Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tandem, Baseball, Frozen Custard, and Mr. Entertainment

Monday was a, well Monday. Had a surprise new employee; Jake is covering for our intern this week and it is fun having him at the shop. I headed over to SBU at noon and got in some great basketball for 1:30hrs (interval workout equivalent). After work I tackled the lawn work and then pitched to Ian quite a bit; his hitting is coming along nicely (too bad it's toward the end of the season... HA!).

After dinner with the family and a couple of Jake's buddies Deb and I took advantage of the great weather (low humidity and nice temps) and got in a 1:45hr tandem ride. Took some back roads and took her on some new scenery (which included a stop at Ira's ranch, where we interrupted an intense game of family tag). Deb wanted me to add that the canines were out in force and we even got ambushed by two large ones in thick weeds at which point Deb let out an unusual squeek of some sorts. At the end of the ride we were rewarded with 3Gs frozen custard on the Bolivar square. Back to the casa and lights out...

Another beautiful day in the Ozarks so I skipped a morning ride in exchange for a 43 mile ride to SGF (via Morrisville, Ebenezer, McDaniel Lake, and Fantastic Caverns area) to meet up with the crew to catch Ian's last 'regular season' ball games. The ride was awesome as low humidity and great route made for a high tempo the entire way.

Ian's squad was playing one of the better teams in the league and the night ended up with a split (1 win/1 lose). Ian had a stellar play that might have made ESPN's top 10 as he caught an on-the-run diving over-the-shoulder pop fly while playing first base. He also pitched an inning and struck out two (so far two innings pitched and 5 strike outs); he is a quirky little pitcher as he doesn't throw with a lot of speed or any junk, he simply puts the ball across the plate hoping a batter will hit it and our stellar defense will get them out (he actually wants them to hit so he serves them up and it seems they keep missing). Ian had a decent night of hitting as he was 2-3 (with a walk added to that). With one end of the season tournament coming up next weekend the boys have a 24-3 record (not too shabby).

***Video Clip Coming***

We ended the evening with some Andy's custard (well, they did while I finally ate dinner at 9:50pm - I was starving).

Rest of the week will have some light riding in prep for Saturday's Lawrence race on the KU campus. Trying to work out some logistics to camp a couple night's at Clinton Lake this weekend while in Lawrence.

Played another round of intense noon-(basket)ball; high energy the whole time with several of the college players (past and present).

This afternoon Jake and Ian swung by the office and the below is what I label 'Mr. Entertainment' (joined in the latter parts by his big brother). Let's just say they both constantly add comic relief to my life, but in dynamically different ways.

After work I walk in to find Ian with string tied around a loose tooth with the other end getting tied to a door and of course Jake has convinced him it won't hurt at all (I don't make this stuff up)...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Race Weekend in a Sauna

After several years of training/racing you figure out what type of weather, race course... suits you and what doesn't and for me it is obvious I am not a climber (power or long type) and that I absolutely melt in heat. I think this is a result of a heat injury I got in Nebraska a handful of years ago AR'ing as I've never been quite able to deal with heat/humidity since then. So I reference that to lead into my race weekend (hot and humid both days and a bit of climbing Saturday), but I do like crits and circuit racing and especially since I am starting so late and playing catch up.]

Friday around noon I loaded up the Durango and headed to KC. Needed to replace a day-pack so I hit a couple local outdoors shops before heading over the Longview Jr. College crit course. Ended up getting an Osprey pack which comes with a 'doesn't-matter-what-happens-to-it full warranty (sale person said I could cut it up on purpose and they would still replace it with no questions) - interesting concept and honestly and selling point that made me buy it over a Black Diamond. Enough of that...

Showed up to the course and while unloading immediately noticed the 93* (with a 103 or so heat index) while chatting with some guys I hadn't seen since 'cross last year. Did I mention I suck in the heat... The goal for the day is to hide out as much as possible and simply try to finish with the leaders (it's what I did last year so let's do it again). I knew I lacked any type of spring or punch in my legs for visions of winning or finishing high so needed to be realistic.

Took 3 warm up loops and already was streaming sweat. Caught up with Craig just before heading to the start. Not sure how many lined up, but would estimate 40 or so. The race was pretty calm for the most part and didn't have to dig real deep to many times to stay with the leaders, but definitely didn't have the punch or top end to take any turns up front; stayed nice and hidden as long as I could. The event was more of a race of attrition than attacks on the front (although there were some solo efforts) and on the last lap I found myself with a small group of others chasing one who got away (and went on to solo win). There is a smallish climb (short and not terribly steep, but enough to hurt) just before the right hander to a 2oo meter finish and on the last lap that's when my body said "close enough" and shut down; I watched the group sprint for the finish as I soft pedaled in (15th place). Mission accomplished for day 1 as I stayed with the front and didn't suffer too much in the heat. It was pretty brutal under the sun for the 45 minutes and I wasn't looking forward to tomorrow's mid-day race, but being my first race of '10 my moral got a good boost - nothing incredible, but solid.

Pics from Lyle Reynolds

On my cool down laps I talked one of the families watching the race (one the southeast corner of the loop) to bring out their sprayer for the next races and also took advantage of a quick cooling off under the hose myself - that felt incredible and got me back in check quickly. Kicked back with Craig for the rest of the evening at a local pizza joint on the northeast corner of the course watching the action.

Crashed at Craig's casa for the night (thanks, bro) and Saturday morning I snagged a little breakfast before heading just off downtown to Cliff Drive for day 2.

Got to the course a couple hours before the start, chatted with a couple folks who gave their advice/opinion of the course, then gave it a ride about 30 minutes before my start at 12pm. First impressions were "uh oh, I am going to get shelled quick" as there was one tough climb and then a longer but no as steep deceptive one that drained on my more. The temp was already in the upper 90's and shooting the heat index way over 100; once again I was streaming just from warm ups. Saturday's goal was stay with leaders for 4 of the 7 laps and then try not to get lapped. 65 or so started and immediately I tried to stay no further than 20 spots from the front; work it on the climbs, but never go into the red until the final laps if necessary. So as the laps started ticking off and I kept in there my moral started to grow. Every time we hit the 2nd climb I limited my efforts to simply stay in contact with the group and keep enough in reserve to not get popped. This worked pretty well until I started feeling the heat simply shred me down and on the 6th lap (1st climb) I let a small gap open and then had to bury it to close it up before the 2nd and that put me over the top; lost a little contact (but not bad) over the top, but had no punch to drive it back to the leaders and it was over - 6 laps completed then popped with 1 to go (bummer, but better than I expected). Rolled across the finish with a couple others to net 26th. My temperature gauge was blown... (Hopefully will find some Cliff Drive pictures soon and will post)

After crossing the line I made two stops immediately - 1) cold water coolers the promoters put out at the start/finish area and 2) the fountain pictured below just a 100 meters or so from the same point. It was pure bliss standing and cooling off for several minutes; seemed a popular place for many racers after the event.

For me it was two solid days of getting the race feeling back and measure of my fitness. Definetly behind were I was last year, but that was expected as I am starting a couple months behind what is normal. Usually I am starting to wind down (dodging the heat and humidity), but I am just starting to wind it up now; will be interesting to see how I do in July as I have a couple crits/circuits races I plan to hit.

Stuck around a while (in the shade) and watched the 3's and Pro/1/2 events. Impressive how good these guys are.

Chatted a bit with Tilford (about a mutual friend in TX) and he brought up the amazing number that over 1,300 viewers clicked on an image of his recent blood test and it was mind boggling to him (and me) the interests when he didn't even know what the numbers meant himself. Much like following LA's twitter, my interest in ST's blog is how one day they are in place X and the next day they are half way across the country (for LA it's the world) either racing or catching up with some legendary athlete like it's pretty routine (which it is for them). I like ST observations of things as here is a guy who has done, seen, and experienced it all in cycling and it about as down to earth about it as one could be; not to mention Trudy and her travels/job with BMC...

Same 18yr old kid from SGF won both days of my races riding away from everyone easily. Austin Vinton is his name and he just started racing a couple months ago. Watch out for this kid as he is super strong (won the Waffle Training race in SGF a couple weeks ago) and the best part is he is super nice and has no (at least not yet) elitest attitude of some many others. I noticed the St John's crew kitted him up for Cliff Drive and have taken him into the Springfield Mafia fold.
Uneventful drive home which, as always, included the H1N1 Factory Outlet (Osceola Cheese) as ScottyD likes to call it (and I agree). Picked up some 'extra hot' salami cheese and of course didn't leave without stocking up on the HOT pickles - family favorite (ok, mostly the boys and I).

Rest of the evening was pretty routine with a little ball playing in the backyard, minimal yard work, and Catan. Looked over Jake's senior picture proofs and there are a ton from which to narrow. Funny how Deb keeps diverting my attention when I ask anything related to price...

Sunday morning set the standard for which the day was measured - we slept in late. After church and Mexican food we all spent pretty much the day laid out in our room watching World Cup and then 6hrs straight of Band of Brothers (incredible no matter how many times I watch it) with a little bit of movement now and then. Everyone commented at some point how nice it was to have absolutely nothing to do and stick to that plan.

.Looking for get some decent riding in this week and trek over to Lawrence this Saturday for a circuit race on KU's campus. The temps are forecasted cooler then this past weekend, but the course if a tough one with lots o' climbing. Ian's last regular season game is tomorrow night and then it's one tournament on the 9th, 10th, and 11th and it's a wrap on baseball.

TdF kicks off this weekend and looking forward to the action. Liked seeing Devolder back in the Black, Yellow, and Red as he is a favorite of mine.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Baseball, PSA for ScottyD, & Weekend Racing

Double-header last night with Ian's crew and they won both; not a huge surprise as they are 23-2, but it was nutty how they scored two and won by one run in the last inning. The top of the same inning (Bandits were in the field) the other team had NO outs and bases loaded (and we were down by 1)... we were doomed. Our pitcher struck a kid out - 1 out; next hitter our right fielder caught a high drive to the outfield (play of the game and out #2) then he overthrew the pitcher causing the catcher to go after the loose ball (leaving home uncovered). Seeing this Ian sprinted from his third base position to the plate (beat the runner who was trying to score) and received a great throw from the catcher to tag out the runner at home (out #3 as they dodged a huge bullet). The kids had one last at-bat and they came through with 2 to win. By far the most exciting game of the year.

The second game our kids won 17-5 and was semi-boring. One more week of regular play then the final tournament.

ScottyD asked to have this forwarded :
Starting June 29 through July 20 (4 Tuesdays) 10 mileish TT aero & non-aero divisions. $10 entry with cash to top 3 in aero & non-aero. Women & Jr's race free. Just south of Ash Grove at Bois D'Arc Conservation Area. Smooth roads. Low low traffic. First rider off # 6:30pm. More info: scottdunsmuir@gmail.com
I guess this is a lead up to the MO State TT Champs (held in JC, MO).

Pre-registered for the racing two days (this Fri & Sat) at the BreakThrough Tour of KC. I did a modified version (raced all three days) of this race last year, but I honestly don't think my legs have 3 days of efforts in them this year (and am doubting if they have 1, honestly). Last year the Longview crit splintered quickly on the multi-turn and ungulating course; I finished with the first chase group and I think ended up 11th. I've never done Saturday's Cliff Drive loop, but it is supposed to be really cool (loosly translated lots of suffering). Looking forward to racing with teammate and gracious host for the night CRUSTY; haven't seen him since last cx season. Hoping to have decent form and then race in Lawrence, KS next weekend only on Saturday.

...Ian is trying to talk me into taking him with me this weekend and catching a Royals .vs. Cards game (in KC) in between racing. Good idea, but his mom will never let it fly... unless (to be continued)...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day in STL

Friday after work the Jones crew loaded up and headed to STL to watch my nephews play some ball, to catch a Cardinals game (Ian's first), and to race the Gateway Babler X-treme circuit race. The boys always travel great and the trip flew by.

Pulled into town in time to watch my oldest nephews team duke it out on the ball field. It was a fun time. After the game it was to Mandee's house for some snacks and conversation.

Early Saturday morning I hopped out and cruised over to Babler State Park for a couple laps on Sunday's course. Big climb (not that long, but decently steep and comes in two sections) right at the start of each lap. Noticed several smaller limbs and debris on the road, but didn't think much of it until I ran across an entire big oak tree laying across the road with just enough room for one person to ride by on the edge. It was early Saturday and figured state or promoter's crews would get it out of the way by Sunday, but come to find out (once I checked the race website) they cancelled the event. Must have been more issues than just one tree on the road, but never the less I am still in search for my first (non-training) race of the year...

Saturday at noon we caught my younger nephews ball game then it was off toward downtown and the Cardinals' game. Ian was really excited the whole way down (and pretty much the entire evening). A big storm moved through right after we hit the stadium which jacked up batting practice so we weren't able to snag E-ball any autographs. We hit some of the Cellular One Plaza and Ian threw some pitches under the gun (42 was his fastest, but he did stay close to the glove on every one). After grabbing some ballpark grub we settled in for a great game (Cards won 4-3 over the A's).

Everyone had fun and it was a bummer when it ended. Jake even admitted he liked the game (and for him to say he likes baseball is huge). While the traffic was packed leaving downtown we decided to take a walk around the Arch. Turns out was still open, but the trip to the top was all sold out; we'll have to make that another trip.

Got back to Chris and Mandee's and played several games of Catan; lots of fun.

Everyone slept in late Sunday morning (since no race), did a little shopping, caught an inning of a nephew's game before turning it south and going back to Bolivar. Kicked back with the boys the rest of the day until 8pm then Dale and I snagged 1:45hrs riding. It was still toasty and muggy even after dark.

Solid Father's Day weekend just being together with my favorite peeps. Great kids make it easy to be a father and I do not take it for granted. Make's me realize I didn't make it quite so easy on my pops; sorry buddy.

Below is a couple random pictures of Ian (1st one at practice and 2nd is before a game) and I thought they expressed his enjoyment/fun of the game. He is always in search of a game or someone with whom to play catch. Youth + Baseball = Summer Fun.

Jake is back running discomfort/pain free (and that is huge). This morning he got in a light 3 1/2 miler with the team and said he didn't feel any of what he felt before in his lungs. He was in a great mood coming back from the run as I am sure he feels a sense of relief knowing he can lead by example now (instead of on a bike). Jo Bill Dixon's running camp comes in three or so week (and it is brutal) and he now will have some miles on his legs before going. Fingers crossed and praying the pleurisy is done.

Friday, June 18, 2010

STL Bound...

Heading out to STL for the weekend and taking in a Cardinals (verses the A's) game Saturday evening. It is Ian's first MLB gig and he is crazy psyched! We are going to make a full afternoon of it as we plan to hit the stadium when the gates open (a couple hours before the game), try to get down for a couple of autographs, try to snags some balls during BP, hit some chow, then enjoy a game.

Tonight we are taking in a nephew's baseball game and will do likewise Saturday morning for our other nephew.

Sunday morning I am racing the GatewayGI Babler X-treme Circuit race (20 miles) which is only a couple miles from Deb's sister's house (with whom we are staying the weekend). Course is supposed to have a tough mile+ climb every lap so we'll see how that goes (since I don't climb exceptionally well).

This past week has gone pretty well training wise as after the Tuesday night 'training race' effort I took it easy Wednesday with a little basketball at noon. Thursday AM Dale and I grabbed a 1:45hrs north of town and I got in another session of basketball at noon. Today (Friday) is a rest and tomorrow I'll go and ride Sunday's Babler course a handful of times.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pinned On a Number...

Well it has finally started; my first 'race' (although it was a training race) of 2010. The crew at St. John's Cycling put on an A and B style road/circuit race last night at Fellows Lake and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to get my first beating of the year. Dale showed up and raced the B's (he had a great time and finished well, I believe).

33 miles (3 loops of 11m) and a 6pm start time with nice temps no rain in sight there were 13 'A' riders and I am not sure how many 'B's', but I would guess over 20. Hogan, JBrackett, and a guy named Nick represented St. Johns (Jim, Cale, and Skippy were admin'ing it), a couple guys from OCC, and the remainder a mix of folks I didn't know outside of Mark Stokes (not surprising since I never ride in SGF); I had no idea what to expect as my main focus was to get up to race speed and see how long I could hang on.

The first 4 or 5 miles were pretty tame as the pace was steady, but not 'race pace'. That changed on the south side of the course (into a headwind) and the racing began. Most everyone seemed to pull through and we were rolling pretty quick. I recognized early that I needed to keep my pulls short as I couldn't go toe to toe with several in the group. There is a sharp (but fairly short) climb at the end of every lap and on the first it broke up the group a little (I stayed with the front) and immediately a solid paceline formed to start the second lap. The pace stayed solid for pretty much the entire loop with a couple attacks and mixing it up, but each came back together pretty quickly. The climb at the end of 2 was tame and St. John's guys starting trying to get a small break up the road and one stayed for just about the entire north side until it was brought back (by teammates of the two up the road - it was a training race after all). I was starting to dig deep and started skipping every other pull in order to try to make the finish with the lead group; I was feeling Sunday night's motor-pacing session. We were down to maybe 8 of us going into the last climb and I couldn't hold the pace of a small group and finished 5th overall. Bittersweet review of the evening as I got in a great workout, got the feel of racing again, and was fairly smart in my allocation of effort/preservation, but the bummer was I didn't have the legs to get up the hill with the top guys (realistically wouldn't have had a shot at the win against obviously stronger guys) and will take some more racing until I feel decently 'fast' again.

With a $15 entry (included a one day license for those in need) and a reasonable distance, great venue/course, and the winners walking away with baked goods (who could ask for more) I hope they put on a handful more of these throughout the summer/fall. Great event and SGF needs (desperately needs) something like this.

I didn't stick around after the event and chat as I needed to shoot across town to catch the end of Ian's first ball game (1 or 2; it is Tuesday night after all). Got there a hair late to see Ian's best hit he ever has had (sigh...),but did catch the ending of their win (14-5). The second game we crushed them something like 20-1 (but they quite posting scores over a 10 pt lead). Ian went 4 for 4 batting and made some sweet plays in the field to include a game ending cannon throw from right-center field to gun a runner down at third base (no joke, the hardest I've seen him throw - and that's saying something).

Finished off the SGF trip with some Braums and then topped off the entire day with a game of Catan with Jake and Andie once home; solid day.

Snagged some STL Cardinals tickets for this weekend so we'll be taking E-ball to his first MLB event. He is on cloud nine and can't wait. We plan to make a full day out of it getting there way early and trying to get a couple autographs before the game. Staying at Deb's sisters place which is a hop, skip, and jump from Babler State Park where there is a circuit race this Sunday morning; I plan to race it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Artful Dodger - Still Haven't Raced

Two events of interest this weekend which I pulled the plug and avoided: 1) State mtb champs in STL and 2) KS state crit champs. The mtb was a no-brainer as my arm was not ready for it, but man, from the reports I read I am glad I didn't race. Apparently the heat (and I imagine humidity) was pretty tough and I know my strengths and weaknesses and humid heat is a major kryptonite (never performed 1/2 good in the stuff). So Sunday I wake up, step outside at 7am and know right then that I was not going to KS as it was already pretty warm and muggy. Pittsburgh, KS is about as close as a race I'll find (2hrs), but glad I passed. So here I sit in the middle of June without a single race under my belt; good thing this is a hobby. The races will come (especially in the fall) and right now if I make some GREAT, but if I don't NO BIG DEAL.

On a side note: I am loving the stlbiking.com forum thread about the alleged 'sandbagger' in the sport class that now turns might (and I stress MIGHT) have knowingly cheated in the process of snagging a state jersey (all hilarious to include the guy who called him out and in the process questioned his parental abilities - classic).

So Friday after work the Jones' crew scarfed down at a local Mexican joint, went home and all played some ball in the back yard, and then we (Deb, Jake, & I) watched Edge of Darkness (pretty decent, but not great). A full family night - awesome.

Saturday Deb and I hopped out on the tandem at 7:30am to get in a solid 2hr ride before the heat set in (and it ended up doing that). Dale and my bro joined us and it turned out a good ride. Deb is getting better (more fit) and better every ride and we are clipping along at a decent pace these days. After the ride Dale and I took in the Alp D H at the Daphine - AC is tough even not at top form, but Jani B was (is) a MONSTER covering the multiple attacks.

The rest of Saturday was pretty laid back with most of the time spent indoors. Somewhere in the course of the day Ian found some 'Mickey' hands and had quite the time entertaining us. I think everyone enjoyed the 'downtime' as this was our first weekend home in several. Saturday evening I played some cards with some fellas (ended much faster than expected due to my poor play) so I headed back home to find Deb whipped up a peach cobbler; hard to finish a day much better than that.

Sunday (like I posted above) was pretty warm early so I skipped KS crit racing and went to church with the crew. Ian sang with a VBS group and then had a short speaking part; he did great.

Most of Sunday was spent in the yard and garden. Deb and Ian took in Karate Kid and so naturally E came back showing me some moves of his own (every kid does it...).

Headed out on the bike at 7pm and cruised easy for an hour before I met Jim at SBU for a little motor-pacing. He bought a scooter that week and I was stoked when he agreed to doing some laps for me. An hour later I was cooked and limped home; great workout - thanks bro!

Monday I snuck out early and spun the legs for 1:20hrs in an early morning downpour (6am - 7:20). Cruised by Jake's AM cross country workout group (he is riding with the group of runners as he is still out for another week or so) and they had 42 kids (usually 50+) out there at 6:15am. That's pretty impressive for that many to run that early during summer vacation. Coach Bandy is really developing this program and will be interesting to see where it is in a couple more years.

Monday evening included some ball playing in the backyard, setting on the back porch with Deb watching the sun go down, and finishing up with some Catan.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Back in the Flow

So I have adapted back to non-vacation life and tried to find my cycling legs again along with a regular sleep pattern (is there a fiber product for this????).

Monday after work Dale and I knocked out a steady 2hr tempo over some hilly terrain and I was quasi dragging butt (totally expected). The evening for us included playing some catch and batting with Ian and harvesting some produce from the garden. My evening snack included a nice mix of blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries (not from garden) and later a nice spinach salad (tomatoes, onion, cilantro and raspberry vinaigrette - YUM!). Sadly the strawberries are gone for the season, but the blackberries are just coming on. Numerous games of Catan was played and Jake didn't get a single 'W' all night (awesome).

Ian is in BIS Summer School during the mornings (for a couple weeks) and Vacation Bible School all this week so he is pretty whipped once he makes it home (usually around 6pm).

Jake is still feeling the effects of the plerisy and holding off running although he makes it everyday to summer 'practice' at 6:15am Monday thru Friday. He incorporated a CrossFit strength program at his high school three days a week and the coaches (mostly football) were super to taylor his program toward running strength and not the 'football' type. He laughs at the lack of brute strength, but understands a bully would never be able to catch him if an incident arrised (HA!).
Tuesday I slept in (still tired from vacation) and skipped an early morning ride in exchange for some basketball at noon (light interval type workout). Left work a little early for Ian's ball games in SGF. They won both games and now are 17-2 (lost 2 games while Ian was on vacation). Celtics/Lakers took up the rest of the evening once home.

Wednesday I headed out on the bike afterwork for a couple hours and got in a monster interval workout (6 x 8:15min on a tough hilly course). I limped home as this was one of the hardest I have done all year (sadly showed me how far behind I am).

Thursday I played laced up the sneaks for basketball at noon. Caught Ian's VBS singing program (cowboy theme) after work and then ended up playing a ton of ball with Ian after work while Deb and Marla got in a great ride (they are quite the good buddies). Caught the Lakers/Celtics game with Ian since he didn't have to get up early for summer school (Friday's are off-days). The b-ball series is turning into a good one; not really a fan of either, but I am leaning toward the green.

Friday morning Dale and I found ourselves hitting the Polk County dirt/gravel at 6am. While the breeze and coolness of the morning kept the temps decent it was MUGGY out there. We ended up with 3hrs of 'cross riding some of our favorite roads.

Played an hour of ball at noon as they had a new recruit in at SBU and I just couldn't pass up an upbeat session with quality players...

Not a lot on tap for this weekend (recovery mode still from being gone the past two weekends) as I opted to not race mtb's at Castlewood (state champs) as I played around on the mtb earlier this week and big hits/shocks are still sending a twinge of sting up to my elbow. Better to let it heal proper and be fully functional for 'cross in a handful of months (big smile). Thinking about heading to Pittsburg, KS (just a couple hr drive) on Sunday for a crit, but will have to play it by ear. Next weekend we head to STL to take in a Cards game with the boys and I plan to hit the Babler circuit race as its just a couple minutes from my sister-in-laws casa. Gotta get SOME speed work in before getting my butt handed to me at the BreakThrough crits in KC at the end of June (BTW these are great races at super venues).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cruising Mexico

Super quick recap:

Friday (two weeks ago) Ian and I went to Jeff City and watched the BHS kids run at the State Track meet. Jake was an alternate as he still couldn't run with his pleurisy and the boys 4 x 800 finished 14th. Ian and I had a fun trip together and took in the capital building after the meet.

Saturday was a pack and prep the house day for the week long vacation. Got in a light 2hr ride.

Early Sunday morning departure and a drive straight thru to Mobile, AL (12hrs). The boys always travel great so it was a fun trip. Spent the night at a hotel then boarded the Carnival Elation the next morning; pretty seamless and before you know it we were on the water... let the relaxation begin. We did watch for signs of oil spots as we headed south through the Gulf, but wasn't able to notice anything. The picture to the right is by far my favorite of the trip as I had no idea of the sign posted on the left...

The below is a shot of Ian's kids club which he loved (notice the 10+ PS3's with every sports game available). He ended up hardly playing any of the video games as they had so many activities for him throughout the boat that video games were far down on his priority.

The boat had tons of activities for all of us and we took advantage of each.

If you ever watched Bill Engvall (comedian) then the below will make sense, if not then don't sweat it...

First stop was Cozumel and we headed off to Paradise Beach for the day. Pretty cool place as it had tons of water toys/inflatables, snorkeling, kayaks, trampoline with acrobatic attachment. We played hard pretty much all day.

Below is a dump of various group shots from the week.

Our second stop was Playa Del Carmen and that pretty much had us hitting some shops for our favorite wrestling headgear and then to the beach for some fun in the surf. Ian and I spent most of the time perfecting (or at least trying) our body surfing.

Jake wasn't much a fan of the surf as a little motion sickness was hitting him so he and Deb spent a fun day wandering the beaches and streets of Playa.

Below pic is of Ian and I waiting for the results of the family scavenger hunt on the boat the last day. Deb, Ian, and I took home the gold (literally a gold plastic boat trophy). Jake's pic showed what he did best - Rest n Relaxation; of course he was the only one out until 2am every night...

The rest of these are misc. pictures from the entire week.

The last evening Deb and I spent a large portion of it on the upper deck simply watching the water go by and the sun settting. It was a great week with my gal.

Left Mobile around noon on Saturday and made our way to Memphis for a quick stop before calling it a night in Jonesboro, AR. We had been to Memphis a handful of times, but never with both of the boys so we took them by Graceland (passed on the $30 per entrance fee, go figure), down to Beal Street (while it was still light and decently calm), and ate at the Kooky Canuck and witnessed the 7lbs burger (we didn't have the 1hr wait for it to be cooked so we opted for 1/2lbs burgers). He dropped by the Peabody Hotel, but missed the duck parade. Went up on the roof and took in the city from above. Ian was stoked to see where the Memphis Cardinals play and most of all the FedEx Forum where the Memphis Tigers and Grizzlies play.

After a late morning wakeup we were back on the road and heading home (4 1/2hr drive). Took a quick break at Mamoth Springs, AR to see what 9 million gallons of water per hour was all about; let me tell you THATS A LOT OF FLOW!

Finally made it home mid-afternoon; everyone was happy to be back, but at the same time bummed to have our trip completed. It is great to have everyone together for an extended period of time and always fun to have Jake (being a teen) still like to hang out with us; his time with us (as a kid) is quickly flowing by.

Kind of creeped me out to see the lawn and shrubs out of order (yes, it had only been a week) so the rest of the evening was spent tidying up and of course playing ball with Ian.

***Videos will post as time permits***