Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Monday, October 31, 2005

Time Correction

Alright, I exaggerated a little about my bike time for the Martindale tri. I was 4th overall…results: http://www.txcanoeracing.org/new/2005results/Martindale.htm


But I did average over 22mph for the hilly, windy course. That’s good, right?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Revised Race Schedule

  • Notre Dame vs. Tennessee, Nov. 5, 2005. Danny, Matt, Tracy, Marco.
  • Talmo Navigation Race, Nov. 11, 2005. Stan?
  • HART 12hr Training Camp, Nov. 12, 2005. Stan, Erin, ?
  • Team Texas Sprint O, Dec. 3, 2005.
  • Texas Dare, Dec. 11, 2005. Stan, Erin, ?
  • Chevron Houston Marathon, Jan. 15, 2006.
  • TooCool Big Chill 24hr, Jan. 28, 2006. HART/Texas Rough Riders
  • King of Jester, Feb. 25, 2006.
  • BP MS-150, Apr. 22, 2006.

Our First Try at the Martindale Tri

Whoah, what a weekend! I defintely need to start the "offseason". But keeping the weekends busy definitely keeps life fun. The weekend started with the Martindale Triathlon Saturday morning. It isn't the traditional "tri" as the swim was replaced with a paddle instead. Also, its not a loop course, so a lot of shuttling logistics needed to be squared away. We did the relay with Adam Neville, Mike Drost's friend, doing the paddle, Stan doing the run, and me doing the bike, in that order. Mike also had a team there, representing AART, with Mike and Dave Bartell, both from the canoeing scene. We decided to make it interesting and put a bet down, a 6-pack of beer. I lost my last bet of this sort at the 24hrs of RHR race, so I was dead set on winning this one. I really thought we could, but had no idea how good Adam was compared to Bartell. We knew that Bartell was better, but didn't know by how much...a variable that would be very crucial at the end.

We dropped Adam off at the start in San Marcos then drove down the river to the first dam where Mike assured me a lot of action was bound to happen. It would be interesting because at this point a paddler had to decide whether they were going to shoot through a small gate in the dam, slide down (ungracefully) the steps of the dam, or portage around the dam. Of course, the portage would be the least exciting, so we were begging for people to try to run the dam. And the first team to get there did exactly that with less than optimum results. They tipped and were dumped out, losing their spray skirts. It was cool to watch though! At one point, it was chaos with a lot of boats reaching the dam at the same time. Then we saw Adam, ahead of Bartell!! WTF?!? I was very, very happy about this development, only to be disappointed as he told us that he started 5min too early...crap. Now this did not allow for Mike and I to have a straightforward anchorman battle at the end...it would confuse it just a little bit, most likely to our disadvantage since we wouldn't know how much time exactly to make up after the paddle.

After seeing a few more boats navigate the dam, we headed down to drop off Stan and Mike then Drost and I drove to the final transistion at Shady Grove Campgrounds to get ready. Throughout this Deb was doing support and driving around taking pictures and giving us updates. She told us that Mike was making time on Stan, which I really couldn't believe. This guy must be really fast! So with the 5min head start to account for, I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. Mike seemed very confident, so I knew he was going to bring his game. He was now questioning his putting our team together, his main competition...we would make it a close one for him. So Stan came in, looking strong as usual, and we tagged for the final leg. I had to carry my bike for a few yards because there was gravel between the road and the transition area...they need to do something about that, maybe build a special ramp or something. Anyway, I fumbled a little trying to get on my bike and my water bottle fell out...not a stellar transition. Finally I was off, trying to gauge how my legs were feeling...I just didn't know how to push since I never did a "time trial" road race on hilly terrain. I tried to conserve energy at first and just pour it on at the end where I knew I would have to battle hills a plenty.

Good so far on the first stretch on 1979 as I was averaging about 22mph on the flat stuff. I knew the hurt was about to come into play as the hills awaited at the next turn. The flats weren't that happy either as the wind was relentless. The turn came and I was okay at first, but I started to lose speed. 22 became 21, 21 then became 20...now I was just trying to keep my speed above 20. Then came the big hill with the word "suffer" spray painted on the ashphalt...I saw it the weekend before, but I still had to chuckle a little as I rode by it...yup, I did suffer...but it was masochistically good. As I turned I saw a guy coming up on me and apparently Drost was close enough to see me at this point...both not good. I figured the guy coming up on me was a solo racer, so I just waited to let him pass me, but it never came. This was about where I turned it on because I saw the first place relay team rider in orange. With the 5min gap, I not only had to catch him I had to put 5 mins on him. So I had a new target--the catch. We turned again back onto 1979 which had a couple big hills to negotiate. I saw that he was struggling on the climbs so I knew I could catch him here. I tried to blast up the hills and I eventually caught him going about 3-5mph faster than him...I wanted to demoralize him. I didn't look back--I still had a lot of work to do. This was about when Deb and Stan drove by to take pictures. That invigorated me more and I put on my last attempt to leave him in the dust. It was hurting but I knew I had it in me to push. I was full of piss and vinegar at this point and was cursing at myself to push harder and harder...grunting and spitting. I felt really good as I got out of my seat to push the final stretch on 1979 at the turn going towards Shady Grove. Deb told me later that they had to drive really fast just to catch back up to me after stopping for a minute to take one more pic of me and Mike. I didn't let up and pushed it all the way through the finish line. Adam was watching as I finished and he just kept telling me that I was "cruising". I know I put time on the first place team, but didn't think it was enough...then I didn't know if I put enough time on Mike to get 2nd. My final average was about 22mph at 44mins20secs, which seems to be the 2nd fastest bike leg in the history of the race! The best time was set at 40mins (25mph)...damn.

A few minutes later, Mike came in and I didn't think we had enough time, but Deb was still staying optimistic, saying it was just too close to call. Then the final time came in and it was official that they beat us by about 1min...I only put 3-4 mins on Mike, which I still thought was a lot considering how good Mike was. So again I had to surrender the alcohol. Regardless, I felt great about our performance, considering we had no real idea of what we were getting into and the first time we do this we get 3rd, missing 2nd by a mere minute--impressive in my book.

We stayed for awards to take our 3rd place trophies then I had to take off to make it back to Tina and Lisa's Halloween party. I jammed back and got back into town in 2hrs. Coming into town I was racing this Firebird and that made the time fly (btw, I won getting into the 61o interchange)...I guess the competetive juices were still flowing.

Alright, stopping here and maybe I will dedicate a blog to the party..."My goal is to deny yours"

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Kenny's Ride for the Roses

This is actually a photo of me at the 24hrs of RHR....I think this is on my "last lap" not my real last lap.

Alright, this weekend was pretty fun. I first drove out to Martindale to prescout the Martindale Triathlon bike course with Mike and Debbie. Mike's paddling friends were there too. It was a pretty cool course at first but as Mike warned me, the backside of the bike loop was hilly, riddled with crappy roads and there was a stiff wind out this weekend. It will be pretty miserable come race day. But thankfully I'm only doing the bike...the run looks pretty rough. I am totally looking forward to it. We rode about 30miles then called it a day.

After that, we had late lunch in San Marcos right on the river...very good burgers and mojitos. I bid adieu to everyone and headed into Austin to get some gear for the triathlon. I forgot that the Ride for the Roses was this weekend, so EVERYONE was at the bike shops. It was fine because the salespeople were extremely nice and they had deals on almost everything. I even got a nice bottle rack for 20 bucks off at Austin TriCyclist because it was slightly used. Why don't we have a shop like that here in Houston?!? Man, I want to move there...the outdoor culture is much more vibrant.

After picking up some goods, I continued onto highway 71 towards Smithville to meet with Bobby, who had done the Bastrop individual meet that morning. He had a few problems during the meet, one of which was losing his passport. Not good. As I was driving through Bastrop I figured that Bobby needed something to eat for dinner before he went to bed, so I called him and we decided to meet up at Mama Mia's in Bastrop. While I waited, I talked to Ross who also did the meet and won his age group on the orange course. Along with Bobby's plight, he told me a lot of the top navigators in the texas adventure racing world were there, including Kip Fiebig, Art Cook, Scott Appleton, Tom Lane, etc. Now I was really disappointed that I didn't do the meet...that would have been cool to see how I stacked up head-to-head with them, purely on navigational skills. Oh well.

After dinner, we headed to Pinepoint Inn in Smithville to stay the night before heading back to Bastrop for the relay orienteering meet on Sunday. For some reason, we could only get 5 people from HART to do the meet, leaving Tommy and I without a 3rd. So that meant one of us would have to do double duty, running the 1st and last courses. That morning, we decided that Tommy would pull the double since I had to do something similar at Rocky Hill when I went on an extra lap. Also, I figured this would be great training for Tommy since this was the first meet he has done. It was a crazy mass start where everyone on the first leg had to sprint to get their maps, which were hanging all together on a clothesline...what a scary mess. Tommy came in with a respectable time on the first leg, beating all of the other adventure racers back, but there was a problem. But I had no idea until after I ran my leg. I had a yellow course, so it was really easy--everything was pretty much off a road or trail. It was so easy that Tommy wasn't expecting me back so quickly and was taken surprise when I came back in...I had to yell out his name to have him come over and tag me. I then found out that he had missed 1 or 2 points on his first leg, essentially DQ-ing us. That was crappy because I had given us a huge padding of time and we would have beat all the AR-ers by a huge margin. Foiled again. We did come in 5th, the first AR team, but it didn't matter.

Now the real excitement started as we saw one by one all the other AR teams came in, but still no Bobby, who was on a team with Andrea and Ross. We finally couldn't wait anymore since HOC was pretty much packing in everything. We went out to do the last course in reverse, in hopes that we would run into Bobby. We eventually did--he got screwed up early in the nav on the first 2 pts and that slowed him down dramatically. That sucks. So all was well again and we headed out for lunch as soon as he finished.

To finish my tour, we were supposed to go riding at Warda, but with Bobby coming in late, we decided to bag it. That would have been a nice topper to a fairly relaxing, fun weekend, but I'll take what I got. It was another weekend with near perfect weather--I'll take that any day! So I drove back to Htown, washed Eve, my mountainbike, and then settled in. We really need more serious navigators in HART--that's sad that we were only able to field 1.667 teams this weekend. Really sad.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Upcoming Race Schedule

Bastrop Orienteering Meet Relay, Oct. 23, 2005. Tommy and...Tommy

Martindale Triathlon, Oct. 29, 2005. Stan, Adam Neville

Notre Dame vs. Tennessee, Nov. 5, 2005. Danny, Matt, Tracy, Marco.

HMSA 25k, Nov. 13, 2005.

Team Texas Sprint O, Dec. 3, 2005.

Finish Line 30k, Dec. 11, 2005.

Chevron Houston Marathon, Jan. 15, 2006.

TooCool Big Chill 24hr, Jan. 28, 2006. HART/Texas Rough Riders

King of Jester, Feb. 25, 2006.

BP MS-150, Apr. 22, 2006.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

24hrs of Rocky Hell

who dat?! So, early in the year, Nick, Will, and I have a discussion about doing the 24hrs of Rocky Hill later in the year and for some reason I agree. I figured I haven't done one of these yet, so "what the heck", right? Then a few weeks later, the guys find out that the race is the same weekend that they're scheduled to work, so they couldn't do it. This was my first opportunity to bail out. But no, I decided to push it and when Tommy and Weihan mentioned racing, I decided to take their offer up. Bad thing about that was a few weeks after that, we found out that TerraFirma changed the race date and now Nick and Will COULD do the race...oh well. So they decided to just do it as a tandem...we picked up Andrew to make a 4-man team. All was good.

About a month to the race, Weihan finds out he can't race because of work, so we had to pick up a new guy. We were starting to get to know Mike Drost better and figured he would be a good replacement for Weihan. Still, things were alright. Then the TerraFirma 12hr debacle happened and I wasn't very excited about racing anymore. I felt burnt out because of all the stress and bs that everyone has been giving me all year. So I abruptly told my team that I wasn't going to do it anymore. Shocked, Tommy and Mike started to rally to keep me on the team. I took a few days to cool down, then I decided to stay on the team. Everyone else was still on. This was my second chance to get out of this drudgefest.

To make it a little interesting, we decided to make a wager between our team and Nick's team...beer for us, wine for them. Since they were a smaller team, we decided to spot them some laps...we eventually ended up with 5 laps, which I thought were too many, but we went for it anyway. The day finally came and felt relatively fresh with the weather getting a little cooler and I had taken it easy after TF. The lineup was Andrew, Tommy, Me, and Mike. First lap was the "feeler" lap, trying to get a good feel for how this thing would go, since this was my first relay race. I had a good time of 59mins, but I felt really labored on the first part of the course before Fat Chuck...should have warmed up! I felt a lot better on my second lap, but only shaved a minute on my time...our baton transfer must have been slower or something. Then came my first lap in the dark. Pretty uneventful and pretty clean considering the conditions...about 1:05 which was still good for a night lap.

Then it started to fall apart. Times were getting slower, Mike was having problems with his shifting throughout the race (he switched out his shifters that same week...what's the mantra?!?) and had chain suck during his night loop, and my light went out right as I summited Fat Chuck...that was bad. I put on my emergency headlamp, but that was terrible. I couldn't go as fast as I wanted to--everytime I tried, I would just run off the trail and almost kill myself on a tree. Thankfully, I had just passed a racer with a good light, so I decided that it would be safer to just wait for him and follow him the rest of the way. We went really slow and he had shifting problems, so I knew my time would be bad. It ended up being around 1:13, which is better than I thought it would be. This was all bad because, despite us having no expectations for this race, we were first for most of the race. We then lost the lead overnight and had a lot of catching up to do. They, like us, had one really good biker...but I think he was a little faster than Andrew. No matter, we knew that we were as a whole better than their team as a whole...or at least we hoped.

So daylight came again and it was time for my last lap...so I thought. I even asked everyone if this would be my last lap and everyone was positive that it was. So I decided to put it all out for this lap. I would also get some help from another racer from another team who had 3rd place sown up but could not catch us or the 1st place team...he did not like the guys on the 1st place team too much, so he wanted us to win. He was very helpful and kind...even when this girl Shontell was being a total bitch on the trail by not letting me pass her, he defended me the whole time, attacking her behavior. I am officially not a fan of that GIRL. Does she think she's a pro or something? If so, take her attitude to some pro race where she would fit in better--we're here for the friendly, competetive racing...not the assholes. Anyway, I was able to summon some strength and ended up putting us back up by 2mins. I was spent. However, to my dismay, the first things to come out of Tommy's mouth as soon as I passed the baton to Andrew (Mike was actually supposed to go out next) is that "we have a little change in plans." My heart sunk as he told me that I would have to go back out one last time after Andrew came back in from his lap. Okay, Andrew had the worst part of the deal since he would still have to go one more time after me to finish it off, but I had not planned to go one more time after only 1hrs rest. I had no idea what I had left in the tank.

Somehow I was able to summon one more lap out of myself and I got back on that bike as they pushed me through the starting lane and I started living in my own personal hell. While I was still passing people on the trail, there seemed to be more and more guys passing me, which was not good for my morale. I kept trying to push through, but I knew my time would be slower than 1hr, which is what we thought I would need. At the turnaround point, I was happy, because I knew it was mostly downhill from there. So I put it down as far as I could I shot down the final hills...as soon as I got off the bike to check in and pass the baton my legs cramped, putting me in unbelievable pain. My time was 1:05...okay normally, but probably not at this stage of the game. Andrew shot out of there on hot pursuit of their last racer who was not as fast as Andrew, but had a considerable lead on us. All HART members present stood and waited at the finish line as the 24th hr came, which meant this was indeed the last lap...then the sinking feeling started to settle in as we saw their rider rolling in, cramping all over, and Andrew was nowhere in sight. He had made tremendous time on him, but he cruised in 2mins behind. So close. Results.

2nd again at RHR. WTF. Well, I guess it was good considering that we weren't expecting anything...but still, to lose that close again. Unbelievable.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sammich and K-SPoT Come in Hot

So this weekend was a rest weekend. The weather of course decided to turn nice...just rub it in a little more, please. But that just gave us another reason to throw a party last night. The temps were perfect for enjoying the outside air and chillin on Sam's back deck and grill out a bit. It was phenomenal. It actually went the way I thought it should...for once. About 20 people showed up, mostly AR folk. A surprise appearance was made by Togs, who had some really depressing news. But I chose not to dwell on it and just hoped he had a good time. Everyone is pretty social in this group so I didn't feel like anyone was left out.

One of the best parts of the night was when four women were rolling around in my bed at one time...too bad they were all batting for the other team. But I can still tell people some of the facts and embellish a little. Everyone was civil and pretty funny once they were comfortable. Sam seemed happy too, which is important...it was good to see him having a good time and enjoying the fruits of his backyard labor. Nick was on last night...it had to be something in the wine. He had a lot of funny stories and Jaunda had to try and keep him under check, which she did for the most part. She did however declare me her alternate husband for a moment when Nick went on a tirade. It was hilarious to watch. Then Toby was trying to do his part by trying to convert some of the women, Tina and Tara in particular, by trying to hump their legs. He was successful with Tara and she just stood there in horror, not exactly sure what to do until Sam pulled him off of her. I almost died laughing!

I was kinda surprised that Tara showed, but then again not so surprised. I knew Andrew would because he's really a nice guy who doesn't wish ill on most people...Messer I knew he wouldn't show. As a recap, I'm not heading to nationals...it was ugly on my part and I had enough. So I actually moved onto another team, Rough Riders. I actually had been hoping to be on their team for about a year now, so this actually works out well for me. We obviously are now focusing on the long races, with Primal Quest being our target race. I'm really excited and this means a lot tougher, focused training, but if we make it to PQ, it will be all worth it. I actually am somewhat happy that I'm not going because it has freed the rest of my year to pretty much do whatever I want. Now I'm going to do the 24hrs of Rocky Hill this coming weekend, the relay orienteering meet at Bastrop the weekend after that and then the Martindale Tri relay the weekend after that. These races will be my attempt to get back to enjoying the races...for fun. We even have friendly bets for the 24hr RHR and Martindale races for beer...definitely ensuring it will be for the fun of it. Also, as a replacement activity, I'm heading to Notre Dame that weekend of my birthday to watch the Tennessee game. Danny and Matt will be flying in too. Good times.

Official results came in from the Challenger 7 O meet and I indeed won the advanced category. That was a sliver of good news after the TerraFirma debacle. I pretty much took last week off, only doing a recovery ride on Wed right before the social at Los Cucos. Then when the weather turned nice on Friday and I forgot to bring my contacts to work so that I could swim, I knew I had to go and run. I ran about 6mi and it felt great! The first lap around the Memorial loop I didn't sweat much or even have labored breathing. I'm glad the weather is starting to cooperate because I'm a little behind on my marathon training and need to start putting in more mileage...I have about 14 weeks left until the Houston Marathon.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Still Hot in Texas

Alright, back to the same song. We had the Terra Firma 12hr yesterday and despite a cold front rolling in mid week promising mid to upper 80 highs, the temps were in the mid 90s and those of us vunurable to the effects of the heat were again put in our place. It started off great as Dead Reckoning set a torrid pace, being in front of the 2nd place team by at least 30mins after the navigation section (it started off with a special test run up Fat Chucks, the usual bike course through the ranch, ride to the Colorado for an 1hr+ paddle, and then back to the ranch for the navigation).

By this time I was losing steam. I just cannot drink enough to replace all the sweat I produce in this heat it seems. I drank constantly throughout the day. Then it was to the next special test where 2 people had to run a course through RHR and 2 people had to ride a slightly longer course through RHR, not neccessarily needing to stay together. I opted for the bike first because we had just come back from being on foot. I figured I would be able to survive and keep our lead on the bike. But after the first 3 or so climbs on the bike course, I needed a break. So we camped under the minimal shade provided and that's when Andrew and Tara, the runners, came up on us. I could tell they were not happy with me at all. But what could I do--I heeded all precautions given to me to drink, but still here I was in this predicament. So after a 5min break I tried to go on, but still with no avail. We stopped again to reevaluate our situation. We decided to switch up and have Tara tow me on the run and have Andrew and Mike do the bike. It was working at first and I even urinated once, making me think I was on the path to recovery. But as the ran went on, I started to slow down again and this time I was getting twinges in my calves. Bad news.

So I tried and tried and tried. But finally on the way down back from the run, both of my calves cramped simultaneously. As I tried to reach down to stretch them out to relieve the agonizing pain, I started to tip backwards. I couldn't brace for the fall so I landed square on my tailbone, which is still sore as I write this blog. It took about 30secs for the cramping to subside. I couldn't believe I was cramping...I thought I had solved my cramping issues. But the heat is just something to which I don't seem to have the combination. From here on I had to stop everytime I felt the twinging coming on or suffer a debilitating minute of cramping. Nothing was working and I just tried to run through the twinges then finally Team STAR, the 2nd place team, came running by us asking if our riders were back at TA yet. We really didn't know. But that was just the blow to the head I didn't need. If their riders weren't there yet, I knew they would be along pretty soon. And sure enough, few minutes later, here came their riders. It was over. The next leg was a mountain bike up to Fat Chucks and there was no way we could make time on them when all of them were pretty good bikers, which included pro Tammy Killibrew. So all we needed to do is finish. Easier said than done. Every climb I had to get off my bike and have Andrew tow me up as he pushed both his bike and mine...then even went down to pull up either Tara or Mike's bike while I tried to get back on my bike. Andrew is amazing.

So, to make this excrutiating story short, we made it and held on to 2nd place (3rd place team was way back, so we were in no real danger). This is where my team proceeded to abandon me. ...edited...Deb and Tommy had to help me through my recovery. This I won't forget.