Rambles from the middle of the pack. 

Stuff I Learned on My Drive Through the South

waffle house.jpg

A few observations from our 15 hour drive from Traverse City to Helen, Georgia. The journey was actuated by a Chrysler Minivan, and from my incredibly comfortable, heated, leather seat, I took in much of what the South has to offer. In short, the South offers a lot.

Waffle Houses. Holy shit. These people down here love Waffle House. Straight up. Every exit between Ohio and North Carolina had a sign for a Waffle House. Having never eaten at Waffle House, I can only assume it’s an establishment serving a range of incredibly healthy, organic foods providing a sense of connection and holistic nourishment for consumers.

Dollar General. Every town between Ohio and Georgia has at least one Dollar General. One can only assume the South is populated by people with a strong sense of thrift and value. Or, it’s possible these venues also double as community gathering places or civil government offices, such is their prevalence.

Southern Accents. I’m a happily married man. But I’m a sucker for a gal with a southern drawl. If Whitney, a redheaded barista at Starbucks in Kentucky, and I had met at a different time under different circumstances, who knows, you know?

Be on Your Game. There are some roads down here that are, in short, terrifying. There are no guardrails to stop you from plunging down forested cliffs into streams and rivers that would, without question, render rescue an effort in futility. I’m not great with heights, so I made a concerted effort to keep my eyes firmly on my toes as we traversed these death-defying byways.

It’s Gorgeous. Pretty much the whole drive south of Cincinnati is awesome. The topography is diverse, the hamlets dotting the route are rustic as shit, and there are things like farms, red barns, and houses up in the “holler” that make you feel like you’re in as much another time as another state.

More on our trip to Helen, Georgia after we get pedaling. Be sure to follow kolo tc on Instagram for more photos and the kolo tc blog for all of the cycling related content/shit/stuff.

Wes is on Instagram.

Podcasts to Listen to While Driving or Working or Whatever

 This is from a  Schlitz Beer  ad. 

This is from a Schlitz Beer ad. 

I drive for work. A lot. Roughly 6-10 hours per work week are spent behind the wheel of a car, driving at a rate of speed that would suggest I either have a woman about to give birth in the car or that I need to use the restroom rather urgently. The drives can be mind-numbingly boring, which makes long days in the car all the more exhausting. But the experienced traveling salesman knows there are no such things as long roads trips, just poor driving entertainment. Here are the podcasts that I've been listening to while traveling the last few months that have made even the longest of drives fly by. May they make your long drive to your spring break destinations be that much better, productive, and maybe even help you learn a thing or two. 

Hidden Brain with Shankar Vendantam is a podcast my wife and I first gave a shot while driving to the U.P. this past summer. It's consistently the most fascinating podcast out there, with a wide array of topics, guests, and insights that keep it fresh listen after listen. Topics can be super heavy, as was the case of a recent episode documenting decades of sexual harassment by contemporary American Playwright Israel Horowitz.  But episodes can also be light and even hilarious, as with the episode on modern slang. Check it out for yourself.

It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders is my go-to when I need some positivity and good vibes. You probably remember Sam as being the best part of the NPR Politics Podcast before, during, and after the 2016 Presidential election. It's Been a Minute put's Sam's positive attitude and easy-going attitude on full display, while still providing political interviews, culture news, and some awesome guests from various news outlets. Try Sam on for size here.

Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill is sort of the opposite of It's Been a Minute. It's pretty much always heavy with the latest political news and certainly pulls no punches when it comes to facing even the most complicated topics of the day head-on. If you're worried about political bias, and you should be, Intercepted is unique in that it really goes after every political party with equal parts criticism and sarcasm. The host, Jeremy Scahill, is one of the best interviewers in the game, and he's an expert at getting, well, experts on the various topics he's covering, rather than just political talking heads that make the rounds on the various cable outlets. Intercepted probably isn't for everyone, but it's certainly worth giving a try

I also love Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and I'll also sprinkle in The Art of Manliness from time to time. If you have any podcasts that I should add to my rotation, be sure to let me know.

Wes works for VP-Demand Creation Services and rides bikes for kolo tc. You should follow him on Instagram. Or don't. 

On Mindless Consumption

people with smartphones.png

Scrolling. Mindless scrolling. That's what I'm doing. I'm waiting at Belle Tire to get a tire replacement. I'm in my work inbox and I'm scrolling. What am I looking for? Nothing, really. I'm waiting for a new email to magically appear. Not a specific email, mind you. Anything will do. The dopamine rush that accompanies the blue dot and vibration of a new email happens whether it's a crucial email or spam addressed to someone names Nathalie. So I wait. Then go to Instagram. Then Gmail. Back to Outlook. Clicking for a digital high. 

I look up from my phone. Everyone else is staring down intently at their Apple, Samsung, or whatever mobile hardware they sport. The old lady next to me is reading a blog on how to get her dog to stop pissing in the house. I can tell because her TEXT IS HUGE, yet she's still got the phone two inches from her face. One guy is on Instagram. Someone else is on Facebook. But everyone, to a man, in the waiting room is on their phones. It's endemic. It's an issue. 

According to Nielson, the average American spends over 11 hours a day looking at a screen. Computer, smartphone, TV; almost half of our day is spent looking at a digital device. And smartphones are becoming an increasing contributor this, with the average consumer spending five hours a day on their phone. I'm the epitome of this mindless consumption. I work in spreadsheets, have meetings on Skype, check Instagram habitually. When the day is done, I close my laptop, only to get it back out again to binge on Netflix.

I'm of the modern era that can't defecate without checking a social media platform. We even piss with one hand and check football scores in the other. I can't tell you how many times I've been to restaurants and witnessed entire dates spent with both parties on their phones, the conversation consisting of grunts and head nods. In an age where we're as connected with the world around us as ever, we can't maintain eye contact, let alone carry a conversation, with the person across the table from us. I'm not advocating a mass exodus from social media, television, or from the World Wide Web. These mediums have the ability and opportunity to provide incredible value for consumers, business, relationships, and more. But we need to seriously examine how we use these tools. Meaningless, low-value content and mindless consumption is taking away time from our days and making us miserable.

Let's close our laptops, put our phones out of reach and live a little. Right after you finish this blog post, of course. 


Come Ride Bikes With Me!


January 1st. As your hangover subsides, you formulate your resolutions for 2018. If you have no objections, I'll venture a guess at what those may be: 1. Never drink again. (Ha!) 2. Lose weight. 3. Work less and play more. 4. Read Homer's The Iliad all the way through. 

Admirable goals, one and all. One of those resolutions is in my wheelhouse in which I mean to help you hold yourself accountable. Come ride bikes at Yen Yoga Fitness with me. Whether you take my classes or we ride together in other people's classes, let's work together to get fitter, healthier, and look better in our skinny jeans, taking it one class at a time. 

You can view the Yen Yoga class schedule (not just cycling classes) at Yen here. Your first class is $5, and you then get an unlimited month for just $40. One thing that's really cool is that with one membership, you get access to every single type of class out there - from cycling to HIIT classes, Yin yoga (stretching) to core strengthening classes and hot yoga. Any type of fitness you're looking for is available at one location. 

I teach Wednesday and Friday nights at 5:30, but I also take 4-5 cycling classes a week, plus 2-3 strength classes a week. If you want to try a class or two with me, just send me an email. I'd be happy to show you around the studio. There are so many great people there who go out of their way to make new people feel welcome. I hope to see you around in 2018!

Wes is a cycling instructor at Yen Yoga, as well as the lead singer in a Third Eye Blind tribute band. He also writes for kolo t.c. sometimes. You can follow Wes on Strava and Instagram


Chubby Buddies 2.0

 Photo credit: Atomic Toasters

Photo credit: Atomic Toasters

I roll out of bed and am immediately reminded of my deeds from that last few days. It's December 26th. That last three days have been a Hedonist's wet dream. Beer, hard cider, brownies, gingerbread cookies, cake, third and fourth helpings of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In summary, I fell off the healthy eating wagon into a pile of doughnuts.

After dropping 15 pounds last summer, I find myself living with a layer of blubber a sea lion would scoff at. I've been active, taking cycling classes, running, taking HIIT classes and whatnot. But if you're eating 4,000 calories a day, you can work out all you want and still gain a third or fourth chin. 

It's time. Chubby Buddies 2.0 is starting up. Weigh-ins are Mondays. If you don't want the world to know your name or your weight, just make those up and subtract the actual weight you lose from that number. Since I'm a bit selfish, we're going to run this through April 1 so I'm in shape before bike racing season. We'll have 3 months to get fit, feel better, and really cut a nice figure in our skinny jeans.

Sign Up Here

Wes is a sales guy for VP-DCS. He's also an extremely average amateur cyclist and the Euchre Player of the Year in 2017. Follow him on Instagram and Strava

New Season, New Challenges

 This is a picture I stole from the Internet. Sorry, Internet. 

This is a picture I stole from the Internet. Sorry, Internet. 

After Iceman, I usually feel down in the dumps. The bike racing season is over, and then if you needed a further kick in the teeth, it's super cold and it gets dark at 5pm. Yaaay. When you live in a frozen hellscape like Michigan, it's sort of a big deal to have something to look forward to during 6 months of darkness and cold. My XC skiing friends are stoked, but I can't really afford another hobby that involves carbon anything, so it's a bit of a scramble to find something to look forward to, keep myself active, and burn off my cookie-a-day addiction. 

This year, I'm going to focus on being a joggist. Runner? Whatever they're called. People who run around in the snow and the cold and the dark - for fun. This past summer, I really got into running, and I'm excited to get back to it. There are a lot of benefits to waddling (my version of running) and it's a great change-up to cycling. Here's why I like running. Jogging. Waddling. Whatever it is I do in my Nikes.

1. It Doesn't Take Up Much Time

In peak cycling season, I need 90 minutes to get tired out, even if I'm really putting down the watts. Not so with running. Even when I'm in really good running shape, I can do a 45-minute run and be absolutely wiped out. I burn almost the same amount of calories running in half the time of cycling, so it's a good ROI (business jargon!) especially when the days are short. 

2. It's Cheap

A pair of $60 shoes will last you 6 months. And that's it. No tune-ups, no flat tires, no carbon upgrades. If you really want to get competitive - and you should - most races are like $35 and go to charity. There's something really cool (and humbling) about trying something new, getting your butt kicked, and learning that these joggists (waddlers - is that what we're going with?) are extremely dedicated to what they do. As much or more so, one will realize, as us cyclists are about riding our bikes. Props, you runnists. 

To keep you motivated (you can substitute "motivated" with "accountable" if you wish) you should sign up for a race. I recommend the Farmland 5K. It's a 5K run, and you can also do a 12-mile bike ride to boost your ego after getting whooped in the run by the 5th-grade girls track team from every elementary school in town. 

3. It's Easy to Get Fast When You're So Slow to Start With

My first run this winter was 3.5 miles and I ran an average of 8:20 miles. When I was an obese 3rd grader, I think I could have beaten that pace. But what I love about running is that I'm so terrible when I start the season, I can quickly go from a complete laughing stock to almost decent in just a few weeks. In cycling, I have to wait for months to shave 30 seconds off my SOL time - the conditions have to be right, I have to weigh the right amount and get in the right group to make it happen, too. With running, I'll take a full minute off my average mile time and it'll take like 2 weeks to get there - I'm basically Forest Gump in less than a month! 

If you live in TC and want to run, jog, or waddle with me, just send me an email. It might be slow. It might be ugly. But it's better than sitting on the couch. 

And just remember. It's only a few months until it's bike time again. 

Wes Sovis is an Emmy Award nominee and 3-time National League Rookie of the year. Follow him on Insta or Strava. Don't add him on Facebook. You won't like what happens if you try. 

A Massive Iceman Hangover

 Some Pro dudes. Flying. Living. Learning.

Some Pro dudes. Flying. Living. Learning.

After months of anticipation, Iceman 2017 has quickly come and gone. The Super Bowl of the cycling season has a tendency to go by in a flash, leaving participants waking up on Sunday morning wondering what to look forward to next. Thanksgiving? Meh. Christmas? No thanks - too many in-laws. So, the countdown to Barry-Roubaix begins with only a few hundred days to go.


So with ample time on our hands, it's worth thinking about what a special day in the woods this Iceman was. Riders and fans alike largely avoided the deluge that was forecasted for the entire week prior to the race. The worst of the weather came in the form of big, fluffy snowflakes coming down as the early morning waves took flight towards TC. If you use the term "fluffy" to describe weather for Iceman, you got off pretty damn easy, if you ask me. 

From my position at the back of Wave 2, I saw a few hundred people in front of me and a few hundred more behind as we shivered and waited on the start line. To get some idea of the massive scale at which this race is run, just think that every three minutes, for almost four hours, over 100 people per wave took off from Kalkaska. You don't see 4,500 riders all summer, let alone all in one place at one time. It's really something special to be part of. 

As you may have heard, my own race got off to a rough start on Friday night. While messing around, getting #SICK air, I may have got a landing wrong. May have crashed. And it certainly was hilarious to watch. Obviously, going into Iceman with bruised or broken ribs isn't ideal preparation. I had texted Cody Friday night saying I wasn't racing - the pain was way too much to lay on my back, let alone race a bike. In true brotherly fashion, Cody encouraged me ("Don't be a wuss. You'd better race tomorrow") to at least start the race to see how it went. 

I lined up at the back of Wave 2, not wanting to get in anyone's way in case the pain was too much. But once I got going and my blood started moving, not to mention all the adrenaline in my veins, I actually didn't feel terrible. Sure, it hurt to breathe, and each bump was like getting kicked in the side, but I actually could block out the pain once we were underway. I also had a really relaxed start due to being towards the back of the wave, which meant I didn't go into the red the entire first half of the race. That really helped me cross Williamsburg road feeling stronger than in any previous editions of the race. Somehow, I came home 3rd in my age group and 137th overall. I didn't stay for my moment of glory on the podium because the finishing times were goofed up and I thought I was in 8th, plus I ran out of adrenaline and the pain in my ribs was becoming unbearable. Anyway, the check and medal are in the mail, so as soon as that $90 check hits, I'll give my boss my notice and turn Pro for real. (Seriously. Thanks for the money, Iceman!)

 Me and my #BOI Tim Botrell

Me and my #BOI Tim Botrell

The best part of the race is seeing people kick butt, or even seeing them at all. It was really cool to see Andrew Shafer out there, who hasn't been able to ride much the last few months because life is super busy with kids and work. Quinn Raftery has worked his tail off at Brockmiller, lost 30lbs, and rocked his first Iceman in under 3 hours. Two of my Yen Cycling All-Stars also had killer rides - Amy Coneset was 10th in her age group and Neil Vajda was 12th among the almost 40-year-olds. Also, so cool to see "Little" Timmy Coffey rock the Pro race and Keegan "Goat Boy" Korienek take the Juniors race. Those kids, as well as the over 60 Norte Youth Cycling kids who raced on Saturday, are what it's all about. Let's make sure those kids and more are still doing this "bike riding" thing for the next 29 Icemans, okay?

Until Farmland 5K, I'll probably see you on the trainers. I might try going for a run. I hear that's so hot right now. Thanks for making Iceman 2017 such a blast, all. Let's do it again next year.

Wes is a middling cyclist with a sales hobby that takes up 40+ hours a week and pays his bills. Most of them. He's sponsored by Breakaway Cafe & Coffee Bar, located on the #EASTSIDE of TC. Follow him on Insta or whatever. 





How to Iceman - A Few Tips for Your Best Race

 Todd Vigland Get Clicks, Y'all

Todd Vigland Get Clicks, Y'all

Iceman 2017

Iceman is a big effin' deal. On Saturday, over 4,000 people will line up in Kalkaska, including former Olympians, national champions, and tons people who have less than 4% body fat. But, if we're honest, the number of elite riders is dwarfed by the vast majority of the field. Most of the racers will be like you and me; weekend warriors with full-time jobs and a commitment to show up to work on Monday no matter how well or how poorly we do. With these people in mind, here are a few tips for the weekend warriors who will be taking on their first Iceman. 

This is What You Have, For Better or Worse

There's no such thing as cramming before a bike race. You're as fit as you're going to be for the race; doing an Out and Back on Wednesday isn't going to prepare you for Saturday. Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) your fitness ain't going to change the week of the race. Keep your legs moving, taper a bit, and don't try to get 3-month's training between now and Saturday. You're better off getting in a few efforts in your legs, resting, and eating healthy. It is what it is, as the Laziest Philosopher Ever once said. 

Not the Time to Experiment

The day before the race is not an ideal time to try anything new. Seriously. Don't try to go tubeless, don't adjust your seat height, don't fuss over getting new shoes. You'd be shocked at just how badly you can mess up your back, your knees, or your race by making last-minute equipment changes. In the words of Don Marsh, just run what you brung and make the most of it.

The same goes for food and beverage before and during the race. If you don't normally eat five plates of chicken alfredo the day before a race or big ride, the day before Iceman isn't the day to see how it goes. Nor is it the time to see how your stomach reacts to a new energy gel, bar, or drink. Iceman is a tough enough race as it is; you don't need to make it all the more challenging by riding with your cheeks clenched for 29 miles as you find out that your body really doesn't like Gu. Eat and drink what you always do before and during rides; go with what's worked in the past. 

You'll Catch More Flies with Honey

First off, what a dumb expression, right? Who wants to catch flies? Anyway, I'm talking about how to interact with your fellow competitors. If you want an easier time passing, you're far more likely to get some cooperation by giving someone encouragement and asking politely than simply yelling "MOVE YOUR ASS!" to the person ahead of you in the conga-line. And be smart about when you ask. If you had three miles of two-track to make your move around someone and you ask the second you get into singletrack, sorry, but you messed up. 

If someone wants to get by you, play the game. It's a long race. Let them by. Sit on their wheel. They're more likely to let you pass later in the race if you obliged them earlier. In bike racing, karma is very real. Be nice, be positive, and it'll be on your side. 

It's a Head Game, Man

You can do a million pre-rides. You can study every Strava segment. You can watch onboard videos from last year's race. But when it really comes down to it, a lot of your race is going to come down to how you feel on race day. If you've been riding, eating right, and you've taken care of your bike, you're going to be fine. Just relax. The secret to a fast Iceman is as much in your head as it is in your legs. Be positive, even if your start is less than ideal. It's a 30-mile bike race, so don't get down if you crash, get dropped, or if you're hung up behind traffic. Fitness and a good attitude always shines through in the end. 

It's a celebration of bikes, active lifestyles, and grown adults wearing Spandex in the woods. Don't make it anything more than that. Enjoy it, have some fun, and we'll see you at the finish.  

Wes Sovis is best known for his work as Cody's brother. You can follow him on Instagram. But we don't recommend it. 


The #YOUTHS Shine at Peak to Peak 2017

kid kicking ass.JPG

The Best Part of the Day

The highlight of my race came at the base of the ascent of the Crystal climb at the end of the first lap of 2017 Peak to Peak Mountain Bike Challenge. After a dropped chain 3 miles in forced me to chase back to the front group, and then a split in the lead group saw me on the front again bridging up to the top 10. On my wheel were two of TC's brightest #YOUTHS, Ryan Miller and Garret Jenema.

Just before we reached the base of the climb, Garrett shot ahead to the front group, tacking onto the back of the lead group of our 16-34-year-olds class. I lumbered up to his wheel right before the climb began in earnest. With a quick turn behind to see me on his wheel, Garrett smiled and gave me a thumbs up, his youthful enthusiasm on full display.

Here I am, heart rate absolutely pinned. Legs are being filled with lactic acid to the point of bursting, and this kid is only getting more fired up at the prospect of hitting this Category 4 climb - the first of three difficult ascents on today's menu. I was so excited to see him, and then Ryan, positively floating up that climb, surrounded by some of the best riders in the Midwest.

The Kids are Alright

 It really was a coming out party of sorts for lots of #YOUTHS on Saturday. Crowds lining the Crystal Climb for the morning races saw Kyan Olshove reaching the top of the formidable hill at nearly the twice the speed of his fellow competitors. Not far behind, the diminutive and orange-clad figure of Carter Schmidt put on an equal display of power and finesse. Hayden Fox of Kona/Central District Cyclery was busy putting on a show of his own on the descents, surely making his parents nervous in the process. Will Unger, of Norte fame, has gone from a kid who struggled on even shorter rides to coming home with a third place, a transformation over the course of just one year that made his parents so proud. And the rest of us very, very impressed.



Who Run the World? Girls. Specifically, These Ones

It's not all about the boys though. Maddy Frank from Freewheeler and Emma Schwab of Hagerty Cycling having been putting the Expert Women class on notice for some time now, and announced their presence with podium finishes behind a very strong Angela Webster. It won't be long until these girls are in the fight with Kaitlyn Patterson, Susan Vigland, Lauria Brockmiller and the rest of the top tier of Michigan cycling. The speed and stamina these kids have at such a young age is so impressive - just think what power these girls will have in their legs by the time they graduate from high school!

Thanks, Big People

As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a kid. Here in Traverse City, we're so lucky to have Norte Youth Cycling, guided by Ty and Johanna Schmidt, an incredible Board of Directors, and a small army of volunteers to help plan and execute rides multiple times per week. People like Bill Unger, Pete Worden, Chad and Heather Jordan, Anne Schwartz, and so many others donate seemingly limitless amounts of time and energy to make sure these kids can get out to do what they love in a safe and positive environment. 

Down in Grand Rapids, Danielle Musto's Dirt Dawgs is working equally as hard to get kids on bikes. Eric Wolting has been coaching kids all summer, sacrificing a lot of time in an already packed schedule to encourage and support the next generation of riders. It's so exciting to see these kids, smiles plastered on their faces, at group rides and races all summer long. 

From the entire cycling community, thank you to the Big People who do so much for the #YOUTHS.

What's Next?

With 75 degree weather and sunshine, this Peak to Peak was something special. But it was the sight of so many happy, healthy, active kids on bikes that made the biggest impression on everyone in attendance. Look for more of the same at Iceman in just two weeks!

Wes Sovis is a Professional Magician and part-time Business Development Manager. He writes stuff and people pay him with food sometimes, too. Follow him on Instagram. Or don't. Doesn't matter. 

Can Bikes Be Art? Two Companies Creating Two-Wheeled Masterpieces

Bikes + Creativity = Art

At the very basic level, a bicycle isn't art. It's supposed to be a tool; a method of transportation that should be engineered in such a way to convey its rider from Point A to Point B. Any additional paint added to this equation is simply marketing to make one bicycle more attractive than the next. 

But there are two companies who are proving that bicycles can be canvases in and of themselves. As cyclists, you'll likely get a bigger kick out of bike frame with monkeys on it than some painting from 200 years ago by some dead guy. If you ask me, these two companies can give that Vince Van Gough dude a run for his money any day of the week and not cut their ears off in the process. 

Quiring Cycles

 PC: Quiring Cycles

PC: Quiring Cycles

If you're from Michigan, you've certainly heard of Scott Quiring. Scott has been racing bikes forever (1987, to be exact. Before I was born) and is a damn good bike rider. Despite his success, his creations usually upstage him at races. Scott's hand-built steel, stainless steel, and titanium frames are instantly recognizable under riders around the state and the Midwest. While sometimes customers opt for simplicity in a naked steel or titanium finish, nothing is cooler than when Scott has the freedom to exercise his considerable creative skills. 

 PC: Quiring Cycling

PC: Quiring Cycling

Scott can really do it all, too. Hardtails are a breeze for him, but the guy can also do fat bikes, tandems, tandem fat bikes (yeah, I know, totally awesome), and even full suspension. 

 PC: Quiring Cycles

PC: Quiring Cycles

If you want to drool over Scott's latest creations, be sure to follow them on Facebook. They do a great job updating pictures of their latest rigs, and each new bike is so unique that you'll find yourself designing the paint scheme on your own rig while lost in an envious haze. 

Scott works out of Freesoil, MI, and his phone number is (231) 464-5611 if you want to chat bikes or maybe order him a pizza or something. 

Squid Bikes

CX fans will know all about Squid Bikes. Most CX racers have their perfectly ordered kits and plain, mass-produced bikes, and then a Squid rider comes into the picture and it looks as if a punk rocker busted his way on the course and started kicking everyone's ass while covered in tats while riding a bike with popsicles on it. No, I'm not shitting you. Popsicles. See? Told you.

 PC: Squid Bikes

PC: Squid Bikes

If you're not impressed yet, then you should know they're doing this stuff with spray paint. They use, a paint designed exclusively for painting steel, titanium, carbon, and other bike frame materials. The designs these folks can do with just stencils and spray paint are just insane. 

 PC: Squid Bikes

PC: Squid Bikes

If you're like me, you could look at frames like these all day. So, be sure to follow Squid Bikes on Instagram to see more frames and get some tips on how you can #DIYFS (Do It Your F**cking Self - so clever!) to make your bike your own. 

Wes Sovis is a below average cyclist and above average therapist for those living with Post Traumatic Sloth Attack Syndrome. You can see his pictures of cats on Instagram. Do not friend him on Facebook because people instantly get annoying on Facebook and we don't want our friendship ruined before it has time to blossom.

My Worst Peak to Peak (And Why You Should Think About What You Eat)


One Shitty Peak to Peak

For the record, I've had many positive experiences at Peak to Peak over the years. Even when the weather is terrible, you still get incredible views from the top of the ski hill once you crest the backside climb. The venue itself, Crystal Mountain, is an absolute gem of a resort in the Midwest, so anytime I get to go hang out there, I do. The course is fast and fun, plus, you know, there's beer.

But I did have one bad race at P2P, albeit had nothing to do with the venue or the race organization. It had everything to do with something called Magic Shapes.

Don't Eat Magic Shapes

At 25, nutrition doesn't really factor into a lot of your culinary decisions. At least, it didn't for me. I went through college eating turkeys sandwiches, PB&J toast, and cheese sticks as the basis of my diet. I had zero issues pounding three bowls of Fruity Pebbles and then doing a two-hour ride, followed by two or three or six beers with friends to follow. I'd wake up the next day and do it again. No issues.

But at 26, that started to change. I'd get an irritable gut every so often during a ride or a run. Not terribly frequent, but it did happen at a frequency where I began to consider my food intake prior to rides. I did a lot of thinking about the issue, but didn't actually change anything. You know. Because I was 26.

My moment of bowel-movement induced catharsis came at Peak to Peak that year.

The Race to the Lodge

I knew in warm-ups that something wasn't quite right. I had eaten Magic Shapes, which is the generic version of Lucky Charms, for breakfast because I thought it was quite thrifty to not pay extra for brand names. Still feel the same way about that. But at the time, it had caused me to feel queasy. Not nauseous. Just a little off. By halfway through the first lap, I know something horrible was happening inside me. I was riding with some of the Elite women and I was pretty sure they could see my face going red with embarrassment. I had arrived at a very inconvenient truth; my race today had nothing to do with the rest of the participants. My future dignity hinged entirely on my ability to make it back to the lodge at Crystal before my Spandex became as equally unenviable a place to be as North Korea.

Somehow, following a death-defying descent of the ski hill to the finish, I made it to the lodge in time to avoid an extremely embarrassing episode. Relieved, in more ways than one, I vowed to take a larger interest in the food I eat. It's been a long period of transformation, but a few cookies here and there aside, I've come leaps and bounds from my days of Magic Shapes and Fruity Pebbles.

Some Resources to Check Out

I'm way into blogs, and I've found a few good ones that I check out from time to time for motivation more than anything else.  has some really cool recipes, as well as excellently-written blog posts about competing at the highest-levels in triathlon.

The whole vegan thing has become more interesting to me recently, too. Tim Coffey is a believer, and so is Ryan Kennedy. Ryan is having a vegan meeting about going vegan that I'm going to try to make it to next week.

I guess I'm saying you are what you eat, so don't eat stuff that induces emergency bathroom visits.

Summer Bike Riding - 2017

The summer that was. From riding with the Norte kids to Ron's Ride to the start of Out and Back season, it's been one hell of a year for riding bikes in TC and around Michigan. Thanks for letting me ride with y'all and waiting up for me. Much appreciated. 

More low-quality pictures can be viewed on my Instagram.

Racing Bikes is All About Losing

 Getting beat. Badly. But having fun.

Getting beat. Badly. But having fun.

I haven't won a bike race in six years. It's unlikely that I'll win one anytime soon, too. I train hard, (sort of) watch what I eat, and strive to be a faster bike rider in every other conceivable way. Even with all that time, money, and effort, my quest for victory remains Quixotic. 

And I'm far from alone. 99% of the people at a bike race lose. And by lose, I mean get beat by one guy or gal who takes the top step of the podium. In a society best summed up by a quote from a contemporary American philosopher, "If you ain't first, you're last." -Ricky Bobby. It's difficult to understand by anyone want to go pay good money to, in all likelihood, get beat. 

So, why race at all? For me, it's about the process. It's about trying to lose a few extra pounds, take 10 seconds off a Strava segment, or keep up with another cyclist who usually kicks seven shades of shit out of me. Adding a race in there is extra motivation to get out to ride, push yourself, and set a new goal. If it was about winning, I'd undoubtedly fail. Every single race. But since it's more about racing myself, I can be satisfied with how I've improved, or in a worst case, how I came up short.  

The key here is to not let a fear of losing keep you from racing. There's always going to be someone faster than you. Even if you master the Expert class, moving up to Elite guarantees you get whipped at least a few times before you triumph. And if you start winning the Elite classes here in Northern Michigan, go race a WORS event and be prepared to get humbled. Instead of focusing on winning, or even podiums, focus on the work that will make you a faster rider. Not even a faster rider compared to others, but rather a faster rider compared to your past self.  

Let's Do This Damn Thing: Fall 2017

 Cherry Roubaix 2017

Cherry Roubaix 2017

It's been a long time since I've written. That's down to one unavoidable character trait, I supposed. Laziness. Just general laziness. Sorry about that. I'm working on it.


I've also changed jobs mid-summer, and it took a little while to get my feet underneath me again after that transpired. All is well at VP Associations and I'm pumped to be back with the company and doing what I do best - calling people and buying them lunches. 


It's been a great summer for bike riding, too. I lined up for Cherry-Roubaix, despite not riding a road bike but for a handful of times all summer. It was a grueling day, but it was an absolute thrill to see a few hundred Lycra-clad goombas pedal down Front St. on a beautiful August day. That's a race I'll always do, whether I'm fit or not, because it's one of those events that you talk about for weeks after. The other event of such a high caliber being, as you'd imagine, taking place on dirt in November. 

What's Next

But before we talk about Iceman, there are two races that I'm really looking forward to. The first is the Bear Claw Epic. It was the race that got me decidedly more motivated to race bikes again last year, and that was due to it being one of the most fun races I've ever been part of. No, not in 2016. It was one of the best races I've ever done. Ever. Full stop. It's expertly ran, the money goes to benefit the Cadillac Pathway, and the course itself is ideally suited to racing. Fast, fun, with ample room to pass, the Bear Claw Epic course is one of the best places to pedal a bicycle in anger. 

Next up, I'll be taking on Peak to Peak, one of the Fall Classics that the dingleberry over at kolo tc goes on about. It's usually mentioned as a great warm up race for Iceman, but the competition and the course are more than worthy of being a prime motivator in one's fall race campaign in and of themselves. Most of the Experts and Elites will need 2:15 or more to finish the race, which makes it longer than Iceman in duration. Also, the ascent of the ski hill makes it an inherently dynamic race, which is in stark contrast to the attrition and luck based virtues of Iceman Cometh. 

Of course, the big daddy of fall is the Iceman Cometh. Over 4,000 people. Completely unpredictable weather. Fitness levels all over the place due to weather and the waning of summer's light. It's the race that keeps on our bikes and on our indoor trainers through September and October, and it's the race that means so much to so many. I'm aiming for my best Iceman ever (aren't we all?) this year and it's been this race that has been in my mind since, well, Iceman 2016. Every cookie, every beer consumed over the last year will be cursed and questioned once Iceman roles around. If only I had ridden more miles, if only I had watched my diet - the ifs, ands, or buts gel with the coulda, wouldas, and shouldas, that form the unquietable doubts in the minds of every rider on the start line. 

Let's Do This

#OperationThighGap2.0 commenced today in the hopes of reaching my ideal race weight in time for Peak to Peak. For me, this is the peak of the season and, for once, I want to be prepared like I used to be back in the proverbial day. Cody said on our ride today that I'm soft, like a puffed-pastry filled with custard. I hate custard-filled pastries, and I despise being compared both physically and mentally to one. Simply put, it's on. Autumnal amateur bike racing will never witness a transformation quite like that which is about to transpire. I shall enter my cacoon of training a chubby, soft cyclist and emerge a hardened, indomitable god of shaved legs and svelte physique. 

happy trails.

Spring Blog Update

I know you were all at home, wringing your hands with worry that I hadn't blogged in a few weeks. To all three of you reading this, I am indeed alive and well. I wanted to let you all know what I've been up to, as well as what I'm looking forward to over the next few weeks. To the one person still reading this, thanks. You're the best, Mom.

Diet Stuff

I'm down to 171! I have been eating slightly better, but the big change is when I don't drink beer. Delicious, wonderful beer. It's been tough, but a week without beer and I drop two pounds without changing anything else.

Race Stuff

Barry-Roubaix was miserable. Cold, rainy, muddy and just an overall challenge for the mind - more so even than it was for the body. I was signed up for the 62-mile, but I bailed and rode back on the 36-mile course. I was frozen, couldn't see a damn thing, and wished I had just hung out at the cafe in downtown Hastings. They had killer cookies. After the race, while warming up on Tyler Kuenig's sweet van (#vanlife), I wasn't overly disappointed about pulling the plug. I climbed really well, which has always been my Achilles heel, so I figured I was ahead of the curve. Next up is Mud, Sweat and Beers in TC in early May. I should be going pretty well by then. As long as I can stay away from the beer.

After MSB, I'm signed up for the 100-miler at the Bike Benzie Grand Fondo. It's one of my favorite rides that I did last year. The course is beautiful, challenging, and it's for a great cause. If you haven't done this one yet, you really need to. Whether you race it or cruise, you're sure to have an incredible morning in Benzie County. 

Life Stuff

I teach indoor cycling at Yen  Yoga & Fitness and once a month we've done a FUNdraising class. So far, we've raised money for Food Rescue, Safe Harbor, Norte!, the NMC Foundation and a few others. It's been so cool to organize and help get the word out about these awesome groups. If I could just ride my bike and raise money for a living, I would. It's a blast. 

Sponsor Stuff

I'm riding for Kolo t.c. this year, a blog that Cody does, and me and Brian Beckwith help out with when we can. We get jerseys at cost, which is about as good of a team deal as a perennial mid-pack amateur could ever hope for, so I'm pretty stoked to fly the colors. I also have a really generous arrangement with Breakaway Cafe, who feed me most days in exchange for doing their social media. It's totally a much better deal for me than it is them, but Breanne and Craig are pretty much the nicest people around. So go to Breakaway to get a burrito or a coffee sometime. They're good people. 

That's really it. When not riding, I'm working for Everpresent Marketing and Swell Development. If you need help with digital marketing or web development, let me know. I'll buy you lunch with my company card (at Breakaway) and we'll see how we can help. 

Tailwinds, everyone!

Less Than a Week to Barry

A race that seemed so far off, is now so very close. Barry-Roubaix wakes up many a bike rider from their winter slumber by getting them on their trainers, their fat bikes, and hopefully out of the kitchen. January's goals and February's good intentions have morphed into March's excuses.

But no matter where your fitness is on Saturday, there'll be a little extra adrenaline pumping through our atrophied leg muscles, largely brought on by being part of a Lycra-wearing horde of fellow cyclists. Few places in the world can say they can get 3,500 cyclists to put on little more than expensive underwear and ride their bikes in 30-degree weather. We'll emerge from our basements and spin classes to see remind our legs and lungs of what it's like have the wind in our faces and the mud in our teeth.

One thing that's so cool about Barry is that some have hours and hours of riding in their legs, while some riders will cut their Iceman number plates off moments before rolling to the start line. The disparity in fitness makes it really two races in one; some are racing to place, while others are just trying to survive. In the early, early days of the 2017 season, just being willing to line up in the (Iikely)  cold and wet on Saturday means you're likely at least a few steps ahead of everyone sat on the couch that day. 

Good luck, everyone. Have a great week. Get some fresh blood in those veins. Have a cookie. We'll see you on the start line. 

Wes is a dude who rides bikes. He works for Everpresent Marketing, Swell Development, and teaches indoor cycling at Yen Yoga & Fitness

March FUNdraising Class to Benefit Safe Harbor

I am so, so stoked for this month's FUNdraising class on March 29th! This month, we'll be donating to Safe Harbor, a non-profit that is dedicated to ending homelessness in the Traverse City area. 

Safe Harbor's story is one that we hope to one day not have to tell. In 2003, The First Church of the Nazarene started offering shelter and meals to homeless individuals who would have otherwise have been forced to spend the night outside during frigid fall, winter, and spring temperatures.

Now, Safe Harbor's 23 participating churches offer beds and warm meals to as many as 26 individuals per night from November through April. They also work with other organizations in town to help these individuals find the help and resources they need to get back on their feet. 

After almost 15 years of work, Safe Harbor is planning to create a permanent shelter to better care for the most vulnerable members of our community. The money we raise on the 29th will go towards helping stamp out homelessness in our area for good. 

A huge thank you to Yen cyclist and all around good guy Peter Starkel for bringing Safe Harbor to our attention. We can't wait to ride at Yen on 3/29 for a great cause! 

Wes teaches indoor cycling at Yen Yoga & Fitness. His day job is Director of Marketing for Swell Development and Everpresent Marketing. You can follow Wes on FB and Insta


Barry-Roubaix a is Special Race

 Barry-Roubaix 2010. 

Barry-Roubaix 2010. 

You may only know Cody Sovis, and to a lesser extent, me, as super-fit cyclists who make Lycra look really, really good. But what if I told you that not all that long ago, Cody and I were fat and out of shape? You'd probably be like, "Yeah, based on your cookie consumption, I see that possibility." Well, here's a little story about our fitness history, and how it was Barry-Roubaix that got us back into cycling and our BMIs under 25. 

#Flashback to 2010. Everyone was still on 3G mobile connections and I had definitively removed my fake diamond earring at the behest of my girlfriend at the time. Cody and I were at GVSU down in Allendale. It's January, and we're in indoor intramural soccer. Cody, yes that one, weighs about 195 pounds. I'm weighing in at 185, but I at least lifted weights, so I wasn't nearly the Fluffer Nutter that Cody was. At any rate, during one indoor soccer game, Cody was jogging and came to a sharp stop. His gut jiggled. And jiggled. It didn't stop jiggling until after the game had ended. Cody had noticed the ceaseless blubber party, too.  

"Fucking hell, man. I need to lose some weight."

When you're fat and gross, you don't need advice. There's this misconception that fat people don't know how to be healthy. We know. They know. We all know. Stop eating trash and get off your ass. It ain't rocket science. You simply have to change your entire lifestyle and every habit you've adopted over the course of your lifetime. It's not complicated, but man, it's really freaking hard. 

What we needed was motivation. An event, a deadline, and a tangible measure of our fitness that would make us get off our asses to get fit or face very public humiliation. What we needed, we determined, was a bike race. So, Cody borrowed our Dad's (not shitting) 1996 Mongoose and I dug out my mountain bike that hadn't been ridden in anger since middle school. We circled a small race called Barry-Roubaix to force us to get out and ride that spring. It was cold. It was really, really slow because we were fat and out of shape.  But damn it, it was so much fun. 

We entered the 23-mile race just to see how it went. There were probably 200 bikes at the race that year. To put that into perspective, there are around that many in just the men's 62-mile open class in 2017. Cody and I tied for 3rd that day, but who cares about plastic medals? What we found was a community of people just like us - people trying to be fitter, healthier, and active. We lined up with teachers, soccer moms, grandpas, accountants, and bartenders. Most of us had nothing in common except the desire to not have our guts jiggle when we brushed our teeth. 

On March 25th, Cody and I, along with 3,500 of our best friends, will head to Barry-Roubaix to go for a bike ride. 1% of the people showing up will even entertain the thought of winning anything, but 99% of people will have pushed themselves on trainers, on rides outdoors in the cold, in the gym, and away from dinner tables to get just a little fitter for Barry-Roubaix. Barry is a special race because it's the one that re-introduced me to a whole group of people who want the same thing as me - to be happier, healthier, and to be able to go swimming at the beach without wearing a t-shirt into the water. 

Wes does digital marketing for Swell Development and Everpresent Marketing during the daytime. He lives in Traverse City with his two cats and beagle. Oh yeah, and his wife, Renee. Follow him on the FB and Insta for pictures of food and domesticated animals. 



Getting Rolling in 2017

 A rare February ride in the County. PC: Susan Vigland 

A rare February ride in the County. PC: Susan Vigland 

2017 has been started off as a year of change. As we enter March, I find myself on a new bike, on a new team, and adopting a completely different approach to training and amateur bike racing. All these changes have me feeling a new sense of motivation and I really can't wait to get racing started. 

First off, the new bike. After loving my B+ Bearclaw from last year, I wanted to race 2017 on a bike I've wanted since 2010. The Cannondale S-Fi is one of the sharpest, raciest bikes I've ever seen and I've been lusting after one for almost a decade. After deciding to do my own thing as far as racing goes this year, I picked up my black S-Fi from Velo City in Holland. The owner of the shop, Brad White, was kind enough to take me and Cody out for a ride when we showed up to collect it on a sunny February day. If you ever get to try a Careless Whisper from Our Brewing Co., I firmly suggest you take advantage. The bike is really something. Light, nimble, and with that Lefty fork, it's as much a treat to ride as it is to look at. 

This year, I'll be riding for kolo t.c. Cody's blog has become my favorite thing to read over the years, and I'm really glad Cody is making it a priority to bring it back. He's such a talented writer, and it's going to be a blast to wear the kolo t.c. shirt all over the state at races and rides. If you've never heard of kolo t.c., it's the largest, most popular blog about amateur bike racing in Michigan. It's also the only one. 

Lastly, my approach to racing is a lot different this year. Instead of doing what I usually do, which is train really hard all the time and not care about my diet, I'm actually watching what I eat. It's had a huge effect in the two months I've made eating better a priority. I've lost ten pounds, but more importantly, I feel exponentially better than I did before. I haven't made any drastic changes. I just make smarter choices every day, and those smart decisions really add up over the course of a few weeks. Now, I focus on training smarter, and I get to see the benefits of those training efforts by not eating my way out of any improvements. 

So, there's what I've been up to in 2017 so far. Nothing special. But a few small changes have me excited and ready to rock and roll at Rust Shaker and Mud, Sweat, and Beers this spring. Racing with Cody in some swanky kolo t.c. kits will be a real thrill, and I hope we're all in for a fast, exciting, and fun racing season. See you out there, peeps. 



Thank You! NMC Foundation's Fundraiser Was a Hoot

February's FUNdraiser for the NMC Foundation was a total success. Who knew you could do so much good while wearing Lycra? 

Despite weather that would be welcomed in May, let alone February, we had a great turnout in the cool confines of the Yen Yoga & Fitness cycling studio for an hour of cardio and good vibes. Between what I earned from class and the generous donations from our awesome cycling folks, we raised almost $100 bucks that will go toward the scholarship fund! A massive thank you to everyone who attended class to help us raise some #DOUGH for an excellent cause.

A special shout out to Alfie for their generous donation. It's so cool to see local businesses supporting NMC! 

Folks who attended class also got sweet swag, courtesy of the extremely generous Katherine Zurek of the NMC Foundation. Thank you so much for sweet new NMC Foundation and NMC Alumni shirts! I'll be rocking mine for years to come! 

If you missed class but still wanted to throw in a few bucks to help make college more affordable for well-deserving students of all ages and backgrounds, head here to make a donation to the fund of your choice. 

The next FUNdrasing class will be March 29th, with the non-profit being the Safe Harbor. I hope to see you then! Or before. Before would be nice. But seeing you at that class would be cool, too. 

Wes is a professional bird watcher, marketing guy, and chocolate chip cookie sommelier. He is the Director at Everpresent Marketing in Traverse City and the Director of Marketing for Swell Development, a web development company based in Grand Rapids, MI. Check him out on FB and Insta