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"

Friday, July 07, 2006

Paddling and Road Racing Around the 4th

paddlin on the 4th
So there was no crazy 4th of July party to participate in this year--we decided to keep it "chill" and not plan anything for sure...just to keep our plans fluid. There was a HART training session at Lake Houston on Monday, but it was just too far to drive right after work and get there in time. Instead Mo and I decided to go on a paddle on Lake Conroe on the 4th. I avoided all the usual selections and launched at Stubblefield Camp since I figured the other places would be packed. It was perfect--hardly anyone there, only people fishing off of the bridge. We drove up there right after Mo got off work and were there within an hour. We loaded up the kayak with food, drink, and other essentials and we were off in no time.

gunkOnly problem was that the only other time that I paddled at Lake Conroe was with Tommy, Weihan, Andrea, and Ross and we launched from a private subdivision (Tommy knew the gate code). I did not realize that it would be a long trek through a windy, swampy, dead tree-filled creek before we got to the actual lake. After a while I didn't mind because I knew we were going to hit the lake eventually and it was actually pretty fun.

wassup?Along the way we saw a lot of wildlife. Herons, frogs, turtles, and hogs!! They were just chillin on the banks and didn't run away until we got really close--they were looking at us like, "why the F are you paddling down this thing?!" We had to maneuver the tricky slalom course of dead trees jutting out of the water and watch out for sand bars. We took a potty break by one of the geocaches we found the last time we were at Lake Conroe then just sat in the boat and floated while we enjoyed the nice weather and snacked on chips. Then we felt a hard "thump" on the hull of the boat...WTF?!?! We looked at each other as to say, "it wasn't me!!" We decided to start paddling again...fast!

storms a cominWe could see the dark rain clouds in the distance so we decided to paddle to the 1375 bridge and then call it a day and head on back. We got there and turned back around, but all the sudden the clouds were on us in no time! It was obvious that the storm was flying faster than we were! The white caps started to show up...thankfully the wind was at our backs so we just surfed back most of the way. It started to rain a bit and then we got stuck on a sand bar. Nice. Kenny of course has to get out and drag the boat out to deeper waters. LOL. We nicely navigate back to the creek and the rain actually stops. The temp is really nice now. It turned out to be a great paddle, about 3hrs.

the lineupThe next day was the 4th and I had to speed back home right after work to get ready for the Memorial Crit at the fruit loop. Weihan joined me and Mo provided team support. With just two people, team tactics were not an option. Thankfully the rain had stopped earlier that day and the pavement had for the most part dried up, otherwise we would have abandoned the race.

roll outWe actually started out with a pretty fast rollout, faster than the last crit I did. These guys were out for blood--we were hittin high tenor early in the race. I guess I should have expected it--Justin and Roger Burger, Kiet, and a number of other big hitters were there. Another indicator that I was out of shape was that I was struggling just to hang on for the first few laps. It sucked. Then I got my wind and started to push the tempo up, but I never did see the front for an extended period of time.

tightI did however go for one of the primes, as did Weihan earlier in the race, but it was a futile attempt. At least I was feeling froggy enough to try for it. Now I tried to stay to the front as much as possible because I knew the bell lap would be coming soon. Plus, I kept towards the inside of the track, instead of outside, where I spent most of my time that day. That turned out to be a great decision because near the end of the race a guy skidded out on a chicane towards the outside, where I would have been, and his tire popped. All I saw was him and his bike popping up like he was on a pogo stick. Scary.

loopyThe bell rang and everyone started positioning themselves then the acceleration came. I felt good, but I had bad position, too far back to pass. I was blocked a couple of times and by the time I got free on the last chicane it was too late. I'm sure I was top 20, but that was it. I definitely felt better the during my 1st crit. Kiet ended up getting 3rd--he was as good as I thought he was. Though the not so favorable result, I enjoyed it. It definitely is good for honing my handling skills.

final turnYesterday we had HART practice which consisted of riding downtown to do recon for the Urban sprint this weekend. I miss those easy, fun workouts. It was good to ride downtown and just joke around most of the time. Good times. Then we headed back and of course it was pedal to the metal! Frank and Tom lead out while Jackie and Caroline were scheming to put up some kind of "girl block" as I heard them whispering. One thing they forgot about was the non-paved, offroad part...LOL. I got around their blockade as they yelled "cheater!" and bridged back up to Frank and Tom. We kept it at a manageable 18-20mph pace. Decided to keep it civil and didn't break out the sprint at the end. It was a good 1.5hrs of easy training.

HART doing crits?!?!That's all I got. Should be padding, riding, and running this weekend too. Nothing special...maybe go back to Lake Conroe and go hunt down whatever that was that bumped our boat! BTW, anyone else inherit new neighbors in the form of mating frogs after the latest rains?! Damn things are noisy!!


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