Monday, June 19, 2017

Creeping Along

No race this past weekend.  My grass at the house is knee high so it may have been a good time to stay home.  Still went to Jax Saturday to see my mom so I got my interstate time in anyway.  Funny how going to a race the drive doesn't seem so bad but a trip like that?  Not so much fun.

So I attempted to get my training scheduled for Saturday in on Friday.  Not really the same thing as I was still tired from Thursday but it's fun to ride on Fridays, good way to end the week.  I still think I could do more training without getting into trouble.


Sunday was a group ride on MTBs through town and down to trails on the south side.  The "ride" quickly turned into a race once we hit the single track (at least for me).  It's fun to go that hard, I miss group MTB rides, gets me into uncomfortable pretty quick.  Pizza and brews followed.  I went home and took a nap.   Then attacked the yard, that was way harder than any ride.

SERC and GSC

Points are up.  I'm in first in GSC and two points out of first in SERC.  With a Saturday short track the day before the Helen XC race I'll have two opportunities to reel him in.  Sadly there's only the two of us in the 60+ class still eligible for year end awards.  When you get this age it becomes a little more difficult to stay healthy for a whole series.


That brings me to a topic I've been dwelling on since the first race in Macon.  Yes, once again, it's the subject of my choice of race class.  There seems to be a general consensus that I may be cherry picking the 60+ base class.  I'll admit the competition has not been the level I enjoyed in Florida.  It looks like the 50+ base would have been a fun group to race with but I didn't know that back in March.  It's funny, most of the people who are sharing their opinion haven't raced a series in years.

Look, I'm doing the work.  Training between 8-11 hours per week.  When talking to the other riders in my class I get the distinct impression they're not putting in any where near that kind of time.  I'm sure when I get to Nationals I'll run into 60+ guys who have been racing expert class for years.  I just don't know of any around here.


Anyhoo, I'm going to (hopefully) collect my trophies and swag for winning the championship(s).  I'll hang the plaques in my study and in the years to come I'll look back and remember what a great time I had; CHERRY PICKING THE 60+ BASE CLASS!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Best Race in a While

SERC make up and GSC #4 (?).  Acworth Ga., short track (ST)Saturday pm with the cross country (XC) Sunday am.

Racing two weekends in a row, you'd think it would get old, but I found myself looking forward to this past weekend.  It was a family affair again, I'm so glad The Kid still enjoys going with the old people.  We left Beautiful Downtown Havana early so we could stop by Atlanta Cycling to cash in our $150.00 worth of gift cards, prizes from our (so far) successful series.  We arrived at the venue in time to make a practice lap of the XC course and a lap of the ST.  The XC trail was tight and bumpy, lots of roots with a couple of rock features to keep you on your toes.  The ST was mostly two track with a section of tight single track thrown in.  Both pretty fun.

Short Track


The yellow wave went off first in the ST.  The Kid had a good ride with first in his class.  I lined up with the rest of the white wave.  Some kids and younger girls were lined up on the front row, I have no idea why.  I led the wave until the single track where I let a couple go by me.  My class competition was way behind me.  I had a great race with the 50+ base guys, out sprinting one of them for 4 overall.  ST's are fun.  I won my class and put another point up on my rival (DD).  No rain was forecast for Sunday, which is a first time in the last two races.

Chili's

Dinner was at our regular race restaurant, Chili's.   We haven't had a bad meal at one yet.  Beer was cold, chips were salty.  I just don't know why people take babies and small children into the bar section of a restaurant.  Of course they surround my table.

Race Day

The Kid went off at 9:30.  He got a good start and was running in the top 3 on the first lap.  He cramped on the last lap but still managed to get 3rd in a field sprint of 5.  IMHO a respectable result in the 19-39 cat 2.  He didn't seem pleased but I don't think he has much to complain about.  I'm super proud of his commitment to racing bikes, I just want him to ENJOY THE PROCESS.


The 60+ class went off at 11:30.  We had 7 lined up, which meant there were a couple of new faces.  I got the holeshot and led going into the woods with one of the new guys rubbing my back wheel on every corner.  I offered to let him by but he declined, it was then I figured out he was a local and knew the trail very well.  After we pulled away from the rest he confirmed it.  I let him by when I pulled over and faked having trouble getting my bottle out.  Once he was in the front the pace slowed enough I could rest.  In the open field at the start/finish I was able to draft him, I stayed on his wheel until we hit the long open straight to the finish.  I coughed loudly to cover my downshift, stood up, and out sprinted him.  What a feeling.  You would have thought I'd won a national.  Damn I was pumped.


Anyhoo, DD finished 5th I think.  I'm not sure what this does to the points in SERC.  I needed 6 to tie him.  We'll see.  In the GSC this should give me the series, provided I finish Helen.  We got $80 worth of gift cards to Atlanta Cycling, so guess where we stopped on the way home.



I can't believe the two series are almost over.  From racing Macon in the snow to burning up in Atlanta it's been an experience.  I really thought I'd have trouble doing well, even in the base class.  I've worked hard trying to get my fitness back after THE CRASH and it's starting to pay off.   I've enjoyed every event and even grown to like the traveling (maybe not the trip home on Sunday).  Not having to do the extra lap in the sport class makes a difference on Monday.  Base class is fun!


I go into the last round in Helen one point down on DD in the SERC series and in the lead in the GSC.  There's another ST on Saturday before the XC on Sunday.  I have a pretty good shot at winning both.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bump and Whine

Bump and Grind mountain bike race at Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham Al.  This past weekend.  It was, well, different.

Normally Gone Riding promotes the races in this series but they only scored this one.  The local club did everything else.  And it showed.  Let me explain.

We arrived Saturday at 1 pm.  Parking was weird with half the paved lot roped off for no apparent reason.  We set up in a soggy ditch across the road and set out to find sign up.  We being The Lovely Wife, The Kid, and myself.

At sign up I was informed I needed to choose between Cat 2 or Cat 3 for the race.  Now for the series I am in Cat 3, which was only running 9 miles, as opposed to Cat 2 which was going the whole 21 miles.  No laps, just one big loop.  Hmmmmm.  The forecast called for strong thunderstorms that night and on into the next day.  So I could take a chance and ride the 21 miles or play it safe for the points and go 9.  Again, weird.  They told me I had till in the morning to decide.

Practice Lap

"Where do we pick up the 21 mile loop?" I asked.

"Well you go down here to Froggy Back and climb up Mr. Toad, then take a left on Pretty Pony" the guy from BUMP told me.

"Huh?"

So we rode up a road for a mile, figured that wasn't right, went back to ask again, got the same BS, found a rider who showed us what he thought was the trail, and promptly ran into BL and EP coming back from being lost.

I finally found the 9 mile loop while The Kid went to ride the whole 21.  I decided to just do the 9, which turned out to be a smart move.

Race Day


Muggy, cloudy, with rain in the area, but not raining when we got to the race.  My class started with the 50+ at 9:00.  It was actually sunny and the conditions were perfect.  I started out in front but got passed on the 1 mile road climb.  With both the guys in my class way off the back I politely let the 5 50+ guys go into the single track ahead of me.  I really don't know what I was thinking as they were scoring us separate.  Needless to say the last 3 were slower than me, so it took some time to get around them.  My bad.  I finished right behind second place in 50+, BL caught and passed me, sigh.

I won the 60+, my competition for SERC didn't show up so it worked like it was supposed to.  The Kid lined up for his race with 17 others.  As soon as the whistle blew it started to rain and it rained for 2 hours.

Bump didn't call for podiums, at least not that BL and I heard, so we missed them.  They gave us our medals and a gift card, but still, it was not well organized.


The Kid had a great race for second.  I was sooooo glad I had run the morning race.  Since THE CRASH I'm intimidated by slick trail.


All in all not a bad weekend.  The Kid was pumped with his performance, especially under those conditions.  They finally did his podium at 3:15 and we hit the road, getting home around 9:30.  I am once again thankful to be able to do these races.  We go again this coming weekend.  I am smiling.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Is It Possible?


That I'm being selfish?  Me?  Naaaaw, not possible.  For example; everyone (almost) took off for the beach or the mountains last weekend.  What did I do?  Rode my bike.  Oh, and worked in the yard.

Co workers ask, "did you do anything special this weekend?"  I did take the Lovely Wife out to eat Saturday night.  That has to count.

We traveled the weekend before last (bike race), and will travel the next two weekends (you guessed it, bike races).

Some More Stuff About Me

Four years ago in 2013 I ran the 50+ sport class in the GSC.  Getting 4th place and missing out on a year end podium by 3 points.  For some unknown reason in 2014 I promoted myself to 50+ expert for the next season, ran the first race in the rain, dropped out, and haven't done a series till this year.  That was the year The kid was a senior in high school so I decided to just ride with all the stuff he had going on.  In 2015 I rode the Tallahassee FSC race in the 50+expert and got almost dead last.  And of course while training for the CX season I had THE CRASH.  2016 was spent trying to put myself back together.

Speaking of back together, I find myself losing muscle mass rather quickly this past year.  My weight isn't up, my waistline is a little smaller, but I have more flab.  I can lift the same or more weight at the gym so strength isn't declining (much).  I just need to eat less, or drink less beer.  Well, let's not get too crazy.


Anyhoo, here we are.  I'm thinking maybe I should have run sport this year to get in better shape for Nationals in July.  But that's all in the past.  I really did think the competition would be tougher than it has been.  It's a little weird a base rider doing Nats.  Aw hell, no one cares.

Upcoming

Bump and Grind is this weekend.  Big race, an A race for me.  Nervous?  Why yes I am.  Do I expect to win?  Yes I do.  At least the SERC class.

Next weekend is the GSC/SERC north of Atlanta.  New trail.  I am much excited about this one.

Then it's on to Helen Ga. and the grand finale.  Short track on Saturday and XC on Sunday.  Big climbs, big weekend.  Followed by Nationals in West Virginia two weeks later.

I have done the prescribed work, maybe had too many beers, maybe eaten a little too much, but I've put in the work.  We'll see.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Day After

Since I have no one here to tell race stories to you'll just have to do.

The day after a race weekend is usually kind of a let down.  It's hard to concentrate on work after being immersed in bike racing all weekend.  On the long drive home from Chattanooga Tn. last night I was dreading another drive to the next race.  Now I find myself looking forward to.  Sick.

SERC #5?

I think it's race 5, anyhoo.  Nature Park Trails in Chattanooga Tn., right next to the 200 acre Volkswagen plant.  A system of machine built goodness through hilly hardwood forest.  Trail was a rock base built along the contours.  Plenty of flow, no crazy obstacles.

The Lovely Wife, The Kid, and I started the 6 hour drive Saturday morning.  The forecast was for a 100% chance of rain Sunday.  I'll admit I had severe reservations about riding a trail I'd never seen, in the mountains, in a driving rain.  After the BIG CRASH I'm a big wimp when it comes to riding slick stuff.  But I want to do the series even though the chances of success are slim.  

We arrived at the park to sunny skies at around 3 on Saturday afternoon.  The Kid and I had decided to ride 2 laps since we might not get the chance to enjoy the course the next day.  It started with a 1 mile paved road climb then ducked onto the single track.  It was dry with small pebbles on the outside of the turns that kept things interesting.  No really long climbs except the paved road, and some screaming fast sections.  Sooo much fun.  If we were going to race in the rain this was the perfect course for it.

We have found Chili's to be our go to restaurant when on the road racing.  Yea I know it's a chain and not that "cool" but we have had good food and service at everyone we visited.  The Kid will eat the chips, and The Lovely Wife and I had steaks.  I, of course, had my obligatory pre race beer.  We retired to a very nice Holiday Inn Express and watched motocross while it stormed outside.

I refused to look at the radar the next morning.  It at least wasn't thundering.  In fact it was only sprinkling as we loaded the bikes.  We had dodged a bullet.  It didn't rain all day.  Sweet!

The Race



The Kid raced in the morning, 19-30 cat 2.  He was running with the top 3 when he cramped.  The guy that has been crushing his class set the fastest lap of anyone (including all the cat 1's), then flatted.  It was all set up for The Kid to win but it was not to be.  While he jumped around trying to get the cramp to let go an unidentified oriental man appeared out of the woods and offered to help.  He first said "no speak english" then began to help stretch the offending leg.  The Kid called him his trail spirit after finishing 5th.  Weird huh?

There were only 3 of us in the 60+ class, sad.  Let me get this out of the way, I do feel like I'm cherry picking this class.  Yes, it is a cat 3 class and yes I was a cat 1 before THE CRASH (a back of the pack cat 1).  I raced this class in the FSC and never won.  I can't help it if the competition isn't as strong in the GSC or the SERC.  Can I?

The Start


I locked out the suspension and stood on the pedals as the whistle blew.  I never saw the other guys again.  That's not to say I didn't get to race with someone, there's always the juniors that start on the row behind us.  Those kids go out like a wildfire, and cool off just as quickly.  I caught 4 of the 50+ base that start in front of us.  I was in some kind of traffic the whole 2 laps.  It slows me down because I don't want to get in the way of the juniors race and I had a big gap on my class.  In the end I won by 9 minutes.  So far I have won all the GSC and all the SERC.  The problem is Gone Riding gave a 15 point bonus just for attending the second round and I didn't go.  Dumb.  So I'm currently 6 points out of first with not much hope of getting them back, even if I win everything.  On the plus side I'm ahead in the GSC, so I've got that goin for me.


Looking Back

It was a great weekend.  I never would have gone if I hadn't been running a series.  I got to spend the weekend with my family.  I'll be sad when I got too old to do this stuff.  Next race is Bump and Grind up near Birmingham Al.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Addiction

I freely admit it, I am addicted.  Really have been most of my life.  It started when I was 11, the urge, the almost impossible-to- resist pull of it.

I remember wanting it so bad.  My friends were into it.  When I first got on it my parents told me the things I shouldn't do, and of course, those were the things I did first.

My mom and dad financed the addiction at first, but I had to do odd jobs to get the extras.  Paint houses, clean my dad's office, mow the yard.  But the more I did the more I wanted.  Soon I was dipping ice cream at the mall to be able to afford it.  Then cleaning up wrecked semi trailers full of stuff at a salvage warehouse.  My high school friends ( not really friends but you know) were going to football games, surfing, and doing regular stuff.  Every week I lived for Friday so I could get out and feed the monkey.

My dad said "son if we'd of known how it would turn out like this we never would have gotten you started".  He always wanted me to play golf.  Golf didn't even begin to scratch the itch I had.


College and Marriage

I did manage to get out from under it for a few years.  But it was always there just under the surface.  I tried to be normal.  I took up hunting again.  But as soon as I got a little extra cash I went to my nearest dealer.  Before I knew it I was back into it again, only bigger this time.

I drove 2 hours one way just to be with others who shared my problem.  Even changed jobs to be closer to the action.  Even traveled out west with it.  It has left me unable to enjoy regular travel since then.








The Kid

After he was born I introduced him to it at a young age.  And now he's showing the tell tale signs of the disease.


And Now

So I'm 61 and still addicted.  This disease has hurt me, even put me in the hospital, but yet I go back.  I plan my week, even my year, on being able to feed it.

On the positive side, I've met most of the friends I have because of it.  I have changed the delivery system over the past 6 years but that seems to have made it even worse.



Of course I'm talking about my addiction to two wheels.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Just For Me

Quick Recap


September 2016 was the last post on this blog.  Nobody blogs anymore.  Kinda sad really.  I found I miss this.  I'll be doing this for me, don't care if anyone else is interested.  No posting on FB or anything like that.

Let's see, back in September of last year it had been one year since I exploded my hip.  The hip is finally getting to the point I can put real pressure on it weekly without limping for the next few days. This past week has been the first whole week without some form of pain.  Muscle wise the right leg is still quite a bit smaller than the left but now that I can work it harder maybe it will catch up.


I joined a new gym and finally got some good instruction on squats that has made a difference.  I still only run on the treadmill for 5 minutes during warm up but even that seems to be getting easier.  I'm using the OMTP (old man training plan) that I have used for the past 5 years for the cycling.  It may not push me as hard as other plans but it has kept me healthy if not any faster.

Speaking of faster.  I'm not.  In fact I seem to be getting slower.  The heart rate is there but the pressure on the pedals just doesn't equate to forward motion.  Sure, I'm winning the 60+ class so far but I worry I may be facing the inevitable decline of being 61.


Should I Care?

I really enjoy the races.  I am just thankful that I can do what I can do.  If the crash taught me anything it's that life is a moment to moment thing.  It's a shame you have to get old to appreciate that. 

I'll admit to being gun shy on tricky sections while riding, especially if it's wet. If you do what
I did 19 months ago you never forget it.  At least I won't.

So I'll answer my own question.  No, I should just be glad to be doing what I do.  I am very fortunate (just not very fast).

The Kid

Will be a senior at UF after this summer.  Hard to believe.  He's letting his hair grow out.  He's doing well in school.  He doesn't realize how good he has it.  Did any of us at that age?


I'd like him to enjoy the cycling for what it is.  A hobby.  Something to look forward to doing regardless of the outcome.  Easy for me to say.

Ah, I Feel Better Already

At the race in Ft. Yargo last weekend, while warming up, I came across an old cemetery back in the woods.  The contrast between that scene and the start of the races just down the hill made me pause. We should work to enjoy as much of this time as we have, after all, it's always later than we think.