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"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Like Taking a Medal from a 17yr Old

ooohhh!So, lets see. What has happened in Kenny's AR world in the past couple of weeks. HART training has been constant. And so has swimming. I just got the Suunto Smart Belt, but what I can't understand is why they would sell it separate from the docking station. Basically, the smart belt removes the need for a wristtop computer since it can store all data in its own memory for later download onto a computer. So, if you buy the smart belt, you pretty much need to buy the docking station to even look at your HR data. Otherwise, you have bought an expensive HR belt for no reason. These are some of the inconsistencies and lack of attention to detail that drive me nuts. So, in short, I called Moosejaw to clear this up and I ended up ordering a docking station that Suunto should be sending me any day now. What a pain. Turkey day morning I went on my citywide ride, except this time it was restricted to the Memorial/Heights area. Starbucks-Sandman-Allen-Roy-Blossom-Crestwood-Memorial-Picnic Loop(10x)-Memorial-Crestwood-Blossom-Roy-Allen-Patterson-Kolb-Bonner-dead end-Kolb-Patterson-Cornish-Sheperd-10th-Studewood-Merril-Michaux-Bayland-Beauchamp-Pecore-Tabor-Melwood-Walton. I discovered some new potential routes this time, as well as some pretty sketchy dead ends. Good times.

purty lights!Later that day we went over to the HyperTurtle abode for Turkey Day festivities. The HyperTurtles themselves did a Turkey Trot over at Uptown Park and ran into Andrea and Ross. Ross had nothing to do, so he came over for dinner and drinks as well. Again, we had a great time at their place. I got a chance to meet their dogs this time around. A husky and a german shepherd. The GS reminded me of my childhood dog, Lady. She was very loyal and I was very sad to see her go--she was falling apart due to old age and rather than have me watch her waste away, my Dad had given her to a home that could take care of her in her twilight years. I remember only having to shake her chain leash and she knew it was time for a walk around the block--after a while I didn't even need the leash--she would just run beside me, never straying. Digressing? Yes. After dinner and watching Nacho Libre, we went to Uptown Park for the Xmas lights lighting ceremony and fireworks. It was really nice--it was a great suggestion by Mo! We came, we saw the fireworks, we left.

the crewSaturday was another HART training session at Lake Houston. This time we basically did the sprint course. Trail run, trail bike, trail run to ropes, hike n bike. Afterwards I headed over to Southwest Paddlesports to pick up the 2nd solo Eliminator. Since I was already out that way, I decided to go on a paddle at Lake Woodlands. It was a nice day for a paddle and I went for a quick hour paddle. It was nice, but my butt was hurting again from the seat--I definitely need to switch it out for softer padding! The following week was the usual T-Th HART training and lunch swims. I did a track interval workout on Wednesday. I haven't done one of those in a long time--it kicked my ass! But I was able to keep the pace even the whole time, which is the right way to do those intervals...at least that's what they tell me.

Saturday, I decided to practice my nav skills at the Team Texas Sprint Orienteering Meet. As usual, it was me and a couple other old geezers competing against high school kids. Of course, I taunted them and played keep away with their compasses...until I found out that they changed my age grouping to Advanced Males 17+, not 21+!! Man, that meant I had to compete directly with some of these little ankle biters! Crap. What's worse is that it was a sprint O, so endurance would play little. I was excited to hear, though, that the format was a bit different this time. They had made it a Prologue + Chase format, similar to the Tour de France (except, no bikes, duh). So, everyone would leave at 1min intervals, navigating to an intermediate finish. Then the 1st place racer would start the 2nd leg first, with the others leaving at intervals equal to their deficit to the leader. Exciting--you had to chase the leader! What made it even more fun was that Jackie showed up last minute to check out the festivities. She decided to go ahead and race in the beginner cat--it was her first orienteering meet.

So the race started and I was in the 10th wave. The kids around me were joking around the whole time, asking me questions about my footpod, my fuel belt, etc. Then there was this kid who was behind me--the way everyone was talking to him, I knew he was one of their top speedsters. I could tell he was sizing me up. Nice, I was going to get shown up by a cocky 17 year old. Oh well...he's just lucky this isn't a 3+hr sprint! In no time, I was up on deck and the countdown began. The whistle blew and I shot out of there at sub-6min pace, only because I knew for sure where the 1st point was. 2nd pt, no prob. 3rd point, a bit of a prob. I sprinted over there and got to the point, but it didn't quite match with the map. Hmmmm...then I wondered if there was more than one course. Then I realized what I had forgotten to do at the previous 2 pts--check the CP code on the flag! I did and I realized that I was at the wrong CP. I wasted way too much time on that one, especially in a race as short as this one. I moved on with no probs--CPs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Then CP 8 looked to be up a boardwalk. As I ran up it, I heard a shout "don't go up there." I knew immediately what they meant and I got off the boardwalk and continued to follow it on the ground. I was trying really hard not to mess up now because that cocky 17 yr old had already caught up to me at CP6. Got CP 8 then headed to CP9, the hardest one of the whole entire course. That's when I saw the 17yr old again--he had went the wrong way. But he still caught up to me again on my way to CP9. We punched it simultaneously, then it was on to a bit of bushwhacking to get back to the trails. His tiny emaciated body had no problem negotiating the briar patch--it took me a bit longer to get out of there. Then I got turned around again at CP10, letting a guy I had passed pass me. It was now an all out sprint to the last CP of the prologue and the intermediate finish. The guy was fast, so I could only keep him from pulling away--I couldn't close the gap. CP11 was on the only "hill" in the park and then it was downhill to the finishing chute. I was 21st, but that wasn't taking account the time gaps from the start.

After all the calcs, I ended up 9th in the prologue, behind cocky boy and a good woman navigator! I was a little disheartened, but I understood that this meet favored the really fast as it required novice level navigating. My only hope that the endurance factor would kick in during the chase and I would be able to pick off some people before the end. As I waited by the finish chute to see Jackie come in, cocky boy comes over and asks, "what happened?! you let me pass you!" Oh, someone wants a spanking. I couldn't say anything except some lame excuse like, "I can't run." Oh man, I'll be looking for you at the next, longer meet, buddy! So the chase started at about 10:30 and I was about 4-5mins behind the leader. Barring a complete meltdown by everyone in front of me, there was no way I could make that up on a 4k course. Nevertheless, I vowed to leave it on the field. Countdown and I was off...but somehow I got turned around again! Geez, not a good start at all! Thankfully, the guy who started in front of me was lost too and had squandered a whole 30secs before heading in the right direction. We were neck and neck, but he was determined to dust me. I let him go, keeping my steady pace for now. CP1 was easy--we had past it on the way to CP9. We pretty much stayed status quo through CPs 2-5, then another lanky guy sprinted by me. WTF?! It was ok, because the guy just in front of me looked like he was fatigueing. Then I made a not so optimum route selection, which took about 10 more secs to get to CP6. Oh well. The grassy field to and from CP7 was getting to me and was draining my energy. Thankfully it was pretty clear from that point on. CP8, I caught up to another guy and passed him. CP9 was a bit of a pain because it was by a swamp and travel was less than ideal. Got mixed up at CP10, again because of another CP being in close proximity. Regardless, I passed another guy on the way to CP11. The last 2 points would be all out sprints on open field, so I turned up the speed. This is where I blew off the doors of that kid who tried to dust me earlier and then I passed the top woman navigator. After CP13 I sprinted to the finish chute even though I had no chance of catching anyone. I got my card and it looked like I finished 7th in the Advanced 17+ cat. Nice. I've always podiumed at these events...

suck itAt the intermediate finish, Jackie had noticed that my footpod was missing. Crap. So, as soon as Jackie had finished, I went back to the section where I had to bushwhack to look for the footpod. I slowly traced my path, looking at the broken twigs and branches, and I miraculously found it! I should be a tracker! LOL. I drove back to see if Jackie was still there and the awards ceremony had just started. I got there in time to hear Jackie get called for 1st place in her div! Woohoo! Then I stayed for the Advanced category to see if I even made the top 5. They called out 5th, and it wasn't my name. So, I was ready to pack it in when suddenly I hear my name called for 3rd place! It was hilarious! It was so quiet we heard the crickets chirp! Jackie just laughed as even when I made my way up, no one clapped. That's right, I crushed one high schoolers dream of getting a medal and he probably cried himself to sleep that night. LOL. I'm so proud of myself!

Sunday, our Texas Dare team went back up to Lake Houston for some training, primarily to get some time in the boat. We did an 5mi trail run, 16mi bike, and a 4mi paddle. We couldn't figure out a location to put in where we wouldn't have to portage 99% of the time, so we just decided to drive back down to Kingwood and launch from the West Fork. Of course, Jackie decides to bring half of her paddle and half of Monty's paddle, both of which won't mate. Funny how that's the exact same thing Lisa did when she came to paddle with me. Do people not want to paddle with me?!? Too funny. Anyway, we just paddled with the two paddles and switched out periodically, both paddles and position. I think this will be our best bet since if one of us decides to stop paddle (i.e., me while navigating), we will still have forward propulsion from 2 other paddlers. Now its the final week before the Dare and we're pretty much set. It should be a fun course--I can't wait for it to start! Most likely going to go for an easy ride tonight, in the cold to simulate most likely weather conditions during the race, and then an easy swim tomorrow. That's it until race day. Bring it!


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