Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weekend in the Big D and Still Hacking

My crew (my family) always has a great time when we travel from place to place and this weekend was no exception. Using Ian's birthday as an excuse to have a family road trip Deb and I worked up a quick trip to Dallas for a little bit of urbanism and most of all to take Ian to his first NBA game. A friend was able to wrangle complimentary tickets for the Mavs versing the San Antonio Spurs (far and away E's favorite team from birth). Everyone (including Jake) was looking forward to the trip so off we went.

Loaded up the car Thursday night (after week 6 of foster/adoptive class) and at 8am Friday we were on the road. The boys had no problem missing the last day of school prior to spring break; imagine that... Deb quickly pulled out 'The Hobbit' and started reading. This is a pretty routine setting for road trips and it makes the time fly and this was no exception.

Similar to downtown Bodunklivar

Around 4:15pm we pulled into downtown Dallas to our hotel. Freshened up a bit and caught the hotel shuttle to the American Airlines Center way before the tip off in hopes of getting some autographs during warmups. Oh, I forgot to mention the temp was high 80's and we were in shock of the heat (ha!). Heading into the arena I reminded Ian that the odds of any signatures were not good, but we would still give it a try. Down to the floor we went just as several of the Spurs were coming thru; short version is my little man got a mini ball signed by the following: T Duncan, M Ginobelli, T Parker, R Jefferson, G Neal, and the list goes on and on. We were all having a good time and excited watching Ian in pure heaven meeting his basketball hero's; so fun watching Jake encourage and congratulate his little bro with every signature obtained.

Off to our seats (and food) for a great game where in the Spurs beat on Dallas. Quick taxi back to the hotel and the rest of the night was reliving Ian's blow by blow of the action. This evening ranked pretty close to the week we took Jake to Disney when he was 8 or so years old - awesome!

Saturday morning I hopped up and snagged a couple hour ride with Rod Lake (a friend from when we lived in SA), who now lived in Allen, TX. Fun easy cruise while we caught up. Got back to the hotel just in time to walk over to What A Burger for lunch; just what the boys had wanted as they pointed them out every time we passed one on the drive down. From there it was to the Dallas World Aquarium (highly recommend) for a great afternoon of fun viewing.

This little guy (sloth) was by far our favorite as he was completely open to the public with no cages or wall; odd creature

Next was a jog (figuratively) over to the JFK area, then through the West End, then back to the hotel. Freshened up a bit before hitting a local joint (always the best) for an authentic Mexican (not Tex Mex) dinner at Avila. Holy cow we all ate way too much, but we just couldn't stop. Enchiladas with Tomotilla sauce, fresh made tortillas, and the list goes on... (No freaking way will I be able to go back to El Rodeo for at least a couple months). Everyone was stuffed and kind of beat so the rest of the evening was spent watching some March Madness.

Sunday morning everyone slept in late, chowed on breakfast, then headed north. A good stop in Allen at a huge outlet mall was fun as Deb went one way while Ian, Jake, and I went another. After loading up the new 'luggage' from shopping, it was time to finish The Hobbit on the drive home and that's what was done.

All in all a great weekend trip as we all agreed several times since.

Back to reality...

Monday I was able to snag a couple hours on the road mid-afternoon and was still snorting and hacking. It's getting better, but not near clear as my energy level is still a struggle.

Tuesday early AM I got in 1:30hrs on the road during in awesome conditions; spring is just around the corner (so we thought...). Played a solid 1:20hrs of basketball at noon for an 'interval' session. Still coughing every 20 seconds.

Wednesday was Jake's 18th birthday and it made for a great rest day. Lunch at Master Wangs, basketball practice (for the last time this season), Deb's casadillia for supper, a huge bday cookie, finished up with Deb and I taking Jake to see a 9:50pm showing of Red Riding Hood (on the top 10 worst movie list).

It's great watching Jake grow in so many different ways and it's always nice to have a kid his age and the biggest worry is if he put on deodorant (ha); quality through and through.

It seems someone forgot to pay mother nature's power bill as the heats been cut off. Temps back in the 40s this week, which meant my lunch ride today was on the rollers (1:15hrs) since the windchill was 25*. ARGGGGGG

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm Glad This is a Hobby...

...because if it were more I would be one frustrated dude! All was going well training/fitness wise for the Spa City 6hr season opener this past weekend until Sunday's long training session ended with a little twinge in my throat; knowing Jake had been sick with a massive cold I was hoping for the best. Monday started with my head and body feeling like crud and now it's day 9 of 'the sickness' and I'm starting to feel like I am coming out of it.

Needless to say I pulled the plug on the Spa City event and watched my entry fee slide away (I hate that), but it's better than feeling 'obligated', racing it at less than half effort, and having the potential for long term illness to grab hold. I was bummed, but to keep it in perspective it is just a hobby and not life changing.

So besides hacking and snorting last week was pretty routine for us. Ian has a couple weeks off before his next basketball game (2 to go at The Courts), but he started baseball practice. Jake is finally coming out of his sickness. Week 5 down in the adoption/foster sessions with 9 to go (27hrs).

Friday evening was Ian's birthday party at the SBU pool which included 10 high strung boys. It was a great time, but the funniest part of the night was when I herded all the boys out of the pool to the locker room to change up and they started talking about PE that day and how they had to watch the 'Puberty' movie. Several made statements that there was no way they were going to do that 'puberty thing' and no more videos at school, but one kid (actually a 40yr old in a kid's body) tried to rationalize with the rest that it was just 'part of life' and they needed to understand and deal with it. I pretty much had to ensure that young man made it out of the locker room alive. Hilarious!

Saturday morning I had enough of laying around so Dale and Nate towed me around on the bike for three hours of easy (I mean super easy) riding. I felt OK as long as the effort level stayed low even though I hacked and coughed most of the time. Good to get outside.

Sad evening for Ian as he had to watch his UNC boys get whipped by the Blue Devils (which put them as a #1 seed in the West). Luckily I was playing some cards with friends and he didn't have to listen to me rub it in...

Sunday Jake had his cross country awards banquet after church and his coach did a great job of describing my boy's dedication and leadership. Coach summed it up by saying not only is he losing on of his best athletes and leaders, but also his best friend (touching). Jake walked away with the 'Iron Liberator' award along with a couple recognitions.

Immediately after the awards Jake and a couple teammates headed off to LofO for the DECA state competition (held Monday and Tuesday). Hoping he has fun and does great.

Ira and I jumped out on the trails (Sac) for the first time in 2011 and for first trail rides on new 29'ers. I should sub-title this entry as HOLY COW I LOVE MY 29er!!!!! That thing is super fun and rides over stuff so easy compared to the 26". I was worried the hardtail would be pretty rough, but not an issue at all and it's so much faster overall then my old Trek. I rode it in 1x9 setup, but decided to keep it SS (like my 32/18 setup) and Sac was super fun and manageable that way. I am looking forward to mtb racing this year and am re-evaluating some of my spring summer racing to include more mtb'ing. It had been some time since Ira and I rode and it was great having fun just cruising around with him (I like to follow as I learn a ton from his 'line' choices).

Monday it SNOWED! The below picture doesn't do it justice as nothing really was sticking, but at one point it produced the largest flakes I had seen in years. Supposed to quickly warm up for the rest of the week which I know we are all anxiously awaiting. I did play an hour of basketball at noon and tried to blow out the pipes'. It worked a little, but still am suffering.

Tuesday I still felt bad so took another day off.

Wednesday I started feeling human again and got out for 2.5hrs on the road bike and actually had a solid ride (good for my mental state); now to get the legs back up to speed.

Today Ira and I skipped down to Sac at lunch and got in a good ride. It was a little muddy, but nothing too bad. Ran the Rig as a SS this time and the 32x18 was perfect. Fun fun fun.

This week hopefully I'll get more time back on the bike without too much hacking. We are taking the boys for a quick weekend trip to catch a Spurs vs Mavs game, hit some of the cultural stuff in the big D, and returning Sunday afternoon/evening. Getting to ride with Rod (The Rocket) Lake who lives in the Allen, TX area (really looking forward to this).

Monday, March 7, 2011

Return of the Friday Morning Mistress

After a quick check of the weather forecast (rain Friday afternoon) on Thursday night I knew a rendezvous for Friday morning was in order with the 'mistress'. We have spent quite a bit of time together since January 1, but there is always something special about our time together in the early AM at the end of a week/start of a weekend. If I get a solid ride Friday morning then it alleviates some of the pressure to ride on Saturday. Saturday's of late has included a big chunk of family activities (which is great) and leaves a tight schedule to try to get in anything of quantity and this weekend was no different so back to Friday morning.

With temps brisk in the lower 40's I headed out later than usual (7am) and opted for the 29'er SS on backroads down and around Morrisville and Stockton Lake. This weekend I signed up for the 6hr Spa City mtb event and needed to spend time churning on the Rig. By ride's end (3:15hrs later) it was in the middle 50's and felt incredible outside. I chose a route with tons of climbing (nothing super long like Branson, but short and sharp - 10 to 20% is the norm).
Jake came down with a nasty head/chest cold that is beating the crud out of him. That kid is having it rough regarding respiratory issues.
Friday evening we had a late 8:50pm game at The Courts and I stopped off at A&B Cycles before the game to pick up some 'transformation' parts. Skip, Jim, and Cale were there hooking of a bike to a blender in preparation for A&B's big party on Saturday night. Pretty funny watching them go at it and from what I understand 1:30mins at 300 watts creates the optimum margarita. On to the game where the kids took a tough loss (now 15-13 on the season). Rained the entire evening. We ended up getting to bed way to late but that was ok as the cold temps and rain continued on Saturday morning so everyone slept in late. After a huge breakfast that Deb whipped up I spent most of the morning in my shop working on nickle and dime projects that I had put off for too long: change out cleats on shoes, lubed a ton of stuff, cleaned and organized shelves, but most of all fiddled with the Rig and got is set up for gear'ed action (1x9). It is amazing how simple and quick (less than 5 minutes) it can swap from SS to 1x9 and that's exactly why I bought it in the first place. I picked up a Stan's ZTR with a tubeless Specialized Capt tire a month back to having the extra increases the ease.
Made my way to SBU's gym in the afternoon for a killer strength session and intended to ride an hour on the rollers when I got home, but got busy with some other stuff when I walked in and skipped riding for the day (see, it works out great when Friday rides take place).
The evening had us parked in front of the tube for the Duke vs UNC game. Ian was happy his boys put it to my Dukies, but that makes the season a 1-1 draw and hopefully they will meet at the ACC tourney for the DECIDER.
Finished up the night with SNL and really liked their 'Winning' bit of C Sheen; I like the group they have now (Haider and Sudeikis are great).
Sunday morning I hopped on the rollers early AM and knocked out a couple more episodes of season 5's 24. Ended up with 2hrs which included a nice mix of intervals; my truly first ones of '11. Legs felt pretty heavy and thick from the day's prior session.
Sunday school and church with some Mr. Wings afterwards made for a great morning/lunch time.
Knowing some extra mileage with next week's 6hr race coming up I met Dale at 2pm for some more spinning on the backroads (dirt and gravel). It was the maiden voyage of the 'geared' Rig while Dale was riding his 'cross bike. It was all I could do to keep up with him on the flats and climbing and after 3hrs I was cooked! We hit the same loop as Friday morning which ended up being 41miles with close to 3k of climbing; like I said earlier, nothing long, but tons of short steep stuff.

Ian and I hit the gym for a quick shoot around before coming back home for a restful evening. Both he and I started feeling a little twinge in our throats along with a sniffle in the nose and dreaded the morning.
Monday woke up to Ian's 10 year birthday and both of us feeling like crap. I took him to school, but about an hour later Deb grabbed him and he's been hanging out in my office all morning. We are heading home at lunch for some heavy snoozing and recovery and I don't figure to return the rest of the day. ***Ian sporting his new CP3 (Chris Paul) jersey in my office this morning***
So as I mentioned the Spa City (Hot Springs, AR) 6hr is this weekend and I am heading down with some SGF guys (Peter Krause and Mark Gullet). I have the grand plan to go pretty hard for the first two hours (to simulate a shorter mtb race) then cruise the rest and hopefully get in 5 laps (50 miles). I don't have the legs or mileage to try to 'compete' so it's a full on training day for fun. Oh, by the way it will be the first time for me on single track in '11, which is not good for me as I prescribe to the 'bull in a china shop' riding style instead of flow.
Got home yesterday and found our MWI Mad Alchemy in the mail; our own mix made up by the embro guru's. Looking forward to giving it a slathering and reporting back.