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


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.