Monday, November 30, 2009

Credit for the Good Guys

Forgot to post up my justification why the Crank Brothers folks deserve some of your hard earned cycling dollars... well some of us earn it... others just sell t-shirts.

I've been an Eggbeaters guy for a few years now. I never could get Shimano pedals to a tension I liked. I was either stuck in them or popping out. Not a good recipe when you're a hack mountain biker and supposed cross racer. So I tried Eggbeaters... and I was hooked. Fast forward 2.5 cross seasons, 2 editions of 24 Hours of Great Glen (one in a major mud slog), and 3 full seasons of mountain biking. Sadly my precious pedals had loosened up to the point that I was popping out of them a lot. I figured there was no way they were still warranteed, but figured maybe the CB dudes would want to see how they wore out... so I dropped them a line. I got the pretty standard "Send them in and we'll evaluate." Maybe 2 weeks later I get an email saying they had checked them out and they need new springs and a rebuild kit for the seals and bearings. Cost to me: $20. For both I asked? Yes, for both. So about 10 days later I got back a like-new set of pedals with new springs, bearings, seals, grease, and nice and shiny for $20. Those parts wearing out: unfortunate. Crank Bros hooking me up: frickin awesome.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hello, INS... there's this Candian kid I'd like you to look into

Declaring myself healed from my recent calf woes, I decided it was ok to hit the double at Sterling this weekend. I'll cut to the chase and say that the head start they gave this kid was just enough to allow him to (barely) lap me both days thus ending my race (probably mercifully) a lap early. Overall I felt like I rode my bike well, but maybe that's because it's easier to corner at low speeds. I simply just have no power or fitness right now and that's a bad combination. I've also discovered (or more like it was pointed out to me) that I need to take a couple links out of my chain to keep it from bouncing off the way it seems to every race. Ah well... both courses were super fun and you can't beat the Sterling venue. To add to the glory of the weekend, my oldest made a full lap of the course with me in between races. It's fun to see youthful recklessness on display even in a kid who's pretty conservative. He never thought twice about ripping down the off-camber into the stairs full gas with no brakes. His racing age is 10 next year... maybe there's a cub juniors race upcoming...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Long freaking day

Oldest was picked up from school yesterday with a fever of 103.5. Today he got to the point that he was crying from the pain in his right side. After 5 hours in the ER tonight, diagnosis: pneumonia. Let's hope the script we got does quick work on this bugger...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Knock on something...

I'm on day 5 of the comeback plan and all signs are good. Today was the real test since I went for a short run which was the source of the problem originally. The 3 hours of mountain biking over the weekend were a good test too. If I can prevent myself from doing anything stupid, Sterling should be a go. Yay. Oh, and if I'm about to get lapped by anyone, throw some tacks in front of me so I can claim mechanical...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sports Parenting

Since I don't ride my bike right now, but parenting never takes a break, lets visit that topic for a second. More and more all the time I'm finding out how hard it is to strike a balance on how hard to push the boys on certain things. Most of our kids activities are sports-related so let's go with that. On the one hand, I refuse to be the beauty pagent mom. I said this to my wife the other day and she got it immediately. There's some useless TV show on MTV or some other crap channel about people dressing their 3 year olds up like little toy dolls and parading them around the country to beauty pagents. These people are dumping 10's of thousands of dollars on coaches and outfits and makeup and all this other bullshit for a 3 year old who is crying that they don't want to do it and doesn't have 2 minutes to sit and play with a ball. If I ever become that parent, shoot me. On the other end of the spectrum you've got the "obesity epidemic" and the generation of professional video game players. Now I remember being a Super Mario shark at one point in my life, but it was typically to unwind from the 3 hours of pond skating. If I ever give in to my boys' preference for watching TV and playing Wii, shoot me for that too. But in between those two is a pretty big frickin range. Do I bring my kid to the AAU tryout because he's got genuine talent even though he says he's not sure if he wants to? Do I let them hone their NHL 2K10 skills for a couple months since they just came off 3 months of football? I'm not sure that I have or will ever have the perfect answer. Maybe I hire the professional beauty coach and tell them they're fired the first time my kid cries. Who knows... it's as much about creating opportunities and preventing the "Man, I wish I had..." as it is letting them be kids and just grow up when it's time to grow up and not when I say they should. Remind me why I signed up for this gig?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

CX Nats Bike Transport

If you're heading to Nationals this year and want to take advantage of a sweet hookup on getting your bike there, go to this link. I don't know what airline fees are these days, but what I do know is that Ron's not going to unpack your bike to make sure it's not a bomb, slam everything back into the case wrong, and then jump on the box to close it. Having your bike show up at the race venue and then back near your house afterwards is pro. And you want to be pro like this guy. Admit it... you do.

If you don't know how to get in touch with Ron let me know and I can hook you up with the digits...

Friday, November 06, 2009

When Cross Seasons Go Bad

I went into this cross season with high expectations. Really high. Maybe too high. I had been pretty focused for over a year and had seen reasonable results last season. I did the 4 a.m.'s that I had to do while I finished up school just to get any training in. I did some races on the roads and did ok... even brought home a few bucks and a beer t-shirt in primes. I hit it HARD at Great Glen and that went far better than ok. I took a break to recover and then started to ramp it up again. And then it was time to race. My master plan was working beautifully. And then it wasn't...

First I sucked, but I figured I was still a little dead from GG.
Then I sucked again, but I was doing it on 3 hours sleep so it was my own fault.
Then it started to get hard to get in workouts.
Then I drove really far to suck. And crash. And suck again (fortunately no link to that DNF).
Then it was still hard to do workouts and my motivation to get up at 4 a.m. had been used up.
Then I finally thought I had my shit together and my bike decided it didn't.
And then I basically said eff it and gave up the ghost on attempting to train.
So then I went and played in the mud and didn't care how it went.
And then I hurt myself.
And here we are.

Back in the beginning I cared a lot and I was really irritated that it wasn't going well. I think the most irritating part was that after the first two races, I didn't have a traceable reason for why it was quite as bad as it was. Guys I've competed with in the past, even this year, were kicking the crap out of me. My workouts were off, but not that far off. Unfortunately I also started to notice the motivation to train going downhill. Most times I should have gotten up early to ride, I just opted for the snooze. Hit the trainer late after football practice... no thanks. So by the time Providence rolled around, I really had it in my head that that would be the last straw. I'd either kill it and get my arse in gear or it would suck and I'd just pull the plug to avoid making me hate my bike. We know by now what the outcome was.

So am I bitter/disappointed/angry/happy? I dunno. Call it accepting. I chose to just give it up for this season rather than fight a battle the whole time with wanting to do well, but not getting there for a lot of reasons. I could have chosen to get up at 4 every day... it just wasn't in me. I'm still registered for Sterling and I'll still go even if it's just to shoot the shit on the line and tell jokes at the back of the pack. This of course assumes I get my calf figured out which isn't proving to be so easy. I may also hit up a small race or two if I've got nothing going on and it's not a miserable day. As far as working for results though, I think I'll just save that for spring.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Things I shouldn't have done

Rewind to last Sunday... I went out for what was supposed to be an hour run with my neighbor. In a random coincidence, the guy who moved in next to me about 6 years ago also went to a division 3 college, ran track and cross country, did most of the same track events as me, and had similar PR's to mine. It works out great when the two of us decide not to be fat and lazy and go out for a run. Anywho... we head out and after about 10 minutes my left calf starts to feel kinda tight for no reason. A few mintes later I stopped to stretch it. A few minutes after that, it's getting so tight that I have to stop. I had to turn around and walk back to the car the way we came, sort of limping the whole way. The next couple days were miserable. My left calf was really tight and I could feel an area that felt like it was all twisted up. I took it easy all week and got well hydrated. Friday it felt good enough to try and play hockey. Skating isn't really calf intensive, but I was able to go full speed and forget all about it. I declared myself healed.

Yesterday, the running club put on a great little event called Busa's Bushwhack. It's a "tribute" event to a guy in our club who's famous, at least in the odd circle of trail running. He turned 80 on Saturday. He still does random insane crap like 50 mile trail races. He's a machine and super nice guy. I volunteered to help out and, since I had declared myself healed, I figured I could run the short version of the race. I spent 90 minutes on parking duty beforehand which was insanity because we had a record crowd that strained the school we were at. As I was flying around trying to find places to put cars, I could feel that the calf maybe wasn't better after all and I was questioning whether I should run. But I've been running for like 22 years or something... this is second nature to me... what could possibly go wrong? Now if you jumped ahead and looked at the results back when you clicked that linky thing, you may have noticed that I finished 4th. What? Go wrong you say? Well did you ever hear the term "Winning ugly"? Yah, it was kinda like that. Within the 1st quarter mile I was sure I should stop because my calf told me to. But who am I to listen to one lowly muscle even if it is a sort of important one? I kept going and there was something about the uneven nature of the trails that seemed to take the strain off a little. Once I got really warm, it sort of felt mostly good so of course that meant I could speed up. Because if the pain goes away once you warm up that means it's fine right? Well, skipping the blow-by-blow, I pulled of a big negative split (first mile was 7:30, pace for race was 7:02) and finished very respectably. And then I started to cool down. And then my calf got back at me for not listening. By last night, I was limping heavily. My left calf is so tight and inflamed that if you try to poke it with your finger, it feels like poking a very firm grapefruit. And from a distance, it looks like someone implanted said grapefruit into my leg giving the impression that I'm quite jacked which isn't a bad thing except for the excruciating pain that seems to be going along with it.

So I'm a moron. I feel like a weekend warrior which I hate because it implies that I suck and I just convince myself once a week that I don't before remembering the next day that I do. Not quite sure how long this gift is going to keep on giving, but there's a pretty good chance I won't be doing anything next weekend. Unless of course I convince myself that I can.