Friday, October 28, 2011

Rose City Triathlon

A while ago, sometime in September around the 17th, Sonia and I travelled north to the quaint town of Tyler. We got up there early enough to meet up with Alan and Kathy for some dinner and beer.

The race was Saturday morning and early... why do triathlons, even short ones, start soooooo early? Oh well, my goal for the race: don't lose on the swim. Not long before the race we found out it was the South Central Conference Sprint Triathlon Championships (I think that's what it was called), so my hopes of actually getting podium went down hill.


The morning was pretty nice actually and the water was tolerable. We cut it close getting to and through transition and out to the dam to stage for the start. We were both pretty excited and, um, a bit nervous. My goal, don't die in the swim.
Before I knew it the gun went off and we were sailing through the water, in my case, splashing through the water. I managed a pretty good time through the swim and had a decent T1.

The bike was good, the hills were hard, I passed a lot of people as I anticipated I would. My T2 wasn't too bad.

The run was good, fastest 5k I've managed with a 6:54 min/mile pace. I ended up 11th in my age group which I didn't think was too bad since it was the SW Conference Sprint Championships.

The race was great, Sonia had a lot of fun, I think we'll be back next year.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Magnolia Hil

Two weekends ago was the last XTerra of the Texas series. "It was hot" could be the understatement of the century. I went up and did an easy lap on Saturday to get a feel for the new race course. It was good, tough, and loose. Some parts reminded me of riding in a sand box, with loose sand in it. Oh well. I headed home to get out of the effin' heat and rest.

Sunday came early, we got to the race plenty early cause I had to pick up my packet and Sonia was doing the trail run that started at 8. We hung out, I casually got ready, and tried to keep Sonia focused on the trail run.

My race started at 9, with an 800 meter swim, ugh! That's not actually THAT far, unless you swim like I do, bad. Just as we were getting ready to go I saw Sonia running in to finish so I cheered her on. After some encouraging and and direction she went to finish. (She got second in her age group, Congrats!!)

A quick good luck from Sonia and then the race was on. The swim was long and with about 150 meters to go my stomach started to cramp a bit, wonderful... I got out of the water, way behind, had a good transition and then headed out on the two-lap, 12 mile bike. The course was about as tough as I remember it AND I had to pass all the people that out swam me. I made up some positions on the first lap without killing myself. I passed some more people on the second lap and tried not to kill myself. I tried to get some fluids in me before the run, a move which I'm pretty sure led me to really hurting on the run. After a pretty good transition it was time to run.

I started running and then had to slow it down to a quick walk, and then just settled with a walk. My legs felt fine but it felt like I was running with a bowling ball in my stomach, no bueno... On my first lap of the two mile run course I walked quite a bit. I really thought about quitting. It was hot, my stomach hurt, and I wasn't going to place very well. "Just suck it up and keep going," is what I said to myself, so I did. I got around to the feed zone where race mom and Sonia were. They cheered me on, gave me some water and I kept on trudging along. Amazingly, about a quarter way through the second lap I started feeling a bit better so I started running with a little bit more intent of trying to go faster. I did end up catching three people before the finish, a tiny consolation for such a horrible run.

I sat around for a while but was really not feeling well so Sonia hauled me home. We had to stop on the way to get that bowling ball out of my stomach but that made things much better.

I did end up 23rd overall and 3rd in my age group, I'm really glad I didn't throw in the towel.

Here's some picture if you want to see me in action, some good, some not-so-good:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Can it be this hot?

I guess Mother Nature is holding the magnifying glass on Houston this past month and a half. For some reason though, 108 degrees seems a bit extreme. Check out the weather here. We've already set the record for the most consecutive days in a row over 100 degrees, somewhere around 23 or 24 days I think, and there's no end in sight...

Tomorrow is my second every XTerra, in Navasota, Texas. I went out and pre-rode today, the trail is pretty good but it's going to be so damn hot! An 800 meter swim, 12 mile bike and 4 mile run and then I'll be able to try to rehydrate. Hopefully no overheating tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Futile effort?

I'm not really convinced anyone reads blogs anymore, let alone write blogs... but... what the hell, I'll keep going.

The past couple of... months(?) seem to have been pretty uneventful in the way of racing. The last race was the Yfreedom triathlon. First ever road triathlon, pulled fourth in my age group. Not bad considering my swim time was almost one solid minute slower than anyone else in my age group. Still suspicious of their timing... It was pretty fun though, not sure how I managed to do as well in the run as I did. And I pulled 45th overall out of 407 racers, not too bad...

Beyond that little effort, my time has been taken up by training for the upcoming XTerra at the end of August. On a ranch that is "event only". Should be interesting, at least we'll all be at the same disadvantage of not knowing the course. Then, three weeks after that, I'm doing my second road triathlon, the Rose City Tri, in Tyler, TX. This will also be Sonia's first triathlon!

Other than that triathlon business, the mountain bike races I'm looking to do this Fall include the 24 hours of Rocky Hill, the Waco race, and the Rocky Hill marathon race. I'm also throwing around the idea of a trail run half marathon at the Dirty Du in November... sounds painful!

What else is new? My Mom is coming to visit this weekend. I'm building a new, carbon mountain bike. I am going to sell my 29er Orbea Lanza. Work is good, busy as normal. It's hot here (on this note, it's only about 2 degrees higher than normal and now we are under a "Heat Advisory", what are we under all the rest of the summer?). It's shark week. Today, in 1108, Louis the VI was crowned, he was the "fat" one.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rocky Hill Horror Show

So somehow I convinced Sonia to come out to Rocky Hill to ride and check out some sweet singletrack even though both I and another one of her friends told her she would hate it the first time. I'm pretty sure that is what happened.

We went out on Friday so we could get out for an early pre-ride on Saturday. It was effin' hot and super humid!! I had originally planned on doing a short Cat II lap but was stupid and hadn't realized the Cat II and Cat I loop was the same 17.5 mile loop. So off we went, like I thought, Sonia hated all the climbing at the first part, I do believe the line, "I hate all of these stupid rocks on this stupid hill!!!" came out at one point. Then she realized why the course was Rocky Hill : )

Once we got out of the first part of the climbing and into the flatter, more flowy singletrack the riding became fun!! We were cruising along at a pretty good clip, stopping every once in a while. The ride was a great pre-ride. Then the ride started getting a bit long, I was getting some looks from Sonia saying, "How long are we going to ride for?" After a bit more riding I started thinking the same thing... Then we stopped and Sonia asked, "How far in are we?" to which I responded, "about three-quarters of the way," I had no idea...

We kept trucking along, Sonia being a champ, and giving me dirty dirty looks until we got to the spot I knew was getting pretty close to the end. I sent Sonia down the easier trail with another lady while I rode the rest of the trail, good thing, it was significantly different with a lot of sweet, new singletrack. I ended up passing Sonia and other woman on the way down to the finish, I stopped by the turtle pond so the turtles could cheer Sonia up a bit, she was NOT happy with me. But after seeing turtles and having ice cream things were a bit better. We met up with Kyle and Mom for dinner on Saturday, it was great to see them!

Sunday brought on the race, it was warm and a bit muggy. I got a good warm-up in and felt pretty good, the legs were a bit sore from the long-than-expected pre-ride but they felt ok. As I expected, it was a hammerfest up the hills, the singletrack was feeling pretty good until about mile 7, then the legs started going. I eased up a bit but the legs did not come back and I couldn't get the heart rate to drop. No Bueno!! I held a bit easier pace but I was toast. I settled with pacing it in feeling the legs the whole way and trying to enjoy the singletrack. It was a bit of a disappointing end to the season but I learned to check the race course before riding from now on. I got some food after the race, the worst decision I made the whole day. Thankfully, Sonia was there to drive me home. The next 28ish hours after the race were pretty ugly but I'm better now and back to training!!

I ended up 5th overall in the series, not bad for only having five races and forgetting to turn in my Paydirt.

Wisconsin again...

Wednesday brought about some unstable weather. As Dan and I were out looking for morels as ways from home the thunder started rolling. It was coming fast so we B-lined it back to the house. Dan headed on back to Marshfield and I headed into town for my nephew's birthday party/cookout. I got to meet my new nephew at the party and I think he liked me. I didn't get pooped on or puked on and I held the baby so: SUCCESS!! We had a lot of fun, pinata and all.

On Thursday I ventured down to Grandma’s house to make her breakfast and so she could teach me how to make Cinnamon rolls and her legendary oatmeal rolls. It was loads of fun and we had some delicious cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon Rolls:

Oatmeal Rolls:

After eating one more cinnamon roll than I needed I thought a bike ride would be a good way to burn some of those calories so I headed out to do some climbing. The original plan was to ride down to C, up Rough Rd. to Rustic Rd, down Denzer Rd. and then do another lap. I got to the part where I came down Denzer Rd. and noticed some storm clouds building and I didn’t know if I had time to make it all the way around again so I turned around and rode back up Denzer Rd., what an awesome hill! Then I flew back down and headed on towards home. I got hit with a pretty good downpour going through Denzer and by the time I got home I was pretty much dry again, since I was dry I decided to do some cyclocross laps around the field. Those cyclocross laps were hard but that was some awesome training!! Then I headed out to find a couple more morels, mmmm…


I had planned with Dan to meet up at Levis do ride some bitchin’ singletrack so I pulled in around 11 to meet up with Dan. It was cold and a bit wet but this made for nearly perfect riding conditions. With the trails a bit tacky and the weather just cool enough to hold of most of the sweating the riding was great. Dan was having a little trouble with his new chain and old worn out cassette so Levis was a little sandier than normal that day. Haha.

I hadn’t ridded a bunch of the singletrack at Levis but the stuff I hadn’t ridden was just as amazing as the trails I had ridden. What a great day of riding!

After a beer, a cinnamon roll and some trash talking with Dan’s friend we headed in to Eau Claire for some food… and a whole lot of beer. We met up with Laura, Dan’s fiancĂ©, for food and then we headed back to the place we are the most familiar with, the Joynt. $3 pitchers of beer mean way more beer than one should consume in one evening... Thanks to our good friend Major for putting us up and taking care of us!

Saturday morning brought about a headache and fuzzy-headedness... After drinking a bunch of coffee and water I headed out to my Grandpa's Birthday party. It was a great time seeing the whole side of the family I don't typicall get to see! Post party I headed on back home with Katie and the new nephew. Then it was time to pack up for the trip back to Houston...

I got a late flight on Sunday so I didn't have to rush to the airport and I could have a little more time home. It paid off, we got to celebrate my, then upcoming Birthday with the most amazing cake ever created by human beings.

The German Chocolate Cake:

I packaged up a bunch of cake and headed to the airport, I got in pretty dang late and was very thankful that my good friend Sonia was there to pick me up!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I headed up to Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago for the primary reason of getting the fields planted. I got in late Friday night and lucked out with an awesome day of weather on Saturday so I got the fields all worked and, with a little help, got all the corn planted. This is a good thing, meaning, I had a whole week to do whatever I wanted, AWESOME!!

Sunday was Mothers' Day and on the way into town to see mom I ran into my good friend Ryan who loaned me a sweet bike and then plans of some sweet rides in the hills came about. After chatting with Mom for a while I headed on home, went out on a short ride and then headed down to Grandma's for a good ole cookout! Food was amazing and it was great to see the family and all the little kids I hadn't seen in a while. The rest of the evening was nice and calm, perfect.

Monday I didn't do a whole heck of a lot, went for a good long trail run and then just relaxed a bit. I went over to catch up with Ryan and Lisa and have a couple beers until pretty late, good times.

Tuesday, my buddy Dan came down to visit and not long after he got there we headed out on a sweet ride. We headed down to Hwy C then up Orchard Rd. to Ruff Rd. then down the big Denzer hill. That was the best part of the ride, then we headed in to town via Swiss Valley Rd. to go see my Mom and visit the winery.

I noticed they got a new painted cow at the winery so I thought I'd take a picture with it:

Then the cow attacked me:

The Dan and I headed out to pick some morels:

Delicious!! The night finished with a good campfire and beers, Good Times!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I want one

of these:

Picture from here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Well the week after the XTerra I wasn't feeling too great but I guess it was good enough to overtrain. What I was thinking... I'm not too sure. Lot's of running, swimming, and hard biking. I got into a pretty good habit of getting up early to run and then getting my swimming and riding in after work. Doing all of this, however, was not conducive to getting rid of the sinus infection/cold, whatever the hell it was, or to getting enough rest. That being said, Friday I took an off day in preparation for a long ride on Saturday. The ride was good, I went and pushed myself a bit with the shop ride and then met up with Sonia, did some viaduct intervals and then hit up the parking garage for some 'hills'. Good times.

After 4.5 hours of riding I took the best nap ever then went and celebrated my friend Johanna's birthday. A bit of laser tag and watching some go-kart racing followed by good food and a couple beers make for a good Saturday.

Easter came around early. I made it to church, first time in Htown, and then hit up some breakfast with friends. Delicious!! The afternoon was finished off with some nice relaxing slacklining at Memorial Park. Very relaxing, great Easter.

The swimming is definitely getting better.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dipping my toe into the XTerra waters

Last weekend was the XTerra triathlon in Waco. Five weeks prior to the race, at the Comfort mountain bike race, Alan, my old coach, talked me into committing to the XTerra race in Waco. Well, after four weeks of struggling to get a grasp of what swimming was, purchasing a wetsuit, and then trying out the wetsuit in my first ever, serious open-water swim two weekends ago, I decided to race the shorter distance in Waco. The race consisted of a 750 meter swim, a 16K mountain bike and a 3.5 mile run.

I'd never gotten ready for a tri before so I didn't really know how to go about it. It was also only the second time I had put on the wetsuit:

Then the announcer said 15 minutes until start, ugh: I had the goals for the race, finish Part 1, then finish Part 2, and then finish Part 3. The race: Part 1: Swim 750 meters is a long swim, at least for me it is. Two weekends ago I struggled my way through 1300 meters but in the race we were swimming in the river and there were other people there. I remember the first time I got kicked, not too bad, doesn't seem to bother me. Then, I remember sort of swimming over someone, also didn't seem to bother me. About three quarters the way through the swim I was getting pretty dang tired, the last 200 meters seem to creep by. Finally I got to the bank and got pulled out of the water and up the slippery bank by some great volunteers: Part 2: The Bike I knew I was behind and I needed to do some work, a lot of work. I knew most of the people in the race were out and gone in front of me as there were very few bikes on the rack in the Transition Area (TA) when I went through. Good thing the course was technical and fun, I did some work and passed lots of people. I wasn't satisfied until I passed three guys in my class that were all pretty close together. Then I passed some more people and then a couple more. I crushed it on the way back into the TA, had a good transition and it was time to do business again.

Part 3: The Run

About a quarter mile into the run we had the great pleasure of running up Jacob's Ladder, a steep staircase with steps ranging in height from 6 to 20+ inches. Did I mention it was steep? After walking/running up that there was only 3.25 miles left of up and down running through singletrack to the finish. I was feeling pretty good but I wasn't seeing anyone, wasn't quite sure how to feel about that but I figured I was somewhere around middle of my age group pack, not too bad I thought. Then, with about a mile to go I saw someone ahead, finally someone to race!! I picked it up a bit on the home stretch and passed four people on my way in. About a quarter mile from the finish we went back onto the pavement to the finish and someone on the sideline said, "Your in third place overall" I didn't think he was serious until I came into the finish line and they announced "Here comes third place overall in the sprint race!"

Whew, I finished! I honestly did not expect to do that well. I felt pretty dang good after the race. It was such a great race. Everyone was so helpful and encouraging throughout the day and the competitors were all so nice, similar to mountain bike racers.

Now, time to practice that swimming...

Monday, April 11, 2011


So I don't know why the blog thing wouldn't include separate paragraphs in the last post, I tried to fix it but oh well. Back to Ouachita: I went through the first checkpoint, ~ 16 miles in (on an extremely random side note: if your right hand is shifted one key to the left on the keyboard when you type miles you really get the word nukes, odd...), I was pacing with an older guy who had done the race before so I thought it couldn't hurt to pace with him through the hard hills. The first of the hills wasn't too bad, long and grinding but nothing too technical. The second hill was tough and super technical. Previously described to me as, "someone pulled up, dumped a load of baby-head sized angular rocks and then labelled it trail," I found this description to be pretty good. There were several sections deemed unrideable and there was a good chain of people pushing through the sections. Then the descent off the technical part was super-fun! Fast, flowy, borderline crazy. After the technical climb and the sweet downhill I had forgotten the third hill and once I got out on the road I thought I was headed to a checkpoint so I put the hammer down. After about a mile I rounded a corner and saw the sign pointing back into singletrack and I knew the third hill was coming. At least there wasn't much technical stuff but it was a looooonnnng, very grindy hill. One of those hills where you're already pedalling slow and you look up and only see hill continuing into the clouds. Maybe not quite into the clouds but I feel like there were clouds up there. Once I got up to the top there was one more technical section. I pulled up tried to unclip, no luck, tipped right over. My right leg, the one I could get out was under the bike and my head was downhill. Not a good situation, I definitely felt like a turtle struggling to get off it's back as the other turtles in the race all rode on past... Disappointing. Once I regained some composure, picked up dignity that I had dropped, I flew into another sweet downhill. I repassed some of those other turtles on the descent so I was feeling pretty decent. At the bottom of the descent the course jumps out onto the road that goes into the feed station. Thinking smart, I joined forces with a couple other racers and we pace lined into town. It was a great idea until the idiot roadie in front of me decided he would start slowing down forcing me to lock up the brakes, skid sideways to the right, skid sideways to the left, throw out my foot (Thank God the foot came out!!) and stomp it down to save the crash. Whew... A couple more road miles then it was in to the feed zone, two fresh bottles and a Payday and I was good to go. At this point the twinge of cramps were coming on pretty good. Took it easy for a bit, downed a lot of fluids and ate something hoping this would help. Pulled back through the feed zone, got some salt tablets and more water then continued on for the last 20 or so miles. "It's only 20 miles," I was thinking. Not long into the singletrack the cramps were starting to come on pretty good, "Uh oh," is what I was thinking. Drank a bunch, pedalled easy and prayed the cramps would go away. Luckily they did, for a little while anyway. Further into the singletrack I realized my food was not going to be coming out anytime soon, "Awesome," I thought. Having the foot not come out was good on the climbs but on the bench cut descents I was a little worried that I was going to crash downhill and just keep going crashing with the inseparable foot on the bike. "Oh well, don't ride like a sissy," kept running through my mind. On one of the long climbs I passed Keith, the only guy in our group that was in front of me, he wasn't having the best day on the side of the trail but I wasn't gonna stop half way up a long climb to see if he needed anything. This gave me a bit of motivation to keep going. I began to get quite frustrated on this section of trail because the foot thing was really starting to become an issue. There were loads of switchbacks in this section and since I was so tired I was struggling with them, not being able to put a foot down meant I just fell over every time this happened. I wouldn't normally have minded too much but this meant I had to get myself up and back going while fighting cramps from setting in. Definitely thinking, "Ugh, this isn't cool anymore!" Some distance of kick-ass singletrack later I pulled in to a feed station, filled up a bottle and kept truckin. I didn't want to stop long thinking the cramps might move in and my foot was still stuck in my pedal, no bueno... I pulled back out and quickly realized it was back into slow-grinding uphills. I got very comfortable riding in the granny gear fearing I was going to stall or cramp badly if I pushed too hard. Then there was some more sweet descents after I made it through the climbing but my thoughts were more along the lines of, "Where the hell is the road? This singletrack is brutal." Definitely something I never thought I'd say to myself. Finally, I got back out to the road, I was NOT done though. After several rolling hills I came down to the last checkpoint with a guy who was less-than-spectacular at being a corner marshall/checkpoint guy, I understand though, he could only see us coming from a half mile away... Then it was back into a short section of singletrack, OUCH. Figured out that my shoe was not going to clip in to my shoe anymore at this point, I'm not totally sure when it came out. Then back onto the road. Once I was back on the road I was thinking to myself, I could really use some plain water right now. I approached two guys (corner marshalls) and asked if they had any water to which they responded, "At the top of the hill." If only I had known what they meant I would have stopped and gotten some from them anyway. A mountain-style switchback climb up a marginally loose gravel road was all that stood between me an fresh water... That climb sucked, no prettying that up. Got to the top, got some water and I knew it was sorta the home stretch to get in. I have never really seriously thought, "I really don't want to be on the bike anymore, I don't know if I even care anymore..." This is not a good attitude to have, ever. At this point I thought back to all the riders who had done this route yesterday and how hard some of them pushed and this gave me a bit of inspiration to push myself those last several miles. I was rolling down and saw the steeple on the church which was right by the finish line. This also gave me a bit of inspiration, I didn't speed up but I moreso felt, "I'm gonna finish!" I rolled up, saw the finish line and pushed as hard as I could up the last hill to the finish line hoping my legs wouldn't cramp mid way. As soon as I finished the legs started cramping, not horribly but cramping is cramping. Then I changed clothes, ate some pizza and and orange and sat around waiting for the others to come in to cheer them on. Throw in an amazing nap and the day was great! I finished in 6:04:04, my goal was sub 6 which I think I could've done without the damn pedal issues. I also wanted top 50 but I ended up 55th, not too bad for the first time ever riding there. Dinner that night was amazing and the sleep, great! Monday morning came pretty early, a quick breakfast and then it was on the road back to Dallas and then back to Houston. We stopped in Dallas and I picked up some new mountain bike shoes and a tri suit for the upcoming XTerra and then home to Houston. Great weekend!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Well, I dropped the ball

a bit so a short summary of a couple races followed by a lengthy partial update of an epic race will have to do. Warda - hard awesome race. Rode hard, paced pretty well, sprinted a guy at the end but I couldn't quite edge him out. Comfort - long drive, good hanging out with some good friends and and awesome trail. Not the typical omnium as in years past but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The race was tough, rode hard up the climbs, felt pretty good. Saw a guy in my race gaining a little ground on me about 4 miles out. Put the hammer down and beat the kid by a couple minutes...sweet! Post race run damn near killed me, that's a long hill oh there at Comfort. Oh yeah, free ice cream guy was there, awesome! Solavaca - another long drive but this time I had a great friend and future mountain bike racer with me. Sonia made the drive go by much quicker. Rolled out to Solavaca for a pre-ride on Saturday morning and about 3 miles into the ride I tore out my sidewall pretty good. Walked the bike in then took out a Specialized demo bike to pre-ride the course. Much fancier bike than I normally ride with it's full suspension and tiny little 26" tires. Even though it was pretty sweet the handlebars were so wide I thought I was riding a full grown longhorn. With such wide bars I felt the need to tell myself not to catch a tree riding through the tight, twisty section, two seconds later I caught a tree in the tight, twisty section and went down pretty hard. Nothing like crashing a fancy $9,000 bike you don't even own. Got up, straightened out the seat and finished the pre-ride. The race was tough, 3 laps on an 8 mile course with no decent recovery area was tough!! I finished closer to the winner than I thought I was going to and I was having a pretty shitty race so I was marginally happy with that. Ouachita Challenge - EPIC. I took the Friday before the race off so I could drive up to Dallas and stay with the cycling parents on Thursday night and then drive up to Oden, Arkansas on Friday. An early morning and quick packing and we were on the way. Pretty long drive and we were in AR. The further we got from the TX/AR border the more we could hear the faint strum of banjos in the background. We got to the packet pickup area quite early so we decided to tour the checkpoints. Some beautiful scenery and weather brought back fond memories of a Sed Strat class field trip down to this area. Finally the registration was ready so we picked up our packets and then headed back to Mena to stay at the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge. Absolutely spectacular views and some good food made for a great night! The tour was on Saturday and since Alan (cycling Dad) was the coach of the Team in Training group we had the opportunity to get up early and cheer on all of the tour riders. The morning was really nice, beautiful sunrise and just enough fog to eminate the pervasive pink of the sunrise. Lot's of cows scattered about the countryside brought back memories of Wisconsin. The ride started at 8 so we watched everyone take off then we went to the first checkpoint to await our riders to support them. As the tour riders made their way through the checkpoints we followed them around making sure they all good to go. We ended up back at the finish line before we knew it awaiting the arrival of the tour riders. One by one they trickled in, only one rider did not make a time cut, very impressive! We all headed back to the lodge for a much needed pre-ride and dinner. The pre-ride was sweet, out along the road atop the ridge the hotel was on with a couple good climbs and some great descents. The chatty conversation of the dinner the night before was now a relatively quiet dinner with the stern concentration of the racers and the tired mumblings of the tour riders. After a good dinner it was time to get some much needed rest for the epic race the following day. Sunday started out pretty nice, much warmer than the day before but there were few clouds and little wind to begin with. Another early morning put us back in Oden with a little over an hour to get ready to race. Some hasty preparations and changing and it was time to get ready ride. A short warm-up and then it was time to line up. I got pretty close to the front to start but was still 4 or 5 rows back. At 8 we rode out. A quick tip from an Austin acquaintance showed me a good shortcut that may have been more than just a slight shortcut but it was sweet and put me up near the front. There was about four miles of paved road before the gravel road to get to the singletrack. On the gravel road my hasty preparations came back to bite me as the spare tube I taped under my seat fell and got caught between the rear tire and the chainstay. Nothing like locking up the back wheel while hauling down a gravel road with a bunch of other racers who are also hauling. Stopped grabbed the tube out threw it in the jersey then took off again. Riders really started getting strung out along the road, I made up some good ground I lost with the spare tube ordeal. There was a good climb right before the singletrack and once we got onto the singletrack the climbing continued. At least the pace eased a bit on the singletrack so I could recover a bit. I passed through some kickass singletrack sections, some good technical sections and one small brush fire. It was on one of the short climbs when I realized I was going to have some pedal trouble but I had no idea what I was getting myself into...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Heartbreak Du

Three weekends ago I travelled up to Tyler, TX for the Heartbreak Duathlon. Not something I would have ever heard about but the cycling parents told me they were going so I thought I'd give it a shot. Of course, Alan's trash talking further inspired me to go.

The race was on Saturday which meant I had no opportunity to ride the course which was previously described to me as "flat, smooth and mostly downhill with a persistent tailwind". The race consisted of a 2.5 mile trail run, followed by a 10 mile mountain bike ride, followed by a 2.5 mile mountain bike ride. I had been running but I wasn't sure how I'd do with the trail running/racing since I'd never run a race before. The first run was good, 19 minutes 24 seconds, good enough to leave me around 10th. The bike was interesting, I started out strong and passed a bunch of people all the way up to 2nd place. I couldn't quite hang with first and he pulled away. Not really wanting to totally destroy myself before the second run I backed it off a bit. With about 2 or 3 miles to go I got passed by the guy in 3rd. He pulled away a bit but I kept him in my sights. The second run was ugly, definitely tough to run after all of that but I had work to do. I took off and not long into the run I passed the guy in front of me putting me into second. I played some mind games with him which was kinda fun and then I kept pushing. Pretty soon I couldn't see third place anymore and I was split between killing myself to see if I could possibly catch first and playing conservative and just finishing as best I could. Not willing to decide either way I mixed harder efforts with slightly easier efforts. A couple times I saw the guy in first but I couldn't tell how close he was and I never ended up catching him. I took second overall by 1 minute and 14 seconds.

The race was tons of fun! Makes me wonder about Xterra...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Holiday Season

The weekend before Christmas was the marathon race out at Rocky Hill. Fat Chuck's revenge is the name of the race, titled after one of the loose technical climbs on the course. I did the race as a training race as opposed to a serious effort. It was a good break from mostly road training rides. The race had a pretty chilly start but warmed up pretty quickly. The race was 42 miles and I knew I would have to pace in order to hold a good steady effort throughout. All in all it was a pretty good experience, I was definitely not in peak form but that's ok.

I decided to stay in Houston for the Holidays and Lauren decided to stay also. It's nice to be home with the family for Christmas but there are a lot of parties to go to and typically it's very exhausting. Also, the weather in Houston allowed for some training rides, outside, in normal riding gear not cold weather gear. We got a Christmas tree on Christmas eve and hung out for while. Seu seemed a little energetic so we went for a walk to check out the lights. Christmas was pretty relaxing, we watched some Christmas movies, including Nestor the long eared donkey, I understand if you have never seen this movie. Christmas was good, I got a sweet math clock, a pedal wrench and a sweet bow tie among other things.

Since I was around Houston I was working but it turned out to be a pretty good week to work since most everyone took off for vacation. I finally got caught up on some work that I had been putting off and got to catch up on a bit of geology.

We went to a friend's for New Years and played a little beer pong and flip cup, it was some good times and there was a pinata with candy!!

Other than the holidays I've been getting in some base mile rides, doing some trail running and I started rock climbing again. It's definitely good cross training and a good compliment to biking.