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.