Monday, January 31, 2011

Teaser of Spring Then WHAMMO!!!

What a teaser of warm weather this past weekend. Knowing Deb was heading out of town and my riding would be limited I got on the forefront of it and got in a solid 2hr ride on Thursday and then a great 3:15hr road (for the most part) cruise Friday afternoon. Legs are still heavy and snap is not there, but getting better ride by ride.
Saturday Deb headed off for a weekend with her sister at the Lake of the Ozarks and left us boys to fend for ourselves (not really it just sounds better for me that way). Jake, Ian, and I ref'ed several basketball games (Ian watched while Jake and I did it) at SBU for the Special Olympics groups. We do this every year and I love watching everyone of all abilities competing - AWESOME. Afterwards Ian and I knocked out some more trail cutting while Jake and Andee had an afternoon in SGF. E and I finished off our work with some Mr. Wings; a new wings place in Bolivar.

When we got back Ian wanted to clean out Jake's Rodeo as it was a junk pile so I said why not. Below is a 'before' picture AFTER his bike was removed (six PAIR of shoes were found...)

The rest of the evening was just kicked back and relaxing. E and I did end up watching Sponge Bob until 11pm which is entirely too much of SB!

Sunday got an early start with the men's 'cross world championships in Germany. I have no problem with Stybar winning although Nys was my sentimental favorite. Sven is a cycling stud, but between Pauwels, Stybar, and Albert it is time of a new era.

Church was quality with a message that hit me straight between the eyes. Afterwards we had a great 'soup' lunch with some families from our Sunday School group. E-ball had practice with the 5th graders (later he joined me) while I knocked some more trail cutting.

Deb got home mid-evening and the rest of the night was spent goofing around.

Monday AM got in a great core/lower strength workout at SBU, lunch had me playing an hour of basketball, then after a great homemade chicken & noodle I hopped on the rollers for an hour. The buzz of the day and evening was the anticipation of 'the big 2011 snow storm'; weather folks were going to look pretty stupid if they didn't get this one right...

Long and short of it - they got it right. Woke up several times Monday night to the sound of ice pellets against the windows and by morning the snow accumulation had begun. School for the boys was cancelled, but Deb and I headed on into the office. We shoveled the walk several times and the next it looked like it had never been done. The snow and wind where high all day and by night's end we had over 18" on the ground with huge drifts everywhere. The 4x4 Durango had no problem busting through the road to our house, but a little bit more and I'm not sure we could drive around.
Jumped on the rollers for 45min then shifted to a trainer for another 45min (two 24 episodes, which I finished up season 3). Walked into house and smelled yummy sweetness as Deb pulled some banana bread from the oven (how did I get so lucky to marry her????). Lots of laziness ensued for the rest of the evening.
Wednesday the boys had another day at home while Deb and I headed off to work (she and I work together if you didn't know). The plows came through over night and the roads in town are drive-able, but there is quite a bit of snow pack and ice still covering them; imagine the boys will be out of school for the rest of the week. The sun is out and it would be a great day to 'snow bike' or sled, but the temp is nasty at around 12* with a wind chill near 0* - not going out in this. Looks like a couple hours on the rollers tonight.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Basketball Action

I saw this sign in a restroom recently and the wording struck me funny as my first thoughts were wondering if it was a subliminal propaganda message to "buy American"...

Friday afternoon Dale and I jumped out on the Frisco as the temps were a bit chilly and we wanted to stay out of the wind. With a couple inches of snow the ground was still pretty froze so we were able to cruise along pretty easy with just an occasional slipping and sliding. Solid 2hrs on the SS which was just enough as the temps were dropping as the sun did likewise.

Got back home just in time to change up clothes and head to SGF for Ian's basketball game at The Courts. Frustrating game as Ian hit a shot with 4 seconds left to put us up 17-15 before one of our players let a kid catch a long pass at the free throw line and he made it to go into OT. The 'frustrating' part was not the play, but the clear fact that the buzzer went off as the kid caught it (buzzer was off as he released the shot) and they still counted it. When I asked the ref for an explanation he said it was too good of a shot to take away from the kid so they were going to count it. We lost 20-17 in OT.

Saturday morning it was back to SGF for the a couple b-ball games in SGF as Ian was asked to play up in a 5th grade tournament (Ian is 4th grade). We, and he, totally expected for him to play a couple minutes here and there, but mostly ride the pine; to our surprise he ended up playing way more than sitting and ran point quite a bit. He wasn't outstanding in any of the games, but wasn't bad; he made no turnovers, passed the ball to open teammates, box'ed out well, and took a couple of shots (missed 'em, but were good attempts). E-ball was by far the smallest kid out there as there is a huge difference between his age (9) and the 11yr olds he played against. His team won both games so they played for the championship on Sunday. Deb, Jake, and I (and obviously the coach) thought he played well. Afterwards it was Chipotle then home.

***In fairness to Ian his layup was blocked - he doesn't shoot that bad EVER***

Saturday evening I played some cards with a group of friends and came out with a little 'fatter wallet' then when I walked in. I like playing poker from time to time, but nothing I would consider 'high stakes'. Typically our crew plays $5 or $10 buy in and we typically have around 10 playing. For us it by far more about hanging out and laughing than it is about the cards.

Sunday morning I caught the 'cross World Cup race while knocking out an hour of core work then Ian headed back to SGF while Deb and Jake took in church and Jake's Academic Awards Banquet. I hated to miss Jake's event as we try to emphasise grades as much as sports, but since that is mostly Deb's expertise and mine is... well let's sum it up as I went to SGF.

I am super proud of Jake's academic accomplishment as he really struggled with several aspects of reading/comprehension early in school and if you would have told me and Deb that he would have a 3.85 GPA after taking numerous honors/college credit classed I would have called you a liar. His determination (along with Deb's 'motivational' talks) to do well does not go unnoticed.

Championship game against Lamar didn't go so well as our team got spanked. Ian played way more than he sat (like the day prior) and went 1 for 2 from the field and played solid. Lamar had some quick guards and it was a bit intimidating as E did a bunch of the ball handling. Overall it was a great experience and helped Ian see how ball handling at his age is key to getting playing time. I would like to see him play 'up' a couple more tournaments this year and after his solid performance I imagine he'll be asked without a question.

***Easy to see how small E-ball is in this team picture. Always nice to leave with some bling***

I was graced (much sarcasm) with the following on the way home...

I got out for a couple hours in the afternoon and worked on a 'special project' (location undisclosed) cutting in some trails not too far from the house. It is unused land in a heavily tree'd area (not private property). In the end I expect to have nearly 2 miles or twisty single track perfect for 'cross bike handling work since the ground 100% dirt with little to no rocks (flowing smoothness). The nice thing about this is absolutely no cutting down anything, but simple trimming and clearing of some lower limbs and mostly removal of scrub growth. I figure a couple hours here and there and by before summer I'll have it done.

Sunday night was spent on the trainer (first time for '11) instead of the rollers while watching the Steelers .vs. Jets game. January has worked out well for me as I've been on the bike quite a bit simply rolling out some prep to get ready for a more focused 'training regiment' in February.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Day Lunch Sledding

With the boys out of school and the temps in the teens (-2* wind chill) I opted from the rollers during Thursday's lunch for a chance to do some sledding with Ian at SBU. We ran into Ira and his crew (wife and four boys) and it was on like donkey kong in attempting to obtain the 'longest run' record (for the day).

I love riding the mtb in the snow, but it was too chilly today; tomorrow looks to hit near high 20's so I imagine 2hrs on the Frisco is in order at noon.

*** The cause of the sudden yelp on the 2nd video was us finding a snow covered curb and it's inplanting in my... backside***

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekly Check-In

Quick check in...

Riding is pretty laid back, but going well (read more on down)...

Jake: Took 'the boy' to a sports medicine specialist regarding his breathing issues and he is cleared to start back up with some light exercise and building little by little. Use of a different medication for his asthma is the focus with a couple 'side' things to assist. Pretty cool that he was also able to be seen by another specialist about his recurring leg injuries while running on the track during the same visit. Seems his feet structure/design is pretty jacked up with regards to handling the load/force of running turns, but XC is fine. He has a follow up visit next week for a treadmill evaluation and then fitted for a custom insole. Their advice is to alternate directions if efforts must be done on the track, but to do most all running (efforts or not) off the track and save it only for race day. This was pretty much the same approach his coach took last year and it worked great (until the pleurisy).

Jake got a letter/package from SBU's cross country coach this week providing encouragement with his health issues and his hopes Jake would run for them next year. Jake had a funny little grin on his face with reading the letter and going thru the material; it was good to see as of late he hasn't had too much to smile about regarding running. He later told me that he will run for SBU next year, which was good to hear.

Other than that he banged out another straight A semester and the GPA continues to hold strong. He (part of a team) competed in an SBU sponsored marketing competition this week and was disappointed to not win.

Ian: Deb, Jake, and I attended his academic awards on Friday where in he too completed another semester of A's. He is half way thru Intermediate school with all A's and if he can hold it for three more semesters the principal gives out special awards (and a huge chocolate bar - no wonder our country is FAT). He is doing quite a bit of reading this year and has found some really good series he enjoys (even some non-sports oriented).

Basketball is cruising along and E-ball's play continues to develop, but from a team aspect we are struggling a bit with our record 5-8 so far. He played in a local tournament this past weekend and they went 1-2.

Deb and I enjoyed MLK,J day with a Brenda's breakfast and then being lazy around the house all morning. With the new Ipad the Scrabble has increased and it's always close. Speaking of the Ipad - that thing is awesome; Deb is reading non-stop on it and it works great watching Netflix while on the trainer.

Deb and I (and the boys) are taking on interesting new adventure in our lives as we started the process (and our first class) in becoming foster/adoptive parents. We both (separately) felt this is God's will for sharing the blessing provided to us. We are going through locals services and interested in a child 5-9yrs old. The course/certification takes around 4 months to complete (1 3hr session per week) and then who knows where things will go. The boys are fully supportive and understand it's important to share with those in need.

Riding is going pretty good for mid-January as the focus is simply riding this month and in February I'll start a 'program' for the spring mtb races. Getting in around 5 rides per week with the off-days spent playing some basketball. Seems I am spending quite a bit of time on the rollers and when I do get out it the Frisco Trail on the Rig (single speed) dodging the winds (I am good with cold, but not windy cold). Still on top of the strength training and feeling the effects. Got in a 3:15hr ride on Sunday which is just about as long as I care to ride in cold conditions.

Fun watching the C-dale boys at the world cup this past weekend; JPowers taking the start out was great. That looked more like a dirt crit than the recent events in Belgium and it is incredible the speed of the leaders. Nys isn't looking for sharp as of late and I am taking Stybar in Germany.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011... Same Thing Different Digits

I am starting to let some big gaps grow between posts... probably because not a lot is going on at the Jones Ranch.

Ian played a super game in a defeat at The Courts and our crew is gearing up for the second session (lasting into March). On the b-ball front Ian has expressed interest in playing basketball year round and while I don't mind it being his focus we feel he is too young to drop other sports unless he really doesn't want to play them. Such is the case for baseball where in he is a super good fielder and a decent batter, but at the last of the season he was hit by hard pitches several times and he is absolutely dead set on not playing (don't blame him as he got DRILLED!). He is going to play soccer (which is another sport he excelled) late spring until basketball starts in late summer.

We recently had Ian attend a 4th grade practice with the Program Select (basketball) in SGF and the coach wanted him to play for them starting right away, but since he was already committed to our Defenders we felt it was simply too much at age 9 (almost 10) to practice three nights a week and play one to two (let the kid be a kid is our policy). Deb and I figure next year we'll skip a Bolivar team and have him hook up with one of the competitive ones in Springfield as it will help develop his abilities. I goes without saying E-ball was disappointed not playing with Program Select now, but he understands our position.
New Year's eve was spent with good friends at the Evans' casa where 7 Up 7 Down was the game of choice along with discussions of a long time dead person recently signing his autobiography at a local auto dealer (funny only if you were there).

Back up and going on the bike(s) and speaking of such I recently bought a Trek (Gary Fisher) 29er Rig from the good folks at A&B Cycles in SPR. The reason I went the Rig route mainly focused on the fact it's a single speed that easily can run geared (cable stops already mounted). Spring mtb riding/racing around here is nasty mud and I got tired of breaking stuff so for the crap events I'll go SS and for dry I'll go 1 x 9. While I have yet hit the trails on the new steed I have played around at the city park on the single track and it took a little getting used to as I kept 'fingering' out for a shift. The fit is so much better than the small Trek I've been using and the 29'er wheels roll over stuff much smoother - I'm a fan.

So back to riding; the temps have been all over the place the last week with Friday being 60* and then Saturday and Sunday in the 20's. I rode each of these with the weekend cruises on the SS out on the Frisco. Yesterday I got our for a couple hours on the road and it was in the 40's. My plan for January is to ride consistent three days during the week for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs each and then try to get a 3hr road and a 2hr mtb (usually Sac, but also Honey Run) on the weekends. In February I'll start to ride with a bit of purpose, but not too serious until then.

My focus for 2011 is pretty much like the last two years (except no broken arms this year) with mtb racing from March to May, move to crit racing until August, then stop playing and focus on the real stuff - 'cross. I think I will try to knock out more mtb races than in the past. It's been years since I road raced (I don't consider crits road racing) and I don't plan to do any this year as it's working good for home-life to focus on events 1 1/2hrs or less. This means my 'long rides' are three hours and the rest is trying to develop strength and speed for 1hr efforts.

I am back to solid strength training with all of my upper stuff done at the house; high reps of push ups, dips, and chins (pull ups) three times a week do the trick for me without adding un-needed bulk. This year I added some plyometric movements after gym sessions for my lower and this is done twice a week. Core work is daily.
On the home front both the boys knocked out another semester of straight A's at school and hope for continue it this semester. Jake's anatomy class is cutting up cats and I don't think we've ever seen him so excited to get to school in the mornings. He said he'll start taking pics so I can post them here in the future (just a warning).
Jake goes to a specialist next week to have his lungs checked out in detail to see if he will be able to run in the upcoming months (spring track). He will be devastated if this pleurisy hasn't cleared out by March.
Deb is wonderful Deb as always (lucky for me). We have played a ton of Scrabble now that we have the Ipad and thus stayed up way tooo late way tooo many nights.