Sunday, November 30, 2008

Drying Out

Pretty dismal weekend...wet, rainy, 40's, phooey. I wasn't in the mood to clean my bike, so Kim and I went for a hike on the AT/Benton MacKaye Trails today. It rained most of the time (actually the sun came out when I pulled into my driveway after returning home...) but it wasn't so bad. Gear cleanup consisted of just hanging stuff up to dry as opposed to soaking heaps of mud-crusted clothing and picking dirt out of my ears/nose if we would have gone riding. So, in short, not so bad and a nice end to the weekend. Back to the grind tomorrow...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

While you were stuffing yourself with stuffing...

Snake Creek Gap today - had the whole place to ourselves...

Gobble, Gobble

First ride at the Snake on the made the climbs go by much faster!

Random dead guy on the side of the trail.

Still some leaves on the trees (although it sure SEEMED like they were all on the ground!)

Not sure what hurts more..the downhill or the uphill..

Now WE'VE earned our stuffing!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Ride

Had a nice ride in the mountains today around Bear Creek and the Pinhoties. I took Green (my SS) for a spin after we put a "climbing" gear on it last night. I checked my ride time after Pinhoti 2, and surprisingly, I was just as fast on the SS as I am on my fastest geared-bike runs. Funny, since I'd alternate between working hard and hardly working...and I was really cautious on the descents. The combination of fresh leaves and being alone made me not want to push any limits. Perhaps what this really says is that I don't know how to use my gears efficiently, or maybe I'm just a big wimp, opting for an easier gear, just because its there.

This is the first time I've actually done any sustained climbs on the SS and I do think I prefer the Up-Down-Up-Down-Up-Down type of trails to the Up-Up-Up-Down-Down-Down type. The SS is a great tool for rolling trails when you just want to go fast and can recover after the hard efforts. In the mountains, it seems to be more of a device of suffering, especially on the 4-5 mile climbs. That being said, I still had fun and enjoyed the challenge so I'm sure I'll do it again - maybe even tomorrow since the weather will be good and we don't have any plans for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why train when you can just ride?

This was posted on BikesnobNYC a couple weeks back and it still cracks me up. After years of racing and beating the crap out of my body, I'm pretty much at a level of grumpiness that is summed up below:

"Personally, I'm against training. In fact, I feel that if you're against doping in cycling, then you should be against training too. Some riders have access to more and better training, which in turn forces their competitors to attempt to match that training in order to level the field. In turn, the former riders seek out increasingly esoteric training methods to reclaim their advantage. The result is a cycle as vicious as it is dorky, and as anybody who's spent any time around bike racers knows, training (like drugs) can take a horrible toll on a person. Sure, training is much less likely to kill you than drugs are, but in large doses, it is almost guarenteed to make you incredibly boring and unpleasant to be around. If I want to have fun, I'll ride my bike. But if I want to spend a lot of time around people who constantly monitor their bodies with electronics, can't drink alcohol, and go to bed early, I'll volunteer my time at a hospital."

So that's training plans for a while. If I ride 25 hours in 3 days, its because I've planned an over-ambitious, spur-of-the-moment 3 day epic over a warm weekend, not because that's what a piece of paper says I should do. I WILL NOT spin for hours this winter on the trainer, and if I can't suck it up and drag myself outside to ride (hell, I only live a mile from 15 miles of trails) then I ought to just not ride. Yes, this winter I'm going to try the "riding for fun" non-training plan and see how that goes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Whew..I'm tired! O-Meet and Cyclocross today!

Our day started at the crack of dawn, having to get up at 5:30 a.m. and load up to head to our Sope Creek Orienteering meet. Once there, Chris, Kim and I spent about an hour hanging bags and then stood around and got cold for the next 2 hours. It was a chilly 29 degrees when we got there, so I was anxious for it to warm up. Julia arrived a bit later and I got her and Kim squared away on registration so I could leave and head over the the State Championship Cross race.

The race was on a fairly twisty, power course with four dismount sections, including one long sand pit/rooty climb/90 degree barrier run section. I, of course, had only a so-so start, mostly due to lack of effort on my part...but I'd rather ease into it and not burn all my matches off the line. Once we hit the sand pit section, I moved from 6th to 3rd just by booking it through the sand and barrier combination. I powered up the next climb and hit the pavement with first and second place just a few seconds up. I closed the gap really quickly and figured, hell, since I've got the momentum, I'll just pass them and keep on going. The three of us soon got a gap on the rest of the field and I ended up leading our happy threesome for about three laps. I couldn't really size the other two up, as they were behind me, but I wasn't gapping them - so I figured they were feeling strong. I didn't feel like I was handling my bike very well in the corners (uh..MAYBE BECAUSE YOU HAVE NEGLECTED YOUR CROSS BIKE FOR TWO YEARS!!!), so I needed to stay in front and save enough energy to give it all I had on the final sand pit/barrier section.

On what was supposed to be our 3rd lap from the finish I picked a bad line through a loose corner and wiped out. (Above pic was taken just before "the crash"). Thankfully I didn't get run over by the two behind me, but they attacked big time while I was down and got a gap on me. On our two to go lap, I just tried to ride steady and save something for the bell lap. Unfortunately, we all got lapped by the Men's B leader on that lap so our race was over upon completion of that lap. I had completely forgotten about that little caveat of cyclocross, so I was a bit frustrated when I learned the race was over and I wasn't at least able to give it one last big push. A non-GA resident ended up winning the race, so I ended up with the Silver Medal for the Georgia State Championships. Not bad, but its a lot more fun to be on top of the podium! I may have just created a monster that I've dipped my toes back in the CX pool, I want to jump back in! With a little bike handing practice, some intervals, and perhaps not spending 4 hours in the gym lifting the week before, I might have a figthing chance : )

After awards I had to jump in my car and head BACK to Sope Creek to spend an hour running around and picking up orienteering bags. All I could think about was food and a coke, but sadly I had already gobbled up every scrap of food in my car. I had to resort to chugging a bunch of egg nog the moment I walked through the door. After Chris got home he said the meet had near record attendance so they all had their work cut out for them while I was off riding around in circles.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Oh how I love the holidays. I know they aren't officially here, but they are coming! The holidays are great for many reasons...I get to see family members that I only see once or twice a year, I get a bunch of paid days off at work, and most of all...


Quite possibly the world's best tasting recovery drink! This one even ranks higher than chocolate milk and sweet tea on the yummy-o-meter. I wish they stocked this stuff in the stores year round, but then again, I might be sporting an Egg-Nog Belly if they did that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gym Rat (warning: cynical content!)

Yes, I think I can officially start calling myself a "gym rat". There are some upsides to being a gym rat never rains in the gym, you don't get frozen fingers and toes in the gym, and there's generally a bunch of people around for motivation - a handful of ripped athletes that you want to be like, and a whole bunch of others that serve as a warning of what you'll look like should you stop exercising. I also figure I'm saving huge amounts of time by just not having to "layer-up" each time I work out.

I'm mainly there to lift weights and swim, however I have been known to hit the treadmill occasionally. Mundane but effective for helping to increase my running cadence. I'm hoping to grow some upper body muscles to balance myself out a bit better, as right now I have Popeye legs and Olive Oyl arms. I'm still fairly strong though and can crank out five pull-ups despite my scrawny appearance and incessant whining anytime I have to lift something heavy. My goal is to get back up to my upper body strength of my rockcliming days when I could do 15 pullups and hang off a couple of granules of sand with my pinky.

There are some things I WON'T do in the gym though..such as go to a spin class.... Now I'll go to a spin class at a BIKE SHOP or jump on the trainer at home occasionally...but, at the gym, ugh, I just can't bring myself to do it. Watching the soccer-moms coming out of spin class with their pristine, not-a-speck-of-dirt-on-'em, shiny new Sidi's is like some form of sacrilege to me...utterly shameful, and I just can't be a part of it. Its like some form of wanna-be biking and the thought of it makes me shudder. What's worse is nearly everyone I see in the locker room ASSUMES that I'm going to spin class (despite clearly not being dressed for it) and asks me all kinds of questions about it...sigh...

Anywho...sold the Turner - Yay! One less bike to fall on my car now that I have to park in the garage because its damb cold and frosty in the morning. We're finishing up mapping and course layout for our GAOC meet this weekend, but of course we waited until the last minute and now we're scrambling to get it all done. Come out and see us because it will suck to do all this work and have no one show up because its cold and windy outside.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

For Sale: Small 2007 Turner Nitrous - SOLD

The time has come for me to send this one to a good home! Fork seals have just been replaced and bike includes extra derailleur hanger, new Turner decals, and replacement spokes for the Mavic SLR wheels. This bike was a custom build, approximate weight is 24 lbs. Charcoal custom color. Good condition - some rock scuffs here and there, but mechanically sound and a TransRockies winner.

I'm hoping to sell locally for $2000, so as not to have to deal with shipping, etc. (Retail price new approx. $5700)

Mavic SLR Wheels
Chris King Headset
XTR Shifters, Brakes, Derailleurs, Crankset, Cassette
New White SLR XP Saddle
Easton Monkey Lite SL Riser Bar
Fox F100 RLC Front Shock, RP23 Rear Shock
Thomson Masterpiece Seatpost, Thomson Elite Stem

Friday, November 14, 2008

One with the water...

Since I can't run or ride very effectively (well, at least not without serious modification to my left shoe) I've decided now is a good time to get back in the pool. My gym membership has become soley a donation to the YMCA for the past couple of months, so I'm glad to be using it again.

What I didn't realize is that my swimming form (did I EVER have any??), endurance and speed have gone south for the winter. I felt fine in the water and it SEEMED like I was moving pretty good, but the stopwatch tells a different story. Granted I couldn't kick very hard, but still...

I've also started lifting again, so look for my rock-hard beefcake body in a couple of months. I figured no reason my upper body can't do some work while my lower body recovers a bit. Only problem is my arms are so tired I can't even hold the hairdryer up long enough to dry my hair!

I'm anxious for my new Specialized S-Works to show up, although I have grown quite fond of my lightweight hardtail. Kevin at OutSpokin' tells me it should be here sometime in December, so perhaps it will be an early Christmas present. BTW - Does anybody want to buy a "gently used" Size Small 2007 Turner Nitrous? I'm also anxious to see what our kits look like for next year - I'm hoping we keep the same colors and don't end up with desert camo or something equally hideous.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Denied a ride..

After helping Chris do some O-meet course vetting at Sope Creek, I realized that the mystery burning sensation in my "good" ankle that I had during Nationals had not gone away. I have this strange ball of something or other that appears to be along one of the flexor tendons on the top of my foot. All I know is that when I put pressure on it, it BURNS, and conveniently every pair of running shoes or bike shoes I own seems to dig in RIGHT THERE. I swear, I'm a damn mess! So needless to say, I had to cancel my ride and waste a perfectly good, non-rainy Wednesday. Instead of zipping through the leaves, I'm pecking away at my keyboard catching up on some work..WORK..ugh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blue Ridge Blunder

Yeah, I messed this one up big time. We were doing well until I chose an agressive attack on a bike orienteering section. Why I thought we'd be able to pull it off while I was hurtin', in the dark, in the middle of the night is beyond me. When the going got tough, I got frustrated, demoralized and called it quits like a big freaking pansy. What a pity, as those that toughed it out stayed in the top ten. I suck. I'm done racing this year. I think I'm going to go back to riding around in circles, because I used to be pretty good at it back in the day.

Tomorrow on our ride, we will be revisiting that section during the day, in the opposite direction to see how we fare. My guess is that it will seem stupid easy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blue Ridge Bound

The wagons are loaded and we're about ready to roll out for the USARA National Championships. I really hope this is our year, but if we manage to somehow screw the pooch, then hopefully one of our friend's teams will take home the glory. We definitely need to protect our turf!

Soooooo.... with all the variables that make AR so interesting...I'm hoping the planets will align and the AR gods will bestow good fortune upon us that shall lead us to the podium.

I'm looking forward to feverishly working on maps tonight and not getting any sleep because my over-active brain will still be trying to process what the optimal route is...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2 Days

Everything is packed and ready to go. I've caught up on my sleep big time. Ankle actually feels good, although it has started itching for some reason (???). Got a brace that doesn't suck too bad. Staying away from sick people and just doing enough exercise to keep my legs from getting stiff and tight....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

3 Days....

Whoo hoo, just got back from voting and didn't have to stand in line! Yay for me! I'm getting excited about Nationals, as my ankle gets better every day and all the tenderness seems to be going away. I have full range of motion and can run, jump, ride, and everything in between. I'd say I'm at 75% today and may well be up to 85% by the race. I ordered a bunch of ankle braces to try out and decide which one to wear during the race. I'll pick the least annoying of the bunch and send the others back.

I've got everything ready to go for Nats..all food is bought and packed and gear is ready to go. Just need to do some laundry and I'm set.

Monday, November 3, 2008

4 days...

left of healing until Nationals.... Got in an easy 2.5 hour road ride yesterday without any pain or discomfort, so that's a good thing. This morning at PT my therapist was so happy with my progress that he didn't make me endure the horrible milking massage. He set up an obstacle course of stair steps and cones that I had to jump over...which actually looked quite dangerous. I'm pretty sure most people with two good ankles would have ended up on their a$$es, but I made it though three times without incident and he seemed impressed. I think of all his patients, I'm probably the most excited to see him because I'm very motivated at this point to make as much progress as possible. Every session is like a competition in itself...don't lose balance on the tramoline or put a foot down trying to catch the basketball. I'm optimistic and looking forward to Nationals..and no, I don't think I'll be racing in knee-highs and pigtails (just not practical for this time of year).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Night O

We went to the annual GAOC Night-O yesterday. I was pretty cautious as I didn't want to step in a hole or a pile of pinecones and tweak my ankle, so I was sportin' the trekking poles, oh yeah. I was able to get around just fine and I even jogged on the roads a bit. I had to put a clip on my poles to hold the map, although the whole map/pole/punchcard management was tough with my gloved hands. I took some longer routes on roads/trails, to avoid as much off-trail as possible, and I think I actually beat a fair number of people using this strategy. I picked up all the points that I had originally decided to go for and still had 20 minutes to spare...Enough time to go out for another point, but there was peach cobbler at the start/finish so I just parked my butt on a log and had some dessert. I promise not to be lured in by sweets at Nationals!