Monday, November 5, 2012

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh...

So time off the bike and rehab on a 'bad back' was a little tough mentally for me to deal with; very frustrated.  Then somewhere along the way of lite strength rehab I ended up with a lower hernia (this was 2 1/2 weeks on a Wednesday).  Saw my family doc on Thursday and Friday afternoon I was under the knife having surgery... seriously?!?!?!?  It was about at this point that I stopped being frustrated and started chuckling inwards a bit; 2012 'cross was not to be and I could be mad about it or move on; I finally chose move on.  I've always hated those who say 'just wait for next year', but I am now one of those who has to look for the future. 

So, the positive of this is my back rehab (with the additional rest) is actually going better than expected; still quite a ways to go but positive direction.  The other fantastic part is I am having a string of great weekends with Deb and the boys; alot of fun.  So to quote Bill Murray "...I've got that going for me, which is nice."

Jake's doing well in his Sophomore year at SBU, Ian is knee deep already into basketball season (undefeated thus far), and the little man is doing great at school and starts 7Under basketball soon.  His adoption process is going along and might not be too much further (but who knows, it's a bunch of red tape with dealing with government groups). 

World Cup and the rest of the 'cross series in Europe have been great with the past weekend in the sand some of the best I've seen in years.  Always impresses me the patience of Nys early on, never shaken when sitting 10-12 deep after a couple laps.  Finding it interesting the Euro pro's are still hanging off the disc brake thing and a recent read sounds like they are just waiting for a better system but looking forward to it.

We'll, that's where I am at for now and coming to grips with it.  God is good and takes care of his children and I only have to trust it's in his hands. 

Friday, October 5, 2012


It's been a week and a half since I woke up with a lower back locked up; it's not getting better.  While some of the pain/discomfort has subsided I am not seeing enough improvement to give me hope for being back to racing anytime soon.

What historically was 'fixed' immediately for some reason is not happening this time after numerous sessions with my chiro.  Not sure if I am ready to abandon this and seek a new approach, but getting closer.

Feels pretty decent when I am in the saddle, but have little mobility dismounted/moving off the bike and for what was a strength for me in 'cross is now my Achilles heal.  So, for now, racing is not even a thought for me.  We'll see where this goes...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

USGP Madison and then...

First time in Madison and it was a blast.  Dale and I headed up to meet the rest of the MWI crew for USGP #1 and #2 on an awesome fun course that offered a little bit of everything.  Pre-ride Friday afternoon went well and catching up with the Wisco boys was great.
As usual the MWI compound setup/support was A+.  Everyone pitches in and makes sure everyone has support and is race ready; then afterwards is the constant heckling and jokes that make it super fun.  Pretty cool watching Mike wrenching and supporting the Rapha Focus squad; living the life!
Saturday morning woke to a little shock to the system as it was 32* and damp (rained pretty hard over night).  By the time of my 45+ race the course was pretty dry and ripping fast.  Lined up 4th row start against a crazy fast group of old(ish) folks and had a sorry start (missed a pedal and then mentally checked out on the opening stretch settling in).  Never really felt sharp during the race and had a hard time catching a deep breath; finished 17th. 
Dale raced well in the 55+ and finished 10th - solid.
Kicked back the rest of the day watching various races.  Nutty how easy the pro's make the course look.
Sunday morning was a tad warmer and the course was pretty similar with a couple slight changes (making it a bit faster I thought).  3rd row start and much quicker off the line with a little aggression.  Moving thru the field pretty good and feeling great I was nearing top 10 when I wiped out twice in one lap in some loose dirt corners immediately dropping tons of spots.  Fought the rest of the race and continued to feel sharp, but only netting 18th.  Disappointing with the placing but encouraged by the sensations.
Dale had another solid day and nabbed another 10th. 
Skipping the race viewing we jumped in the car heading south for home.  Great weekend and really looking forward to L'ville.

Couple days rest then it was off to Gateway Cross in STL on Wednesday morning, but... everything changed in a blink of an eye (or crack of the back).  Woke up unable to stand straight as there was a sharp catch pain in my lower back.  I have a history of this hitting me a couple times a year and typically I go straight to my chiro and later that day I am 100% good to go.  The problem that morning was we had to leave early (before he was open) and I went up anyway hoping it was loosen up and I'd be able to race.  So off I go with Nate, Ira, and Dale to STL.

Got to a sloppy wet course and after a couple laps warming up and unable to move dismounted I called it a day and became a spectator.  Super bummed as I was feeling sharp leading into this and hated to watch my rivals duking it out and not participating.

Not a huge deal, get back to Bolivar, see my chiro and get ready for Boss Cross on the weekend; good plan...  Thursday session with Dr. Tweedy loosened things up (but it was the worst he had seen me and wasn't positive about the weekend), but by evening time I was locked back up.  Friday he wasn't available so I decided to rest/relax for the weekend staying home and regroup.  That was a hard thing to do as Boss Cross is such a great series and I love the EH Young park courses.  Oh well, what can you do?

Monday morning session with the chiro has me feeling pretty decent (not great) and was actually able to take a decent spin yesterday and snag a run this AM getting in some stadium/bleacher work.  By the time I got back home the back as seizing up again so another chiro session this afternoon is in order.  My hopes, fingers crossed, is to keep making progress and be able to participate in the 360 Cup races this weekend in Lawrence, KS; that is my hopes, but reality may say otherwise. 

This is jacking with me more mentally than probably physcially as I started the season as fit as I've ever been early on and now it seems so far away.  I know I'm not a joy to be around at home and am trying hard to keep it together, but I not doing a good job at that right now (and that frustrates me more than the racing aspect of it).  Got to get a grip on myself soon

Monday, September 17, 2012

... and we're back! '12 Cross Begins

Just like that I'm back in the saddle (literally) racing 'cross and smiling ear to ear.  Spring and summer went well, training felt pretty solid, weight is 8lbs below this time last year, new bike, but until you toe the line and get one (or two race) races under the belt it's hard to know if everything is working.

Received my new ride for the season on Wednesday; went with the Blue SL as I am a firm believer in if it ain't broke don't fix it.  This means I have loved every aspect of my 2009 Blue Norcross that I stuck with the same exact geometry and excellent product, but upp'ed it to the SL with Sram Force.  I simply love the feel and support I get from SRAM so was really glad Blue had that option.  Want to thank Britton at Volker Bicycles in KC for working with me and Blue to make this happen - I am a fan! Bummed I cannot support their Manions Cross races this weekend, but heading to USGP Madison instead.

This past weekend is the Missouri kickoff weekend race(s) for 'cross at Hermann with Jeff Yielding's Dogfish Hermann Cross.  It's always been a quality event and a good test to see how the fitness and mostly your bike driving skills progressed (as he likes a 'turny' kind of course). 

Ira, Nate, and I loaded up the 'race machine' and headed out Saturday mid-day.  We met up with Dale, Ryan, and TJ at the venue and settled in the afternoon.

So good to see familiar faces and chat with friends I hadn't seen in a while.  For the most part 'cross folks are so nice and fun (for the most part).

Nate, Dale, TJ, and Ryan were up first in the Cat 4 race and all looked pretty solid.  Was fun watching Nate 'experience' his first taste of 'cross race participation. 

I was up next in the Masters 45+ event and after a good prep and warm up it was time to toe the line.  Quality field had me concerned how it would turn out, but quickly any bits of doubt were gone as I felt really comfortable and in control during the race.  Had two mechanicals and one spill (driver error - me), but each time was calmly able to rejoin the front of the group relatively quick.  Typical Yielding course layout and after some swapping of paint in the end I was fortunate enough to have good legs in a two-up sprint to take the win (by a tires width).  Good racing for the front 3-4 of us.

Ira was up next in the Cat 3 field and after setting 2nd he double flatted (grabbed my pit bike) and finished 7th or 8th.  Bummer as he looked pretty good early on.

Although pre-registered, I skipped the Open race in lue of hoping to finish well the following day and hold on to the points leader's jersey.

Uneventful night at the Hermann Motel and Sunday morning the legs were talking to me... sigh, it was going to take a bit to loosen up.

While Dale and Ryan headed by home the night before, it was Nate and TJ lining up in the 4's.  Both rode really well and TJ ended up with the win.

They just kept going up...
Spung the legs out pretty well and before you know it I was on the line trying to defend the Source Endurance points lead.  Sunday's course was pretty much the same as Saturday with the notable addition of the 'going to the top of the stairs' - this was brutal and with the exception of Mt. Krumpit at Jingle Cross the hardest dismounted climb probably I've done in a 'cross race.  Most folks were not looking forward to this, but I typically do well the more time off the bike during races so I thought this was too my advantage.  The race went pretty close to the day before with five of us off the front keeping a decent pace (for the most part).  As the race progressed with each time up the stairs I felt more and more confident that I was in a good position to contend for the win.  On the last lap I upped the pace leading to the stairs (to ensure I had a clear path up) and by the top I had opened a significant lead and was able to keep the pressure on and gather my second win (and the points win for the weekend).  Also took the 'stair primes' both days racking up a little more swag to take home.

Crusty made it over the Sunday and he and Ira raced next in the 3's.  Ira washed out in the first lap rendering his bike unridable; frustrating weekend for him.  Crusty rode well and finished mid-pack.

With slightly frazzled legs I jumped in the Open race for a 30 minute bit of intensity and that's exactly what I got.  Pulled of after five or six laps (was 6th at the time) as my body was starting to fatigue and little errors were creeping up; didn't want to dump during the 'bonus' racing so packed it up and headed home.

Great two days with friends and racing.  Up next Dale and I are heading to Madison, WI for the USGP opener. 

Game Face

Think there were four dismounts per lap

Day 1 Podium
Day 2 Podium (and overall)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

MO State Crit Champs

It's been a while I know but outside of training, a trip to Deb's folks in South Datoka, and routine life not much has happened.
It's so much fun knowing 'cross is just around the corner which makes the training/riding seem so much better.  The Bolivar crew (five of us) have the SBU 'cross courses dialed in and seems everyone is going well.  Ira is far better for this time of year than I've ever seen; I expect a solid year for him. 
'Cross bike was ordered and ETA is Sept 1st; looking forward to my first year with a 'pit bike'.  MWI have some great 'sponsors' for the upcoming season and I'll detail as item arrive.  As mentioned in prior posts the NV is incredible!  Looks super slick on the back of my new race vehicle ('12 Ford Focus - 38mpg) and the ease of loading/unloading is amazing.

Prime parking at State Crit
Dialed in my 'cross season thru State Champs (but with all things with kids it is subject to change):
  • Sept 15/16 - Dogfish Hermann 45+ and Open
  • Sept 22/23 - USGP Madison 45+
  • Sept 26 - Gateway Cross Cup 40+ and Open (non-elite)
  • Sept 29/30 - Boss Cross 1/2 40+ and Open
  • Oct 6/7 - 360 Cup 40+ and Open
  • Oct 19/20/21 - Ruts n Guts/Showdown at Sunset/Ruts n Guts 2 (Tulsa) 40+ and Open
  • Oct 27/28 - Boss Cross 3/4 40+ and Open
  • Nov 10/11 - USGP L'ville 45+
  • Nov 23/24/25 - Jingle Cross 45+
  • Dec 1/2 Boss Cross 5/6 40+ and Open
  • Dec 8/9 Jeff City Something/State Champs
* after this a quick break then on to Nationals (Madison, WI) and then Worlds (L'ville - Hotel already booked)*

This is where I insert (much like with all aspects of my life) how awesome Deb and the boys are to let me engage in this lifestyle and be a goofy wanna be racer; incredible!

Back to present day...

Sunday I headed up to Jeff City for the Masters 40+ State Crit Champs.  Needed to grab a handful of these leading into 'cross to get my body dialed to the suffering.  I've always heard this was a cool course and just had never done it before; my loss as I thought it was not only a solid course, but a cool venue to let us use the Capital area.

Like the way the picture caught the falling rain
Cool temps and rain (literally began on the start line and stopped as we concluded - not kidding) was not representative was the summer we've had and that's a good thing.  Not sure on the number in the field, but appeared a decent turnout.  With no expectation other than suffrage we were off.  Surprisingly the course was not super slick (or maybe I just avoided diving in every corner) and the group moved along pretty well.  I felt pretty good and was able to keep in the top half of the field, but found little to no punch or zip when the pace would get stoked; simply rode hard and would bridge back on the front group lap after lap for the first 30 minutes.  After that it seemed my legs loosened up and things went much better.  JBowes took a spill later in the race and I thing that was about the only issue for our group; that caused splits all over the place and luckily I was able to work well with a couple other guys and grasp on to the leaders.  Before you know it the lap cards were out and with 1 to go I was in 3rd wheel (that didn't last long)...  Not willing to dive the corners like most others I quickly shot back and cruised in at the tail end of the lead group.  Didn't check my finish prior to departure, but it didn't really matter as I got what I needed - race speed and testing the system.

**Both race pictures snagged from Don M?; thanks**

Fun catching up with a couple guys I hadn't seen in a while (MFrench displaying his dismount skillz with road shoes - nice) and before you know it I was heading back home.

Up next is the Sedallia Crit at the end of the month then if it works out right a couple days of the Gateway Cup in STL the first weekend of Sept.

MWI is riding Castelli gear this 'cross season and the below is a shot of our regular 'kit' tops.  I think they are pretty sharp.  The best part of Castelli is access to the San Remo Speedsuits/Cyclocross two-in-one outfits.  These things are sick and hopefully will be in before Hermann.

Home front wise, both little boys head back to school Thursday and Jake to college on Monday.  That summer went fast!  Ian's playing with a soccer team (diversifying) in SGF while D is staying with YMCA soccer in Bolivar.  Jake just picked up his 4th long board (designed for long distance usage) and plans to make several long weekend trips around Missouri and neighboring states.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tour of KC

So last weekend was the Tour of KC and my first crit's of 2012.  I was super interested to see how I would feel since I've tackled no true intervals of intensity and have spent most of the spring on a mtb.

Ira joined me for the two days of racing and come to find out these where his first crits... ever!  He was stoked as his fitness has been solid. 

I had originally planned to race both days in the masters field, but since Ira was going off at 4:40pm on Saturday and the masters was at 11am I decided to switch up to the 4's to make a much better travel day.  Either was fine with me as the whole weekend was a check of the system and had little to do with trying to obtain a top finish.  I really like crit racing and typically will do 5 or 6 per year, but as I discussed with Ira I don't think it's my cup of tea to focus for a season (but thank goodness there are are a ton who do, which makes racing fun).

I love the Longview course was it's tighter than usual and with 8 turns and a couple slight risers it makes for a selection as the races develops.  The temps were pretty warm, but not near as hot as it's been in the past.  Quick warm up with Ira and the 'cross bikes (that's right, it's what we both ride year 'round) and it was time to toe the line.

***Elizabeth Rangle gets credit for the above photos***

Good group of front guys kept the pace decent and steady, but most of all clean (no nutty cutting on turns or pushing folks off wheels - nice).  I made sure to keep in the top 5 or 6 and took a handful of turns up front; was able to maintain my place in the group without ever being under pressure.  Few digs here and there by some folks, but the top 10 were keeping it all togehter.  With three to go a group of six were moving away from 4 or 5 behind and then out of nowhere we had officials on the course neutralizing it all and stopping us at the start/finish line.  Quick explanation was a wreck brough emergency vehicles on to render support.  I was slightly disappointed to hear how many folks were complaining of the stoppage, but it's a hobby race and when someone is injured it takes 100% priority over pedaling a bike.  After close to 10 minutes it was time to race for the remaining three laps, but an interesting this was how many folks reported to being 'with' the front group as there were close to 15 now on the line (while the others were being staged with time gaps).  Not a huge biggie, but sort of funny to listen to guys justify their position to the officials.  Kuddo's to the officials for doing their best.

Off we go and quickly it was pretty much the same folks driving the race.  On the last lap up the final riser I was in the top 7 or 8 when a guy tried to cut the corner (instead of riding the same line as was taken every lap before) and BAM!!! straight into the curb right in front of me and another guy.  It was spectactular as his bike shot up one way and somehow he shot up another - literally said 'Awesome' at the moment it happened.  Luckily there was room to swerve inside for the both of us and kept rolling.  Ended up 7th on the day and have no idea how that happened as I had no zip or pop for a sprint at the end.

Ira rode well and ended up not to far behind; more importantly he had a great time!

Stuck around for a bit to catch some of the Mercy-Kuat guys in action before heading off to meet up with teammates Crusty and Alyssa for a Sushi Feast.

Up early(ish) for a spin from host Crusty to the Lee's Summit downtown crit (8am start) with the Masters.  Nice spin of 15 minutes from his house let me grab a handful of warmup laps prior to start.  Fast, FAST course with 5 open/wide turns and all flat.  Several big boys lined up in the masters field which made for a steadily fast pace with little 'let up' during the event.  Surfed without being under pressure at anytime and with 1 to go drifted to the back to get out of the way of those wanting to win (no pop or zip = why even jack up those with).  Even at 8am it was warm, but not near as hot as it would be for the rest of the races thru out the day.

Cleaned up back at Crusty's, got Ira up and going for his race at 1:40pm, and enjoyed watching him suffer (just kidding, he did great). 

Packed up and headed home with a great check of the system which let me know my fitness feels ahead of where I was at this time last year and with two months of tuning/sharpening the engine 'cross is going to be a blast this year.

Originally planned to hit Tour of Lawrence, but with the temps forcasted and a positive 'systems check' at TofKC, I started a 10 day 'down period' 100% off the bike and any type of excersise.  This will let me mentally and physically 'flip the switch' to full on 'cross prep.  Fun things equipment/sponsor wise on the horizon for MWI and I don't remember looking forward to a 'cross season so much.  Might be I am now 45 ('cross race age) which puts me in a new class or that I just love this sport and it's growth/appear more and more each year.

On a side note:  Ian played up in another 7th grade shootout the other day and went off for 27pts (his team scored 36 total) going 7 for 11 from the 3 line - nuts (he's 11)!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waffles Anyone????

Yesterday was the latest edition of the Waffle training race put on by the Mercy-Kuat boys and as usual it didn't disappoint.  Pretty good turnout (maybe 20+ in the A race) with most of the SGF area kids in attendance.  Pretty civil affair with a few instigators (mostly Eric Haynes) whipping up the action, but for the most part the group stayed together and sorted out things up the dam hill on the 3rd (of 3) lap before the finish.  PK took the win in a sprint for the line and I trickled in a bit back around 6th or so. 

The temps were pretty decent and not near as hot as I expected.  Good workout on the legs and as always a solid bunch of guys. 

My boy Ira is riding the best I've ever seen and reached the last climb with the main group which is just an indicator of things to come in 'cross for him this fall. Him riding at a good level is only beneficial for both of us as we start the turn for 'cross season; I'm crazy stoked!

The Huffster was out on the scooter heckling and giving out some pointers and took the below shot.

Pre-registered for Tour of KC this weekend in the Masters and after last night I feel pretty good about the two days of racing.  Now don't mistake 'feeling good' as meaning on the sharp end of the group, but more as hopefully sticking somewhere near the main field...

Ian had a Shootout basketball event yesterday wherein he played up with a 7th grade team for four games and he played really solid.  The standout point was in the first half of the 2nd game he went 5 for 5 from the 3pt line and finished the game 6 for 6 and only missed one shot (a little floater).  I think for the four games he was 11 for 17 from the 3 line and handled the ball well.  He had a blast but was dead tired after a busy day on the hardwood.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Late Addition to the MTB Races...

Last entry I talked about hanging up the mtb and heading off to Tulsa for the TTough, but things didn't work out that way so I jumped to plan 'B' - one more mtb event and the Missouri State MTB Champs (not confused with the week prior MO State SS Champs as it's a separate event) in Warsaw, MO at the Down-n-Dirty event.  Little bummed to miss TT, but with all things 'off-season' you just roll with it and move on to something else.

Temps were expected near 90* with a bit of humidity in the forecast and they didn't miss it by much.  Got to the venue Sunday mid-morning and it was already a little warm.  I've raced at Warsaw a handful of times and didn't need a warm-up loop as it's pretty straight forward: fast, rocky, dry/loose, rocky, not much elevation, rocky, but most of all fun every time.  Mac and his crew put a lot of effort into their events and this one didn't disappoint.

Debated between marathon, SS, or Cat 1 Masters, but with the temps on the rise and my history of melting in the heat (heat injury in 2008 in NE adventure race still lingers), I figured the shorter the better so it was SS class this time around.  The loop was around 8 or so miles and SS was doing 2 with the Cat 1's doing 3.  After a quick 20 minute warmup it was time to toe the line. 

Start of the SS Class

Not a big field for SS, but definitely quality.  Right off the start I am sitting around 5th or so and within a couple miles moved into 3rd with 2nd in sight for most all the lap (just couldn't reach him).  Pretty routine layout for Warsaw and it was moving along pretty fast, but with every effort I was noticing my HR took longer to drop and my body temp was causing me a little concern.  I made a decision early into lap 2 to keep a steady pace, not kill it keeping my efforts limited, and hopefully not 'melt'.  This was working out until about a 1/3 of the lap to go I was caught by Dan Fuhrman (solid SS'er) dropping me to 4th.  I stayed close to him for some time, but was above my 'heat' comfort level so I let him go.  At the end he finished less than 15seconds in front of me (couldn't tell until the very end as the woods were thick) for 3rd (I was 4th) which was kind of a bummer, but I rode decent for the temps of the day. 

Cleaned up and headed home for a fun afternoon with the crew.

So, looks like a down/easy week, the Mercy/Kuat Waffle training race next Tuesday, then off to the Tour of KC.  That's the plan, but that obviously changes for minute to minute....  I can say with confidence though that the mtb is hung up for the rest of the year.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MO State SS Champs

Last Saturday Ira and I hit Hwy 44 up to St. James for the UFD MO State Single Speed Champs.  Neither of us even knew St. James had single track, but turns out there is around 8 miles of single track well hidden on the southeast corner of town. 

There was little expectation leading into this; it was just great having Ira back and any day on the bike is a better one than not.  Decent turnout with some fast guys on hand and some fun solid promoters (Eric and Dan from Route 66 Bikes).  Temps were nice and cool for the 3 lap (7 miles per) 21 mile race.

After a lite warmup it was time to go.  Fast start on open gravel roads for about 1/2 mile before hitting the single track.  Oh, turns out the single track was tight, twisty, and tight (did I mention tight?).  This was not so good for me as I need it a little more open with pedaling and not so much handling, but it was what is was so we are going.  Hit the single track around 4th or 5th with Ira right on my tail.  After the first lap I was 5th and feeling like I rode way about my head actually flowing pretty well on the tight stuff.  2nd lap starts and quickly three guys fly by and I jumped on the back holding on for dear life.  The leader gaped the rest and dangled off the front about 20-30 seconds (we could see him from time to time as the trail doubled back).  A DJR (or DRJ, not sure the team name) guy leading our trio was killing it, but I was able to dangle on the back.  We hit a end of the lap (about a 1/4 mile gravel road) and the DJR blows (felt bad as he was killing it) and the Team Segal guy and I get a gap.  I stopped at the beginning of the last lap to grab a new bottle (and a gel) while the Segal guy took off.  I chased and 1/2 thru caught and dropped the Segal guy.  Rode well the rest of the lap and nabbed 6th at 1 hour 51 minutes.  The 5th and 4th place guy were less than 1 minute ahead, but the front 3 were gone...  Ira rode well getting 9th not to far back.

Much like the couple marathon races I felt better as the race progressed, but the concentration was the most intense I've had in a race for some time due to the tight single track.  Had a lot of fun, but with the rising temps of summer that was probably my last mtb event of '12.  Mission accomplished for this season as my handling is the best it's ever been and my fitness for longer events was solid without overly taxing my body.

This just might be one of my all time favorite 'editing' jobs I've done; I love this shot!

With that said I'm now looking for a month of crit/circuit races on the road to get a little leg speed going.  This weekend is Tulsa Tough and as of now I'm doing both days in the Masters field.  In a couple weeks is Tour of KC (with one of my favorite courses at Longview CC Saturday and a routine crit on Sunday) which dropped from three days to two and then Tour of Lawrence with the 'monster' circuit on KU's campus Saturday and a routine crit on Sunday.  Having no interval session with my HR above 165 (threshold is 184) I am looking to 'hang on' at each of these and simple improve form (i.e. results/placings will not happen). 

After that it's a couple weeks laying low then building to 'the season' in mid-September.

On the home front not much shaking and sometimes that's just fine with me.  My blackberries are killing it and so far Deb's whipped up a couple awesome cobbles (there would be more if I would quit snacking so much).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crawdad Kermesse

Thursday Ian reached his goal and was recognized for three years of straight A's.  The school gave the handful of kids who achieved this a large candy bar (huh?), but I held to my promise made a couple years back and we got him the latest Kobe VII basketball shoes.  So proud of his accomplishment! 

Friday I spent the morning with the little guy's Kindergarten class at their Field Day.  Exhausting, but fun for all.  He was super stoked I was there and even more happy when Deb showed up for the 2nd half of the event.   
Headed down to Harrison, AR Saturday morning to make my '12 road debut at the Crawdad Kermesse.  On paper it looked like a challenging 3.8mile loop and it didn't disappoint.  Chad and crew put together a great loop and a well run event in coordination with Crawdad Days, a big carnival type event with tons of stuff going on for two days. 

Got down early enough to jump on the course for a couple loops while the 4/5 race was going on.  200 meters from the start/finish was a 1k climb that was steady and not too taxing, but after the top and a quick drop there was a 20% 'roller' (not too long, but zapping to the legs) followed with a false flat, after that it was a fun descent back to the bottom with a handful of high speed turns (fun!).  Little warm early on, but with a 9:30am start it wasn't much of a factor.

Rolled up to the line and found a pretty small field, but not short on quality.  Steve Tilford was in my Masters race; guess he was looking for some extra race miles after his shoulder separation, along with a couple other top masters racers.  Our race had 7 loops for around 26.5 miles or so.

So off we go and the group stayed together up with 1k climb and then Steve and two others rolled off on the 20%'er and I had to make a decision then and there (note I felt pretty good at the time, but not too far from my limit):  dig into the red to bridge across and hope to hang on Tilford's group for as long as possible potentially blowing up or let them go and race within myself and see how it goes racing for 4th... easy choice so I watch them roll off.

Leading the group toward the 5th lap - seperation time!
At the end of lap 1 I was with three others with a decent gap to those behind and 30 seconds behind the leading three.  Up the climb for lap 2 and I surge a bit and immediately open a gap; not wanting to ride five more laps alone I eased up and cruised the next three laps with the small group.  On lap 5 I went to the front and set a pretty hard pace up the 1k climb and quickly had separation.  I pressed on the rest of the lap, saw no chasers in sight, pushed the 6th lap hard, was able to cruise the last, and get 4th (nice payout of $120).  Hindsight I think 'what if I would have tried to go with Tilford's group' as I felt really good, but the reality is I did the right choice at the time.  Turns out the 1st and 2nd place guys in my race ended up 2nd and 3rd in the Pro/1/2 race...

With the temps starting to rise and only 1 (maybe 2) mtb race(s) left that interest me I feel pretty good heading into some upcoming circuit/crit races seeing how I have yet to begin 'intensity' in my training week.  Looking at SS MTB Champs on June 2nd, then Tour of KC and Lawrence in June. 

After the drive home I loaded up the crew and went to Ira's to celebrate his graduation (PT Doctoral) with some BBQ and laughs.  Dale, Nate, and I went together and got him a flask w/bike cage and on the back says "Doctor Brown's Magical Cyclocross Elixir"; look for it this fall.

Saturday Jake took off for a 2 1/2 week mission trip to northern Canada working with the Agibiwa tribes.  God is (always has) working in his life and it's great to witness.  Before he took off we spent a portion of Friday night working the slackline.  Getting better every time, but still so far off of even 'good'.  Both Ian and D like working it also, but mostly we love when Deb gives it a go.

In the evening Ian took Deb to a SGF Cardinals game so D and I popped up a tent in the backyard and had a little outing of our own.  Woke up in the morning to overly loud birds around 6:15 (way too early).  After Sunday school I worked on a little flower box project until it was time to hit the road with Nate, Dale, and Ira for a couple hours.  Fun ride on a great evening.  Wrapped it all up with the Spurs taking down LA Clippers - perfect!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New MWI Partner for '12/'13 'Cross

Got received word ..kuat.. (racks and so much more) have come aboard the My Wife Inc. (MWI) 'cross circus as a partner for the '12/'13 'cross season.  This is awesome news as not only are their products top shelf, but the folks there are huge cycling supporters (and do'ers) and all around great people. 

This fall and winter drop by the MWI Compound, browse the rack demo's on the ..kuat.. team trailer, sip your favorite beverage from the tap (if that's your kind of thing), snag the world's best after-race-cupcakes, and hang out with cyclingdirts "Best Cyclocross Team (based on fun and not results) of '11".  We don't bite so don't be shy and drop in. 

Check out THIS ( for more information on their company and products.  Now it's time to get Luke, Aaron, and their crew on 'cross bikes and teach them the ways' of the sickness!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Greensfelder MTB - Lemonade from Lemons

Yesterday, as everyone knows, was Mother's Day.  Just want to lead this off with how much I love and appreciate mine; top shelf she is. 

Now on to Deb:  For those who have the privilege to know her more than in passing, you understand how incredibly blessed I am to have her in my kid's life and for those of you who don't know her, well, get to know her.  She cares and loves my boys (all three of them) like little I've seen from anyone else and it floors me sometimes at her deep natural desire to provide healthy structured unconditional love.  She embodies and exhibits effortless qualities I imagine Christ did while he was among us.  The way she embraces our little guy as one of her natural kids speaks volumes to me daily.  Thanks so much for letting me be part of your life...  

This past weekend packed up the crew Friday evening for a quick drive to STL for the following day's mtb race.  Was hoping to get into town early enough to catch the P/1 MOPRO race, but after a late start from Bolivar just couldn't make it.  Bummer as Huff took the win.

OK, goofy thing Deb and I witnessed on the drive (bit disturbing so skip if you want).  Pulling into Buffalo we saw a truck being pulled over by a local policeman.  As the truck turned off the main road into a parking lot we saw why she was pulled over... she forgot that her pet dog was still leashed to her bumper and drug it who knows how far.  It was obviously dead as it's lifeless body appeared to tow behind like a gray mop.  We stopped for food on the other side of the road and watched as the owner was taken to the back, dropped to her knees and sobbed as expected in disbelief.  I've heard of this (Clark Griswold) but until now never witnessed it.  Not good...

Crashed at Deb's sister's house and the boys got a chance to play and hang out. 

Saturday morning made the 10 minute trek (that's crazy nice) to Greensfelder for the marathon mtb event.  Took the single speed and after chatting with a couple locals and folks who raced it last year they didn't discourage me to ride the SS, but figured it would be a challenge as there is some elevation changes that might be tough.  Knew I wouldn't be on the front end of the race so figured I might as well do it on the bike setup I most enjoy.
Got to catch up with some STL folks I hadn't seen since last 'cross season which is always good.  Big turnout for the marathon (53 was the report I heard) with plenty of fast kids.  The start is kind of jeep road with a slight downhill so I was screwed on the SS from the gun, but settled in to what turned out to be one of my favorite courses ever raced.  Tons of technical single track with challenging sections and crazy fun flowy stuff.  The climbs were easily manageable for the SS (32/18) except for one short section that most were not riding anyway. 

I never start super hard from the gun on 3 hr events, but here I jacked myself up be letting too many 'single track challenged' folks get in front early.  With limited places to pass and what seemed a general unwillingness to let faster riders by I settled in and rode the first loop way slower than hoped, but feeling ready to turn it up for the next ones. 

Past the start/finish line and down quite a ways and then it fell apart; no not me, but my Crank Bros Egg Beater.  Body came right off the spindle.  Turned back, rode to the road back to the start where I had my tool kit.  Grabbed a screwdriver to remove the cap, but it was stuck tight and stripped it out and couldn't get it off.  After 20 minutes of working with others it just wasn't coming off.  Just about to pack it up when a nice family lent me a Candy; well, might as well get some riding in since I was there.  Knew my buddy T Holtmann was coming up I waited for him and we headed off for his lap 3 and my 2nd.  Rode with him chatting until he let me know he was going to finish this lap and call it quits (Cedar Cross last week and Syllamo Revenge next) so I pushed on.

Riding was super good and by the end was able to snag 4 laps (literally setting out 1).  Wouldn't have been near the top, but rode well and would have like to see how I would have fared.  Oh well, it turned out a fun morning!  Super thanks to the family who lent me the pedal.

Got a chance to chat with some more folks before heading out.  I will be back time and time again as Greensfelder is awesome fun!

Hung out with the STL family for a bit before heading back to Bolivar.

Sunday morning after Sunday School we met up with my mom, dad, and my brother's family to celebrate my wonderful mom.  Grabbed some chow then hung out at a park for a bit watching the kids play. 
Sunday afternoon got the crew together (Dale, Ira, and Nate) and took a 1:45hr stroll down the Frisco.  Great having Ira back from Colorado and getting my boys together.  Looking forward to many more.

Got back and knocked out some mowing, shrub trimming, and gardening.  Snagged a couple cherries off my two-year old tree as that thing is loaded.  Hoping to get a pie in a couple weeks (if I stop snacking).  Also chowed on a couple raspberries.  My blackberries are going crazy and will have tons ready in a week or two.  Love my snack-berry plants and trees.

Speaking of trees, this morning (after waiting a month) our new 20' maple was put in the back yard.  Strategically placed it to give shade to the west-facing patio in later afternoon.  Turnout out way better than expected and by next year it's going to be great (good now, but better as it fills out).  Went in crazy fast with the auger device shown below.

Not much shaking this week outside of routine day-to day busy-ness.  Looking to make it to Harrison's Crawdad Kermesse circuit race on Saturday.  It will be my first race on skinny tires in quite some time.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What's Shaking on the Home Front

Here's a little bit of what's been going on at the Jones' casa:
Been getting plenty of quality riding in (both on the road and trails), but bailed on the Tour De Tick last weekend as the temps shot up in the lower 90's and I do not have a good history with mtb'ing in the temps when not used to it.  I jumped out early Sunday instead and got a solid 3.5hrs on the SS climbing my butt off on the backroads of Polk County.  Also skipped the Waffle Training race Tuesday as I was coaching Ian's basketball team. 

Getting a little itchy to race it looks like I am heading to STL this weekend for the Greensfelder Challenge mtb marathon race.  Expecting a loaded field and no expectation of finishing near the top as I'm cruising the single speed from now on at all events.

Dale and I have been knocking out the miles, Nate's been riding more, and (typed with a big grin) Ira gets back home from his last clinical (in Colorado) this weekend.  Will be nice snagging rides with everyone soon.

Last Sunday we went with some friends to a SGF Cardinals afternoon ball game.  Little hot at first, but plenty of cloud cover made for a great time.  Ian loves going to the ball park (not a huge surprise) and D had a pretty good time (hard to keep a 6yr old focused) as he and I did several trips to the outfield grass to goof around.

The little guy finished up soccer (playing really good) and is really looking forward to baseball.  Lately his main passion is kickball and it seems most evenings are spent in the backyard playing two on two two-base death matches - loads of fun.  Last week we had a couple neighbor girls over to play and we spent most of the time teaching a 5yr old to play.  Pretty interesting as I thought all kids were born knowing how to play. 

Yesterday was his latest 'court date' (he does not attend, only Deb and I from our family) and it was a bitter sweet day for all.  The official goal has moved from 're-unification' with mom to Termination of Parental Rights (and subsequently adoption).  Bitter in that it's hard to feel good about a mom and son being separated permanently, but sweet knowing we can provide a stable and healthy environment to nurture his development.  So, now its a several month process moving toward adoption...

Ian is having fun playing on his 'composite' basketball team at the courts and in local tourney's.  He is lined up for a handful of team camps (playing up with some middle school teams) and individuals ones (Evangle and Drury).  He's been getting a little one-on-one time with SBU's guard Preston Guiot; he's loving it and learning some nifty stuff.

School is wrapping up for him and it looks like I am paying up on an incentive program we put together a couple years ago.  This came about in that his Intermediate School gives kids (usually not very many make it) a 'chocolate bar' when the make it three years (3rd, 4th, and 5th grades) with straight A's and he is going to make it.  We thought the candy was pretty lame for such a good effort so I told him he could have any pair of Jordan's if he made it the 3 years.  So off to the mall we went the other day to make sure they are there when he walks off the stage and turns out he went with the Kobe VII instead of Jordan (tough decision since we are big Spurs fans and hate everything to do with the Lakers, but the shoes are sweet).

Jake is wrapping up his freshman year and can't wait to get thru finals and take a short mental break before doing it again next year.  Recently he bought a Gibbon Slackline and we have been goofing around on it here and there (actually I practice some when he's not around so I don't look so bad when we are together).  Working on the line is tough stuff, but a pretty solid core workout and I can tell my balance on the longboard is substantially better. 

He's heading to Canada right after he finishes finals on a mission trip with SBU to spread God's word/work in tribal communities of northern Canada.  He has a great heart and understands our responsibility to share with others.
For the past couple of weeks my father-in-law and I have worked to 'rebuild' our patio table.  It used to have a glass top until a huge storm destroyed it so I decided to tile it and it turned out great (little pat our Jim and my backs).  No we need to strip the chairs and refinish them.  Now contemplating 'concrete stain' the patio surface for an updated look.  Recently we bought a new grill and have a new (not new as in sapling) Maple to provide shade being put in on Monday to give shade in the evenings; so with all the 'patio investment' we will be spending plenty of meals and evenings out there.

Been knocking out tons of time on the yard, garden, and flower beds.  Deb has the garden all planted and the berries are in full bloom and soon will be pumping out the 'snack-berries'.  My cherry tree really grown a ton and has tons of fruit growing it, but recently a bunch of 'brown spots' have appeared on some leaves.  Researched it and appears there is a disease (untreatable) hitting it and hopefully it will make it thru the year and recover for next.

Monday, April 23, 2012

'12 Season Opener - OMBA CARAMBA

Chatting with Marathon winner Mark Gullet before the start
So yesterday was my season opener on the race scene and like last year the spring is pretty much about mountain biking.  I like to use this to sharpen some handling skills and use it longer events as base building intensity as top end speed is usually still a ways away. 

Saturday evening the Mercy-Kuat guys put on a short-track mtb race at Sac.  I didn't race as I am still fighting whatever cold/sickness that's hung on for close to 2 weeks now.  Turnout was pretty low, but good times were not; fun event.  I went down with Dale to watch and ended up being the Prime Master.  Cale handed me 12 primes (between the A and B races) and told me to get creative.  By evenings end most got some type of prime and it was fun for me to create races within the races.  Dale jumped in the A race and had a solid showing. 

Ryan and crew moved OMBA Caramba (Sac Trail in SGF) up to April this year as part of the United Federation of Dirt series which is much better than the heat suffer fest of last summer for those who participated.  They take the best parts (non-rough stuff) and make up a 5.56 mile loop of fun-ness.  Some light rain during the week made for just a couple muddy spots, but 95% of the course was ripping fast and tacky.  Streams were full, but not much more than normal.

Not having much top end speed and needing longer rides I chose to jump in the marathon class for 3 hrs of solid riding.  Temps were in the mid-50's and I thought was perfect for mtb'ing.  Typically these fields are some of the biggest at UFD events so I was hoping to hide out in a large field.  Turned out only 15 or so, but it was still a good field.  Mark Gullet toed the line so that pretty much meant the rest of us were racing for 2nd; that kid (even with the beard) is consistently solid at endurance races.  I was on my SS and didn't really figure it would be too much of a disadvantage (except for the long paved start and an open field decent to the finish line every lap) and even if it was I wouldn't 'gear it up' as I love the simplicity of single speed.

Like most of my endurance mtb races I try not to start off too fast, but getting into a decent pace and build on it every lap a little faster.  I spent the majority of the first couple laps in 4th place, but liked my HR and pace and knew it was only going to get better and it did.  My 3rd, 4th, and 5th laps (out of 6) were my best as I was pushing the pace more (keeping a close eye on the HR) and my flow was much better.  During this time I caught 3rd and 2nd places and was able to ride the last lap with less pressure on the pedals just making sure to run it clean.  2nd place to Mark's dominating win (expected) and I was happy with that. 

Hung around for the post-race log hop competition and awards before heading home.  Nice to only drive 30 minutes to a race.  Thanks to Ryan and crew for a great event.

Most of Saturday was spend at Bolivar's Rock Solid gym where Ian played (and I coached) his 6th/5th grade team and won the championship 51-14.  The boys played great in all three games and had a ton of fun in the process.

The little guy had a soccer game (during one of our games) and had my folks, Jake, Deb, and her mom all present.  They won pretty easily and Deb reported D played great. 

Sunday after the race D and I spent a fun afternoon playing kickball (just the two of us = worn out) at the gym and then the rest of the evening was laziness with the crew doing a bunch of nothing.  Well, except we did finish off the day with some 'hide-n-seek in the dark'; a family favorite.

Friday, April 20, 2012

So last week was Bone Bender 3/6hr race in Lawrence and I decided it was best if I skipped it as I fought (still lingering today) some kind of cold/respiratory thing.  It hit me the Monday night before the race and I took it super low key all week getting plenty of rest, but on Thursday when I went to the gym for some light basketball I had 0% energy and knew my weekend was screwed.  Bummer as I really enjoyed the event last year and was looking to get my 2012 racing started off there, but what can you do...

I took in some light riding Friday and Sunday and started to feel somewhat normal again.  This week has been better but still not good.  Tuesday I got out on the road for some hill intervals and they were ok, but nothing stellar.  I've had a pretty decent late winter/spring riding/fitness run of it and like where I am at for the most part, but until you spin the cranks at a race you never really know where you stand. 

Well this weekend is the Omba Caramba mtb race at Sac and if all goes as hoped it will be my first race of '12.  Haven't decided to race the Marathon class or the Cat 1 Masters, but I do know either way I'm riding the SS and here's why.  Yesterday I pre-rode the course (BTW its typical Sac and pretty fun) with my Trek Rig donned with gears (1st time on any single track this way) as I figured if I was going to race Cat 1 I would need it for the opening (long paved section leading to wide open downhill run into the woods) so out for three laps and I didn't enjoy it near as much as what I do on it as a SS. Matter of fact I hated it and felt a little lost.  I like the simplicity of just focusing on the trail and not running thru gears.  IMO Sac is not a place that will make much difference geared or SS (except for the start) and since I realistically understand I have little chance of a top 5 in either race (Cat 1 or Marathon) I might as well enjoy my ride while I'm out there.  I'm leaning marathon even though it will cut into my LBL viewing Sunday morning...

Saturday evening the Mercy-Kuat guys are putting on a short track event at Sac with the 'A' race going off around 6pm.  Not sure I'll make this and will have to see how the day goes.

Saturday is a busy one as Ian has three basketball games at a local tourey and the little guy has a soccer match.  Busy, but fun
On the MWI front our group/team is growing and part of the new blood includes my training partners Ira and Dale. It is so cool to have these guys on the team and look forward to seeing both don the jackalope attire. How long until 'cross starts...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monthly Update

So here it is early April and for one reason or another I have yet to turn the pedals in anger (race) and I am 100% fine with it. Not like it's a 'cross race or anything important - for all intent and purposes it's still off-season.

Been riding a bunch (both road, gravel, and mtb's) and enjoying every day of it. Dale and I are logging the miles when he's in town (work travel has him out and about often) while Ira is off in Colorado finishing up clinicals. Wish he would stop texting me pics of his rides... Weather has been crazy good this late winter/early spring and I am trying to take full advantage of it.

Jumped down to SGF the past four weekends and ridden with the Mercy-Kuat boys, a few of the OCC gang, and B Huff here and there. I love my Bolivar crew, don't get me wrong, but group rides have been a thing of the past (8 years since San Antonio) and I greatly miss them.

Couple Sunday mornings at Fellows Lake for some non-racing races that turned out just the right mix of intensity and efforts. That loop has a little bit of it all when your at the limit (in my case mostly over all during the sessions).

Most recently (this past Saturday) I met up with JB, Skip, CMac, JimmySTL, and Hogan for some Sac Trail fun for a couple of hours. Fun mix of pace as one second we would all be chatting and cruising then the next it was 'game on' for 7-8 minutes, then back to cruising. Fun morning.

This weekend I am heading to Bone Bender at Clinton State Park in Lawrence (same location as last year). Running the SS bike/class again this year and have no expectation of defending my 3hr SS win from last year - no idea how that happened). Feel pretty decent, but the goal is to have a blast riding on a pretty cool (and tough) course. Chris Locke and crew always do a great job with their events.

After that it's local SGF OMBA race at Sac Trails then who knows. Thinking about Joe Martin stage race, but I'm on the fence.

Family life is so much fun as we are huge 'outside' folks and it's been so nice every evening that we hate going back in as the sun heads down.

Over the boy's Spring break we took a quick run to STL hitting the zoo, the Arch, City Museum, little chow for Jake's b-day (he is now 19), and the big boys & Deb catching Hunger Games on opening night (they have all read it). So much fun taking the little guy to new stuff and having the big boys giving him so much attention.

Jake is cruising through his first year of college and is doing well. 18hrs this semester is keeping his pretty busy. He got a new longboard (48" Loaded) for his birthday and he kindly handed me down his 40" Bustin. He and I have hit the Bolivar streets after hours a handful of times and I am loving it. Jake's pretty sweet with his footwork and abilities; fun to watch and do. A couple Sunday's ago my day pretty much consisted of riding all morning, baseball with Ian and the little guy in the yard all afternoon, then after 11pm Jake and I hit the streets on the longboards; as a kid I would have never thought of doing this at age of 44.

Ian is playing with a new basketball team at The Courts and I'm coaching it. It's a composite team (3 from Bolivar, 2 from Stockton, and 2 from Ozark) with quality players so it's mostly a 'play only' team with no practicing; 2-0 so far and it's going to be fun. Ian's skipping baseball this year as he wanted to focus a little more on the basketball.

The little guy is doing so good and every week it's apparent he is feeling more and more secure in our family. We can tell he is still trying to figure out exactly where he belongs, but it's getting better. Speaking of which it's still in limbo as our next court date isn't until mid-May and who knows when they will start moving toward adoption. Even though we are frustrated with the system, we fully believe it's doing a fair and decent job (considering there are over 21K kids in the Missouri system alone). D is playing soccer and absolutely loves it. Hard to believe he's been with us 10 months (as of Saturday)...

Deb is Deb and always awesome. Love watching her playing and taking care of our boys and spending each day with her. She and I have snuck out on the tandem lately which we both enjoy a ton.

Been doing tons of yard/garden work this spring and the place is looking great. As much as being on the bike is my therapy it's even more working in the yard for me. My new cherry tree had tons of blooms, growing well, and hopefully there will be some this summer for snacking (along with the blackberries and raspberries).

This past Sunday our family, along with Deb's dad and mom, joined the Jones side of the family for a great Easter service followed with a sunny afternoon of play at my folk's casa. Super good day.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Monthly Update (must not be racing)

I know I repeat this every month, but WOW I can't believe it's already March!!! 'Cross season is not that far away (to quote an old favorite Ren and Stimpy "happy happy joy joy...")...
Riding/training is going well it seems (but until the wheels are rolling in competition you never know) as I am getting a nice mix of road, gravel, and single track with varying degrees of length and intensity. I feel a tad better than where I was this time last year and still 8-10lbs lighter. This weekend is the Frozen Waffles Training Race in SGF and for the most part that's what it is, a training event and not so much a race. Who knows who will show up and how folks will want to ride, but for me in the Masters 40+ race I am hoping to get a couple others with myself to steadily take pulls from the gun for the 44 miles and simply maintain a steady effort going seeing where the chips fall at the end. I have no misconception of winning anything, but do want a solid workout for the entire event. Guess I should renew my license today...
Other than that I am looking forward to either God's Country (Lawrence, KS) or Lost Valley (STL) mtb races toward the end of the month, Bone Bender, OMBA (both mtb races), and Joe Martin (mini stage road race) in Fayetteville, AR in April. Haven't really looked much past that, but figure on a couple more mtb races in May before shutting it down to crit racing the summer.
On the home front we have put our house on the market for sale as we have outgrown it (with the addition of the little guy). No telling how long it will take to sell as we aren't 'fire selling' it and when/if it happens it will. Not looking at other homes as until our sells I don't want to know what's out there. We did meet with a builder to cost construction prices and unlike the appraisal's of property/homes the materials/construction prices have continued to increase with inflation and it's more realistic to buy a nice used one than to build.
A couple weekends ago I took the little boys (and a friend) to a fun little, but long, cave out north of town right above the Pomme de Tarre River. We all had headlamps and we were all shocked that little 6 yr old 'D' led the way back into the darkness. The only thing that freaked him out was the bats hanging here and there. After the cave it was to the river for some fun.
Basketball ball season for Ian has been an interesting one (solidly good, but interesting). He's played up on a 6th grade Bolivar team who had a pretty nice year: 1st Courts session they were 9-1, the second 7-3, Rock Solid league undefeated, Champs of the Fair Play tourney, and 3rd of a tourney at the Courts earlier this year. He was a strong contributor and had a blast. This was the serious team. Then there was the 5th grade team (first year I didn't coach them) that was not good at all and it was very frustrating for E. Early on we decided to take the 5th grade as practice sessions and work on specific things each game and not worry about the overall outcome (his team was just that bad, but these are his friends and wanted to help them out). I have no idea what their record is, but with three games to go they don't have a chance to get near .500. The kid has kept to his deal of maintaining straight A's in studies and getting enough rest although that is starting to take it's toll (he's looking tired from time to time). 6th grade finished up, 5th grade has a handful of games in the session remaining and then it's a fresh start. He opted to skip competitive baseball this year (mixed feelings from Deb and I) and keep playing some basketball (his overwhelming passion) so I put together a couple guys from Bolivar, Stockton, and Ozark for the next session at the Courts. We are keeping it pretty low key with just a couple practices at the beginning then it pretty much show up and play 10 games and maybe a couple tourney's. The kids on this composite team and all pretty much solid players so it should be fun for the boys not to have a 'weak link' (or two or three) on a team.
Jake is hitting some 'freshman blues' it appears as his 18 hr class load is taking it's toll along with his Dairy Queen job has gone from a couple days a week to four days. Deb and I have told him that's too much and he is missing out on 'college' fun and stuff by working that much, but it's his choice and we'll see how he handles it (growing up = figuring it out = stinks sometimes). He is running quite a bit for fun and long boarding a ton. He picked up Ian a sweet nickle board for E's B-day and both are enjoying getting out together. He is popping by the house more and more these days and am not sure what that's all about (his mom loves it, but I think he needs to stick to campus more...)???
The little man is still in (constant, it seems) hold in the Foster system. We are told they are moving him toward adoption, but the evidence of this is yet seen (sigh). We fully understand there is a process to follow and agree with it, but it seems to be taking longer than it should. Anyways, he is growing into our family day by day (and visa versa for us) as he's been with us over 9 months now. All of us (to include the boys) couldn't imagine him not with us as he's just one of the Jones'. Will be fun to share video and pics once he is openly ours.