5/30/07

Big Game Tonight...

The Little League Team I coach has improved to a 9-3 record. We play the other top team tonight that comes into the game with a 9-2 record. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose...

Coaching 13-14 year olds has been better than I thought it would be this year. We only have one player on the team who has some attitude issues that he brings to the field, but I have been trying to help him as best as I can.

Anyway, provided we don't get rained out for tonight - this is going to be a close game. They beat us 6-5 a few weeks ago as our top pitchers were on rest days. We have 2 of our top pitchers ready to go for tonight and 3 in reserve which should help our chances.

I may have to do some grunt intervals today to blow off steam and calm down for the game...

Okay, I went out with the dogs and my FS (Sugar 293) to Lake Ahquabi and did my grunt intervals up and down Whitley Monument Hill. I only saw one soul out there today (typical day at this State Park on the trails) and he was not happy my dogs were off leash. I've gotten so used to running them on the bike trails off leash most of the year due to so little people using the trails that I need to stop going out there with the dogs now that summer is rolling in and park users will be increasing. Anyway, he was ticked and told me to keep my dogs away from him. Picture two social labrador retrievers wagging their tales and just wanting to say hello to the guy in the parking lot. No vicious vibes from the dogs at all, but it was my fault. They invaded his space and are supposed to be on leash. My bad. Ride was great though. My legs were finally under me again after 3 consecutive days of bike path paved riding. I might use the Sugar on Saturday for the Lewis and Clark race. We'll see...

Harmless trail runners:

resserver

Good news on the teaching position salary. I got a letter yesterday from the Academic Dean identifying me as one of the recipients of a salary increase based on a year long study of our faculty and staff salaries. They had a fund of $50K to use this year and the first group addressed included raising the floor of salaries in one group (I think that only included a few people) and then my group which included 6-7 people in each rank who were farthest from the projected "mean" for our number of years of service, rank and degree. It will be retroactive for this past year which means extra cash this Thursday in my paycheck.

So, here's to a step towards the "mean"!

Edit: The "big game" was canceled tonight due to the monsoons that blew in at 3 pm. Rescheduled for Sunday night.

5/29/07

Increasing volume...

In an attempt to increase volume, but not intensity on recovery rides, I went out for a 2nd consecutive day of 2 hours today on the Summerset Trail to Banner Pits. Tomorrow I will do some short intervals and then taper for Saturday's IMBCS/Psycowpath XC race at Lewis & Clark. I tried out all of the new CITA trail that is set to open Saturday on my Sugar 293. There and back, I tried to keep my effort at the top edge of Zone 2 for the 15 miles of paved trail.

A shot from this past winter as the trail was taking shape:

424699782_077702fdc3

Even on a race FS bike, this new singletrack needs about 1000 passes on it by mountain bikers to settle it in and work some of the chatter out of the trail. At the moment, it's a rattler and teeth chatterer, but time will help that out. I still had fun on it and it is a blast to have some new singletrack so close to home. It's a nice twisty trail that utilizes the trees quite well. Iowa clay, sand along the river banks, short ups and downs with all kinds of beautiful undergrowth that is very thick and infested with mosquitoes. One does not want to stop for a drink out on the trail unless you are lathered up with repellent. I stopped for a brief moment to unclip and carry my bike over one of the bridges the DNR installed and was immediately attacked by dozens of the blood sucking critters. Too much rain this spring and too many puddles/ponds of water standing around in this area at the moment to go in there without repellent. I'll have to lather up next time...

5/28/07

Memorial Day...

...where we all pause to honor those who have served our country from the Civil War (it was called Decoration Day way back when) to our current military members who have fallen in the Iraq War. I was going to head out to the Black Hills for their Fat Tire Festival with my daughter, but we had baseball games, soccer matches, yard work and graduation parties to attend this weekend. We'll head out there this summer as a family and visit my father.

I started the day at 6 am when the alarm went off to wake up my son. He had an 8 am baseball game in an AAU tournament up in Des Moines. His team won the game against Waukee and advanced to the semi-finals where they faced an excellent pitcher who pitched a no hitter for Johnston. Everybody was getting their bat on the ball, but the ball was not going to any gaps and the defense was flawless for Johnston. In fact, it was a pitching duel and Johnston only got 2 hits, but they scored a few runs on aggressive base running and took the game. So, the tournament ended for the Indianola team and back home we drove to live and fight another day.

CITA will be having their grand opening of the beginner singletrack trails at Banner Pits this coming Saturday - June 2nd. We have the IMBCS/Psycowpath XC race at Lewis & Clark which means I cannot make the grand opening. So I mounted the Dos Niner and rode the 7 miles down to Banner to try them out this afternoon. It was a little muddy, but not too bad. The mosquitoes were vicious. The sections I rode had excellent flow and I hope the area grows and matures as the remainder of the trails are built and the traffic settles them into quality Iowa singletrack. Kudos to all those that have worked on the trails over the past year to get them ready for Saturday's opening. It looks like weather should be good this week to help dry things out for Saturday.

It's pretty exciting for me to have this trail system go up at Banner because I can actually ride the 7 miles on the Summerset Trail to the system and get a good workout without having to burn any fossil fuels in the process. I'm all for riding green when it comes to mountain biking and haven't been able to do it since 2003 when I lived at the edge of the Vienna Woods in Austria.

I managed to get about 2 hours of riding in today including trying out the new trails set to open this coming weekend at Banner. I had no legs today. I showed up after 2 days of rest and recovery to climb on the bike, but the legs were not along for the ride. I'm due for a rest and recovery week, but I'll take it following Saturday's race at Lewis & Clark.

5/25/07

Kicked My Own Backside Today!

It was a day for a good old fashioned Dave Morris session of "buttkickers" today. A mix of SMSP and MSP intervals with minimal recovery between efforts (usually 30 seconds). The goal is to simulate as best as possible mountain bike race conditions with very little chance for recovery. I warmed up for about 45 minutes at a good clip chasing my wife on the Summerset Trail from Indianola to Banner Pits. I then proceeded to spend the remaining 45 mintues kicking my own backside all the way uphill.

This is what I felt like at the end of my 1 1/2 hour festival of backside kicking:

Exhausted

Or maybe like this:

pooped

Social dinner tonight with friends while my son is off playing at an AAU baseball tournament (no pitching for him and minimal throwing playing 1st base - if he even plays - he might be the DH instead). General Practioner told us yesterday that everything in my son's elbow appears to be inflammation and we are addressing that with ice, ibuprofen and rest. He will see the orthopedist on Tuesday morning for the expert's opinion and diagnosis on the elbow.

It looks like rain again tomorrow making any off road riding negatory for my plans. All this roadie stuff is eventually going to drive me NutZ.

5/23/07

Men Working!

Yeah, I'm working today.

Or rather, here's what my wife would say:

Met At Work

Regardless, I am attacking the "honey do" list that my wife has so graciously developed for me over the past 8 weeks as she patiently waited for Simpson to end the academic year. I installed some shelving in the bathroom yesterday. Today I'm installing some garden hose sidewinders, planting 2 trees, hanging 4 plants on the deck and planting some grass seed in a few bare spots (thanks to the dogs). I might hold off on the grass seed until the "big storm" that is due the next 24 hours has moved through the area.

I woke up at 5am today and the dogs were raring to go for the training ride out at Lake Ahquabi (found out Ahquabi means "resting place") by 7am. I made them wait until 8:15 so I could down a bunch of coffee, talk to the kids before they left to go to school, read the Des Moines paper and just be your typical I'm on vacation type of guy. I got an hour of off road riding in with the dogs. They were frisky today and chased any wildlife they encountered. When I arrived back at home and had hosed off the dogs, my wife asked me to go with her on the Summerset bike trail for a ride. So I grabbed a Powerbar and the Karate Monkey for another hour of riding. She was flying on her recumbent and I had to ride in zone 3 to keep up with her the entire time. So much for tapering off my riding in preparation for this weekend's race.

I finally purchased the last remaining bottle of Gatorade Endurance Formula that was on the shelves here in Indianola. It's my favorite sports drink because it has more goodies in it than the regular Gatorade formula. Maybe it's all in my head, but the Endurance formula seems to be more of an anti-cramps beverage for me which is why I use it. The local Walgreen's is apparently not going to be restocking it, so I will have to go up to Des Moines from now on to get my monthly supply.

There is good stuff in this fuel for me and here is how it compares to the regular Gatorade:

gatorade_endurance

My Little League team improved to 7-3 last night with a 14 - 2 win over the unfortunate Yankees. Tonight we face the Diamondbacks (weather permitting).

Time to hit the honey do list...

5/22/07

Training with Sugar...

....Gary Fisher Sugar 293, that is. I removed the RaceFace Next Carbon bars from my Sugar 293 and put on a flat Ritchey bar with Cane Creek Ergo bar ends for a tight turning radius epic race bike. The carbon bars were about 26" wide and the Ritchey with the Cane Creeks are 24" wide. Makes for a nice climbing bike with all kinds of hand positions and a nice stretched out seated power position for climbing. Even though the bike weighs 3 pounds more than my Dos, it has good flow out on the singletrack.

I took the Dos Niner into Rassy's today because I stripped one of the bolts on my Thomson stem yesterday while trying to remove the stem for some maintenance. I had greased it properly when installing it last year and tightened it to the appropriate torque, but with all the mud and rain I think the grease had worn off and the bolt was seized in there. So Rassy's is going to drill it out and put a new bolt in for me. They are a little swamped with repairs at the moment, so it won't be ready until next Tuesday. So the Sugar it is...

I may race in South Dakota this weekend depending on my mood for driving out to the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival. I would go with my daughter and stay at my Dad's house. Either way I do it - solo or with my daughter - it is 18 full hours of driving across the prairie. He had also asked if I wanted to come out for Memorial Day weekend to see my Mom's grave. Since my mother passed away last fall, I haven't been out to see the gravestone yet, and it is now in place. I'll decide in the next couple of days whether or not to go. Simpson is done for the academic year, so I am available for the trip. I think it is important for him that I come out, but I am trying to convince him that I could come later in the summer when things are not so hectic here with baseball and the kids still being in school until June 1st. Ah, decisions...

My Little League team has improved to a 6-3 record and we are currently in 2nd place in the junior league. Battling a lot of sore arms with some of the pitchers who are also lifting weights for football (talk about overuse and no recovery for these kids). I've been trying to get them to stop lifting weights during the baseball season, but of course - every teenager knows more about physiology and rest and recovery than adults. Oy! One of my catchers broke a bone in his foot and cannot catch for the remainder of the season. Another player got frustrated and broke his hand earlier in the season. He's due to get his cast off this Thursday, but we've been winning without him. It will be interesting to see what happens once we put him back in the line up in terms of team dynamics and how we do batting. We actually had an advantage with only 9 players the last 7 games by getting more at bats for the top of the line up. Adding a 10th in the batting order may diminish that advantage.

I rode for an 8 mile loop with the dogs this morning at Lake Ahquabi. It started to rain a little bit on us, but we kept going. A lot of downed trees out there and I ripped my jersey trying to go under a low hanging tree that had fallen across the trail and was stuck on another tree. I may have to go rent a chainsaw and get out there and clear the trail. The DNR seems to rarely do any maintenance. Plus, the price of a few hour chainsaw rental is cheaper than the jersey I just ripped....

5/20/07

Can't Race Today...!

Sometimes, you just have to back away and get the priorities straight. This weekend is one of those times. Simpson Commencement was yesterday and the Indianola High School seniors are having their graduation parties this weekend. We went to a couple of them yesterday and are supposed to drop by a few more today. When? How?

Today was originally supposed to the IMBCS #4 at Seven Oaks, but it got postponed until summer due to the trails needing some tender loving care after this spring's ice storm. So the rain canceled Psycowpath #2 had been moved into today's slot. Perfect, I was all set and had it plugged into my schedule. Psycowpath sport/expert races start at 12 noon on the scheduled race days. So a 2 hour drive over to Omaha, a 70 minute race, a 2 hour drive back to Indianola would have allowed me to do the race and coach my son's Little League team for our Sunday 5pm game. All seemed to be well - until I read the fine print...


If the make-up day for a Psycowpath XC race is a Sunday, the start time is 2 pm. The delayed start times are to allow for churchgoers obligations, etc.


Rats! Trumped by God!

Hmmmmmmmmm.....this got me trying to figure out all possible scenarios of still being able to do the race and get back in time to coach the baseball game. Start the race at 2, pedal like crazy, hop in the car and be on the road by 3:30pm, drive above the posted speed limit and arrive ------------> in the 2nd inning. Nope, that won't work. How about have my two assistant coaches warm-up the team and get the game started as I arrive late? What? Both are out of town this weekend! Nope, that won't work.

I obviously had to bag the race. Baseball and religion took precedence.

Furthermore, my son's AAU baseball team is playing in a tournament this weekend in the I-Cubs Principal Park Stadium in Des Moines. Between Thursday and Saturday they won 2 out of their 3 games and made it into the final 4 teams for Sunday. So he has an 11am game and if they win, a 3pm Championship Game. Now I will be able to watch the 11am game. Squeeze in my daughter's soccer match at 2pm in Indianola, a wife in bed with a nasty cold and sore throat and even without the Little League game at 5pm that I have to coach - there is no way I could have raced today and remained married. ;-)

All pretty obvious, but it never hurts to put it down on electronic paper to have in the journal.

5/17/07

Rocking & Rolling!

Yeah, this is a shot of the western side of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Rock&RollHofFame

If you haven't been there, it is well worth a visit. You cannot take pictures inside, so I can't show you anything. However, from the Baby Boomer generation on - we are all tied to rock and roll in some shape, fashion or form. The museum opened in 1995 and IMO - is one of the better museums in the US of A in terms of how it is organized, run and the way the information and artifacts are presented. If you go, it is best to study up before you visit so you know what you are looking at while you are there. A lot of history is involed from the 1950's to the present. It's easy to miss things in the museum, so bring your reading glasses and plan on an entire day (10:30 am to 5:30 pm) to see everything.

I've been helping teach a May Term course at Simpson called "The History of Rock and Roll". This is our final week of class and we did a 3 day field trip to Cleveland, Ohio to see the Hall of Fame with the 34 students this Monday - Wednesday. We had great weather all the way there and an even better spectacular 85 degrees and sunshine day in Cleveland which is unusual for them this time of year.

We missed the 5th floor exhibit of The Doors which is opening on May 25th, but there were plenty of things to occupy our time on all the other floors. From Counterculture figure Timothy Leary, to the letter Charles Manson wrote to the Rolling Stone Magazine, to Michael Jackson's glove, to an exhibit of The Clash, to Motown, to Chess Records, to Sun Records, to Elvis, to The Beatles, to John Lennon, to the Stones, to Kiss, to Iowa's The Everly Brothers, to Little Richard, to Buddy Holly, to Aerosmith, to The Who, to Bob Dylan, to Ray Charles, to Mr. Black (as in Johnny Cash), to Queen, to Bob Seger, to Chuck Berry, to The Dells, to Elton John, to Prince, to Les Paul, to Tom Petty, to The Mamas and the Papas, to Howlin' Wolf, to U2, to Otis Redding, to Black Sabbath, to Janis Joplin and her LSD loving colleague Jimmy Hendrix, to Bill Haley, to The Ramones, to the Sex Pistols rejection of being elected into the Hall of Fame and on and on and on. History in our lifetime. And history still in the making.

The collision of tribal music, the field holler, the melodies of European music, folk music with 3 chords created the transformation here in America that produced unique American cultural music of gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, country western that led to rockabilly and rock and roll. Studying the culture, the political implications of the time in the 50's, 60's and 70's, the generation gap between parents and the baby boomer children and getting everything in context is really an excellent history lesson.

It's only a few more years until all those older naysayers that thought rock and roll would corrupt and destroy the minds of our youth have passed away. They were a part of history too, but our country will be made up entirely of rock and rollers in 10 - 20 years. And the Stones will probably still be performing....

Rock on!

After three days on the trip (rest and recovery for my legs), I went for a ride this morning on the Sugar 293 at my usual stomping/training grounds. Legs felt fine. Great, in fact! Maybe I ought to take off 3 days more often and travel across country! I pushed the tempo since I was on the cushion bike and getting ready for Sunday's Psycowpath race. I rode for about 45-50 minutes pretty hard and then went to work.

5/13/07

Race Report: IMBCS #3 - La Madre de Las Montanas

We were all met with perfect weather this weekend for the IMBCS #3 race. It was a stage race on Saturday and Sunday, but I could only attend the XC race on Sunday due to an AAU baseball tournament my son had all weekend.

I went to the games on Friday and Saturday, but missed 2 of the games on Sunday and made it back in time to watch the final 2 innings of the championship game (we lost and ended up 2nd place for the tournament).

I pulled in at Sockum Ridge around 10:20 in time to register and get a little bit of warm up riding in before the start. I've done this race the prior two years, but immediately noticed the "figure 8 of death" where the trails cross was not going to be a part of this year's festivities. A little bit of a re-route had been done to avoid the criss-crossing of racers in the grassy meadow which was always rather fun. I also noticed while warming up that some of the singletrack was still muddy enough in spots to give you that "flat tire feeling" or wondering if your rear hub was suddenly seizing up. No, it was just the mud zapping some momentum. After last week's race, I could hardly call today's conditions "muddy".

Being Mother's Day and all, the number of racers for Sunday's XC was not as many as other races this year. Nonetheless, I gave it a go up the first climb being careful not to burn too many matches. I was trying to hang in the first group of 10 sport and sport masters group in lap one and realized I wasn't going to be able to maintain this pace for all three laps, so I settled into a pace that at least offered the occasional recovery moment. There was one "whoa!, that was close" moment in the 2nd half of the course where you had a descent into a muddy bog and a quick up. I didn't get a chance to pre-ride this side, so I wasn't expecting it and my front wheel nearly stayed put in the mud while the rest of me kept going. I didn't fall, but I lost my balance and hence momentum which forced me off the bike and I had to walk that short hill to get going again. Cleared it fine the next two laps.

By the start of lap two, I was no longer hanging with the bunch. There were two guys ahead of me by 200 yards, but nobody behind me. I didn't quite have the leg power up the gravel climb in this lap as I did in lap one, so I spun up the gravel climb and headed into the singletrack trying to figure out a pace I could sustain. Not much to say about lap 2 except I was having difficulty pushing the pace and momentum I wanted to all the time.

Lap 3 started and I felt better on the gravel climb this time than the previous lap. I had enough juice to get out of saddle and push it a little bit up the climb. Stinking bottom bracket was creaking all day on every out of saddle climb. It's still reacting and talking to me from the Ingawanis mudding it took. I'll have to doing some wrenching on it to see. Anyway, I was feeling good once I got back in the singletrack and after the initial climbs in the singletrack and where it goes into the flat part, here came four experts. I picked up my pace to follow their momentum and was able to get some speed going for a little while before backing off to my pace. I was closing in on the two sport riders in front of me during the 2nd half of lap 3. The closest I got was within 10 feet, but I just did not have it in my legs and lungs to power past. Or my mind wouldn't play along - which is probably the real culprit. Kept playing a little game of yo-yo, but couldn't fill the gap and crossed the line a few bike lengths back from one of the two in front of me. At least I feel like I was giving it my all during this lap. My "all" just wasn't enough.

Kudos to Andy and his family for providing such a nice race. Great food, nice course and perfect weather all came together to make Sunday's XC well worth it.

Well, I think I cured one of my woes from the three prior races where I was suffering from severe midpackitis. I was 6th out of 11 sport open last week at Ingawanis and 35th out of 66 at the Sylvan Island Stampede (IMBCS #1). No more midpackitis for me today. No sir, no way. I ended up in 7th place for sport open category out of 7. Yup, no midpack woes there. Dead last in the category!

Off to Cleveland tomorrow with a Simpson College class on a field trip. Next Sunday is the make-up Psycowpath #2. It's supposed to be a flat course...

5/10/07

Still Shakin' Down the Dos!

My Dos is still feeling the aftermath of the IMBCS#2 race at Ingawanis. My original thought was to take it up to Sterling at Rassy's and have him do a post muddy race tune-up, but I decided to wrench it all myself this time (including the DT Swiss 240 rear hub). Bike was fine on Tuesday's training ride. Not so fine yesterday...

I went for a recovery ride yesterday on pavement and started getting BB creak. And I think my original diagnosis was I would need to replace the rear derailleur cable as it suffered some stretch while I was literally forcing it to shift in the mud on Sunday. It worked fine on Tuesday, but yesterday the cable stretch reared its ugly head and the barrel adjuster couldn't even solve the problem. Luckily, I've got a pair of spare SRAM shifter cables, so I will do that today. And I will take the cranks off and remove the BB to clean up and add some grease in the BB shell. New brake pads are slowly getting broken in, but the rear pad is not providing the bite I like just yet. It was one of the Avid Organic pads that the LBS had in stock, so maybe they have a different feel to them than the metallic pads.

I did 35 minutes recovery around town yesterday following mowing the lawn after work. Legs required a little self-massage to address some knots, but I could feel they had no snap in them which led to the recovery zone ride.

I finished the long day off with a late night Little League game that started at 8:15pm. We were up 11-1 going into the last inning, so I let the youngest and smallest kid on our team pitch. They scored 3 runs off of him before we got the 3 outs, but he was tickled pink to get a chance to pitch. Another one of our players got his 2nd hit for the season after umpteen strikeouts in the past 5 games. He was all smiles and they both earned a game ball for the efforts. Our record has now improved to 4 wins, 2 losses on the season. 10 games to go in regular season action...

-----

Edit: I rehabbed the Dos Niner again. Took cranks off, reinstalled BB after cleaning (non-drive side cup was not quite as tight as it should have been), greased all essentials, and got the Dos up and going tonight with no creaks from the BB area. Got the shifting to work on the rear derailleur without changing cables, although it is borderline sloppy shifting in my book.

I went on my 2nd interval training ride for the week with a focus on SMSP intervals. Warmed up for 20 minutes and then did 7 reps of 1 minute on maximum power, 30 seconds off. Now that's some nice pain by the time you do #6 and #7. Followed that with 7 minutes rest and then a 7 minute SMSP interval. Dropped back down to Zone 2 range and rode home. Finished with some hill out of saddle climbs with the big ring. Total ride was a little over an hour with about 15 - 18 mintues of hard work interval time. I didn't want to wear myself out for the weekend.

5/8/07

Salsa is rebuilt!

After work today, I managed to get the Dos Niner up and running again after the mud festival on Sunday. She needed new disc brake pads front and rear, a WD-40 cleansing of the rear brake housing, a new rear brake cable, a complete cleaning of the chain and drivetrain and some elbow grease for good measure. Yowzuh! The Avid disc brake pads are selling for $19.99 each now. What the heck? I remember 2 years ago when I could pick them up for 8 or 9 bucks. I should have bought a dozen or so back then to last me since I have 2 bikes with the Avid mechanicals. Oh well...

I got the bike cleaned up, rehabbed it and went for a training ride on pavement with the Nanoraptors. After a brief warm up that included some leadouts and 10 minutes of urban riding to get to the paved bike trail, I did a 15 minute MSP interval, 10 minute recovery, 15 minutes MSP interval (uphill all the way against the wind), 5 minutes recovery and then booked it all the way home for 20 mintues with some SMSP, stand and hammer climbs and general racing of any 4 wheeled traffic I encountered.

I felt stronger and more energized at the end of the 1 hour and 15 minute training ride than at the beginning. I guess that is a good thing. I've put on a pair of pounds thanks to good eating in the past few days, so I am dialing in the brakes on my calories and upping the exercise to get right back to where I was last week. It shouldn't take more than 3 days to get back to home base on the weight front. Today was day one.

5/6/07

DNF'd the IMBCS #2 Race...

Drats! My first DNF racing the series. [Edit: Or so I thought. It turns out that the race got called as it was unfolding on account of trail conditions becoming unrideable. I ended up in 6th place for a midpackitis Sport Open category finish. Better than a DNF...]

I made it through all of last season without having to DNF. I had a few mechanicals last year, but even the worst one which was a bent derailleur hanger, a broken rear derailleur and an out of true rear wheel all at the same time, I was able to finish the IMBCS race at Boone in that condition.

I wish this one would have been postponed like yesterday's Swanson Park Psycowpath #2 race was an account of the trail conditions. I woke up at 6am this morning to a big thunderstorm, hail and heavy rain. Why did I pack up the car and go against my better judgement? C'est la vie...

I couldn't finish today because I completely lost my brakes in the first lap. It happened about 1/3 or 1/2 way through the first lap when the brakes started fading and then even taking the levers all the way to the grips gave me Nada! Zilch? Nulla! Nichts! I had one heck of a nightmare going down a hill and somehow managed to get between the trees and avoid bodily injury before rolling and diving to a stop. I don't know what happened to the brakes. Was it mud that got up in there? Did they just wear out in the first lap with all the water and mud? I don't know. They were working fine in the slop yesterday. [Edit: My one lap went down as a finish since the race got called. Too bad I was depressed about it and took off without eating and staying for the festivities.)

When I got back to the car after goosing my way through lap one, I found out that both the front and the rear Avid Disc brake calipers were each missing one of the two pads and the metal springs were broken. No idea how that happened, but it was pretty dangerous trying to ride the course with zero brakes. I was nursing chainsuck as well with all of the mud, but the lack of brakes made me bag it for the day. I had spare Avid brake pads in the car, but one can't stop at the car and do repairs as that is not exactly a self-supported way of doing mountain bike races. So I rinsed the bigger chunks of mud off the bike, loaded up and headed home after only completing one lap of "half walking, half riding" (with my friggin' slow lap time of 1:17 nonetheless!!!). Who knows how long a 2nd lap with no brakes would have taken me?

I thought the course was great, but I'm not too keen on riding a race in those conditions - especially when trail damage is a concern. I'd like to see the trail in dry conditions because it would be fun to take it at race speed and use momentum through some of those ups and downs. The muddy conditions reminded me of Boone last summer at the State Norba race where a lot of walking and mud clogging was involved and we ended up bagging the sport class race after one lap. I guess if I want to go for a hike in the woods, I prefer not to pay $25. Enough said.

I loved the sand hill climb as it got the heart rate way up there in the red zone. It reminded me of climbing the dunes at Lake Michigan. Not sure if my Dos Niner at 25 pounds or a picnic basket is easier to get up a steep sand hill. And I loved all the narrow singletrack. I hope our racing on the course in such conditions didn't do too much damage, but I hope to get back and ride portions of the trail when it is dry. I'll have to troubleshoot the brakes to see what exactly happened, but I think it must have been mud related as the one pad left in each brake has plenty of pad left and they were not worn out.

Hats off to the cast and crew involved at Camp Ingawanis for setting up such a great event. They did a great job with the course and festivities surrounding the event. Mother Nature is always the wild card for these races and she didn't want to cooperate this time around. Two years ago, it snowed at the race. Last year, the sun was shining. This year we saw no snow or sun, but "Oy veh, talk about your rain....".

Here's a few shots of the Dos after I got home and after the initial rinse. I cleaned it all up, dried it off and I will do maintenance this week on everything to get it ready for next weekend.

Crankset at a couple points in the race had about 15 pounds of mud on it:

MuddyDos1

My trusty Max helping me get the bike cleaned up:

MuddyDos2

25 pounds without mud, but during the race after the first dismount coming up the first climb of the singletrack, it had enough mud to qualify as a 40+ pound rig:

MuddyDos3

5/5/07

Psycowpath #2 Postponed...

I mowed the lawn late last night in the mist and had a good sweat, pre-race warm up. Some crazy bunny gave birth to 5 little ones in our front lawn and as I passed their "hole" with the mower, I saw some movement. What kind of mother would give birth to her babies in the front lawn of a house where 2 labrador retrievers live? Can't she smell? Oh well...I suppose it will be my job to dispose of what natural selection weeds out.

In terms of today's race:

I woke up this morning and before hopping out of bed and getting ready for today's race, I checked the Nebraska Cycling website at 7 am only to find out that today's race was postponed until May 20th due to overnight rain. May 20th was the "old" IMBCS Seven Oaks race date that got moved to this summer for lack of trail maintenance, so it looks like it will work into my schedule. Probably for the best as I was almost dreading doing two consecutive races this weekend with no chance for recovery between Saturday and Sunday.

So I took the dogs out for a ride with me this morning to keep the legs fresh for tomorrow's IMBCS #2 at Ingawanis. We'll see what develops with the weather today as the storms roll around the state and hang out in Iowa as this system is stuck between two high pressure systems to the east and west. Could be 4 - 6 days of rain for Iowa - or more flood and overflowing soup bowls...

Legs feel twitching to go and fairly strong after the recovery week which came early due to catching a cold. The cold is getting better, but I do worry about leg cramps tomorrow coming off of a cold. I'm hoping the VooDoo supplements keep the electrolytes in balance and the legs hold up.

5/2/07

It's May...

...and I am enjoying the first few days of May with a plugged nose. Luckily, I avoided getting sick most of the winter months and all of the off-season training in terms of catching a cold. I guess all of this warm weather let my defenses down enough to finally catch a bug. Actually, my son and daughter both caught it as well and I hear a lot of folks around town coughing and dealing with the same thing. Oh well...today I feel the best I have since Saturday.

It's just in time for Ingawanis. The first time I raced there in the beginner class 2 years ago, I also had a nasty cold and hacked my way around the course. I remember the snow started to fall at the end of the beginner's race and right before the sport/experts lined up. I am hoping this weekend does not include snow! I'll be racing the Psycowpath #2 on Saturday at Swanson Park in Bellevue, Nebraska. Elevation gain is something like 200 feet, so it will be a flat race and perhaps I'll do it on the rigid like I did Sylvan Island. Then Sunday, it's off to the Boy Scout Camp outside of Waverly for the IMBCS #2 race. The wife has given me a weekend pass for these even though she is holding a garage sale on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I'll be helping her get everything set up today and tomorrow for that.

In spite of the cold, I managed to do my recovery riding this week and then morphed into trying to keep my legs and lungs race ready for the weekend's races...

Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 40 minutes of easy hill climbing work at Greenwood Park upper trails
Monday: 20 minutes of recovery in Zone 2
Tuesday: 1 hour recovery in Zone 2 with 5 x 1 minute on, 1 minute of SMSP intervals at maximum power
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 30 minutes on the trainer with a dozen or so leadout intervals at full throttle
Friday: 15 minute warm up with a few sprints
Saturday: Psycowpath Race #2 at Swanson Park in Bellevue, NE