Saturday, June 29, 2013

And we are off...

Yes, it is another trip to Cherokee, NC. Not going to bore you with any details, but it is a riders paradise; road or mountain. This yea, my goal is to find road lesser traveled with tons of elevation. One that I am going for is a little section from rt 19 to the top of Seffacoo road. This little jaunt takes you from a "mere" 2000 ft to 3784 just over 4 miles-ouch. I am not even sure why I want to do this. My fear is that it leads to somebody's home that doesnt like cyclists. I imagine seeing signs like..."we eat cyclists", or "we like cyclists HANGING around here." Yeah, maybe a little paranoid, but it is NC and in the middle of nowhere. It has been a little damp down below as told to me by my inside sources in Bryson City, so I may be on the road bike a little more this year.

My goal is to come away with 30,000-40,000 ft in the 2 weeks I will be there. I
am guessing I will be worn out by the end as well. Not sure if I will make the Clingmans Dome trip as it has not been in the cards in the last two years with two failed attempts due to a tornado and bad weather. It is a nice 4,800ft + climb to the top with no flats...all climbing, bleek.

I am really looking forward to breaking my 45 year old body this year.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Baseball Rules

Well tonight was the best game ever. No, I am talking EVER! Coming into this game, we had won 7 straight games. Our pitching staff is walking less and getting more outs. We are hitting and making key plays in the field, too.

Tonight we played the second best team in the league and 2 games away from the championship; so this game meant everything. My son has not been able to catch because of his thumb that he injured in a travel game a few weeks back, so that cut us short a bit.

The first inning looked like real bad news. 3 hits and 4 walks lead to a 4-0 deficit. By the third inning it was 4-3 and looking to be a good game. The 4th inning saw thew wheels come off the cart. 7 walks and 3 hits lead to a 13-3 killing. My son came in and did what he does best-shut the door. He pitched the last 2 innings and allowed 1 hit with 2 k's and no runs. Now I have been doing this long enough to know that anything is possible, but to be down 13-3 going into the last inning. Well, to keep a long story from being really long, our team scored 9 runs and won with a walk off single. I have never seen a group of kids get so excited at the outcome of a game before. I am so proud of the way they kept their heads up and came through and didnt give up; wouldnt it be nice to be a kid again and have that mentality?

I am super proud to have a son like Alex. I played ball all the way through college and I cant tell you how it feels to see your son play. Not only does he play, but for 9 years old, he is an amazing player. He catches, plays the field and is a dominating pitcher. How dominating, well I will tell you. Better yet, here are his numbers.

3-0 record, 3 saves, 34 innings, 9 hits, 5 walks, 67 strikeouts. I love to watch him pitch. He has great mechanics and rarely ever walks a batter. He has great command and doesnt just throw the ball; he locates his pitches.

The championship game is next and I cant wait to see how these guys play and no matter what happens, I am really proud to have coached these guys and watch them progress. Go get em guys!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Missed it by that much

Well, one of my favorite TV actors said it best...Missed it by that much. Don Adams was the best Get Smart ever. One of my favorite all time shows. Yep, it was close saturday at the 12 hours of Cranky Monkey at Quantico.

I havent been training in any sort of manner; just going and riding hard some days and riding easy on others-perfect recipe for success. Eh, I am 45, I have accomplished quite a bit in the last 4 years and I am ok with that. Anyway, as you might know, I have a new team mate in Liz Hunter. We met up at our first race at Bakers and took 3rd so we decided to hook up again and hit the super challenging trails at Quantico Marine Corps Base. This is one of those course that on one hand you love it becuase it will challenge you and your fitness level and on the other hand you hate it because there is climbing at every turn; 1503 ft per lap to be exact. Each lap is about 9.5 miles of pitted downhills and steep climbs.

This time it was Liz's turn to do the first lap and she did what she does best, nice consistent lap times. I on the other hand like to go out and hammer the first lap and try to make the other teams dig deeper than they normally would. I turned in a scorching 51:14 which was good for 10th fastest overall. Now of course, this comes at a price. I know that my lap times would be about 2-3 minutes slower as I went, but this strategy always seems to work for me.

We were in between first and second all day. The cool thing about these enduro races is that you get to chat with the competition and talk about everything, but also get to feel out were they stand and how they feel. The strategy really doesnt come into play until around 4:00 or 5:00. You have to really get your lap times in check and keep track of your competition.

By lap 9, we were ahead by 4 minutes, but the guy from the other team turned in a crazy 56:00 and cut our lead to just 18 seconds by our 10th lap. Of course, your legs are screaming and you are tired at this point. I started to really cramp up on my 4th lap and turned in a respectable 1:00 lap time. So this put us in a real precarious position because we now could possibly end up in third if we werent careful. My last lap was pain squared. I started get those dreaded inner thigh cramps right at mile one; not going to be fun. I really had to focus on not thinking of the cramps that felt like I was being squeezed by a boa constrictor. These can be a little more tolerable on a geared bike, but when you are trying to mash up a hill out of the saddle on the ss, you cant hide the fact that your legs are exploding right underneath you. My goal was to hunt down the first place team and I thought I would have seen her earlier during the lap, but didnt catch her until mile 7. I saw her walking up one of the 11%+ grade climbs. I had to reach and dig deep for some yet untapped power that my body was saving for just such a spot...wasnt there. I struggled up the first of the last 4 climbs and at this point, it was a foot race now. She was tired and I was tired. We would both mount at the apex and hammer as fast as we could, and then at the 3rd climb, she dismounted and there was that reserve power, or maybe that thing they call perseverance through pain thing. I hammered my 32x18 up that freikin' gravel grinder my left leg just stopped working. I had to do some single legged speed work for about 100 yards to recover and didnt see her until the end. Somehow I finished with a decent 1:01. It wasnt enough to take back enough time to regain 1st, but that was what racing is about; hammering through the pain and digging deep when you cant turn the cranks anymore. Luckily Liz held her ground and we finished up in second by a good size margin.

I have to say that was the most exciting race I have been in. Down to the last lap and really pushing when you cant push anymore. Liz is awesome. I am glad that I have had the chance to race with her and we have two podium spots in two attempts. I am really looking forward to hooking up for yet again another chance for that first place spot.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ooops...12 Hours of Quantico Cranky Monkey Race

Tomorrow is the 12 hours of Cranky Monkey; anything else to say, well I will be doing another duo co-ed with my Bakers Dozen teammate, Liz. I didnt race last year due to body malfunctions and such. The year before, Will Hunt and I won the 2 male open. The year before we finished 2nd.

I havent been on the mountain bike since may. I think I will do great. Oh, this is a mountain bike race...I forgot. I am a little nervous about this one because of my dirt vacation. I have been riding my road bike, and that counts for something. I am not going to go out and do another 49 minute first lap like 2011-sure. If we average 1:00 per lap, that 12 laps and good enough for a
top 3.

Anyway, this will be short just because I have some shopping and sleep to be doing.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Friends...Same people

Yes, my title is makes sense. Even if it doesnt, it is my space to write whatever I want, in the manner I choose to write it; so there...hmmff. This whole life thing can be a really funny, if not hectic and strange at times, but overall pretty funny. I mean, you can meet people over the course of your life that are just random hand shakes or pointless bantering (sounds familiar, eh?). I have had conversations with people for hours and come away with nothing but a headache and nothing gained.

Then you meet people that share some common interests and you may chat a bit, but never really go beyond that until (low, timpani build up TO A CRESCENDO!) BIKES! Yes, bikes. You find yourself talking about bass lines and drum beats and you find out that bikes, not just any bikes, single speed bikes becomes a common bond.

Ryan is one of the bass players (an excellent bass player) at my church. We sort of talked here and there at times, but nothing to involved. He found out I worked at a bike store and it has blossomed into a great cycling, musician, graphics kinda fun to ride with thing. The best part is, Ryan is buying one of my SS's and is on his way to finding the joys and yes, maybe even a little pain of mountain biking! Yes it is ok to cheer and sing the singlespeed national anthem. Wait, you dont the SSNA? Just check out "New World Order" by Ministry. Thats it. Period.

Anyway, He is super stoked on become an official dirt merchant. Ben was our small group leader and he is also a SS aficionado. We have been riding together a few times in the last week and it has been super cool. His cycling needs and wants are a bit on hold due to buying a house, but he is itching to do some mods to his Redline Monocog.

I really look forward to gettin out with these guys on the dirt and showing them the ways of the Singlespeed Moron. It just goes to show how a seemingly meaningless conversation can lead to something bigger. So get out and ride and meet some new friends that just might be people you have already known.