Friday, August 28, 2009

Someone is getting old

And it's not just me. Today my middle boy turns 7. At some point it appears that I became a full-fledged grownup with an 8, 7, and 4 year old. The time has truly flown by. Birthday boy really does make me proud (as they all do)... kid has a heart of gold and is a total prankster all at the same time. He's also about the most photogenic person I've ever met... period. Our prediction is that he'll be that guy who somehow convinces the ladies to ask him out before they know what hit them. The other day he told me he's going to Boston College some day to play basketball... I told him I'd be deliriously happy if he did and make sure to get me tickets. Happy birthday kid!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Insert Cross Race Report Here

I think I was supposed to have contributed to the blogosphere overload last night as the cross season got up and running again. Unfortunately the efforts of that first race coupled with lots and lots of time spent wrangling some energetic children this weekend meant I was good for nothing other than watching the track and field worlds and drinking a glass of wine.

So the ultra-short review: Eh. I expected and hoped for more and I've found myself trying to decide how much of my disappointment to tone down with the reality that this is not a good course for me and I've done next to nothing in terms of riding in 2 weeks. I think it's that I've reached the point where I've worked hard enough that I just expect more. Got a horrendously non-aggressive start so I was in the hole from the first turn. I ended up beating all but two of the guys I could see, but there were too many that were way out of sight by the end of lap 1. Pretty sure the paper results said I was down 3 minutes to the winner in 11th (out of 25ish). The low point was planting myself into the ground about 45 seconds before the finish because I basically pulled my front wheel out from under myself. Figures I landed right on the elbow and it swelled back up like crazy. Just a new bruise on some not-quite-healed tissue, but enough to be uncomfortable. Still waiting for the full results and the full on Reuter analysis before I make a final judgement, but even without that I can't say I'm thrilled. Oh well, at least I know where I am and how far that puts me from where I want to be.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Proper GG Report

This won't be the ultra long version because if I got going on the what did I wear and when did I take a dump version of the report, we'd be here all day. Instead you get the mid length and fragmented version of the report. Obviously, it's taken me almost two weeks to do this so the super long one never even would have been done. Saddle up...

The race sort of snuck up on both of us. 10 days out I realized it was close. Monday of that week when I emailed Brad about meeting at my house, he said "That's this week?!" or something to that effect. Fortunately we both got our heads in the game, loaded up the truckster, and headed up North. Two funny things from the way up: 1) We saw the biggest moose I've seen in person up along route 16. You knew there was something because there were random cars stopped randomly at random spot on the side of the road. After that, every time we saw a parked car one of us mumbled "Moose" under our breath. Hey, it was funny then. 2) We hit a bit of rain on the last 10 miles into Great Glen and there was a motorcycle in front of us. At first we're like "Sucks to be them." Then when it started to pour we're like "Really sucks to be them, man that chick on the back looks miserable". Then when they got behind a dump truck and had the pouring rain plus the truck spray we just laughed at them. Hey, I find humor in my own misery too.

So when we arrived, Senor Bauer and Pre had scoped out the primo camping spot and we got about setting up the MRC city for the weekend. Grabbed some grub and more firewood in town, drank beers by the fire, called Colin to find out he was thrilled to be in traffic, and then hit the sleeping bags for that last dose of sleep.

Race Day(s):
Race morning was a trip to DnD, scarfing down loads of fat-laden food, riders meeting, and nerves. Did I bring everything? Too late if I didn't. Am I going to self destruct? Hope not. Is Brad going to self destruct and I'll be doing the last 6 hours solo? Man I really hope not. Will I get lucky and have zero mechanicals for the second straight year? That would be super, but I won't hold my breath.

The plan going in was we'd do doubles till the real dark hours, bang out a three pack each so we could sleep for a few minutes, then switch to singles when we were good and wasted at the end. I got the run leg (of course) and set out to be as chill as I could for the first two. Chill+Adreneline of course equals sub 50's (I'll spoil the surprise, I wasn't dropping sub 40's like some guys) and the race was on. I didn't even bother checking the real time results (way cool timing system for bike nerds by the way) for a while because too many things were going to happen, but I was very aware of the fact that through the first 6 or 8 laps we were in a near dead heat with the MRC 4-man team. I thought to myself at one point "If this lasts until midnight or so, we're in trouble because then we're going to start thinking WE MUST BEAT THEM." Fortunately, the boys were riding strong enough that they slowly began to gap us just in time to save us from ourselves.

I checked the results several hours in and found that we were in a fairly tight battle for the podium... sweet! There was even a rumor that we had snuck into first at one point, but it must have been brief because I never saw it. Somehow by the next time I checked after dark the teams in the top 3 had gotten all twisted around, but we were still one of them. The ultimate winners of the 2 man seemingly came out of nowhere, but the results show them as just being consistent the whole time and slowing down very little to not at all at night. By the middle of the night we seemed to be locked in a battle with the Springs for #2 and with the arrival of morning, we seemed to be pulling away... or so we thought. Fast forward to the end of lap 24. Going into it our lead had shrunk to 7 minutes. Brad then proceeded to break his chain and he came into the tent with one of his slower laps asking me "Where are they?" I look up and they are standing right behind him doing the handoff thing... oh crap... gotta go. So now I'm on course for lucky number 13, in a dead tie, and needing to do something special... oh goody. The other variable is that I knew I was riding against "Junior", but I had failed to check whether it was Junior or Senior that had been turning the faster of the laps for them. Heading up through the blueberry patch I started to open a gap and then by the turnaround at the very top by the house, I had maybe 10-15 seconds and the kid was suffering. I kept hammering and looking back regularly waiting to see if I was going to get smoked on the technical stuff, but I never saw him again. Turns out he had been flying early in the race, but the distance took its toll on him. I was ultimately able to send Brad out with a 7 minute gap and crossed my fingers that his Macivered chain held (it did). I got some time to chat with the Springs near the end there and they were really good people. The kid is only 16 so he's going to be one to watch out for in the coming years.

The aftermath:
We had the sweet hookup of a cabin to crash at Sunday night so we broke camp, grabbed some food, got a hot shower, and were in bed by 7. We slept for 13 hours and then got to enjoy a late Monday morning drive home rather than fighting the traffic Sunday while falling asleep.

Other thoughts:
Things went way better than all logic would tell you they should have. We only had one of the top 20 fastest laps in the 2 man division, yet finished second. Brad's average lap time was 58:19 with a low of 46:59 and a high of 1:16. My average was 53:20 with a low of 48:04 and a high of 1:03. Hooray for consistency.

With all due respect to those who put on this unbelievable event, the prize structure is a joke. First place in the 2-man got $250. For second place we each got a medal and the team got one trophy. We had to flip a damn coin to decide who kept the trophy. Clearly I'm not in this for the money or I'd be a poor man. The all-or-nothing payouts though are a bit overboard. Someone was even saying to me, if nothing else, take some of the 50 pairs of socks they raffled off and give them to the 2nd and 3rd place teams. I go through lots of socks... anyways, now I sound like I'm bitching...

Would I do GG again... definitely. Would I do 2-man again... maybe. I say maybe partially because it was just hard, plain and simple. I also say it because there's no way we get that lucky/coordinated again so who even knows what could go wrong. I also told several people during this year's glorious weather that if it ever was going to rain for the duration at GG, I'd just let them keep my entry fee and stay home. That would suck mightily if it rained even a large portion of the time.

Ok... this is probably making you very happy I didn't try for the longer version. I'll stop now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The hookup, take 3

First off: I have a proper GG report in draft right now, but the general level of mayhem has kept me from finishing yet. Maybe tonight...

We had a momentus day at the Tall Guy household yesterday as the youngest (4) buzzed the neighborhood on 2 wheels solo with Dad just standing back and watching. I think the key ingredient was the knee pads I finally found for him to wear... nothing like a little plastic confidence. Being a bright kid and remembering the deal all the boys got from their overly generous dad, he made sure he got his:

Fortunately, I have made it clear that the first one is on me and future bikes will be at least half their own problem. And the half is only if I haven't already spent that money on a bike for myself :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

24 HOGG Report

If drinking 4 gallons of liquid, using half a jar of Eurostyle, and sleeping 1 hour out of 36 is your idea of fun then you may have been at the 24 Hours of Great Glen. Really short race report: 26 laps total, second place men's pair for me and Bad Brad. Except for a broken chain that he fixed in record time, basically everything went right. With 2 laps to go we were in a dead tie with the third place team and managed to ride a strong final 2 to bring it home. We each slept about 12 hours last night. One of the best lines said during the race: "I just rode the plunge like it was my job."

More later...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Adding to my list of never-have-I-evers and being a tough guy vicariously through my kids, I've gotten pulled in to help coach 7&8 year old football. I 58 sweep on 2... ready... break!