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"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tour de Houston, Seabrook Marathon, and Galveston Bay Paddle

there i am, on the left!I had a really fun-filled training regimen scheduled this past weekend and it did not disappoint. It somewhat started with an hour trail run Friday evening. I haven't done one of these in a long time, so I figured I would try to start that up again. Unfortunately, the trails were still muddy from the recent rains and it was a slogfest! I ran the purple to the backdoor trail that leads to the green trail, but the water at the creek crossing about 2miles in was too high...and I didn't feel like wading in that stuff by myself! So, I backtracked and popped out at the fruit loop, ran back to the parking lot and restarted my trail run, going blue-red-yellow-orange-rocky dip-blue-back to car. It went really well and it was fun! I had the place almost all to myself.

Saturday was the Tour de Houston with the Warship and Sly Fuchs. Since the house was close to downtown, we decided to ride from there to the start, which was about 2miles. We had committed to the 70-miler, so this just meant we would be over-achievers, doing almost 75miles. We got a bit of a late start, but we got to the line just in time. It was a great atmosphere and it was really cool having a ride that started from the heart of Houston. Right away I saw Terry, riding with Pride. After a few minutes of speeches, including one from a fully-supportive Mayor Bill White (he rode that day too), we were off in waves of about 100. We first cruised west on Allen Parkway and then did a U-turn coming back east. We then started weaving our way south east, towards Galveston Road, which would eventually lead us all the way to Clear Lake. Along the way we saw Treacherous Tracy and Thad and my former workmate, John Miller. I had planned to just cruise all the way to the halfway point before stopping at a rest area, but the Warship had to dump excess fluid buildup. So we stopped. I was actually glad we did after the fact because at that rest stop I saw Uchenna and Joyce from The Amazing Race! Sweeet! They won once and were currently back on the show for an all-stars edition. They were training for the MS-150 on a tandem. I looked at them like I knew them from real life and said, "wassup?", then realized they were from TV. Hilarious.

Tour de Houston, here we comeAfter that, we headed back out towards Clear Lake. For the most part, we were able to keep it to just the 3 of us, which is what I had preferred--following the rule, ride in pacelines with people you know. But, as we passed a glob of riders we picked up stragglers. I was pulling at the time, so I didn't realize this until I dropped back to give Tommy a turn. Then, I looked back and there were about 10 people behind him, none of them Weihan! I was like, WTF?!? I eventually saw Weihan when I got to the back of the line and asked him where these people came from. He was expressing his concern because people were apparently darting in and out of the line. Scary. So, at the next stoplight, we just let the big line go, and we went at a slightly slower pace to bring it back down to just the 3 of us. It worked, but Weihan was for some reason trying to do the navigation. We were passing the next rest stop when he thought the turn was for the 70-mile route. I saw the sign for 70-miler ahead, so I was like, "no." So we kept going straight and Weihan had to catch up. Despite the headwind, we were going pretty good, staying around the 20-22mph range.

We then eventually turned left into the Clear Lake subdivisions and as we passed another rest stop and went to turn left onto Space Center Blvd, Weihan again tries to take the lead nav position...only problem is that he is riding straight into traffic! For some reason he tries to ride on the left side of the divider--I was thinking, hey, if he wants to hop those cars, cool. But he thinks twice, and circles around the barrier. I was laughing so hard I almost fell off of my bike. Again, he had to catch up to us. We made a loop and came back to the last rest stop and this time we pulled over to refuel--we had about 30miles to go. We were doing well and from what I could tell, feeling great! After refueling and stretching, we headed on the backstretch. It would mostly be a tailwind now, so this is where the real fun began! Again, we started with just the 3 of us, but for some reason, a couple of guys we passed decided to join up. Oh well, they looked competent, so we let them pull. :) Once we got back on Galveston Road, we hammered. We were getting up to 28mph on some stretches, with one of the guys, in a sun & ski jersey, pulling for most of the time!

this is what my back looks like when in a pacelineThings were going great until the other guy, in a blue jersey, decided to be a litter bug. I did not see the incident since he was hugging my wheel at the time, but Tommy was in the perfect position to watch it all unfold. Apparently, the guy, after tearing the top off of a gel pack, tossed the trash out on the road. Thinking that he might have mistakenly done this, Tommy waited and watched. Then the same guy, without remorse, tosses the gel pack itself. Adventure racers have heard the credo "Leave No Trace" enough times to know it makes a lot of sense, so when Tommy saw this, he was compelled to act, especially when it takes little more effort just to stuff the offending trash in you jersey pocket. I then fainlty hear Tommy say something to the effect of, "If you would like to ride in our paceline I would appreciate it if you wouldn't litter." I giggled and said, "here we go!" The blue jersey guy was so taken by suprise that he asked Tommy to repeat what he had said. This must have hurt the guys feelings because shortly after he did disengage from our paceline then sped up to his friend, still pulling the group, and said something to him. They proceeded to pull off and Weihan just continued, pulling the two of us. Hilarious!

Now it was pretty much a series of the blue jersey guy trying to leave us in the dust, but his friend had expended too much energy and couldn't keep his pace, so we just kept passing them since we were just keeping our speed constant. The guy in the sun and ski jersey was still cordial and nice and I don't think he really knew what had happened. Anyway, we just went on our merry way as blue jersey guy pouted. At about this time, we had reached Houston proper and were back to weaving through side streets. Along the way we saw Erin, then Nikki, and then Jeanna. There was one hill on the route (bridge) and it was coming up, so we decided we should sprint up it. Good times, good times. Shortly thereafter, we arrived at the finish. Woohoo! I felt great the whole time, so I was pretty happy about the 70 miles. We stayed shortly for food and drink, then proceeded to ride back to the house. I was now set on getting some rest because we had crazily decided that we should also do the Seabrook Half Marathon AND paddle the bay. Fun!

this is my back when I'm ready to go to sleepTrouble is, its also St. Patrick's Day! Being a Double Domer, I cannot pass this occasion up, so Mo and I go over to the Tipsy Clover for some green beer. It was not as crowded as last year, but that might be because we were in the Village last year, which has a college element to it. We hung out a bit, waiting for people to show. To pass the time, we decide to play some darts. At the same time, my friends from Exxon, Allison and Oleg, arrive, so we all play. Shortly after, Cynthia and Will and then Andrea show. It was a good, laid back time. After about 2-3hrs, people started to leave...it was only 8pm! Sad, but understandable. It was just Mo and I again. We hung out a bit while Mo decides to "liberate" a boa. It was time to go home. LOL. It was a bit late, so I knew I would probably have SOME trouble getting up early next morning.

I get up, feeling pretty good amazingly. But I had somehow slept through my alarm! Somehow meaning my fist "accidentally" fell on the off button. So I was about an hour behind now. I felt bad, so I gave Jackie a call to let her know I would be quite late. As I was getting ready, I notice Yuki is acting all protective of something that looks like one of the play mice we recently bought. No, its a piece of meat! Yuki, being the new bad boy of the family, had jumped up on the kitchen counter and pilfered the meat from a plate we forgot to put away. Nikko knew this was bad, so she just followed and had that look, "ooooh, you're in trouble!" As soon as I realized what was happening, I snapped my shirt at Yuki to scare him, which it did. Unfortunately, it also tripped the glass break sensors of our security system! Wonderful. So I had to turn that off, and for some reason it was registering an error code. That was another 5mins of talking to the customer support person at Brinks. Ugh, finally, I was able to finish up getting all my gear together and head out the door. I cruised out of there and it took about 20mins for me to get to Jackie and Monty's place.

I get there, and the only one there to greet me is Petey...he is not as happy to see me as I am to see him. I call both Weihan and Jackie, but no answer. I then notice their bikes are gone--did they go ahead without me?! Just as I was contemplating this possibility, I see Monty, Jackie, Weihan, and Tracie rolling up on their bikes--they had gone for a tour of the neighborhood. After some ribbing about me being late, we suited up and started our ride to Seabrook. This of course would include a leg-busting ride over the Kemah bridge...now that's a warmup! Plus, we couldn't fully enjoy the max speed on the other side, because we had to make an immediate sharp right at the bottom of the bridge...grrr. The wind was bad as could be expected near the coast, so we just took it easy. We arrived at Meador Park and the Marathon had already started. We locked up the bikes and proceeded to run the trail.

It started off nicely, keeping a slow, manageable pace. People were definitely sore from the previous day's training and along the way Monty had to drop off and stretch a little. Along the way we saw a few other HART members--Janet, Eric, Becca...it was great to see them out there! The weather was perfect and this trail was awesome to run. We had completed one lap, which was a little over 6miles and decided to stretch out a bit. When we started up again we saw Monty again and he was going to cut training a bit short so as not to cause injury, so he biked back home and would wait for us to come back before starting the paddle. A little further along the run, Tracie was experiencing some knee pain. We decided to intermittently walk so as to not aggravate her knee, but when we went to run again, he knee buckled in an odd-looking way. That's when we decided that this run was not worth Tracie getting injured, so we walked the rest of the way. We got in about 9miles running and then another 2-3 miles walking. Not bad for back-to-back long training days! But wait, we weren't done yet!

We got back to the bikes, saddled up as I groaned since my butt was still sore from the 70 miler the day before, and rode back to the house. The bridge was a lot more of a bear this time as we had a headwind to add to the climb! Nice. We made it back safely and before we went for the paddle, we decided to get something to eat since it was around lunchtime now. We drove down to the entrance of Clear Lake Shores to a burger place. That hit the spot! Before the food coma could set in, we decided to head back to the house and get the boats onto the water. It would be Jackie and I in their fast yellow boat, Tracie and Weihan in his fast yellow boat, and Monty in my very fast green machine. A disclamer always comes with the boat, it being a little more tippier than we are accustomed to (see blog on Turnbull's experience at the Texas Dare :)). But Monty took up the challenge with excitement and he was doing really well while we were circling the island for a warmup. He kept up with us most of the time and he did confirm that it is a fast solo.

the bay was a bit more rough than thisNow came the real test--the bay! We paddled along, past the Kemah Boardwalk and then as we got to the mouth of to the bay, cross currents and waves were abound. Still Monty was keeping control of his vessel and was cruising along! It was crazy enough crashing through waves in our boat--it must have been very interesting on the Eliminator! We decided to paddle off to the Texas Corinthian Yacht Clubs boat slips and back...it turned out to be a bit over 7 miles total, including the loop around the island. It was really fun on the way back, as we were cruising at 5mph without really paddling at all. The traffic back into Clear Lake had increased for some reason and we had to maneuver our way through boats just to get back in. This is where Monty had his first (and only) capsize. No prob--he just hopped back on to the sit on top and was ready to go. That's the other beauty of the boat--no need for a bilge pump. So we weaved our way back to the boat ramp and in no time we were done. I felt great the whole weekend and was so happy that we did the 2-day.

Now, off of the heels of this past weekend's training we have the HART 48hr Training Camp this weekend. Wow, talk about the need to rest up! It sounds like its gonna be a lot of fun...almost like a backpack trip, except more painful. :) Anyway, I'll have a blog ready for yall after we come out of the other end of the weekend.


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