Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dipping my toes in...

Yes, today I actually did an XC race (gasp). Its been four years since I've actually done one of these, but it wasn't QUITE as bad as I was anticipating. I mean, I did cross the finish line in one piece and my respiratory system was fully functional, so that must count for something. Back in my day, I used to be pretty good at these, but my body has since fallen accustomed to the more slack intensity level of an endurance mountain biker and adventure racer. Needless to say, I was really bummed when I wasn't able to stop and look at the map midway through my race, and I didn't get to eat any of my yummy AR treats like Skittles, burritos, and PB&J.

I opted to race in the Men's Sport Class, as I still have an International license, which is a big $150 to renew, and if I downgrade to expert (which is still $60) USA Cycling wanted to charge me a downgrade fee. Ugh.. Since I couldn't race expert on a one day license, the only option was to race with the boys in Sport. They were still really fast and I got pretty much the same experience I would have had in the Pro/Expert Class, for a fraction of the price!

Our class had 24 starters and the start was crazy fast on a paved road. Once we hit the singletrack it was bottleneck city and I was fine just riding the train. We hit the first technical rock feature, which caused a bunch of chaos. Someone in front of me was off their bike, holding everyone up, so rather than standing there, I zoomed around two guys in the technical section who were patiently waiting for the train to start moving again. I figured I'd poop out later, I didn't have time to stand around..

I stayed in a group of fairly steady guys for a while, who were probably all confused as to why the hell I was racing with them, but I held my own and rode all the techy sections with relative finesse. I was feeling good till I hit the switchback section near the Visitor Center, then I made the mistake of reverting to single-speed mode, and powered up all the climbs in way too big of a gear. I think I blew out my legs on this section, because they were pretty unhappy with me the rest of the race. The rest of the lap was steady but definitely not fast. My snap had left the building...

I managed to ride UNDER one of the course marking ribbons near the end of the lap, as it was hung too high and I'm kinda short...rode right under it and kept going until a guy yelled and gave me the heads up.

My second lap was pretty crappy - I slowed way down and had to just spin up what few climbs there were. Everytime I tried to stand up and power my quads said NO NO NO, so I'd sit my butt back on the saddle and spin. Thankfully no one in my class passed me and I was able to roll in 16th out of 24. Average HR 164, Max HR 178

This was a pretty good "warm up" back into XC racing, so my next test will be at Cheaha in Mid-July. I hope to do a bit better and hopefully my legs will be more used to the intensity by then. I was pretty knackered post race...way more so than doing an 8 hour ride in the Cohuttas I think.

Finishing up the race..not an exciting picture, but Chris had to hand me water bottles so he couldn't feed and take exciting pictures.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drive Thru on a bike?

So I'm wondering...since a bike is legally a vehicle on Georgia Roads..can you ride a bike through the drive through at a fast food establishment? I know you can't walk through - they will say they can't serve you because you are not in a "vehicle" but does a bike count as a vehicle in this case? Anyone have any experience here? The lunch traffic by my office is nothing short of horrendous, and I keep telling myself I could pick up my lunch a lot faster if I just hopped on my bike instead of firing up the gas guzzler.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TransRockies Training Camp #2 - New Location

After careful consideration from all parties involved, we've decided to move the TransRockies Training Camp #2 to the Greenhill's Cabin on 4th of July weekend. Although I'd love to camp and be hot and sweaty in a tent and have to bathe in the river, I guess I can suffer through a comfortable bed, air conditioning, and a fridge stocked with frosty beverages. (Actually, its looking like I might have to work a bit over that weekend - big proposal due soon, so the prospect of having internet access is what REALLY sold me.)

Life is Good, Part 2

Ahh..I got my techy fix in today with a ride up at Pine Log. We parked about 8 miles away at a boat ramp on Allatoona (so we could paddle later), which gave us a nice pavement warm up before hitting the dirt. We ended up doing a fairly short loop at Pine Log, seeing as last time I took Neal there he broke his hand. We also had a Pine Log virgin with us, Shannon, so I wasn't sure if she'd enjoy it or be cursing me after the ride.

We rode up probably 2/3 of the way to the tower, then looped back around to where the pig heads on posts used to be, and hit the main gravel road. We then climbed a little more on the gravel so we (I) could bomb this rocky, rutted, leaf and stick covered descent that just puts a big smile on my face. Its like a carnival ride! Everyone made it down eventually and thankfully I didn't break anyone this time.

We headed back to the cars and then cooled off in the lake before hopping in our boats for a paddle. Neal and I paddled my CLC 21' tandem, so it was really cruisy. Kim paddled a solo boat, similar to a wavehopper, and nearly got BACKED over by a pontoon boat. Might I mention it was THE ONLY boat we saw on the water. We even got a dose of humor when some Richie-Rich teenagers driving an Escalade with rims that cost more than my bike, got a ticket for not buying a $3 parking pass. Dumbazzes...

We followed the workout with some yummy Mexican food and then it was off to work. My commute was HORRIBLE today - I stepped on a cat toy walking down the stairs. I'm diggin' working from home.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Back Home (Grumble Grumble)

Well I'm back home from Blue Ridge and looking around my spacious yet 'not-nearly-as-exiting-as-a-cabin-in-Blue-Ridge' house and trying to figure out what I could sell so that we could start building Randall's Roost on our property up in that same area. I was amazed at how much more relaxed I felt up there and its not too shabby for training either. I wonder if TransCore wants to open a Blue Ridge office.

We had a good weekend and gave Neal the '48-hour-get-your-azz-back-in-shape-right-now-or-we're-leaving-you-for-the-buzzards' workout plan. I'm sure in another week he'll be leaving me in the dust on road rides, but for now we're having fun with him.

The weekend would have been absolutely perfect had I not gotten stung in the um..groin by an onery yellowjacket. I think I might have a teeny pit of poison ivy on my toe too, but that's the price you pay for being in the woods.

I just ate an entire package of guacamole (to go with the huge waffle cone of ice cream I had earlier at Brusters) and now I need to attempt to catch one of my cats to give him his medicine. I'm pretty sure he can read my mind, because he keeps running away whenever I make eye contact.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In Heaven

Neal and I are spending the weekend up at the Greenhill's cabin in Blue Ridge. I am seriously in heaven and I have yet to tell them that I don't think I'll be leaving....

Today we got in about a 3 hour run/hike on the Benton MacKaye trail along with a short ride on the Green Mountain Trail to get our legs warmed up for when Kim comes up tomorrow and we do a longer ride. Hopefully she comes tired, because as Neal would say, we're a bit "knackered".

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Life is Good..

Had a nice road ride yesterday with Kim, Shannon and Neal. We did 65 miles up at White and then came back to my place and lounged by the pool. The only thing missing was a gooey-cheese covered burrito. My new employer, TransCore ITS, just ROCKS for letting me work from home in the evening on Wednesdays, as it gives me the morning and afternoon to go out and play! Its basically a middle of the week rejuvenation for me! It is especially nice during the summer months. Perhaps when it's cold it may not have the same effect.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

OutSpokin'/Swiftwick Takes the Overall Win at Siege on Fort Yargo!

Smaller Muscles, Bigger Brains...

Myself, Julia, and Kim won the 2008 Siege on Fort Yargo Sprint AR. With quite a few strong teams out on the course, we had to move fast and run a clean race to stay at the front of the pack. Julia carried fins to wear on the opening swim and put us into an early lead that we maintained for the entire race. A full race report can be found on the TrailBlazer forum.

We were the only team to obtain all mandatory and optional checkpoints before the cutoff.

I've included just a few photos below, for a complete set of race photos, check out my Picasa Album.

Checking out the maps and instructions pre-race. Notice how my teammates appear to actually be interested in the map!!! That's such a good thing! Three brains are better than one. And check out those socks!

On the opening run section..Julia was in the water passing people on the swim while Kim and I had to do a short run. They hid one of the points in some briars...grrr.

Row, Row, Row your boat, quickly down the lake,
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, the win we're here to take!

I guess this was a "special test"...a canoe portage at the end of the race. Better than having to get dirty in the mud pit, and when they said no portage wheels allowed, we figured we'd have to do this somewhere.

A big thanks to Swiftwick for providing us with an assortment of socks to keep our feet dry and happy. Even with sticks in our shoes and major sogginess after the lake swim, our feet were happy and unblistered at the end of the race. I wore the Merino Wool variety...very nice!

Some memorable conversations/things I heard on course:

(On the Opening Run)"Damn, I've been chicked in the first 50 meters!"

(On the Bike) "What place are you guys in?"
"First...we're leading the race"
"Well we're rooting for you, but I wouldn't put money on you"
"Uh..I'd put money on us"

Monday, June 9, 2008

Canoe-O and Tapering

This past weekend was relatively pleasant, although it was scorching hot! Saturday we tried to get in a road ride before it got too hot, but we didn't roll out of bed early enough so we ended up getting cooked alive on the asphalt. I came home and went and lounged at the pool for an hour or so, then we went and did some shopping.

Sunday was the Georgia Orienteering Club's Canoe-O, which was a lot of fun and a good chance for me to practice steering the canoe, since I haven't had to do that since last summer. Chris, Kim and I nailed the course, although it wasn't very challenging, and took home top honors on the day. Then Kim and I hit the MTB trail where I unknowingly (following Kim's direction) rode into some huge whoop-te-do and didn't carry enough momentum to make it up the other side. I ALMOST made it then had to fall over to maintain the maximum coefficient of friction with my body so I wouldn't slide all the way back down. Ugh..I didn't want to move and was clawing at the ground to get myself back up. I'd love to watch that section of trail on a muddy day!

After the ride, I hit the lake while Kim and Chris went to ride some more. It was pretty relaxing, although the water temperature could have been 5-10 degrees cooler. The rest of this week I'm resting and tapering a bit for Saturday's race. Depending on how this weekend goes, I need to decide if I'm going to race the Cowbell 12 hour. Its a long drive, and I won't have support so I'm leaning towards no, but I do need to get some more racing in.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Cost of Training

Since we're all griping about the cost of driving these days, lets see how much it costs to drive to some of my favorite places. These are round trip costs from my house near Sixes Rd..(add an additional $5 if you live on the Perimeter)

Pine Log - $8
Paddling on Allatoona - $3
Bear Creek/Pinhoti - $24
Bull Mtn - $22
Tanasi/Brush Creek - $32
Tsali - $48

Places I HAVE to go..

Chiropractor - $4
Most of my other doctors - $4
Cat-only Specialty Vet - $8
Office - $12 (but at least I MAKE money while I'm there...)

Seems I spend a lot more on training than anything else. Kind of makes you wonder...Do I REALLY have to ride Bear Creek??? I can ride Blankets for FREE... Is it really worth that much more? Sadly the answer is usually yes...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

5k Training

After not feeling so great on the run at the Greenway Challenge, I figured its time to add some running back into my training...after all, it IS the easiest thing to do - you can even do it in a monsoon and the gear clean up is minimal.

I have a Business Conference coming up and we have a cheezy little 5K race on one of the days. Last year I was third overall with a time of 20:43. Not many of my business colleagues knew that I was competitive or athletic, so now I have a reputation and I know one guy in particular (who I nipped at the line last year) will be gunning for me. So my goal this year is under 20 minutes. I did 20:40 last night on a practice run, so hopefully I can get there before mid July. That would be a real accomplishment for me, as although I can run long distances, I've never thought of myself as a fast runner.