Once in a blue moon...

Yeah, yeah - I know. Tonight is a "Calendar Blue Moon" and not that rare of a deal. Ah...we all know the story of the 1940's article in Sky and Telescope that failed to delineate the difference between a true blue moon and a calendar blue moon.

That being said, tonight is a calendar blue moon. And we are misinformed, but allowed to say "once in a blue moon".

My boy's baseball team entered the state tournament last night as the #2 seed. The first three games are pool play to determine seeding and who advances on Sunday to the finals brackets. We won our first game last night at Holiday Park against Mason City 8-5. Today, we face a tough team in the morning from Cedar Rapids. They won the championship World Series last year in St. Louis while we took the consolation championship. It should be a good game. In the afternoon, we face a team from North Scott.

I snuck up to Seven Oaks mid-afternoon yesterday to take advantage of the cool temperatures and get one lap in with the now correctly adjusted bike. The adjustments made a world of difference and I only failed to negotiate one switchback coming down at too high of a speed. I didn't fall, but I had to put the feet on the ground to keep me out of the trees. Brake dive is gone. Stability is increased with the wider bars. And tire pressure is dialed in (although I was still getting rear tire skid coming down the steep switchbacks). The trail was "broken in" quite a bit more as it looks like quite a few have been out riding this week since I was there on Tuesday. I was itching to do a 2nd lap, but better to rest the legs.

Headed back home and went to the baseball game.


Adjustments and Intervals...

I took yesterday off to recover from the 2 laps of doom I did at Boone on Tuesday. I spent the day at the office and coached the All-Star baseball team in the evening. Somehow, the day went by so quickly I forgot where it all went.

Today had me dialing in the Reba fork so that the positive was just 10 psi higher than the negative (used Rainman's instructions). According to the how to tune your Reba threads at MTBR.com, RockShox has provided a psi table for one's weight that it is all wrong. So I was running my 80mm Reba with pressures that were causing my brake dive. I took care of that today and the fork is riding l000% better according to my testing.

I settled in at lower psi for my Kenda Karma's after bouncing all over Boone on Tuesday when I had the psi in the mid 30's. Tubeless allows me to go a little bit lower and I am running sub 30 psi on front and rear. No need to fear a pinch flat or a thorn, so the extra squish really creates a supple and enjoyable ride. Traction has improved and I don't feel like I am bouncing all over my saddle. Of course, riding at race speed will change all of that rather quickly...

My final adjustment was to put the wider XC carbon bar with more sweep on for Boone to help with stability on the switchbacks and climbs. I also moved one of the spacers from below the stem to over the stem for this weekend's race to help keep a more aggressive, lower position in hopes of keeping the front wheel on the ground on those steep climbs. It's not a problem at most other courses, but Seven Oaks is Seven Oaks.

I warmed up today by mowing the lawn to take advantage of the cool temps.

After that, I took the Dos Niner out for a training run at Lake Ahquabi to do some lead out intervals which included 2 sets of 10 doing 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off and 6 SMSP intervals on the Monument climb which is 1 minute to 1:15 depending on which side I'm going up. I misjudged the first two SMSP intervals by going out way too hard and was unable to maintain the power the final 100 yards of the climb. My bad. So they were those dreaded "fade" intervals that look all wrong on the graphing charts where you peak right away and then drift down.

The remaining 4 I did correctly which would look much better on the graph than the first two. At least the first two reminded me what can easily happen in a race at the beginning where you go out way too hard and are unable to recover which burns too many matches for my level of riding at the moment. Boone is an easy course to burn a lot of matches in the first 30 minutes as those climbs and the technical requirements of the front half of the lap exhaust me. Going out too hard could easily leave me high and dry for the remaining hour to hour and a half. And I don't think it will be quite as cool on Sunday as it was today.

State baseball tournament for my son begins tomorrow with an 8pm game up in Des Moines.


Going Tubeless...

It's thorn season again. I finally read the instructions and watched the installation videos at NoTubes.com to make use of my Door Prize Stan's Kit from the Sylvan Island Stampede.

The installation went off pretty smoothly, although I had to resort to a "trick tip" to butter up the beads with sealant on the rear since the soap method had psi loss overnight on the rear tire. Once I painted the beads with sealant and aired up again - I've been golden. I did 2 laps at Lake Ahquabi yesterday in the thorns with these tubeless converted wheels/tires and all was well.

Here's a shot of the rear tire sealing:


Here's the Dos Niner all tubeless and ready to ride:


Paul Varnum and I canceled our Sunday morning ride at Seven Oaks since the sun did not come out over the weekend to help dry the trails out. Rather than burn the precious fuel to drive up to Boone and back, I wanted to wait until the sun had been out for 24 - 48 hours to help dry things out. I might head up this afternoon (Tuesday) if the wife will unlock the ball and chain for a few hours. I can't go tomorrow as I have to work and then do an interval session. So today may be my only pre-ride chance at Boone before Sunday's race.

Back From Boone Update:

I kicked my own butt - or Boone kicked it for me today out in the heat. Wow! One forgets quickly what mountain biking is all about when not riding at Seven Oaks. It's a nice technical challenge with all the climbs, switchbacks, steep drops, ups and downs, etc... . I need to make it up there on a regular basis to get back in the groove of that trail. This was my first visit this season and there are a few new cuts in the trail, but the hills and some of the hard dirt conditions had me working hard. I was having some equipment problems. Front brake dive, too narrow of a handlebar, too much air pressure in the tires and I found myself on the ground no less than 5 times during my 2 laps. Banged up my right knee, scratched my left leg, and did a nice tuck and roll coming down one of those tight switchbacks. I impressed myself that I was able to tuck and roll. It sure prevents physical damage and I think I'll use it! I think that is the most I have fallen all year long. Lap one was pretty much a search and explore the memory lap. Lap two had me increasing my effort, but it was still tentative. That trail just does not let up in the first 30 minutes. Not much chance for any recovery and a lot of tricky things to keep you on the edge of your seat as well as put plenty of tension in your neck and arms as you "fight" the course.

I may have to head up again on Thursday or Friday after I mess with my fork's air pressure and after I have put the wider handlebars back on for this race. In the meantime, my tail is between my legs after today's butt kicking! The Boone course is not forgiving except for the jaunt around the Paint Ball area up on top. Everything else requires concentration and attention for the entire lap.


The Dos Squeaks no more...

Finally! I took the crankset and BB off of my Dos Niner today. I regreased everything and added one layer of teflon plumber's tape when installing the BB. Torqued everything to specification and crossed my fingers that this would do the trick. Sure enough, the Dos Niner squeaks and clicks no more from the bottom bracket area while I am standing and mashing.

It didn't make any noise until after the muddy Camp Ingawanis race. I had tried 2 times to get rid of the noise, but today the bottom bracket Gods were with me. LOL!

I swapped the Nanoraptors for Karma 1.9's on my Dos Niner, added some girth on the grips by building up the bar with masking tape (an old trick from the Golf Grip world) and headed out to my training grounds. Wouldn't you know it? I got my first flat of the season. Big old thorn bit my rear tire. Things finally dried out enough to make the thorns come in season so it is time to go tubeless and install Slime in the bikes that do have tubes. I guarantee thorns and possible flats at Boone, so I want to avoid that at all costs. Thanks to the door prize I won at the Sylvan Island Stampede (Stan's NoTubes) I'll do one wheelset tubeless and the other with Slime so I have protection and choice. Probably Crows tubeless and Karma 1.9's with tubes.

Since I didn't have a spare tube, pump or patch with me, I had to walk out of the woods 3 miles back to the car. Headed home and hopped on the C7i trainer in the basement for a 10 minute MSP interval followed by 5 reps of 1 on 45 seconds off SMSP butt kickers. A couple more interval sessions next week should have me back in pretty good form for the Boone race.

Slimed and dangerous...


Endurance check...

I went for a 2 1/2 hour endurance pace ride today. I tried really, really hard to keep myself on the top edge of Zone 2, but you know how it goes. Some good rock tunes blasting in my ears, passing people on the trail and it is easy to get excited and move into Zone 3. However, I did a good job of maintaining my tempo outside of a couple of hills that I attacked with too much vigor. I did a swing through Banner Pits to hit the Riverside mountain bike trails to see how fast I could carve on the Karate Monkey. I only hit one tree with my shoulder, so that's an improvement.

Got home and mowed the lawn and did some house chores before eating a double burger and baked beans. Yummmmy!

I took a nap and then went to the ball field with my son this afternoon. I pitched 150 pitches to my son who cussed at me in frustration as he tried to find his inside out swing before tonight's game. I threw about 45 fast balls in a row because he wanted me to throw everything I had at him. Problem is, I am one of those pitchers who excelled at throwing junk and trying to destroy every batter's timing. So I can easily frustrate him with my 3 seamer and all the movement I get on my pitches as a tall, string bean junk ball pitcher. He said every curse word, threw his helmet, bat (several times) and called me a few muttered names as my pitches tailed off to the left and down. Hopefully that gets him riled up for tonight's plate appearances. He did manage to hit some good ones, but something is going on that is going to require the help of a professional batting coach to get him back on track. I don't have the skills for his level of hitting to diagnose and correct swing flaws. But it is fun to mess with his timing with my pitches.... ;-)


A reality workout...

I had a lot of pavement endurance rides last week with a few intervals mixed in for good measure. I did the Manawa trails this Saturday and Sunday and decided I had let myself go in terms of interval work over the past 4 - 6 weeks. Too much of trying to do it on the bike without any measurements being taken. I have found it is way too easy to "cheat" if you are going on feel and guesswork. My bad.

So I went down in the basement this morning while it was pouring rain outside.

•10 minutes of warming up on the C7i
•10 minutes on the treadmill of running
•2 reps of 10 squats, 10 lunges and 10 calf-raises
•5 minutes of warming up on the C7i
•10 reps of 1 x 1's (1 minute on, 1 minute off) at SMSP wattage
•5 minutes of cool down

Total session was about 60 minutes of exercise with 10 minutes of intense SMSP workload.

The trainer doesn't lie. You cannot fool yourself and after about the third interval I realized how slack I had let myself go over the past weeks following my dedicated spring training. It's no wonder I was lacking leg drive and zip when I needed it. However, the more intervals I did, the more my body started to remember this kind of workload. So, it's not hopeless to build to another peak in the coming weeks. I'll do an easy endurance ride oustide tomorrow of about 2 hours and hit the MSP intervals on the trainer in the basement on Wednesday. I'll recover Thursday and do a short session on Friday. That's if I am racing on Saturday.


Yup. I want to race the Psycowpath Marathon on Saturday at Ponca State Park in Nebraska, but my wife got opera tickets for Saturday night and my father will be visiting. Hmmmmmm. What to do? I am trying to figure it out and have a few days to decide. The race is a 4 hour marathon format and can be raced solo or as a team of 2. If I do the 4 hour solo, I would keep the pace down and treat it like the Dakota 50 out in the Black Hills where I don't ride at race speed for the 50 miles, but just treat it as a nice hard endurance ride for training. If I partner with another, I would ride it as a race and try to get in as many laps as possible. Either way, I could recover for the IMBCS Boone race the following weekend.


Pop's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all you out there in blog land that happen to be Dads. I called my father who was in route to arrive at our house in Iowa tomorrow evening for a visit. He was having trouble staying awake and was having to pull over at every rest area for a snooze.

I spent the day with my son in Omaha and in the car driving home from the USSSA baseball tournament. Our team did not do so well as we played the #1 team in the nation and the #16 team in Texas in the first rounds. None of us had ever seen that kind of amazing baseball at the 14 year old level. Unbelievable tournament teams! The Texas team was from Houston, arrived in a limo, had professional coaches and travel all over the country playing. The Oklahoma team was coached by a former MLB catcher and they were more than impressive. They were stunning. No wonder they are #1 in the nation. At least it was good experience for our boys to see that level of play. We lost the quarter finals in the consolation bracket to a team from St. Louis. It could have gone either way, but we ran out of time and made 2 too many errors to keep the win. This was the first and only tournament we played this season with 80 foot bases and a 54 foot pitching distance. It proved too difficult to adjust to the smaller field with guys pitching 80+ miles per hour. This week we go back to playing on the full size field and mound.

While in Council Bluffs and camping at Lake Manawa State Park, I rode the mountain bike trails on Saturday and Sunday to get ready for the July 7th Psycowpath race. Can I use the phrase 'flat, but gnarly" to describe this course? Not a hill in sight. But tight, twisty and gnarly describes the course. Being my height on an XL size bike has some disadvantages on this course. Without a helmet and full cover sunglasses, it would be dangerous to ride this trail. I've never had so much stuff in my face and hit my head. The trail needs some maintenance before the race as it looks like parts of it may have been under water during recent rains/flooding. And I wouldn't mind if somebody got out there and trimmed the overgrowth to keep it out of our faces come race day. I picked up 2 ticks on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. Along with arms that turned red from the greenery and the ticks - it is a real "out in the woods" experience. It should be a fun race with a lot of big ring sprinting on the straight sections.

We caught the Saturday night College World Series game between Oregon and Cal State Fullerton. Every player in the USSSA tournament got a pair of tickets to go to any of the College World Series games of our choosing over the weekend. So we wanted to see the defending champions from last year. It was an exciting game thanks to an error in the bottom 1/2 of the 9th, but the Beavers pulled it out. (That sounds funny....) Temperatures were in the 90's and it was hot in the stands.

It's good to be back home after a weekend of camping, baseball and mountain biking.


The Road to Omaha...

...off I go with my son to Omaha this morning. His AAU team plays a team from Texas and one from St. Louis this afternoon and evening over in Omaha. More games on Saturday, Sunday and possibly Monday (if we keep advancing).

We'll be camping and "roughing it" at the Lake Manawa State Park. And of course the Dos Niner is going in the back of the Element to be available for some riding on the Manawa mountain biking trails. Hopefully by the end of the weekend I will have put in some good loops and have the course well established in my mind for the July 7th Psycowpath race.

Two days of hard interval work this week followed by a rest day has me feeling like I am getting back on track with some training. I had let it slip too far the past few weeks to be very effective on the bike. My plan is to build up to a mini-peak for the first week of July races at Boone and Omaha. Then I will taper and rebuild for the end of August and September races.

Off to Omaha...


Little League Baseball Blowout...

Blowout City!

Tonight's semi-final game between our #2 ranked team and the #3 ranked team was an absolute blowout as we got cremated 16-6. Our team literally did not show up mentally or physically ready to play. Five days off left everyone stale and pale. I saw it right away in warm-ups and did everything I could do as a coach to get them on their game and charged up, but it just was not to be. We didn't hit and we made too many errors. We pretty much gave them 8 of their 16 runs as handouts. In all of our 18 games this season, this ranked as one of the worst two showings for us. It was like a different team was wearing our uniforms. Such is baseball. We could do it all over again tomorrow with a different result, but we won't get that opportunity.

And we faced an excellent pitcher who was really on and pitched the entire game for the opposing team. If you don't hit the ball, you don't win Little League games no matter how hard you try. We used our 4 best pitchers and none of them could find their stride. The other team was hitting it in all of the gaps all night long. Including an in the park grand slam that our center fielder misjudged by about a foot. Frustrating all the way around, but we have to learn to be good losers as well. So - the season is over and out for us.

Since we came in 2nd place in the regular season, all the boys on my team will receive a trophy tomorrow night. I will be coaching the 13-14 year olds All-Star team in July along with the coach of the 1st place regular season team. So at least a few players from my team, my son, and I will get to play Little League for a few more games in hopes we can advance out of the Des Moines district. I don't think we have the pitching and hitting depth on our All-Star team to make a real go of it, but baseball can have funny results. We'll practice and try to get the 12 players all the coaches selected to be on the all-star team playing together as a team. And add in the mixture of giving it our best in the post-season All-Star games to see what happens. Who knows? Or is it "Who's on 1st?" ;-)

And of course, my son still has a bunch of AAU 14U tournaments to play in this summer. That's a higher level of play than Little League and even though I am not coaching AAU, I really enjoy watching my son and his team play ball.


I have 5 consecutive days of good riding under my belt that went like this:

Saturday - 1 1/2 hour Zone 2 pavement ride
Sunday - 1 hour off road hard ride
Monday - 1 1/2 hour Zone 2/3 pavement ride
Tuesday - 1 1/4 hour interval training
Wednesday - 2 hour zone 3 and interval training

Dos Niner still creaking. I see no cracks in the frame, but it sure sounds like it. I'll have to wash it up and investigate every nook and cranny to see if there is a crack.


Baseball, Bratwurst, Cheesecake and Honda

Isn't that the new American slogan? Forget about the older cliche of "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet!


Indianola Little League playoffs and championship game this week. The coaches met last night to select the all-stars, sportsmanship awards and a few other awards for Thursday night's closing ceremony. Man, when I was kid school was out and the summer meant baseball. Now, Little League baseball is finished the week after school is out. What's up with that? My son and I leave on Friday to Omaha for an AAU tournament. We'll catch some of the College World Series while we are there as well.


In Austria, they have an odd saying that doesn't really translate well to English. The Wurst (hot dogs) in Austria like anywhere else are a mix of cuts and scraps from the pig (or pick your animal). So when they say "it doesn't matter to me" in Austrian German, they say "Es ist mir Wurst" - or loosely translated "to me it's a hot dog". So, life is a mix of scraps and everything these days. "Life to me is a hot dog" - or in our modern tailgating parties it is a Bratwurst.


Forget apple pie. Cheesecake is the new iconic American dessert. Today is the final day of pre-registering the freshmen class at Simpson. We've been at it for 4 consecutive days where we meet the students, have lunch with their parents, advise and register the students and answer lots of questions. The downside as a faculty member is that they have served the exact same meal every day. No problem for the incoming freshmen and their parents since they are only on campus for one day, but as each new group comes in day after day, we the faculty are happy that today's lunch is the final piece of cheesecake we'll have to choke down. Pasta and cheesecake for one more day and then I get a vacation from it.


Yeah, Honda is now an American icon since they build many of them stateside these days. In fact, the Honda mini-van I bought and drove in Austria was assembled in the US and shipped to Europe. My Element was aseembled in East Liberty, Ohio - so it's as American as baseball (and cheesecake). I've got to load the Yakima Rocket Box on top of the Element in the next couple of days. My son and I will be camping at Lake Manawa State Park while we are in Omaha. I'm going to throw the Dos Niner on the rear bike rack so I can do some reconnaissance riding for the Psycowpath race to be held there on July 7th. We will be giving a ride to another player and his mother who will also be camping at the same campground until the father arrives on Saturday. In fact, most of our team will be camping there thanks to my suggestion that $11 a night was more realistic than $170 for a motel room (College World Series rates).

I cut down 6 trees and hauled them to the dump over the weekend. Talk about torture on the body. Now I'm trying to recover from that! I've been logging in some road miles, but yesterday was painful as the tree experience left me feeling wiped out. Maybe it was the cheesecake as well! Anyway, I rode with my wife's sister and husband to Banner Pits and back yesterday in the late afternoon. Just steady tempo stuff, but I was feeling cooked in the humidity and heat as we approached home.


I'm tired of recovery...

I had a planned a rest and recovery week this week, but I'm tired of it (the recovery) already. This weekend gets me back out for some nice riding. Why am I tired of recovery? All the yard work, gardening, cleaning, honey do lists, etc... that filled up the riding time and then some have left me exhausted. ;-]

On top of that, three Little League baseball games, two AAU baseball games, one Little League practice and freshmen orientation/registration at Simpson made this a rather busy week. The team I coach ended the season in 2nd place (with a .750 record) and we receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs. We will play in the semi-finals on Wednesday night and if we win, the championship game on Thursday night. Friday I head to Omaha with my son's AAU team for a tournament. We will be there the same time as the College World Series, so motel space is limited and expensive. I reserved a campsite at Lake Manawa State Park since $11 per night sounds much better to me than $170 per night in a motel. I'll bring my bike along and pre-ride the Manawa mountain bike trails to get ready for the July 7th Psycowpath race being held there.

Between all of that, my father was here for a visit and managed to lose his car keys on the morning he was leaving to get to an important function in Ames and Sioux Falls. So we had to loan him our mini-van to go home while we got a locksmith to take the door apart and cut 2 new keys. My father calls a day later and says he found the "lost" keys in a pair of pants pocket in his suitcase! Ah....

Yesterday was the official birthday party for my 12 year old daughter. That involved taking a van load of 12 year old girls to Adventureland. Man, nothing like a group of budding pre-teen girls to wear you out. And it didn't help that none of them could agree to ride on the same rides with each other. Oy! What an exhausting day, but at least the weather was perfect for it.

My brother and sister-in-law and two children arrive this weekend from San Francisco to stay with us for a week. They are big recumbent riders so we will send them out on some of the bike trails here in the metro area. My son is in Washington, D.C. with his 8th grade Educational Tour for the weekend. He just called from the Library of Congress and said he was having a great time. That's good to hear.

That's enough of this recovery week stuff. I'm going to eat breakfast and get in a ride today - even though I'm exhausted from the week of recovery!


IMBCS #4/Psycowpath #4 Race Report...

What a great racing venue!

The weather was ideal, the course was challenging due to the 2nd half of the lap being rather climbing oriented, and the rain did not fall until it was all over.

What? No mud to clog our drivetrains?


No wet conditions to burn through our brake pads?


No dismounting and pushing the bike up every hill only to find a few pounds of mud collected on the SPD cleats and tires?


In fact, I only remember one small muddy section (a few feet long, if even) on the entire course and it was certainly not an obstacle that altered anyone's race. The course was in perfect racing condition.

Here I am rounding a curve wearing the Team 14 colors:


I was invited by Paul Varnum and Thad Neil to join the Team 14 Productions squad and this was my first weekend of XC competition as a team member.

Speaking of race tag numbers, that's the second time I've had the number 229 at a XC race this year. I had the number 29 one time last year near the end of the season as well. Maybe the big wheels are screaming out for attention to get a tag with the number "29" on there. Plenty of big wheels at the Nebraska races this year. Fellow Iowans such as Bruce Neil, Paul Varnum, and Taylor Webb were all there on the big hoops as well.

I headed west on Highway 92 from Indianola on Saturday morning about 8:15 am. It was a very scenic drive (as always) and I managed to pull into Council Bluffs with a little more than an hour to register and warm myself up. I found Paul Varnum right away and got my new Team 14 kit. I knew I would hit a possible snag today at registration. I had done the first Psycowpath Race in the Sport Masters 45+ category. I decided to do the Iowa series this year in the Sport Open category and do the Nebraska series in the Sport Masters 45+ category. I had asked if that was allowed, but nobody seemed to know the answer. Since both the Nebraska Series and Iowa Series were sponsoring this particular race as a joint venture, I had to go with only one choice of category since there were different start times for each category. So I chose the Sport Open category since I had already done the first 3 races in Iowa in that classification.

After registering, I warmed up and ended with some higher heart rate climbing, sprints and spinning around. Due to not being able to locate the source of noise coming from the crank area on my Dos Niner, I was riding the comfy, yet less efficient Sugar. I knew it would bomb the descents and bumps, but cost me on the climbs. So I planned to play the bike to its strengths when possible.

Everyone rode down to the foot of the hill for the paved grunt climb start. At the gun, I tried to push the Sugar up the climb while seated to avoid bobbing around and burning too many matches. I entered the singletrack behind Team 14 Manager, Paul Varnum on his Dos Niner. The initial descent had me itching to let the Sugar go to use its weight, suspension and big brakes to fly down the hills. Traffic held us in the queue and I saw fellow Iowa Sport Open rider Bruce Reese on the side of the trail fiddling with his chain. It didn't take him long to get back on his bike and work his way to behind my wheel. I passed Paul and picked up the pace as the Sugar was running well down in the lowlands. Once the trail turned up, I kept the pace and was feeling good. Then, I unfortunately misjudged a switchback that had a big root across it and had to unclip and put a foot down which left me blocking the trail. I had to move the bike over to let Bruce and 2 others pass me.

I got going again, but now the trail started to turn upwards in earnest. All of a sudden, my comfy Sugar felt like a monster truck going up some of the climbs and a few times too many, for my preferences, I found myself using the granny ring to keep me from going past the point of no return effort wise. Dang! The trail kept going up, and up, and up with the occasional opportunity to unleash the bike on a descent. I got passed by a few more as I putt-putted up some cimbs. This was not my game plan and I lusted for my Dos Niner goat. I felt like Lloyd Bridges in the movie Airplane when he says "Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue!". In my case it was, "Bruce, you picked the wrong day to quit taking SportLegs!"


Granny ring climbed Mount Neverest with a good tempo spin and headed into lap 2.

This lap had me flying down the descents using the Sugar's attributes to soak up the bumps and fly down the hills. I seemed to find my legs and lungs again in the lowlands and picked up the pace. I kept it in the middle ring once the climbing started and tried a few climbs with the fork locked out and got out of the saddle. Not the most efficient climbing out of saddle bike, but I alternated with gears and staying seated and mashing certain climbs.

I still don't know if it was the bike, me, my decision not to take SportLegs, or the deceiving climbs that felt like my lunch was being eaten big time. Probably a combination of all four. Suffice it to say, there was a lot of high heart rate, red zone climbing in the second half of each lap. Not the kind of climbing I had been subjecting myself to in my training in the past month. My bad. I got passed by the winning expert just before Mount Neverest and Andy went around me on the climb as I spun up the grunt fest in granny again and sprinted to the finish for an end to the bittersweet pain. Cooked. Too many watts required to move that Sugar at XC race speed. I'm guessing it cost me a minute or two in overall time, but who knows? It sure soaked up the bumpy parts and flew on the descents. The good news is that it didn't creak, rattle or complain at all. We survived the Kanesville Krusher1!

Note to self: Next year I need to come out and put in a weekend on this course to condition my mind to be able to deal with it.

2nd note to self: In spite of training all week without SportLegs to try a race not using them, I think I'll bag that idea and go back to using them. Gotta remember the progression of Lloyd Bridges lines in Airplane:

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking ( gulp ).

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.

and finally:

"Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue."

3rd note to self: Get the Dos Niner creak free and ready to go - ASAP.

Kudos to the Psycowpath crew for another excellent race. Thanks to Paul Varnum and Team 14 for the invitation to become a member. Congrats to Chris Hansen on his Sport Open win. And congrats to all just for finishing on that challenging climbing course.


Packed and Ready to Race (now it's up to mother nature...)

Here's what I loaded up in the Element for the trip to Council Bluffs:


And she's all clean, lubed and ready to roll:


The Sugar has been running well lately and I want to race it for it's climbing traction and leverage with the bar ends tomorrow.

Of course, I did not put the Kenda Klaw mud tires on which means the pessimist will conclude that the race will be a sloppy mess. However, as a sometime optimist, I am bringing them along in the car to mount if conditions prove they are the better tire for tomorrow or Sunday if the Psycowpath organizers recommend postponing the race due to mud.

Actually, I might mount the Klaws on the Dos Niner and bring both bikes in the car so I can choose between the two. Ah, more things to do this afternoon...

Baseball News:

My Little League teenagers eeked out another win last night with a score of 9 to 7 over the Red Sox. We now have an overall record of 10-3 going into our final three games on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Of course, the playoffs are where it matters as it doesn't matter how well you did during the regular season - only if you win in the playoffs to keep advancing.

I caught the last part of the 4th quarter last night when I got home to see the Cavaliers - or rather Lebron James defeat the Pistons in a historic performance. Wow!

June is here and today was the last day of school for my kids. I just put a TV back in my daughter's room and hooked up the X-Box for my son (these are off limits during the school year to them). Of course, we have summer baseball, soccer and summer P.E. to do just about every day. Ah....shuttle here, shuttle there, and shuttle just about everywhere.

Time for a little ride and final packing for tomorrow morning's early start.