Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hello stranger

Things have been pretty busy around here, with Christmas, traveling, training, child-rearing, guitar playing, and reading.  I'll recap best I can, because it'll be time to go back to bike mode for the next few posts.  Even my grandparents were saying that there is too much bike stuff on my blog.  I had to reply that bike stuff is what is usually going through my mind.  So sorry, but I'm obsessive like that.  Anyway...

Christmas was a grand spectacle.  I stopped by my Mom's house on Christmas Eve, then went over to the in-laws' house with my Mom for some appetizers and drinks.  We all went to church, which ended up being short-lived because K wasn't in the mood to sit still.  I called that one.  20 minutes later, K and I are leaving to go back home because he's being a two-year-old and I'm not getting anything out of it anyway.  When everyone got back, it was time to open some presents, eat some soup, and then head back to our house.  The next morning Penny made some awesome breakfast bake and coffee cake, and we opened Santa's presents and our gifts to each other.  We then drove to StL to have Christmas there and have the big party that night at Ma's house.

I met a family friend that races CX too, so that was fun talking "shop" for a little while.  K had been sleeping like complete crap (which killed our sleep too), so I didn't have a lot of energy to stay up late and throw back the brew.  I'm hoping in the next year that K will be easier to manage, both day and night.  That kid wears us out.  It's good he is so cute and ornery, otherwise I would have sold him at a Turkish bazaar my now.  Seriously.

AB got a guitar for Christmas, and I think I've been playing it more than he has.  I've always thought it was cool, and since my rediscovery of Dave Matthews and his acoustical sets with Tim Reynolds, I've had the hankering to learn.  I just wonder how my fingers would hold up.  My hyperkeratosis is pretty sensitive, and I have a feeling I'd have a bloody guitar in no time.  Kind of a bummer.  Maybe I'll try it anyway.

I'll end this post now, as to not sully it with bike chatter.  That'll be tomorrow.  Hehe.

p.s. my legs are tired.

p.s.s.  Speaking of DMB and guitars, here is AB rockin' out...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well that was easy.

It's official, I'm now a Cat3 cross racer.  No more fat guys and meat shields to beat up on.  Not that I was thumping them that solidly anyway.  I figured I had more to learn racing 3's than I will racing 4's.  Cat4 is technically the beginner class, and with 10 races done, I think it's time to move on as well.  I'll just go out there and hammer best I can, and see what ends up happening.  I have two races left where I'll race 3's...January 2nd at Epic Holiday Cyclocross and January 9th at Grote Prijs.  That's 50 minutes of blood, sweat, and lots of tears.  Hopefully it'll be eyeball tears and not muscle tears.  Silly synonyms.

Wish me luck...

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's not that cold

...yet.  Park City Mountain Resort has already gotten a load of snow this year, and I'm wishing we had a bit more here in KC.  No sense in being stuck inside with cold weather and not being able to get the only upside of winter (IMHO), snow.  Well, no bugs is nice too.

In the last week I've gotten sick and then well again, had my back try and go out and then mostly heal up, and got my new road bike built up.  The bike is great fun, I rode it yesterday for about 30 minutes and enjoyed being able to go flying around with great ease.  I will say it wasn't *quite* warm enough for shorts yesterday.  I'm going out again tonight on our Colavita/Parisi recovery ride, which ends at McCoy's.  It's a fun ride and it always feels good to stretch the legs and get to see everyone at a more casual venue than races (not that those aren't casual for most).

*30 minutes later*

Sorry, I got distracted and forgot what else I was going to write.  Talk at ya later!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Steep-and-Cheap mailers

One of the best parts of waking up is having Steep-and-Cheap email spam in my mailbox.  Maybe I shouldn't call it spam, because I signed up for it, and it would be one of the last auto-delivery emails I'd ever block.  Steep-and-cheap is a e-clearinghouse for all sorts of outdoorsy stuff, from camping gear to bike stuff to snowboard stuff.  But the deals aren't what amuse me so.  What I love is the little stories that come out each day.  It's almost as though I type them myself.  Here is today's entry, which even strikes a bit of a personal note with me.

"Celebrating one's own birthday is a bit odd if you pause a moment to consider it. After all, you did very little that deserves celebration on your own birthday. You basically just showed up and let other people do all the work. Celebrating this event is pretty self-serving. In an ideal world, the birthday celebrants would be the mothers who gave birth. They'd give a toast to not being able to drink wine for 9 months (x) amount of years ago, and then they'd get free drinks all night at the bar. Sadly, this is not the case. Ultimately it's just another example of how giving mothers can be."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Random bike-related thoughts

- the UPS man is bringing my new bike tomorrow.  I predict I will be going to bed at 2am Monday night because I'll be building it up after the boys get to bed.  Vanity pics forthcoming.
- I've been trying different sweet spot training intervals, and they seem to work well.  At least I feel good.  The idea behind them is to hit the point where you are getting an appropriate amount of exertion, while only necessitating the least amount of recovery possible.  You could go harder, but then you'd have to recover longer.  Ideally, you set your training up around your recovery times.  You get stronger during recovery, not during training.
- Penny made a bread pudding for my birthday dinner.  It was awesome, but after eating I feel like I ate 40 pancakes.  I'd eat seconds if I wasn't concerned for my personal safety.
- I'm solo with the boys for a few days.  Good luck to me.
- It's quiet in the house, and time to go train (SST 3x15).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don't watch this unless you race.

You so totally won't get anything what they are saying.  Speaking of which, Penny told me that my cyclocross posts use too much jargon.  Maybe I'll send out decoder rings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kansas State Cyclocross Championships race report, as promised

Most of the day Saturday was spent catching up on a few things around the house, and wondering how sore my legs were going to get.  Perhaps more importantly, how sore were they going to be at 11:00am on Sunday?  Fortunately, not that bad.

Sunday marked my first trip to Topeka in FOREVER.  It's seriously been like 20 years or something like that, so I had no idea how long it would really take, as immediately after the race I had to book it home and get to AB's first basketball practice.  I'd hate to miss that.

As I pull up to the course, I don't see much elevation change, which obviously I like.  I couldn't see that much though because a) the morning coffee was trying to punch its way out of my bladder and b) the course was LONG and strung out.  Very spectator unfriendly, I think, but so was the 21 degrees of cold we had to contend with.  I chose to wear the same thing I did on Saturday, thinking that even though it was colder, it was less windy so shoulda been a wash.  I was pretty close to right, although I chose to wear my snowboard gloves instead of my awesome-to-35-degrees Giordana gloves.  That was a great choice, because once your fingers get cold, it's all over.  For your fingers at least.

I headed over to the Natatorium and get checked in, pee, and get some terrific coffee.  It was so great, I drank it black which is pretty unusual for me.  I immediately head back over to the car, get out the snowboard gloves, helmet, and shoes and head out for a leisurely pre-ride, making mental notes of the trouble spots.

I found two.  Once was a little S-turn on some off-camber grassy area, that looked pretty easy to overcook it coming in and wash out and get tangled in the orange safety fence.  The other was coming off the Mound of Mercy (not that bad, really), and then you had to take a hard right before the pits.  Not technically difficult, but more than a few people blew that turn.

The course was pretty flat, and was suited to a power rider, which seemed to be me somehow.  We had a small field of 19 (smallest field I've ever raced), and I laid it down as hard as I could.  I guess that's the point.  One thing I've learned about myself over these last 10 races is that I never go hard enough.  At least I feel like I don't.  The course had you go a long way to the north, around some buildings, and a few sketchy corners with acorns.  There was also a couple of sections of zoysia that sucked.  It felt like riding with your brakes on.  I decided to hit that as fast as possible just to get it over with.

We had a 30 minute race, as opposed to the 40 minute race the day before, so I just buried the needle deep and held on.  I came off the start in about 12th or 13th, and passed a few riders before tailing an Emporia guy and finally passing him to move into 8th.  Pretty nice indeed.  I held on until halfway through the last lap, when I must have slowed down due to my back tightening up.  Last I saw I had at least 10 seconds on him, and then all the sudden he was on my ass.  I just kept the hammer down, until the last turn off of the grass and onto the pavement for the 500' finishing stretch.  I tried feebly to sprint, but the legs looked more like question marks than exclamation points by then, so I relinquished my spot.  Notes for next time/off-season training!

9th of out 19 isn't something to write home about (I guess that's what I'm doing anyway), but it was another strong effort, a good race plan, and a successful day.  I was pretty happy all in all, so now I have 4 weeks to train until Cross off the Old Year (12/31), followed by Epic CX (1/2) and Grote Prjis (1/9), and then a big bear slumber (until Feb 2011). 

Monday, December 6, 2010

MO State Championships

Saturday, December 4th, 2010.  Riverside, Missouri.  33 degrees, winds out of the north at 15mph, just like the weatherman advertised.  Dang, it was cold.

I love this venue, mainly because it's flat.  Riding at 84kg (you do the math), hills are not my friend.  Well, at least the uphill part.  Downhills are cool.  I guess that makes me "frenemies" with hills.  Yes, ok, that was lame.  100 lashings.

So I get to the course about 90 minutes early, which is perfect to get a pre-ride lap in, and then to get pinned-up, jaw jack a bit, then hit the trainer to get the legs loose and the blood flowing.  The last thing you want to do is to toe the line completely cold and your muscles don't want to move.  I smartly pre-registered, which got me a call-up to the 2nd row.  Jeremy, the race promoter, called up the 2009 State Champ, and then the Boss Cross and Bubba Cross (St. Louis) race series leaders, then all the pre-reg guys.  So I'm in the front 3rd of a pack of 40 dudes all clad in lycra and shivering.  Yea, that's a weird image, especially to non-racers.  Hell, it's still weird to me and I wear a one-piece unitard and prance over barriers with a -10 wind chill out.  Cyclocross has been called a sub-culture of a sub-culture.  I can see why.  Anyway, I digress.

The USAC official blows the whistle (or whatever happened, I can't remember) and off we go.  I'll put this bluntly, my starts suck.  I'm a big dude, and should be putting down big power and stomping the twiggy boys off the line.  But I don't.  So that's something to work on over the next year.  I have a few guys pass me, but I pass a few as well, and off we go.  Round and round the course.  40 minute race, and it sure feels it.  I'm having a great time though, which is unusual for me in a race.  I'm hanging with the usually faster-than-me-teammates Jake S. and Matt O., so I'm pleased as a pickle and think if I can hang with them for the duration, I'll place pretty good.

So in my state of delight, I decide to launch off of a small dropoff where you went from asphalt to the grass.  KA-BLAMB!  Something slammed hard, I figure I didn't get my rear wheel all the way in the dropoff, as I'm apt to do because I always change wheels with the bike in the air like someone who has never done bike maintenance before and thinks they are cool and can get away with that.  Yea, that plan works great until your fat-arse shears off your axle or hoses your dropouts.

But I keep pedaling, and then the bike starts making a hellacious noise. I'm getting mad, because I feel like I'm kicking ass, and if I have to DNF due to a mechanical, I'd have an aneurysm so hard I'd spray blood all the way over to the Argosy.  It sounded like my hub had shelled itself (nice, that'll be cheap to fix), but I noticed it stopped when I was in the big ring.  So in the big ring I stayed.  That means no little ring to spin your legs out on the climb.  It was mash mash mash on the pedals...stomp on the pedals!  C'mon Frank the Tank, stomp stomp STOMP.  Fortunately, like I said there wasn't much climbing, so I probably ended up going a lot faster than I usually do.

Somewhere along the line, I got ahead of Jake, Matt, and a couple of other guys.  I'm wondering how long that is going to last, because Jake can flat hammer, and Matt is a strong road rider, so he'll pass me on the paved parts.  I think I was ahead for a couple of laps, then by lap 5/6, everyone in that group of 4 had passed me, and had enough gap to where I didn't have the engine to bridge the gap.  I held steady, and felt like I had a solid race.

30 minutes later or so, results post up.  I'm thinking I was 10-15th, somewhere in there.  Ah no. 22 out of 37.  WTF?  I didn't know what to make of that.  Someone said the StL guys were bagging it up, and maybe a couple were (as if there aren't any KC baggers), but I was still surprised.

I'd still call it a successful race.  I felt good, rode strong, and identified some areas to work on.  I hate those races where you have no idea why you did so bad, so you aren't sure what to work on.

Kansas State Championship race report coming up tomorrow.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The pain train cometh

So THE Weekend has arrived, and I have to primo race events this weekend.  Once again, I'm not nearly as prepared as I had hoped, but we'll throw what I have against the wall and hopefully beat a good chunk of people.  I am interested to see how the legs will recover/respond on Sunday.  They probably will feel pretty good, until I have to start digging deep, which is about 3 seconds after the start whistle.  Should be a fun day.

But at the end of the day, I'm racing.  I'm upright, healthy, and throwing it down.  I can complain (obviously) about not having enough saddle time/sleep/good nutrition (pizza tonight), but the more I race, the more I realize it isn't a fitness contest, especially in cross.

Sure, there will always be hammerheads I can't keep up with because they are pushing 6.0watts/kg in a Cat4 race, and I'm pushing about 2.2watts/kg.  But I can certainly keep that gap tight by doing a few things...

1) Start better.  Make people pass you.
2) Stay off the damned brakes.  Frickin' roadies are always lockin' em up every corner, so stay away from them.  You can't be fastest if you are perpetually slowing down.
3) Rail the corners, trust the tires.  If you are going to crash in any cycling discipline, cross is it.  I've crashed twice hard this year, and the worst that happened was a partially rolled tubie and a elbow missing some skin.
4) Dig deeper, hurt fiercer, and make people work.  When you are hurting, they are hurting.  Hit them then, and will your place in the race.
5) Find more meat shields, especially on Saturday. 15mph out of the North, 35 degrees.  Sunday should be better, 7mph out of the north, 31 degrees.  Time to bust out the embro!  Or leg warmers.  Hmmm...

Have a great weekend, and keep me in your thoughts as I embrace my Cat4-ness around Riverside, MO and Topeka KS.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do or die

So this is supposed to be my A race weekend, the state championships.  Somehow, I'm coming in with worse form than I've had all year.  One of my teammates and I went for a ride in the breezy conditions yesterday and I didn't feel that great.  We had a terribly slow average speed, and just couldn't get into a groove.  Those crosswinds kept you from getting in a rhythm because you had to work to not swerve and stay upright.  Good thing I wasn't riding with deep section rims.

So anyway, about this race thing.  Saturday is the Missouri Championships, and they are at E.H. Young Park besides Argosy Casino.  I really liked that venue at Boss Cross #2, so I at least feel good about that.  Sunday is in Topeka, at Hummer Sports Park.  I haven't been to Topeka in a 100 years, so I have no idea about that place.  I do wonder what the old legs (exactly how they feel these days) will do after back to back days of racing.  If I were riding as much as I intended to be, it shouldn't be that big of a deal.  But I haven't.  So I will be suffering hard on Sunday.  Or maybe not.  Racing is funny that way.

You can pre-ride like Sven Nys, feel great and zippy, and then blow halfway into your first lap, with your tongue tickling your spokes.  Other times you feel lethargic, generally crappy and once the start whistle blows, you put the watts down like your life depended on it.

Racing allows you a real-life representation of what you are doing the other 167 hours in a week.

If that isn't humiliating, I don't know what is.

At least I had Whole Foods for lunch.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The giving of Thanks

I'm sure I'm not the only blogger out there telling everyone to take a few minutes and slow down to recognize all we have to be thankful for.  So why aren't you doing it?

We've been covering prayer a lot in church, and how it ought to be vs. how it often is.  Often we are asking God for things we want, and not listening or asking how we can help. 

I'm not a super-religious guy, I'd call myself more spiritual than religious.  But often I fail to take the time to recognize that important part of myself.  Often I just give a nod to my spirituality and go about my worldly ways.  But when I take the time to slow down, and the more often I think about what to pray "for", the more I realize that I want nothing for myself.  My heart hurts for those that are hungry, homeless, sick, and not fortunate enough to be born into circumstances as lucky as I am. 

So what am I doing about it?  I need to do more and not focus so much on myself.  I don't think I'm terribly selfish, at least I hope I'm not.  But I do see that dissonance of what I believe and what I do.  It's too easy to be selfish in this society of "me".

So in addition to being thankful for your circumstances, why not also help out someone who isn't as lucky?  Consider donating to St. Jude, World Bicycle Relief, Livestrong, or another charity important to you?  Go down and help at the City Mission, or Harvesters.  Just do something. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Manion's, redux



The above cam was worn by my team captain, Britton, in the fast guy class. Towards the end of the lap, you can #18, that's Steve Tilford. He's a multiple-time, multi-discipline national and world champion cyclist. Pretty cool he lives in Topeka and does a lot of the races here. Anyway, I digress.

So I've read a few race reports from last weekend, and thought my race report was lacking. I thought I'd take this chance to replay the race, a bit more throughly, so you can know, instead of wonder, what is going through my mind. 


 So here we go! The race started with us running out of a barn, which is called a Le Mans style start.  Not the barn, the running part.  So we ran a bit, jumped on the bikes, and pedaled furiously into a slight uphill with a nice 20-mph wind. That sucked. Fortunately I found a fat guy to ride/draft behind. I guess that is one benefit to racing 4's, is that there are plenty of meat shields. I'm sure I've played the part more than once myself.


Anyway, when you weren't going up, you were going down. And they weren't easy downhills, they require concentration and bike handling. Ask my friend Chuong, how that goes. The first descent was a swoopy, switchback style cruise, with often a little something on the straights to make sure you were paying attention. The first large crevice we had to hop, I got slowed down by people freaking out (one of the drawbacks of racing 4's) so I hit the crevice too slowly, slammed my rear wheel into the opposite lip, and dropped my chain. What seemed like 5 seconds putting my chain back on, must have been longer, because like 15 people went past me. That fueled my impotent rage.

We had a huge Colavita contingent on hand, so that was great.  I bet we had at least 15 guys out there, and we even got a few roadies out there to play in the dirt with us. I then started slowly reeling people back in, and passing them one by one. I passed a handful of teammates, which is good because I have a fair amount of respect for every one of them. Better than passing some faceless/teamless drone bee, and wondering if you just moved out of 36 of 37th place.


So then there were more uphills, which quickly demonstrated that I haven't been riding/training for crap. I got out of my groove since I've been sick, and didn't pick it up as much as I should have. Now I'm paying for that apathy, right in the heart of race season. That's pretty weak sauce, and I hope to redeem myself on the 4th and 5th (state Championships).

Anyway, my legs are blown about 2 and half laps in (we did 4 laps I think). I have nothing left. I dropped my chain yet another time for what looked like no reason at all. Again, more impotent rage. I was pedaling squares, as they say. Actually they were more like triangles. Pretty sloppy. I didn't crash, but then I wasn't going fast enough to crash.

The hills were painful, and I had nothing in the tank. Even my arms were getting tired from pumping the handlebars, and I don't think that's ever happened to me in a cross race. Pretty pathetic. Hopefully I can take something away from this. 

Halfway through the last lap I saw a guy about 200 yards behind me. I thought, cool, I can hold that gap and be done with this madness. But he found his inner whoop-ass and passed me like I was going backwards. That made me more mad. So I crossed the finish line and tried not to act like a complete ass to my wonderful wife and children who came out and screamed and shook the cowbells and were terrific. They were the best part of the race by far. Even when I rode by that one time and they were all looking up at the sky at an airplane. Haha!

I guess this should just be more impetus for me to kick ass in training this last month and a half. Then it's time to hit the gym/weights/running again to try and shed these last 10-15 pounds of fat. Hopefully I can put on a few pounds of muscle too while I'm at it.

Anyway, thanks for reading the long winded post/recap. I feel a little better now. A little.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Huzzah!

I'm not sure what that means, but it popped into my head when I decided to post up today. Yes, I've been a lame blogger, but to my defense...wait, I don't have any defense. So I'll recount a few things and then end with a big old race report.

- Saw Harry Potter #7 Saturday night. Freaking awesome, but INTENSE. Definitely not for the under 12 crowd, which isn't good for AB.
- Speaking of AB, we had a follow-up appointment this morning. The surgeons said it looks like it is healing up great, and that he should be ready for basketball here in a couple of weeks. He just has a couple of band-aids and a metal splint on it right now, and after next week, maybe just a band-aid. The doctor said kids grow fingertips back like newts, so it shouldn't be long at all before he's good to go.
- Looks like it is going to be cold sooner rather than later. I have mixed feelings about that. Better cold than hot, I guess.
- My team put on a race on Sunday, Manion's Cross #2. It was hard, especially since I haven't been riding very often. I kind of got out of my routine after I got sick, and just haven't been putting in the miles. The course was hilly, and lots of fun. I dropped my chain twice (where it comes off of the big rings up front), and that ticked me off. I was in some serious pain/wind suckage the last lap and a half, and didn't have anything. I had a couple of people pass me that had no business passing me, and I had no answer. I was pretty mad after the race was over, and thought I was in the last 5 racers. I looked around on the last lap, and hardly saw anyone. I ended up getting 17th out of 32, which surprised me.

I need to get some serious time in between now and the state championships, and hopefully get a top 10 one of the two days. I have to rip my bike apart between now and then to get it cleaned up and tuned, it's falling to pieces as I haven't been loving it enough, apparently.

That's it for now. Talk at you all later.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rough night

So I'm getting ready to leave work a few minutes after five last night, when I get the phone call from Penny that AB was at Y-care and got his left pinky finger smashed in a door and blew the tip off. I made some calls, got Kieran taken care of, and headed down to Children's Mercy South.

Penny and AB got there, and he had bled a good bit, but was doing ok all things considered. It was hurting him a good bit, but he kept his brave face on and watched some TV while we had nearly every doctor in the building looked at his finger. In the end, I had to take him to downtown Children's Mercy at 10:00pm to meet an Orthopedic surgeon for a consult. His bone was too close to the surface of the wound, so they had to nibble off some bone to keep the infection risk at a minimum. He then folded the pulp of his finger (meaty part) around to protect that, put a few stitches on, and cut the nail off. If you were going to have the tip of a finger blown off, this was the one to have blown off and in the right manner.

During the operation, I had to leave the room since a) I hadn't eaten in 12 hours, b) I slept like crap the night before, and wasn't going to do any better last night, and c) it was tough watching him in a dazed state while the surgeon was working on his pinky.

The surgery went well, and I was glad to be done with doctor's and hospitals and for AB to get some rest. We got home about 2:30am, and everyone is pretty tired (except Kieran, of course). AB got some good meds, and he's doing ok, just watching some TV and chillin' today.

He has a big ol' wrap around his fingers for the next week, and hopefully within a month or so, it should be all healed up and eventually you shouldn't be able to tell other than the fact his left pinky will be about 2-3mm shorter than the other one.

I raise 'em tough, I'll tell you that. All the nurses and doctors were impressed with AB's fortitude and toughness. The only time he got really sad was when the RN did a mediocre job with his first IV. That hurt him pretty bad, but another RN came in and nailed it. Everything was smooth sailing after that.

That's all the detail I have for now, and hopefully the healing process will be non-eventful and he can show off some cool scars at Christmas.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blah! Arg! I want a refund!

So I REALLY wanted to race this weekend, and had a tentative plan to carry it out, but I just couldn't shake the sickness until Sunday morning, and I hadn't prepped or anything, so I missed the Leavenworth race too. Looking at all the pics it looked like so much fun, so I'm super bummed. The race season is coming to close quickly, although I have 6 opportunities left, that's it until next September. Maybe I can get in some criterium racing this spring/early summer.

I'm still hacking stuff out of my lungs, but at least I feel better. I went up to Lifetime yesterday and lifted/rowed and felt good. I got my body fat tested too, and I was at 15%. Pretty thick for a good cyclist, but I was definitely excited to look at where I was on the graph and I was on the lean average of optimum. Optimum for normal people, but I race in a skinny man's sport, for better or worse. Besides, I don't see that six-pack yet. I'm not losing weight very fast, but not adding it on either. Could be several years before I get down to a fighting weight. The rate of weight loss is starting to agitate me, but I have to remember that I measure success on race performance. They don't just weigh everyone and hand out medals (thankfully).

My team is putting on another race on Sunday, and so I'm going to up the ante and race the 3/4 (three/four) race. In sum, that's the slower half of the Cat3's with the faster half of the Cat4's. The fast 3's race Open (1/2/3). It's kind of a screwy way to do categories, but it's a nice way to see how you stack up against 3's without having to actually upgrade. That'll be next season. After Manion's I have a week off, and then the next weekend is both State Championships. I might just do both races, since I need as much experience as I can get before next year.

After the championships, I'm planning on switching my bike over to a singlespeed and racing Singlespeed the last few races. We'll see if my knees can take it. I plan on having my ass handed to me in those races since there are some real hammerheads in those categories. That which doesn't kill me...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sickness is not fun

My malaise won't decide if it's coming or leaving. But instead of complaining about that, I'll simply ask you, what are you doing this weekend?

Here is what I'm doing!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shut up legs

I've been riding lots (comparatively speaking), and even doing yoga, all in preparation to hopefully peak for the Kansas State Championships on Dec 5th.

Saturday: Hard 90 minute ride. Felt good, and had a decent (for me) avg speed.
Sunday: Yoga. Killed me. Sweating like a fat man in a donut shop 20 minutes into the session. Legs super sore, but at least my back felt good.
Monday: "Recovery" ride at Volker. 1 hour of cruising through midtown with some of the guys on the team. That was great fun, and ended up at McCoy's for a delicious black bean burger and craft root beer. Yea, that was still a 2k calorie dinner, but oh-so-worth-it.
Tuesday (tonight): Tabatas. 3 sets of 8 intervals. 20 seconds max effort, 10 seconds recovery. If you want to lose weight, do intervals. Fo realz.
Wednesday (tomorrow): Probably 30 minutes of recovery spinning, but commuting to work too, so that's 40 minutes each way of good, hard riding, dodging cars, and sprinting from the lights. Love it. Except for the DBs in Lexus'.
Thursday: 2x20 intervals. 20 minutes as hard as you can, spin for 5 minutes. Do it again.
Friday: rest!
Saturday: start over, rinse and repeat.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This is a seriously great video

1950's Cyclocross...ok so the video isn't *that* great, but it's still cool to watch. Those were the original hard men, that all of us fancy lycra-ed up cyclists wish we were.

Smithville CX

Race pics from yesterday...



I made the wicked-long-haul up to Smithville Lake for what was a really great race. We had a lot of Colavita presence up there, and it was fun to see everyone.

The course was setup with a little bit of everything, with a nice run-up immediately followed by a money tree (tree with money clipped onto branches, which you tried to grab when you went past). There was some beach riding, and lots of twisting around trees as well. Some good little climbs here and there, and I enjoyed the course.

There was one particular 120 degree corner that gave me some difficulty on lap 2. You came in pretty hot to it, and then there was some really rough ground, a sharp bend/climb up to the right, and then around a tree, and up a climb. Well, I came in way too hot, lost control on the rough ground, and crashed hard enough to peel about eight inches of my tubular off the rim. I started riding again before I noticed it, and then stopped and hammered it back onto the rim. I wasn't able to corner nearly as hard as I liked, and the crash took a lot out of me, although I didn't notice it until late in the race when I was whooped.

I let a few guys by while I was fixing my bike, but still took 18th out of 41. Not great, but definitely things are getting better. It was nice getting the pre-registration bonus of lining up at the front, that makes such a nice difference when you can put some space in between yourself and everyone else (people who crash on the first corner).

I finished pretty slowly as I had a big gap on 19th, and he tried hard to get me, but I played it smart and had a 100' gap at the finish. Great race, and wish I could have stayed longer cheering everyone on, but it was time to get home and enjoy the day with the fam. Next race is a night race in Topeka, Nov 13th. I can't wait, although it'll be good to get some training and more core strengthening in.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Smithville showdown

Race is tomorrow, leaving way too early to make the long haul to my hometown-but-not-really. I should get to bed!

http://www.kansascitycross.com/images/stories/Smithvillecx10.pdf

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boulevard Cup 2010, post race recap

I'll start with the real important race first...Penny's Marathon. She blazed to terrific finish, especially for a first timer.

overall place: 599 out of 1425
division place: 35 out of 119
gender place: 158 out of 525
time: 4:14:23
pace: 9:43

Everyone is super proud of her, and I'm really impressed with how she did. Hopefully she can get some good rest in now so she can PR at the Turkey Trot. Or Gobbler Grind. Whatever it is. All I know is that it's a half marathon which involved running and I AM OUT.

I jogged with her from 20 to about 21.5, and she was right behind a guy who was doing a 100 marathons. Crazy. Anyway, this guy who was also right behind him had some friends right at mile 21.5 who thought it would be a great idea to chuck a football to their runner friend. Except for the fact that a) it was a 30 yard toss, b) their friend was in no way going to make a leaping grab or whatever, c) all the runners had their backs turned, and d) they pegged the guy doing the 100 marathons right in back of the head. I heard he slowed down, and those jackasses just earned a solid year of bad karma. Seriously stupid douchebags. In no way shape or form was that a good idea. At all. I hope the runner was ok.

Ok, now on from slow and steady to fast and furious. That was a lame blend of two cliches.

I felt pretty flat coming in to this week, as my legs weren't necessarily tired, but certainly didn't feel fresh. You need fresh in cyclocross to accelerate hard and break people's spirits. Yea, you read that right. I'm not out there to make friends. Not until I cross the line.

So I lined up a good bit better in the 3rd row, and still managed to flub my start by not getting into my right cleat. I had a lot of people pass me, and there just wasn't much passing. I got past a few people the first half lap, then just kept applying pressure where and when I could. There were a few instances where it got crowded and I was waiting on people to move out of the way, which stunk. I'm certainly stronger in the technical riding parts than having sheer fitness, so when the carcasses start piling up in the technical areas, I have to burn matches to get past the mayhem and get going again.

We had a great team turn out, and the Colavita Corner had more instruments and noise makers than I've seen in awhile. Thanks to my family that came out and cheered me on, and to my teammates that showed the other teams how to make some noise and tear it up in the race.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kinda cool



I started tracking my weight on Livestrong.com almost a month before my first cyclocross race. It's kinda cool seeing how far I've come. I'm sneaking closer to my first goal (176 lbs), and it has been an interesting journey for me.

The biggest change I've noticed is just that my clothes pretty much unwearable now. Not because of style reasons (or maybe it is), but because I've lost a solid 4 inches off my waist. I wore some slacks yesterday that actually slid off of me.

Some people think you have lots more energy, and I haven't really noticed this. Maybe it's just Kieran wearing us down (up at 3:56 this morning), or maybe the change has just been gradual. I don't know.

My back does feel a lot better, so that's a good thing for sure. It still gets tight, but not carrying so much extra weight has taken the pressure off of my lower back. I still have a long ways to go in terms of core strength, and making sure to stretch. I need to incorporate that into a routine because I haven't been as vigilant as I would like in keeping up to snuff in core strength. I can really feel it after I've been on the bike for longer than an hour, as my hamstrings get tight and start pulling on my lower back something fierce. I usually have to stop and stretch, and then I'm ok for another hour or so.

That's all for now, and my goal is to get to 17x by Christmas time. Seems pretty attainable, that's less than a pound a week.

Weekend of suffering

First and foremost, Penny's first marathon is kicking off at 7:30am tomorrow. I'm so excited and proud for her. I think she is starting to get pretty anxious, and is ready to get started. We'll be there cheering her on, so if you want to meet up, give me a call. Here's the info for the race: KC Marathon

On Sunday, my beloved Boulevard Cup race kicks off, and I'm expecting a massive turnout and a huge field. This is probably the premier race in the KC area for spectating, so I hope to see some of you out there. If you want to see me in a skinsuit, with snot hanging out at least 18 inches out of my nose and bulging eyes, here is your chance. I'm going to do my damnest to get in the top half of the field. Hurdle the dead and trample the weak. My race kicks off at 1:00pm. Drinking commences whenever you get there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Golden Arches

I'm completely at a loss what to say
.

McDonald's the Ageless Wonder

NOMNOMNOMNOM

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vimeo is the greatest video site

I say this because honestly, it is. Youtube is great and all, but the quality of content on Vimeo is staggering. There are so many well-produced videos on there, it isn't even funny. This one particularly caught my eye, and I really enjoyed it. I hope you do to.

Winters of My Life from Jonathan Burhop on Vimeo.

Winters of My Life is a portrait of Howard Weamer. For the past 35 years he has spent his winters as a hutkeeper in Yosemite's backcountry. He fills his days writing, reading, photographing, and being an ambassador to mountain culture. This is a brief look into his world and why he chooses to stay.

Directed by
Jonathan Burhop

Edited by
Marlon Singleton

Music by
Mike McCarthy

Friday, October 8, 2010

RACE REPORT

I'm posting this at least 3 days after I intended too, so I figured I'd bold the title and make it look like an internet shout in case your attention was waning.

So if you've been reading my blog for, oh say 2 months, you know I raced last weekend and I did my damnest to make sure I didn't look like an insufferable fat carcass with gangrene in my legs (which would explain the stench and slowness).

I can't say enough nice things about this event, the weather was awesome, the course was great for a sprinter (read non-wisp-like marginally overweight guy), and there was a nice TCPC (Team Colavita/Parisi Coffee) contingent on hand.  It's always good to see a bunch of familiar faces, although some of these guys I'd never seen before.  I guess that's one of the few problems with being on a team with a 50+ member roster.  I think I'm 3rd oldest (sorry DanO and Erik)(fact check, there are a handful of guys older than me).

Anyway, on to the race.  I rode a prelap to try and mitigate any possible "oh shits" I might have during the race, and I found a few and managed to avoid them every lap.  +1 there for me.  I got to the line about 3 minutes before go time (-3 points for lining up in the back), and that cost me some spots.  I need to really get there about 10 minutes before go time to get a good spot.  CX is such a sprint type race, there isn't tons of passing unless your fitness is just through the roof.  If that's the case, you shouldn't be racing in Cat 4.  CTFU.

So I started in the back of the field, and passed a handful of people through out the race.  My cornering felt solid, and barriers were mostly ok, although there was a set of barriers going uphill, and I tried to carry too much speed and dismounted too late.  Then on the last lap, 400 meters before the finish, I totally ate it while being lazy/tired and not properly unclipping out of my pedal to hop the barriers.  No love lost, as I only bled just a little bit, and most importantly, didn't lose any spots.

As I said before, the course was great. There were a few features that stood out to me.  There was a curvy section of the course that had you kind of S turn up and over this dirt "hill", and there was a lot of off-camber bits to keep you honest.  There was also a rather steep incline that had you doing an up and over, and you had to make sure to stay off your brakes otherwise you'd stall out and cost yourself a LOT of time.  Then there were two sand pits, one through a volleyball court that the Open class just breezed through (see first vid below), and then one down and around junk by the river.  There were two sets of barriers as well, so lots of dismount opportunities.  I actually found myself passing a lot of people (roadies) through the technical stuff, so that was cool.

I felt strong, but think I need to push harder for Boulevard (next SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY).  I still had snot running out of my nose and hard breathing, but this race was 40 minutes instead of the usual 30, so I wasn't so sure how hard I could push it and not blow sky high and lose a bunch of spots while I had to pull over and yak lung butter out.

Here's a few vids from the race, I took the first two, and then Chuong Doan had a great first-person cam of the race too.





Monday, October 4, 2010

Boss Cross #2, Chris Cross #1

Yesterday I raced hard, and had a great time.  I can't say enough about what a terrific venue E.H. Young Park was for the races, and how perfect the weather was.  I'll have a full race report later today, but I felt like I did real well, but didn't place as well as I thought I did.  I think starting in the back of the field had something to do with that.  I need to get to the line quicker.

Anyway, I'll have some vids of the Open categories and some more pics later.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't hate me



I know, it's like a damn car wreck.  You just can't look away.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Long ride weekend

...or not.

I had a boy's trip scheduled this weekend to meet up in Columbia and ride the Katy Trail all weekend.  We were graciously hosted in Columbia by my buddy Ryan's old professor, Doug.  He was a terrific host even though he was fighting a massive ear infection, and the accommodations were very much appreciated. 

Ryan and I got into town rather late on Friday night, and we called it a night at about 1am.  We didn't hit the trail until about 9:30 on Saturday morning.  The plan was to ride to Jeff City and back, making it about a 65-70 mile ride.  We got to Hartsburg, MO, at about 12:10, and were starving.  Plus they had a BBQ fundraiser going on, and Jeff City was about another hour away.  Needless to say, our stomachs won out there, and we ate some of the best BBQ I've had in awhile.  Pork steak, potato salad, and baked beans for $8.  Can't beat that with a big stick.  They took our picture, so we are somewhere out there on Facebook stuffing our faces.

We decided at that point, to turn around, and go past Columbia and ride to Rocheport.  We made the trek back in what seemed like half the time, but thunderstorms were looming and we were starting to get a bit tired.  My hearts and lungs certainly weren't strained, and neither my legs, but my saddle region was killing me.  I let a good bit of pressure out of my tires to help ease the constant hammering, but the Katy Trail is no place for a race saddle.  I'll be rolling with a nice, cushy couch cushion next time.  I'm still a little sore, but I'll see how sore tonight when I try and get some intervals in before my next race.

October 3rd is my next race, Boss Cross #3, and I'm SO looking forward to it.  I'll even wear sleeves this time!

So anyway, back to the trip.  We ended up going back to Doug's house, getting cleaned up, and had a great dinner at the Flat Branch restaurant in Columbia.  I had a beer and a half on Saturday, figuring I earned it with my calorie exertion.  The food there was terrific, as was the company.  The weather was starting to head downhill, and by the time we got back to Doug's casa, it started raining pretty good, and it didn't let up until the wee hours of the morning (not that I knew, I was out by 9:30). 

By the time we all were roused, we looked outside and saw the damp, cold morning awaiting us and we headed to the movies and saw "The Town".  Not too bad.  We had some great cheap lunch at some place I can't remember the name of then went back to Doug's, packed up, and headed back to Kansas.

Kind of a lame riding weekend, but it was good to see the guys and get out of the house.  Now back to work!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is this your first race?

So I already posted this on one of my bike forums, but it saves me from having to type a whole 'nother blog.  Feast upon my idiocy, and enjoy!

Saturday was supposed to be my first cx race of the season, but somehow I managed to turn it into a festival of follies.

First up, I left my USAC racing license at home. I have the number memorized, but that's always been good enough. Not this time, USAC official needs to see it, because my last registration was for a 1-day license. Which is way wrong, but whatever, burden of proof is with me. So I hoof it back to the car, grab my Sprint Evo and try and login to the site, taking up precious warm up time while I decode my password. Finally get it, get my number and get kitted up. Not a big deal, but there's more to come.

Second, I was checking the bike out the night before trying to silence my banshee brakes, and noticed my chain was wicked stretched out. Thankfully my team captain/shop owner checks his email late at night and was super courteous and brought me a chain from the shop. T-minus 33 minutes and I'm swapping chains.

Now it's time to get to the line, and he and I are starting down the hill to the start line when he tells me I can't rock the sleeveless. I don't have a normal jersey, just this tri/bike jersey and long-sleeved cross jerseys. At this point, it's about 4 minutes to GO, and I say oh well, let's see if the official calls me out. I barely get down the hill in all my 110db brake squealing-glory when she starts rattling off the rule number at me and tells me to go change.

I'm like WTF, there's no time. So I sprint back up the hill, get flustered, and then call it a day. My spirit had been broken at that point, and figured it's early in the season. So I stayed and cheered on my team, and watched people try and auger themselves into the ground with 6" barriers.

It's early in the season, and I'm glad a day like this is behind me. It was all self-inflicted, but damn, that wasn't much fun. 

My next race is Oct. 3rd in Parkville, for Boss Cross #2.  I have cross clinic tonight, and boys' trip/Katy Trail this weekend.  Of course, as luck would have it, my team is putting on a race this weekend, and needs lots of help in doing so.  This race was scheduled about 3 weeks ago, and my boy's trip has been on for months.  This is a fine example of my main grievance with the team.  Their sense of scheduling works great for a single person living in midtown.  It works like ass for a married guy with two kids, and lives in deep south OP.  /rant

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dialing it in

Had a nice pre-ride/race at Swope last night.  Darkness came quick, so I was only able to get maybe 3 laps in.  I played around a lot with tire pressure, and then once I finally got it dialed in, it was terrific.  I still need to learn to trust the tires when cornering in the grass, but with all the nuts (walnuts?) on the ground, your bike got loose in a hurry.

Should be a great race, and I'm raring to go (as soon as my back loosens up).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Somebody got me thinking today...

Given the seeming instability of the market, the growing gap between rich and poor, and the repercussions of a society built on consumption and the procurement of material goods, that maybe the American Dream is changing.

It started with a nice house with a white picket fence.  Then we added a 3 car garage (at first for excess stuff, then for our 3rd cars).  Then we went from 1500 square feet to 3k.  Then to 5k.  And beyond.

It started with finding a company that would take care of you for your whole life.  A relationship was formed between employee and employer.  Then we added 401k's instead of pensions.  Then we added outsourcing.  Layoffs.  200x-300x CEO comps over the common employee.  Corporate jets with golden parachutes.

It started with having a few conveniences.  Then we added remote controls.  Then cordless phones.  Giant SUVs, bluetooth, cooling/heating/massaging seats came next.  Social networks replaced real social interactions.

Where is it all leading too?  I think the lucky few are rediscovering a more simple life.  Condensing instead of consuming.  Handshakes instead of tweets.  Smaller homes with smaller utility bills, less cleaning, less clutter and more contact.

Maybe I'm just a crazy old 30-something, but I'm starting to see more value in slowing down.  As I was driving to work on a beautiful 72 degree day, I noticed I was the only one with their windows down.  Have we gotten so used to air-conditioning, or is it that we shun contact?  I don't know.

Ok, now I'm going to go for a bike ride.  A hard ride in the mud with people faster than me.  I'll try in vain to keep up, feeling my lungs sear and my vision blur.  Somehow through this cleansing process, the world will seem to be a bit more warm and kind, maybe a bit more human.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Pain and Glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday marks the beginning of my favorite season, cyclocross season! I'm pretty excited, and hoping it should be soft/muddy for the race with all the rain we got today. The team is practicing out on the course tomorrow night, so I'm hoping that will be an excellent time to figure out where I am fitness wise and to get some good hot laps in. I'm beyond excited. No silly swimming in this race, thankfully.

I'm raising my water glass to a 4-month season of good results, blurred vision, heart attacks, and throbbing legs, in no particular order!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Un-natural Nature Valley

So I picked up some Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut - Almond bars today. I'm mowing it down and wondering what's in. Let's have a look at the ingredients on our Nature Valley so-natural-it's-like-eating-tree-bark Naturelicious nature bars.

Almonds, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Rolled Oats, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Crisp Rice (Rice Flour, Sugar, Malt, Salt), Palm Kernel Oil, Wheat Flakes (Whole Wheat, Sugar, Salt, Malt), Fructose, Canola Oil, Water, Yogurt Powder (Cultured Whey Protein Concentrate, Cultured Skim Milk, Yogurt Cultures), Maltodextrin, Salt, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin, Color Added, Honey Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Sunflower Meal, Peanut Flour. Mixed Tocopherols Added to Retain Freshness.

Almonds - that's good.
High Maltose Corn Syrup - yea, that's crap.
Rolled Oats - sounds healthy enough
Sugar - not great, but hopefully natural enough
High Fructose Corn Syrup - devil food. America would lose 20 pounds a person without this chemically concocted crap.
Crisp Rice - fair
Palm Kernel Oil - mmm...oil. crap.
Wheat Flakes (more sugar I see)
Fructose - unnatural sugar. crap.
Canola Oil - didn't we already have oil?
Water - why am I so thirsty after eating one of these bars?
Yogurt Powder - maybe this is what the water is for?
Maltodextrin - sounds like something that causes cancer...
Salt - yea, we don't get enough sodium in our diets
nonfat milk - nonfat is good right? I don't know, I've never seen a nonfat cow.
Soy Lecithin - per wikipedia "Commercial lecithin, as used by food manufacturers, is a mixture of phospholipids in oil." Yummy, fats swimming in oil.
Color added - why? because naturally it's blue?
Honey natural flavor - why not just honey? Do they put bees in this stuff?
Baking soda - I'm all out of negative opinions. You may pass.
Sunflower Meal - I guess Sunflowers have to eat too.
Peanut Flour - How hard do you have to squeeze a peanut to get flour out of it?
Mixed Tocopherols Added to Retain Freshness - Once again, wikipedia "Tocopherols are sometimes used as a food preservative to prevent oils from going rancid". So the oils you shouldn't have to put in there to begin with need a preservative?

Needless to say, I'm staying clear of Nature Valley "of Sin" products after this. Seriously, way to mislead the consumers.

I like Kind bars as an alternative. These truly are all natural, and you don't have to Wikipedia have the ingredients.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Last weekend with the goats

Yea, the video isn't terribly exciting, but I thought I'd try and upload a video from my Evo to youtube. I guess it works ok.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's been over a week

and the earth's population is still growing. Moving on...

I have my first cyclocross clinic tonight, so hopefully I'll be able to walk tomorrow and not experience bruising to my thigh from performing unskilled remounts all night. I actually am quite excited, as I went out for about 40 minutes and did some skills practice with sprints mixed in, and felt ok but see a lot of room for growth.

Hope to see some other 'crossers out there tonight!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The greatest issue of our time

is not Middle-Eastern conflict, green energy, or Sarah Palin getting elected to office. It's overpopulation. Dr. David Katz wrote a decent article that hopefully will get some discussions started.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/nine-or-12-billion-things_b_693757.html

I have a feeling though that by the time we get around to frankly discussing the issue, the Duggans will have bred out the rest of us.

Seriously though, while it's easy to poke fun or ridicule a family that thinks it is their divine right to bring 19 or 20 kids into this world, I'm not very fond of the thought of having starving people with flies buzzing on their eyelids gasping their last breath because someone half the world away likes big families.

There are issues of resource allocation, of course, but then you can bring up the fact that America is the land of conspicuous consumption, where we each use as much resources as 45 Ethiopians. So the Duggans have a village indeed, burning up the same amount of this planet's finite resources as 990 (22x45) villagers.

The issue is very frustrating to me, because you can look at any specie that overpopulates, and you can clearly see that their demise is both quick and painful. Not the future I want for my kids. Both of them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tabatas

If you non-cross (slightly more normal) people ever hear me talk about Tabata night, let me explain what Tabatas are.

It is an specific exercise you can do on a bike or running. You can really do it at any type of sprint type activity, even swimming (if you like drowning, that is). It requires you to get warmed up, and then it lasts the longest 4 minutes you will ever know. 20 seconds full sprint, 10 seconds rest. 20 seconds sprint, 10 seconds rest. Repeat 6 more times. The idea is to get used to hitting the gas without giving yourself time to recover. My heart rate looks like a late-1998 IPO stock chart.

The idea is that once you do one set for a couple of weeks, then to add another set. Then maybe a few more weeks, then another set. 8 Tabata intervals, 5 mins rest, 8 Tabata intervals, 5 mins rest, 8 Tabata intervals, throw up, rest. Now you are ready to race.

I'm only on one set, but my vision blurred quite a bit after the 8th one. I may swerve during a race and hit a tree. Sadly, I won't be the first person to do that.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ooooh buddy. I can feel it.

Started intervals last night, along with a hard ride on the way home Wednesday night. The legs are finally starting to wake up!

Speaking of waking up, I've watched this vid about 3 times now and my thighs are just sitting here twitching.

U.S. gran prix of cyclocross from Jim Fryer/BrakeThrough Media on Vimeo.

Here's a look inside the USGP series and why it and cyclocross are so damn cool! Includes interviews with some of the biggest names in the sport and they share with us, what makes cyclocross so special to them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another cyclist in the house!

Finally! We have AB riding his bike now, sans training wheels!

I had tried to get him going a few times just up and down our sidewalk, but that was like pulling nails to get him out there. Finally we decided to take him up to the school.

Saturday night we did just that and had him start out on the nice flat grassy fields. He took off the first time, and had a blast. He did really well, and never fell once. He went up and down the field a few times and then was a little tuckered out and wanted to play on the swingset, so that ended our training lesson for the night.

Sunday night came, and he wanted to ride again. Despite having just finished a triathlon, I went out there with him again, and we ended up having a nice crowd of neighbors to cheer him on. With the help of the Colonel, AB was riding in the street quite confidently as well. He was doing nicely until he rounded the cul-de-sac and stared down the storm drain and plowed straight into it, going over the bars. I was a very proud papa at that moment (it's a cyclist thing). He scraped up his knee pretty good, and we had some boo-hoo time, but 10 minutes later the Colonel had him back on his bike and AB did a great job. We were all impressed that he got back on it so quickly.

Last night he wanted to ride again (he rides more than I do now), and so we took him out. He was doing really nicely, going clear down the street. But then he would stop and look up the street at me and yell for help to get going again. I had him learn how to walk up a driveway and then point down the slope to get some help getting started. He mastered that technique in short order, and has no problems with curbs or anything. He is still a little wobbly, and needs to get a bit more control, but dang, he has came a long way in a very short time. I'm quite proud!

Monday, August 23, 2010

fair performance

Well, my 3rd triathlon attempt ended pretty well, with a sprint finish at the end between myself and my neighbor. I let him win, seeing as it was his first finish and all. ;-) Seriously though, I had no idea when we were going to hit the finish line as there was no banner, and you had to make about 2 S turns before you had a 5 yard final straight. Everyone who was there lamented about the lack of a true finish line and how un-spectator friendly it was.

That all being said, it was a decently ran race I guess. The more I think about it, the more I'm kind of down on it though. The turnaround point on the run was a orange cone and a lady sitting in the shade. I had to ask if that was the turnaround point or not, there was no signage. We were told that "we couldn't miss it" as we were getting our final notes before the swim.

Oh well. I swam crappy as usual, biked ok (didn't feel that strong), and ran pretty well. I'll take it. Especially for eating tacos and drinking beers the night before the race. I really didn't want to do this tri, as cross season was so close, but I signed up shortly after the letdown at Shawnee Mission Park. I'm glad I did, but even more glad to start serious bike training and put this multi-discipline stuff on the shelf for a long time.

Results are still out there, somewhere in the ether. Hopefully we'll see them soon.

BIG THANKS to everyone who came out and cheered for me. It was really nice to have a well-sized contingency on hand to cheer us on. At this stage in my athletic life, it's not so much that the cheering makes me dig deep and press harder, but it gives me something to quiet down the "just walk a few steps" voice in my head, and to keep my pace steady. Fast and steady wins the race.

Update: Here is how I did. I'm pretty pleased with the performance, especially when I felt at least 1 mph slower on the bike than I averaged.
My place/Total sprint participants: 204/396
My place/Age group participants: 22/39
Swim time: 16:00 (30/39, I could easily whack 5 minutes off this time with some technique)
T1 time: 3:27 (17/39) Could trim some time here with some tri shoes and learning how to flying mount
Bike time: 40:07 (17/39) 17.6 mph, I could easily buy some speed here with an aero kit, probably about 2-3 minutes easy
T2 time: 1:22 (10/39) Some sockless shoes are in order I think, but an ok transition considering I took a few seconds to finish off my bike bottle
Run: 28:58 (22/39) I did pretty good here. I think my pace was a 9:40 mile, which I'd like to get down eventually. Lots of other areas to improve first.
Overall time was 1:29:52, which my first tri was at 1:53:58. Considering the swim was longer in that one, I was still ~15-16 minutes faster. I'll take it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

100 ideas

I had about 99 ideas for blog topics today, mostly dealing with my frustration with the general stupidity of western society. But I think I'll choose a better path today, and offer this quote that struck me as both fair and true.

"Success is proportional to our abilities to self-correct."

The quote comes from a triathlete website and a particular article on food consumption and the emotional components of eating. But this quote is applicable far more broadly than our eating habits. If you want to read further, feel free. It's a good article. http://www.slowtwitch.com/Opinion/My_relationship_with_food_1446.html

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First day

AB started Kindergarten today. I was pretty blase about it until I was standing on the neighbor's driveway talking to her, while all the kids buzzed about this morning. I remarked to her that "this is one of those moments that I know will soon become a distant memory".

I don't get too misty-eyed about AB and K getting older, but as time keeps marching on to its ever-steady beat, it makes me want to hold on just a little longer to my boys. One day soon, K will be off to school, AB will be off to middle-school, then high school, then college. They'll both be out of the house living their own lives and Penny and I will look at each other wondering where our little rambunctious boys went. I know in my head that day is a long ways away, but I also know out of my short parental experience thus so far, that life has a way of slipping through your grasp, especially when you try and hold on too tightly.

If there is any reward this life has to offer, it is the sheer pleasure of watching these two once-upon-a-time infants grow up, changing our worlds and seeing how the world changes them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

nos es caecus ut sors

..."we are blind to fortune".

At least that is what I intended to say in Latin.

As I was driving into work I was thinking about why is it second nature to to take things for granted? I was sitting there driving to a air conditioned job, that pays me well, in a nice car, with a nice house, kids, wife, etc etc. Everyone around me is healthy, and have little if no reason for complaint. Yet how often do we savor our good fortune?

Why is it that people who come close to dying often realize how precious life is, while the people with the full faculties to enjoy life often worry about the inane and unimportant things?

We don't notice a lack of pain or discomfort, and only once we are having to endure an especially difficult burden or sickness do we remember how things were once effortless. Even in a more milder sense, how often when we a "suffering" through a bad head cold do we just wish to be able to breathe through our nose or taste our food?

I certainly have more blessings than anyone should have, but I think it would be both wise and rewarding if we all should pause more often to remember what we have set before us.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dear family...

I am applying for a job as a bartender at McMurdo Station, Antartica. This is good bye. The heat is just too much and I don't see why any sane person would live anywhere that has heat indexes over 100 for 14+ days straight. I tried to run last night (and did), but the heat index was 103* at 9:45pm. That is not normal and I didn't sign up for this.

As soon as I pack my bags and bartending bibles I'll be on my way. I'll pour you a drink should you be in the neighborhood.

Bye!

Chris

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fat

One of the odd things I've noticed as I've lost weight is how exactly the fat has "came off". I put that in quotes, because your fat doesn't really come off, it just shrinks. You have the same amount of fat capsules (adipocytes), but they just shed some of what they hold. Thus, you generally get skinnier. More importantly, some of the fat that wraps around your body organs is shrunk as well, which is more important health-wise than any fat just inside your skin.

Anyway, I digress, as usual. Fat loss for me (and for most people, I would assume), has gone from the extremities inward. My forearms and calves have gotten pretty lean, but I still carry fair chunk (haha) of weight around my midsection and thighs. Nipples to knees, as I say. I've still lost weight in that area, but I'd like to have a six-pack again before I die. That's going to take some work. I kind of see one, but I'd rather it not require special viewing conditions to observe it.

So I started at 220+, and started racing cross at 217 lbs. I had a 38" waist too. Now I'm hovering at 189-190, and down to a 34" waist. I have a feeling I'll be seeing a 32" waist before Christmas, and hopefully I'll be in the 170's by a few pounds.

For everyday living, I think being 180# and 6' with my build is pretty good. But it's not that great when you're trying to keep your breakfast down and experiencing blurred vision as you race 'cross against a bunch of waif-like roadies. I guess I could always knock them over as they try and lap me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vote Basil!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Terrific video

I know! It's been so long since I've posted a video, but this one is really well put together. 4 riders decide to conquer one of the Tour de France stages from 100 years ago. It is unbelievable, there isn't a whole lot of words for this, and to think of how hard this must have been today, let alone on bikes from 100 years ago. It's a longish vid, but well worth taking the time to enjoy. Id recommend clicking on the video below and going to Vimeo's site to watch it in HD, it's beautiful. Cheers!

The 1910 Challenge from RAPHA on Vimeo.

The centenary of the Col du Tourmalet's inclusion in the Tour de France will be celebrated with a mountain-top finish on stage 17 of this year's edition of the race. As well as the special edition Tourmalet Jersey, Rapha honour the first ever Tour stage that tackled the Tourmalet with a tribute ride, The 1910 Challenge.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ten things on my mind

I've noticed that my blogmanship has been lacking recently. Perhaps it is due to lack of initiative. Perhaps it is due to lack of time. I doubt it is either of those. I think it is the fact that I have so much on my mind, it is getting a bit stressful. One of the Buddhist adages I've retained over the years goes something like this, "Do not worry about what you cannot change, because those things are out of your control and your worry will not bear any fruit. And do not worry about what you can change, because you will do something about it."

Yea, I totally butchered that quote, but I can't find it and Google just failed me.

So here is a brain dump of things on my mind. Make sure you wipe your shoes before you leave.

1) AB has been sicker than I've seen him. He's on the mend now, but it was still tough seeing my little doppleganger with no wind in his sails.
2) 5 weeks or something like that to my next triathlon. I really want to swim better, but don't have enough fire under my ass to go practice 3x a week like I really need to.
3) I need to stop going to bed at 11:00 or 11:30 when Penny and Kieran wake up at 5:30. This lack of sleep is driving me insane.
4) I need to get back on the weight loss train, I've been hanging out at 190.x for a long time now. I think seeing 18x.x will be pretty sweet.
5) I wonder if being successful isn't more a curse than a blessing some times. It would be nice to walk away and do something more meaningful, or at least fulfilling.
6) Why is that mediocrity is so often rewarded?
7) Just when I think that our political process can't get much worse, I find out that a) the rabbit hole is much deeper upon further inspection and b) it's been like this a lot longer than most of us realize (and extends far beyond a single President's term).
8) BP is calling their own shots, and it's amazing that we still call this country a democracy.
9) My Evo is a terrific phone. I'm glad I got it and it is so much better than the Instinct it isn't even funny. Not one bit.
10) Sitting in an office chair for 40 hours a week sucks, but I think it's better than sweating my balls off swinging a hammer or zippin' sheetrock. God bless those guys who do that. I did enough of that stuff over my college breaks and it's a wonder any construction guys can walk past the age of 45 given the beating their bodies take.

All this pissin' and moanin' is just that. 97% of the world would trade their first-born to have the same set of problems I do. Sometimes it's difficult to keep perspective when your head is up your ass.

Tomorrow I'll be a little less grouchy or whatever I am today. But chances are, I won't blog about it. :-)

I think I just need a long, hard ride on my bicycle. Nothing like a little pain to stand you up straight.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two wildly unrelated things

First things first. My triathlon was awesome, that is if you are a storm chaser. I got out of the water, feeling pretty strong despite my inept attempt at swimming, and started stomping the pedals after getting in a fight with my socks in T1. I was just about to finish lap 1 of 2 when the race director called the race and everyone started leaving en masse. It was great having support out there, even though I barely saw anyone other than AB yelling for me and Joe B.'s hand.

So that was a disappointment, and against all better judgment, I'm considering competing in the Jackson County Tri at Longview Lake on August 22. I kinda want to do a tri, but then again that only leaves me like 3 weeks to get ready for cross. Ug! I know I'll probably succumb to the great temptation of drowning in an open water swim. I'll post up as soon as I make up my mind.

On the unrelated note, I thought that Robert Reich wrote up an interesting article speaking to wealth disparity in our country. I linked it here in case you might want to read it. Enjoy...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/the-root-of-economic-frag_b_644465.html

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fresh content smells the best

Sorry I haven't been as diligent as I should be about updating the blog. Most of my spare energy has been going into training, as my tri is only a few days away and I'm trying to spend some time doing the old SBR (swim, bike, run). Swimming is coming along ok, I had a few moments of actual swimming last night where my stroke felt efficient and the water started flying past me. As more and more of those moments come, and as my breathing gets better (still my weak link), I think I might turn into an actual swimmer yet!

One of my observations about being a multi-sport athlete (other people, not me, yet), is that to be proficient in all three sports takes a lot of training. Triathletes aren't typically skinny because they control what they eat; I think it's just due to the amount of training one has to endure to be competitive.

It is this giant time suck that has me waffling on entering something as audacious as the Kansas 70.3 next year. That would entail training 10-15 hours every week, sometimes more especially as the date gets closer. That would require some major spousal support. We'll see. I know P would support me, but that is a major commitment to myself as well. Especially when training would start roughly the last week of January.

I really would like to do a sub 6-hour half-ironman if I'm going to do it. I could go out there with the "just finish" mentality, but I think I can do better than that. I'll need to peel off better than 2:00/100yd swim, 20+mph bike, and probably sub 9 min/mile run, with average to good transitions to pull that off. Actually that math would yield a 5:28:06 + transitions (~4 minutes). That'd be a pretty rockin' time.

So enough tri-geekery! I was inspired by our friend Francie's blog, where she asked her son Owen a series of questions. I had fun asking AB some of the same questions a few nights ago, and here are his answers...

1. What is your favorite book?
A: Ironman

2. What is your favorite movie?
A: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

3. What is your favorite food?
A: Grilled Cheese and grapes.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
A: Ben Ten.

5. How do you like being five years old?
A: Kinda good. Depends on if I have big boys beat me up.

6. What is your favorite color?
A: Blue.

7. Who is your favorite superhero?
A: Batman.

8. What is your favorite song?
A: The Imperial March from Star Wars (Darth Vader's theme)

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: Tall MU Player (at this point he runs across the room, stands there for a second and runs back. I ask him what was wrong and he told me he needed a "fart break".)

10. What is your least favorite food?
A: Chicken

11. What do you want to do when you're five? (What are your goals for the year?)
A: Skateboard (Now he runs to the bathroom, poop break)

12. What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy?
A: Go downstairs and watch a movie.

13. What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?
A: Go to the pool.

14. What is your favorite thing to do with your buddies?
A: Run around and play.

15. What is something Mommy always says to you?
A: Go upstairs and get to bed.

16. What is something Daddy always says to you?
A: Eat your breakfast. (Apparently we don't deal well with his pokiness)

17. Where is your favorite place to go?
A: Florida

18. What makes you laugh?
A: Funny jokes. Sometimes when people do funny things that I laugh so hard and fall down on the floor.

19. What is your nickname?
A: AB.

20. What is your favorite toy?
A: Nerf blaster guns.

21. What makes you sad?
A: When somebody hurts my feelings and pushes me. And when people say "I'm not your friend".

22. If Spider-Man and The Hulk fought each other, who would win?
A: Probably Hulk because he's stronger and tougher. *pause* Probably Spiderman cuz he shoots a web. If Ironman and Wolverine fought, Ironman would win. Because he has more powerful weapons.

Funny kid!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The evo has landed

So finally, after much ballyhoo and whatallhaveya, I got a Sprint Evo after getting on three different stores wait lists. Indeed, it is a cool phone and can do dang near anything. BUT, like early adopters have been screaming on the interwebs, it does have a lackluster battery life. It probably has an average battery, but with all the different radios, there is no way it's going to last that long. I'd give it 4.5/5 stars for now.

I have 12 days til my next tri. My swimming has not progressed as much as I had hoped, but I'll still survive. Just have to keep my head down and pound out the yards. My running has been going well, and I'm starting to dip below 10 minute/miles. That's a very pedestrian pace, but it's a pretty good clip for me. I'm anxious to keep putting on the miles and quickening that pace as well as increasing run distances.

13 days until cyclocross training begins...hehe.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So long and thanks for all the fish

I feel it is my sovereign duty to post something of great meaning today. I'm not sure why, maybe it has to do with the fact that most of my posts have either been videos or about triathlons. Oddly enough, I don't think I've posted a video about a triathlon. And why is it that half the time I type "triathlon", it comes out "triathlong"? Must be something subliminal going on there.

We've been landscaping (mainly Penny) and it is finally starting to come together, although there are still a few plants to buy and plant, and a buttload of mulch. I'll be quite happy when this is all done, as it is quite an eyesore to me and I don't like having that big of a project hanging out over my head. Although you wouldn't know that by how slowly I'm putting in the backup sump pump. Hopefully it'll stay dry enough this weekend so I can get that done.

And speaking of this weekend, it seems that it is getting all stacked up, and there won't be much rest for the weary. At least I'll get in a nice long ride on Sunday morning. It's always good to start the day with a 3,000+ caloric deficit.

Well, that's all I really have. The coffee isn't working that well yet. Hopefully greatness will floweth later today like Indian Creek.

Congrats, Grandma!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mundane Monday

This is turning out to be a pretty miserable month as far as weather goes. If it's not raining, it's 90+ degrees and unbearable, or at least it seems that way. I'm wondering if the SMP lake will be boiling for our tri swim next month. Hmm.

Speaking of swimming, I start swim lessons tomorrow night. I'm pretty excited, really, since my swimming sucks so badly. I'm hoping I can do the 500m swim in less than 15 minutes, which would be a wild improvement over my last barely-above-water attempt at Longview last month. Three cheers for improvement! I did scoop up some nice goggles, and it's so refreshing not to have to take my goggles off after every 50 so my eye sockets can regain blood flow.

Gotta run tonight, keep pounding the pavement and see if I can shave 1 min/mile off of my KC Tri time. Really shouldn't be that hard, but we'll see. I had a pretty anemic 30 mile ride on Sunday. I just didn't have any legs, and probably should be following a plan for this next tri. Then it's time for 'cross training, yippee!

I'm not sure why I'm so excited, but there are lots of weeks painful and vomit-inducing hill sprints and remount practice coming up. I figure it's better to be in pain in training than during the race. Not that a cyclocross race could be a pleasant experience!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No vids this time

32 days and 8 hours til my next tri. This one will be out at Shawnee Mission Park, and I hear it's a hilly beast. Which is great, cuz I burn about 100 calories a step hauling all this man flesh up steep inclines. Ug. I can't get shredded like wheat by staying at home though and laughing maniacally on the trainer while watching Seinfeld videos. I finally hooked up the garmin while I was on the trainer and my heart didn't flutter out of zone 1 except when I squeezed out a little cheek music.

That was so funny I cracked a smile at my own writing.

Last weekend I went to the Kansas 70.3 Ironman (half-ironman). I got serious goosebumps just walking up to the course. Triathletes are some badass people. Maybe I'll consider myself one if I do a little better in this next race and turn in something faster than a 4:00 100yd swim time. That's just nasty.

Anyway, back to 70.3. For all of you who aren't familiar with Tri's, there are pretty much 4 distances. Sprint (what I do), International/Olympic, Half IM and Full IM. A sprint is something around a 500 yd swim, a 10 mile bike, and a 3 mile run. An international is 1500yd, 40k bike, and 10k run. IM is 2.4mi swim, 112mi bike, and 26.2 marathon. Fo realz. Half-IM is half an Ironman. I went there to pretty much see the pros and soak in the sights. My hero (and thousands of triathletes' hero), Chrissie Wellington, was there to pound the Earth into submission. I don't think I've met anyone as nice as her, professional athlete or not. She CRUSHED the women's field, and took 10th overall (chicking some 900+ dudes), and then stopped after finishing to talk to the spectators/fans for quite awhile. After all, local tri wundergirl Pip Taylor finished almost 17 minutes down on Chrissie, so C-Dub had some time to kill. Chrissie met a lot of kids who's Daddies were still out suffering in their pain caves and she really had nice conversations with them, asking if they were enjoying the race, and how their Dad's were doing, etc. This wasn't a sign a shirt or pose for a pic and walk away. My jaw was pretty much on the floor watching all this unfold in front of me.

So, obviously, I took lots of pics, and had to take a pic of Chrissie's legs. Shredded like wheat doesn't begin to describe her. But then again, what do you expect from the current, 3-time consecutive Ironman World Champion?



Maybe I'll have to up the ante next year and do the 70.3 too. Stranger things have happened! I'll have to chew on that for awhile though, and get a real tri bike. I'm sure the wife will love having yet another bike in the garage!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The internet is endless...



You'll have to ignore everyone but the drummer. That dude is incredible, but you'll figure that out pretty quick.