Friday, October 04, 2013

Google bought Blogspot and made things difficult for a while. I finally found a way in to update it. After the high price of gas and entry fees and injuries knocked me off my high horse so to speak, I started hiking more and riding less. This year the spider webs were so thick on my mostly unused trails that I had to use a stick to clear the trail every day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hi everyone!

I thought I'd come out of the woods long enough to remind folks to be careful especially if you've had some time off the bike while doing winter activities. For me it was cutting splitting and stacking firewood and hiking frozen or muddy trails instead of riding them.
When you've been off the bike for a while, that first ride feels stiff at first an then as you warm up you feel fresh and inspired and ready for anything and have NO SKILLS at all. I did a perfect illustration of what not to do yesterday evening after work when I was 3/4 of the way through my routine and hit a compression in the trail I'd hit a thousand times before only to have it rip the bars from my hands, pitch me forward into them at the waist and do a dangerous high speed endo onto packed hay field and rubble. As I hit I kicked the bike away from me such that it ended up down the trail instead of on top of me. A slick move that a 20 year old would have been proud of, but at 44 things don't move in odd directions like they used to.... I got lucky not to break a collarbone and get to take a day off from work to let my bruised shoulder and arm try to heal some. At least I didn't buy another expensive helmet. old yeller is fine too. Just derailed both ends.

Moral of the story: don't be in such a hurry to kill yourself on that first early spring ride!

bike nut at large

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ride to live! to ride?

With the demise of the Derailers series I've decided to stop racing. Injuries and burn out have contributed to this decision. I still might show up for MW challenge if they have it and I might show up at Peaksview park this summer since Jerry is going to school a few miles away but I have no plans to ride the gerbal wheel in perpetuity just to lose a few pounds/seconds that never seemed to make a difference anyway. I've shifted back to the hiking, exploring, fishing, foraging, and hunting that I had given up for a time before I started riding due to bad lungs and knees. Ten years out from my decision to get healthy I now weigh about what I did when I started but I'm in much better shape. I quit smoking 9 years ago and that coupled with the outdoor activities allows me to maintain good a good cardiovascular system and better bone bone mass than the bike alone was doing. I still grab my now old yellow fsr and go for a spin but I don't feel the need to push the limits like I used to. It could come back anytime. I still talk about racing often and refer to examples from my experiences in discussions of Jerry's running and training. I may have to sell off some equipment at some point if I find I'm not using it. I've never been good at that. My almost new giant carbon road bike is very dusty now and lacks a saddle since I swiped the old padded wtb one to use on my fsr for more comfort. I never got used to the higher gearing it has with the compact crank setup despite my using mtb gears on the back as some folks noted on the old schwinn super sport. It's spring and I have allergies as usual. Doesn't keep me from going outside.

The bottom line may be that organized training is more stress than I need and the mood to just go for a ride is much more fun.

See my new blog coming soon that better reflects my activities. link to follow

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Retired? or just tired. you finally noticed I wasn't at the races this year. I ran into major trouble in the spring. As happens every year, I developed a real case of allergies that prevented me from trying to make up for the 6 colds I got one after another all winter long. By the time the first race in the new race schedule* rolled around I had a total of 30 minutes on the bike and that resulted in a coughing fit and every other allergic reaction imaginable short of anaphylaxia. I decided I'd hold off rather than go and be in everyone's way and risk hurting myself and others. One thing led to another and I pretty much decided to only do my local race at Waid park which also didn't happen. I found a new problem when I took my road bike out to try to train on the road. The roads had gotten so bad that my bike hunted badly in the ruts. I tried larger tires and it helped a little but I still lacked the control I needed to feel comfortable on the road. I even tried riding my mtb on the road and showed I could still pull pretty good by riding it to Woolwine and back(18 miles 10 cat 3-4 climbs) one evening almost on a whim but grinding out road miles on a 30lb mtb isn't fun. As time rolled on into the summer and I found myself involved in other things besides riding. Mostly hiking in the evening to try to keep some form. Without the regular rigors of daily training rides I gained weight as expected. My skills grew lax but my legs felt okay when I did ride which was about once a week or so as I felt the urge. The Waid park race came and went and I wrestled with the idea of going but decided not to.
I also pursued my shooting hobby which stemmed from the hunting I talked about during the last days of the season last year but I feel that's best left for another blog. I did some mushroom hunting during my hikes but while it was a great year for variety and amounts of shrooms there was a shortage of the edible kind I was after.
It's hard to get racing and cycling completely out of my mind though. I had decided I was retired after I had alot of trouble riding and training last year due to my wrist injury of the previous year. I wasn't really well prepared to ride in the sport clydesdale class I was signed up for and I managed to finish them all but wasn't competitive. My wrist didn't fully recover and my hand and wrist swell when I ride off road. This is the single biggest obstacle I have faced and is still a problem. It's my left hand and I'm left handed. I also enjoy guitar. I was hoping some time off the bike would help which is why I started hiking more, using a walking stick to both excersice my hand and wrist and provide extra balance on trails I used to bomb on my bike. I reversed the course for intensity, hence I hike up the downhill.

Now it's hunting season and I'm wrecking my Achilles trying to sound like a deer by pointing my toes down and tip toeing everywhere. I also get to do quite a bit of isometrics as I hide nearly motionless for hours at a time while trying to keep blood circulating in my feet. I've found the best solution to this is a chair. I have several stationed at key points in my woods.

The road has been "repaved" which means a mostly solid coating of pea gravel and tar has been more or less evenly swept over the myriad of patches that were causing my rutting problems.

New hobbies...check

Am I coming back?... I'm not sure. I am sure there are a few people I miss a bit from those days. If you read this and you think you might be one of those people leave me a reply.

Till next we meet.


*The new schedule adds a race for a total of 6 and splits the schedule up between spring and fall races in order to attempt to avoid the heat that plagued last years events.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Poor Mountain and Stuff

As is normal for this time of year, I'd rather chatter on and on about hunting than riding but I Need to make my final race report for the year.

I Looked at the points race right before I went to PM and found out that due to some mishaps along the way for some of my much faster opponents, I actually had a ghost chance to get third place if Todd forgot what day the race was again. OR flatted...twice...or had a cheeseburger and 3 beers on the way to the race. Stranger things have happened. :P So I packed up and went to the all uphill slugfest. Knowing I had to pace him, I lined up behind him at the start. There was a delay while Dick figured out what time it was and by the time we started I had three different stories going with the crowd around me. I lost track of Todd's Jersey in the mayhem at the mass start and tried in vain not to get pushed into the left lane we are supposed to avoid since it's an open state road. I hadn't ridden in a large peleton in quite a while so I was having trouble pacing and was more than a little wary of some of the novices around me so I kept leaving a bike length hole that somebody always seemed willing to fill. I spotted a Cardinal jersey three rows in front of me and thought I'd get behind the big guy and draft him if possible. The pace seemed a bit faster than usual and I was soon out in the wind and chasing the pack as it pulled away with more riders passing in pursuit. I realized I wouldn't be able to finish and sat up in wonder at Todd's apparent "berzerker" moment. After about 20 more riders filed by I started wondering why I had "lead legs" so early in the race. Then Todd rode up beside me and we exchanged double takes. Turns out I was chasing the wrong Cardinal jersey and was chasing some expert rider instead of my close (close is such a relative term) competitor. This would explain why the pace seemed way too hot but it was too late to recover my legs and I had most of the climb in front of me. I tried to hang with Todd after he passed but I didn't have the leg left. I slowed down and let most of the pack go and started coaching the kids at the back end. At about the mid point I found one of the kids had discovered the challenge of a real hill climb. He was laying motionless on the ground. I called up to him to raise his hand if he was alive. He eventually caught up and passed me. In the end I won a struggle not to be last though there was some discussion between us about going in and making it a tie so no one would be last but I like a ANY level so I stood and sprinted (yes that was my sprint) to the finish from 200m. Jerry got it on memory. Too bad blogger won't upload the picture. I'll try again soon if I think about it.

Turns out I wasn't the only one who crashed out or burned out last year resulting in less than the required training for the longer Clydesdale events. I won't name names but you know who you are you slackers! I already got my FSR frame out and mounted it on the stand so it would nag at me until I start hanging parts on it again. I'm planning to build it with all the heavy stuff from my collection of junk and the armor plating needed to make it more of a freeride bike to train on and just to play on without worrying about how fast it goes. I have some decent Panaracer fire mud monsters to put on it. A few folks may have seen those tires on my bike at a few of the really muddy races back when it would RAIN, whatever that is. Seems like I remember it involving being wet but I may be mistaken.

Keep living, train when you can, and ride when you can't.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nice day

The race at Bedford was the most fun I've had in a race in several years. Even though I didn't place well, I had a ton of fun and felt for the first time in a long time that I was riding somewhere near par. The low humidity made for some really tight races among the classes and I heard a report that the top three in Clydesdale were within a minute or two of each other. The good news for me is that they were only about 20 minutes in front of me after 2 hours of racing. That's only 2 mph or so and I feel that this time next year, with any luck and if my will holds out long enough to get in some winter training time, I'll be averaging 10mph laps again myself. I was riding somewhat conservatively and not taking undo risks. Of course this doesn't win races but I decided that I stand a better chance of climbing back into the ranks if I survive intact and walk stuff I used to ride almost as a challenge to myself by the course designers. The course at Danville is coming along nicely with only a few lumpy fresh cut sections this year and a reasonable distance. It was good to see some of my former competitors and long time riding buddies show up for this one. I actually think Steve is faster now than when he raced me a few years ago in a maddening side by side slug fest up Poor mountain that had us doing the slow crawl for the better part of an hour within a few feet of each other. I paced him for much of the first lap this week before deciding I better shave off a bit more effort in order to have a good second lap. (He really got away but my version sounds better)

After the race some folks may have notice me skipping out during the awards. I STILL had that gift certificate to spend at Bikes unlimited so we headed out a bit early to find the shop. I ended up buying an overpriced All black Live strong Giro Atmos helmet with my winnings to replace my broken Specialized M1. Then I stopped in at Blackwater and of course found an M1 there for 69$. Pfft. I tried the new lid on my road bike today and it fits good and seems to breathe ok.

I'm having software trouble with my digital video importer so I have no pictures at the moment. Hopefully I can get it working before I lose interest.

See you at Poor mountain!

p.s. ed: it was at Bedford not Danville as posted previous. Danville sucked hot hellish wind.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Racing again

It's late andI'm tired but I have time for a quick update.

Jerry is not racing this year because he's concentrating on School varsity track/XC and Honors AP and college classes and is xurrently happy with his parking place in the #9 spot in the school parking lot. He is not happy with a 200 page research paper due this fall. Thats a book not a paper! Recent wins include a team win both boys and girls at the first xc meet and a 4th in class finish at a charity event in Winston Salem. He did some sports reporting for the local stuart paper over the summer but discovered he hates deadlines, picky editors and coaches that don't cough up the info they promise.

quick update: I'm racing again but am a mere shadow of my former self.

MW:I did my best but the heat got to me some in the second lap and I gave up 3 spots. I didn't have 30 days total back on te bike and the new bike wasn't handling good yet either. I'm happy to report that I rode all but the first river crossing and I didn't even try on that one. I was 7th out of 8 Clydesdales. Not great but it's a start. Looking at the times I was actually on my novice(1 lap) pace both laps. The big guys are fierce this year!

Danville: was a horror story told and retold by myself and many others. I nearly passed out a few times, managed to not puke though others did, got really stinky hiding out in polluted streams to stay cool and took 4 hours to go 20 miles in the 100+ degree heat. I was sick and bloated and my brain was not functioning well by the end but my ear for free food picked up on the abundance of uneaten sandwiches and I scored at least 4 of them on my way out. Several were gone when I got home. I was barely not last again...two guys dnf'd. One was due to a taco. Mountainbikers are a tough lot. I was shocked to find that most folks finished but none were happy and Chris was apologetic. I look forword to a shorter there race next year. I must note that Josh Draper dnf'd. better have had three flats or could see bone.

Lynchburg: Kids go back to School...colds come home. Patrick co. went to school a couple weeks before everyone else so they got the colds early. A One hop later and I got a high fever one day before the event. It broke at 7pm and I started drinking gatorade like crazy in hopes ot hydrating well enough to ride. Must have worked because I finished it. I was not however at all interested in racing and just enjoyed the day on what has always been my favorite course and locals.

If anyone gets my cold there is no way you can prove you got it from me since your kids went back to school too. LOL

snot you later.