4/24/11

Gayla's Song....

The Des Moines Register had planned for months to do a story in the Easter edition of the Sunday paper on our good friend Gayla Tighe about her injury in our home on the night of the tornado last July and her fight to recover over the past months. Well, the article came out today in the paper and on their website. The website version is here at this link and also has a video interview with Gayla and footage from the Gala concert last December. Please take the time to read her story of faith and determination as it is very inspirational. And watch the video footage of Gayla.

Gayla

Tara is helping Gayla get dressed and ready for Easter this morning while Chuck is at the church cooking Easter Sunrise Breakfast for the congregation - a tradition he has been involved with for many, many years. We all share in the faith and hope that Gayla's recovery continues to improve. And we all share in the prayers and thoughts to give Chuck and Gayla as well as their entire family, the energy, strength and resolve to endure and take each day as it comes. God bless...

4/18/11

Bone Bender bent my Bones!!!

I traveled the 3 hours and 20 minutes down to Lawerence, Kansas yesterday for the 3rd Annual Bone Bender race. This year it was held at a new venue - Clinton State Park. I rode the RIP 9 last year for this endurance race and sure was glad I had it along for this year's event because the course at Clinton Lake is bumpy with roots, rocks, ledges and more rocks. The weather was perfect with sunshine, 70 degrees and trails in perfect condition. Amazing how just a couple hours south of us things were 20 degrees warmer in the land of University of Kansas.

I was really looking forward to this race as I am in pretty good shape for this point in the season and I had done pretty well last year in the 3 Hour Men's Open (32nd overall last year) on the RIP. More than 200 racers showed up to toe the line for the 3rd running of this event. I had pre-registered for the new category of the 3 Hour Men's 50+ category. Prior to this year, it was just an open category for the men's 3 hour solo, so I jumped at the chance to race against a group of 18 guys that were my age. They also had added a Category 2 division for this year which was nice to see.

After the racer's meeting at 9:45 a.m., we all placed our bikes in the "bike drop" area and headed down the gravel hill to the beach as we would be running to our bikes for the start of this race (called a Le Mans start).

All photos are courtesy of Chris Dean who put them up on the web here for all to see.

Bike Drop

Walking to the Beach

Based on the prior two years, I wasn't even thinking of a strategy for the mass start of participants doing the 3 hour and the 6 hour because doing a 3-4 hour race affords plenty of time to warm up and start making one's move through the crowd. At least that's what I found on the venue the past 2 years which also had plenty of connector sections on pavement for passing and jockeying for position. So I wasn't too concerned this year. But I had not pre-ridden the course and obviously didn't know what I was talking about. Lesson learned: I was wrong about this course and strategy.

The run to the bikes up a steep hill meant walking the first 50 yards where I was located way back in the tail end of the pack.

Running Fools


Finally, after getting to the bike to get rolling, I found myself about 75-100 places back from the leader. And once we got to the singletrack, it was a virtual log jam which meant we were off the bikes walking for about 5 minutes. I think this illustrates the difficulty of decision making for a race director on how to start such a large group at a race. I know the Lake Ahquabi event could benefit from some wave starting as well, but that course doesn't have the bottleneck issues due to the doubletrack. And once you start doing starting waves, how to time it and keep track of it gets tricky without chip timing.

Regardless, it was a bit maddening to see that we were walking every climb that was technical because there was a long line of people in front of us on the singletrack and we had no where to go. It seemed to me that most of those opening sections were certainly capable of being ridden. But, that's what it was. Maybe 5 minutes or so lost in lap one due to the overcrowded start for those of us back in the pack. I love the race, don't get me wrong. I just need to plan strategy better on my part for the start of such mass groups. My final result may have not been much different in my age category, but I'm sure my overall place would have been bumped up had I jumped out and sprinted to my bike from the front of the pack rather than the back of the pack. My bad.

The course was technically tough in spots. Very rocky and plenty of roots throughout as well as creek crossings. If I were a beginner or less experienced rider, I would have balked and been walking and afraid of a lot of sections. I found he course to be a great ride with not much climbing at all. The technical aspects at race speed were a nice challenge that kept you on your toes the entire time due to the rocks, roots, trees, creek crossings and focus required to stay upright and moving. After about the first 20 - 30 minutes in lap one, I started making some moves as did others ahead of me. I saw fellow teammate Bruce Reese on the side of the trail near the end of lap one with very little air left in his front tire. I gave him my Big Air can and rode off hoping I wouldn't need it with a tire burp and loss of air later on in the race. By the end of the first lap I felt like I was in a nice groove, but had lots of people to pass to make up for lost time.

At the end of lap 1, I burned some matches to take advantage of passing as many as I could on the pavement to start lap 2 in the big ring and hammering against the wind. I got around about a dozen riders on the pavement and in the open field to start lap 2.

2011 Bone Bender open field

I flew into the singletrack for the start of lap 2 where we had walked and been stacked up during the start of the race. It was rocky and technical and I was flying through there with the RIP eating up the terrain. Unfortunately, my front wheel got lodged/stuck between two rocks in a deep crevice when I chose a line that was not so favorable and I had too much weight on the front of the bike. The fork compressed and I went OTB (or ass over tea kettle as some would say). I had one of those what seemed like slow motion moments to choose whether I was going to land in the pile of rock on my shoulder, arm and head - or to take it on my knee and hip area. I chose the latter as I really don't fancy having another concussion. BAM!!! I hit hard. Really hard. Knee, quad and hip smacked hard rock and the sound was a nice crunch.

My bike was blocking the singletrack and I was writhing in pain on the ground to the right of the trail. I tried to get up twice, but fell back down in a heap of pain. The guys I had just passed came up and the first 4 guys did the right thing and stopped to ask if I was okay. One guy from Brandon Harpster's team did a very wise thing. He stopped and asked me my name. That was actually a smart question as it proved to him I was coherent and able to identify myself.

I finally got up on the 3rd attempt and was able to support myself by holding my bike that somebody had picked up and handed to me. But I couldn't walk. I told them I was in pain, but seemed to be okay and nothing felt broken. Off they rode and the dozen I had just passed went around me as I contemplated the end of my race as I stood at the side of the trail. It was like a bad "stinger" one gets in a football game where a player has to be helped off the field with a coach on either side of them to support the player with the stinger. I couldn't walk to go back to my car, so I decided to hop back on the bike. Sure enough, painful as it was, I was able to pedal. So I took off down the race trail - but obviously very gun shy due to the fall and all the rocks I was bouncing over. My speed was akin to a crawl and it took me a good 5 - 10 minutes to ride the pain out of my right leg and get my confidence back up to ride at race speed.

Well, I thought that was it for me for this race and I should just ride back to the car and go home. But I forged on and pretty soon was passing the dozen guys I had passed earlier and had just gone by me after my crash as I stood on the side of the trail. I realized there was no way I was going to get in more than 3 laps on this course due to the slow starting lap of 1:07 and now this crash which ate into my 2nd lap time. My new goal became to finish the 3 laps in as fast a time as I could with a numb right leg that was bleeding and not capable of producing what felt like a strong stroke when I pushed it. It worked, but not like it was capable of doing.

This picture does not depict how rocky, rooty and rough it was at all. It shows some sweet singletrack section along the lake shoreline...

Bone Bender Sweet Singletrack

The rest of lap 2 went pretty well for me as my confidence continued to gain throughout the lap. I was clearing stuff that had been walked during the log jam of lap one. The RIP and the 120mm of suspension front and rear allowed me to barrel through the technical sections, roots and ledges. Amazing what this bike can do. Sure, I was getting pedal strikes because the Rip was using all 120mm of travel front and rear on the chunk and I had some chain issues here and there along the way (chain stuck RIP issues and shifting issues - maybe bent the derailleur or hanger in the crash). What a course!!! It was a blast to ride, but I kept laughing at having to stay focused the entire time as there was no section where you could just stretch and relax for a second or two. Hammer Nutrition Products were available out on the trail, so I used HEED and the Hammer Gels to stay fueled for this race.

Lap 3 was uneventful as I settled in behind one of Harp's teammates and cruised on through the course. I lacked the power in my right leg and was nursing myself through the course. I entered the dismount area to record my time and they told me my race was over. I replied "I'll say it's over - I'm spent, beat up and bushed." I took the bike to the car and was going to do a cool down, but my right leg was screaming in pain at the thought of cooling down for recovery's sake. So I loaded up the bike. I headed down to the food tents for a sloppy joe, pasta and drink they were serving. Rather than wait around for the results, I hopped in the Element to drive home since I had 2 students giving recitals at 7 and 8:15 p.m. at Simpson. I drove back home, ate a huge meal, showered and shaved before heading out to two of the best recitals I've heard in a long time from my students.

In spite of the slow starting lap for my section of the pack - and my 2nd lap nasty crash - I ended up in 4th place out of the 18 guys in the 50+ three hour version of the race. 47th overall for the 135 people in the 3 hour version of this race. Not bad considering. I'll take it.

I am stiff and quite sore on the right leg today. Huge bruise and contusion on the leg and walking is difficult. It feels like I played a football game yesterday and took a helmet to the knee, quad and hip from a 250 pound linebacker.

Kudos to the entire crew at the Bone Bender and a very well run event from start to finish. It keeps getting better and better every year and I look forward to racing next year as well.

4/11/11

IMBCS #1: Sylvan Island Stampede Race Report...

What a fun race yesterday over in Moline, Illinois!!! Kudos to FORC and their entire crew for hosting an excellent event that had 298 racers overall show up and race in their respective categories. Gotta love those numbers, for sure.

I drove over Sunday morning and arrived in Moline, Illinois at Sylvan Island about 11:30. I had pre-registered, so I picked up my number plate and timing chip before heading out on the paved bike path with the RIP for 30 minutes of warm-up. I brought the heavier RIP because Sylvan is flat, but filled with chatter and bumps and odd looking things sticking out of the ground (cement, drainage ditches, bricks, iron, culverts, you name it) and wanted a cushioned ride to test my hypothesis on staying fresh for more laps and turning in consistent lap times. So the RIP got the nod for this race - plus it had the IKONs with EXO sidewall protection which I felt was worthwhile for this tire eating race course.

After warming up, I put a pair of GU's in my jersey pocket, filled the water bottle and headed to the starting line as they called us to line up at about 12:15 for the 12:30 start.

I was surprised when I got to the starting line to already see about 75 racers lined up. Wow! What a turn out and it was obvious I was late to the party to get up front. I think we actually had 82+ in the CAT 2 group. In a series of getting us all lined up behind the correct orange line (we weren't lined up behind the correct one at first), I started in the rear, but then got switched near the front as we moved backwards and then forwards again as a group. That's cool - I could deal with the new position of being in the 2nd or 3rd row as opposed to way in the back of such a large group. Early bird doesn't get the worm this time around. ;-}



We were scheduled to do a partial lap and then 4 full laps. After all the announcements, we got a countdown of 5 and a gun shot and we were off. I went into the singletrack somewhere to be what looked like in the 25-35th position. It was a hurry up and wait line that was the usual - part snake, part slinky - as we wound our way through the initial partial lap that took about 7 minutes for me according to my watch. Once we got to the straight connector section, I burned a couple of matches and sprinted ahead to pass quite a few people going into the start of lap #1. It was a fairly strong headwind on that section, so tucking down on the bike helped cut through the wind.

The RIP handled the tight singletrack, roots and trees just fine...

RIPPING it through the trees...

The singletrack was sweet. Lots of pumps, sweeps and fun corners. The RIP was doing fine, although pedal strikes were occurring with all of the stuff found at Sylvan. No worries, I was having fun and the legs felt pretty good. I kept the screws on for lap 1 and lap 2 and had a clump following me. I passed a quite a few people throughout the race as they faded and was only passed by a rider or two during the 4 laps. One guy tailed me the entire race and got around me on one of the final connector sections before heading back into the singletrack as I fumbled with my water bottle. I was very pleased with my lap times in terms of being consistent as the RIP proved - at least on this course - to allow me to not tire and kept my times fresh compared to last year. Lap 1 was 20:04, lap 2 was 20:02, lap 3 was 19:55 and lap 4 was on track to being even faster, but in the very last singletrack section the guy I was coming up behind and getting ready to pass took a pretty bad face plant (a rider from Rassy's team) and was sprawled across the trail. I stopped to ask if he was okay and all limbs were moving and he claimed he was okay. That was a relief because it looked nasty when he hit the dirt.

I couldn't get around him as it was one of those dips surrounded by rocks and trees that made it impossible to pass. So I just straddled my bike and waited for him to get unclipped from his pedals and pick himself and his bike off of the trail. A guy came up behind us and started hollering that he was coming through. I thought to myself that it was just like the clueless that don't see a guy sprawled out on the ground after a wreck to holler like he was. No concern from him if anyone was hurt, he just wanted through and was hollering. After the fallen rider finally got up and out of the way, I scooted over to the side and the hollering guy went by as I muttered that nobody was intentionally trying to hold him up. The crash in front of me cost about 15-20 seconds, but c'est la vie. I made the best of it and jumped on my bike and gave pursuit to the hollering clueless. I was able to out sprint him on the final straight away to the line. Sweet. I thought about saying something to him with regard to his concern for a fallen and possible injured rider, but decided to let it go. It wasn't worth it and perhaps he really didn't see the situation from my vantage point. Hard not to see it and figure it out, but oh well. Racing is racing and things like that happen. Anyway, had the guy in front of me not done the face plant, I was on track to have my 4th lap be my fastest lap of the 4.

I did have one problem in this race. My seatpost slipped and my saddle got lower and lower as the race went on as I must not have tightened things up as snug as they should have been when I adjusted it getting out of the car. It sank about 2 inches during the race.

Oh well, in spite of that I crossed the line in 19th place out of 89 overall in CAT 2 with a time of 1:27:30. It looks like I got 3rd place in the 50+ crowd age division that FORC plopped us into whether we wanted it or not behind Jim Becker and Landon Beachy. So, a medal or podium for the old men's division. I certainly had a much better race and showing this year compared to last (thanks to being in better training shape at this point compared to last year). Last year, I slowed on each lap and the Dos Niner bucked me all around which added to my fatigue. This year, no bucking on the RIP and I felt fresh at the end with each lap getting faster.

I left not long after the race (missed the awards presentation) to get home in time for the evening recitals at Simpson that I attend as a faculty member. I did a 30 minute cool down out on the paved bike trail to flush the legs and caught the start of the Expert/Comp/Singlespeed race which was odd as they had to start it twice. I'm not sure exactly what happened after the first start of these categories, but a few minutes after they started they announced they were going to have to restart the race. So we got to see the start twice and I watched the first lap. That's when I loaded up and headed for Indianola.

Thanks again to FORC and all of the volunteers for their effort in making the event a very successful one. It was well worth the drive across eastern Iowa in howling winds.

4/7/11

Tire swap on the JET 9 for this weekend...

The cat is out of the bag officially for the new Maxxis Maxxlite 29"er tires I've been testing since October. Maxxis announced them at the Taipei Bike Show, so it's okay to discuss them now.

The are 29 x 2" very light weight XC race only tires. Faster and lighter than the NoTubes Crow 2.0's and the Schwalbe Furious Freds. Weights are in the 325-335g range for the Maxxlite 29"er version (compared to 285g for the 26"er version). And they work perfectly set up tubeless on Stan's rims. Nice tight bead for easy airing up, no sidewall sealant seepage and are not squirmy with tubeless pressures.

2.0

One of the benefits that I and many others have found when running the larger wheels off road is that for Midwest riding, lots of knobs and lots of large knobs are not needed. Of course, this depends on course conditions and where one is riding, but I've ridden Bontrager XR 1.8s, NoTubes Crows, NoTubes Ravens, Small Block 8's, Karma 1.9's, and now these all over courses in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois. I never felt I have been without enough grip. The pilot has to be good and in control, but that's a given for XC racing. Certainly a semi-slick run in the rear with perhaps a tire with a bit more volume and bite up front is a common combination. Crow 2.0 rear, Raven 2.2 up front is sweet and fast. XR 1.8 rear, XR 2.25 up front is another sweetie I like. IKON up front, Aspen or Raven in the rear is also high on my favorite list. I now add these Maxxlites to my growing list of XC tires.

WW Race Tires

There is enough knob there to give you bite. Off camber will keep you on your toes and the smaller volume doesn't provide as much tire suspension as many would like, but for an XC race - speed rules.

Got Tread?

Not sure what the price will be, but if we look at the Maxxlite 285 in 26" version (the tire the 29"er version is based on), we see those sell for $112 per tire on the Maxxis eStore. Being that they are on the high end of cost, I didn't want to risk cutting them this weekend at the Sylvan Island Stampede. That course is built on grounds that used to house a steel mill and there are chunks of concrete, bits of metal and all kinds of goodies lurking that can wreak havoc on a tire during an XC race. Something I hit tore a gaping hole in a Racing Ralph there a couple of years ago and ended my race in the 2nd lap. So I don't want to risk ending the life of one of these valuable Maxxlites at Sylvan - even though it is a course perfect for them (flat and fast).

Yesterday was campus day at Simpson College where the students take part in spring clean up efforts and there are no classes. We had our usual late afternoon recital run-throughs and evening recitals, but at least the morning was free. I took the opportunity in the morning to swap out from the Maxxlites to an IKON front and Raven 2.2 rear. The Ikon has a season's use under its belt and the Raven has 2 seasons - so if either are torn at Sylvan, I won't be weeping.

So my JET went from this...

JET is ready to roll...


To this...


Raven rear/Ikon front

Maxxis was kind enough to send me the last pair of their new 29"er mud tire, the Beaver, for testing. They just arrived the other day, so if the rain that is predicted hits and alters course conditions for Sunday - the Beavers may get the nod. I'll probably mount them up on another set of wheels and bring them along to Sylvan Island just in case conditions warrant them. Sylvan is a "rain or shine" event, so it will be run even if it is pouring rain.

Before hopping on the bike for a 2 hour ride to Banner Pits for a full race lap and back, I mounted up the new Rotor Q Ring for my singlespeed. I didn't take a picture yet, but here's what it looks like on another rider's bike...

34T Rotor Q Ring

It's a potential 1 x 9 or 1 x 10 drivetrain ring as well.

Now, I'm off for the morning training ride before showering and heading into work. Guest speaker today at 1 pm is George McGovern which I am going to attend. Do you think any students know about 1972 and the race against Tricky Dick Watergate Nixon?

4/6/11

Post work ride and Prom 2011 photos...

Great day at work today!!! It was just one of those days that flowed. Lessons went well, students are progressing, voice class went well, spring was in the air and it ended up being just one of those days that makes one smile. We also said thanks in a farewell reception to one of our music faculty colleagues on her retirement - Raelene Best. We wish her all the best.

Tara took two of her speech therapy students to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, Alexa had a soccer match in Pella, and Zack had rehearsal for The Music Man. That left me alone for dinner, so I decided to take the RIP out to Lake Ahquabi for a ride to work up an appetite.

Rip post L.A. lap

I loaded up the lights for the bike in case I got ambitious and wanted to to multiple laps. My legs and lungs told me that one full lap was all she wrote for Tuesday as I was still recovering from Sunday's race. Spring is trying to pop out at Lake Ahquabi, but there is very little green yet as the DNR burned a lot of the grass and wild grass since last fall. The trail was still muddy in spots and pretty spongy throughout. That made it slow in a lot of sections with the rolling resistance of the moist conditions. That's why one lap was enough as it took more effort to turn the wheels over in those conditions.

About all the green I found was where I parked the car...

Lake Ahquabi trying to find spring

I got about 60 minutes of ride time in on the trails, loaded up and headed home for leftovers (steak, sweet potato fries and broccoli that I had made on Monday night).

Here are a couple of shots of Zack and Alexa from pre-prom photo shoot over at Tanner's house....

Zack and Alexa doing the sibling pose...

Sibling Fun

The three couples that went to dinner together before prom, went to prom, post-prom party and then over to our house for the post-post-prom party...

Prom 2011 Dinner Group

4/4/11

Swanson River City Shootout XC Race Report...

The Nebraska Lottery's Psycowpath Series got off to a start this weekend with a multi-event TT/Short Track/XC mountain bike race. I signed up for Sunday's event - the XC race. Saturday night was prom night for our kids (pictures to come soon), so after breakfast on Sunday morning, I loaded up the Element and headed out at 10:15 to make the 2 pm race start. I drove over to Bellevue, NE using Highway 92 on Sunday morning and it took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes to get there.

The weather was on the warm side (temperatures hit 87 in Indianola) and I was perspiring a bit in the car with all the clothes I had on, so down came the windows and in came the fresh smell of the Iowa farms. I ate a sandwich in the car on the way over and kept hydrated feeling pretty good in spite of the trail work at Banner leaving my elbows sore from all the clipping I was doing on branches. I had a typical 6 hour training week (not too heavy, not too light) and felt a bit more ready for the first race of the year this year than I did last year at this time.

The parking lots were full and it looked like an excellent turnout for the XC event. I think they announced 200 racers were there for the various categories. Excellent!! I went to the registration table and got my 45+ Masters Category 2 number plate, went back to the car to suit up and take a test lap out on the course. Riding up the parking lot to the start area, I saw Cam and Julie and had to do a double take. Why? They were both sporting brand new big wheel bikes!!! Say it isn't so? About time you guys.... I'm predicting a banner year for Cam on the new big wheels.

I headed out for a lap and was mindful the marathon racers were out on the course. I was riding the JET 9 with the Maxxis test tires which were perfect for the course. It was hard packed dirt - so hard it was pretty much like cement for most of the loop.

JET is ready to roll...

The only other race I had done at Swanson a few years ago ran in the opposite direction of yesterday's course - so it was nice to see it from a reverse angle. Not too much climbing, but plenty of small stutter bumps, roots and terrain to be glad I was riding a full suspension. Actually, the RIP would have been a good choice, but I had the JET with me for this race. I finished my lap, got my GU pack and a fresh bottle and headed to the pre-race meeting. We were greeted by the mayor of Bellevue who welcomed us.

We took off in waves/flights separated by 1 minute. Cat 1's went first, Cat 2 open went 2nd, Cat 2 35+ went third, Cat 2 45+ went next (my group) followed by singlespeed and the women's categories.

Waiting on the starting line for the count down to go...

45+ CAT 2 start line

I didn't jump off the start line kind of waiting to see how the 45+ group would roll out. Compared to Cat 2 open (which I've raced for the last few years), this group rolled out at a little more measured, "don't blow up in the first few minutes of the race" type of pace. There were 12 of us in this group and I rolled into the singletrack in 6th position as we snaked our way through the opening turns. I hung behind the two guys in front of me as the pace was good, but I knew the guy in front of me was too heavy to maintain that pace for the full 3 laps as the climbs would defeat him eventually. When the 1st place Singlespeed racer caught up to us somewhere in the middle of the lap, I latched on to him and went around the two guys in front of me. By my figure, I was in 4th place for my group at this point. The loop was really fun. Not too technical, but nice and bouncy and some fun pumps throughout. The top section was in an open prairie with some good wind to cool us off and fight against as we headed north.

Lots of fun pumps and jumps on this course...

Lap 1

I traded places off and on with the guy behind me as we swapped 4th and 5th at least a few times in lap 2. He got around me on a descent and was the better descender of the two of us. I would catch him on the flats and climbs and pass. Finally, he pulled away in the middle of lap 3 and I couldn't match the pace. Even though I felt pretty good, I was bumping up against my limit and training at this point. If I tried to burn a match on a climb - it sent me deep in the red zone that I was having trouble recovering from at this point. It was a pretty crowded course with the marathon racers out on the course and all of the categories with the staggered starts. Some sections were not too conducive to passing or allowing others to pass, but most of us managed it pretty well (except for those of us who don't hear!!!). I passed one guy and got stuck in a rut during the pass, slid down next to him, hooked handlebars with him, but managed a save and neither of us went down. My bad, but no harm was done.

Coming into the final portion of the last lap, Cam caught up to me and asked to pass, but my 50 year old hearing didn't hear him very well. Sorry Cam! My apologies. He finally got around me and looked smooth on the 29"er as we climbed the final rooty climb of the loop. He rode off to a 1st place finish for the first time on the big wheels. Congrats, Cam!!! Banner year coming - I'm telling you. Not long before the final turn to the finish line for Cat 2 racers, three other Cat 1's caught up to me as they were positioning themselves for their final lap and chasing Cam.

I haven't seen the lap times and final times yet, but do have the placings for our Masters 45+ Cat 2 group. I ended up in 5th...

Cat 2 Men Masters 45+

Place Name Team

1 David Hill Cycleworks
2 Lowell Peterson
3 Mark Butler Midwest Cycling -Trek Stores
4 Craig Schmidt
5 Bruce Brown BikeIowa.com
6 Jerry Hoff Elkhorn Valley Cycling pb Monster
7 Martin Bixby BIKE MASTERS
8 Jon Downey EVCCX-Monster
9 Steve Schweiker Ethos Racing
10 Butch Wolfe
11 Mark Paulson
12 Craig Tuttle Alegent Health/Team Kaos

I am interested to see the times of the entire Cat 2 field to see how I stacked up. There were 27 in the open group, 9 in the 35+ and 12 in the 45+ group. That's a total of 48 guys for the meat and potato Category of mountain bike racing, so we'll see if I'm midpack, bottom third or what within the 48. I'm trying to decide what group to do in the Iowa series - open or 45+ or Comp (one additional lap). I know I will be age group for Minnesota and Wisconsin, but I don't know how many 45+ guys we even have in Iowa that do the Cat 2 races. The race was fun for me. I didn't fall, I didn't unclip, I didn't lose control, I rode a smart pace and I managed to clean out the winter cobwebs.

I still have about 8 pounds or so to chip off the hibernation physique...

Smiling...

If I trimmed off about 10-15 from here, it would make me much more competitive on the climbs and is in the cards. It's just takes time to get there. I'm shooting for June to be at the 2011 fighting weight. The snag will be the trip to Italy in May. I may have to bring along my jogging shoes on that trip.

Kudos to the Psycowpath crew for an excellent event. It was a great course and a great race. And it was nice to be back to participate in one as I missed them all last year.

Since one of my voice students had her senior recital at 7, I saw it was 3:30 and quickly loaded up the bike, hopped in the car and drove home so I could shower and shave before her recital. I didn't feel totally spent at the end of this race even though I was having trouble producing the same power in lap 3 as I did in the first two laps. All in all, I'm pretty happy where I am at this point in April. I remmeber last year at Sylvan Island I was cooked in the middle of the race. I didn't feel that at Swanson. Sure, I've still got about 8 pounds to shed, but that's a daily effort and I'm chipping away at it. I've got some high end interval work and over/unders to attend to now that my base is established.

4/1/11

Zack's Senior Pictures....

Here are the two pictures of Zack that Tara did not choose for the headshot. I have the headshots she chose, but only in print form and cannot upload.

So here are the two of Zack she didn't choose...

Zack senior picture 1

And this one...

Zack senior picture 2

His senior prom is tomorrow and the tuxedo is in the house ($200+ for the rental). Dinner, prom and post prom-party is all on tap for Zack and Alexa. They are both going. Zack with Jacey and Alexa with Tanner. More photos to come of them in their prom get ups...


DANG - they grow up fast!!!!!