Saturday, March 29, 2008

Black Locust Race Report

I was on the fence about going down to Springfield for the Black Locust Off-Road Duathlon. I could stay here and race the 3/6 hour (which could have been postponed again) or stick to my original plan I laid out in January and head down for my first multi-sport event of 2008. It came down to who do you support. The promoter who has worked his tail off to create an event that is sorely needed in the Midwest(i.e. an off-road multi-sport event) or the event that moved their event on top of his? Well I made a great decision and headed down South. I had a blast racing and riding some new trails. I did miss racing with my Cow Town teammates (who by the way kicked butt today at Spoke Pony), but I just love racing off-road multi-sport events.

Today's race went very well for me. First up was a 4 mile off-road run. When I say off-road run I mean it. We had to navigate 3 knee deep stream crossings (one was near waist deep) and had to cross this cool wooden swing bridge. There was a good size field of about 45 racers and I didn't want to get stuck behind too many of them so I tried my best to stay up front. I actually did really well despite the recent running setbacks that I have encountered. During the run we came up on the first really muddy section of trail that the race director warned us about. It was some really nasty stuff about ankle deep due to all the recent rains that this area of the country had received. Funny thing is I tip toed through the stuff not wanting to have my shoes get sucked off my feet when not 50 yards later the first water crossing comes up and I take a outside line trying to pass someone. That was a mistake because I went off the main rocky ledge and was waist deep thinking I might just need my swimming goggles. I pushed hard to keep up, but after about 2 miles the leaders were out of sight. I kept telling my self to push it and did end up bringing two runners back and ended up in 7th place after the run. I was however about 6 minutes out of the lead.

After a quick transition, where I actually made up two spots, I hit the bike leg hoping to have a good bike leg. For the first two miles I didn't see anyone and at one point thought I had gone off-course. Finally I saw someone and this gave me some more motivation to hurt some and picked up the pace. One good thing about multi-sport events is the racers are really nice and will let you by without too much trouble. I was soon up to 2nd place overall, but still about 3 min out of the lead. Carolynn was out on the course and gave me a lot of encouragement to try to bridge up. I put the hammer down the last last and got to within 45 seconds of the lead. I needed about another 2 more miles of the slick rocky sections to have won this event. Jim chose to use mainly easy trails, which I understand since this is a multi-sport event. On the day I won my age-group, set the fastest bike split and got second place overall winning enough money to pay back my entry, fill up my gas tank (at $3.05 a gallon) and buy Carolynn and I lunch. I am happy with my results and I am looking forward to next weekend's 60 mile event.

Here are some more pics of at

Jim said he will have the complete results and pictures posted first of next week.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Black Locust

The Black Locust Off-Road Duathlon is this weekend. Not really ready for it as my running form sucks right now. Cycling form is fine, but my running is not coming along too well. The last couple of times I ran last week, I got all dizzy and felt faint. I don't know what is going on. When I cycle or swim I am fine, but when I run I get this funny light headed feeling after about a mile or so. Maybe I am just not meant to run....

I got an email back from the promoter, John Montgomery, and he said the trails at SAC River are muddy, but ridable. What the heck does that mean? Anything is ridable right? The event starts with a 4 mile trail run on the Ritter Springs trails. Then we head out for 12 miles of mountain biking. The outer trails of SAC will be used for the MTB portion. SAC River has a lot of rocks so even with the recent flooding that they received down in Springfield the course should not be too bad. I think I am going to ride my single speed because I want to save my Anthem for next weeks Ouachita Challenge.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Kipping Pullups

Here is an interesting way to do a pull up....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Break 08'

We usually head down to Florida for Spring Break to visit my parents, sister Jackie and brother John down in South Florida or my Grandmother and brother Joey in North Florida. With the price of Airline tickets running around $800.00 a piece put an end to that. Heck for $2400.00 I could buy a Black Sheep Highroller.

The decision was made to spend the first part of the week riding the Katy Trail and camping out at Katfish Katy's . Upon arriving at the campsite we had our pick of spots as we were the only fools to try camping at this time of year. Later that night we found out why one should avoid camping along the Missouri river during the end of winter....

After setting up camp we headed out for a ride. We decide to go toward Booneville and try to get in about 50 miles. Trail conditions were a little "boggy", which I was actually happy to see because I was riding my single speed with a 34 x 18 gear. At least I would not have a problem keeping up with Carolynn and Christopher. Or should I say they would have no problems keeping up with me :-)

This part of the Katy is the most scenic. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. The Bluffs to the North are always a site to see.

As we entered Rocheport the weather really started to turn. We decided to stop at Diana Bend Conservation Area . Two new segments have been added including a disabled accessible wood boardwalk. There is also a cool little wildlife viewing blind that has been built.

After a quick, but laborious, hike up to the top of the bluff, we decided we'd better head back as the skies were getting rather dark. Not soon after we got going again it started to rain on us. I decided to pickup the pace and get back to the camp site so I could try to get a fire going. Besides that, I was way under dressed to be riding in 39 degree rainy weather and needed to get my body heat up. Poor Carolynn and Christopher are not used to such conditions and were not enjoying themselves at all. By the time we all got back the rain had stopped and the fire was a blazing.

After a nice pasta dinner we enjoyed an evening along the Missouri river always keeping close to the fire to keep warm. That memory of that warm fire was the only thing that kept us alive during what was one of the coldest nights I have ever experienced camping out. All I could think of during the night was what Christopher said before we went to bed - "you know, people have been known to freeze to death when they go to bed during weather like this...."

The morning came not soon enough as I was glad the night was over. We should have packed up and called it quits as soon has we awoke, but for some reason we decided to stay and eat breakfast before packing up. Well, about 30 min later it started to rain. Great, just what we needed, freezing rain again! We got in the tents to stay dry and tried to stay warm. After about an hour the rain was not letting up so we put on our rain coats and started packing up. If you have ever packed up tents and gear during a freezing rain, then you know the misery that we went through.

Soon we were back home and drying out. Since the weather down in Springfield (our next destination) was also very wet, we decided to head west over to Manhattan. The weather over in Milford Lake had been dry so Carolynn luckily found us a nice little cabin to rent for two more days of camping out. I for one had met my quota of freezing nights.

We spent a day at School Camp ORV and a day at Tuttle Lake ORV riding our dirk bikes and Dave's Polaris ATV. It was a blast to ride these new trails, especially Tuttle Lake. We will have to visit that place again real soon. The views and trails were awesome. All it all it was a fun spring break and I got in a fair amount of riding especially Saturday and Sunday as the local trails were now ridable after a few days of sunshine.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Good to be on the Trails Again

Daylight Savings Time and warmer weather have been great. I have been able to get in several long rides/runs each night after work. The Tuesday/Thursday road rides have started which allow for some good tempo rides. The only problem is, now I'm over trained and haven't allowed for enough rest so my body can recover properly.

One of the "B" races on my schedule is up tomorrow. The Spoke Pony is out a Landahl and starts at high noon. I planned to race the 3 hour event, but I may go ahead and race the 6 hour just to see where I stand and what changes need to be made to my training plan before the April 6th Ouachita Challenge. I guess the question is, will the race actually take place? The current forecast for this morning was a 30% chance of rain and then a 70% chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. We shall see...

Last night I was finally able to ride off-road. Randy and I went out to pre-ride the Spoke Pony course. The local trail conditions have improved enough to allow the trails to be ridden. I expected to see dozens of riders out at Landahl, but only two other riders were there including Doug Stone who had just done a test lap. He opted out to ride with us due to the "energy sapping nature" of the trails. Although dry enough to ride, they were a little spongy and a little slippery. As usual, had some trouble on Rim Job. That's the last time I ride easy on technical trails! Every time I do, I end up losing my balance and crash. Even with a crash or two I really enjoyed myself.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A World of Pain

Today I finally got out and officially started my 2008 Racing Season. First race for me was the Dam Road Race (a.k.a Perry Road Race). I was going to put in another long training day, but decided to go ahead and get things rolling for 2008. Besides I need to get some tires to Shad and wanted to watch him race.

I arrived late to race the Master's so I entered the Cat 3's. Good turnouts in both the Men's 1/2 and 3's. Even with two good groups they decided to combine the 3's with the 1/2's As I roll up to the line I am thinking "who's bright idea is this". I look around and see riders like Steve Tilford, Shadd Smith, Kris Tilford, Bill Stolte and Mark Smelser. I knew I was in for a world of pain today.

Race started slow. That lasted about 200 yards, then Kris Tilford and Joe Schmaltz took off like they were being pulled behind a truck. By the end of the first down hill they had a huge lead. First lap was fast, but I was o.k. That was until the big climb to finish off the 1st lap. I was hoping the first few laps up the climb everyone would go easy, but I was wrong as usual. I was gasping for air at the top of the climb well in back of the field.

As lap 2 began I got in a small group of riders that had also gotten dropped. We worked well together and were make some headway into bridging back up to the group. Then out of no where we get passed by Tilford (who had gotten a flat) and Katherine Walberg. Tilford was flying and I was lucky to get on his wheel. He lead for about a mile, then everyone in the group took one pull and it was back to Tilford as he did the rest of the work to get us back on. As I rode in a world of pain behind Tilford and Walberg, I thought it was cool to be riding with two current National champions as both of them won their respective championships at the National Cyclocross championships in December.

Lap 3 started just as lap 2 did. I got dropped just was we started to climb the big finishing hill. This time I did was not able to get on with anyone else and I basically rode the next 2 laps by myself. I was hurting badly, but kept the pace high and treated it like a TT. On the 5th lap I actually started to catch a small group of riders. I got on with them and finally could rest some. This rest paid off as I was able to finish ahead of everyone in my group taking 8th (basically mid-pack) for the day.

My teammate Shad took another win in the Men's Cat 4 class. He should have enough points to upgrade in the very near future. It will be fun to have another Cat 3 to race with.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mud Memories

Watching last night's Daytona Supercross brought back some very fond memories. The first motocross race I ever won was in very similar, if not worse, conditions down in Homestead, Florida. If you ever talk to my brother Joey he has a very interesting story to tell you about an event that happened one early Sunday morning at this track. I am going to see if I can find some of those pictures from 83'. Congrats to my main man Kevin Windham for winning the Daytona Supercross.

I was looking for some muddy pictures and found the above. Last year's Lunatic Fringe Duathlon was held in some very muddy conditions. I remember Shad kicking everyone's butt by winning the overall title, I wasn't too far behind him on my single speed posting the second fastest mountain bike time. Gerard had a great showing which helped he and his partner win the relay division.

One of my favorite pictures is Damian and I after the 2004 Lunatic Fringe MTB Race. Hopefully tomorrow's Ride with the Devil is not a muddy mess. We wish Andy Schuette the best of luck in promoting the first event of the 2008 Fat Tire Series.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dam Race Needs Help

My good friend Roger Harrison still needs some volunteers for round #2 of 'That Dam Race Again' . A great road race training series that he and the Wheatland team are promoting.

Check out the worksheet list for the spots he still needs filled. Flyers can be found HERE. Last weeks pictures are at Roger's Picture House. The 1st round results HERE.

Also, Roger sends this note:

"I request that all racers use the Ferguson Road Entrance and go across the dam to Rock Creek Park. This will insure that warm up riders and or racers do not have to contend with extra traffic, and in case you have mud on your vehicle, hopefully not slush, it will not be on the race course. Thanks, oh and by the way, do not park in the grass, it may be dangerous. Thanks to all and there will be music, vocal support and for some of you vocal criticism. See you out there. The Lanterne Rouge"

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

4 Sale - Alumacraft Canoe

I need to sell my prized canoe to pay for more bike stuff. Not to mention my neighbors are tired of looking at it in my back yard (Kansas City, MO)......

17 ft. Alumacraft lightweight aluminum canoe with two aluminum paddles. Canoe is in good shape except some scuff marks on the hull This canoe holds up to four persons or 710 pounds. Model number is QT17CL

Asking for $300.00 obo including some sweet aluminum paddles.

I will deliver within the Metro. Beyond that if you pay for the gas I will bring to your door step.

Email if you are interested or have questions.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My New Rides

Well I finally did it. After that last ride home in the tow truck I (well, actually Carolynn made the decision for me) decided to break down and buy a new vehicle. It is a very hard process to find the right vehicle. After about 20 test rides we settled on a Chevrolet Equinox. I almost got another van since they are most practical, but decided to try something new. Thanks to Randy for helping me out with the GM Family First program saving me a ton of cash.

This weekend we took the Equinox on it's maiden voyage. After a hard day in the saddle fighting the wind on Saturday, we decided to hit the trails. Bad thing is all the mountain bike trails are muddy so we decide to ride the Little Blue Trace. I 'thought' the rock surface of the trail would be dry, but I was wrong. Most were dry, but there were several long sections of mud. As luck would have it, I just got done washing and tuning up Carolynn's and Christopher bikes....

The wind this weekend was something else. It was a battle just to get dressed outside before the ride let alone ride in it. And it made for a bad hair day and wind burn face.

Was it just me or did it seem like you fought the wind for what seemed like hours only to finally turn around and get only a few minutes of tail wind. I guess a few minutes of tail is better than none.

I also got my new single speed rig built up. I decided to test her out on today's family ride. Late last year I bought a used Airborne Lucky Strike. I first built her up as a SS cross bike but now she is all set up to do what she was made to do - tame some serious single track. First impressions are good. The Mechanical Disc brakes feel very good and my position is a lot better since I put a suspension fork on it. I never could get used to the rigid fork that I used for cross season. I can't wait to hit the trails once the dry up or at least freeze over again. If the trails are frozen Monday night I am hitting Smithville for a night ride.