Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm tired

Over the last 7 days (Sunday - Sunday) I rode five times for a total of almost 129 miles. Three rides were on the mountainbike, almost 57 miles in about 7 hours of riding. Two days on the road added 72 miles to the odometer in about 5 hours.

Yesterday was 43 on the road and today was almost 19 in the dirt.

It's 7pm and my body is saying "no more, go to bed..."


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Girly Ride

Met up with a couple of girlfriends for some after work dirt yesterday at OCNP.

Background: Pam and I race the same class and if I'm lucky, and it's not a technical course, I can squeak by and finish ahead of her; but, I've finished behind her more than ahead. Christine is still a Sport... I mean Cat2 racer, but she can still move through the trees and beat me on a downhill, I have the advantage on climbing and endurance. When we first started out mountain bike racing I thought that Jen was a mountain bike Goddess... she was an Expert racer! I could only hope to one day ride half as well as her. Thankfully, life got in the way of Jen's training/racing so while she was being a recreational rider I was still trying to race. Right now I've got the most endurance, but the least technical, in the group. When everyone is warmed up and fresh it's "ride on" and any of us can be the one putting the hurt to the others.

We've met up for a few rides together lately and those rides have turned into some of the most fun I've had on the bike in a while. We're turning the pedals, throwing down some smack talk, dodging the trees and having a girly ride like no other.

Last night was no exception. I got to the trail before everyone else, so I was able to do a couple of quick miles and I'm glad I did. The bike was feeling "bouncy" on the trail. I let a little air out of both tires - it felt much better and I was holding my line on the trail.

The first lap was the full course, so I sat in back on Christine's wheel since I would be the only one getting off on the "obstacles". Did the girls play nice and wait for me? No way! They kept rolling, which meant I had to sprint back up to them every time. That's OK, because soon enough we'd be on the backside of the course and that's where the climbs are. We're riding, talking and having an overall good time, then it hits. Christine is gearing down and griping about the climbs... time for "Coach Kathy" to kick in. I start talking her through them and giving her general harassment to keep her spinning. Is "yah mule" a nice thing to say? Really doesn't matter - it got her up and over the top.

We get to the home stretch which is fast & winding through the fields and trees and I'm feeling good. Pam & Jen have gapped us, then Christine starts whining about being tired... so out comes "Coach Kathy" again. "Is that what you do in races? Get your butt in gear and chase those girls down. Come on - LET'S GO!" Next thing you know, we're caught back up to the other two and I'm still sitting 4th wheel and mouthing off the whole time.

We get back to the trail head parking lot and do a little BSing. Christine says "we're running out of daylight", so I grab another bottle and we decide to do a shorter loop and take the bypasses. I like this because now there's only two things I won't ride and those are early on.

This time I'm in the lead and still feeling good. The trail has a new cut section for the upcoming race, it leads you to the road where you have a short sprint before going back onto the trail. Christine is on my wheel this time and she starts mouthing off and I hear Jen throwing in her two cents. Once we get off the road and back on the trail I start to pick up the speed. When we get to my first dismount section I'm far enough ahead that I don't see anyone until I'm getting back on my bike and Pam is the first one to come up on me. Sweet - we've dropped the other two, but I can hear them and they aren't that far behind. Pam and I keep it up and before long we're to the my next obstacle, this time I pull over and let Pam go before I get off and run it up and over. She waits up and lets me back in the lead, so I take off again and she's keeping close on my wheel... what fun!!!

We take the bypass and wait for the others to catch up. Next thing we know Jen goes by on the main trail, so we yell to her that we'll wait for her to come around, but no sign of Christine. It doesn't take long for Jen to meet back up with us and she tells us that Christine has cut off the section we are on (wrong bypass girlfriend!) and we'll meet up with her at the trail head. After Jen catches her breath, we take off again and once again I put a gap on the others. I can still hear them behind me, so I don't let up.

At the next bypass section, I wait... and wait... and wait. Hmm... it shouldn't be taking them that long to catch up to me, so I ride the trail backwards until I find them. They said they took a wrong turn somewhere along the way. We get going again and this time everyone is still together when we get to the last bypass, now it's time to head home, I'm still in the lead and feeling good so it's off I go with Pam & Jen chasing.

Christine is already at the trail head when I get there and Jen & Pam aren't too far behind. Next comes the parking lot smack talk and all I get is grief for being too fast. I told them if they don't like the pace I set then don't have me lead, I'm fine sitting on someone else's wheel.

Tomorrow night we meet up again. It's supposed to be an easy ride... we'll see.

Now for the "it's a small world" department.
Over the summer, while on our morning walk, I started talking to this cyclist (John) that I met while we were both waiting for a red light. Most mornings we'd yell "hello" to each other and about once a week he'd stop and we'd talk for a bit about riding. He was training for the Hotter N Hell (100 mile) ride and I told him that Kyle was planning to do the race. Anyway, this continued through the summer until Shimano cut his foot and the morning walks had to stop.

Well, this past Monday we started walking again and John saw us so we talked a bit and got the past three weeks caught up. He finished the Hotter N Hell and he told me about almost being hit by a car and crashing in front of a group of people at mile 98. He also told me about a time trail (TT) that he was thinking about doing. I mentioned that there was a regular TT on the dam at a local lake and if he gave me his cell number I'd get the information and call him with it.

Yesterday I called his cell and got his voice mail which gave his full name. I'm thinking to myself that his name sounded awfully familiar. As the day goes on I think about it some more and finally I look it up in the billing program... sure enough there's a repair customer with the same name and the house is in the right general neighborhood; and, look at that - we've just done some work there, too. So I call John's cell again and this time he answers. I give him the information he was looking for and then ask if his last name was S*******, he said it was. I asked if he lived on E*** **** and had a pool, and he said he did. I then told him that our company just finished doing some work for him. How weird is that?

Monday, September 15, 2008

This, that and a bike race

Not too much been gong on lately. Thanks to Hurricane Ike the first DORBA (local) race for last weekend was postponed (wet trails) and now the first TMBRA (state) race is at least postponed, if not cancelled, due to Houston and Huntsville getting hit hard by the storm... no power and downed trees.

Since the Saturday morning Team In Training ride was also cancelled due to unknown weather conditions we were able to "splurge" and sleep in late both Saturday and Sunday mornings and got to put some hours in the sleep account... ahhhhh.

Muttley is 99% healed

so this morning saw the return of the morning walk. Running will have to wait until the end of the race season.

Last Thursday downtown Dallas was invaded by Pro/Elite bike racers for a crit (criterium = short course (usually less than 1 mile) road race that is run for a set time limit) around the American Airlines Center. Our local fast boys were racing against paid domestic Pros. It's fun watching guys you know racing hard & fast.

To add to the adventure we met up with Mike & Jan and took the DART train downtown.

While waiting for the train, there was a brief rain and afterwards a rainbow that held promise of a great evening (it's a vision test... look between the power lines)

Can you tell it was Mike's first time on the train?

Jan spotted this sign
Is "Jumbo Super" as big as you can go, or would that be "Super Jumbo"?

Pictures of the race (if you can't tell, I like how the pictures turned out of the riders when the camera could not capture them fast enough)









While standing along the straight-a-ways you could feel a strong breeze as the pack came by. The average speed for the race (75 minutes + 5 laps = almost 2 hours of hard racing) was 30mph. The backside of the course ran downhill and the top speed of the lead racer was clocked at 56.25mph with a radar gun. It's a good thing the Police were not giving out speeding tickets to the racers!

Finally... new mountain bike shoes!!!

That's it for now... 5:45 is going to come early.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Paw update

Well, it's been two weeks since Shimano sliced his foot and he's almost healed. He still gets to wear the stylish neoprene booty when he goes outside, but when he's inside he gets to stay bare-pawed.

The Vet says that hopefully by next week the cut will be completely healed and he will be able to return to his normal routine of being a stay-at-home and harass the squirrels outside dog.



Which also means that instead of the 5:45am wake up and let me out (which allows me to crawl back into bed for a precious 5 more minutes), it's back to the 5:45am wake up and let's GO FOR A WALK!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Camp Eagle

The first race of the TMBRA Fall Series has come & gone. Being in the Texas Hill Country, Camp Eagle has rocks... and climbs... and rocky descents. Oh - let's not forget the dry riverbed bottom that can best be described as hard & bumpy with rocky drop-offs, kind of like a moon-scape. There are some fun, swoopy sections of trail that I like riding, but it just does not have a high enough "fun factor" rating for me to do my poor impersonation of a Cat1 (we're not Experts anymore) mountain bike racer.

For all of the reasons that I dislike this trail, Alan likes it. Then again, he & Kyle can ride that stuff and I won't.

Along the way we had a little adventure with the Texas Highway Patrol. Luckily the officer was being nice and just gave Alan one of these: Photobucket
Remember kids - the 55mph speed limit doesn't go into effect until you have reached the speed limit sign, not when you are still in the 45mph zone and can see the 55mph sign.
The license plate is there, really it is.

Camp Eagle is pretty much out in the middle of no-where Texas.
No-where as in you have 8 miles of this once you turn off the county roadPhotobucket and, what's up with this
on a 1-1/2 lane caliche farm road?

Bonus for the weekend: UT Cycling was also there, hosting a collegiate race, so we got to spend some time with Kyle.

Since I wasn't "racing" I went to the top of the first climb to cheer for the Cat1 racers as they got to the top. Looking out from the topPhotobucket
Pictures are deceptive, there is about a 100' climbing in a little over 1/4 of a mile. The big white building is close to the start line. The racers get to the base of the climb within 1/2 mile of starting.
Alan's group (Cat1 50+ Men)
He's in 4th coming up to the top

After the racers came by, I headed back down and began my work for the day. Cheering and working the feed zone (handing out water bottles to my racers). Normally the racers only come through the Expo area once a lap, but this course is set up like a figure-8 so they come through more often. Luckily all the guys I was taking care of came through fairly close to each other, so I wasn't having to watch two areas at once.

Kyle's group started 2 minutes after Alan's, so the challenge was on for Kyle to try to catch Alan and for Alan to not let that happen. Honestly, I was a little surprised to see Alan come though the 1st feed zone ahead of Kyle... but that was also the shorter loop. It would be interesting to see how they would come through after the longer loop. Lo and behold - Alan came through first again - so far he was having his best race at this venue. Kyle came through quicker than the first time, so he was closing the gap. The guys were on their last loop and had to face the climb again. Kyle would make up time on that part of the trail, but Alan would have the advantage in the dry riverbed (full suspension bike vs hardtail). I walked up the trail a bit from the finish line to see how this would all play out. It didn't take long for the guys to show and it was Kyle coming around the corner first. I waited for Alan to come around then made my way to the finish line (they still had about 1 mile of trail and I could take a short cut). Kyle came through the final section riding hard - I found out later that he had passed 4 or 5 collegiate riders in the last bit of trail - and finishing 5th.

Alan's finish for 2nd

At a gas stop on the way home, we saw the sweetest ride
Check it out - paper plates. Someone just obtained their dream car!