Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Well, hello. Long time, no talk. I don't have much time for this post, so I'll keep it short.

Life is going well, really well. Full-time work, school, weekend job, what more can a person ask for. My apologies for the lack of posts since last June, but to be honest, I've been keeping so busy, this blog completely slipped my mind. I would like to, and have every intention of getting back to it, but it may have to wait a bit longer.

I hope you all have been well, and would love to hear what's new. Until next time...

Friday, June 22, 2012

A time to reflect...

Hello everyone. My last post dealt with some forced time off due to a back injury I've been dealing with, and am still dealing with. Not much has changed, I'm waiting to see the experts in the Physical Medicine department, and unfortunately have to wait another four weeks to do so. I've been trying everything I know to help speed up the recovery process, but nothing seems to help. There was some relief and hope that things were healing when I began going back to the gym, riding the recumbent bike, and then doing some core work and stretching afterwards.

As soon as it started feeling better, of course I hopped on the bike and went for a ride. Not a hard ride, but two hours out on the road. Well, that was a case of two steps forward and five steps back! Needless to say, I've taken this whole week off thinking maybe the one thing I haven't tried, complete rest, minus going to work, might be the answer. That's not working so well, it even appears to be making things worse.

A couple of months ago, maybe a few months ago, (I'm not good at keeping track of time!), I posted on Facebook that "a change was gonna come", or something to that effect. I preface what I'm about to say with that so nobody thinks I'm making a hasty decision.

I've gone through many different phases of my life as we all have, different hobbies, interests, activities, etc. One thing that has remained constant in all of these different seasons of my life is that whatever it is I've chosen to do, I've always tried to be the best I can be at it, not the best at it, the best I can be. I've never been one to dabble in many different activities at once. I'm not a jack of all trades kind of guy, definitely more of a master of one.

For the last eleven years the activity I've chosen to do that with has been cycling. First as a somewhat recreational-type mountain bike, then a more serious, hardcore rider, then making the jump to the road when I realized my talents didn't lie in the arena of bike-handling which mountain biking requires, but more in being able to hammer hard and climb well for extended periods of time. The pavement just made sense.

I can say the last eleven years have been nothing short of incredible. Through all the various interests/hobbies in my life, cycling was by far the most pleasurable, I would say it surpassed being a hobby, it became more of a passion. I've never been involved with something that not only provided so much joy, but I can literally say the bike took me places I never would have discovered otherwise, and I'm not just talking about the thousands of different roads I've had the privilege to ride.

The people I've met, the friendships I've made, the places I've seen, all because of a two-wheeled machine, one that most of us have ridden at one point in our lives, and some of us fell in love with. All of this has enriched my life in so many ways, something I never could have imagined when I clipped in to my first pedal. But it's the friendships that I've come to appreciate and value the most.

Bikes are wonderful, but the people that share the same passion I did for them are even better. I can't begin to count how many interesting, kind, sincere people I've met through the last eleven years on the bike, but I can count how many I wouldn't want to meet again on just one hand. The world of cycling is safe and secure because of that, I have no worries that cycling will someday go by the wayside, it's not gonna happen.

Of course before any of us had a chance to meet, the reason we started riding in the first place was a somewhat selfish one. We probably started riding out of a sort of curiosity, or maybe a need to improve our health, or who knows, there's a variety of reasons, but those of us who became passionate with the feeling of riding down the roads, experiencing the freedom that a bike provides, kept coming back again and again for more. Who could blame us, there's very little in my opinion that compares to the experience of riding down a back country road...taking in the sounds, the smells, the sights, from the seat of a bike, nothing compares.

But...you knew that was coming didn't you! In case you didn't notice earlier, I did say "the same passion I did". I don't know what to call it, some may say the proverbial "mid-life crisis", but I really don't think that's it. As I mentioned earlier, each and every hobby/interest I've had in my life, (and I don't think I've had many, because each I've chosen to do has taken quite a chunk of time because of my desire to excel in whatever I do), has always come to an close at some point. Not because I was frustrated, had a bad experience, etc, but because I knew I was finished, I had reached the point that I deemed satisfying, and I was ready to move on to the next chapter of my life. Sure, I could continue on a different level, take it easier, not so serious, but after being on this rock for forty years I've come to know myself fairly well, and I'm not one who is OK with doing anything halfway. And the thought of getting "dropped" on what use to be an easy ride, or having to stop halfway up a great climb, doesn't sit well with me. If you haven't figured out where this post is going, don't worry I'm about to spell it out for you:)

Yes, I've decided to officially hang up my helmet. Easy now, I know there's some out there who may think I'm making a terrible decision, I haven't thought it through, you're crazy Matt! As with other hobbies/interests I've had in my life, when the time came to move on to a new chapter I just knew it, it's not something I can explain, it's more of a feeling, and it's a feeling of peace. I've been racking my brain lately, stressing out over missing so much training with this back injury, and it just dawned on me recently that there's really no need for that, because if I take a step back and look at how my racing calendar has progressed over the last four years, I've been racing less and less each year, not intentionally, it's just worked out that way. Because of this recent injury I've had some time to reflect, and really ask myself if I have it in me to put in all the necessary work it would take to get back to a level of fitness/form that I need to be at to enjoy riding, and the answer is simply...no. I have other things I want to do at this point in my life, and just don't have the time to do them all well.

I have so many things I've been wanting to do that being so involved and dedicated to cycling has kept me from, and don't get me wrong, I don't regret a second of time I've ever spent in the saddle, but the time has come to change my focus and dedication. I've been wanting to be a better husband, better uncle, better son, better son-in-law, a better businessman, better homeowner, the list goes on and on, and with this newly found time I hope to do that now. Most of the people I've met through cycling have well established careers, businesses, families, etc, things that have been on my mind more and more recently. I played my way through my twenties and thirties, the time when these same people were making their way with the careers, businesses, and families. I'm forty now, and even though I do believe it's never too late to begin most anything in life, there will be a point where it's going to be too late for me to establish those same things.

So, in conclusion, I don't plan on losing contact with the many great friends I've met on the bike throughout the years, in fact just the opposite. I will stay in touch, hoping to hear some great stories about everyone's adventures out on the road and in the races. Cycling in my humble opinion, is the greatest activity/sport out there and I'm always going to support it in whatever way I can. And I need to say thanks to North County Cycle Club for encouraging me to take a chance and give racing a try, some of the best experiences I've ever had. A big thanks to
San Diego Bicycle Club, some of the best friends I had on the road came from this excellent club. And a huge thanks to Bailey Bikes and John Bailey in particular. Always there, always supportive. I know I learned more about training and racing in the last three years riding for Bailey then I did in the first eight years of riding combined! And the biggest thanks of all to my wife and family who always encouraged my days on the bike. Their patience and understanding for all the hours I was out on the road, never once making me feel anything less then supported and loved, was truly a gift. I can't wait to pay it back!

So this isn't a goodbye letter, more of a progress report. So keep in touch, I'll do the same, always be safe out there, and above all...have fun! Until next time...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Hi Everyone. Well, once again I find myself in that place that every athlete, pro or amateur, dreads. Injured! About three months ago, I strained my lower right back while doing a big gear, low cadence workout on my trainer, and between racing and training, I haven't given it a chance to heal properly. Every morning I wake up, my back has been so stiff, I literally can't bend over to put my socks on! As most competitive athletes, I refused to take the necessary time off to let it heal, afraid to lose the fitness gains I had made through all the countless early morning intervals and long, hard weekend rides.

Well, this last weekend I found the straw that broke the proverbial camels back. I met a group of friends to ride to the summit of Mt. Baldy to watch the Tour of California. During the ride itself, as with all my training and racing rides, I didn't experience any pain, but later that night I paid dearly for my efforts. There was just no way I could get comfortable, the pain from my lower back and hips was just burning more then ever, and the next morning I could barely get out of bed! Enough was enough, it was time to face the fact that some forced time off was long overdue.

Needless to say, that's where I'm currently at. I'm taking a full week off the bike, which fortunately is timed perfectly for a work trip with my wife to Paso Robles this weekend. Although I'm really missing some saddle time, I'm really looking forward to this trip and some good solid bonding time with my best friend. You can never get enough of that.

As far as racing goes, I did cancel my registration for the State RR Championships, June 2nd. There's just not enough time to keep the fitness where it needs to be, and probably not enough time to let the back heal before that rolls around. The Death Valley Stage Race coming up June 23-24, is still on my calendar, but my back is going to determine whether or not I can make it. I have to keep my focus on the bigger picture, and the biggest race later in the year, the Everest Challenge.

That's all for now, I hope you're all well, until next time...

Monday, May 7, 2012


Hi everyone! My apologies for yet another long gap in between posts. I've been busier then I've been in a long time, and it's been all good. The new job has been going extremely well, and travel has worked its way in to my life. Since starting with Walz Caps at last year's Interbike, I've been to Las Vegas, Sedona, New York, Sacramento, heading up to Paso Robles later this month, and possibly Park City in July. As exciting as the travel has been, I'm still very much a "homebody". There really is no place like home!

The training & racing front has been going well. I haven't competed in as many races as I would have like to by now, by that's still largely a result of no longer racing crits, a decision I still have yet to regret. About two weeks ago my friend Rogelio and I headed up to Bakersfield to race in the Vlees Huis Ronde Road Race. An event that's only three years old, but one I've grown to love. The race went absolutely perfect, rode off the front of the peloton for the first 17-minutes, arrived at the first big climb of the day on the front, managed to stay with the leaders almost all the way through the first of two 30-mile laps, and then right as I made the u-turn to head back out for thirty more miles of fun, something slammed my intestines pretty severely. Needless to say, I'll keep this post G-rated, and conclude by saying I had to pull out of the race immediately and ride quickly to the nearest porta potty!

The good news is that I know my form is still there, and this particular course is what is going to be used for the State RR Championships this year, so having a preview was a good thing. This last Saturday I rode the Breathless Agony Century Ride, touted as the most difficult century ride in California. Needless to say, it lived up to its name! 114 miles, and 12,000ft of climbing, probably the toughest single day I've ever had on the bike. Not a race, but a great way to kick off the next 3-week training block.

Up next, the San Diego Century, followed by the State Championship Road Race, then the Death Valley Stage Race, Mt. Whitney Stage Race, then last but not least, the Everest Challenge! That's all for now, until next time...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Training away!

Hi All! How have you been? I don't have too much new to report. Things have pretty much been par for the course. Life has been going smoothly for he most part, and my training has been consistent, which in my opinion is the most important element of a good training program. I've always believed that it's far less important as to how you train, then it is to be consistent with whatever training/riding you're doing. I see too many riders out there who have the desire to train/ride, but don't stay consistent enough. That's a whole other story!

The next race on the calendar is the Vlees Huis Ronde Road Race, just outside of Bakersfield, CA, April 21st. This race is still very young, has only been held for the last two years, but it's extremely well organized, and the course is excellent. I have raced it both years, and my results have never been that great, but with my current level of fitness, I'm hoping for a better result this year. There has been a rumor floating around for the last year or so that the California State Road Race Championships were going to be moved to this course, a rumor that I was hoping had some truth to it. The State course that has been used in the past, which I did race once, in my opinion really wasn't a good track for a State Championship race. Of course this is a opinion from someone who like to climb.

To me, a good road race, should have enough climbing in it to to decisive. The old course had a climb in it, but it was followed by miles and miles of flat road, so even if you managed to break away on the climb, you were almost surely bound to get caught eventually on the flats.

Other then that I do have some work related travel this month. I'll be leaving for Cottonwood, AZ on the 12th for a two day MS Bike expo, and then leaving two weeks later for New York for the New Amsterdam Bike Show. Upon returning from that trip, I'll have about a week to prepare for the Breathless Agony Century. That should be a fun ride. Since it's not a race, my plan is to use it as a solid training ride, and the first 75 miles is timed, so I'll take a stab at it and see what I can do!

I hope you're all well, and keep it safe out there. Until next time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Late report

Hi Everyone! I must start by apologizing for my late race report from the Peninsula Cliff Climb. There, that's out of the way!

Once again, just like the morning of the Fiesta Island TT, the alarm went off waaay tooo early! The good thing is, now that I've been at this racing thing for some years now, the pre-race nerves aren't present near as much, and going to bed early and actually falling asleep the night before a race isn't hard at all anymore. That coupled with the knowledge that as long as you've been logging some decent sleep hours the nights leading up to the pre-race eve, you'll be fine race day, even on limited sleep.

I met my good friend Andy at the Park and Ride in Oceanside, and carpool we did up to Ranchos Palos Verdes. Instead of warming up on the trainer as I planned, we opted to actually ride the course, all the way up to the top of the climb. That was so much nicer then pedaling to go no where for an hour!

My goal coming in to this race was to set a new PR, last season I ran a 23:04.9, and the winner ran a 22 something, so I told myself I had to post in the 22's to have a chance at winning. The goal at the prior week's race down at Fiesta was to test myself for an FTP number, which just happened to result in a win, but this week the goal was to win, and also to see what kind of number I could establish for an FTP since the data from the Fiesta event was so off.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and off I went. I surged pretty hard out of the gate which is typical for most in a Time Trial. I looked down at the power meter and saw 600w's. Way too hard! I settled in to a pace that I figure I could maintain to the finish, attempting to average 320w's to the top. The legs and lungs were hurting at the pace, but I knew I could hold it.

Needless to say, 22:05.0 later, I crossed the finish line! The result...1st place with an average wattage of 324! Sweet!!! I was definitely pleased:)

The following week, last Saturday I competed in the UCLA RR, up in Pearblossom, almost the exact same track as the upcoming Devil's Punchbowl RR in April. That was my primary reason for going, to get reacquainted with the course before Punchbowl, and also to get back in a pack race. The goal...top 10, the result...29th out of 100. What did I learn? My legs are on fire. I was able to hang with the leaders up the climb, rounding the summit in about 20th, right where I wanted to be. What needs to be worked on? My descending skills. There's an old saying in the cycling world..."You can't win a race on a descent, but you can lose one". That's exactly what happened. I'm not saying I could of won the race per say, but with the legs I had, I could of finished with the lead group and maybe got that top 10 I was after. Oh well, time for reverse hill repeats:)

Next up, the Santiago Canyon TT on March 17th, followed the next week by the 2nd race in the Peninsula Cliff Climb TT series, where I must go back to defend!!!

Until next time...

Monday, February 6, 2012


Hi All! Well, Sunday has come and gone, and yesterday's 4:15 wake-up call was a brutal reminder of why I stopped racing the Fiesta Island TT Series! I know I'm whining, but hey, I don't get paid to race my bike, and the upside to that is I get to choose what events I want to enter:)

I kept the week fairly light coming in to Sunday, not wanting to overwork the legs, leave something in the tank for the 20k TT. This last Saturday was the Boulevard RR, and for the first time in the last five years I didn't race it. It felt a bit strange to be home Saturday and not out there. Boulevard was the first race I ever competed in, and it sort of became a tradition to race it every year since, even though I never place well out there. I almost drove out Saturday at the last second to compete in the 35+ category, (the only open category left), but I just kept reminding myself to stick to the new plan, focus on the events that I want to do well in, and don't deviate.

I rolled down to Fiesta Sunday morning with absolutely no intentions of competing, by that I mean I was going strictly to run the course to help establish my FTP, so I have a better idea of how I need to keep training throughout the year. If I placed well great, if not no biggie. One thing I knew, the race was going to hurt! I hadn't raced since July, and anyone who's raced knows that no matter how hard or intense you train, you just can't duplicate racing, and the intensity that brings.

I arrived at the island around 5:30, checked in at registration, parked, set up the trainer, and proceeded to warm-up. I was entered in a new category this year, the Merckx Category, that's road bikes only, no clip-on aerobars, no TT helmets, basically a straight road bike set up. I did have a goal in mind as far as the average wattage I wanted to hold, and was confident I may come close with how strong I've been riding.

My start time was 7:14:00, I rolled in to the start gate, the countdown begin, and off I went. I settled in to a nice hard pace, not too hard, but not too easy. I kept looking down at the power meter, and wasn't pleased at all with what I was seeing. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't able to put out the numbers I was expecting, numbers that I routinely put out on the trainer during my weekly intervals. Needless to say, I'm a bit confused about that and am seeking out some advice on why this is?

In the end, although I'm not too happy about my power numbers, and a little confused, I managed to place 1st, and win my first race of the year! A couple of friends that raced with me, Fiesta being their first ever TT, placed 5th and 6th, great showing for their first run on the "Island"!

Up next...the Peninsula Hill Climb TT up in Ranchos Palos Verdes. I did this event in January 2011 and really enjoyed it. A 6-mile uphill TT. I managed to place 2nd then, losing to an extremely strong rider who placed well all year in various other races. I'll let you know how it shakes down this year:)

I hope all is well with you, until next time...