Friday, February 24, 2012

The 100th Post

Yay! 100 posts...

Four weeks ago tomorrow I got out of bed way early to travel up to Warda for the annual Dirty Dozen/Super 6 12 and 6 hour mountain bike races. I signed up for the 6 hour race. Turns out there were some pretty bitchin' storms that rolled through the area the night before the race. So my getting up early, checking the weather, checking the website for any delays, checking the weather again, and then hesitantly climbing into the car to head up for the race WAS for nothing, the race was delayed for three hours, that would have been some great sleep! The races had also been shortened from 12 to 8 and from 6 to 4 hours. I call my race the Filthy Four instead of the Super Six.

So after some socializing and then a short nap I got all ready and put my bike in the bike area and lined up for the Le Mans. (A Le Mans is when they start all the racers some specified distance from their bikes so the racers have to run to the bikes, this helps to separate out the field). The start was good, wasn't too far back going into the singletrack. I was doing well, passing people, and feeling good. Then the second lap happened, I was about 1/4 of the way into the lap and all of the sudden had a hole in the tire. Knowing Stans is kickass, I jumped off my bike and tried to get the hole to seal with the Stans, no luck... DAMN!! With no tube, I had to run the bike in, find a tube, fix it, and then head out to kick more ass. Luckily the trail was real muddy so all of the events that had transpired led me to not being too far behind. For the rest of the race I kept a good pace, stopping every lap to wipe the mud off of my glasses and get something small to eat. I had to wash my bike 3 times to keep the caked-on mud at a manageable level.

I kept mashing until the last lap, didn't really want to go out on the last lap but I did. I'm glad I did because I was able to drop the guy who was trying to hang on to my wheel, that was a good feeling!

I ended up fourth in the Men's Open 4 hour race, not bad considering the flat!

I'll post pictures of the race and the mess soon.

Was sore the next day!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Last weekend was the annual race from Warda to Rocky Hill and then back to Warda.

The morning started early (4:00 early), on the road by 4:30 and at the gas station by 4:35. It was real foggy but that didn't slow me down, had to get to race!! The race started at 7:30 with a racers' meeting at 7:15. I got all ready to go only to realize I had lost my car keys... panic!! After about five minutes of searching I found them inside my collapsable lawn chair... WTF. Back to race, I rode around a little bit made sure I had everything, left my supply bag with my teammate's, James Webb's dad (So thankful for the support!). Put my bike down in the bike staging area and headed to the racers' meeting. I got to catch up with a lot of my friend racers while we waited for the start, the Le Mans start. Some anxiety some negative anticipation about how much the race was going to hurt and all of the sudden we were going.

After the Le Mans and some shuffling around I was approaching the entrance to the singletrack and then my rear tire came to a grinding halt and I had no idea why. Apparently the skewer had worked itself a little loose. Wonderful... I got it back on and got back on the bike, about 50 positions back from where I was, and in the thick of the mostly non-technical riders... ugh... I also noticed I gashed my finger pretty good while fixing my bike and the blood was flowing off my thumb like no other. After some slow singletrack and passing a bunch of people, and then some more people, it was time to get out onto the road for the first road section.

I started out with a pretty fast group that could not hold a steady pace for anything so we were constantly going from 23mph to 17mph with short hard accelerations in between. I decided it not worth the effort to try to stay in the group so I let them go so I could hold a more steady pace. Eventually, another group caught up to me and I joined in that group, a good friend, Tracy Jones, was in the group and since I wasn't really "in" my race too much I decided to ride with her the rest of the day. Just as we were about two miles from Rocky Hill Tracy flatted so, being a nice guy, I stopped to help her get it fixed, Stan's is great tire sealant!! Back on the road and almost to Rocky Hill, I was really looking forward to some food. Refueled, Tracy and I hit the trails at Rocky Hill, one of my favorite riding venues. I rode in front for a while, picking good lines, then I would let Tracy lead for a while, she did not pick good lines and I was too sheepish and followed her... then I would lead again for a while. A while later, about 20 miles or so, we came to the end of Rocky Hill singletrack, nothing very eventful happened at RH.

The road section back started with a big climb and then was reasonably flat all the way back to Warda, just a few slow grinders. Tracy and I and one other dude started a paceline and kept picking people up as we went. I noticed my knee starting to hurt pretty good about half way back, not sure why it was hurting. Kept on cycling through the paceline getting Tracy back into contention for the women until about 4 miles to go, at which point I was pretty much spent for the day. I didn't totally slack off but I definitely was riding a bit easier. After I was done I actually felt pretty good physically, except for my knee, that was killing me.

I ended up fourth in my age group, not too bad, and Tracy ended up as the second woman overall and first in her age group. Way to go!! After a delicious burger and a chat with my coach I headed on back to Houston. Way to go to my coach, by the way, fifth overall for men, Great Work!!

Now it's back to training.

Next weekend Sonia and I are travelling to rural Alabama to visit Sonia's Mom, Maria. I haven't been Alabama for a while and it'll be great to meet Sonia's mom so I'm definitely looking forward to the trip!

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.