Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Another One Bites the Dust

It's over for another year.  I'm sad it's done but glad I did it.  I won't do the 60+ next year.  At least right now I'm saying that.  No one to race with makes winning not as fun.  It looks like I caused less guys to come out and ride and not more.

Blake had a stand out year.  Earning the #3 plate for next season in SERC.  Who knows if he'll be around to race the series.  I think he enjoyed it and I hope he carries good memories of us all going to the races together.  I'm lucky to do this with my son, so many fathers don't participate in the sport and just go watch the race.  I know it's not for everybody but I think they are missing out on something.

Short Track

We got to Helen at 2, sign up was slow, the track wasn't well marked, and it started raining at 2:30.  A gully washer as my Mom calls them.  For some reason Dave had my wave going first so I didn't even get to make a practice lap, nor did I get warmed up.  I didn't need the points anyway, in fact I don't know why I signed Blake and I up.  The only rider in my class forgot the start time and didn't even ride.

It was slick and messy, I just rode it for a warm up for the XC.  Blake struggled also.  We felt like it was too wet to make a lap of the XC course so we headed to the lodge.

The Lodge

Unicoi was having some issues that rainy Saturday afternoon.  We couldn't get checked in till 7.  We tried to go to downtown Helen to get a bite to eat.  What a huge mistake that was.  The place was a zoo.  So back to the tavern at the lodge we went.  At least they comped us for the drinks and meal.

Race Day

It was clear and cool when we got up.  Blake and I were glad we had decided to do our practice lap that morning.    It was still slick but not near as bad as the ST yesterday.  Somehow I managed to slip on the first hard climb and bust my ass.  Nothing damaged but my confidence.

Blake's race was stacked with pros getting ready for nationals.  He finished a respectable 9 out of 22.

I rode a good race, easily beating the 2 other riders in my class.  I was disappointed in my leg strength at the top of the steepest climbs.  My second lap was 3 minutes slower than my first.  But it was a fun course.  I lose time on the descents.  I just can't let go of the brakes.  The woods were dark and I was having trouble seeing.  I should practice before next season.

The Banquet

Not a big deal for me.  Blake was pumped for his first podiums in elites.  It was anti climatic as far as my racing was concerned.  I got some stuff.  Once again I was a little sad it was over.

I enjoy the lodge on the Sunday after it's all over.  Most folks are gone and we have the place almost to ourselves.  Blake and I watched UCI races on his lap top then went to the tavern for pizza.  It was a good day.


We leave this Sunday.  Weather looks grim.  I am less than pumped.  I'll be glad to not be doing these again next year.  I know better than to talk to my self like this but it's the place I'm in right now.  I will turn my head around before we go.  It's a lot of money to spend and not enjoy it.

If I can just take it moment by moment and not get caught up in the future thinking I'll be all right.  And sometimes if you expect the worst you end up having a great time.  See, that's the way to think!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Almost There

This is the end, my only friend the end. 

Both SERC and GSC final race is this weekend in Helen Ga.  It starts with a SERC short track Saturday evening with the combined XC race Sunday.  The way Gone Riding runs this is you have to finish this race to complete the season.  That makes it a little sketch.  I am in the lead in both series so all I need to do is finish.  But this is bike racing so I never know what might happen.

That being said I'm looking forward to this weekend.  I'm healthy and in good shape.  I haven't been on my race bike for almost a month due to repairs but I think I can adapt quickly. 

Speaking of those repairs it's gonna cost me $1000.  Add that to me buying a new bike (which I'm glad I did or I wouldn't have been riding this past month), this race, nats, and vacation, and you have a pretty big pile of money going out.  I have managed to sell a couple of bikes but they never bring the money I think they will.  These things are almost disposable, sad.

Then there's Blake's school, plus stuff that needs fixing at the house, not to mention my retirement.  Will it all work out?  We haven't gone hungry yet.


We travel the following week to West Virginia.  I look forward to this with some trepidation.  Fortunately I have a better idea what I'll be up against than I did last year.  I believe I have better leg strength this year, however my tech skills are at about the same level.  I will be more focused on what I can ride and not worry about what I can't.  I will be happy with a top 10, but that will mean shaving 15 minutes off my time from last year.  That's a lofty goal.

Blake is riding three races.  He's in good shape and has a great bike under him.  He will be racing the best in the country.  I'm super proud of him for doing this work.  His diet is going great and he has a good attitude about all this. 


The Lovely Wife has the summer off and is looking for a different job.  

I'm considering doing the Florida XC series.

It will be hard not to follow a training plan for a couple of weeks.

I have a lot of stuff to do around the house after all this racing is over.

My training partner is having surgery to repair his gut.  He'll be out for a while.  I hope he can come back strong.

I'm looking forward to some time at the beach?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Future Dave

This is a note to my future self.  As most of these blogs are.  I get a kick out of  looking back at the past years and to see what I got right and what I missed.  Don't live in the past.  Live in the present.  Still it's cool to take a peek back every now and then.

So Future Dave, you took a look at last years post regarding nationals and the finals at Helen.  In it you said you were surprised to even finish the season due to THE INJURY.  Your confidence was rattled after your sight in lap at nats.  You feel much better about both races this year.

You are in good shape right now.  You didn't work on the tech skills like you were supposed to (no surprise here).  But you have been faithful to the OMTP.  More than in years past.  Just not the skills sets.

The Cannondale suspension has been rebuilt.  This should make a little difference in the rocks.  Please remember to have it serviced on a regular basis to avoid this huge unexpected expense.

This will be the last year for nationals for a few years.  Right now it is a relief.  The extra race at the end of the season, plus training in the heat of a Florida summer, makes it hard to just enjoy the vacation.

You still have misgivings about the 60+ class.  Please give it up.  Just enjoy the events.  It doesn't matter what others think.

Here is what you need to do going forward.  Stay healthy.  Eat less.  Meditate every day.  Keep up the yoga twice a week.  Enjoy the moment you are in right now.  Focus, on every moment, and on the people around you right now.  Do the work but enjoy the process.  Stop trying to control what happens, you can't, you can only control how you react.

Peace out.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


SERC #6, GSC #5  Acworth Ga.

Getting right down to business, the short track on Saturday was fun.  I did the pre ride on the XC course to get warmed up then watched Blake give first place in the yellow (fast) wave away.  He was confused about how many laps they'd run and let the local stay in front going through scoring, planning on passing him on the next lap, which he did, but it was all for nought and he ended up second overall.

I got a poor jump in the white wave (special needs classes) and ended up getting into the woods in fourth, behind two 40+ and two juniors.  The 40 guys pulled away and I settled in behind the kids.  Every time we came through scoring one of the tykes would pull a wheelie, causing mommy and daddy to squeal with delight.  

The race ended with a long gravel road section.  I went wide at the beginning and started the sprint.  I must have caught them by surprise as I got in front of them pretty quick.  From there I just moved over forcing them to back off or run into their cheering section.  There were no wheelies.  I ended up third overall.  There's a lesson here, if you're going to show boat you better be able to back it up.

XC Sunday

Only two of us in the 60+, sad.  I must have burned a match in the ST because neither my legs or my HR were happy about getting warmed up.  I started the race out at a reasonable tempo, managed to put a gap on Stan, then settled in.  I didn't have as much fun as I did at Chattanooga.  I blame it on both the ST and the trail.  Anyhoo, I caught all the 50+ and got into the 3-4 place Clydesdales.  They were having a race so since I had a gap and it was the end of the last lap I just rode behind them.  At least until we hit that same graded road finish.
Damn I make that BC kit look good

Yes I sprinted, yes they beat me, no I didn't cause the crash.  Two Clydesdales can't occupy the same space at the same time, something had to give, and it did.  Nobody was hurt.  I got first.  It was hot.  I had another good weekend.
Crawling toward the finish

Blake got a well deserved second in the Elites after one of the other riders had a mechanical.  He's getting so much stronger.

Looking Back
And then there were just two.  Time to find another class?

It wasn't my best race.  There was a small rock up and over that I didn't even attempt.  I had done it last year.  I even worried about it the night before.  I know better than to let one small part of a race worry me.  I do this for fun and every moment I spend not in a happy place is a wast of time.  In the end I walked it both laps, so did everybody that was around me.  Not really an issue as far as the race goes.  So all that negitive energy for nothing.

Only one more race in both series and that's the final at Helen.  I can't believe it's almost over.  Damn the time goes by fast.  I have certainly enjoyed doing this.  Every year I learn something new that adds to my ability to have fun at this bike racing stuff.

Blake is in the top 3 in both series.  Pretty good for his first year in elites.  I just have to finish Helen and will once again win both GSC and SERC in the 60+.  Once again I'll question my class choice.  I'm thinking about doing the Florida series.  We'll see.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


SERC #6, Nature Trails, Chattanooga Tn. 

 An awesome place to race.  7 miles of sweet single track.  We didn't get to pre ride the course on Saturday since there was another event at the venue.  No matter (at least not to me).

You can always tell an old guy from behind.  Boney arms and all.
We rode at White Oak Mtn. on Saturday, which was another machine built trail system.  Well worth the visit.  I hope to go back again.

But damn I look good from the front :).

Race Day

Only three of us on the line for the XC race Sunday.  As I pushed through the Juniors I heard one of the parents say "60 plus?  They should get a trophy for just showing up."  Ageism at it's best.  I really hate the looks we older riders get, kind of like we're cute for just racing.

Anyhoo, one of the guys in my class was new to the series.  He looked pretty fit so I didn't want to give him a chance to get to the single track ahead of me.  In the OMTP she has me practice a one minute charge from a dead stop, then settle into my cross country pace.  Seemed to work this time as after the one mile paved start the other two were no where in sight when I turned into the woods.

As I started to catch the Clydes I looked behind me and saw New Guy only a few turns back.  Oh yea!  I thought, now we have a race!  He stayed about the same distance back as we started the second lap.  I made a decision to not look at my Garmin and just go as hard as I could stand for the next 3 miles.  Turns out I can stand more than I think.  I ended up beating him by a little over a minute.

I really felt good.  I was able to concentrate on the trail ahead of me (most of the time) and actually race ahead.  Oh sure I got tired, and my legs and back were talking to me, but I was going about as fast as I could for that day.  It certainly helped that I was enjoying the trail.

He keeps rolling the crash dice and he'll come up snake eyes one day.

The Kid

He managed to salvage a 3rd in his class.  A couple of crashes took some of the fun out of it for him.  At the speed those guys are going he's going to have to concentrate more.

Hmmm, short and a beard must make you fast.

Looking Back

The second place guy in my class (went by the handle of Smoke) didn't stay around for podiums, turns out he was a local and rode those trails all the time.  Dave (race organizer) forgot to do our podiums so we staged a sit in.  It may seem a little silly for old men to get a medal and stand on a box but hey, it's all for fun anyway.
Old guys protest being last at podiums.
Once again I'm super fortunate to be able to do this at 62, heck I'm surprised I still want to do this.  But I do, even the training (except for the indoor trainer, I kinda hate that) and the gym work.  I will admit to getting burned out on the gym stuff lately but I just need to mix it up some more and not let those morons get to me.

I'm dropping Bump and Grind this next weekend, it wasn't much fun last year and it looks like I should be okay in SERC.  Then it's Acworth for the GSC and SERC make up, then Helen for the finals in both series.  Followed by nationals in July.  I may even do the Florida series, who knows.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


I was so looking forward to a couple of long MTB rides this past weekend.  Everything was looking good until Friday evening.  As I was finishing up a lap of Root Bug the Cannondale started creaking, bad.  I could feel the top shock mount vibrate every time it moved.  Not a good sign.

So I had to ignore the group texts about rides for Saturday and headed to HG as soon as they opened.  Seems both the bearing and the shock mount were toast.  Of course no one would keep something like that in stock.  Cannondale wasn't open on Saturday so I would have to wait till Tuesday to find out if I was going to be able to race the following weekend in Chattanooga.

Note to self: just go ahead and replace ALL the bearings on the race bike on an annual basis.  On my moto if the top shock mount bearing failed I replaced the bottom also.  Just makes sense.  My suspension needs servicing but that would mean taking the bike out of service for weeks, don't need that here at the end of the season.  So I came up with a solution.

New Bike!

I know it's a rationalization but I really need two MTBs.  After all, most of my friends have two (at least).  So after shopping I settled on a Santa Cruz Tall Boy.  Kind of a mid grade build, nothing fancy.  I can race it if I have to.  Mostly it's for something different and to keep hours off the race bike.  I am selling my road bike and one of Blakes' MTB.  Plus his road bike (I'm keeping the money, he doesn't know this yet) and hope to recoup most of the cost of the new bike.


It looks like the shop will have my race bike ready Friday.  Just in time for me to race it in the rain Sunday.  I really like the trail in Chattanooga, it drains well and is fun.  Blakes' going so it will make for a fun weekend.  Plus we have Monday off!

My fitness is good.  My weight finally started to come back down (I'd still like to lose some more).  I had my bi-annual physical and everything was good except for my cholesterol, which was up just a little.  Not enough for meds but enough for her to scold me about my weekend beers.  

Some things just make life fun though.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Off Weekend

Well not quite.  I still traveled one day to see my mother.  I am tired of looking at the interstate through the windshield.

I managed to get most of my prescribed workouts in last week despite missing all day Sunday.  I was short on total time on the bike by :30 and missed a core workout and a yoga session.  Well when I type it out it looks like I missed a lot.  Those yoga deals (2/ week) are the hardest to make time for.  It's just :20 each so I don't know why I avoid them.

Odd thing, my weight is up, and staying up.  I've started cutting further back on intake but it's not showing on the scales.  Sad, I was planning on losing a couple of pounds before nationals in July.  Now it looks like I'll have to be satisfied with getting back to regular race weight.

Grandpa Shawn

That's what Blake and his friends called him.  He was killed on his bike last week by a distracted driver.  Very sad and very upsetting.  He left behind a wife and 13 year old son.  

Blake rides those roads all the time and it terrifies me.  I've always felt that the punishment for distracted or stupid driving should be harsh if you kill or even injure someone.  From my years of riding a motorcycle on the road I have developed a keen hatred for dumb ass drivers.  Mainly because if they were to hit me I would have come out on the losing end, much like a cyclist.

Bicycles have even less of a chance than motorcycles.  They are very slow, very small, skinny tires, no power, and for some reason some drivers think they have the right to disobey traffic laws when it comes to bikes.

I'm not really sure that harsher punishment would change things, look at drunk driving.  

Anyhoo, my road bike is for sale.

God speed Shawn.

Happier Days

This weekend I plan to be at home the whole weekend!  The weather looks questionable but hey, there's always Munson.

I've been fantasizing about a camper van for racing and eventually retirement.  Kinda cliche huh?  They are damn sure expensive but I'm intrigued.  Winnebago Travato 59g (I think) is what looks like the best deal for the money.  The Lovely Wife doesn't seem as pumped as I am though.

Blake is staying in Gainesville for the summer.  That's the hottest place in the state this time of year.  

Got some blood work done this week for my physical next week.  I feel great and I'm very healthy, still, I worry they might find something.  I haven't had one in a couple of years.  Wish me luck.