolling some insane stuff that day. They both were. Edward caught the brunt of a couple of good NASCARESQUE crashes, which he shook off but definetely raised his awareness level.

Enjoy the clips!!!

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TraNsFLoRiDa TuRkEy TriP

(First and foremost, Huge apologies. This blog has become like a Flashback that you see in TV shows, so just imagine and enjoy flashing back to a couple of weeks back)

The dream was to take Kai and I across the state.
The Day before I thought it would be smart to start on the west and ride east, thus saving Edith less of a drive on Sunday to come and fetch us from the finish. Less of a drive to get home and begin the rest from the long journey.
So Impulsively I went with it.
That morning we were all packed up and loaded up. Chris Plesko, famos Single Speed Record holder for the Tour Divide, generously lent us a tent so that Kai and I could keep warm in the Florida chill we would surely contend with over the 3 day adventure. My plan was 65 miles or so a day. I figure, Kai might not be strong enough, but with a rope and some patience I was strong enough for two.
Talk about the mother of all Late starts. The day before that Faithful Friday was Turkey Day and ya know the deal with Turkey day, you celebrate, you eat, you drink and your merry. And we did all that.
So 1130 we roll to the Western most terminus of the soon to be famous Trans Florida Mountain Bike Route. Quickly the Bikes are strapped, Quickly we say our good byes, and my sweet Dear Friend Edita watches us pedal away with the plan to be, to see each other sometime on the east coast on Sunday.
I am blessed that LiL'R NI and I have such a Jovial and trusting relationship. As Soon as we Pull into the parking lot we could smell the salt air. The Terrain around here, was flat, but Rocky, Huge Limestone rocks abound, remnants of the attempt to cut Florida in Half.
We made quick time to the beach, we had to pedal out and back, somethign I dont necessarily like, but something that was totally necessary to get to the coast.
We documented the ceremony of the sacred wheel dips, Jovial as always, joking and making laughs, two videos and one pic later we are off.
The Plan was to two Kailan early so he could save his energy for the 28 or so miles of Santos singletrack that we had to deal with later in the day. Not cause LIL'r NI requested it, but because I was planning on strategy.
The towing was unexpectadly heavy. My legs were unexpectadly Brick like. I was unsure about why I was having to put in so much effort. Why it was so tough. Later I would find out why.
BUT, in the time being, I had no idea, and I figured it was lack of fitness or lack of pedal time or the stiff head wind that was constant in the direction. But Kai willingly agreed. We navigated the Technical Jeep Road that was finishing up that Florida Barge Canal Section when we got to the "sometimes Mandatory Hike a bike", we heard a siren. Now normally I would call this a " imminent bomb invasion alarm", and I explained what it was, and kept pushing on.
Some fence hops and head wind later, we were on a road heading east, watching an enormous storm cloud flanking us from the north. AND this sucker was big, both us impressed with its size.
I was concerned, I had not necessarily waterproofed my gear, I had not gone through the impressive pre care of bagging each and invdividual piece in left over wal mart bags how I usually do.
So I pedaled faster, hoping that along the way I would come upon a church or a shelter or something with a roof overhang that we could hide at. But as well time was an issue, we were already about 4 hours behind my manifest departure time, something in a way that I regretted, but in others I did not.
And as we turned from the last dirty section to the next dirty section, there it came the storm had caught us and started reminding us of its damp existance. I hung a quick right and found a tree to dive under quickly to make the adjustments to avoid soaking our clothes.
AND we got prepared and navigated the sandy road next to the railroad track. Pushed through the vanishing double track, then back onto Deltona Blvd (non paved sandy version of my east coast hometown), and eventually, got on the bikes to pedal again.
The most curious thing happens on the west coast of Florida. There is literally another version of my hometown, with identical road names, with more hills. Every downhill was a chance to rest, I could feel the work I was demanding from my body, I was tired, so tired, but we had to keep going.
Before long, the up and down road gave way to a convenience store, where I stocke up on candy bars and batteries. The day was getting late, and I knew for sure that darkness would catch us along the Santos segment of the greenway.
We stopped at Stumpknockers to feast and refuel, had plenty of laughs and good food and filled up on water, before we took off, still with daylight, heading towards the Haltapa Hell track.

LILR NI: " Papa, why do they call it the Helltrack"
ME: " Well, Kailehr, most of the time, its way more hellacious then what your riding now".
AS Lucky as LiL'r NI is, it was not that bad, good easy riding.
Kai proclaimed as we crossed Haltapa, how it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere, and it was true, we were.
As darkness encroached to set a new standard for the day, we made it to Pruitt Memorial. I never ride just by it, I always stop to check it out. I mean,where else in Florida can you find a spot with HUGE boulders arranged in a stone henge like pattern. I cant think of many so I never pass it by, stopping to remember the pilot who died.
Kai Tai was cracked, wide open. I could tell that I was going to have to help him alot to get through to Santos. People were expecting us, but my partner and team mate were my priority, nothing else, so I let him rest till he was ready.
And even though there was no rush, he decided to get up. We went on to navigate 1/4 mile of dirty soft horseshoe poxed trail. As we pedaled along the old Limestone road, I told Kai my battle stories from being out that way so many times. The stories about the Boars, truthfully Kai's Fatigue was running deep and I was doing all I could to keep his mind off his tiredness.
Eventually we made 200, then made the start of the singletrack that would start our long awaited skinny trail journey into Santos. I engaged the Rope, there seemed to be so much climbing that I was bewildered. The good news was that Finally my body felt warmed up to the task, and the pain from earlier was gone.
We Got to the point on the Yellow where we cross 484, when Kai lost his front wheel in the sand, fell down, and I was yanked backwards off my bike, Ripping my Osprey Packs tow tab in the process.
No one got hurt, we crossed the road and got into the beginning of Nayl's and I had to put air into my rear tire which I suspected was out of Sacred Stans Goop. As I pumped air into the valve, my bike fell over, ripping the valve and forcing me to put in my only tube.
I made a quick change and set off to ride some seriously fun trail with Kai. It was exciting, for us both. Our faces were stretched from Huge endorphin fueled smiles as Kai was enamoured by the twisting, dropping and steep rising trail.
It was scary for me to see his bike disappear into a deep crevace, but then elation as He shot out the other side, no brakes, at times, losing control and overshooting the sharp turns.
But he was getting tired, and when we finally got out of Nayl's trail, Kai collapsed on the Limestone road, gasping for air, desperately trying to catch his breath, mixed a little bit with tears from frustration and exhaustion.
There was a clearly visible tug of war going on his little mind. He wanted to get to Santos that day, but he was so tired. I encouraged him to lay, encouraged him to rest, told him we could easily make camp there. But he wanted to keep going. I offered the rope, he declined. And we continued.
As we came close to the end and where almost at the Landbridge Trailhead parking lot. Kailan was panicked. He was out of breath and could not catch it, which was scaring him and causing him to panic and initiating a vicious cycle.
I was scared, but trying to stay strong for him. I thought he might of been having an Asthma attack although he had never been diagnosed with it. Donnie showed up and we both tried to calm him down so he could steady his breathing, but it wasn't stopping, and out of shear fear for my lil man's life I called 911.
After what seemed an eternity in time, the Ambulance pulled up. I admire the hard work that these men do, but sometimes their dismissive attitude is annoying.
"O he's moving Plenty of air" He proclaimed.
And he was right, but that was not stopping the gasping and panic stricken attack.
Donnie is a man of action and went on to the task of stashing the bikes. I grabbed our clothes and we rolled out, on our way to the hospital.
Minutes after being on the Ambulance, Kai was calm and breathing fine. And after filling out paper work we were now citizens of the waiting room.
I asked Kai if he was better. He said yes. I asked him if he wanted to see the doctor, He said No. So we left.
Why bother waiting...
Down the street we went, made our way to Duncan Dee to sip on some warm Coffee. Donnie came and got us quick and he invited us back to his home to rest and relax. We accepted of course, Donnie is the Salt of the Earth and a pretty bad ass cyclist as well.
After some conversation, we cleaned our legs a little, and fell asleep on Donnie's couches.
That next morning, we got up early and pedaled to Greenway Cycles. Kailan was done, sore, and tired, but still in good spirits. The trip was over early and not long after our arrival, Edith showed up to pick us up and take us back home.
You know everything happens for a reason. That next morning I woke up feeling sick as a dog, if we would have continued I probably would have had to pull the plug as I was so Ill that Sunday and so under the weather, the next couple of days proved to be a task as I had to deal with my illness and work, and do all the other things I have to do.
Since the ride I have practiced with Kai some techniques to avoid him having a hyper ventilation attack again. The plan is to prepare better for the ride, do a couple of more small overnighters before we go again. That first day was tough and those 65 miles proved to be hard and challenging on us both. Next time, we will make it across together.

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN