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, January 30, 2006

Racing Through The Hillcountry

dem r sum nice racin shoes, Melissa!Alright, this is actually my second attempt at this blog--for some reason both Firefox and Internet Explorer just kicked me out and I lost everything that I was writing. It was really good stuff! WTF. Oh well, I will try to recreate it, but I apologize if its subpar the second time around.

Where was I...okay, so the past week was supposed to be pretty chill. I was just planning to head over to Austin with Jaunda and Nick to scout out Jester and then head over to Boerne with Jaunda to recon the mountain bike course for the race this upcoming weekend. But then I got the call from the Godfather, Rick. An offer I couldn't refuse. As you may know, Jamie broke his arm after the training camp and so that left Rick with Melissa and Tom, my usual RunBikePaddle teammate, thus needing a 4th for the Big Chill. He calls me up and asks if I will race with them. He assures me that we will not go fast and that I would have a "vacation" from navigating since Tom would do it this time for some practice. I believed him--I'm soooo gullible!

I agreed and now had to break the news to Nick, which is always a lovely experience. He NEVER throws a guil trip your way...okay, yes, that was sarcasm. But I still agreed to head up to Boerne with Jaunda on Sunday, after the race. It seemed to be a great idea at the time since I wasn't doing the 24hr, JUST the 12hr. Now that it was a race week for me, I tapered down a bit more on the training. On Monday I coached practice, Tuesday I did the brick workout around the Fruit Loop, but I didn't do the last run because I had pushed it a bit for the first run. I just stretched instead--I was starting to feel the tingling of the IT band, so I thought I should probably stop running for the day. Mon, Tue, and Thurs I swam, and the Thursday session was my first lesson with Patrick at Trivantage. He is my Zen Swim Sensei...just like Karate Kid, I had to learn "wax on, wax off" before I could "swim." So to start out, he told me not to "swim" anymore and just do the balance drills he would teach me during our sessions together. We started off with a back balance drill. They have those "endless pools" in their studio, so that took some getting used to. I would always eventually swim towards the flume and hit it, then lose concentration and have to stop the drill. I'm hoping this will become better as I get used to the endless pool and I get used to the actual drills. So he taught me what to do for about 30mins and then I spent the last 30mins working on the balancing drills.

Friday we headed over to Bastrop to set up TA and spend the night. I ended up sharing a room with Melissa and Michael Mey. They both had significant others to worry about, so for some reason I got to sleep in the same bed with Melissa...wow, I still must be the "no threat" guy. We had dinner at Mama Mia, which was "swamped" according to them...they were not expecting the deluge of adventure racers to head their way on a Friday night, I suppose. So Deb actually became our waitress and took our orders and dropped them off to the chef. She did a great job--we tipped our waitress well. It was hilarious. Many thing were said that were off-color...Rick and Mey were there, what would you expect?! The best was when Eric was talking on the phone, there was a comment on how Eric has an attractive wife. Of course, Mey followed with a comment directed at Ross. Ouch. Please push that dagger deeper. Good times.

paparazzi following us!We went straight to bed after dinner and got up at about 5am for breakfast. We were out of the Days Inn by about 6am and had to go drop the boats off at Lake Bastrop, a few miles from the park. The weather was actually not that bad...definitely not as bad as it was last year!! We gathered for the prerace meeting at about 730 and got our maps right afterward. For the 12hr, by inspecting the map, we knew we wouldn't be heading to Rocky Hill, which is what we suspected. That would mean no technical riding, which was probably good for our team. It started off with a little rogaine up front, 5 points. Tom navigated all these points. The first 3 pts had numbers we had to write down to get the coordinates for the 4th point. They required a little rearranging to get the right UTM coords, but we eventually got them. We just took a leisurely pace and walked the uphills and even some of the flats and downhills--it was a 12hr so we didn't want to blow ourselves up, especially with my knee. So far so good--no pains down there for me. Next was navigation to the tyrolean traverse and the boat drop. The traverse was pretty fun--I just took a running start and leaped off. Rick had so much momentum going on his turn that he made it over half way on the traverse before he had to start pulling himself to the other side! Then Melissa had the opposite experience--I think she ran into a tree on the way and had to pull herself all the way to the other side almost immediately!

Next we headed to a checkpoint on a hill. No problem. Tom was doing fine. Next was a "caving" checkpoint right off of HWY 21. Tom shot a direct bearing and we were there in no time. But it was a little confusing of where we had to do the "caving" since no one was there to direct us. There was a little culvert that was barely visible where we were standing, but we figured this is where we had to go. It was tight and Tom is claustrophobic, so we had a slight problem. For everyone who couldn't make it, we would suffer a 15min penalty. But Tom was sincerely troubled by it, so we just told him to meet us on the other side. It was a little stressful because Ross was not being helpful at all, saying that we were in the way, etc. So Rick, Melissa, and I made it through to the other side, punching the cp along the way. Then Robyn tells us that they did not plan for us to enter from that side, so Tom actually can still avoid the penalty if he goes in from this side and gets his wristband punched. The tunnel was wider on this side, so it was a bit easier for him and he did it. Nice, no penalty. We continued on to the boat drop.

who da man
We were just behind Ross' team (HART/Hammer Nutrition w/ Deb, Raymund, and Eric) once we got on the water and Tom had handed me the map right before, so I started navigating. The boats we had were quite different and Rick and I were in my Esperanto and Tom and Melissa were in a shorter Perception (I think it was a sundance or something like that). So we obviously would go a bit faster. One thing I forgot to mention is that when we checked in from the previous leg, we were handed the 24hr sheet of coordinates instead of the 12hr ones. We noticed this and asked if this was just a misprint and all the points were the same for the 12hr and they said "yes." They were wrong. Thankfully, Art had caught up to us on the ropes and corrected our maps. This still cost us some time because we wasted that time to plot those points and reorganize our plan of attack, so Art gave us a 5min credit (which we eventually didn't use since it didn't matter). That could have been disasterous if Art hadn't found us in time! Anyway, so I had not oriented myself to the corrected map and was actually steering our team into one of the 24hr cps. This must have confused Ross or something because they stopped for a while and looked at their maps in the middle of water while Rick and I continued paddling along. I caught this mistake and changed our strategy and went for the closest point first, while Ross et al. continued to the farthest point.

esperanto preppingI double and triple checked the terrain features to make sure I was heading the right way and there was slight confusion as we ran into a spit of land on our way to the cp--but we realized that this was on the map and we would have to portage a short distance around it to continue on to the cp. No prob--we found it. Along the way we kept seeing Team Subaru, the pro team who made fun of the Austin area's "speedbumps," not hills. They seemed to be behind after the first leg, but started to make up time on the other 24hr teams. They were pretty cordial and would flash us a smile and good tiding everytime. On the way to the 2nd and last cp on the boat, we ran into Jason Maloney and his team, who were oddly not racing under the HoustonFitAR banner. Of course there was banter between him and Rick for most of the time until we hit the next cp. Then we saw Ross and them there too--obviously they had some difficulty getting to this point. So now we were thinking that Bobby's team (HART/TexasDare.com w/ Jackie, Frank, and Mike the bike cop) was way ahead of us because we didn't see them at all (but we found out later that they made a huge plotting error). But in truth we were now in front.

The paddle back was pretty nice--the winds calmed down. Actually, when it was windy and rainy on our way out onto the lake, it still wasn't as bad as it was last year! We walked a lot on the way back to TA from the boats. We found out we were the leaders when we got back to TA--we were certainly surprised. The next leg was a bike leg with a couple trek cps. I was sooo happy! Since I had not run barely at all that day, I was super fresh on the bike and felt I could climb anything. I was strong enough to help others on the team up the hills by pushing them from behind. The first 4 cps on the bike were along a powerline easement. No problems here--pretty straightforward. On the last cp here, I tried using the powerline easement to head east, but that started to cross onto private property (indicated by the locked fence), so we had to backtrack to the main road between Bastrop and Buescher parks. We headed east and the next cp was at an intersection. Got it. Going north, we hopped into a paceline and stopped at a cemetery. Got it. Continued west on Gotier Trace for one more cp before we headed back to TA and it was under a bridge. Done. In no time we were heading back to TA for the final leg.

slim lead on final legThe last leg would be an orienteering leg--we just had to copy the cps from a master map onto an orienteering map of Bastrop they had given us at the beginning of the race. It looked easy enough, but I had no idea how much time we had on the other teams. As soon as we got our shoes on, we headed back out the way we came and we saw Moxie Pucks/Run Amok along the way. Now, I was worried about them for sure--I knew they were really good runners and really good navigators, so I really wanted to run/jog the rest of the way. But we had to walk to keep our team from blowing up. The last 5 cps were straightforward and we pretty much hit all of them dead on. It was dark by the time we were heading to the last cp, so we had slowed down a bit--that's when we saw Hammer Nutrition. They didn't look like they were in a hurry, so I figured they weren't close to being done yet, thankfully. We hit the last cp on the powerline easement and headed back to TA. We still didn't know how MP/RA and TexasDare.com were doing, so we jogged a bit on our way back. We headed in and it was official--RunBikePaddle.com won the 12hr! Yeehaw! It was probably the cleanest race I have ever done, which is so crazy since I wasn't planning to race at all that weekend.

we won!Melissa was excited because she kept saying that she never was even close to contending for a top spot in a race, so I was really happy for her. I really had fun this race. It was a good group. Rick was his old self, but was very supportive and made sure our team stayed strong throughout. TexasDare.com came in right behind us and Hammer Nutrition ended up slipping to 4th behind Moxie-Amok. Half of us stayed overnight to see the rest of the teams come in, including the 24hr teams. Helena and the doctors got in sometime around 2am I think and were gone by the time we woke up around 5 or 6am. By then MOAT had already won the 24hr race, with Subaru behind them in 30mins. Vignette came in just as I woke up for 3rd. Dead Reckoning came in just under the cutoff time of 8:03 am and secured 5th while HoustonAdventureRacing.com (Will, Cynthia, Monty, and Mey) got 6th. Tommy's team (Black HART w/ Erin, Jill, and Warship Weihan) ended up somewhere after that (prelim results only went 5-deep). The 24hr sounded pretty rough, as expected. I think only the top 3 teams got all the cps.

So we stayed longer for the awards, etc. and then packed up. But our weekend wasn't over yet--Jaunda and I still had to head to Boerne to scout the course. So after picking up some miscellaneous stuff and having breakfast in Boerne (Maxine's), we headed over to Tapatio Springs. It was a fun trip--Jaunda introduced me to Round Rock Doughnuts (apparently much better bought fresh and hot in Round Rock) and we HAD to stop at Hastings in San Marcos to get me a Bob Marley CD. No Woman, No Cry. I said stop crying, b*&#@! JK. Anyway, somehow we sped through New Braunsfels, missing our turn onto HWY 46 and ended up in San Antonio...I guess I had turned off my navigation settings right after the race. So we took the scenic route and turned onto I-10 back to Boerne. There we exited at Johns Road, following the directions on the Tapatio Springs website. But apparently the road was closed for construction and we were supposed to take a detour...then we thought that those road blocks couldn't be for us. We ended up just going around them, which is a dicey affair considering I was in Audi. But we were able to make it all the way through and we stopped at the Hotel Lobby where they confirmed that we were supposed to come in from the HWY 46 entrance. Oh well.

The temperature was now very warm and all those cold weather clothes were of no use to us and were just taking up space in the car. The weather was perfect--clear, sunny skies! There were a lot of people out there...I couldn't believe it. We saw Tammy Killibrew there and she gave us pointers about the course and she was the one who told us that the "Supergrind", which is what the race is named after, would not be in the race. The Supergrind was a long, steep paved road that was very insane. There were people riding up it when we arrived and they did NOT look happy at all. We thought about riding it anyway for some hill training, but we ended up running out of time. We suited up and headed out of the trail. It reminded me a lot of the first section of the Lake Georgetown course and some of Reimer's Ranch--a lot of big rocks that you can smash into. Then, right away after the double track, there was a set of switchbacks that were quite hairy. I tried to clear it a few times, but it was just too much for me--either I was over-thinking it or I was just tired from the race the day before and couldn't control my bike. Anyway, everything else seemed to be alright. We took it easy and got done in about an hr and a half...the course was about 8 miles long. Its a really technical course, so it should be interesting to see how everyone does.

HARTsetAnd, finally, that was it. We packed up our stuff back into little Audi and headed back to Houston. We got back at around 7 or so. I was toast. As soon as I hit the bed I was out! The next day I did not go to training...I was at least going to swim as recovery, but I had forgotten my contacts so I couldn't go during lunch. No biggie--I need the rest. Planning on going to practice tuesday tonight, but that will basically be it since the mtb race is this weekend.

On another note, we got our itinerary for the Grand Canyon confirmed! We are having a planning meeting tonight for plane tix--I'm so stoked! We have a really good group going, so it should be a lot of fun. Plus, the first night in the canyon will be in a "primitive" zone, so we will be doing some minor navigation to our campsite--sweeet!

Alright, gotta go....gotta find a place that sells helmet camcorders..."crash cam"!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Nice quick ride today.... It reminded me of the days back in Compton. I used to ride for the Compton Cycling Club. Boy was I fast, I used to be faster than a speeding bullet or bullets rather. Or maybe I was just really skinny back then. But serious folks let me tell you what really happened. It started out with just a couple pieces of sushi and a glass of water. Untill Kenny the SR-71 Blackbird shows up and then BAM! The stealthy son of a gun ordered wine and has half of the bottle in my glass. So as the night wears on I say "No more wine Kenny" and he says "Great! lets move on to beer". So we do and I drink. This is were the fuzzy night begins. So now I am on a mission to help his tag and release program. Needless to say he needs some help spotting the wild game. He had all ready missed a doe in her prime with some nice hind quarters mind you. So we venture on to our new location. And man did it kick some ass. Weihan took his shirt down and boy that man has some cannons... like a fucking battleship. So Wiehan the Warship Lin is born. And after that... (SCENE MISSING). So finally after being stuck in a time warp for a couple hours (it never seemed to move off 11:00pm) we left and craved some food big time. Deb to the rescue, thank goodness and boy those eggs were good! And those cats. Those cats sure had some fuzzy toes. I'll elaborate and fill in the blanks some more with the real story as my memory returns.

Monday, January 23, 2006

This is What the Devil Does

The DeBooms and HART
Everyone thinks that I'm high and I am. The Thrill Kill Kult. Wow, it has been a while since I've heard this song...and still don't quite understand the lyrics...apparently the devil does drugs, or something like that. I think it is better that I don't understand the song.

Anyway, this has been a crazy week or so...I will try to recap, but I'm sure some fine tidbits will fall through the cracks...some intentionally. So the Friday before last, we went to the Tim and Nicole DeBoom meet and greet at Bike Barn. I met up with Deb and Ross right before at Salento (this is where my last blog left off) and then headed over to Bike Barn a few blocks away. We waited and waited and finally found out that they got lost. Someone commented that they obviously triathletes and not adventure racers...I thought that was funny. And, when they did show up, I had a hard time identifying who was Tim. He came in wearing fatigue cargo pants, print t-shirt, and a mesh baseball cap...I guess I didn't expect him to show up that "casual." Nicole, on the other hand, was easy to spot since she was wearing cool workout clothes. We waited for our turn in the line, bs-ed for a short while and took our pics with them. Deb, ever the networker, talked further with Nicole about her upcoming race: Adventure Race Girl Challenge. Hopefully Nicole can help out.

can you spot Lulu?
We were starving by then, so we went across the street to Azuma for some sushi. It was really good and the waitress was really funny and cute...that might have been the Asahi working on me. Anwyay, after eating and discussing Nick for seconds on end, we headed to Caroline's for her "Don't Be Alone on Friday the 13th" party. It was fun and we saw several people from her Birthday/Lulu Shower shindig. Lulu is so cute, as a puppy should be. We stayed for a short while, petting and chasing the puppy around, then we called it a day at about 10:30 or so--we had to train the next morning, of course.

Saturday morn, Cynthia, Michael Mey, Tracie, Michelle and I did the MS-150 training ride out in Katy. It was a cold, windy morning as usual, so we had bundled up considerably. We started out at a reasonable pace, first at 13, then 15, then held at about 17-18mph. All was fine and dandy and I thought I was in for an easy, long ride that morning. There were several riders who would come and pass us, but I let them go. This would be my test of patience. I failed. Michelle and I were riding along at about 18mph then I saw Cynthia, Tracie, and Michael's brother shoot by us. I said, "That's it!" I couldn't take it anymore and my competetive juices had boiled over. So Michelle and I jumped out of the slow train and bridged the gap to Cynthia and co. They were going about 22mph+, which I thought was a little odd since we still hadn't reached the halfway point and it was breezy out. But I joined their little game and started to pull at the same pace that they were going. But it was shortly lived. I think they had spent a lot of energy trying to chase down another paceline and that was it. We had to slow down and regroup. It wasn't too bad because we were close to the halfway point, the rest stop.

A few hundred meters out from the rest stop there was a constant uphill on smooth road, so I thought I would use it as an interval. I busted up it at about 23 or so then turned off the jets as we arrived at the gas station at Fulshear. There were several other groups there as this was a very popular stop for cyclists. We refueled on fluids and ate cookies and bananas and we were off on the return trip in about 10mins. But where was Michael through all this, you may ask? Well, his friend who had joined him was having mechanical problems and his bike would skip gears. So Michael, being the good samaritan and all, switched bikes with him. But he would go slower than the rest of us because of the gear limitation...at least that was his excuse. :) I think people were starting to pay for the fast pace early in the ride as our speed started to dwindle. Eventually, it was Cynthia and I heading in while the rest had to drop back, possibly to wait for Michael. And just like that, we had done 40miles. It was fun and that was a pretty good turnout for HART at this event.

I needed to get some hillwork in, so I was back on the bike on Sunday. This time, it was Weihan, Monty and Jackie. We headed down to Kemah/Clear Lake, the Bludworths' home turf. My goal was to get a warmup in, ride the Kemah bridge as a hill interval, circle around for a rest period, do the bridge again, and then cool down while heading back to the cars. It was a great day to ride--it started out cool, but the sun shone through and kept us at a good temp. We started by heading north on Bay Area Blvd, took a right at Red Bluff, right at 146, and over the bridge the first time. Man, as much as that was painful to power up, I'm really fearing Jester. We circled around and took Nasa 1 back to 146 and over the bridge again. The 2nd time around was a bit tougher as the wind had picked up off of the gulf. Everyone looked strong, especially Weihan who was I'm sure giggling at me as I slowly churned up the man-made hill. We headed back at a cool down pace and after it was all said and done we had completed a 35mi paperclip route. The Bludworths had an appointment with Mary Hodge in an hour or so, so we quickly grabbed something to eat at Pei Wei while Weihan went down to Kemah to get some fish...of course, he somehow got lost on the way, turning left on 146 and headed towards Baytown.

The next week was packed with training. I swam for about 30min during lunch and recovery biked about an hour on Monday, HART training on Tuesday and Thursday, swam for 30min and tempo biked for over 2hrs, and swam on Friday. The Friday swim session was in Raymund's wetsuit that I had borrowed. It was amazing how much a difference in buoyancy it made! Friday evening I met with a swim trainer at TriVantage. Pat LaRue...he seems like a really nice, laid back guy. They have a set of "endless pools" they use for training, which are pretty cool! He then verified that I definitely need to use a wetsuit for the My First Tri event--the water can still be pretty cold in April. So we set up a weekly schedule where he will meet with me once a week and then I practice the drills the other times during the week that I usually swim. I'm pretty excited now--I'm really hoping this is what gets me to where I can do the triathlon comfortably.

That same night, I met Deb and the rest of the crew at Azuma (yes, again) for sushi. It was sort of a "goobye dinner" for Deb since she is moving to Austin at the beginning of Feb. Nick, Will, Weihan, Melissa, and Tommy were there too. Ross had said he would come, but apparently had to party with some other friends of his. So we had sushi, some had more than others (i.e., Nick). Melissa, the smart one, decided to cut out early because we had the training camp the next day. But Nick and I figured the night was still young, so we headed over to the Gingerman for a nightcap. Weihan said "what the heck" and came with us. Oh, was this the right decision or what--as Nick and I argued over taking the stairs vs. the elevator at the parking garage, as we walk into the G-man, there was Ross...now that's navigation at its finest! We left him alone, kinda, and drank our beverages inside as he sat on the porch outside. It was too much just to stare at him through the window, so Nick went over to harrass him a bit. In the process he almost steps on what he thinks is a "purse." But in fact its a little puppy. So, Nick succeeds in making a scene even before getting to Ross.

All the while, we are talking on the phone with Tommy who feels slighted for not being invited to the G-man. Whatever--it was an open invitation to whoever was at dinner, so that was bs. So, long story short, Deb and Tommy join us eventually...I told them it would be worth their while. After Deb was brought up to speed, it was her turn to harass Ross. I guess in fear that the rest of us would go over there eventually, he comes over to our table briefly. Thank you Ross for blessing us with your presence...then he was gone! Without saying goodbye he was outta there! Oh well. No prob. Then I was talking to Tara over the phone to get her to come over and say hi to Deb, but she was too busy at her other location apparently. Then she started to taunt me and said that I would come over to the club she was at if "I were man enough". Again, that was it--I was going. She told me that she was at a place called Numbers. Never heard of it, but apparently all the native Houstonites have...man, it was like they were watching a horror flick that I was starring in and they were yelling at the screen, "don't go in there!!"

I had no idea what they were scared of, so I told them they could whimp out and I would go and meet Tara by myself. The guilt trip was all I needed as everyone agreed to head over there with me. Then we get a call from Ross saying that he was coming back to the G-man to meet us...so we had to insnare him as well. He didn't put up too much of a fight and we were off to Numbers. It was so long since the last time Weihan had been there (about 5yrs he says) that he took a wrong turn. He threatened to bail out since he was already heading in the direction of his house, but Nick and I said he wouldn't get a nickname if he didn't--if you haven't figured it out yet, Nick LOVES to give people nicknames. So that's all it took, he flipped a U and was heading our way. Once we entered the club, I knew what all the apprehension was about. It was sort of a "goth" club, but there was dancing so it wasn't so bad for me. And there was Tara, Kacey, Lisa, and Tina on the dancefloor. It was a ton o fun! At least it was for me. There were things that we saw there that I will not mention, but I will tell you this is where we heard the Thrill Kill Kult song...and Nick gave Weihan a nickname: The Warship. It was a hilarious night--there was even a contest between Tara and The Warship--I'll leave it up to you to figure it out.

That place seemed to screw with my sense of time, because it seemed to be 11pm the whole time I was there...at least that's what I told Nick whenever he asked. We eventually called it and headed out. Some of us were hungry, so Nick, Ross, and I headed over to Deb's for a late night snack of eggs and buttered bread. Mmmm, tasty. Then Nick was freaking out over Deb's cats, calling them "fuzzy toes"...was he on a contact high?!? I can't remember exactly what time we got home, but I knew it was late...I set my alarm clock for 6am, got under the covers, and then "beep!...beep!...beep!" Sonofab...It was back in the car to head to Double Lake. Thank goodness for Starbucks. I had agreed to help Rick out with the camp, so there was no way I was going to bail. I somehow got there and Deb and Ross were already there--they did not look happy at all.

So the training camp was pretty good--it lasted about 12hrs for most people. It started with the customary crawl through the dirt, dragging tires, carrying a 50lb pack and a medicine ball. Then we paddled the lake a couple of times. Did the bike trail, did a navigation clinic and a navigational hike and bike. Back to the lake for a couple laps in the sevys. A short nav section in the park. A bike to the Big Creek Scenic Area to the bike drop. Then we navigated our way back to Double Lake. The funniest part of this camp was when we hit the bike drop, we ran into a couple of people who claimed to be researching the existence of Big Foot in Texas. Unbelievable. They had a video camera, business cards, and everything. I would give you the weblink but I do not want to support this crap in any way shape or form...then again, just mentioning this crap on my blog will give it coverage. Oh well. The best was when the lady asked, "aren't you guys scared?!" I just sighed. It was a tough camp, but everyone had survived and did well...then Jamie tried to go home. He particularly had a good camp in my eyes. Then he said "thanks" to me and waved goodbye as he stepped out of the cabin. On his way to his car to leave, he slipped on the wet deck and broke his arm! Whatthefu...?!? He made it all through the camp and then that had to happen. I feel so bad for him--I hope he has a speedy recovery.

Right as the camp was ending, Deb walks by me and says, "I hate you." Apparently, she thinks its MY fault that she's tired because she had close to no sleep. Okay, so maybe it was. But just think of it as a 24hr camp. I definitely was tired at the end though. I probably shouldn't have had mexican food with them and then drive home--I was nodding the whole way. Thankfully, I made it home safe and sound.

Of course, that wasn't the end of my weekend--I still had the Rider Ready time trial to do with Weihan. It had rained a little at the camp, but it simply downpoured yesterday! I was driving to the site of the time trial thinking my time is going to be horrible if the weather keeps up this way. Plus, there was a headwind on the first leg going out. The weather was so bad that they had pushed our times back 1hr. When I met up with Weihan there, he confessed that he didn't get up to do the MS-150 training ride Saturday morning. I really didn't know how I would do in this TT, especially with the weather conditions, but I wanted to shoot for 22mph speed average. This was before I knew about the head wind. I went before Weihan and went over to the staging area. They counted me down from 25sec and in no time I was off. So I figured I would need to start off at about 23mph to assure my 22mph average...that was a mistake! The wind was coming straight at us and slowly my speed dropped. 20...19...18...17mph. I struggled to hold it at 17 and knew I would need to hammer hard on the way back to repair some of the damage. The turnaround seemed to never come...then finally there it was. The roads were slick, so I took it easy on the turn. Then I put the hammer down. I averaged about 25-26mph going back, hitting over 28mph max. Of course, the distance going out was longer than the distance coming back, so that was a huge disadvantage. Nevertheless, I kept hammering and ended up with a 21mph average. Oh well, it wasn't a real race, so I wasn't disappointed at all. But it did turn out to be a good workout with the wind! They were having problems with their timing system, so Weihan and I had no idea what our true times were, but we estimated that we both were at about 21mph. Even better, I was able to go home and take a nap!

So I think I have caught up on the past couple of weeks. As I said, I'm leaving some stuff out, but I don't have the time or the permission to go through those details. :) On a side note, the women of HART did the Dirty Dozen at Warda this past weekend. The team of Cynthia, Jaunda, Caroline, and Andrea got 3rd place while Tracie got 4th in the solo division. Way to go! I'm so proud of them! Oh yah, the Marathon was the weekend before...I'll try to talk about those results next blog if I can remember!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Nothing's ever promised tomorrow today


It was not meant to be I suppose. I had screwed myself by doing that long run up in the Spoke. The payment: not being able to finish the Houston Marathon. I tried a couple test runs this past week to see how my knee was doing. Bad news of course. I lasted about 3-4 miles both times and then started to feel a tingle and pain in my knee. I went further yesterday night than I did Sunday night, meaning I'm healing but not fast enough. I finally called it. Time of Death, 7:03pm Thursday: Marathon Hopes Expired. I'm pretty depressed about it, but my friends have reinforced that this is definitely the right decision, especially if I want to target Eco Lonestar to qualify for Nationals this year. I'm slippin, I'm fallin, I gotta get up...DMX. So in the meantime I have gone full speed with my bike training. Monday night I did a recovery ride of about 2hrs and then Wednesday night I did tempo work for about 2hrs again. The reason I did the test run on Thursday is because on Tuesday, instead of doing the regular practice with HART, I did a walk/run of the jogging loop and I didn't feel anything with my IT band. So I started getting delusions that it actually healed itself within 2-3 days. Dumbass. Still swimming...actually planning to set a regimen with a trainer so that I can target My First Tri as my first tri. I will be very happy if I can replace this for the Marathon on my list.

That is pretty much my training this week in a nutshell. My new focus on the bike has been pretty fun...because I don't have to worry about knee pain. Racing people around the fruit loop, jumping into pacelines, and helping out inline skaters by letting them draft off of me. All fun. How much fun can you have running, really? Nothing like on the bike. Especially once you go mountain biking. I can't wait for the Spring Series to hit full swing. Get those damn road runners on a bike and see how they do.

Okay, I'm here at Salento waiting to hear from Deb and Ross, drinking a German beer...GERMAN, not French, Nick. We're planning to see Tim DeBoom at Bike Barn--this should rev me up for the triathlon goal. He won 2 Kona Ironmans (Tim had to tell me that)...that's okay, I guess. Geez. Then possibly heading over to Caroline's for a party. Nothing's ever promised tomorrow today.

This weekend is more biking: tomorrow is the training ride with Chevron starting at Katy Mills Mall. About 40miles. And then I'm heading down to Kemah to do the bridge a few times. About another 40miles. Weihan, the Bludworths will be there too. As for Sat, a bunch of HART folk should be there. Nick's on the boat again, so he will miss all the fun. But we're planning an Austin trip a couple of weekends from now. I get to see Nick's mean nephews...and Jester...

My MS-150 webpage is back up. Check it out.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

So Close To The Light...

HartmanAlright, this has been a busy week again. Sunday night I saw an email from Michelle on the Yahoo group saying that she was planning to do the Hartman bridge the next day. It was such a huge coincidence because Nick and I were just talking about doing hill work on the Hartman all week long last week. So I told her that I would ride and asked Nick if it was okay (she was planning to ride at around 10am but Nick couldn't go until 2pm). He said it was alright, but I found out later that he was pissed...man, are you a girl or something? We're friends here...you can tell me exactly how you feel before its too late. Anyway, Weihan saw our emails and decided to join us. Michelle's friend, Lee, joined too.

It started off pretty rough. First, we had to ride the Hartman right away, without any warmup! I got up it alright, but my lungs were busting. Then the roads were unbelievably bad--we could have fallen into the potholes and lost forever! We weaved all over La Porte--the wind was pretty stiff. Michelle got a flat, so we had a short break. Lee was pretty interesting...she does a lot of work with pipelines, or at least used to. We started off again then agreed to make a pit stop at Michelle's house, which was just off of our route. I had lost one of my bottles during that crazy ride over nasty roads and at least one of us had to make a potty stop. We got there in about 5mi and emptied and refueled ourselves. We were off again, then my rear wheel decided to jump out of the drops, right in front of traffic! That is at least the 5th time that has happened...I need to get that fixed! Fairmont to 146 and then we were back to the Hartman. Merging into traffic seemed a lot more scarier this direction--there were onramps everywhere! We managed to survive and this time I tried going up at a manageble pace...worked out fine. 40 miles. Not bad.

there's a hole in Renne's garage roof!
I met up with Nick later that day so he could complain about me ditching him. I didn't mind because he picked up some HEED for me at West End. We also visited his friend Renne, who needed some work to be done to his garage, so that I could take photos and show them to Sam. Nick wants to know if Sam had some good ideas on what to do--I figured since Sam was an awesome handyman, he would have a lot of great ideas, plus know what materials he would need.

Tuesday was HART practice...my first running session after my time up north. It was a brick night...4.2mi run, 6.3mi bike, 2.1mi run. I only did a 2.1 run up front because I wasn't sure how my knee would do. It turned out to be a good idea--my knee started to hurt towards the end of the first run. The bike was alright, but when I tried to start up for the 2nd run, my knee was obviously in pain. IT band has resurfaced. Dammit. I was pissed, dejected. I decided to take a break from running...now I had no idea if I could do the marathon. All that work for not.

Wednesday I rode my road bike at the picnic loop before the social. I was able to hammer pretty good, joining a paceline or two to get some rest in between. Its amazing how I can ride and have no pain associated with the IT. I did swim too earlier that day and it was still pretty sore and started to get painful at the end of my sets. I stopped and did some stretches in the pool and moved over to the whirlpool...that actually seemed to help when I put the jets directly onto my quads...the pain went away.

Thursday morning I decided to see Mary Hodge for a deep tissue massage, as recommended by Nick. He warned me that I would want to jump out of my skin once she got going on me, and he wasn't kidding. I wanted to cry several times and I think I almost tore apart her massage table. I was wondering if she was pressing up from the ceiling or something--those elbows seemed to touch bone every time! I tried to find my "happy place" but realized that I didn't have one--she took that away from me! She's the devil incarnate. But it was probably what I needed...I was really tight and had a lot of knots everywhere, even in my calves. She emphasized that I needed to stretch more and come for massages more often. I could tell my legs were looser but they were in pain. I went to practice that night and it was another brick night--6mi bike, 1.5mi run, 6mi bike. The bikes I hammered on, then on the run, Caroline and I decided to run together. Her knee has been bothering her too. That seemed to be fine--no pain in my IT, although the other parts of my legs were sore from the massage. That made me a little less pessimistic. But I still needed to do a mid-distance run to see if it comes back...I'm planning to do that tonight. Wish me luck.

I took Friday off and then did more road riding on Saturday. I did about 10mi around River Oaks and then joined the CVX training ride at about 8am and put another 10mi in at the Fruit Loop. That was fun. We just got in a paceline and slowly increased the speed. I wished that I could stay longer, but I also planned to get some paddling in at Rick's lakehouse. So I left the park at about 930 and got to the lakehouse by 11.

It turned out to be a great day to be out--the sun was shining and the temps were getting pretty warm. Fancy was there to greet me...I didn't realize that Rick lets her just patrol the neighborhood like that. His neighbor across the street feeds her I guess. I pulled out Rick's Current Designs Squamish, which was obviously set up for a female because I barely could get myself in there...it was tight fit! After fiddling around a bit I finally shoved off and piddled around the lakes. Here's the true difference between a sevy and a real kayak--I would have to push really hard to keep a sevy at 3mph while I can keep the Squamish at about 5mph without even trying. It was nice to go out just to enjoy the lake and the sights. I stopped to say hi to many of Rick's neighbors on the lake. They were really nice, waving. It was still windy, but I was able to find some coves for protection. In all, I did a little less than 5miles. I put the boat back up and said bye to Fancy, that crazy dog. I was back in Houston by about 2-3pm. Rest of the day I just folded clothes and took a nap. Stayed in and cooked up a steak...studied up for my Sushi party, Nick and Jaunda :).

KemahThat brings us up to date, to today. I was planning to do another road ride, with hillwork, but decided to just rest up and focus on my test run later today. I really hope my knee has healed. I really will be very disappointed if I can't run. Then again, there is the New Orleans Marathon...that would be fun, too...plus it would be energizing to see how the city has picked itself back up after the devastating hurricanes. I did drive both bridges (Hartman and Kemah) today and found out the grades are only about 5%!! Damn. KOJ is gonna hurt...I need to find better hills it seems.

I think that's it for now. Its nice out again so I may just go home and wash the bikes--they are in dire need of some attention! I need to at least take off my deep rims from my road bike--I shouldn't be logging training miles on them.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Year's Recap

Raivio on DMan, it was been crazy the last few days, with New Years and getting back from the Spoke and all. After my last recovery run, where I had a little pain at the end, I decided to take a few days off from running. This wasn't exactly too hard since New Year's celebrations were fast approaching. That night after training, Danny and I went to Jon Neil's house for dinner and football. They had a nice place on the South Hill. It was good to see him and his family.

Morrison in Triple Threat position
Saturday I went back to visit the fam. Hung out there for a little while and had brunch, I suppose. Then I met Danny at REI for their scratch and dent sale. We were there late, so most of it had been picked through already. I was able to find this nice Nike watch for $25 when the suggested retail was 80...not sure what's wrong with it, but it sure works fine right now. Then it was off to D'Lish's for 2nd lunch and over to the MAC for the GU-St. Jo's game. It was close, closer than I wanted it to be, but we did win. It was nice to watch it in the new arena--they put in some nice things compared to the old Kennel.

Heather and Trent observe the New Year's antics
Now I was off to my whirlwind tour of the South Hill as I tried to hit as many places before midnight struck. I went back to the fam and Bruce cooked me steak for dinner. Man, I was stuffed--no amount of alcohol was getting me drunk tonight! I stayed there for a couple hours then headed over to Dave and Rebecca's. All my Ferris friends were there, already playing a game of Pictionary. Oh, did they know that I LOVE Pictionary?! It was the typical guys vs. girls and the guys had only a slight lead. I had an instant impact--I belted out some elaborate drawings and guessed wildly at their "interesting" drawings and next thing you know we had pulled away and eventually won. The best one was when I guessed "frog" when the drawing looked nothing like a frog...the women thought I peeked at the card. It was hilarious. So the night went on and we tried other games like Kings and Three Man, which incidentally was the game that put Chadwick over the top...with my help. With Chad passed out in the other room, New Years came and the champagne was drank. Good times. The time passed so fast that I didn't make it back to Danny's before midnight. In fact, I didn't get there til 1am...Sarah had left already. We stayed up and watched some SNL and then I had to crash since I would have to get up at about 6am, which was now only 3hrs away.

I did get up and caught my flight. The trip was more or less good...no real show-stoppers. Frontier has the in-flight Direct TV, so that preoccupied my time. I was home. How time just flies. My flight was slightly delayed, though, so I couldn't make it to Roger's party. I just got home, took my bags in and crashed on the bed.

Dawn at Hangman
That was New Years in a nutshell. I'm back in one piece and ready to focus back on training, if my body will cooperate...