Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Mud

Seeing as Sunday was my first true "mud" race, I finally got to experience first hand the different types of mud, and why they are important to racing in inclement conditions.  Saturday was raining for a great majority of the day, thus it was a runnier form of mud.  That's ok.  It just gets things dirty, but doesn't collect and clog.

Sunday on the other hand, was peanut butter mud.  It had started drying out, and if you rode some of the high lines on the course, you were instantly slowed down by this.  And then you'd go on to a grassy stretch, and your sticky, muddy tires would rip the grass out and put it everywhere, your drivetrain, and those tight spots around your brakes and bottom bracket.  So it'd create little grass huts all over your bike, and SIGNIFICANTLY increase drivetrain drag as well as cause rear derailleurs to seize, and then snap.  Fortunately I didn't run into this, but quite a few people in the later races did.

So it was interesting experiencing something I've only read about.

I finally got my bike cleaned off last night.  I hosed it off in the car wash for about 7 minutes, and then last night I chipped a bunch of stuff out and cleared tons of grass out of my drivetrain.  Everything looked trashed, but after an hour or so, I got it working again.  What a mess.  Racing in the mud is awesome until you stop.  Then the clean up begins.

As for the race, I almost pulled out before it even started.  I go to air up my tires, and my rear is completely flat.  I thought that was weird, so I aired it up again and started getting changed.  I come back to the bike, and it's flat again.  I can hear air leaking by the valve stem, but the valve is tight.  I figured that I had a hole in my tubeless strip on the rim, and later I found out I was correct.  I only had about 20 minutes before the race, and wasn't sure how I'd even fix it.  I went to go get my money back and the promoters hooked me up with a spare SRAM rear wheel.  Super generous of them, and they are definitely the best race promoters around.  I kinda thought that before that nice gesture...

So I get the rear wheels swapped out, and my friend Ryan Mulbery shows up to cheer me on.  Very cool of him, and I know he's going to get to witness quite a spectacle.  People are coming back from a single lap of pre-ride just caked in mud.

So I start pre-riding, and end up hanging out at the start line with ample time to line up.  That's a first.  I think everyone trashed their bikes the day before, because the Master's 30+ and 35+ classes are very small.  I lined up with JP Brocket, Chuong, Jon Sink, and me.  So I knew from the get go, that it'd be a battle for the last podium spot between Jon and I.  Last year we were pretty close in results, but this year I've been not quite as competitive.  I figured it'd be a good goal to keep him close and try and finish strong.

The whistle blows, and as expected, JP blows the doors off.  He's a fast dude, with fast spawn as well (his daughter Karen is pretty phenom at just 16).  I can't remember if I got ahead of Chuong, but it didn't matter, as about half a lap in, I'm flying down this super thick muddy down hill and start edging my way off to the side of the track, hit a big rut, and end up Tango Uniform.  Looked like a had a blow out.  Chuong got by me at some point, and I hustle it up, and about 3/4's of a lap in, Jon squeaks by me.  I'm having a tough time hanging on to my left shifter as it's coated in mud, as is my glove.  So there were some difficulties going on.

I keep Jon pretty close, and let him out a bit, then reel him back on the flat soupy parts.  I think we raced maybe 6 laps (?), and by lap 4 or so I started to fade and he started getting further and further away.  This is why they say base training is so important, right?  On the final lap, JP laps me, sitting up riding on the tops of his bar.  He is one fast dude.  I don't get mad because I realize that I've been pretty deficient in my training.

So at the end of the day, I finish 4th out of 4, but have a smile on my face because the race was super hard, yet fun.  It was a real cross race.  I had to hustle home to get errands done, so I couldn't stay and watch.  I cleaned off my borrowed wheel as best as I could, pulled some long underwear over my muddy legs, and headed back to cupcake land to trash my shower.  ;-)

I'm looking forward to KS State on Sunday.  I don't have any gigantic aspirations, just to race stronger and harder than I did last week.  The weather is looking to be around 40*, so that should be a bit warmer than last Sunday.  Now I just gotta watch what I eat with my birthday on Friday, and get some decent training in still.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Boss Cross #5 Pics

Big thanks to Ryan Mulbery for coming out to cheer me on and photograph the misery.  It actually wasn't that miserable, it was pretty fun.  I'll post up a race report tomorrow, as there is a lot to talk about!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prepping for the MO State Championships

Training has been pretty good.  I've realized that I've lost a LOT of base fitness, but I'm feeling a little stronger.  I wasn't exactly riding that well during radcross, and I took in a big swig of defeat during that race.  I was way off the back, and am riding several levels below where I was last year.

That all being said, I'm trying to recover some modicum of ability, and salvage the season with a strong race or two.  Boss Cross #5/MO State is my final tune up race before the KS State Championship next Sunday.  I need to ride strong and not have any stupid mechanicals.  I think I have the mechanical thing under wraps, and like I said, I've been training hard.  Last night, I blew my legs out doing The Sufferfest, Fight Club.  See below.  I love the Sufferfest, and they love me.

My legs are still achy today, which is pretty good for a one hour workout.  I'm lifting tonight with core with some more moderate spinning efforts, and then recover on Wednesday.  Blow the legs out again on Thursday night, lift/core/spin on Friday, and then easy spin with some openers on Saturday.

CX weather is finally here, and it looks to be a high of 38 on Sunday.  Brrr.  Maybe I should have bought that thermal skinsuit.  Oh well, there's always next year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shawnee Family RadCross

Yesterday was a mixed bag.  I didn't have high hopes for yesterday, but wanted to establish some sort of baseline to which I could improve upon for Boss Cross #4 and then, ultimately, the State Championships on Dec. 11.  I really wanted to give it everything I got, because Britton has implored upon me that if you aren't near death at the finish line, you left something out there.  I wanted to cross the line feeling near death, if nothing else.

It's tough to say what goes through my mind during a race.  The pain hurts.  Of course.  But other than that, I think it's the realization that my training is pretty bad.  I take too much time off and that negates nearly everything I do.  I definitely need to be more consistent going forward.  I think I've said that before.  So anyway, on to the race.

Lap 1 scrum through the sand.
The course was set up perfectly for me.  Lots of turns you can carry with speed, minimal climbing, and a good power course.  At 186 pounds, I don't need any extended climbs, that's for sure.  Before the race started, I'd been having a hell of a time getting my right foot clipped in, and my left foot wasn't that great either.  Stupid rookie mistake.  Check your equipment before the race.  So I needed cleat shims, but of course, who carries spares with them?  I wadded up some of the wrapper off of my gu shot, and then put it between the shoe and cleat, hoping it would raise the cleat enough I could cleanly engage.  Well, that didn't work.  It was better, but no where near where you would want it for a race.  But, I was going to race regardless.

Lots of sand.  The fast guys rode this, which was impressive.
I lined up what I thought was 2nd row, but ended up being third row.  I really love it when asses come to the line late, come through the front row, and just turn around making a 2nd row.  Douchebags, if you want a good spot, get there earlier.  That ticks me off, but I'm a pacifist enough not to say anything.  Plus, it's not like we're racing for big money here.  So the official blows the whistle, and we're off.  Bam.  I get around a few people, and am about 10th in a group of 40.  Not bad.  I just need to hang with the fast guys for a lap or two, and then I can probably hang in there for a top half finish.  I knew I had no base training at all, so wasn't expecting to go set some course records.  My cleat came to haunt me again and again.  I'd be JRA (just racing along, in this context), and bam, my foot would go flying off the pedal.  I'm glad I didn't sink one of my eggbeaters into my shin.  There aren't many things that are as painful as that.
Charlie Bartel and me on lap 1

Slowly but surely, I start getting passed.  I keep having issues, and I'm going redline fast.  I keep pushing though.  My legs hurt, and lungs hurt, I'm having fun but suffering terribly.  I notice that some of singlespeed guys start passing me.  They started 15 seconds behind my class, but there are some fast dudes in there.  I tried to jump on some wheels, but my legs fail me.  My mind is definitely faster than my body.

We were supposed to get 9 laps in, and I had about 2 laps to go when I burped my rear tubeless tire.  I knew it immediately, because my rear end was slithering all over this off-camber turn.  In hindsight, I probably should have ran a few more psi to keep that from happening.  I really need to pull the tire off, pull of the Stan's rim seal, build up the rim with some Velox, then reapply the Stan's.  That'll help keep the tire bead from sliding away from the rim hook, letting the air escape.

So I had about 5 psi in my rear tire, my cleats weren't working, and it was close to the end.  I decided to throw my first DNF.  Ug.  I hate to see that, but somehow, I still came away pretty happy.  I learned a few things, and still accomplished what I had hoped to do.  I just didn't finish.

JPeck and I looking into the future
I have two weeks to get some more training in, and to get my mechanical issues sorted out.  I didn't even come in the house before I was at my work bench fixing my cleat issue.  I think I got it sorted out, I just need to double check it in the next day or so.  My legs are tired today, so I know I got a good workout.  I am excited for the next race on Dec 4th, and hope to do well (at least better) there.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Night rides and Weekend Update with Kevin Nealon

Blogging has been very unwieldy to me recently.  I'm not saying I forgot how to do it, nor that the tech is over my head, it's just that "impetus" and "time" are not lining up.  Sprinkle in some lack of motivation, and burning eyes, and here we are.  Sub-par blogging updates from me.

My old site, swiii.com, lost it's hosting as I forgot to pay for it.  I'm hoping I was able to keep all those pictures, although I have a feeling they are lost.  Maybe I have them somewhere.  That would be a bummer.  At least I still have the naming rights to swiii.com, and I've re-directed them here.  At least I think I have; it's not working yet.

I had a 3-day weekend, and it seems like it was only 1.25 days long.  Friday night I had a tremendous time out at the Lawrence River Trails.  12 other souls went out around 9pm for a night ride, and it was awesome.  Night riding is fun in itself, but when everyone turns their lights off and rides by the light of the full moon, that is something altogether special.  We all formed a nice line and had great flow through the trees.  Despite what my old friend Max said, I don't think I'd try this out somewhere more technical.  LRT is pretty smooth, with lost of smooth berms and little risers.  We didn't finish until nearly 1 am, which is pretty late for this domesticated dad.  I still got up early and made my dear wife a latte since our machine was broke for a long time.

I don't even remember what happened Saturday, but I'm sure it was fun.  I do remember we watched "Due Date", and it was very funny.  There were some points where you had to have giant suspensions of disbelief, but the comedy was good.  Robert Downey Jr. was funnier than Zach Galifinakis, much to my surprise.

Sunday morning I got up early and headed out for a ride.  I rode from home and finally found my way through the horse trail and got to ride Blue River Parkway (BuRP) and rode the surprisingly technical Wagon Wheel trail, and came back on Serengeti.  I brought a trail map, but still had a vague idea of where I was.  I had a lot of problems riding on Wagon Wheel, as my technical skills aren't very good anymore.  Well, they never were that good.  I do plan on riding it a lot though, as the stronger I am technically, the faster I'll be everywhere else.

I'm racing again on Sunday, and pretty excited although I know my fitness is teh suck.  Well, not that bad, but I'm sure I'll get beat down pretty bad.  This is more to blow out the cobwebs in prep for the State Championships on Dec 11.

I read somewhere that it is a 3:1 ratio of time losing fitness to time getting it back.  Yes, that's confusing.  What I mean is if you take a month off of riding or running or whatever you do, it'll take 3 months to get back to where you were.  I don't know if I buy that, but if it is true, that would explain my results.  And it would be further supported by the fact that all the fast guys ride year round, at least a few days a week.  6+ days a week during the season.  I don't know if I could do that.  But I think I should try and at least do 3 days a week, and that would be a vast improvement in my consistency.

That's all for now.  Time to sharpen my toe spikes for this weekend's race.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Well done!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's almost been a month since we (I) last talked

I've raced once this CX season.  Can't say why.  Usually I'm breathing CX by now, but have hardly ridden and am wondering why not.  I rode to work today, which felt good, but also felt how dead in the legs I am.  I'm in no shape to show up and race Cat 3's, that's no joke.

Woe is me, I suppose.  Guess I just to pull my big boy pants on and get a few good races in before it's February and all the real racing is done.  I have a little over a month until the State Championship, so I'll make this pledge to all of you, my dear readers, many of whom are my teammates.  I'll get back on it.  I'll ride.  Ride often, and ride hard.  I'll do core workouts.  I'll stretch.  I'll break myself down to come back stronger.

You don't realize how important cycling can be until you stop for awhile, and then get back on it.  Then you wonder why you ever stopped...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just thinking along

I'm going to ignore that lapse in posts.  Let's pretend like that part of time never existed, so there's nothing to talk about. 

Having said that, I've been having deep thoughts again.  I haven't been drinking that much, so it's not the beer's fault.

I've came to the sudden realization that life is short.  Sure, we all know that, but do we really recognize what it means?  I have multiple lifetimes of things I'd love to do.  Here's the bucket list for when I become an immortal vampire:

1) Be a career man.  Focus on climbing the corporate ladder, and then probably realize then all the things I missed out on.  But the point would be to know I can do it.
2) Become fluent in German and Italian.  Italian is beautiful, but German is closer to my heart.  Both are excellent reflections of the the people that speak them.  To study a language is to study a country, it's people, and it's history.
3) Be a great cyclist.  Ride 10k+ miles a year and multiple years, and see just how good I could become.
4) Climb mountains.
5) Live in enough diverse places to appreciate their uniqueness, and miss the place I just left.
6) Be a ski/bike bum.  Not really a bum, just someone who lives without care of their 401k, how tall their grass is, or what their future plans are.
7) Be a great pianist.  And guitar player.  I might be able to work those in still.
8) Drive a Ferrari.  Long enough to throughly enjoy it, and definitely long enough to get it out of my system and realize what a waste/hassle/expense they are.  You could replace "Ferrari" with lots of things.
9) Learn to sail
10) Learn to fly a plane
11) Build guitars.  I think there is something in working with your hands, and to create something that allows you to create further, well that's pretty cool.
12) Build more houses.  Yes I hate it.  But I get better at it each time.  Maybe eventually it'll get easier.
13) Move somewhere completely foreign, and completely adapt and fit in. Like move to somewhere in Europe where you don't speak the language and have to find a job, make a life.  Yes, this would be utterly stressful, but it would test nearly everything you've ever learned.
14) Try harder in college.  Somehow my sister's work ethic wasn't ever imparted on me.  Things did come too easy to me in school, except for when they didn't.  I knew enough to get by.  That was rough, and a lesson I'm still dealing with.
15) Read more.  The older I get, the more I realize that reading matures a person quicker than nearly anything else.  First-hand experience would probably trump it, but I'm sure as shit not going to take up bullfighting.

So maybe the list still has some time to get completed.  We'll see.

I also have been thinking about what makes a person "successful".  I had some stupid magazine (I think it was KC Places or something like that) delivered on my door yesterday.  Rampant materialism is all that I saw.  There were a few interesting pieces, I suppose, but ad after ad of expensive trinkets and so forth.  I wondered how any of that was going to make anyone any better off than before they had that $2k purse.  I think it's a modern Western Civilization thing, but aren't we smarter than that?  Seems odd to me all the great minds in the world, but yet we seem to sink to the lowest common denominator.  Why do I see so many women with Coach purses shopping in WalMart too?  Life's ironies are sometimes a sweet delicacy, but other times a reflection of our short-sightedness and human imperfection.

My wife thinks I'm half Eddie-Vedder-let-society-burn and half-Johnson-County-poster-boy.  I'd have to agree, and it ain't easy. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

I hope Joey's ok...

That was spectacular.  I don't know Joey, but he's alright in my book.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

KCOI/Boulevard CX Clinic #1

Well, it wasn't pretty, but I think I'd be wondering what happened if if was actually pretty. 

Mark Thomas took the "advanced" class and gave a big schpeel (sp?) on step through dismounts.  Then we talked about riding through sand.  I never really thought there was a more efficient way to ride through sand, and that either you had giant guads and horsepowered through it, or you ran it.  Apparently you are supposed to spin through it and keep your front wheel light.  That seemed to work ok.  I definitely need more practice.  Who doesn't though?

Speaking of practice, we did some step-through dismount drills.  Boy oh boy, is that scary.  The margin for error is slim, but I can see where they would be handy.  I think I'll practice them between now and the advanced all-day clinic I'm doing Saturday with Adam Mills. 

I did notice while riding around how much different cross is than other racing.  Not just what's apparently different, but how much different it is on your body.  It is much more taxing, for sure.  It's not that road racing isn't hard and hurts, but it seems that you can catch a break during road racing.  Cross is all the time pedal to the metal.  Very little recovery time.  I knew that, but you forget what it feels like until you do it again.  It's been 8 months since my last race at the snow-covered Grote Prijs, and it feels like it.

I did find it odd that most of the people who showed up last night (about 50 riders, and a fair amount of women!), that there were very few of the wispy road types.  People built more like me.  Actually it was a pretty good cross-section of people (pun not intended).  Cross brings all types out.  Road races tend to be more specific to the hard-core elite athletes.  It's not a night and day difference, but it is noticeable.  Just an observation more than a statement.

I still need to change my chainrings and get my tubeless set up, but we're getting closer.  I'm excited.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Breathe deep, fall is here

Finally cool days and cooler nights are here.  It is so hard getting out of bed in the morning after the windows have been open all night and is feels so cool in the bedroom.  I'm hoping Fall lasts awhile, as it often seems to be here and gone in KC.

With cooler temps comes the cyclocross race season.  I'm not racing until October this year, but I have clinics tonight and on Saturday.  It should be good to work out a few bugs/cobwebs in a non-competitive setting, and to have a set of eyes watching your form.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I was up until 11pm last night getting my bike ready.  It's still not all the way there, I have to change my chainrings and get my tubeless tires set up.  No tubulars for me this year.  Yes, they are great, but they are pricey and more importantly, time consuming.  For the 10 hours you spend cleaning and gluing them up, you could go out and train for those 10 hours and get back whatever time you invested with faster performance on race day.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.  Training time is gold, as far as I'm concerned.

I had a great weekend activity wise, and I felt like an athlete going for a night jog on Friday night while everyone else is partying.  Yea, I'm a nerd like that.  Saturday I took the day off, and then Sunday I went for a quick 20 mile ride.  It felt good.  Monday I went out again for 50 miles and really had quite a time fighting the wind on the way home.  I was in the doghouse for not being home as much as I should have getting ready for K's party.  My legs were pretty tired at that point, but I felt ok.  My cardio seems to be in excellent shape after running, but my cycling legs suck.  I have 0 power and 0 endurance.  I'm glad I have a month before the next race.  I've been bulking up too, I suppose too many calories.  I'm at 188 (!) and was thinking I was headed for the 170's for cross, but I don't think that's going to happen.  Ug.

Anyway, my wife came through again (kudos to her) and we had another spectacular party.  I grilled up pizzas for everyone (nearly 30 people) and K had a great 3rd birthday.  He got a giant blow up bounce house for his birthday, and he loved it.  He's been asking to "I wan do gin" quite a bit.  He really liked the "yake" (lake), roller skating, the bounce house, and opening presents of course.  He's so much fun, which is good that he can offset the trying times, but they seem to be getting fewer and fewer.  As are his nightly outbursts.  We all slept awesome last night and the mood this morning definitely showed that.

So that's that.  I'll post up what happens at the clinic tonight.  I'm hoping my buddy Mulbery will join me out there tonight.  He needs to get out there and race.  No more wussy triathlon stuff.  There's not enough mud.  ;-)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

World Bicycle Relief - Sprint to the Finish

As some of you may be aware, my team and I are raising money to supply bicycles to people in Zambia and sub-Saharan Africa.  These bikes are life changing.  Please watch the video above, and if you feel compelled, please donate towards our cause.  Thank you so much for watching and donating.

Thursday, September 1, 2011



This was one of those great blog posts you come across every now and again. If you are doing anything athletic, you owe it to yourself to read that post.  Elizabeth's blog is pretty entertaining as well.  Even if she is a triathlete.  ;-)

Enjoy in good health!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweaty fat guy

Ok, not so fat, but I do seem to be putting some pounds on.  Somewhere.  I don't look any bigger, yet I've been training some.  I hit the scale at 189 this morning, which is the highest I've been in months.  I'm a little concerned, but more concerned about my weak legs at this point.  I have a feeling if I get the legs in shape, that some of that weight should come off too. 

The KC cyclocross calendar looks very light for the first few weeks compared to last year.  I think it was mid-Sept when the Swope race was, and that isn't on the calendar.  The first big local race that I see is our Manion's race, and I'm sitting that one out to raise money for World Bicycle Relief.

Speaking of World Bicycle Relief, if you haven't checked it out or donated, please look at the link on the right side of my page.  If you think that enabling people to have a better living in Africa sounds appealing, then please donate.  It would mean a lot to me and even more to the benefactors of your donation.  It's really life changing, and the charity is ran very efficiently, which is also important to me.

Now back to my sweaty lameness.  The pic to the right is my shirt after riding to work this morning.  Kinda gross.  It looks like I'm lactating.  Maybe.  If my nipples were 5 inches closer to each other.  Whatever.  Moving on.

Obviously I've been procrastinating over blogging.  I was going good there for awhile, and then material started piling up, and I got overwhelmed and crawled under my desk and wept quietly.  So let's see if I can regurgitate this with both brevity and humour.

Last Tuesday is where we left off, I believe.  This was after my mildly-disastrous weekend ride.  So I rode to work, then rode to a group ride, did the group ride, and then rode home.  I will say it surprised me how dark Mission Road gets at night.  My headlamp died just as I turned on to my street.  Quiet fortuitous.  That blew my legs out, and they were tired little doggies after that. 

On Thursday I did my last street run before the North Face Endurance Challenge 5k I did with my sister and B-I-L.  I actually ran two miles non-stop, at a decent for a non-runner pace.  I felt good coming into the race.

Sunday was the race, and I did pretty well.  I took 65th out of 388, with a time of 28:58.  I had a goal to beat 30 minutes, which had no factual basis.  That was nice.  I was surprised how well I paced myself, and that I ran the whole time.  The winner had a freakish time of 17:23.  I figure it wouldn't be too tough to shave a minute/mile off, which would have put me at 25th.  Of course, by that time, I'd be running a 10k.  The race was one of the best events I've ever attended, and the definite highlight was the Mich Ultra refresher towel.  At first we thought they were margarita bags, since you pulled them out of a icy cooler, but upon opening them, it was a nice, ice-cold wet towel that you could wipe all the sweat grime off your face and body.  That was awesome.  Little things like that go a long way.  The race tee was pretty kick ass too.

My sister and BIL did a great job, and ran hard.  I am very proud of them.  It's no easy feat to run 3 miles.  If it was, everyone would do it.  I think Meg is enjoying the running, as she was prodding me to do the Waddell and Reed with her.  If my bike legs weren't so bad, I'd consider.  But I have a finite amount of time to train, and it'd be best served focusing on my goal of doing well in CX this year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Riding again...

Sunday was to be a great ride, and it was for the most part. I got up early, loaded up the water bottles, pumped up my front tire (it has a latex tube), and hit the road by 6:30. I started going north up Mission, just to get to mile 5, then turn around and head south. I figured if I added 10 miles to my "usual" ride to the Louisberg Observatory, I'd get a nice 50-miler in. I wasn't in any hurry, and the weather was awesome. About 65 degrees and very few cars.

I was actually smiling mid-ride it was so nice. And then my good luck caught up with me and my left cleat came off of my shoe. I couldn't pry it off with my multi-tool (at least not safely), and so the calvary was called to come get me. Almost 22 miles in. I wasn't furious, just frustrated. Cleat bolts are just something you should check once-a-month, and I failed to do that. I think one of the screw receptacles in my shoe is partially stripped anyway, and my shoes are ready for retirement. So there's something going on my Christmas list, these:

So the ride wasn't a complete wash, but it left me wanting more.  We had a 4pm kickball game, and it was crazy hot out there.  I then decided since I was already sweaty to head out for another trail run, and that was a fine decision.  I got 2.2 miles in, and ran a great majority of the time.  I'm starting to get a little bored with Stanley Nature park, and if I really stretch the park boundaries, I can get 1.1 miles in per lap.  It's close and convenient, but I think that I'll be running at Minor Park before too long.  That is, if I keep running during CX season.  I might a little just to keep things interesting.

So fast forward over Monday, since I had to mow the grass.  I'm glad I did, because it's coming back alive and was a lot thicker and taller than I realized.  It's unfortunate that mowing is so bad for the environment.  Mowing an average sized lawn emits the same amount of pollutants as driving your car 100 miles.  But a well-maintained lawn certainly looks nice too.  It's ironic how many self-destructive behaviors we engage in.

Anyway, to offset at least part of my mowing (and to get some more miles in), I rode to work today.  Totally sweaty when I got to work, but it was a great ride.  Plus I'm getting into a group ride tonight with some friends, so it should be great, albeit hot.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Most of you won't get this...

or at least you'll think it's only kind of funny.  IT guys in their 30's will find this immensely funny, since we've whittled many hours away playing Doom, one of the best and earliest first-person-shooter games.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Courtesy of Surly Bikes...a cycling truth

"Really fast people are frustrating, but they make you faster. When you get faster, you might frustrate someone else."

Read more truth at: Surly Bikes Blog
The list of people that frustrate me is longer than the list of people I frustrate.  But that's alright.  It's about the smile at the end of the ride.

Sinus infections

Apparently I shouldn't have been throwing Kieran into the lake a few weekends ago.  A week or so later, the yellow goop started coming out of his ear from an infection, which turned into a cold.

He is a loving child, I will say that.  To a fault.  He wet-face-kissed both Penny and I, and Penny went down hard with a sinus infection and I got it as well.  Mine wasn't nearly as bad as hers, but I still felt crappy yesterday and am coughing stuff up today.  It's not great for training, and I missed an awesome day of riding yesterday.  I'll have to reschedule that for Tuesday.

I have like 9 days until my 5k, but I'm feeling ok about it.  Another 3-4 runs and I'll feel much better.  And with a few more rides in there too, I might actually feel good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My newest hobby

Given my past participation in the Warrior Bake/Dash, and the fact that I have a 5k with my sister in a couple of weekends, I've been running.  But running on the pavement is boring.  Really, it is.  So I decided to get these:

Those are the Brooks Cascadia 6 trail shoes.  Ah yes, trail running.  It's just like mountain biking, without the bike.  They are light, super comfy, and I'm having a great time.  I even woke up "early" to go running at 6:00am today.  That must be worth something, right?  My running is still pretty dismal, but I'm optimistically thinking I can run the whole 5k by the time we get there.

My avg. pace during the run was 10:26/mi, but that was with some walking/shoe tieing too.  I'd guess I can hold a 9:30-9:45/mi pace at this point.  I just need to work on holding it for longer at this point.  Interestingly, my best pace was 7:01/mi, but that was probably obtained shortly after running into a spider web and screaming like a little girl.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Slow and fat

I can't believe how much fitness I've lost in a month, on top of the 5-6 pounds I've put on.  I commuted yesterday, and felt slow, plus I didn't have any legs for the climbs.  That in itself is disastrous, since I'm a poor climber to begin with. 

I'm trying to keep my head on straight though, and work hard, and work consistently.  I should be in ok form by the time the first CX races start, and hope to be in great shape heading into Jingle Cross in Iowa and then into December/January.

I think I've decided to race Masters this year, and maybe a few cat 3 races as well.  I imagine the competition will be similar, maybe an edge to the Masters as being faster.  I can only hope that I can get better sleep this CX season as Kieran was a beast to deal with last year.  He was up nearly every other night, and it was killing us.  Now he's just late to bed, early to rise, but we don't hear much from him between 10p and 6a.  He's not as good of a sleeper as AB is, and I think that's in part to him being so curious about stuff.  He'll get there sooner or later I would imagine.  Hopefully sooner.  Like once the sun starts going down before bedtime.

So apart from seeing how weak I was yesterday, I've been running a bit to prepare for the North Face Endurance Challenge 5k with my sister.  I'm proud that's she's training through it, and she'll probably make me look silly as I'll have to walk the first mile or so.  My legs seem to take longer to warm up as I get older.  I guess that's a common occurrence.

I'm looking forward to long-sleeved skin suits with cooler temps and leaves crunching under our wheels.  The sounds of free-wheeling, then feet stomping and jumping past barriers.  The taste of blood in your mouth as you cross the finish line because you gave it everything.  The feel of excitement in the pre-race air, because everyone who is there loves to race cross.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Odd weekend

The weekend felt long physically, but short mentally.  Sounds weird, I suppose.

Friday night we cleaned the house, and I hit the trainer for an hour or so while Penny went to bed early.

Saturday we woke up early, headed down to Stockton Lake for a family reunion, and had a great time.  The weather was really nice, and the water felt great.  AB had a great time tubing and swimming, K had a great time running off from everyone and trying to jump out of speeding boats, Penny had a good time seeing her family, and I had a great time until I got my first migraine ever.

The tubing I did earlier in the day really jammed my neck/spinal cord up, and I instantly started getting a headache.  By the time we got back for dinner, I didn't feel like eating, and I took 3 Motrin.  Stuff started getting bad; I was getting nauseaous, felt overheated, and my vision was starting to blur.  I went to the car and got in the A/C, and that felt a little better.  I was trying to drink water but my stomach wasn't up for that either.  I ended up stumbling off to the woods to yak all over the place, and that didn't help.  I thought I was having a stroke or something, I wasn't sure what was going on.  About 9pm everyone cleaned up, and we headed back to hotel over some swervy roads so that was a real hoot.  I was having to take deep breaths so I didn't ruin my sweet Audi leather with puke from the abyss.  I made it, barely, went to the hotel, took a nice shower and then hit the hay.  I was almost back to normal in the morning.

It was a rough wake up as Penny's mom came tearing down to our room at 6:45 telling us AB was gone.  Penny flies out of bed, and I under-react as usual.  I'm of course a little scared, but more of me wanted to beat his ass for leaving the hotel room.  He's too small to tell him what really happens to kids when they disappear, but maybe he'd stay closer at that point.  Fortunately he turned up quickly, and he didn't seem to think that anything that bad had happened.  Penny and her mom were understandably upset, and I just kind of glared at him hoping he would understand the brevity of his actions.  Hopefully it sunk in.

Not to dwell on it, we got packed up and had a great breakfast at "The White Grill" in Nevada.  Kind of a cool, old-style greasy joint.  They had good breakfast stuff, kinda wish I could have had a hamburger.  Maybe a different time.  Apparently Harry Truman ate here.  

We made great time home, then, met the Smith side of the family for a birthday lunch at Blue Moose.  Turkey Burgers and sweet potato fries were good as always.  We then headed over to Incredibowl for some bowling, and then the boys crashed out on the way home.  Penny and I got them to bed, then we laid out on the couch and snoozed.  We woke up for our Sunday afternoon kickball game, and the kids slept another hour or so, so the babysitter had an easy gig.  Penny and I went out for dinner/drinks with the team after getting whipped for the third straight week, and then we went home, and everyone was lights out a 9pm.

I didn't get to run nor ride.  It's been weeks since I've ridden outside.  I better change that in short order otherwise I'm going to DFL my first month's worth of CX races.  And that just won't do.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

I love golf carts.

A brief respite in the heat (with a guest appearance from coffee-induced rambling)

It's nice not to burst into flames as soon as you walk outside.  I'm sure it'll be hot again soon, as we have probably 4-6 weeks of potential 90*+ weather left.  And then we'll dive into winter.  Even with it being so hot, I'm not quite ready for snow.  It seems the snow lingered around so long last year, coupled with the fact we aren't going skiing for the first time in 8 years, doesn't have me anxious for the season of wind-chill.

My training has been completely bonkered between the hot weather, A/C being out/back on/out/back on again, Warrior Dash, and another 5k in a few weeks.  Maybe I should start running at some point?  I need to get shoes...maybe over lunch.  I'm looking at getting some New Balance trail running shoes.  There's something far sexier about running through the woods instead of pounding the pavement.  Maybe it's the risk of getting attacked by a mountain lion.

My sister told me that one of the guys from her work ended up dying from the Warrior Dash.  I should say he succumbed to the effects of heat stroke after being in the Warrior Dash.   People are quick to offer all kinds of opinions on why we should or shouldn't do races like that on such a hot day or whatever circumstances you wish to call into debate.  He (Jeremy) was young, athletic, and the circumstances were tough.  I don't know if he trained for this or not.  I don't know how much water he had been drinking the days before, nor if he'd gotten beered up before the race.  It was hot, and there could have been more water.  I raced on Saturday, the cooler of the two days, and there were just two water stations doling out warm water.  I hear that there were more accommodations made on Sunday.  The only blame I could assign to the organizers were that it took so long to get medical assistance to various parts of the course.  It's a short, yet treacherous race.   

I'm sure that the death of this young man can equally be shared between himself, the organizers, maybe even his friends.  But I don't think there was negligence, just a bad combination of events.  It's too bad, but if you get 16,000 people running a race, the odds of one of them experiencing congestive heart failure or arrhythmia is pretty fair.  I'd rather break my body on my own accord then let it wilt from inactivity.

It's funny how probably one of the more deterministic traits of your friends is their activity levels.  It probably has something to do with finding a group that supports your lifestyle, something I've had a tough time doing with cycling.  I have a great team, no doubt, but it's quite a trip to go drive 30-40 minutes to go do a group ride.  I wish there were more group rides out south.  Maybe I should just start one.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I can barely walk today.

This is what happens when you significantly undertrain for something called "The Warrior Dash".  The race was only a 5k, but with the heat, hills, uneven terrain, and obstacles, it wasn't really conforming to my recent couch loving lifestyle.

Stitz and Jarrett came in from StL, and Mulbery and I repped KC.  Off we went at 2pm, in the blazing sun on Saturday.  It was HOT.  Especially to be running in a field, with lots of humidity.  I remembered from running triathlons that it's better to douse your head and keep your core temperature down than it is to drink lots of water and get an upset stomach.

The race started underneath a banner with a giant flamethrower, just in case we weren't hot enough.  And it started uphill.  We hit our first obstacle about 1/2 mile into the race, and it was a bunch of barriers that you had to alternate going over them and under them.  I'm happy I'm not 5' tall, that's all I'm saying.  Short people were at a disadvantage for this race.  Anyway, the next mile or so had some creek crossings, which everyone took advantage of to get soaked/cool.  That worked great, until you had to scramble for 200-300 through rocky, greasy mud.  How there weren't people with twisted/broken ankles all over the place is no small miracle.

There were lots of hills, and a few more obstacles to negotiate before the finish.  There was a tire agility drill that was about 25 yards long, and a few rope obstacles that you had to manage either climbing over or climb across on your hands and feet, and a few 2x6 crossings where you got about 7-8 feet up in the air.  There was also a giant pile of hay you had to climb up and over, and 20-25' rope wall you had to up and over, and then jumped over fire, and dive through a mud pit with barbed wire over your head.  You can see some of that in the video below.

The toughest part was standing in line for the hose truck, as one poor guy tried to get people moderately cleaned off while the mob was angry at everyone for taking so long to get out of the way.  We probably stood there for 40 minutes.  Hopefully they brought up another hose truck for Sunday, as it was much hotter.  When we pulled up in the buses there were two hose trucks, but I don't know what happened to the 2nd one when we needed it.

It was fun, indeed.  But I am sore and will be for awhile.  I need to spin out on the bike tonight, and I'm hoping that I can make it to the car after work.  I'm going to stiffen up sitting here in my chair of despair.

Enjoy the vid, and the crazy-ass hot weather if you are in the Midwest.  I am envious of my friends in Canada who read this blog.  Summer is vastly over-rated.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's too hot to post.

Yep, that's it.  Way too hot to post interest blog topics.  Mainly because all I've been doing is sitting on my duffer in the A/C, eating ice cream, and watching the Tour.  I'm almost caught up now with my DVR!

This has been one of the craziest tours I've ever seen.  Crashes upon crashes, it never seems to end.  Those guys are so tough, it's not even funny.  How anyone gets sideswiped by a car, hits the ground hard at ~30mph, and then gets back up and carries on is beyond me. 

I also can't help but feeling that some of my favorite riders are dirty.  Like Thor, for example.  He's awesome.  He's also a large fella, and shouldn't be climbing like he is.  Same for Thomas V.  Not a large fella, but he's riding lights out.  These guys are doing multiple days of extremely good performances, and I really hope that they are clean.  I really do.  I wish we could have heroes in cycling again and not be wondering in the back of our minds if these aren't pharmaceutically-enhanced performances.

I sure hope not.  It'd be good to have some good news out of Pro Cycling this year.  I guess there's always crazy Cadel.  Never sure what he is going to do.  Case in point.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Riding tonight and then...

...I'm digging a hole underneath my basement slab and sleeping until cross season.  Blue Moose Ride tonight, should be fast, which should be interesting.  Mainly because I've only ridden once since the Tour of Lawrence.  Kinda lame.  At least I've been watching Le Tour a lot, and I think that provides some psycho-somatic muscle stimulation while I sit on the couch.

This heat is dumb.  Here's the forecasted highs for the next week.  90, 94, 94, 97, 97, 99, 97. 

I'm sure it'll cool off by Warrior Dash.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tour of Larryville

Decided to sit out Saturday's Circuit race up and over KU Campus, and instead decided to kick all possible ass at the crit on Sunday in downtown Lawrence.

The whole fam decided to go with me, and AB raced his first race, a downhill, 300-yard dash.  How no kids fell down, I have no idea.  The age range was probably 3-11, and 150 kids started dashing down Mass Street at the same time.  One little boy got bumped or something, but he was upright and seemed ok.  Here's the action:

My race was decidedly more fast, and no crashes either!  We were driving in pouring rain on the way to Lawrence, but it stopped and dried up for my race and the two races afterwards, then started dumping again.  Jake and Casey from my team both crashed in the Cat 4 race at 3pm, but I think they'll heal up quick.  

Fix your helmet, newb

Looking semi-PRO, although mid pack

As for my race, it was only 20 minutes long so I knew it'd be a flyer since we didn't have any time.  Casey raced in the 5's as well (he is technically a 5), and flew off the front on the 2nd or 3rd lap.  All of the sudden I see him way up there, pedaling slowly as I think he was gassed.  He's strong, just not quite that strong.  He's one of those naturally talented/skinny guys, and once he gets a good racing mind, he'll be super strong.  Colavita has a lot of those guys it seems this year, that are making the jump to Cat 3 and will do well.  Pretty cool to watch everyone progress as racers.

Any way, back to my amateur hour.  Like I said, I knew it'd be a fast race, and I think we averaged a little under 25mph, which is a pretty good clip.  I stayed in the middle of the pack the whole race, then tried to sprint at the end.  I ending up gaining a place or two at the end, which was cool.  I really think that I need to try and get up to the front with 3 laps to go, and then sprint, rather than trying to muscle it out from the middle.  It makes sense in hindsight, but I guess that why we all start out in the 5's.  The fitness levels are all over the place, but the whole point is to learn about racing.  It's more than pedaling around as hard as you can, like cross is.  Cross is way more fun, but the variables are more the elements than they are the other riders.

Cross training season officially begins now, although I've started running too since I'm running the Warrior Dash at the end of July, and the North Face Endurance Challenge in August with my sister.  Hup hup!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blogs are slowly coming in...

I expected more race recaps last night, but I think everyone was whupped from this year's TofKC.  Me included.  I'll try and do a good job here, but it's a little fuzzy.

Friday was the crit out in Lee's Summit.  There was a bit of climbing, but the temps were starting to crank up when we started out at 5pm.  I had a large fan club out there, and that was awesome.  Even if I was dying a 1000 deaths out there, I still smiled a few times coming through there with everyone cheering me on and the cowbell clanging.  I held on for two laps (gasp!) and got blown off the back.  I then time trialed the last 10 laps solo mio until Tracy caught up with me for the last 3 laps or so.  We tried to help each other a bit, but it was to no avail.  I don't think we caught anyone.  I finished 15/19.  Yuck.  I wasn't really expecting too much, as it was only my 2nd crit ever.  I did learn to trust my bike a bit more, and really started railing some of the corners.  Dang that's fun!

Saturday was up at the Police Academy just north of Worlds of Fun.  We raced at 12-something, and it wasn't quite as hot as there was some decent cloud cover.  I was out there until half way through the last race when Dan-O mentioned my neck was pretty red.  Me being partially 'tarded forgot to put on sunscreen so I skidaddled since I knew I'd be out there again on Sunday.  I got a nice burn, but nothing crazy.

As for the race, I pushed it more aggressively this time, and hung on for probably 6-7 laps, about halfway through the race.  Not aggressive enough, and time-trialed to the end.  I did work with a VeloTek rider (Travis Tesone, I think), and he ended up catching up to the group ahead of us and getting the best of them.  Good for him, and I need to be doing that as well.  We did pass a few guys though, so it helped.  I finished 18/27 on this mostly flat course.  The wind was a factor in a couple of spots, so if you were in no-man's-land by yourself, you paid the price.  Better race today, still not great.

Sunday was the last day of the Tour.  Same course as Saturday, they just ran it backwards.  It was hot as anything.  I noticed my Garmin said 101* during the race.  That doesn't do much to spur you along, so I probably should disable that data field.  I pushed a lot harder and fought to stay on.  We started out at a decent pace ~23mph, and then there was about a 7-rider break that went off the front during the 2nd of 12 laps.  They were never seen again.  That is one of things when you ride with the 5's.  There are clearly some guys who aren't Cat5 ability, and they are racing their way up to 3's or whatever.  Everyone has to pay their dues, so it's ok.  Not like we're racing for big money anyway.  So, riders off the front, and a 2nd group of about 9 form.  I stayed with this group, and tried to conserve energy/wheel suck as much as I could.  If I were feeling stronger, I should have pulled and shared the workload.  That would have benefited the group if we all pulled, but I don't think anyone was interested in that.  Seems that a few guys were content pulling, and seeing that the first group was clearly faster than us, we just tried to shell each other.

I was sitting pretty good coming into the last lap, and figured I'd get up to the front of our group on the last climb, and then cruise down and sprint the last 50 yards into the headwind and see what happened.  Unfortunately, everyone decided to gun it on the last climb, and I flogged around and missed my chance.  Then I got lazy, and started coasting to the line, and forgot about the guy behind my who nipped me at the line.  That made me pretty mad at myself.  I was about 50' from the line and heard some teammates telling me to GO GO GO, and I started going and even threw my bike, but I guess it wasn't enough.  I thought I had it, and so did he, but the officials didn't, and I didn't want to make a fuss anyway for nothing.  I did finish 15 out of 32, so much better.  Not great, but I'm starting to get the hang of it.

I need to pound the water, stretch, and roll my legs out today, not sit in a frickin' office chair.  Ug.

Tour of Lawrence is this weekend, and I'm 99% sure I'm only going to do the crit on Sunday.  There is a circuit race on Saturday too, but I'm feeling cheap and Penny had enough of the boys (mainly K) this weekend.  The crit is supposed to be one of the best all year.  Plus it's in such a kick ass town.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Go time.

Leaving work in 2 hours to get ready.  I just need to get on my bike and get rid of these jitters.  Idle minds are the devil's playground.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lookin' good so far

TSB is sitting at -6.x, and should be pretty close to 0 by tomorrow.  Close enough.  All I need to do is eat well, drink lots of water, keep my nose out of the wind during the race and stay off my brakes in the corners. 

Tonight I'll spin my legs for about 40 minutes or so, a couple of hard efforts, and then clean up the bike and do one last quick check over.  Then I'll swap on my racing tires and load up the car.  I'm sure I'll be very focused at work tomorrow.

Tour of KC, here I come!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Taper week!!

Woooo boy are my numbers low coming into the Tour of KC...

This is the chart I use for training and tapering.  You can see all those red dots lined up on the bottom...those are when I decided to take some time off of biking.  Not the best of timing.  Oh well.  That's why I'm a cat 5 I suppose.

So each red dot is a value assigned to the days effort (Training stress score/TSS).  The pink line is the ATL (Acute Training Load).  That's the short-term (7 days I think) training load on my system.  The blue line is my CTL/Chronic Training Load.  That is my fitness.  So you can see as I have more TSS points, my CTL and ATL go up.  That's good.  But the yellow line is TSB or Training Stress Balance.  Run the yellow line too far down and you're more likely to get injured/sick/etc.  I need to have the yellow line above 0 by the beginning of ToKC.  Otherwise I'll get dropped all 3 days because my legs will just be too tired.  The more you train, the less that TSS effects your TSB.  So you can train harder and more often, and not get as tired.  That's why my TSB drops so much with a decent training session.  You can fix that by riding more consistently.  Consistency is everything in life it seems.  Whether racing a bike, playing an instrument, or swinging a golf club, repetition of good actions builds success.  Seems elementary, but the application is everything.

This week is pretty light.  Today is stay off your feet day.  Tuesday is 4-90 sec efforts with 5 minutes of rest between efforts.  Wed. is a 30 minute light spin.  Thursday is the same as Tuesday.  You need to put a few efforts in the day before the race.  For some reason, it keeps your legs feeling better for the race, instead of coming in with stale legs.  You don't want to do enough to get your legs tired, but just enough to blow out some cobwebs.

So that's my week, and I'm sticking to it.  I need to be better about following the plan.  Following the plan leads to good performances, something I have yet to do this year.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Could it have been any nicer Saturday?

I got 40 miles in the saddle, wish it could have been double that but we had a busy day!

Here's my favorite rest stop.  I usually stop here and stretch out my perpetually tight hamstrings.  This is about 50 minutes into my ride.  I really like it here, for some reason.  It's in Bucyrus, and as far as I can tell, there hasn't been a business in here for a few years.  Just kind of a cool old building.

And looking back the other way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Done Blown Up

I rode with the Blue Moose crew last night, and it went surprisingly bad.  I'm not entirely sure why.  If I were to offer two guesses, they would be 1) my rear brake was rubbing the first half of the ride and 2) it was hot, and I think it was my first HOT ride of the year.

I made sure I drank lots of water throughout the day, and I'm sure that helped.  It didn't seem to matter though, as when we hit the first climb, I had already started going backwards.  Just wasn't feeling it at all, despite being rested.  I just had no legs and my heart rate was through the roof.  Not a good combo.  The front/fast group got a gap, and I wanted to bridge badly but nothing was happening.  Once a gap happens on rides like these, you're going to get separated by a stoplight/car/slower riders, so you can't let it happen.  I got stuck behind a couple of slower riders, and then one thing led to another, and I'm tailgunning.  Yuck.

Then I almost get dropped off the face of the earth on our 2nd climb, and I'm really wondering what's going on.  I hadn't felt that slow in a long damned time.  JEESH!  I wasn't hurting really bad, just had no gas.  Like not even fumes.  Once I got to the top of then 2nd climb, I caught up with a few fellas (quiet Brian having a nice spin while I'm suffering), and we got stopped at the light to cross Roe.  When I finally stopped, if it wasn't 110 degrees I don't know what it was.  It was almost so hot it hurt.  But the light changed and we carried on.

The 2nd group got larger and larger, and we all got stuck at SMPkwy, and that light took a solid 4-5 minutes to change, which really sucked since you can't really just run it.  Shortly thereafter, I got pissed and got off my bike and checked my rear brake.  Sure enough, the left arm had about 1mm tolerance so I opened up the quick release and started riding again.  It felt a little better, but I was pretty gassed at that point.  I hammered up and caught the group, and felt a marginally undeathlike.  Towards the end of the ride, there is a pretty good hill and I got up that in pretty short order, as my legs were feeling a bit more whippy at that point.

My left hamstring was giving me problems again, and I need to keep at stretching it.  I've been lax in doing that, and it sucks when it flares up.  If I can dedicate some efforts into stretching it and still have problems, I probably need to look at getting a real fit done.  We'll see.

Anyway, I was pretty whooped by the time we finished the ride, so I just sauntered back home and a state of stupor.  I hope to do it again next week and not have so many issues and stay up front.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Still alive and riding...

Two quick things.

I double dog dare you all to not eat at a chain restaurant for the remainder of June.  No McDonald's, Chipotle, Panera, Pizza Hut, nothing. 

This will have a few benefits.  One being you'll likely eat healthier, higher quality ingredients.  Two, you are supporting the local economy, not P/E of some giant restaurant brand.  Three, you're going to try some new places.  Some will be great, some only good, some bad.  But chances are you'll find a new favorite.  I suggest Yelp! to help you find some spots.  I have a widget on the side of my blog with some of my reviews and you can go from there.

So try that out.  Even if it's just a meal or two, try something new.  That little place in the strip mall between the dry cleaners and hardware store could be one of the best places to eat in your neighborhood.

The second thing was to watch this video.  It's not life changing by any means, but it's laugh out loud funny.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


So this oversized dirt-devil decided to traipse through my neighborhood and take out a lot of patio furniture, trampolines, and soft-wood trees.  No major damage, thankfully. 

I need two more adirondack chairs though.  They didn't make it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friday night campout

AB is quite proud!
AB and I went on our first Cub Scout campout last Friday night. We were pretty concerned about the weather, so instead of doing the full campout, we split around 9:30pm, which all but 4 families did as well. It was really muddy, but very fun. The boys had a great time running around, and it reminded me of when I was in scouts. We got to make smores, and had a nice catered cookout (kinda Johnson County, don't you think?). No matter though, there were smiles all around.

Muddy Buddies
This was also the graduation ceremony for each boy to move up into the next rank. The incoming first graders were also indoctrinated as Tiger Cubs. AB, with his buddies, were all super excited. I remember that feeling well. I just wished I would have stuck with it a little longer and gotten my Eagle Scout, but girls and other interests took over.

I had a great conversation with the Cubmaster's father, who is one of AB's buddy's grandpas. Everyone knows him because he has a real teepee. He told me the story of it, and many more stories about him growing up, and about a great scout troop let's the boys run the show. The adults are there to make sure no one gets maimed, but otherwise they stay out of the way. That is how leaders are made.

More Muddy Buddies
I don't think that there are many avenues out there for boys to become leaders and free-thinkers. Most everything these days involving youth seems to reward "average" and to "stay within the lines". I hope AB has fun and gets a lot out of this. I have lots of good memories from Scouts, as does my dad. I'd say we're off to a good start.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ride to the Stars

Yea, I know that's a lame title.  I rode to the Louisburg Observatory and back.  Pretty neat, and a lot smaller than I would have thought.  I even stopped to take a few pics like my buddy SC.  He's quite the blogger, you know.

It was a really fun ride, despite being into a 20mph headwind the first half of the ride.  I just took it easy, figuring to save a little for the trip back home.  Lap 1 avg was 15.5, lap 2 was 19.7.  I'm actually surprised lap 2 was slow like that.  Seemed faster at least.  Anyway, it was a great ride, and didn't get chased by any dogs or breezed by any cars.  Not much traffic.  It'd probably be better if I could get out around 6am and do this ride.  Probably less wind, even less traffic, and a little cooler.  I'll be needing that soon.

If the weather cooperates, I'll be trying my first crit tonight.  We'll see.  Doesn't look promising.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Lack of better judgement.  That's what let me get back on the scale after laying off of exercise for 6 weeks.  I'd gained 1% body fat and about 3 pounds.  Not a huge amount, but it's been a struggle to lose the last 7-10 pounds of fat.  I'm re-reading "Racing Weight" now, and that seems to help me regain focus.  It's a terrific book for any cyclist or endurance athlete.  I've been very impressed with it, and it certainly helps you understand what you, as an athlete, need to be doing.

One of the first statements in the book is a bit of self-marketing, but does have some interesting insight.  Most people want to lose weight because they want to look good or feel good, but an endurance athlete has the added goal of wanting to perform at a high level.  While our goals and methods are very different from the average person, we both fight some of the same battles.  The primary thing holding me back (and a lot of others) is the fact that high-calorie, low-satiety food is everywhere.  I can walk into a McD's with $5 and walk out with 1200 calories, no problem.  It takes me about 1-1.5 hours of hard riding to burn that off, strictly speaking calorically. (Yea, I made that word up).  But what nutritional value did I get from that?  And what un-necessary additives/preservatives/chemicals did I ingest as well?

This is less about being a food snob, and more about living well, and not feeling like crap after you ate some manufactured food product.  It's hard to eat well in this country.  But I think things are getting better.  It needs to be cheaper though.  How many low-income families are overweight because it's too expensive to eat well?  And then they are the same families struggling through medical bills because they are 100 pounds overweight and have diabetes and whatever else?  It's a vicious cycle.

So the intent of this post was going to be how I have a tough time walking away from food, and accordingly lose weight pretty slowly.  But then it turned into a social opinion piece.  Funny how our brains are wired.

Maybe I'll revisit this topic later.  But for now, I'll think about riding my bike.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

At it again.

Finally decided I had a long enough break, and am cranking up my workout regiment again.  5 days a week, rest days on Friday and another TBD day.  Lots of biking, lots of core work, some weights, and some running.  The name of the game is more overall fitness than such a razor sharp focus on cycling.  I gotta keep it varied and interesting.  I can't just ride 6 days a week anymore.  I rode on the trainer (it was late) on Monday pretty hard, and then did a short run last night.  I'll be running at least 2x a week.  It's great for weight loss, and I enjoy it because it doesn't take long.  At this running-impaired state, I can be done in less than half an hour.  Hopefully I can increase that as time goes on.

I'm going to start commuting at least once a week, twice would be great.  The weather is awesome and there's no excuse, especially with it being bike to work week.  I brought my clothes in today so I can ride in tomorrow.  Left my wipes at home, but I can fit those in my jersey pocket.  I also keep a pair of shoes at work, which is handy. 

Tonight I'll probably do some upper-body work, and some core.  I'll commute tomorrow, then group ride on Thursday night.  Friday off, then get some decent miles in on Saturday, maybe some hill work on Sunday.

Sounds like a plan, at least. 

I get to go to the Royals-Cards game on Saturday thanks to my beautiful wife.  That should be great.  I can't wait.

p.s. You can tell I'm scatter brained today because everything is short choppy sentences.  Better than nothing, I suppose.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another one.

Yea, this is just becoming my own YouTube site.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ha HA!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cube etiquette

So if I'm rockin' out on my earbuds and am fidgeting/dancing around and letting out a little whoop and/or singing along, is that a faux pas?

I tend to get lost in my music, so it probably has already happened, and will happen again.  Historical performance is indicative of future results, in this case. 

It might just be a fun social experiment.

"Hey, it's that singing firewall guy."

"Yea, he's weird." 

Monday, May 2, 2011

A tale of two cities

Saturday: Gorgeous
Sunday: Not so much

So I managed to get my first (mild) sunburn of the year on Saturday.  I went out for a ride on Saturday, and got some decent miles in.  I put on some of my new sunscreen that I got for Christmas.  I got it for triathlons, since it's supposed to be a good active sunblock, but it works great for just cycling too.  That was in the morning.  I then took a shower, and then goofed around outside most of the rest of the day, and burnt my face, forearms, and calves a bit.  Not too bad, but I looked like a dunderhead since I told Penny to make sure to put sunblock on while she was doing a beautiful job planting flowers in the landscaping.  AB got burnt too at baseball practice.  I sure can look like an irresponsible parent sometimes.

My ride on Saturday was nice.  I went at it pretty hard, as I wasn't up for lolly gagging around.  My heart rate averaged at 165bpm, which was about 10bpm higher than usual.  Some of that was indicative of effort, but some was probably due to me not drinking enough water.  I need to get back on to that kick.  Nothing will deter an athlete like being dehydrated.  Maybe not enough salt, but you gotta have water too.  I drained my two bottles on the ride, but should have been drinking a lot more on Friday.  Everyday, really.

On Sunday there was a nice Colavita contingent out racing the Sheehan Road Race.  It looked fun, and I kinda wish I could have been out there, but I would have gotten killed.  At least I think I would have.  I need a couple more weeks of training before I start hitting the TNW's and to get ready for the Tour of KC, then Tour of Lawrence.  I had planned on going to Tulsa, but I am really doubtful of that now.  I am excited to get back on the horse though.  I hope to head out for one of the Hill rides, which will probably make me depressed.  But getting your ass kicked for free is better than paying $25 for it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I've been wanting to post this one for awhile.

There is some naughty language.  Really naughty.  But it highlights an interesting thing that seems to be ongoing in our society.

And forgive the .5 sec audio lag.  It's not my video. If it was, it probably wouldn't have audio.

Group ride!

I met my buddy and ex-co-worker Phil K. out for a group ride from Elite Cycling last night.  I wasn't sure what to expect, so I rode the fast bike last night.  I forgot my spare tubie and rear light in my rush to get out the door, and I was wearing less clothes than every one else.  Typical CSmith style.

Fortunately, I was perfectly comfortable in my short sleeves/bibs with a long sleeve base layer.  Once I got going, I had no problems.  It was fun to get on the bike again.  The group I rode with was pretty slow (it must be if I'm one of the fast guys), but I did have a chance to test my mettle.  The group split up, and Phil, myself, and another fella slowed in confusion.  We ended up taking a wrong turn or two, and finally got back on Mission road.  At that point, we saw the lead group about 1/2 mile up the road.  I made sure Phil was alright then I turned myself inside out trying to bridge the gap before we got back to Elite.  I caught them with a few hundred yards to spare, but it made me realize how much fitness I lost.

That's alright though.  I felt some fire in the belly last night, and that was a good thing.  I'll post up my ride data tonight.  It's probably embarrassing, but I guess that's motivation to keep on keeping on.

Friday, April 15, 2011

This *really* isn't like me...

...to post about baseball, but the freakin' Royals are 8-4, 1st in AL Central.  1st?  What does that mean exactly?  I'm not familiar with the Royals being one of the best teams in baseball.  They usually play in the basement.

It's kinda nice being able to root for them because of belief, not because of hope.  The realist in my knows this won't last forever, but let's keep the dream alive as long as we can.  Don't wake me up.  Now I'm dreaming of October not only for 'cross season, but post-season baseball.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Two fer

Two fer two, I'm getting crazy with this blogging thing.

I rode home last night, as anticipated.  I felt like I was going fast, but the numbers off of my Garmin belie the fact that I was on my duffer too much for fast riding.  Oh well.  It felt good.

I changed it up and rode the cross bike in to work today, with my Ritchey Speedmax tires.  These tires are great for commuting and the KT trail.  Not much else.  I think I didn't inflate them as much as they needed to be, but I didn't pinch flat, whatever that's worth.  I hit over 1k watts on the way in, which was good for a slow dude like me, especially since I wasn't trying.

So that's been my riding.  The other major thing that has been going on is that I changed up my diet a bit.  It is more of a re-commitment than anything else.  No alcohol, no sweets, and no fried foods.  The sweets were really hard to give up the first week or so, because I had been mowing those down like crazy in March.  Giving up alcohol hasn't been too hard, mainly because there isn't any good booze in the house besides my Crown Royal Special Reserve.  YUM.  If there were a bunch of microbrews in the fridge, it might be a different story.

I weighed in at 183.2 on April 1st, and weighed in a few days ago at 182.0.  Not bad for not riding.  I really want get some good rides in over the next few weeks, and bust through this floor that has stopped me at 181.0.  I'm not so tied up in the numbers still, but 17x would be pretty cool.  I still have a lot of mid section fat that needs to go.  Especially since swimsuit season is coming.  I sound like a woman, jeesh.  My body kinda looks funny to me because I'm all veined out on my arms with skinny legs, yet still having a fat vest.  I want that six pack back.

That's all for now. I still need to talk about guitars and when I'll be racing next.  Based upon my recent struggles climbing hills, it might be a bit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What happened!

All my motivation just fell off of a cliff, in the early race season.  I haven't ridden but 4 times in the last 3 weeks or so.  I'm not sure what happened, but the bottom just fell out.  I think I just needed a break from such focus on all things cycling.  I admittedly get pretty intense about things, and I guess I just needed a big correction.

I'm riding home from work today, and riding back to work in the morning.  I'll be dressed out in my full team kit with my race bike this afternoon, so I'm sure I'll get some looks as I leave the building.  Oh well.  My building is loaded with fat, middle-aged smokers, so I'm not too concerned with what they think.

Yea, that was a bit mean, I suppose.  I must need to ride or something.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

AB jonesin' for a drum set now

Despite me prodding him to learn *both* guitar and drums so he could pick up chicks and become Master of the Universe, AB is really wanting to focus on drums.  I told him that it might be awhile before we get a drum set, but he still cajoles me every time the word "guitar" comes out of my mouth.

Needless to say, he really enjoyed his time up at Guitar Center a few weeks ago.  That has to be his favorite store.  I can't imagine why!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


So I'm thinking about picking up a guitar.  Mainly because I got sudden GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) when AB got a half-scale guitar for Christmas.  I've been playing that, and it isn't very comfortable.  But at least the easy action strings aren't lighting into my flesh just yet.

Anyway, I was reading a thread in the Acoustic Guitar Forum on "why did you start playing guitar?".  One of the members posted this, and I really thought it was both poignant and thought-provoking.  So here it is.

"I love music and spent a lot of time attending concerts. As I sat there watching I would think to myself "Someday, I'd like to learn to play guitar". You know how that goes....someday never comes. When a friend passed away my wife said, "He did not die leaving anything undone." Guy was one of those folks that went after every experience never missing an opportunity. He was only 35 when he left us but he had a full life. His death told me that I needed to stop thinking about playing and get after it. It was like looking at a calendar and realizing there was a Monday, Wednesday and Sunday but you'll won't find a Someday. I've been playing for 8 years now. Of course I should have started earlier, but I'm very happy with where I am and plan to just get better each year. Thank you Guy for showing me the way."

So what are you waiting for?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dam That Hill

So, yea, I raced yesterday. It was cold as anything with a wonderful wind out of the north that pounded on you for about a mile as you rode across the dam. I was pretty cold during my warm-up, but ended up fairly comfortable once I started the race. Casey and I nearly missed the start as we were warming up. Fortunately we decided to turn around at the end of the dam, and climb the hill up to the start line. We cleared the course about 3 minutes ahead of the start. I'm glad they didn't give us any flack for being on the course that late. It's a good thing we didn't ride a whole lap like we originally planned.

We rode 5 laps of about 5 miles each. It starts off screaming down a hill, then making a left hand bend on to the Lake Perry Dam. Ride on that for about 1 mile, getting buffeted by a cold ass wind the whole way. Then make a couple of right hand turns, then get a downwind/downhill stretch where you can make good time (30-35 mph recovery sections are my favorite). Then you make another right hand turn, onto some slightly uphill, crappy pavement. Ride about 1/2 mile, then another sharper right hand corner. Then you start the climb. 180' climb, over about a half mile stretch. It seemed to have a lesser incline half way up the climb, which wasn't much consolation.

Thanks for the "kind" words, Philip!
Everything was going swimmingly until we hit the first climb. About halfway up my left hamstring started screaming at me with every pedal stroke. It had been sore the last few days, but I'd been trying to take it easy. Not easy enough, apparently. I fell behind a bit, but then caught up with the peloton on the downhill. Apparently some guys have an issue going downhill quickly, as there was frequent brake checking. LAME. Anyway, once we came up to the hill the next time, I got dropped. I made up some time on the down hill, but not enough to catch the peloton.

Pain face in effect
I held the gap, but with the headwind, it was just too much for me to bridge up to them. That gap slightly increased the rest of the race, but I felt I put up a good fight. I passed a handful of stragglers, so that was encouraging as well. Somehow I felt stronger on the last climb, so I climbed it in the big ring. I wish I could have done that every time, but thankfully the season is young, and there will be more races to come.

My goal was to stay upright and learn a lot. And that I did. Hopefully next time I can stay with the group. On a day like Sunday was, that could have made a big difference.