Transcendence

Most people do crazy stuff when they turn 40 - the classic midlife crisis type affair. There's buying a snazzy new car (does a 4WD Merce...

Jun 24, 2010

Bike Packing or a great way to explore new trails

So last year Nick did the Colorado Trail Race with one of his friends. All the way from Denver to Durango (minus the wilderness areas) - unsupported, carrying everything. Since that trip, Nick's been very interested in doing a few more bike-packing excursions. He's been getting the gear we need all winter, from the backpacks, to lightweight sleeping bags, lightweight thermarests, a bar bag and seat bag for him, and rain gear. The only thing we've been missing has been a weekend to actually get up into the mountains and go for a ride! So even though I was feeling a little beat up from the South East Championships, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather last weekend and try it out. The orignial plan was to ride the Ring the Peak trail, but we decided to just ride up Gold Camp road and see where we would end up come darkness, camp then ride home the next day

Jun 21, 2010

Xterra South East Championship 2010

It was a hot (95) and humid (90%) day at Oak Mountain State Park for the Xterra South East Championships. The victor of the day (besides the weather) was Shonny V, posting a blazing fast bike and run on her way to finishing in 2:38:02. She placed 6th overall in the race! Melanie was 2nd in 2:42:05, Lesley took third in 2:46:28 while Renata held off Emma to finish 4th and 5th (2:49:41 and 2:49:57.) I once again finished 8th with a 3:02:19 (out of 8 starters), but feel much better about the race and my ability to handle the conditions. I had a solid swim in the balmy water, a decent bike and was able to make up ground on the AG men around me on the run. There's still work to do, but I took some of the lessons from Waco and applied them to this race with good success.

Jun 19, 2010

Bike Packing!

I haven't gotten the race report from Alabama written yet. Working on, but it won't get up until next week. This is shaping up to be a busy weekend. Nick and I are finally getting a chance to get up into the mountains. We are going to go bike packing the weekend. He's been wanting to do this since the Colorado Trail Race last year. Nick has a bar bag and a big seat back for the tent and such. I've got my back pack already loaded with food, sleeping bag, thermarest and warm clothes. We are going to head up Gold Camp after I get home from work. Should be a fun weekend! I've never done anything like this, so it will be an adventure.

Jun 18, 2010

Joining with 24 Hours in the Sage for Operation Rebound!

I am excited to announce that I have partnered with the 24 Hours in the Sage mountain bike race to help raise money for Operation Rebound. Operation Rebound will be one of offical charities for the 24 Hours in the Sage, with a portion of the proceed going to help disabled veterans regain their lives through sports. This is a great opportunity to expand awareness of what Operation Rebound provides to wounded Veterans. It will also allow fellow racers to feel as they have contributed through their own fundraising efforts. I will have awards for the teams in each catagory who raise the most money for Operation Rebound. All racers will be able to partipate and "race for a reason!" Visit http://www.24hoursinthesage.com/ for information about this classic Colorado race and Operation Rebound to learn more and make a donation.

Jun 16, 2010

More Random travel thoughts

After another 1400 miles (went through Tulsa on the way home) stuck in a car, I have a few more random travel tidbits. I'm also very happy I don't have to drive more then 150 miles for a race for a long time!

*Is a Smart Car still smart when it's pulling a trailer? Honest - I saw this on I-40 in eastern OK!
*Do the big 40' RVs come in paint jobs besides brown, green and silver swirls? Saw a few variations, but it seemed that the same designer did all the paint patterns.
*Speaking of RVs, why do so many pull Jeeps? Patriot, Liberity, and a whole lot of Wrangers. Is the crowd driving the RVs really going to go off roading?
*For all you budget consious folks, how about Father's Day Brunch - All you can eat at one of the Flying J Truck Stops in Arkansas!
*How new is the "New Hotel" when the logo is at least three years old and outdated?
*Please, what is a "used office plant" and how can they go on sale?
*The "cop effect" works great - even when you're driving through KS and the car is a big SUV with SD plates!

Except for the deluge in Tulsa, it was an uneventful drive. I was lucky that I was going up to visit my dad, because I-40 through OKC was closed because of rain. Nick called me Monday, wondering where I was and told me that the highway was closed. When I hit the same band of rain in Tulsa, I knew why. There were plenty of little cars at risk for getting stalled in the flood on the streets there.

Jun 14, 2010

'Bama Results

And the final score at the South East Championships was weather - 1, Xterra - 1 and Tracy - 8. Shonny won, finishing in 2:38. I had a good swim, decent bike (kept the rubber side down and had no issues) and a strong run, finishing in 3:02. On such a brutal day, it was athlete against course and heat and humidity. I think that was one of hardest races I've done because of the conditions. Full report once I get home.

Jun 12, 2010

Getting Antsy

This is the hard part, waiting. I was orginally going to head down to the park today for a last easy ride, but with all the events going on, I decided to stay home. There was a road triathlon, kids triathlons, and the Xterra trail runs. With all that, the traffic and cogestion around the park was going to be a crazy place. That meant my plan for the day was to chill out, enjoy the air conditioning at the Scott's house and make sure I stayed hydrated. I started the day watching an interesting program on the history channel about the states - learned a few interesting tidbits about the different states. After that, I found the "Back to the Future" movies. Classic entertainment! It's been years since I've seen the movies - I'd fogotten how silly they were! Just think - in less then five years, we'll have flying cars and everyone will be dressing in tight, neon clothes, with TVs in place of servers at the diners. (Wait - we're triathletes - we do dress in tight, neon clothes!!) It was a good way to spend the day.

Seriously, I really don't like these off days all that much. Before a long distance race it's one thing - I tend to spend most of the day napping. But the shorter, faster races are a different story. I get a little more antsy - energy that should be channeled into the race. There's so many things to thing about - the speed through the transitions, the lines for the technical sections, and being able to run off the bike. In reality, I need to stop thinking about that stuff and just get out there and have a good time.

Jun 11, 2010

Alabama preview

Well, I've been on the bike course three times and the run course once. This is a fun place to play, that's for sure. The first thing that I noticed on the run is that the friendly folks down here don't like switch-backs! They just go straight up and over the hills. And I do mean straight. The run is going to be brutal, that's all I can say. As for the bike - it's a blast. A good mix of everything. There's a rolling, swoopy single track section right off the bat, with a few small rock gardens and plenty of roots. Using the berms off the corners is challenging because there are roots right where you want to ride! After that, you pop out onto a long, sustained double track climb with several water crossings. Some of the steeper sections are also some of the looser sections, so it's not a place to take a break. After topping out on the double track, it's a sharp turn back into the woods for the most technical section of the race - Blood Rock. I was expecting a rock face, but it's actually a series of large rock steps, with the last one having a tight right turn around a stream and a tree. I spent some time on the first two rides on that section, working the lines until I found one that I liked. On the third ride, I was able to clean the whole thing. It might not have been neat, but I was still upright! After Blood Rock, it's a fast rolling downhill to the lake. Then we headed back into the woods for the new part of the trail. It was just added this year, and was more twisting, sweeping single track. I'm happy I was able to spend some good time on the trail. I also rode the last time with a fellow Coloradoan! He rolled up, wanting to know if I knew where the trail started for the ride. Happened to be riding a Yeti - a very Colorado brand. We did the whole loop together, which was much nicer then being out in the woods all alone.

I will mention the swim this time as well. The upper 24 inches of the lake are warm - very warm. But as you're swimming, your fingers (mine at least) are brushing into cooler water. I dove down a few times while swimming today and a few feet below the surface, the water is cool and refreshing. Then as I made my way back to the surface, it's like Prometheus flying next to the sun. I had a good time, diving down to the layer of cold water and swimming for a distance, then surfacing.

Tommorow is chill out and get the Era ready to race. I'm not going down to the park at all - there's a lot of things going on and it will be crazy. I also want to stay out of the heat and humdity

Jun 9, 2010

Random travel thoughts

Some random, sitting in the car for two many hours inspired thoughts. It was a long drive through a lot of different states and I was going a little car-crazy by the end. Getting out and wandering thru Walmart was exciting!

*Trees are good, but they make it harder to see what cheap little hotels are hiding off the interstate!
*Texas would have money for bathrooms at all the picnic areas on the side roads if the rest areas on the interstates weren't so elaborate.
*Everyone drives fast - no matter what state you're in! It's a bad sign when the truck speedlimit is 65, you're doing 75 - and getting passed.
*How many moths do the interstate travelers kill every hour? (I warned you these were random)
*Does a Prius with three bikes on the roof rack, going up Raton Pass at 80 miles an hour into a stiff headwind still get good gas mileage?
*Texas drivers are nice - they pull over into the shoulder to allow you to pass. No wonder they can't figure out how to drive in Colorado - we have no shoulders.
*Driving around a strange city with out of state plates is great - people cut you slack for acting like an idiot.
*Different roads have different trucking companies. Except for Fed-Ex, they are everywhere!
*Speaking of Fed-Ex, why do they aways drive tandem rigs and what do the different companies do? Fed Ex ground, freight, transportation LTL, Custom Critical....
*Oklahoma has a lot of famous people born there - or so the highway signs say. Garth Brooks, Troy Aikmen, Carrie Underwood...
*It doesn't matter what state - the roads are falling apart and in need of repair.
*The reason Colorado drivers are so bad is because they are all from other states!

There were more, those are just a sample of how I entertained myself for 1350 miles through CO, NM, TX, OK, AR, TN, MS, and finally AL!
Pre-ride and run tommorow - get an idea of what the course is like. I learned from Waco - brought my 70oz camelbak and more clothes for riding. I will not get dehydrated before the race this time!

Jun 8, 2010

Long Days in the Car

Well, I'm on my way to Alabama for the third stop on the Xterra America Tour. This is the South East Championships, in Oak Mountain Stat Park outside Pelham. It's one of the established races on the tour, but this is my first trip out there. It's longer drive, which I am not looking forward to, but the cost of flying was crazy. And that was just my ticket! Add in the cost for my bike and driving was more ecinomical. I can also bring more stuff and both bikes. It's just going to be long few days. I'm hoping this race goes better then Waco. My training has been pretty good in the last two weeks, but the sudden jump to summer has been a bit stressful. Great heat training - but no humidity - not the best for sleeping. I was feeling a lot better on the bike by the end of last week. My back seems to be doing better, not hurting like it was. I've gotten some good swim sets in and a few good trail runs. It is hard with the races this close to really train. But that is something I will have to get used to. It's a part of the lifestyle and of racing the tour.

Jun 3, 2010

Ascent Cycling Bear Creek MTB Race

 I wasn't planning on racing this week - I wanted to let my back calm down, get some good training done and start gettting ready for the trip to Pelham. Adam really wanted me to race at the MSC Chile Challenge at Angel Fire this weekend. I didn't want to take the time off (it really hurts to miss a day of work when you only work two a week) and Nick had already commited to the 24 Hours of E-Rock with his co-workers. The Ascent Cycling Series Bear Creek race seemed like a good comprise between not racing and Angel Fire. I had raced the series back in 2008 and although it was small then, there was some stiff competition. I knew the series had expanded and there were more racers participating then before.

This was the second race in the Ascent Cycling Series here in Colorado Springs. The first race was while I was in Waco, at Palmer Park. The Pro/Cat 1 women were in the 6:00 start group, behind the Pro men, SS men, Cat 1 men and the Cat 2 men. When I rolled up and saw the mass of riders starting in front of us (the four women and Cat 2 50+ men were the last group), I knew that the race would be dictated by passing ability as much as by fitness. The start would also be critical as we were dumped into the narrow singletrack within seconds of leaving the line.

The Pro men were off in a cloud of dust. Four minutes later, our small group started with our own dust cloud. My start was a little sloppy, but I got a decent position at the start of the single track. My goal for the race was to work on my passing skills, test how long my back would last and not get lapped by the Pro men. I didn't meet all my goals, but it was a good race. (I did get lapped, despite the longer course - but it was only by a few guys this time!) I got a lot of good practice passing other racers (and being passed) on tight singletrack and I was able to watch a few of the other women making passes. I really still have a lot to learn about getting around people after watching how smoothly the two WOMBA racers ahead of me made the passing look. But I felt more comfortable then I have in the past, so my skills are improving. I also made it about 2/3 of the race before my back started tightening up and hurting. This time, I was able to back off the pace just a little, spin easier gears and keep the pain from getting worse. That's even better, because at Chalk Creek and Waco, even when I backed off, my back just kept getting worse and worse. I finished in third out of the four women, dusty and tired. It was good race and I'm happy I decided to participate

Jun 2, 2010

Xterra South Central Championships Race Report

On the first trip to Cameron Park in Waco, TX, Renata captured the women’s Xterra South Central Title in 2:17:29. She held Shonny off on the run, with Melanie finishing third, Emma in fourth and Christine hanging on to fifth. The fourth, fifth and sixth place women were really close at the finish, with only 26 seconds separating them! I wish I could say I was in the mix with the rest of the women, but after a nasty crash and bad mechanical on the bike, I was happy to be able to finish! I ended up eighth pro women – out of eight – and ninth woman overall. But despite my poor performance, the race itself was a blast and I’m happy that I made the trek to Waco. Even the bad races are good learning experiences at this stage in the game.