NATHAN GUERRA'S POSTS


1 race down and 9 months to go!

It is amazing, only the first week of March and already the first race of the season is done.  Many more months to go till November and I will have a schedule up on the home blog soon, www.nathanguerra.com

Pre-ride went pretty well, with how technical the course was I swapped out some skinny raceface bars for some wide next sl’s.  Also, Kenda hooked up some new tires which showed up at our cabin where we were staying in Texas the night before the race, so I got to rock Kenda karma’s and test out my skills this new sponsors rubber.  This course is nothing but broken and jagged rock with dirt mixed in here and there, with so many riders with flats on course I was really glad I went with something so super reliable!

 

So race day last Saturday and it was time to see how my a demo bike I just jumped on and my indoor trainer only fitness fared against the best in the nation, although the field consisted of many well beyond our borders just looking at the start list!  UCI C1’s attract so many International teams.

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Start went well and I kept the effort in check knowing I would pay dearly for too much effort in the red zone since I have had no efforts there so far this year, although not being on the front leaves ya blind in a cloud of dust on a Texas course.

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Conservative racing only lasted about 1/4 a lap.  If you know me on the bike or off, I am an “all or nothing” type of personality.  So after the first major  climb I was pretty blown up and needed to recover for a bit.  I started reeling people in the last 3 laps but a ton of damage was done in the first 2 with me going way too far into the red.  Plan was to use my strength in threshold power that I know I have right now but that plan suffered a bit, not sure it is really a practical way to race a UCI C1 mountain bike race anyways, since these mountain bike courses are full on bursty climbing followed with recovery by UCI regulation.

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So 38th and a mid pack finish with a few kinks to work out for early season racing.  Came in with no expectations and was able to learn a ton about racing the 1st week of March and how to prepare for next years season opener. 

 

I want to thank  everyone who has made this great early start possible.  RaceFace, Kenda, Powerbar, Champion System, Concord General Store, SNR Remodeling, Dr Mcgillicuddy, and Kona.  You guys made this trip possible, so thank you! 

Next up on the Pro XCT circuit, Fontana and Sea Otter! 

Stay Tuned and remember for faster updates hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+


by Nathan Guerra on Mar.06, 2013 Comments Off


And so it begins…

Anyone who follows my twitter or facebook posts knows that “it” began about mid December last year with all the Cycle-ops uploads every day, but that first ride on the trainer in the basement back in December was looking forward to this weekend and the next couple of days of racing at the opening Pro XCT race at the Mellow Johnny’s Classic.

It has been a crazy past 24 hours, yesterday I got one last ride in on the trainer with pretty much my first VO2 max/2 min type efforts followed by a couple 15 min lap simulations just to prepare the body for what is about to come. Jumped off my bike, took a shower, finished packing and out the door at 5 pm from my home town in Oconomowoc WI to meet up with my buddy Scot Nyland from SNR Remodeling out in Madison, WI.  From there we headed  to Iowa City, IA. We crammed all our stuff in the RaceFace reps (Matt Knowles, also All Spoked Up & Norway) suburban and started the long trek to Dripping Springs, Texas.  With Nate Knowles tagging along to get some early season racing in, he passed out way before me on the back seat, and being the nice guy I went looking for somewhere to sleep and not bother the kiddo.  Looking for anyway I could to get some good recovery sleep in on the 24 hr drive down laid out some jackets over the bags and bike stuff in the back and dazed in and out, Nate was nice enough to swap mid morning though and I slept into the afternoon.

Sleeping in Suburban

Around 8pm we arrived at our destination, got unpacked, and Matt went straight to work getting my bike dialed, a demo bike from Kona who was nice enough to borrow to us for the race till we get setup later in March.  This guy has been up for almost 48 hrs and first thing he does when we arrive is tells me to get  my shoes on and starts swapping out my Race Face Next SL bars and  fitting me etc…  Talk about dedication to the cause!

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In the dark with headlights working on set up! 

I was all apprehensive on the way down about having a bike I was not familiar with at all.  Luckily the He He is a sweet ride and within a few minutes I was rippin around the yard feeling like I was ready to race this machine!

I don’t have any expectations for the race at this point in the year, I have literally been on a trainer all winter, but I have been doing big hours and my power numbers are better than ever at sub-threshold and race pace.  We’ll see how one can fare amongst the best in the nation straight off the basements of Wisconsin!   It is early season and like most the focus is further down the road, but best way to get ready is to open up with those you plan to be racing well with when peak time comes.

That is all for now, need some sleep, will update after pre-ride tomorrow. 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!


by Nathan Guerra on Mar.01, 2013 Comments Off


2012 Season Finale

2012 is about to be gone, so I'll catch up on the final races of the season.  Beginning in October I did my first cross race of the year, and my second ever on a cross bike.  Somewhat new experience, but really meshes well with Mountain since we are on the dirt.  I just fit right in, started competing for the front of the race pretty quick.  Was on a borrowed bike and had a few issues with dropped chains and odd positioning/setup for my preferences.  Even  with a few problems I was blown away by how much I enjoyed the race.  I was so pumped up and excited afterwards somehow I find myself finding a new Cross bike sponsor.  Bike pics to come soon.
Then it was onto a double header weekend that was the muddiest sloppiest weekend ever in my experience of racing.  Saturday was Peak to Peak in lower Michigan.  High 30’s and pouring rain!  Sloppy mess and no brakes at all half way through the first lap.  Since the course is very sandy everyone’s brake pads were completely gone after 1 lap I was not having the best day, pulled the plug after 1 lap and  the race was called after 2 as it was such a mess out there. 
Next day was the WORS season finale in Sheboygan. It had rained the entire day prior and all race day.  So here is what the race looked like most of the course. 
Nice shot of the mess in Cyclingnews.com’s write up.
http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/wisconsin-off-road-series-wors-12-wigwam-challenge-2012/cross-country/photos/241953
And a little Vid one our new team members shot.


I had  amazing legs but just kept making big mistakes that cost tons of time in the mud.  I was taking bad lines forcing me to run stuff I could ride twice as fast and I had quite a few crashes, which is not like me at all in the mud, but I was in chase mode from the start.  Into the first single-track I hit a stump that was buried in mud, so from there I was taking bigger risks than usual.  Sometimes this pays off and sometimes it just makes the gap bigger. On that day it was the latter,  I fought back for third and a good paycheck for the day still. 
Pro/Cat 1 Awards Sheboygan
We all washed off in 50 degree’s and raining afterward in the lake!
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After Sheboygan I was not sure about Iceman, took a week off and then got a little motivated.  Did a few intervals and went for a chance at the $, but also to meet up with a bunch of people in the industry, thank sponsors, and grow Vision.  The start at the Iceman is everything and I knew mine was not going so well when I found myself shuffled behind a Fat bike in the PRO field!  I chased hard and almost latched back onto the lead group, but quite a few mistakes were made in front of me in the 1st single-track and from there it was game over.  I didn’t have the best fitness going in anyways and I would have had to have a royal flush in terms of the dice roll on race day to pull off my goals.
As far as the WORS series, the overall result was just short of my goal, but an improvement still.  2nd overall is not too shabby, and with a major illness mid-season I would say it was all I could have pulled off with the cards dealt.  Here is my interview from the Banquet.
Since Iceman and the first big snow here in Wisconsin I have spent a good amount of time on my 616 Fabrications Fat Bike fully decked out in RaceFace and their new Fat Bike crank set(s). I want to thank them both as sponsors for making this happen.  With winter being so long here and so much time on the trainer it is awesome to get out and a huge resource for training as nothing indoors can simulate the needs of race fitness like an off-road ride!  I am continually amazed at how this frame rides more like an XC bike than a traditional Fat Bike.  Absolutely fly’s through the layers of snow on the trail right now.  Can’t wait to race it a few times to get the legs ready before  my first Pro XCT race coming fast early March in Dripping Springs, Texas!
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Even with the fat bike, on the bitterly cold days I am still doing quite a bit of riding indoors, had a promo video and commercial made around that theme recently.  Well done to Marty Tank on these productions!
That is all for now, leave ya with a few shots we did of the Fat Bike on a sunny day after the first big snow.
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fat bike 2
Fat Bike 3
Happy New Year!

by Nathan Guerra on Dec.31, 2012 Comments Off


MTB Radio 7 pm cst tonight

Amazingly hot ride in sub 40 degrees today!  Cannot say enough about the new Jacket line from Race Face!  And later tonight you wanna click this link around 7 pm cst.
Nathan Guerra 12/13 by Mountain Bike Radio | Blog Talk Radio
Will be talkin Vision, off season, and 2013 racing plans tonight.  Listen in if ya have a chance.

by Nathan Guerra on Dec.13, 2012 Comments Off


Bear Paw Rock n Roll WORS #11

Gonna do the last month and a half in order over the next few days.Good lead into Iceman
First up was the WORS Bear Paw race, which usually rains like crazy, but this year the best was saved for last in the WORS series…more on that in the next post.
There are courses that are technical in terms of tight & twisty and knowing the angles and speed to take in the corners, maybe a few trees and rocks,what I would deem mid-west technical.  Very hard riding in its own way, especially when it comes to being FAST. Then there is mountain type riding which brings a whole other level of technical with many more rock obstacles and lines which have to do with carrying speed over and through things in the path of intent. Bear Paw is a tad bit more like Mountain riding than Mid-West “twisty speed” riding. I love this type of riding as both strength skill on the bike shine enormously.  If ya get bogged down from lack of skill a high price is paid.  It tends to give huge rewards for being good at everything mountain biking and not just one aspect of riding a bike.

From the word GO I went to the front wanting to be in the mix for the hole-shot but had a bad start due to a cold that had settled into my lungs.
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Chasing Cole house up the 3 tiered start climb.

Fell back to 6th at the start and probably a 1 minute or more back. Once the fireworks were over, all the base miles I had laid down the last 3 weeks took over and I had freight train speed through every line I intended.  2nd lap I chased very hard and found an amazing rhythm both in power through my cadence and creating lines through the forest.
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Testing my Bontrager 29.1’s edge on dusty switchbacks

By the last lap I had caught Tyler Gauthier and took over second position. I was moving really good and knew I was gaining time fast! Last half a lap people started giving me 10 second splits and I saw Cole House on the switch backs up the last climb., but knew it was too late. 10 seconds down. 
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2nd place and in good company

Hacked up massive amounts of green the next week or so, very good thing I raced and assisted in getting this all out.  If I would have rested it would have probably taken longer.  I was told by lapped traffic and spectators I was wheezing so hard through my lungs that you could hear me coming from a pretty long ways off!
Here is my post race interview with bad helmet hair Smile with tongue out
Next up, DOUBLE MUDDER weekend with Peak 2 Peak and Shevegas, oh and maybe a cross race thrown in the middle!
Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

by Nathan Guerra on Oct.29, 2012 Comments Off


Catch’in up

Long time with no posting since Mt. Sainte Anne, but for good reason.
If you would like more of a daily grind don’t forget to follow on your respective feeds twitter, FB, and G+ if you like.
  Not much to talk about except getting sick for a prolonged period of time.  Not much for racing results.  Instead of stating the obvious over and over I decided to wait till things got better and give a quick recap to cover all the races that can be chalked up to illness.  From the first week in July through the last week in August I was not able to ride much due to a MAJOR stomach bug.  I lost about 7lbs in the span of 2-3 weeks.  I have gotten over it, but it has left an impact on my digestive system.  We are still in the rounds with the doctor, but I am able to train well again and my fitness is on the rise. 
So every WORS race from July-August has been lack luster, I was good for about a lap of any race and then suffered hard!   It seems I was only able to store enough glycogen A.K.A. sugars in my body for about a laps effort and then I would be running on fumes.  I was able to fake it for the last two laps pretty good at the Palos Meltdown though back in August and pulled-off a Podium in a sprint with Mike Phillips
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I was so pumped full of anti-biotics I have no idea how I pulled that one off.  That Sprint pic. of me was the first of many that started scaring me with how skinny I was starting to look.
Subaru Cup Pro XCT went ok, but still nothing near my expectations coming into this season.  Again 1 lap and then just surviving the race, but still awesome time with the best fans in the world!
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Here is an interview from my Cross-Country race.
With only 1 lap in the legs on any given day I had good legs for Short Track, but Russell had a mishap off the line and half the field was out the race before it began.  Moved up the whole race and fought with JHK, Cole House and Colin Cares for the last few spots in top 20.
A little later that day I was able to pull off a podium where the skills are more of an issue than the energy stores. 4th in the Super D was a nice highlight for the weekend!
Those were really the only two races from July and August I was able to put much of anything together.  In between racing I spent a lot of time recovering from each effort as it was very taxing on my body.  I was riding/training, but well under anything that could really maintain the fitness I had built up in Spring and early Summer.  Having missed so much quality training time it was finally time to rebuild.  Once I was confident my body could handle the training again I got at it!
Just one 27 hr week of solid training and things were heading back toward normal the first week of September!
WORS Treadfest was the first test to see if I would bounce back quickly and we were pleasantly surprised.
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So 3rd’s not the same result as last year, but in the mix for a win and moving in the right direction!
A few more weeks of solid training to rebuild what was lost in those 7 lbs. and everything should be back to normal.  Should be a good Fall for racing!
Thanks for reading!
-Nathan

by Nathan Guerra on Sep.17, 2012 Comments Off


Going Fast…Going Slow…Going Fast…Going REALLY Slow

Since the last time this blog was updated I have raced just about every weekend.  So quick recaps on each race up till today. 

WORS #2 Crystal Lake Classic-Rhinelander, WI May 30th

Good legs, but not much high end fitness training in the legs yet.  Battled it out with Jesse Lalonde and B. Matter for the top spot.

Walked away with a 2nd place by seconds.

Post Race Interview.

WORS #3- Trek Big Ring Classic- Wausau, W June 3rd

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Great legs, could attack all day.  Feeling really good going into last lap battling with Tristan and Matter.  Split a side wall, wouldn’t seal, game over, ran it in for two points toward the Series.

Although the race did not go well for me, I did get to pre-ride with fellow RaceFace rider Nate Knowles.  We took turns leading into tech sections and testing the lines.  After the ride we talked a bit about our tactics and plans for the race the next day.

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I guess our planning worked as Nate walked away with the Win!

Ute Valley Pro XCT #3- Colorado Springs, CO. June 16th

Flight out of Madison, Wisconsin: 5:30 PM Thursday.  Land in Colorado Springs: 11:00 PM.  Pre-rode course Friday and felt good, but the 6500+ elevation was obviously rough on my mid-west blood.  On Race day I started toward the back of the staging area since I have not had the opportunity at UCI points or Pro XCT’s prior.

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Start was going well up first two climbs, attempted to make up some spots descending  into the 1st techy downhill section on a wide open right line…another rider made a sudden line change into me and wrapped our bars, down we went and to the back of the pack.  From what I am told it was a fairly EPIC crash at 30+ MPH.  Anyways, this is the worst time to be at the back as the first bottle neck into single-track is when the most time can be lost.

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Suffered bad chasing, had only a semi-fast speed at elevation, could never really punch it without majorly paying for the effort.  Over every climb I spent a good minute gasping and recovering.  After the start crash I worked my way to about mid-pack by the end, lesson learned, acclimate or stay home.  At least I got to have some fun sprinting it out for 34th with BMC rider Kerry Werner.

 

Back to the hotel, packed my bike, ate some dinner, and took the COLDEST Ice Bath in the history of mankind.  Tried to get some sleep before my 4:00 AM wake up to fly back to Wisconsin.

 

WORS #4- Battle of Camrock- Rockdale WI June 17th

This was the oddest race day I have ever experienced.  Wake up 4 am, 3 hrs sleep (maybe).  Eat a huge breakfast, not knowing if I could get more in during flights, packed some potatoes and Chobani’s in my carry-on just in case.  Act like I am drag racing my rental car on the way to airport to just make the check-in for my flight back to Madison, WI.    Security, AKA TSA, took the Chobani but left my Potatoes.  Pay the crazy bike fee like I am flying with my spouse and not my bike, Flight out at 6 am lay-over in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN and then land in Madison at 11:15 AM.  Made it over to Camrock by 12:30 PM and had my bike built by 12:45.  Banana, short warm-up and 1:30 PM GOOOOOO!

 

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Somehow this happened?!

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So just make sure no sleep, random food, suffer at elevation the day before, oh yea and 6 hrs of plane legs lugging 50+ lbs of luggage and bike…guess that is the prep for a WIN!  Kinda expensive though…

 

Getting late, so update on my World Cup racing and how I got going slow again at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup today will be coming soon!  3 letters can sum it up though, F-L-U!  Redemption to come at Wyndham next weekend!!!

As always, thanks for following the racing!


by Nathan Guerra on Jun.23, 2012 Comments Off


Confidence

Confidence sums up what I have taken away from the first MTB race of the 2012 Season. The Iola Bump n Jump this past weekend was a fun mud fest, but my bike did not fair well in the area of going FAST…

Lining up for the season opener I have never felt so calm and ready.  Usually there are some anxious jitters and second guessing about where one stands. Once I got to the line Sunday I felt completely collected, knowing exactly what the task at hand was and the tools I brought to the table.

The main reason for this is the new coach, everything he has said would be in place is observable through experience in riding/racing and in the power data.  Another reason is Mid-West Racing has shifted from being a main focus to a semi-focus.  My highest priority right now is to do well at Pro XCT’s and World Cup races, with secondary focus being on the Mid-West events, being the WORS races and Triple Crowns (Ore to Shore, Cheq. 40, Iceman).  So coming into the race I was looking for a win while keeping priorities straight.  We lightened the training load a bit this week, by about 7-10 hrs, but I still came in with 18 hrs in the legs for the week and in the middle of a base period. 

Feeling fresh and ready on the line Don said goooooo! and up the first MTB climb of the season the pack went.  I was pretty passive for my style and it was obvious people were HUNGRY for the front, but the goal was to observe the front while staying in contention.  I made sure to be in striking distance of the lead and sat about 5th-6th wheel, with the plan of getting to at least 2nd wheel by the 1st or second single track without killing myself.

GO TIME!

IOLA START 2012

Race Start Video

Even with all the rain, I did not think the course would be too bad.  Iola is a sandy course, there might be a bunch of wet spots and slippery mud, but not peanut butter right?….OH WAS I WRONG.  In hindsight the front of the race was the place to be, I can usually ride anything as long as the way is clear, but the mud made for a whole lot of traffic. 

First traffic Jam Video

After the initial split up in the main mud section of the course Matter, Mark Lalonde, and Isaac Neff had a small gap.  This point of the race was very telling of the new tools I am bringing to the table this year.  You would think having to chase would be demoralizing, but in years past if I fell off pace in these familiar sections of trail I would be drooling over my handlebars, hanging on for dear life just to get back in contention…not this year.  I set what felt like a high-tempo pace with the lead still in sight, never going red in the least bit.  The lead was coming back and it felt fairly easy to pull it in, huh that is different… Confidence +1.

Chill Start

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Start of Second Lap Video

Going into the second lap my plan was to go to the front and stay out of trouble AKA dismount traffic, but soon as we started climbing the gears started skipping.  Each time through any mud section it just got worse and worse.  Now I know everybody had issues with this in the mud, but I got ears and I got eyes, it would be like 1-2 clicks for people around me putting down full power afterwards and just riding away.  On the other hand with every revolution of any REAL torque I would lose half my pedal stroke.  Neff, Matter, and Lalonde were away again through the mud and the clicking was getting worse and worse…so while I am thinking there is no way this is just MUD, Matt Shriver came up on me while I was stopped checking for a stick or something jammed in the drive train, nope just MUD!  Rode a comfortable pace with Matt for the rest of lap 2 while managing the gears going crazy.  Starting the climbs going into lap 3 I could see the shattered lead group, we were reeling in 2nd and 3rd place, but Matter looked like he might already be out of striking distance in 1st.

Going into the giant bowl I took the inside line and tapped the brakes a bit too hard, made for an awesome 20 ft. slip n slide experience, but Shriver hit it hard while I got going again.  I crawled just about back to his wheel before the mud, but by this point my gears were all but done.  I fell back to 7th place this time through the mud sections, getting on and off continually with gears crunching and skipping every 1/4 a revolution now.  Thoughts of pulling the plug and not breaking my bike started rolling through my head.  Somehow I mentally found a happy place with my wasted efforts going into each pedal stroke and began reeling in 6th and then 5th place.  Going into the last lap I could see Mike Phillips just around every corner and salvaging a podium spot was just enough motivation for me to put up with hammering through every incessant twang and crunch of any gear I attempted to make work.  At one point I remember finding that bouncing my body into each pedal stroke as much as I could up “the wall” climb would at least keep the traction going while gears slipped surrounded by running lap traffic racers and Phillips in sight galloping up the hill as well.  I actually brought back a ton of time on that section.

I closed the gap to Phillips by the last quarter of a lap and I knew it was a game for the 1st one into the second-to-last section of single-track.  Prior to the finish at Iola there is a wide open 1/8 mile section leading into a very rooty section of single-track, then a short burst into open 2 track and then single-track pretty much to the finish.   Barring any big mistakes the 1st one into those roots should usually win, given they have at least half a match left to burn afterwards.  

It was obvious Mike thought the same and into every open section he was going full throttle to the next, there was no way I could come around with any sprint effort skipping the gears over like crazy.  It definitely had me concerned about getting past at all before the finish with all my torque/gear issues.  I started waiting for any mistake at all, in the single track or wide open, to take the lead and GO!  It got kind of crazy with lap traffic, we were zig-zagging all over the mucky trail jockeying for position, dodging people, into trees, into branches, you name it!.  It was really fun racing!  We came out into that 1/8 mile and we hit it hard! I skipped over a few gears, but once I got the wheel spinning Mike bobbled a tad and I took the opportunity full gun to the finish for the last spot on the podium…

Finish Line/Checkin the gap

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Salvaged Podium

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In the past I would not fair so well or keep my cool in these kind of situations…again Confidence.

This was not the result I was looking for, but sometimes racing is not about meeting the expectations of every specific race.  This race had much more to do with yearly progression goals.  The seasonal expectations were we well beyond met in how I felt, how I managed, and how I mentally persevered through the race.

Usually I walk away from a less than expected result with my mind scrambling for what I could have done different, and what I am going to do better, how I am going to train harder...

Sunday I walked away with no regrets or new plans, just Confidence in where this season is heading.

Post Race Interview


by Nathan Guerra on May.08, 2012 Comments Off


Bike Waukesha: Carroll University Bike Week

Bike Waukesha: Carroll University Bike Week: This upcoming week is Carroll U's Bike Week. Here are some of the events that are open to public- Weekly Bike Ride Monday @ 4:30pm leavin...Click the link for more info.

The Free Guest speaker should be a very cool experience to hear about, and you can see where I go to school!

by Nathan Guerra on Mar.31, 2012 Comments Off