Thursday, September 30, 2010

A&B Short Track a Wrap

Tuesday wrapped up the 7 race Short Track/Dirt Crit series put on by the folks at A&B Cycles. The course was a figure 8 with lots of open pedaling and little tight stuff - yes! All the regulars showed as no one wanted to miss out on the sweet t-shirts being handed out afterwards. Ira got the hole shot into the woods as I was sitting behind Mark in 3rd with Cale laughing at my inability to ride single track behind me. That didn't last too long as Cale shot to the front taking Mark with him while I put Ira on my wheel to try to gap the riders behind (Skip and Ryan). After two laps and Ira getting a big gap on 5th and 6th I put in some solid efforts and was riding in third alone (pretty much what happened every race). Settled in for the middle portion then put in some hard hard efforts on the final laps to close really close to Mark at the end and finishing 3rd (like usual). It was probably my best effort/fastest race this year.

I finished 3rd overall for the series with Cale #1 and Mark #2 (both head and shoulders faster and better bike drivers than I). This series was a blast and super effort workouts getting me in good shape to start 'cross. Looks like they will put this on again next year and teamed with the Waffle Races the summer of '11 could be a lot of fun locally. The top three finishers received some sweet hoodies and in the picture I tried to make it look like a podium (I am not that short compared to these guys).

Wednesday I jumped on the SBU courses and got in a non-stop 1:30hrs of bike driving at a low-to-medium effort level. Since Cat 3's are racing AN HOUR at the Boss Cross events I need to keep up the longer rides on technical courses to condition the body. Have to admit I was surprised to see our race go longer than 45 to 50 minutes, but I feel my good base and fitness level with benefit me so I'm not griping. Thought about racing the Masters and then the 3's, but not with the longer 3's.
Spent another evening in the gym with Ian shooting and working ball handling. Play at The Courts starts in three weeks and team practice starts next week.
Here's a short montage of some action from Ian's soccer game this past weekend. He scored a goal in the last clip, but the one before is the funniest as his teammate takes a full on shot to the groin:

Spent some time in the shop last night cutting a ton of trim pieces for Deb's dining room update (always looking for a reason to play with big boy tools). So far it looks great and all is left is for me to get the wainscoting frames put together, primed and painted, and installed. The color and design really updated the area and might be one of my favorite rooms now.

Speaking of updates, Deb got to check out her new granite yesterday and is looking forward to next Friday's installation. She's been waiting for this ever since we moved in.

On the world cycling front bummer to see more riders coming up positive... sigh. Will be interesting to see what comes of AC. After seeing the news Ian hoped Thor would test for something so his boy Cav take the green (he was only joking).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Manion's CX Double Up

Good past week at the Jones' ranch; here's some highlights.

Wednesday: 2hr road ride spinning out the legs after Tuesday's A&B Dirt Crit. Met with insurance guy on the pop-up and sure enough it was totaled. The below picture is just the entrance so imagine the entire inside covered with this type of river mud.

Mounted the Challenge XS's and it completes the look of the Blue - I'm loving it.

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: We all shut down the office early to take in BHS's homecoming parade and it was a beautiful afternoon of sitting on a blanket with my sweetheart. Jake and his XC crew came through and he stiffed me on the candy, said something about being fat... Afterwards got in 1:45hrs on the cross bike working turn after turn at SBU and Bolivar city park, which we have used little in the past but will incorporate it much more. Took a couple dumps as I was getting a feel for the file treads and how far I could push them in low and high speed turns; ended up tweaking my hanger at the end but a little manual force seemed to get it back to functional.

That evening was a home football game (if you call it that as we won something like 1,000,000 to 0) which is always fun with friends and family (sat with Jim and my mom & pop).

Saturday was a nice sleep in as nothing was on the agenda except for Ian's soccer game at 10am. Jake was off to Hermitage cheering on his XC team (still not competing yet) for the day. Off to E-ball's game in which they won; he scored a goal (see video) and played really good. Much of his skill, like in basketball, is seeing the play develop, knowing other players placements, and making plays not only for himself but mostly passes for teammates. If he plays football (we hope not) in the future he will make a sharp QB.

After the game it was yard work, a light ride with some openers on the Frisco Trail with Dale, watched 1/2 of a BHS soccer game, and generally being a bum around the casa. Oh yes, picked up the insurance check on the pop-up in the mail (that was quick). Deb and I (ok, mostly Deb) knocked out a ton on the dining room re-paint job and it is looking great. Little bit of finishing touches and one more project done. One and a half weeks before she gets her new kitchen (granite counter tops, sink and faucet, double oven, and tile back splash) and both of us are really excited about the upgrade.

Went to bed with a 1/2 grin knowing Sunday was 'cross racing and what better way to drift off to sleep then with instead of sugarplums it's tubulars and race kits dancing in your head....

Sunday morning Deb and Ian hopped in the car with me heading to KC for the Manion's CX. Jake had some youth church activities in the afternoon and didn't make the trip with us. I had read Sunday's course was a bunch of climbing and immediately when we pulled up it was verified. Very similar to Augusta Bubba race last year (broke pedal in first lap) but longer climbs and with recent rain it make for sponge-like dirt/grass pack. The temps were perfect for the CX (could have even been a bit cooler) long sleeve kit. After a couple warm up laps decided to go with my Piranhas as the course was a tad loose in some corners, but overall grippy.

During the warm up I couldn't get the rear to stay on the 27 cog and since I run a single 42 up front I knew I would need it so Ryan McCormick (master mechanic and all around good guy) gave me a hand and got it dialed in (with about 2 minutes to spare. Turns out my hanger was tweaked from Friday's fall, but we got it working (and didn't have a problem all day). Lined up for the Masters 40+ which was a super solid field of 26 or 27 riders including my teammate Mike G, Songer, Fish, Yielding, J Taylor and the list goes on. Decent start from the second row and before you know it I was sitting around 10th. We can skip all the suffering and simply say I felt good and rode (at least for me) decent and nabbed a 7th place; Mike had a solid 4th and JY killed it up front for the win.

The bike and tires worked really smooth and for that course I felt solid about how I drug my carcase up that hill, but time to get loosened up again as I signed up for the 2/3 race 1 hour later. Totally told myself to use the 50 minute race as a training session as I knew I had no competitive legs left to compete up front. Strong field since it was one of the only times Cat 2's get a shot of victory without battling the 'big boys'; I thought the race promoter did a solid job with breaking up these categories.
So there I am at the back of the 2/3 race and wondering why I doubled up, but it's just for training... keep telling myself this. Whistle goes and off the field flies and I am way out the back (it's just a training ride, its just a training ride) for the first couple laps, but then my legs starts loosening up and I actually was passing some folks and gaining on others. A handful of times as I passed Deb and Ian (who are A number 1 cheerers) she let me know I was moving up, but I didn't realize it was going pretty good. By the end I finished 8th and felt like a truck had run over me. I was so glad I stuck it out but was way happier to be finished with the day.

I am mildly disappointed with myself, although I rode well in the Masters race, with my mental prep prior to both starts. Upon arriving at the course I already told myself that I can't climb and that today was about survival, and while much was true I needed to have more of an offensive mindset instead of defensive. For the 2/3 event I convinced myself to simply ride it not to compete, but to get some training in and I should have again been more assertive and not settle in. Oh well, it's done now and I take it as a learning experience.

The drive back home, which included stops at Gates for grub and the H1N1 factory outlet in Osceola, was pretty uneventful; I was beat tired.

Jake had some friends over playing the new Hal0 Reach while I worked a little more on the dining room trim and Deb and I catching episode 1 of Amazing Race before turning in for the night.

Big news out in Wisconsin for Andrew Coe (SKC rider) with a 2nd on Saturday and a win on Sunday at the USGP men's 2/3 races; solid!

Today Dale and I snuck out at noon for 1:30 easy spin on some favorite back gravel/dirt roads east of town; felt good to flush the legs.

This week has the last of the A&B Dirt Crit series, some easy spinning on Wednesday, Thursday rest, Friday get out and spin with some openers, Boss Cross #1 on Saturday and BC #2 on Sunday. On the home front just finishing up the dining room, routine yard work, and hanging with the boys.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Cross Clip & Dirt Crit #6 - Fast and Furious

Cross Vegas on live stream HERE tonight. This is a good pre-show...

Super small group tonight at A&B's short track/dirt crit #6, but with Cale and Mark G there I was destined once again for a third place (guess I ruined the ending). Tonight's course was 0% single track and a bunch of open riding which is right up my alley, but some heavy legs from this being my second workout of the day (AM 40min run with stadium climbs) and some sludge from Saturday's effort (and no sleep that night) had me off a bit and unable to really get on top of the high end speed. The speed and effort tonight was much more intense than other races (for me) during this series as there was not really anywhere to recover; just constant pedaling and effort. A&B let me demo a Specialized 29er, which I really liked and was perfect for tonight's loop. Stayed with Cale and Mark until 1/2 thru the second lap when I went to the lead in a tighter section hoping to keep them riding a little at my pace, but that didn't last too long and Cale dropped us quick on an open road climb then later Mark gaped me on some lite twisty stuff by the river. Kept Mark in my sights for most of the evening, but with two to go I backed it off as there was no way to bring him back and 4th place (Skippy) was a ways back. Cale #1, Mark #2, and 3rd for me again.

Deb and Ian made the drive down with me and it was fun having them cheer me on (and take some video).

Next week is the finale and I will miss not having these Tuesday night sessions as they have done a great job of forcing race pace and extended efforts in prep for 'cross racing. Most of all I think it has greatly improved my handling ability as I rode with much more fluidity at HUtL.

On a different topic, the below is a little montage of what Ian and I do most evenings for at least an hour. Not in a million years would I have guessed I'd try to find reason NOT to go to the gym as he is constantly dragging either Deb and I out to play. My 'little man' has a drive in him that it pretty rare (remember he is only 9!!!).

Jake's back to running this week and so far he says it's rough going, but he is sticking to it. This AM he was out at 5am doing a 3k time trial then 3 x 1mile repeats... alone. It is the coolest time of the day and the best environment for his lungs to function. He needs a frost or at minimum cool air to settle in for him to have a shot and districts and state. His dedication and discipline blows me away at age 17 (heck, at any age) and if he never runs competitive in college the life lessons he is learning from being a team leader, knowing how to win, and now knowing how to be humble and keep plugging it priceless.

The following pertains no political agenda on my personal beliefs, but is absolutely hilarious in regards to public speaking and I can't stop watching it. Krebs posted it a week ago and it keeps getting more funny every time I watch it (needless to say he does not get the nomination - shocking); if I am his opponent I would defer my time to let him continue:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When It Rains It Pours (not figuratively)...

Where to begin, where to begin?

Saturday morning we took in Ian's first soccer game since he played in 1st grade (now he is in the 4th) and he did not disappoint. Scoring a left foot'er from a decent distance back and making tons of plays the kid looked like he had been playing for years. His crew won their first game 5-0 and then went on to win a second 2-0. He had a blast and we did also watching.

Jake was off cheering on his xc crew at Missouri Southern and looks to return to running on Monday seeing how he responds; this will determine pretty quickly the rest of his season.

Met Ira a little before noon, loaded up wearing a huge smile, and make the trek to Hermann. Got our primo spot for the pop-up camper (right on the corner of a lot of action) and before you know it the compound was set up and ready for the night. Crusty, JBowes, and ACoe showed up and a little later Dale was there (Cale trickled in right before the 3 race). Everyone settled in and look to be a fun evening.

After watching a couple folks warm up it seemed the question of the night was to run or hop the low barriers. Although in my practice laps I hopped 'em I know my limitations and chose to run it every time. We took a couple loops to get the feel of the course and it was very typical Jeff Yielding style - fun, twisty, and fun. The Piranhas were hooking up nicely and went with them with the newly glued up tubies in the pits.

Ira and Dale went off first in the 4 race and both looked really solid. Ira got the front line start while Dale was at the other end of the group moving up the entire time. Ira put together a great race and ended up 3rd and I'm not sure of Dale's placing.

Warmed up and ready for the season opener I toed the front line of the 3 race and to my surprise got the hole shot into the twisty stuff (not typical me of past). Ira and I had worked on starts the other day and I was looking forward to giving it my all on the opener. Not too long into the first loop I was passed by a couple of guys and for the next handful of laps stayed in 3rd place with a KCCX rider in tow in pursuit of 2nd (1st place was way gone). With four to go three guys bridged up to us and two Dogfish guys went to the front and upped the pace. I jumped right in with them and during that lap we gapped the KCCX and one other and 2nd was right in front of us; I was feeling great as I kept my efforts in check thus far and every lap was hitting the turns with my speed and confidence. With 3 1/2 to go my rear tire losses air 50 FREAKING FEET past the pit so I ride a totally flat tire a 1/2 lap before switching out to my tubular pit tire (thanks Cale for the assistance). Amazingly I only lost three or four places (we had a pretty big gap on the field) by the time I rejoined the game. Upped the pace and began reeling back in a couple places when I rolled my rear tubie in a high speed turn (that I had pushed harder every lap) and my night was done with 2 to go... suck!

*** Above race video shows getting the hole shot, the sandpit, Crusty turning cartwheels, the off camber turns after the steps, and the low barrier sections. 2nd up the stairs in the shots; more coming...***

The mechanicals were totally on me as I was the one who chose to try the Challenge latex tubes in the Hutchison rear (the front is tubeless) and pair the price for going with something exotic instead of solid; I know better now. The rolled tubie was also on my as obviously I didn't glue it up as well as I needed; learning process also.

The good news is I felt really good fitness wise (still some improvement to develop), but my technical skills/handling is the best I've ever had. Way less braking before and tons more flow. I continually made gaps/advances on those near me on the barrier/stair sections (except for the lower barriers where I figure it was a wash). This is going to be a good season.

So back to the compound to get some pasta cooking while taking in the Pro/1/2. Right at the start the rain began to fall and lightening (off in the distance) lit up the sky. The race was called after two laps.

I started whipping up a bunch of pasta for the crew and about 5 minutes before the spaghetti noodles were done my propane tank went empty... seriously, ARGGGG! The crew was more than kind and choked down 1/2 cook pasta (the sauce was super good) and ACoe called it a night (slept in a tent while JBowes crashed in his truck).

Oh, I almost forgot, the entire time the rain is coming down pretty heavy, but didn't really notice since we were nice and dry in the pop up. We watched an hour of The Flying Scotsman before calling it a night; still raining and at time pretty stinking hard. Lots of lightening and thunder and rain and rain and rain, but around midnight I start to drift off; still raining.

The Hermann Under the Lights course is set in the city park of Hermann in a pretty low spot of the town with a lite creek that flows on one side. Just thought I would point that out.

At 1:something AM Jeff Yielding (HUtL race promoter and all around good guy) is pounding on our door telling us we have to get out now. What?!?!?!?! I step outside the camper to water just below my knee. I take a look around and holy cow the whole park is under water and it is rising quick. The bottom of the camper is covered and I can't get to release the jacks to tow it out so we started grabbing stuff out and throwing it in the truck. Within 10 minutes the water moved inside the camper and still rising. Everyone took their vehicles to higher ground and then helped those still needing assistance (several elder couples with large travel trailers were going under water). Cale was helping out an older gentleman with a 5th-wheel trailer that was clearly frazzled and ended up dropping his trailer on his truck bed (at no fault of Cale or I) and doing quite a bit of damage; he finally figured out his 'locking mechanism' and got it out safely.

We are finally standing around only to see Andrew C walk into the water/current and retrieve three wheels he lost at the initial flow; 30 minutes later and he just happens to see them floating. We thought they were long gone.

It was nutty how fast things were moving and all the time a sense of helplessness for the pop-up. We drove off to higher ground and last we saw the water line was just below the slide out beds (roughly 4' deep). She was done and I knew there was nothing to do but wait; and wait we did. (Just a tip: always a good idea to get insurance on various item and just so happens I had it on the camper so it wasn't too big of a deal as a replacement will come). A couple team trailers full of equipment were under water (KCCX and Mesa) and a couple vehicles were caught and swallowed:

We killed some time under cover of a closed gas station to regroup and re-pack.

Around 3am or so the water receded enough Ira and I were able to hook the truck to the camper and tow it off. It was a mobile sponge and most everything inside is covered in Hermann creek mud (it's nasty). He and I got a couple hours of sleep before heading back to SWMO around 7am. What a night (good news is no one remember the 1/2 cooked pasta now - HA!)!

The below pic #1 has the water level 2' below it's highest and #2 is only ankle deep as the water receded and Ira and I were pulling it out. Here is a local news story of the flood and it had pic #3 (funny thing about that shot is Ira had on only his BVD's as he didn't want to get his shorts wet so he used the screen to literally 'screen' himself on his way to his pants). More video and pics coming...

Sunday left like slow motion as I don't function well without solid sleep. Got a short nap in, but muddled through the day; finished out a new shrub bed, cleaned up what was salvaged from the trailer, started the re-gluing process on the wheels, took Ian to the gym... was really glad to see the bed at the end of the day. I did start my insurance claim on the trailer and an adjuster will be knocking soon.

All in all a nutty couple days, but looking forward I like how I raced and look for this to be a solid season and interested to see what comes of the camper replacement. This weekend I couldn't make a USGP trip to Madison work so I'll head up to KC for the inaugural Manion's CX.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bolivar XC Meet

Yesterday was Bolivar's home cross country meet so I hooked out of work at noon and spent the rest of the day with setup, driving the lead, and breaking it all down (got home around 8pm). It rained a bit early AM so the course had some quality mud sections, but for the most part it was in primo conditions.

Coach is still holding Jake out so he was there yelling and cheering for everyone (even those on other teams) and providing his senior leadership. He did have time to sneak in a couple jr. high races in the lead Cub Cadet vehicle which was fun.

Ira took over the 'shotgun' spot for the varsity races and SBU's head XC coach jumped in with me for the JV race. It was a ton of fun watching the leaders duking it out and mud'n thru the nasty parts.

During the JV race Ian got to hang out and run with Jake from place to place to urge on the kids. It had both Deb and I smiling ear to ear to have them pal'n around and to have Jake show him so much attention and Ian responding to every second of it. These two are so different and with the age gap they don't spend much time together so these moments are huge.

With getting home late I called it another rest day (which I didn't mind since the dirt crit was cancelled due to rain).
This morning I got out early and cruised a nice 1:30hr ride over to Stockton Lake and back. Taking it pretty easy this week to hopefully have fresh legs for HUtL. It was awesome out as the temps were cool enough I donned my MWI 'cross kit for the first time (long sleeves kept me comfortable) this year. Looking to get some basketball in at noon for some short running type intervals.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rolling Along as HUTL Draws Nearer

Friday night football was in full effect as we took in a BHS game against Marshfield; Bolivar easily won and the game turned out a bit of a snoozer, but good friends and conversation made the evening fun. Funny, I catch up more with Tom and Sarah at ball games then most other places; they are some of my favorite folks (odd as we have actually little in common outside of kids).

Saturday morning was a little soggy out on the SBU courses, but not bad enough to abandon some interval workouts with Dale, Ira, and Nate. Good session that started at 7:30am. Dis/remounts over barriers and through sand pits felt lite and easy and I felt quick moving the shoulder'ed bike. Morning was over before I knew it and had to get moving to Ian's first soccer game.

Once home we found out the game was cancelled due to too much mush at the YMCA fields (more parking issues than playing) so there was only one thing left to do with our disappointed 9yr old... Brenda's. French toast seemed to bring him out of his misery. Jake was off with his school's science dept picking up trash at a state park so he missed out (he'll do just about anything for that extra credit).

Once back home I introduced Ian to what may now be his all-time favorite movie - Sandlot (the original). Can't believe we never watched that before as it is truly right up his alley. Although he won't admit it he had a huge grin on his face for most all of it.

The day seemed pretty harmless until Deb and I started some harmless conversation about painting the dinning room and then BAM... she ripped off some wallpaper and says "Well, I guess I know what we're doing this weekend." And there it was, crap, off to the store for paint and supplies. I honestly don't know why I was complaining as she always does 95% of all the work and simply leaves me with some high areas and lite trim work - she always knocks it out quickly.

Saturday evening Jake and Deb went out for a bike ride (Deb was smiling as they pedalled off as Ian and I played some baseball catch. The rest of the evening was pretty laid back with much painting and trimming going on while Jake hung out with Andee (he is a big fan of NetFlix instant watch).

Slept in (at much as I can) Sunday morning before heading off for a 45 minute run with 15 mins of stadium climbs thrown in. The morning was crisp and cool and super nice for running; almost made me re-think getting back into ultra-running again... almost.

Off to church and to a local Mexican joint for lunch with my crew. Jake didn't have much going on so we actually got to spend time with him (refreshing).

Headed to the SBU 'cross loops around mid-afternoon and knocked out 2 hours of continuous riding; turning, dismount, remount, turning, turning, and repeat. SBU hasn't mowed in a week or so and some of the grass sections were brutal thick. When I finished it felt like a 4hr ride - cooked. Took my tubulars and did several laps to get the feel of low pressure riding which took a bit to get used to; happy with how they turned out and oddly looking forward to my first muddy race to try them out. Most of the day was spent on the Hutchinson Piranha's (tubeless) which I used at most races last year with great success. Still waiting for my Challenge Griffo XS's to arrive (hopefully by Friday).

Got home in time for some basketball action at the casa with Jake making a rear appearance in the mix. His little bro was impressed as he hit a handful of deeeeep shots. Once again Deb and I were all smiles having a little time with him around - college next year is going to suck HUGE-time). Speaking of 'the boy' Deb found the below on FaceBook (seniors on the XC team):

Sunday night football was the watch of choice for Ian and I as HIS Dallas Cowboys were playing. He disappeared for a bit then came back to show us this:

***Deb often says I've created a monster EGO in this small package and I absolutely have to agree***

More painting and trim wrapped up the rest of the evening before calling it quits. I'll post some pics in the next couple days of the progress.

Not much happening this week as Jake's coach sidelined him from running for 10 days to see if his lungs will recover a bit and so he'll miss his home meet on Tuesday and the Stampede on Saturday. He is taking full advantage of the off time and catching up on tons of rest - good on him. I race the Sac River stuff tomorrow night and then the rest of the week is pretty lite leading up to Hermann. No real expectations for HUtL as I historically have stunk at season openers for the past couple years, so high expectations are a top 10 finish in the 3s on both days, but don't know if that's realistic.

Friday, September 10, 2010

7 Days to 'Crossmas...

Hermann is next weekend and kickoff to my favorite time of year. I looked at a couple 'cross race options for this weekend, but Wichita is too far to drive (4.5hrs) this early on and Pride, Inc in norhtern STL is close to 4hrs to I'll wait another week... sigh; it'll be here soon enough.

Wednesday evening I jumped out for a quick 'in the dark' spin through the Bolivar suburbs (yes, that makes me laugh also) between showers. Deb knocked hers out on the trainer and I just couldn't bring myself to let the threat of sprinkles keep me inside. Felt good to spin the legs out after Tuesday evenings race and a solid basketball 'interval' session earlier in the day. I'm a big fan of riding in the semi-dark (Bolivar has pretty good street lamps - sans oil) and do it quite regularly.

Thursday was a rest day so noon basketball was played at a moderate pace and truly doesn't count as much. Spent the evening getting NetFlix linked up with the xbox360 and no have access to tons of flicks in an instant. This winter's trainer time is set (sorry Redbox).

Jake's XC team competed in Carthage, but coach held him out (and probably the next couple) as his chest isn't getting any better and has appeared to maybe be worse. Jake is still keeping positive in support of his young team and we aren't sure how this will end up. He got home a little after midnight and was dreading getting up early with his Ounce of Prevention crew. OoP is a small group of high schoolers who perform various skits/acts in educating middle/elementary kids about the dangers of drugs. It's a good group and he takes it seriously.

Ian's school is going well so far and he really likes his teacher. He has plenty of homework every night and is quite diligent about it. He recently got named to the Principal's Counsel from his class; he was proud.

This AM's ride was nasty in a muggy luke-warm water kind of way. A rain came through in the early AM so I was going to hold off until the afternoon, but I check the forecast and it is estimated in the high 80's AND STILL HUMID so I took the cooler (73*) option. Stayed off of SBU's courses as they are soaked and I really don't want to rut any of it up and take the change of being 'banned' in the future so I opted for the 'Tour De Bolivar' 10 mile loop and did it four times. Wanted to keep a solid steady tempo without making it a effort session so I kept it right at 20mph average which is decent for as many turns and turns and turns as it has (like a longggg crit loop). I was soaked from humidity and sweat immediately. Good to get that done early and not hanging over my head all day.

Hitting the pool this PM for some laps; been about a week since my last dip.

BHS football Friday with friends is on the docket for this evening; always fun.

Saturday Ian has his first soccer game so the AM is pretty much shot except for a lite run with some hill/stadium work in the early hours. Interval 'cross workout in the afternoon at SBU (should be dried up) with full sand pits/barriers/stairs thrown in. We are just a week away to tip-off and the sword still has plenty of sharpening to go.

It's been raining plenty in SWMO as of late and I am loving it; especially because our lawn was aerated and over-seeded the day before it all started and it's been moist ever since (water bill will not suffer). I am amazed at how fast things have 'greened up' after being so brown and dead in August.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Short Track #5 - Cool Temps Technical Course...

Low turnout for race #5, but quality folks toed the line (minus J Brackett and Skip) with the addition of local boy and Jelly Belly pro Brad Huff (kid is fast on knobbies also). Cool temps and a light sprinkling during warm ups made for a tacky course, which they kept the same as last week - tight and technical with one 300 meter open area at the end of each short loop.

Broke out the Blue ('cross bike) for warm ups and although I had a decent flow going decided to opt for the mtb as the drizzle made for potentially a couple slick rock areas which I would prefer not to dump my girl. Moved my Hutchinson Piranha's to tubeless so pinch flats are not really an issue.

Ira made the drive down (rest of the Bolivar crew out of pocket) and I knew this course would suit his handling abilities much better than mine, but on the start I slipped into the single track just ahead of him and bounced my way through the first loop (in 4th as B Huff, Cale, and Mark G disappeared). Ira called dibs leading the second loop which helped me see 'the fast lines' and my flow immediately increased. Jumped around him at the end of the 2nd loop and stayed away for the rest of the ride finishing 4th (Brad took the win, Cale second, and Mark 3rd) and Ira 5th.

Bike driving is getting better and better every week and the 45 (or so) minutes of efforts are hitting the mark for an effort session.

Three more races to go and word has it next week is a 'roadie' loop with very little single track so it full on Blue; will be nice with Hermann coming up a handful of days later. Not sure how I am sitting in the overall as Mark dropped one race due to mechanical so I might be in 2nd, but 3rd is pretty solid.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Not Much Labor this Labor Day Weekend

Friday after work we headed over to the SBU XC course to catch the Bearcat's season opener. Pretty small field and both SBU Men and Women's teams took home a victory (individual and team). Fun evening as the men's basketball team came out to 'tailgate' it and brats and dogs were consumed. Below is the start of the men's event.

The rest of the evening was prepping for our STL weekend.
Saturday morning Deb, Ian, and I went to Jake's first XC meet at Springfield Lake, which is a challenging course of continual elevation change. Coach tasked him with keeping the younger guys together as long as possible and then after 2 miles he could open it up some, but not all out as he wanted to see how his lungs could handle race speeds (early in the year and these meets are not priority). Jake took the boys through a decent pace, but way off his 'regular' speed from last year, and talking to them the entire time. Several of the boys faded after the first mile and Jake had about two or three with him going into the last mile where he didn't open up, but simply maintained the same pace. He looked smooth and easy, but could tell he was not filling up the lungs like in the past. Decent finish, nothing to 'write home about', but he did exactly as instructed and didn't push his lungs too hard. While his time was slow it was good to see him take so much pride in his work for the team and coach helped with tons of praise. Everyone knows he is suffering and it is a double edged for me watching: 1) it's obvious he is hurting tons and it's breaking my heart for him, but 2) he is learning great life lesson on dealing with adversity and handling it with great maturity. Change in the weather is hopefully just around the corner and cooler temps might give some relief... Below is a quick compilation:

Meet finishes and we head off to STL (without Jake, who asked to stay home and rack up on rest so we let him) for a couple days. Gateway Cup was going on, but viewing wasn't in the schedule.

After a quick appliance shopping detour we got to Chris and Mandee's (Deb's sister) in time to do a little kid sitting while they went to a HS reunion. Tanner had a ball game so off we went.
Sunday morning had me wheeling the Blue over to Castlewood State Park (about 5 miles from her house) and absolutely blast riding all the mtb trails on both sides and especially the bottoms area. Only one pinch flat the entire 2hrs! I had as much fun on the 'cross bike as I ever have on a mtb there. Only draw back was the large number of hikers and walkers out enjoying the nice day, but that is really not a complaint.

Back to Mandee's casa in time to do some more appliance shopping (new oven/stove to match the fridge) and then on to the MAIN EVENT...
Welcome to the 6th Annual Burt Pig Roast! Chris' brother and his wife puts this shindig on every Labor Day weekend and it is so much fun. Close to 80 friends and family show up to their home; kids play in the pool and have organized games all evening while the adults do what adults do at parties... This year he stuffed a 92lbs hog with four chickens and sausage (all lathered in a spicy rub - nice). It's always fun getting in there and helping tear it down. Ian and I took a little sampling of the brains (for the second year in a row) which is nasty, but you got to do it when you are 9 to look tough for the guys.

Really fun evening was capped off with Pennsylvania Slim (and side kick) playing 4 hrs of blues; he was incredible and fun. Chris and I left a little after midnight (which is early compared to last year). Much love to Rob and Chrissy Burt as always.

Rolled out of bed Monday and we all made our way to SGF to do some final appliance shopping. Finally we pulled in the house; good to be home.

Got out in the backyard and continued working on a landscaping project. Moved a young River Birch to a new location and dropped in a couple shrubs. Just a little mulch and that task is done.

Made my way up to catch some of Jake's XC practice (mile repeats) and it is clear he is suffering. It's up to him when to say NO MASS, but I wouldn't blame him if it is pretty soon. He was a tough meet in Carthage on Thursday and I imagine he'll focus on pacing the team again (at least I would).

Ate dinner with some friends house with my whole crew and afterwards enjoyed sitting out on the patio with Deb and Jake (Ian was wiped out asleep) for quite a while. Turns out my folks were in town and they joined us long enough for pop to gobble down some strawberry short cake Deb made (perfect timing).

Tuesday AM I got on the 'cross bike and drove many laps at SBU working dis/re mounts and cornering (as usual) for 1:20hrs. This evening is the Dirt #5 race and I am taking the Blue to see if I can get in some laps on it (taking the mtb as a backup) since there wasn't much at Castlewood I couldn't ride. I am not concerned with the overall placing for this series so a go on the Blue is on tap.

Friday, September 3, 2010

If There's a Chill in the Air...

Going to bed Thursday night having seen the temp/weather forecast for Friday morning there was only one thing on my mind... Mistress Morning!!! Woke up with a grin, stuck my head outside, breathed in nice and deep the cool air, and exhaled with a huge smile on my face. There definitely had a scent of 'crossiness in the air and arm warmers were donned.

Dale and I saddled up for our double date and headed out west (and a little north) of Bolivar and took in some roads we hadn't seen in a year or two; just routine dirt/gravel winding paths that we are lucky to have so close. On the way back we caught sight of a 'Fronteir Town' (clip #2) someone had built in the middle of nowhere; goofy as it was it doesn't come close to the top 20 'odd' things we've seen. 2:15hrs and our ride was done. Is that Thor himself in the national colours in the picture?

Let's back up... Wednesday I played an hour and a half of basketball at SBU and later that evening I hopped on the rollers for 45min (it was pouring outside all day - finally) and Deb joined me on her trainer for a little quality spin time.

Thursday I got another good session of basketball at noon and some nice high cadence/tempo sets on the rollers for an hour (raining buckets again). Deb headed off to SGF for a girls night out with a friend.

This weekend Jake (Bolivar XC team) has their first meet at Springfield Lake bright and early Saturday morning and while he is still battling the whole respiratory thing coach is going to have him simply 'pack run' the team allowing him to get some 'race' feel in his legs without taxing his system too much. It is supposed to be nice and chilly in the morning so I'm interested to see how his lungs respond (we are thinking it is what he's been waiting for). We talked some last night and I really like his mental state of mind as he realized he must stay positive and take small steps in order to hopefully be in decent form come late October (Conference, Districts, and State).

After the meet we are heading off to STL for a huge Labor Day party with Deb's sister's husband's side of the family (I know, that sounded goofy, but that's the connection) that is absolutely a blast. Plan to take in a day of Gateway Cup viewing (not racing) and get the 'cross bike out for some trail driving on some local trails/parks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A&B Short Track #4

So another installment of the A&B Short Track (no longer dirt crit) took place yesterday at the Dry Sac and boy do they mean DRY. It's been quite a while since we last had moisture and the trails are super loose and slick (in a dry kind of way).

Dale and Ira were out of pocket so Nate jumped in with me in the 'A' race. I should note for Nate's sake that I coerced him into the A event even though it has been six (yes, 6) years since he was last on a mtb, let alone any type of single track), but he is a trooper and toed the line. Average turnout even with the cooler temps (still can't believe how many folks are not showing up) with J Brackett the noticeable absentee (2 second places so far). Cale and Mark were there so the rest of us were racing for 3rd.

Sarah and the crew laid out a change of the course which was 85% single track with the majority of it being pretty tight and technical and each loop was super short. I pre-rode and immediately knew I was in trouble as my lack of handling skills is VERY noticeable, but alas it will only help my 'cross handling so there goes nothing. My only saving grace was the finishing portion (open terrain with slight incline) which was just enough for my fitness to offset skill.

Off the line I battled a guy for third place heading into the single track and barely snuck in a the last second. My plan was take the tight stuff at my speed and make other wait behind and punch ever open section to ensure no one could come around. This was working until the end of the single track on the first loop with a guy jumped me on the single track and bullied his way around; no big deal as that's racing and what I would have done if I could ride tight single track smoothly. He opened a quick gap (pretty huge pretty fast) and Skip was right on my butt. As we hit the open section I quickly made ground on the guy who passed me and noticed he was riding a single speed, but didn't pass before the single track. Again he opened a big gap as he was pretty fluid (and I was not), but once again I closed it up on the open section, passed him with a solid effort, and never saw him close again. Skip was keeping things interesting, but every lap I was able to put a little more time into him as I got more comfortable with my lines. Ended up finishing 3rd with a decent gap over 4th and 5th (heard they had quite the duel) while Cale took with win and Mark 2nd.

Fun night, but not my kind of course at all and I am hoping they change it up a little next time; either way the race is doing what it's supposed to 1) give me an effort training session (each night was been at least 45 minutes) and 2) improve my handling skills.

Hoping this rain we are getting today will settle some of the trails and make for faster flow.

Really like getting in a solid workout in the AMs before racing in the PM; body is responding nicely.

Not sure what the rest of the week holds fitness wise, but looking to spend some time on the rollers this evening while it continues to rain (finally) outside.

A couple things on a side note: 1) MWI 'cross skinsuit arrived today and it is sick (goodly sick) and I can't wait for the temps to dip some so I can rock that bad boy, 2) picked up some FSA K-wing carbon bars from ScottyD and they are incredible. Had no idea how much more stiff (and lighter) over my old FSA wing aluminum, 3) tubulars are glued up and I have to say I did a super clean job, but will report on the quality aspect once I get them out.