Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Head Wind - Bad, Tail Wind - Good

Jake is still battling the flu and is staying home another day from school. The 'projectiles' have stopped so that is good, but his stomach still has pains and he's super weak. I slept in the bunk above him to keep an ear on him and for the second night in a row he did a little 'sleep talking'; funny stuff. It's been some time since he was that sick.

Yesterday afternoon I met up with Dale and Jim Jones (not my brother) for a 3hr ride. We threw out a couple route choices and it was decided to head south of Pleasant Hope (I did remind them of the 25+mph south winds) over east toward Walnut Grove then hop the tailwind back home via Morrisville. The first three miles or so were straight into the wind I it really sucked as I intended for this an easy spin ride, but that was not going to happen as it took decent effort just to move forward. Going east across Hwy Y wasn't bad, but the south drop to/thru Pleasant Hope was brutal; it's pretty hilly and throw in the headwind and it was plain mean. When we reached our furthest south and turned west on CC/BB it was a big relief to be done with the breeze. BB over to Z is a fun and challenging road and by the time we reached Z Dale and Jim headed back to Bolivar while I wanted to grab some extra miles so I kept it going west. Turned north (sweet tailwind) up JJ, back over to Morrisville and tailwind city back home to Bolivar. 56.5 miles just a tad over 3hrs and 4085ft of climbing - nice.

***Picture to the right shows Dale's 'Flanders' jersey in honor of this weekend's race. Not sure what happened to my camera to take such a weird lower shot, but I promise Jim's wheel is not that much out of true.***
Taking today as a rest so at lunch Ira and I cut the floor tire for the bathroom remodel. The afternoon is supposed to hit near 80* so I figure most of it will be with Ian and Deb in the backyard playing baseball (from now on all 'b-ball' references are to baseball and not basketball - season shift), doing some yard work, and mortor'ing tile.
Looks like Friday might be a mtb trip into Arkansas...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Man Down!!!!

Good start to the week yesterday with a 1:25hr solid tempo ride under the beautiful full sun at lunch with Dale to Stockton Lake and back. After work I jumped on some yard maintenance before Dale and his daughter joined the Jones and Appleby clan for dinner and great conversation. All was going well until around 9:30pm when Jake yelled out that his stomach was hurting... so much for a good finisher to the day.

It was sheer pain and projectiles for him until 5:45am when he finally drifted off to sleep. Deb stayed with him the majority of the night and I took my shift around 4:30am or so. I don't think I have ever seen him in so much pain (and for such a long period); hard to watch as a parent. I left the house at 9am and he was still sleeping. Deb headed home around 11:30 after getting a text from him asking for 7-Up or Gatorade.

I initially planned to head to SGF for a group ride this afternoon, but with 20mph south winds I think I'll stay clear of any potential 'incidents' and ride east/west for 3hrs after work with a couple locals.

Caught the finishing km's of 3 Day of De Panne; I could watch N. France/Belgium racing year round. This is absolutely my favorite time of year to watch Pro Cycling. On a side note: has anyone seen Devolder yet this year?!?!?! He needs to show himself this weekend or start looking for a new team as Lefevere is already throwing him under the bus. I know he won Flanders the past two years and this is 'his' race, but come on... I am a huge fan of his and need my fix.

Good Friday is a market holiday so I am thinking a long day of mtb'ing is in order; might head to LoftheO.

Just got off the phone with Micheal P (new to our riding group) who said he won a 1/2 marathon in KC this past weekend. He ran a 1hr:09min 13.1mile and was slightly disappointed with his 5:19 per mile split - holy freaking cow!!!!! I am trying to get him on the bike more, but he is focused on running as he heads to Europe to compete for three weeks this summer. Hopefully I can get him pedaling more this fall.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bring On the Sun!!!!

The forecast this week call for full sun and temps in the 70's (getting into the 80s on Wednesday) and it is about time. We could all stand some old fashioned vitamin D...

I took Friday as an 'off' day since I planned to race mtb Sunday and not to overlook the fact the day was slam packed with activities. Deb and I took out of work early and drove to Jake's first track meet in Lebanon. He (and his coach) had no expectations of running fast times as his injury has kept him from most all speed work and it showed as his first event (4 x 800m) was average at best and it immediately caused his Achilles to flare up.

Deb, Ian, and I loaded up from Lebanon and drove to Springfield for Ian's last basketball game at The Courts. Odd thing when leaving the track; we pulled up on a truck engulfed in flames (could hear emergency crews already on the way) sitting on the road. I wanted to hang around and watch the 'explosion' like in the movies, but Deb's wisdom had us drive away to a safer distance (SGF).
Ian's game was hard fought, but we lost by 2 in overtime - bummer. The boys ended up with a 13-12 record for the two sessions. I enjoyed coaching the boys and seeing their continual progress, but I am looking forward to a little time off (from coaching) while baseball is going on. Ian loves baseball and is looking forward to the games, but he is already missing the thought of no hoops (organized, that is) until the fall.

I gave Jake's track coach a call to see if we could make it back to Lebanon to watch his open 800m and the 4 x 400, but Ian's OT moved us too late so he went back to Bolivar. Jake came home absolutely bummed as his leg continued to increase in pain and his times were slower and slower. It's rough as a dad to watch him go through this, but he and I talk often about building personal character in dealing with disappointment and tough times and he is doing a good job in keeping it in perspective and moving forward.

Saturday early was nasty outside with rain and chilly temps, the forecast for STL was similar for the entire weekend, and the 'stride' specialist for Jake was out of town so we called off our trip. I still was making the trip to STL the following day with Ira to race mtb's, but for Saturday I had to tackle the bathroom remodel... sigh. But first I watched Criterium Int'l (AC had a rough go of it) and E3 (the Swiss Freight Train is a beast). Later I got the threshold piece and backer board down and layed out the tile for placement, but won't have the tools for the final step until Monday; I am happy with the progress so far (as is Deb, which is more important).

I jumped on the mtb and rode an hour mid-afternoon to make sure all was ready for Sunday's race and did a couple 'openers'. Feeling pretty decent, but you never know until the gun goes off.

Jake got out for a light 4 mile run and the leg pain was still present.

The rest of the day was spent doing odds and ends until the NCAA games; Ian and I's evening was set while Deb and her folks hit SGF and Jake and Andie hung out watching movies. Got word early evening the mtb race was postponed due to heavy rains. Took a look at STL's Sunday forecast and heavy rains were in order so we decided to skip the Forest Park crit.

Up and at'em for Church Sunday morning, but first I caught G-W and watched Hincapie look strong, but fail to pull the win (he probably couldn't have beaten BE, but you have raced long enough to know that move was too far out). After Church the chilly temps and winds (20+mph) combined with wanting to watch NCAA basketball drove me to the trainer as I watched the games with Ian in the garage. Three hours and numerous sets of 'big gear' work I said 'no more' and called it a successful session. All of the games were good and I was happy with my choice to do the indoor thing as I am not, nor do I pretend to be, 'a hardman' who rides in any type of conditions.
Jake got in a 5 mile run and got no relief from the leg pain.

Finished up the NCAA in time for some of Deb's homemade potato soup and peach cobbler - AWESOME. The rest of the evening included some Amazing Race and Settler's of Catan.

All in all, despite some setbacks/cancellations/losses, we had a good weekend. Next race isn't until April 10th (mtb in Lawrence, KS) so this is a recovery/light week training/racing wise. Jake was a meet tomorrow at Reeds Springs, but don't figure he will run. Pretty routine week looks in order.

Jake hit AM practice this morning (Monday) and could only go 1 mile before shutting it down. I am in the process of getting him an appointment with a leg/foot specialist in SGF who was highly recommended.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh To Be 17 Again... (Updated Thursday Morning)

... actually there is no way I would want to return to that age, but youth looks good from time to time.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was our first son's 17th birthday; neither Deb nor I can believe we are old enough for this to happen, but the sad fact of it is every year Jake gets older so does SHE (ha!). The morning started off with him opening presents (prior to us going to work) as he was getting ready for track practice (Spring Break practice is at 9am). He was happy with all gifts, but as with most driving teens appeared stoked to get the 'gas card' (later in the day Grandpa Appleby filled up his truck so double prizes). His morning was rewarded with 8 x 800meter repeats on an open grass (a little swampy) field (instead of the track) and his leg is feeling great. After practice Deb and I filled his belly at Sonic (his favorite fast food) and the rest of the day was spent with his new 360X-box game. At his request birthday dinner was Master Wang's (Wong's - depending on which sign you see). Pretty much the entire evening was simply hanging out with him, going over some old pics, and laughter. Both Deb and I are super proud of how he is (has) turned out - blessed we are.

*** The above 'pink bow' pics above is a stab at me as when Jake was born and in intensive care for his first couple weeks of life the nurses would put bows in his hair to give me a hard time as I went on and on about having a boy (and not a girl)***

Ian came down with a nasty sounding cough yesterday so he spend the day taking easy with Grandpa Appleby and after work Deb and I played a little baseball with him. He and I snuck in a little UNC (at the NIT) basketball on the tube before bedtime.

Tuesday was intervals/effort day so I rounded up Ira and Micheal P and we headed out to D Hwy for the '4 Wenches' workout. Ira ran into a pedal issue 1/2 way through and limped home and Micheal and I did likewise after finishing 3 x 20 min. I'm really looking forward to workouts with Micheal as he is pushing me harder than I have in some time.

Wednesday pretty much went like this: played a little basketball at noon (took Ian with me), met Dale for 'after-work' ride and 15mins in it poured (I mean really poured) on us so we cut our planned 2hr ride to a little over 1hr, tried to warm up once home with an awesome dinner of BBQ brisket (potato salad, coleslaw... the whole shebang thanks to Jim and Linda), NIT basketball with Ian, Deb and I played Settlers of Catan with Jake (fun game he got for b-day), COD MW2, then off to bed (late).

Once again my 'intern' is at work for a couple hours Thursday morning (until Jake's track practice is over). Not much gets done when he is around (work that is...) except listening to his renditions of Queen's 'We Are The Champions' and The Hoosiers 'Goodbye Mr. A' - someone please cut my ears off NOW!!!!!

Still trying to figure out this weekend's race agenda as STL is getting pounded with rain and some chance for more on Saturday and Sunday and my 'wet-n-muddy' motivation to mtb is dropping although I do want to get in a race (badly).

Monday, March 22, 2010

60* to 30* (and snow) in a Flash

Friday afternoon (in anticipation of what weather was coming) Dale, Nate, Micheal Peirce (new to the group), and I hit the roads. Micheal is a multi All-American XC and mile runner at SBU and has ridden for the last year or so; he has a huge engine and at 140 lbs is a load on any climb. Nate and Micheal had only a couple hours to ride so we looped them back in and then Dale and I hit the roads west of Bolivar to finish with 3:50hrs. The temps and conditions were great and it was hard to believe the potential for snow and freezing temps were less than 12hrs away.

Ian spent the evening at a friend's birthday party so Deb and I took Jim, Linda, and Jake to eat a little Mexican food. Afterwards it was a couple games of Spades (guys dominated) then off to bed (around 1am that is as COD was on the agenda

Saturday morning we woke (late) to cold temps and some light rain, but not as bad as anticipated (yet)... I spent the morning watching MSR while we lazied around the casa. At noon we loaded up for SGF for Ian's ball game. It was starting to rain pellets of ice but as we got closer to SGF it turned more rain. Ian's crew played their best game of the season and won pretty easily. After the game Ian found his favorite place to eat - Rivals. TV's with nothing but sports with flags and jerseys of several teams (not to mention the huge helmets and bats and the TVs in the floors). Jim and Linda joined us; we'll be back.

On our drive back to Bolivar the roads became increasingly icy and snow started falling. Deb and I headed to a Sunday School group fellowship/dinner and enjoyed an evening of good food, conversation and cards (7 Up 7 Down). The drive home was interesting as the snow/ice was accumulating. By evening's end I am not sure how much we got, but a pretty decent amount. Ian stayed the night with the Appleby's.

Sunday morning continued cold and wet/snow. We loaded up and went to church and upon getting home Deb and I tackled the guest bath remodel job. Wallpapering and hanging new fixtures were the day's task and by night's end it was all done (and quite well I must add) and a bonus it that Deb and I are still talking to each other. Up this week is putting in the tile floors.

This week is Spring Break for the boys and since Deb and I are working nothing in particular is planned. Jake has track practice at 9am every day this week so Ian came in with me and worked on our Office NCAA bracket rankings for a couple hours before hitting the gym with me for some 'noon-ball'. You can tell from the picture below he was hard(ly) at work (the pic also reminded me I need to hang my Hincapie piece.

Jake's leg is back to 100% as long as he stays off the track (corners are killing him) so coach is doing his efforts in open grassy fields and plans to get him on the track only at meets. Will be interesting to see the results. We hope to meet with a 'stride' specialist this weekend in STL and let him analyse his corner running.

Was able to grab a 1:30hr ride with Dale last night after work. Despite the full sun there was still a chill in the breeze, but tomorrow is supposed to hit mid-60s so D Hwy hill intervals will be 'toasty'. This weekend we are heading to STL and I'll have a choice between Lost Valley mtb race or Great Forest Crit (both on Sunday). I like racing mtb's, but if STL gets the rain forcasted then I will skip the mud-fest for the crit, but if it's not too wet I'll mtb' it. I race at LV last year and really liked the 'roadie' style mtb course, but this year they have added quite a bit more single track; since I have not ridden ANY off-road stuff this year it could be interesting to watch me bounce off of trees.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cycling, Running, Choir, and Pie

So about a month ago Ian let us know he was trying out for a part in his upcoming 3rd grade choir concert, we assumed it was a short speaking part. and dismissed it a little. A couple days later he reported he was up for a singing part and he seemed pretty excited. Soon there after he came home with a solo singing part, his line he needed to sing, and a copy of the music. Every time we got in the car we put on the music and he practiced and practiced (and practiced and practiced...). Deb and I couldn't believe he was doing this on his own as we don't really do much with singing (although Deb has a beautiful voice and competed in high school). Last night was his concert and all day he was crazy nervous...

Wednesday was a chilly humid day out (still feeling Monday's double interval sessions and two b-ball sessions Tuesday) so I opted to move my rest day from Thursday (forecasted 60*+) to Wednesday. Took the opportunity in the evening to do a ton of needed bike maintenance: new rings on the mtb, set up the tubeless mtb tires/wheels, mount cycling computer to Blue... a couple hours out in the shop and all set for the spring.
Got word the MWI Gentleman's race in KC was cancelled due to potential bad weather for Saturday morning (supposed to snow quite a bit and in the low 30's). Now trying to decide if I will do the Dogwood Road Race (big climbing) Sunday morning near Branson; will depend on the conditions that morning.
Thursday was the start of the NCAA Madness and Jim and I do our part in sluffing off work to watch on our SmartBoard in the conference room. It was a tough decision leaving early (2pm), but the temp outside was hitting 60* and I needed some longer hill efforts so out I went for 2 hours which included hill repeats (four climbs all branching off of Jefferson Bridge on D Hwy: 1:30min - east, 4min - north, 2min - west, 5min - south). Each one of these has unique pitches and requires a different strategy of attack.
On my way back into town I passed the track distance team and one of them said Jake was up ahead. I cruised on past the group and found my boy gliding along on his own way off the front. As I approached we told me to ride along with him for a while as he gets bored always being alone. I needed to get back to the office, but there was no chance I was passing up on his request. They were doing a 5 mile tempo run and he said his leg was feeling pretty good, but could still feel a light twinge in his lower leg (couldn't tell as he flowed along); he said it was fine and I could tell he was happy back with his crew and workouts (AM and PM).
Got back to the office in time to go with my mom, dad, Jim, and Cheri to each some Chinese food prior to Ian's concert (Deb and the Appleby clan were munching on pizza at the house). Pulled up to the house in time to hop in with Deb and Ian and head to the school auditorium; Ian was a little freaked. Deb and I did our best to remind him of all his practice and that is was only one line and he knew it... didn't appear to help much.
Lights go down, curtain up and it was showtime. Ian ended up with Deb, Jake, Grandma/pa Jones, Grandma/pa Appleby, Mandee, Tanner, Tucker, Jim, Cheri, Alexandra, and I watching (not too shabby). Several numbers and speaking parts were performed and then it was Ian's turn with his crew. Without a hitch the boy nailed his lyrics and in perfect tune. His placement on the stage was pretty dark so I was unable to get a good clean pic/video, but here is what I got:

Afterwards the Jones' crew snacked on desserts at a local diner. It was a fun time of homemade pies (Deb went with gooseberry and coconut-cream for me) and laughter; Ian was on cloud nine knowing he did a great job. Back to the casa and everyone hit the beds as it was getting late.

So to recap my day: NCAA tourney, great hill interval ride, #1 son asked me to hang out, #2 son sings great, and finally PIE; shoot me now as it won't get much better.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday was a Blurrrrrrrr

Tuesday was a busy day at the Jones house. At 5:20 Deb and I took Ian to his parent/teacher conference at school where it was reported he was an excellent student, helpful in class, and received all A's this quarter (again).

At 6pm we had basketball practice then back to the casa at 7pm for some BBQ pork sandwiches (Deb had it crock pot all day - super tender) topped with Gates sauce.

7:30 loaded back up and went to SBU for an art show in which displayed one of Ian's creations. 9pm back to SBU for intramural playoffs (win).

So Jake was off running for the past week with pain in his right solias (same thing as last year) and this morning was his first day back and... no pain/discomfort. He went a light 3miles with the AM crew and will continue to build up over a handful of days. Coach is changing up his speed workouts keeping him off the track (as much as possible) and doing them on grassy, open, mostly straights where he does XC speed work. A physical therapist friend of ours, coach, and I are speculating the turns on the track are the cause of his pain. We'll have to see.

Yesterday was chilly and damp out so I played some basketball at noon (and followed up with a game at night). Crappy weather for today will probably force me back on the trainer this evening, but will try a couple hour ride outside at noon if the rain breaks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where Did The Sun Go?!?!?!?!?

It would not bother me near as much to ride in chilly wet weather if it hadn't been for the handful of sunny days in the 60* and 70*'s (kind of spoiled and softened me up). For the past several days the rain/drizzle/mist/cloudiness has set back in SWMO, but hopefully this week will warm up to the 50's (afternoons) and I'll quite my whining.

Watched several stages of Paris Nice and some of (still watching) Tirreno. Alberto looked pretty sharp and thought his team put him in the positions he needed come crucial times (although not really with him on climbs, but he doesn't need much help there). Interesting to see the team (Astana) Lance and Johan raped is producing more wins (not all AC) than Radio Shack (only 1 stage that I know of). I know JB is the master and he is only concerned with TdF, but as it looks early he might want to look at the Vuelta or TofCalifornia (last one said with sarcasm...) AC will have a stronger team at the TdF than last year (since only 1 teammate was riding for him).

Let's see, where did I leave off last blog...

Thursday I planned for a rest day as I had hit it pretty solid on the bike that week. I went up to SBU at noon and hopped in for b-ball planning to keep it light and easy, but the level of competition drove the pace and efforts immediately upwards and an interval session was underway. After work I had an intramural game at SBU (Ian went with me) and planned to play just a little bit, but ended up playing the entire game (short on players) so interval session #2 ensued. I was toast by the end of the evening. Not much went on at the casa that evening with Deb and the boys.

Friday the rain and chill dropped back in so I jumped on the trainer for 1:30hrs and had a true recover/easy spin ride while watching 'The Informant' (OK, but not that great of a flick). After work Deb and I took Ian to his game, while Jake finished up track practice (still not running) and then hung out with some friends. Ian's crew played their guts out and won in OT by two or three. The boys were on cloud nine (OK, maybe the coaches also...). After the game we grabbed a bite with my mom, dad, and Grandma Smith (she has made it to a ton of Ian's games this year). Back to Bolivar and not too soon afterwards to bed.

Saturday the rain/drizzle was still on us so I called it a rest day (much needed after Thursday's unexpected efforts). We spent the day taking apart a bathroom as new tile, paper, and fixtures are going in. Took some time in the afternoon to take everyone (Deb, Ian, Jake, and Andie) to see Alice In Wonderland (Ian was loving his 3D shades). Pretty good graphics and interested to see if majority of movies are now going with 3D technology; the acting/Johnny Depp hype was not that strong in my opinion, but still worth seeing at the theater. The rest of the evening included Jake and Andie handing out at the casa while Deb (she whipped up some Oatmeal Cranberry cookies - YUM!), Ian, and I did a bunch of nothing - relaxing at it's best.

Sunday we went to church services and afterwards Jake hit the trainer for a workout while Deb quizzed him for a big upcoming Spanish test.

Dale and I donned the rain capes and a couple minutes short of 3hrs later I returned to dry out. It never 'rained' on us, but a steady drizzle/mist kept everything soggy. Hard to dress for these kind of days as it hovered around mid/upper 40s, but with the dampness seemed cooler. We tried to stay on pavement, but knocked out a handful of miles on the Polk County dirt/gravel which put a brown coat on the bikes and us.

Ian and Deb spent the afternoon at the gym with some friends while I was riding, but later that afternoon E-ball as asking to go back (I swear that kid lives for IT and Deb and I have to keep the reigns pulled back constantly); we didn't go back. Instead he and I played several full court games of Nerf b-ball in his room. Several games of Scrabble were played and off to bed it was.

Jake hit the bike trainer at 5:15am this morning to help get adjusted to AM/PM practices coming on Wednesday; the day he thinks he'll give a try on his leg as the discomfort is gone.

I jumped on the trainer at lunch and got in a nice 8 x 3min efforts. Still chilly and overcast outside so all efforts at lunch were indoors on the rollers. I use rollers early on to help work smooth and higher cadence pedaling; I am well above 110 rpm keeping HR in the mid-160s (right were I want for this time of year) on efforts. After work I got back on the rollers for interval session #2. After finishing my first 10min effort my rear tire went flat (didn't have spare at office) so I rushed home, switched shoes, and took off on my mtb outside to finish up. The wind was much cooler than I expected (dressed way to lite), but quickly got into my last two 10min efforts and things warmed up quickly. By the end my legs called for No More!

Got back home, cleaned up, and sat down to some of Deb's homemade chicken enchillades. Jim and Linda (along with a couple of my nephews) were back in Bolivar so we all had a good meal together. Found package arrived from Nike for which Jake and I have been waiting. Background - Jake's XC coach let him know some time back that he hates the color pink so Jake immediately went out and bought a pair of pink running shorts and coach gave him all kind of crap. Jake continued to embrace pink at practices so for his birthday this year he and I got online at and custom made some neon pink racing flats (LunarTrainer +) with Liberator blue and yellow trim (the picture doesn't do justice to how they turned out (pretty sweet considering pink is involved). Jake is waiting for his return to the track for his first wear. Jake has really been pushing himself on the trainer doing a tough set of intervals last night and is hoping for no pain on his light return on Wednesday morning.

Looks like I am heading to KC this weekend for a Saturday morning 53 mile team time trial event. Keeping the training going throughout this week and plan to have Saturday's ride as a fitness check for the next couple events (next weekend is mtb'ing in STL and Tour of Hermann is not far behind).

It's been a while since I posted some CAT pics (he has no 'official' name so we pretty much stick with 'Cat') and although I continually say I don't care for him I actually get a kick out his presence (as one never knows where he will pop up). He loves sleeping next to people and lately splits his time between Jake and Ian's room. I was a bit surprised to walk in one day and find him on checking on Alberto's Paris Nice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pictures and Video's Posted

Finally got around to updating the last couple of entries with pictures and clips.

Tuesday I hit the rollers at work and got in a solid AM interval session (8 x 3min) and then hopped on at noon for another session of efforts (3 x 10min). 2012 (the movie) helped pass the time, but don't really think it is one for recommendation.

Tuesday evening included (but was not limited to) Ian's basketball practice, Jake's parent/teacher conferences (he always gets good reports and the teachers love him), and 10pm intramural basketball at SBU (I am including this as my 3rd interval session of the day).

Got some bad news last night (and continued this morning)... Jake came home with an injury similar to last year's that damped his entire track season and this morning's practice reinforced it wasn't a one time thing. Coach (and Jake) caught it early (last year he ran a week with it that way before pulling the plug) and pulled him from all running for a week to see if that helps. Hard to pinpoint the cause as he cut his mileage significantly (so not an 'over use' issue) but it might be the running on the track that is causing it. I am setting him up with some cycling trainer time to keep his legs and lungs sharp along with some ultra sounds and PT. He is pretty crushed as like last year he was cruising and just starting to feel the speed coming; also hard since he is team captain this year and he feels he must lead by example (now it's just a different example).

Got in a solid 1:45hrs today as it might be the last time we see the sun (and 70* temps) for some time. Stockton Lake (headwind) and back (sweet tailwind)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Hope This is Spring Knocking!!!!

Thursday I grabbed a 1:30hr ride at noon and kept the pace pretty high for the duration. I was curious to see how long my fitness would last while sustaining a decent effort... good news, it worked out better than expected.

After work Deb and I went with Ian to Bolivar Intermediate School (BIS) Family Math Night. They set up the evening as a math 'Amazing Race' and kid and parents had to go all over the building following various clues and figure out math problems. The staff did a great job and we had a ton of fun. The rest of the evening was pretty low key. Deb's dad and mom are back in the SWMO area for a couple months so we caught up with them and got Linda to play a Scrabble game with Deb and I while Jim assumed the 'Internet' position.

After track practice Jake spent the majority of the evening at a friend's house playing Settlers of Catan (he loves that game). That kid is on the go quite a bit these days.

Early up-n-at'em Friday morning as the afternoon temps were forecasted in the 60s and I wasn't going to miss that. 2pm and Ira, Dale, and I were on the Frisco Trail heading south. The FT was still soupy in places, which was a little surprising considering it hasn't rained/snowed in a couple weeks. We made it near Willard (2hrs) and it was time to head back and beat the sun disappearing. One the way back (tailwind is always nice even on the FT) Dale took a little spill in a sloppy section and ended up with a busted chin and a rock to the ribs. He's a trooper and didn't let it slow him down. Pulled up to the casa at exactly 4hrs. Good ride and even better temps (sun). There is a dramatic difference in the trail maintanence/conditions on the 'Willard' side compared to the 'Bolivar' end. As I have mentioned before our's is more and more like wide single track (which is fine with me). Notice in the video Dale is sporting his 'Lion of Flanders' jersey (good look).

Let's see, Willard end:
Bolivar end:

After a quick dinner Deb, and I took Ian up to Home Runs Plus and let him hit off the pitching machine for a 1/2 hour as Saturday is his tryouts for a spring/summer competitive baseball team. He is a shoe-in, but needs to hit with more power. He gets frustrated with hitting as most all athletic things are so natural to him and this does not. I like it as for the first time he has to focus and work to see returns and that is a good thing.

Three games of Scrabble closed out the evening (2-1 ME!). Jake spent the evening in SGF with some friends and showed back home around 11pm. We hung out and talked for a little bit before lights out.

Saturday morning we headed to Home Runs Plus for day-one of Ian's baseball tryouts. He (as most kids) looked really good. After tryouts it was straight to SGF for Ian's basketball game at The Courts; Jake and Andie (Jake's friend), the Applebys and my pop (mom was a little under the weather) all showed up. The boys played the only undefeated team and was 3 points ahead with a couple minutes to go and ended up losing by two at the very end. FLORIDA ISN'T THE ONLY PLACE FOR SPRING TRAINING...

Quick burger with the whole crew (Ian got a new pair of cleats from my folks for b-day) and then we split ways. Applebys, Jake, and Andie went to the mall while Deb, Ian and I watched Bolivar High School lose in the State Quarter Finals to Republic (last second shot). After the game we all met back up at Nakato's to celebrate the boys' b-days (two birds one stone).

Back to Bolivar and immediately we shifted into 'Spades' mode. The girls put a whoop'in to us on the last hand for the win. Lights out and looking forward to Ian's b-day in the morning.

Sunday was Ian's 9 yr birthday and we drowned him with hugs and love; presents had to wait until 1pm (family b-day party). While it was early I hopped on the Blue and Deb and the boys went to church. I ended up with 4hrs on in great temps, but a tad windy. I kind of screwed up as I took a wrong road and with 1:15hrs to get home (1pm is non-negotiable) I found myself south of Pleasant Hope (too far with that little time) so I had to go into full on race mode (prior to that I was riding a good tempo, but nothing too demanding). I suffered like a dog, but made it only 3 minutes after 1pm.

The below is a pictorial of towns visited (to include an old rock wall in the middle of no where that looks like it's been there for a long time). I included a shot of the Greene County sign as it means smooth roads...

Walked in the door and chowed on some grilled pizza's while Ian tore into his gifts (Ipod, Rockies baseball jersey, D Cowboys jersey, books, headphones...). After lunch we all took Ian over to day-two of baseball tryouts. Ian was solid (as always) and easily made the crew. Back to the casa and it was Snicker's birthday ice-cream cake. Did a little lawn maintenance in the afternoon and the rest of the day was Spades with the Appleby's (men took home with win), snacking, and updating this blog. Jake hung out at home after some church youth stuff in the early afternoon and had a restful day (which he needs from time to time).

Ian walked in prior to school Monday morning wearing his Tulowitsky jersey (Colorado Rockies). It was a toss up between that one or the Cowboys, but since baseball is in the air...

I slipped out for an easy 1hr spin at lunch as my legs needed a 'rinsing' after yesterday's efforts. Windy out, but not complaining as I was in short sleeves.

Trying to decide when to actually start racing in 2010. I am part of a 6-person TTT at the MWI Gents race (I guess that's what it is; it's free and no winnings, but lots of suffering) on March 20th, but this weekend is the start of United Dirt Federation mtb season south of STL. Ira is thinking of going, but that's a ways over there plus I'll be in KC the next weekend and STL on the one after that... Might just let MWI Gents get things warmed up then start racing for real in STL on the 28th.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Does Retreat Actually Mean

Early to the office on Mistress Day so Ira, Dale, and I hit the back roads for 1:40hrs (they went longer) in what turned out to be a sweet weather day. Hung up the bike and told her I would see her on Monday.

So it is Friday afternoon and Deb, Ian, and I are driving to the little man's game in SGF and he asks where Deb and I are going for the weekend. Deb tells him we are going to a marriage retreat and he asks what that means. I followed up with a question to him to see if he knew what 'retreat' meant and he quickly explained it was to run away from the enemy. Deb and I both chuckled a little bit and before she could explain other meanings I told him he was exactly correct and the weekend was designed to get the heck out of marriage and that one of us would be picking him up on Sunday and you might not see the other for some time. I thought that was funny (as did Ian), but apparently that is not a good way to get a Marriage Retreat weekend kicked off... add it to the list of 'I thought it was funny' and most others didn't... like when I told the marriage retreat table with whom we were sitting we would leave the spankings up to Randy when Shirlene's birthday was announced - nothing/silence/crickets chirping in the distance...

Ian's team played super hard, but came up short to lose a lead in the last two minutes and get a L. Ian was pretty disappointed as were most kids and I felt bad for them. They played so hard, but easy shots were going everywhere but in.

After the game Ian headed out with Grandpa Jones for the weekend. Deb and I grabbed a quick bite before scooting on down to Branson for our churches annual marriage retreat. I historically am not a fan of sitting in lecture style 'sessions' as 1) I hate to sit for too long anywhere 2) Don't try to get 'deep' with me and simply understand that this weekend is more about Deb and I and not 'knee to knee' time and trying to solve years of marrital problems in a 3 session time frame and 3) don't take life so freaking serious - what makes it hard is folk's inability to make sound decisions and if you don't have it by the time you are 30(ish) it ain't going to really happen for you. ***Obviously I am not a professional counselor and the prior comments reflect none of the ideology of Deb (who is neither a counselor, but much more reflective of other's thoughts and needs***

So the first session begins at 7pm and we get there around 7:45pm or so. Rodney Reeves is heading up the sessions and he is one of few folks to whom I look forward listening. Session ends around 9:30ish and immediately 7UP 7DOWN (card game) kicks in and later I emerge victorious. Deb and I crash for night.

Up and at'em not so early and snag some breakfast and coffee at Panera. Hit session #2 on time and a little after 12:30pm it's free time. Deb and I bust on the Nike shop and load up for Ian and Jake's spring sports. Next Andy's, followed with Shutter Island, dinner with a group at Rocky's (next to The Landing), which is a transplanted STL 'Hill' Italian place. Back to the hotel/conference room for Game Night followed by a group of us watching Book of Eli. Yes, two movies one day; Deb and I love the movies and don't get a chance to veg in front of them too often so we maximized the day.

Sunday morning Panera again with some friends, then session #3 and a worship service; out around 12pm. Tom, Sarah (good friends), Deb and I hit (wait for the name... wait for it) Billy Bob's Dairyland for some awesome burgers (old fashioned mom and pop style place). After that it's to Crane and pick up Ian. Hung out a little bit with my mom (dad was hauling cattle) and then it was off to Bolivar.

Got to see Jake 10 minutes before he headed off to a friend's house for the afternoon. I miss that boy!

Ian and I hit the gym for shooting and then the rest of the evening was Amazing Race, getting the house back in order and sleep.

Two days off the bike had me refreshed and ready to a good workout on Monday.

Monday was a Monday with loads of work and tired bodies. Mid-afternoon I headed off to Bolivar High School's first day of Track & Field practice where I volunteered to coach the jumpers again... I know, I decided to take the year off, but I love it and it gives me more opportunity to watch Jake in action. Speaking of 'the boy', the coaches selected him as one of the team captains for 2010; he is the first junior to hold this position and we are super proud (not only his running ability, but more of his leadership and responsibility to the whole instead of the one). I have a decent crew of jumpers this year with one in particular that will be a state player for the overall in high jump (my college coach's daughter - funny).

Got home in time for Ian and I to hit SBU and play some indoor baseball catch in the multi while Deb was getting dinner ready. Back home, chowed down, got crushed in Scrabble, then on the trainer for 1:20hrs and my first interval efforts of 2010. Fitness is ahead of this time last year.

Tuesday mid-morning and Deb rings me that she just signed for a big box and before she could continue I was downstairs unloading my BLUE!!!!! I had a ton to do at work so I waited until late afternoon to take her home. I planned to jump on the trainer for an light hour, but went right to the tool kit and started putting her together. Finally had to drop the fun and get back to the office.

Out of the office, eat a quick bite with Deb and Ian then he and I were off to his basketball practice. Returned home to change up clothes and make my intramural basketball game at SBU. Old guys rule and it drives the college kids nuts. Put the finishing touches on the BLUE (ready to ride) and turned in late (too late).