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"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tour de Houston 09, etc.

RAR!The last several weeks have been very productive for me. I've gotten back to a regular 6-day a week workout schedule that seems to be working. The week after Stubblefield, it was 3 days of HART training, 2 days of swimming, basketball with the SES folk, and then running with the Warship during the Texas Independence Relay. I did the 5.6 mile section from downtown to Mason Park on the east side. It was a bit tougher running back (I did a trail ride beforehand and rode downtown, so I had to run back to get my bike) as the temps were a bit warmer. It was really good training tho. It was funny because some of the runners thought they were going the wrong way once they saw me backtracking. I reassured them...or did I?

our shoes had a great view!Next week was more HART training and swimming and an hour session in the sevy with Scottie. It started off as a nice leisurely paddle down the Bayou until we had to turn around and paddle upstream. The current was kickin and then, just minutes away from our takeout, the skies opened! Thats when I said, "now, this is adventure racing!" It got cold quick, so we tried to get out as quickly as possible. I say "tried" because our legs no longer worked due to the fact that we were sitting in a cramped sevy for over an hour! That training session reminded me why I HATE SPRINTS! Anyway, we got out of the deluge and retreated home. Mo and I were able to inject a little fun that week by seeing a preview screening of "The Last House on the Left" and then my first Houston Rodeo. I really don't know why its taken me this long to actually go to the rodeo--that was tons o fun!

daaaaaamm!Last week was much of the same with HART training and swimming. Sunday was the Tour de Houston, where the HART team rode as a team. It was a bit foggy at first, but the day turned out spectacular after a while. I had ridden from home at about 5:30am, so that would make it a 80 miler day for me. For the most part it was a great ride, except for the road rash that EMo had to endure because of poor planning by the organizers. Right by White Oak Bayou, at a blind turn, there was a small median that had no orange cones or signage to warn anyone about it. We were in a line and Frank had ridden over it and I barely missed it. EMo was not so lucky as he hit it square and seconds later hit the deck. I heard the carnage and knew it was nothing good. Thankfully he only got road rash--nothing was broken. The best part was when we were tending to his wounds and he said, "lets get to ridin!" Awesome.

HART with Mayor Bill WhiteThe rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, but the route was a lot better than the first year. We got to ride through the Heights, along TC Jester, down to Rice, along Brays Bayou, and then back downtown to Discovery Green. It was a huge turnout! At the end, we all regrouped and rode in as a team and the announcer got all excited, "ah, a racing team, now that's cool!" We then just chilled on a patch of grass and ate our lunch. After a while longer, we all parted ways and I rode back home. It was a good day.

So, we're caught up to this week. Nothing special this week, except I think Mo and I will be heading to the Miller Outdoor Theatre on Saturday and cleaning the house all weekend to get ready for Amy's arrival--next week is gonna be crazy! Until then, mash hard!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trash the Dress: Adventure Racing

Here is the first session with Weihan Lin. Photos were taken at Huntsville State Park. NOTE: THESE ARE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS--NO, WE AREN'T MARRIED YET!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Spokane Expedition Wedding

Not at all AR related, but indeed K-SPoT related. Click on the photo for the wedding announcement.

us at the big ring challenge...how poetic!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Orienteering Month

a new month, a new dawnOkay, looks like its time to recap on the past month. Training has been going well ever since the win at WG Jones. During the week, been regularly attending HART practice and swims are progressing nicely--just hit the 1.2 mile mark on one of my lunch sessions. I'm starting to run out of time during lunch...might have to rethink swimming after work or something.

First weekend of the month I was able to sneak in a basketball game with the SES cadre. Second weekend, V-day weekend, I snuck in a 8 mile trail run Saturday morning which was really nice. That night we went to Benihana's, which has history between Mo and I...if you search my blog you might find a reference to the first debacle. This time there was no debacle and we enjoyed a good evening with Whit and Aaron. The next day, I got up pretty early to participate in one of the Warship's sufferfest bike rides at Terry Hershey. Of course, it had been raining recently and it was all damp that morning, so we couldnt ride any of the trails...which meant even more suffering on the pavement! Guh. Frank the Tank, Dennis, Jeff, and Ray-Ray were the other masochists. It began nice and peaceful, riding from the beltway to the reservoir. But that's when the fun ended, or began, depending on your perspective.

benihana onion volcanoIts always windy out there and the wind would not take that day off. Right off the bat we had a headwind which the Warship seemed to just plow through. He eventually cycled to the back of the echelon and we tried our best to keep the standard. We would soon splinter, which told us that we needed to slow down. Of course, as we made the turn south, Frank made full use of the tailwind and did not give up the pull until we had to turn west again for the final stretch towards Fry Rd. Thanks, Frank. We took it pretty easy along this stretch as we knew we had to head back into the jaws of the wind later on. We took a quick break and that's when I realized I had popped another spoke! WTFFFFF! And we were on pavement the whole time! Then I remembered the last time I had jammed my derailleur and it hit my spokes, so that spoke might have been already compromised. Oh well, there's another 20+ bucks going to West End.

On the way back, we saw Ms. Vera and Team Tommy. We waited a bit for them to loop back around, but they might have taken a break at Fry Rd, so we soldiered on. As we approached the turn north, the group parted like the Red Sea and I was all the sudden at the front. Nice. I guess I will pull into the wind, guys. Blustery was an understatement. I pulled until we hit the bayou then dropped back. Not all of us were at 100% so we had to take it easy the rest of the way back. Still, Warship wanted to have one last burst of fun. He rode up beside me and asked, "are you ready?" I just smirked and replied, "here we go." A moment later, Warship lights the nitrous and heads off at about 30mph. I'm able to chase him down and I think, "thank goodness that's over." Nope. Dennis wanted to participate in the fun and was bearing down on us like a sidewinder. I told Warship to watch his left or be run over. I was able to match his speed, but we were running out of track, so we turned off the jets.

To finish off this section we did some hill repeats up the levy. Good times. Then we had a pretty leisurely ride back to the beltway. A bit less than 40 miles altogether. The next weekend was the USOF coaches certification course. I had planned to just attend, but I was informed on class day that I would be an assistant instructor. Cool. The first two days were classroom-based and not that much fun, but neccessary. The fun part was on Sunday when we went out to Stubblefield to practice field exercises. Everyone had 30 mins to present an exercise and have the other participants do the exercise and comment on its effectiveness. I tried out the "map sketch" exercise and everyone seemed to like it. I totally enjoyed it because I was able to check on them and give pointers along the way. The course ended with the final exam, bbq, and awards.

nav 101This past weekend was the actual Stubblefield 2-day O. I had hoped to do both days, but apparently I had agreed to go to Crate and Barrel for some registry event...lovely. So I was only able to do the Saturday course. I also volunteered to do the beginner's tutorial. Didnt see very many adventure racers, except for iMOAT (Shaun, Nathan, and Ric Tinney), who were there mainly to work on the Eco Lonestar course. I amazingly had a relatively early start, only one hour later. Right before my start, I got up there and immediately the kids were chatting it up.

There was one guy in front of me on the Red Course--I wish I caught his name. He took off and I picked up my map and Shaun was there to remind me not to look before starting. After chatting a bit, the whistle blew and I was off. As usual, I had trouble orienting the map for the first point, but I just stopped and took my time. I locked on to my position and bolted for the first point that looked to be on a foliage boundary. I had caught up to the kid in front of me and we shot for the next point. He was obviously a lot faster than me, so I let him go and just concentrated on my navigating. Control 2 looked to be in a gully and as I reached a bend in the gully, I ran into a control. It didnt feel right, so I looked at the number. Sure enough, it wasnt the right one. I would experience this quite a bit along the course. A few meters further was the control, and the kid in front.

Next control was across the paved road next to a patch of green. Again he did his gazelle thing and was off in the distance in no time. I just plodded along, collecting features. We basically hit the control at the same time and he commented, "man, you're fast." I said, "no, man, I'm slow." Control 3 was a repeat as he bolted off again. This time he was able to get away before I reached the control in a gully. Control 4 was at a rootstock on the side of a hill. Again, there was a "decoy" point along the way, so I quickly checked the code and moved along. A few meters further was the correct rootstock. He was just leaving as I punched my card. Control 5 was down a ways, in a gully. Again, he was just leaving when I got there. I used another gully system as a handrail to get to control 6. I knew how many gully intersections to collect along the way, so I just kept chugging along and was able to catch up to the kid again. He then explained that he couldnt shake me. I told him to maybe try zigzagging and he retorted, "like go the opposite way." I said that would probably be bad for both of us.

Joking aside, we continued on to control 7. Going up the hill, I was looking for the dirt bike trail, which I found pretty easily. The not so easy part was finding the nondistinct trail that was supposed to connect to the bike trail. Both the kid and I couldnt find it, so I reoriented and headed back to the bike trail. We navigated to the same spot as before, but this time I realized we had drifted too far right. I found the nondistinct trail and was able to punch the control first. We shook it off and went on to the next control, which I now remember was control 10, so I must have skipped two in remembering my course (I dont have the map with me). Oh well. Anyway, next control was pretty straightforward--used another gully as a rail and headed west to the point. He seemed to be at the point, waiting.

No, he wasnt waiting, he was trying to figure out the best route for the longest leg of the course. He decided to take the easy, faster, longer route around the green stuff, while I took a gamble and headed straight for the green stuff. At first, it was good, not slowing me down that much. Then I got into the heart of the nasty, thorny stuff and started to rethink my decision. I was thinking, "he must have knew this crap was here!" Too late now, so I just bulled through, occasionally letting out a girlish yelp due to the thorn farm. As I started emerging from the hell, I saw him on the trail--that's when I knew my path was faster since he was most likely burning rubber on the trail. I got to the cleared path and was able to get to the control before him. As I headed past him for the next control, he congratulated me on the route choice. I thought, no matter, you'll be coming up on my heels soon.

This was the only section where I was ahead of him, so it was a bit different. Next control was over a small hill, to a minor gully. I had to make sure I hit the gully correctly because it split into two and I had to find the smaller one. Got it. Next was at a rootstock next to a dirt road. I just followed the dirt road to the control. Next was at a hunter's stand. It was around this point I caught up with two other Red course'ers. After punching, I bolted east to a control I thought would be pretty difficult because it was in the middle of nowhere. I was cruising along and right when I thought my pacecount told me to look around, there it was. As I moved on after punching, there was the kid, with the two others I had recently passed. I knew he would pass me again, just a matter of time.

Little did I know, the time would be at the next control as I had a bit of trouble with this one. It was in a small gully next to a bunch of other ones and I had overshot it. The kid had already punched it and hinted that I did in fact overshoot. I went back and there it was--I had probably just walked past it! Grrr. All three of them were in front of me, but I was faster than the other two, so I was able to pass them with relative ease. Next control was at a gully intersection. There was another decoy control but I didnt stop this time while the kid did. I told him, "that's not the right one, right?", as my ambled on. A few seconds later, he gazelled past me and there was the control. Punched.

We had 3 controls left, the last one being the "GO" control right before the finish. I knew I wouldnt catch him now as they were all really easy and right off trails. I did see him briefly at the next control, but that would be the last time. I punched the last three with no problems and ran through the chute. Time was about 1hr 15mins, which I think put me 3rd for the day. I was just happy that I was able to keep up with the young buck--since he started a minute ahead of me and finished about a minute ahead, I think we had the same time. After waiting a brief minute for Mo to pick me up, we were off to Huntsville for a "trash the dress" photoshoot. More on that later when we get some sample pics...

Ali heads to the Far EastSunday was Crate and Barrel (uggh), then I went on a 30 mile trail ride. That gets us to this week. The past few weeks I have been working with Scottie on her navigation and somehow talked her into going to HART training (actually, I think it was her who asked me). So that was fun having new people--Rick always turns it up a notch just to see if the newbies break. She did really well despite just doing Will's Hills and a cornucopia of other workouts. So that's pretty much the month of February in review. We did have a going away get-together for Ali, so that was a bit sad. Dont have much planned for March, but we'll see what actually happens.