Sunday, September 27, 2009

Diamond Blackfan Race Report and Pictures

Round #1 of the De Stad Cyclocross Van Kansas Series is in the books. Great turnout with 260 entries. My goal was 250 so goal #1 was achieved. Goal #2 was to get up on the box in the Single Speed class. We had a good field today with 17 SS entries so it was going to be a challenge, especially with working Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning getting ready for the event. Plus I have not recovered from last weekends Redman.

I was able to talk Carolynn into racing cyclocross this season. Today was her first race. Turned out to be a painful, yet valuable learning experience. Welcome to cross honey. I have a nice picture of her, but she said I could not use it. It is a classic for sure. What she does not realize is the Roger has about 50 pictures of her that he is going to post :-)

Christopher also raced after earlier deciding that he was going to sit out this years series. He said he was just not into it right now. I think seeing his Mother racing helped motivate him to suit up and race. Not his best day, especially with him eating peanuts an hour before his race. He got a 5th on the day. He wanted to know if that would earn him a medal. I said no and asked if it this motivated him to actually train. Answer was a maybe. I will see if I can get him out there a couple of times a week. More juniors are racing so maybe that will motivate him also.

For me I had a solid event after a horrible start. Our "call ups" did not go so well today. Just did not have enough help I guess. We will get it right at Chris Cross for sure, but for today I was near the back at the start. I could see that Steve Songer, and the other top single speed guys were way up front at the 1/2 point so I really had to push it for the first to laps to try and stay in contention. Being behind on this course sucked with all the turns. I bridged up to train of riders that included 2 through 5. Songer had already checked out and I started to focus on trying to get up to 2nd. I made an aggressive pass on my ex teammate Garet Steinmetz (sorry about that Garet :-)) because I could see that Theodore Fleming was getting away. Soon I found myself in 3rd and battling with Fleming. I went for the pass on the little gravel section and it stuck this time. I had to put in several attacks before I could get a good enough gap to settle into my own pace. I cruised into the finish in 2nd place. Goal #2 achieved.

I don't really have any specific goals for this years cross races except to have fun and stay in decent fitness for a strong 2010 season. I plan to race SS in the De Stad series and Cat 3 in all the other events.

Here are some pictures that Carolynn and I took. Don't worry, a new camera is on the Christmas list...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Redman Pictures and Race Report

Here are some pictures that Carolynn took. She forgot to change the settings on the camera so they are low resolution. Yea it rained and now I know why they call it the Redman. You swim in red cloudy water, you bike on roads that are covered in red mud, and you walk around all day in red mud j

Record turnout for this years event. The volunteers and organization were great. Report coming after I get done applying RICE to my knees and right hamstring.....

Morning of the Carolynn and I arrive to park and just as I expected, the parking lot is already full with everyone driving around in circles trying to find a place to park. We decide to go to the volunteer parking, but a guard says the road is closed so we can't. End up parking a mile or so away and having to walk. During the walk we meet this local guy who says "going to be a perfect day today with no rain, 5 mph wind and 70's"......30 min later the sky opens up and it starts to rain and the winds pick up. This is actually good for me because I usually to well in the rain. After body marking and final check in I start to prepare for the 2.4 mile swim. I am going off in the first wave at 0715. As we line up in the swim corral it is still raining and I am freezing as the temps were in the 60's. There were some nervous looking freezing athletes around as most were either worried about the wet roads or that $4K bikes were getting all wet. One lady was all upset because here shoes were completely filled with water and she had left them clipped into her bike for a quicker transition. As the start time approached, an announcement was made that the event was going to be postponed because of "unsafe" conditions and some flooding on the roads. Then an announcement came about 30 min later that they may cancel the bike leg because of water on the road. I about freaked. Same thing happened at the National Triathlon Championships when they were supposed to be held at Smithville Lake. The event was cancelled due to a little rain and the roads were wet. I understand about safety issues, but come on. The elements are all part of life and we have to deal with them everyday.......45 min later it was announced the race was going to happen but there was a flooded section of roadway that we would have to dismount. Sweet, I get to practice my dismounts for cross season.

The swim....A 2.4 mile swim in Lake Hefner awaited us full distance athletes. BTW, Lake Hefner is not really open to swimming as we found out in the morning presentation when the Mayor informed us that 5 years ago the first swimmer swam in Lake Hefner at the Redman #1. Once I got into the water to warm-up I realized why. I could not see anything but red cloudy water. It was like swimming in a Laurel Hill swimming hole back at the family farm......... The swim course was a large 1.2 mile rectangle so we would have to swim it twice. If you are having a good swim then when you come around to start that second 1.2 mile loop it is no problem. However, sometimes a loop swim can be kind of hard mentally if you are tired. You see that finish line banner and the shore is right there but you are only 1/2 way done. Luckily I was having a good swim and actually did the first 1.2 miles in 30 min flat. My goal was around a 1:05 for the full distance so I was pumped. I bridged up to a large group of swimmers that appeared to be tiring. I was working my way through them when some guy came out of no where and blind sided me. I guess he was off course and was swimming at a 45 degree angle to the course. It actually scared the crap out of me more than anything. I think he messed up everyone in our pack because after that it seemed like everyone was zig zaging all over the place. This really messed me up and it took me awhile to work my way away from them and regain my form. I went really wide on the return buoys and lost even more time, but I was glad to be away from those crazy swimmers. The last stretch was good and I made up some lost ground to finish in 1:08. I was a little mad about the lost time, but quickly put it behind me and focused on a quick transition.

The transition....Usually the transition is my strongest part of a triathlon. A place to make up some time and/or distance myself from other racers. Well, this might have been my slowest transition ever. Getting wetsuit off was easy thanks to the "strip crew". The volunteers handing off our bike gear bags were super fast. I had my bibs (including applying a handful of Chamois Butt'r) and jersey on w/shocks and shoes in about a minute. The problem was I had to make a quick pit stop to pee. 2 minutes later I am still in the port-a-john going. I guess it was the cooler temps and I just over drank. (Hopefully not too much of the red lake water :-)) Then when I get out I notice something wrong. My bib straps were just a dangling by my waist. It appears I put on my jersey a little too quickly. Well I cannot be seen over the next 112 miles with my bib straps a flying in the wind so off comes the jersey with all my food. By the time I got going 5:43 had passed. That pit stop and another one later in the race cost me 2nd overall.

The Bike....Time to hit the road for a 112 mile bike ride. That is how I was going to treat the bike leg of the Redman. If I just performed like I did in training and my IT band injury did not flare it's ugly head, I expected to finish in about 5:20....Just as they had advertised earlier, the course was very wet and flooded in sections. Not a real issue except for there was a lot of traffic out there. With the event delayed an hour traffic flow was a lot higher as folks were heading to breakfast and such. We had to dismount and run about 50 yards around a flooded section of road. Actually felt good to get off the bike some. After a quick dismount I set a good pace for the first 56 miles with just about a 22 mph average. I passed riders all morning long on that first lap. The Half Ironman participants were out in force and because they only swam 1.2 miles they were of course in front of me - all 575 of them. I stayed on my food intake plan for the most part. Only problem was that at one of the rest stop I got warm Gatorade. That stuff did not sit well in my stomach at the pace I was going. This put me behind a little because it made me a little nauseous and I had to stop eating for about 30 min. At the turnout I saw my little wife Carolynn all bundled up in a jacket freezing. Kind of felt sorry for her having to be out in the rain all day. Well her misery became mine at about mile 80. I hit the wall and had a horrible stretch and my IT band really started to hurt. I kept telling myself to "just pedal" and ate some more food. For about an hour I was really flat, but as I approached the 98 mile sign I got a little second wind. Stopping to go the bathroom helped also but cost me more time. Only 14 more miles I said to myself. On the final stretch I passed several participants that were doing the full distance but were only on their 1st lap. I felt really bad for them because they were hardly moving. I had some quick flashbacks of my first Ironman - The Great Floridian. On that day it took me nearly 16 hours to complete my first Ironman. I was new to the sport of cycling/triathlon and knew nothing about training, nutrition or the like. I just knew I was going to finish no mater how long it took me. As I passed this one gentleman that was still on his first lap, I could see that same drive in his eyes that I had many years ago. As I went by, I gave him a quick shout of encouragement and told him that he could do it and wished him luck. He did finish by the way in a little over 18 hours. The athletes that are out there all day and most of the night are the real heroes if you ask me. I have been on both sides of the fence and let me tell you it takes a lot more heart and courage to suffer all day and finish an Ironman than to finish up front.

After a quick transition I ran to the finish in 6:58. 2nd in my age-group and 5th Overall Male. A little disappointed in my time, but not much. I was hoping for a sub 6:30 finish time, but all in all not a bad performance given my recent injuries and the amount of time that I had to prepare for this distance. I don't want to even talk about losing all the time going to the bathroom. Just think, I pissed away 2nd place overall in the Redman......

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Redman Ready or Not?

The time for the Redman has arrived. I have put in a lot of training for this Ironman. Maybe too much. The last eight weeks have been a roller coaster for me. Most of the time I have been trying to play catchup after developing my IT Band injury back in June. Add to that the fact that it is just plan hard (and stupid) to try and build up your fitness to a high enough level to complete an Ironman distance event in less that 100 days. Do I wish I had more time to prepare? Heck yea. Especially my running. Swim and bike are good, but that 26.2 looks like it might be a little painful with my injury flaring back up.

The 5th Annual Redman has an event for just about everyone - Full Ironman, Full Aquabike, Half Ironman, Half Aquabike, Olympic, sprint and Relay teams. This years event is also home to the USAT Long Course Championships and the USAT Club National Championships. I have heard some great things about these very popular events and look forward to participating to the best of my ability. The Aquabike looks like a good option for me right now :-)

There are lots of local athletes heading down to race and I wish everyone luck. You can keep track of everyone Live thanks to UltaMax. Click on the picture on the right for track everyone's progress. My race number is 2027 if are interested in keeping up with me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tour of Missouri

Great time today at the final day of the Tour of Missouri. Carolynn, Christopher and I headed down and meet Dave. Saw tons of old friends and got to see some great racing. I can't believe how fast those guys climb. After seeing Levi before the race started I now know why they can. Skinny!

I sure hope the ToM can happen again next year. There was a good crowd of fans along the course and I think it is great for our area. Hopefully they can find a title sponsor to make it happen.

Congrats to David Zabriskie for winning this years Tour of Missouri. Hey, Maybe Garmin will step up in 2010?

Here are some pictures.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sweet new Toys.

This week was like Christmas around the Locke household. Got in several shipments from my sponsors.

Ritchey order came in with my sweet new WCS Protocol wheels. The Swiss made hubs feel really smooth. Also got in some new cross tires. I will be using Ritchey tires exclusively this year. I just love their ExcaVader. I used them last year and they treated me well. I am going to set them up with a tubeless solution. The De Stad Cyclocross Van Kansas Series presented by Paceline Products is just around the corner so I have some work cut out for me to get all my gear ready. Speaking of the De Stad Series. 53 x 11 coffee has joined us and a couple of cases of The Big Ring, The Chain Breaker and my favorite Early Break arrived today. Carolynn is going to be in heaven when she gets home and takes in all that fresh bean aroma.

Also got some surprises from my new sponsors. Manitou sent a new Minute 29er fork and Sun Ringle' sent in a very sweet set of Disc O Flea wheels. I don't know which hubs are smoother. My WCS or the Sun Ringle'. Really impressed with both of them.

29er in my corral again? Yea I am going to give her one more try. Anyone have suggestions for a 29er frame? Still don't know if I am going rigid or full-suspension. Might give the new Giant a try. We will see when it is available in a frame only.

Pictures from my early Christmas:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Golf Balls and Life

Things have been very stressful for me lately. I broke down last night from total exhaustion. To much work, race promotion, training, etc....Maybe it is time for some golf balls....

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the story of the "full jar" and here's yet another twist on this great story. A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if t he jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. 'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else---the small stuff. 'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. 'Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf ball first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.' One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.'