Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

ben wilson This is the blog of a one Ben Wilson, a Louisville, Kentucky native who enjoys baseball, beer, music, bikes, things that fly and good food. By day he pushes pixels and makes the Internet happen for a local advertising agency. His wife, Kelly is an Ironman, and his baby Amelia is the cutest thing ever.

It’s been a good winter. A long winter. Long days without the sun, cold early mornings hurting myself before many folks roll out of bed, and a early bedtime. Since October that’s been my regimen – 4 or 5 days out of the week. Our little baby Amelia has injected a bit of a much-need schedule into my life and it’s honestly been great. I only have 45 minutes or so each morning, but it’s my time and it wakes me, clears my head. I am fulfilled…and my time is filled. Might as well make the best of it.

And while 45 minutes isn’t my ideal – far too short! That’s what I’ve got and I have come to realize that it’s the small steps, consistently done do the trick just fine. So I build and build – keep building is what a good friend told me years ago.

But then it comes times to put what I’ve built – my fitness – to the test. The running season started in earnest last weekend – and I smashed my 5K personal record (PR) by almost a full minute. Something must be going right.

But maybe only with my fitness.  My biggest problem is fear. Lots of nerves usually. Like the kind of nerves and fear that make my heart race and the adrenaline going until it sours in my legs. And the funny thing is – it doesn’t happen to me for running races – only for cycling. It’s a little like young love – and I’ve definitely sold my competitive soul to cycling. I eat it, I sleep it.

A couple of weeks ago I rode up to Salem, IN (~60 miles) and felt real good. Good – at least I’ve got a little fitness. Last weekend I did a ride with my team guys and felt fantastic, whereas this time last year I was hanging on for dear life. I was flying up some seriously steep grades and feeling great, and my teammates were right there with me. Finally – I’m near their level! And today, today was the first road race of the new year here in the Ohio Valley – the Long Run Park Circuit race.

Last year (see reports here and here) I got my ass handed to me in almost all of the Category 4/5 mixed races I entered (I’m a lesser Cat-5). I had the FEAR and I had it bad. Nerves would knock me out of most races. I was determined to not be that guy again… and I wasn’t. Whereas early in the week I was having my typically-vivid-daymares about the race, this morning I got up at my 6AM. I am calm. I am eating my oatmeal. I am tending to the baby. I drink my coffee and get to the race, an hour early. I get warm and keep warm. I lined up and the whistle blows. The clicking of pedals to shoes and we take a left to the downhill. I fight for position and in one move I am near the front. I move to the front of the pack of 50. On the short climb I am still there. On the way down, I stay on the wheel of the 4 or 5 guys at the very head of the race.

This is it. I have done it. I am capable of this.

I stick on the wheels of a couple of guys at the front of the race for a lap and a half. I am overjoyed. But I am also running at my redline. I can’t contain this pace and I am doing too much work.  I blow up. I hit my threshold. I dial it back at just the wrong time and I get “shelled” out of the lead group of 15-20. But y’know, my goal has been reached. I have proved that my hard work is work-ing. I have shed that fear.

I group up with a handful of guys and we finish the race together. It was a good race, and I am proud of what I’ve done.

I was confident the whole day, and best of all – without fear. It was a good day.

Update: I placed 19th out of 44! Ecstatic!! I know I can do better – I blew up because I was trying hard to chase a lead group.  Shoulda just looked in my rearview and hung with the peloton… anyway, as Bobke says – “That’s bike racin’ for ya”

filed under Athletics,Cycling and then tagged as
Mar 13 2010 ~ 2:37 pm ~ Comments (3) ~

Cobbled together from sketchy footage and so-so photos from both days at the 2009 USGP here in Louisville. Enjoy.

Featured are a number of Rogues, some of which who Love the Pain, IronMan Michael, ‘Zanne, her crippled hubby, Molnar (whos baby girl gave me a dollar), those awesome little scamps from Red Zone cycling, and of course Jimmy the self-proclaimed “one-eyed drunken cyclops” from F* Where’s all the guys?  Well… my one and only teammate DNF’d in the mudpit at the end of the video on the first lap. Chapeau!

The kids in the yellow t-shirts are from Lionhearts Junior Racing – which I can’t find a website for, but I am totally a fan of them now. Root beer hand-ups for all!

Old Crow Medicine Show – Trouble that I’m In
Blizten Trapper – Gold for Bread
Old Crow Medicine Show – Tear it Down

filed under Athletics,Cycling and then tagged as ,
Oct 31 2009 ~ 9:26 am ~ Comments (4) ~

In honor of the USGP Derby City Cup cyclocross race this weekend, I give you this:

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and chuckle heartily.

Scattante XRL Cross Beast

What you see before you is my spring/summer waiting-on-the-baby project, a cyclocross bike. It’s a jumble of parts acquired from my basement, local sources, Craiglist and eBay. It is also my first from-the-group-up bike build. Finished in August, I spun it out the River Road Country Club cyclocross (CX for short) course to make sure it wouldn’t fall apart, and then… I raced it at the Tour de Louisville cyclocross race October 4th. The race and the bike were awesome. I even got a little bloody…


I’ll be racing this Saturday AM at 8:30AM in the Category 4 Open Men’s race. It’s gonna be NUTS.

More details on the bike after the jump…


filed under Athletics,Cycling and then tagged as
Oct 21 2009 ~ 5:43 pm ~ Comments (4) ~
A man, a dirty man.

A man, a dirty man.

The Louisville Short Track mountain bike race series kicked off tonight, and it was a total hoot. Seriously – if you’ve got a mountain bike in the garage, get out, pay your $8 and have a good time. I don’t care if you “don’t race bikes”, this was fun.

The intent, say the organizers, is to put on a series like the Portland Short Track Racing series – a laid back, open to all comers race series that focused on fun and getting people into the sport.

Late last night I threw some new tires purchased at Mountain Bike Depot (they sponsor this series) onto my Kona Smoke commuter/mountain bike and pulled out the clipless pedals (which, uh I had never used to trail ride with). A quick ride-check at lunch today and I figured I was a good as I’d be that day.


filed under Athletics,Cycling and then tagged as
May 28 2009 ~ 10:34 pm ~ Comments Off ~

Let me begin this post by recapping my brief bicycle racing career so far:

Race #1, Long Run Park Circuit, 45 minutes + 1 lap – I am in the pack for about 1/2 mile, and then am “spit out the rear” or “shelled” or “blown” by the sheer speed of it. The rest of the race I ride alone or with small groups, but feel pretty good. By the way, the “staying with the pack” thing is critical in bike racing – you’ll gain a significant speed advantage. If you don’t stick, well…

Race #2, Lexington Circuit Race, 45 minutes + 1 lap – I managed to stay in the pack the entire time, save for the very last lap. I am both extremely terrified as there were 100 cyclists in a large group all together, and a couple of gnarly crashes.  I finish squarely in the middle of the pack (51st). Huzzah!

Race #3, Shelby County Road Race, 30 miles – My first “long” road race on country roads. I last hardly a mile or two into the race in the peloton. My heart-rate goes to the redline and it takes me literally 10 miles to calm down to the point at which I am not considering throwing up or quitting the race (…and I have never consider quitting before). The rest of the race I am alone or with small groups.

I’ve come a long way since the fall of 2008 when I was asked to join the Cycling team. I’ve put in about 600+ cycling miles in those 5 or 6 months plus maybe another 400 “miles” in Spinning classes or on the trainer. I’ve lost about 10-15 pounds and gained a level of fitness I’ve never had before.

So, here I am, in the “best shape of my life” (BSOML) and I am getting my ass kicked in these “entry-level” cycling races… and you know what? I am loving it. I am eating it as you would relish a delicious slice of pie.


filed under Athletics,Cycling and then tagged as
~ 3:36 pm ~ Comments (2) ~

2009-04-25 miniMarathon-01

New Personal Record: 1 hour, 54 minutes, 13 seconds.

Saturday, April 26th, 2009 I ran in my third Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon. For having not trained explicitly for “the mini” this year (instead more cycling) I was very excited to set a new PR. It was a great race – if a little hot for some – but I always enjoy that race, if only because it’s the culmination of a spring’s worth of training.

Friday night, a group of us from Power Creative (including a miniMarathon virgin, Brad), had dinner at Ray Parella’s. Ray was and is a big supporter of running in Louisville, and I macked on Ray’s favorite carb-loading dish: Baked Spaghetti Aioli. It might just become a pre-race favorite.

2009 KDF miniMarathon results @

Photos of me (shot by Kelly, my fan)

filed under Athletics and then tagged as
Apr 28 2009 ~ 5:08 pm ~ Comments (1) ~


Kelly and I just ran the Anthem 5k! Amelia ran as a “bandit”, though Kelly did make her a little number. Kelly finished in 38:07 – a minute shy of her first ever 5k all those years ago.  I bested my Anthem personal record AND my 5k record by running it in 23:58! Woot!

filed under Athletics,Baby and then tagged as ,,
Mar 7 2009 ~ 10:06 am ~ Comments Off ~

Weight, that is!

Cue ominous music… A SEDENTARY lifestyle led this man to WEIGH 1000 POUNDS!

But… I don’t weight 1000 pounds, in fact, I’m pretty average.

NO you aren’t, TUBBY! Your BMI is in the “FAT” range!

Well, yeah, but that’s just a guideline. What’ I’m really doing is…


Hey! No! It’s not that at all. Let me explain:

Two years ago I weighed 180 pounds, give or take a daily fluctuation. In the intervening two years, I’ve been “moderately active”, running two Louisville Triple Crown series and two Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathons, a handful of triathlons and other local running races. In the last year, I’ve started cycling a fair amount (I did likely 1000-1500 miles in 2008) while helping my wife train for the Ironman, learned to swim decently, started going to gym regularly, joined a cycling team and commuted to work via bike every day in October.

My weight after those two years? 180 pounds. No foolin’! I intend to get to the bottom of that – to understand the why and wherefore of this machine I call a body. more after the jump…


filed under Athletics,Cycling,Food and then tagged as
Jan 22 2009 ~ 7:09 pm ~ Comments (4) ~

ottercreek_logoThe Sunday before last (Dec 14th), Kelly and I ran the 2008 Otter Creek Trail Run. Though, in 1980′s TV parlance, one could call it “A Very Special Otter Creek Trail Run”, as Otter Creek Park is closing indefinitely on January 1st due to Louisville Metro budget constraints. The race is always well-attended by a group of trail-running nuts who ramble over the singletrack trails and up some 45-degree grades for… no awards, no t-shirts and no official times. It’s different if you run the marathon, but most people run the 8- or 16-mile routes. Kelly and I run the 8.


filed under Athletics and then tagged as ,,
Dec 23 2008 ~ 12:24 am ~ Comments (1) ~

Consider this Biketober, Supplemental… excellent advomovie from Hutchinson, a tire maker…

filed under Athletics,Cycling and then tagged as ,
Oct 21 2008 ~ 7:50 am ~ Comments Off ~
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