Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spring Into Summer Duathlon

Decided at the last minute to head over to Sedalia for the Spring into Summer Duathlon. I think they got the name right because it sure felt like summer - HOT and Humid. Jeff Mittelhauser and his crew put on a nice event. It was well run, had a safe/fun course and I highly recommend it. I am already looking forward to their Fall Duathlon.

Form is a way off so I opted for the short course which only consisted of a 2 mile run, 5 mile bike and then a 1/2 mile run. The long course was a 2 mile run, 12 mile bike then the same 2 mile run again. Carolynn came along and rode the Katy Trail and took a few pictures. We both had a fun time and got in good workouts.

Race went very well for the KC contingency. I ended up winning the Overall male Short course event in 31:30. Brian Prosser (Midwest Cycling Team) did awesome and took 1st place Masters (2nd overall) in the long course. Still waiting for results to be posted online. Some pictures below.

Friday, May 28, 2010

8th Grade Graduation

Time sure is flying. Another milestone was met yesterday when Christopher walked across the stage for 8th Grade Graduation (video:

The staff at Northgate Middle School did a fine job with the ceremony and breakfast. We met some of Christopher's friends and helped him say "Good Bye" to that chapter of his life. He sure is growing up fast. In a couple of months he will begin high school. Hard to believe.

Carolynn and I are really proud of Christopher this year. Keep up the great work Son!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Beware of Angry Drivers.

I do not know where to start other than WTF was up with all the drivers yesterday? O.K. it is raining and I am riding a bike. You most likely are thinking that one should not ride a bike while it is raining. Maybe I should not be riding, but that last time I looked I do have the same rights as you. I pay my taxes, I stop at all the lights and obey the traffic laws, etc.

Everything started well enough leaving work. There was only a light rain and the temps were great for riding especially with my rain gear on. For the first 5 or so miles things are fine. All the cars/trucks are passing with plenty of room. Then I decide to take HOA bridge instead of my normal (safer) Chouteau route. This may have angered the Gods or something because as soon as I got off my normal route and got closer to downtown KC all the drivers started to driver real aggressive. The worst being some guy in a white Ford Taurus. At 12th and Oak Street the light changes and I proceed North on Oak. The Ford Taurus then proceeds to pass me and comes so close to me that the brushes my elbow. This caused me to nearly crash as I am thrust into the curb. I turn into the curb and my front wheel slides along as I fight to stay upright. The wet roads/curb helped I think and I was able to stay on two wheels. I was very mad, but could not do anything about it. The guy kept driving like nothing happened. I still do not even know if he even saw me. I think he did because I could swear I saw him smiling in his rear view mirror.

After settling down some I continued on and one aggressive driver after another showed their ugly face. One would pass me then turning right directly in front of me. I had 3 cars honk their horns at me on Hwy 9 in North KC. I soon got off that road real quick (well, I guess it did take 3 honks to finally get the message). Things started to settle down some, then this crazy blind guy pull out in front as I approached on a downhill section at around 25 mph. It is very hard trying to stop a bike going that fast with wet rims. Scary to say the least.

I was a very happy camper once I got off the main roads and into some neighborhoods. This morning I had to think twice before I ventured out on the wet roads again but I knew days like yesterday only happen once in awhile. I decided to go ahead and ride and encountered zero problems (expect wet roads) on my normal route. I think I will take the extra time and keep it safe.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sometimes it's a Lonely Ride

Have you ever got the feeling that you are all lone.....

Bike Week is in full swing, but where are all the cyclist in the morning? I have yet to see any on my way to work from the Northland. Maybe it's because when I leave home in the early morning it is still very dark outside.

The morning commutes are not like they used to be for sure. Especially since good ole' Dave took the high road and started his own consulting business. BITD we had good group that would commute in. I still remember waiting in the darkness for what seems like hours at the corner of 68th and Greenhills thinking if anyone would show up. Things would get real quite and you would be surprised what would show up. At that location it is a tie between a goat and a homeless person walking out of the woods. Both scared the crap out of me and I soon stopped waiting alone.

The commutes now are all solo. In the early morning I normally don't encounter anything but deer and an occasional dog chasing me. I actually look forward to these encounters because sometimes it's a lonely ride out there. Things pick up as the approach to Downtown KC brings out all sorts of things including those dreaded loud buses and trucks. At least they normally give cyclist enough space to safely pass.

Tonight's ride home looks like it is going to be a wet one just like Monday's commute in was. I got my rain jacket, but wish that I had my fenders back on. I will add that to the "Must Do" list because more rain is expected on Thursday and Friday morning. That first rain ride is fun, but they get old real quick...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Xterra Red River Race Report

The 2nd Annual Xterra Red River , which is part of the Xterra America Tour, was my first Xterra in over a decade. The last one I did was held in Oleta State Park which is in North Miami, Beach. My experience and results from these two events are quite different.

Let's start with the swim. At the Bud Light Off-Road Triathlon we swam in the beautiful Biscayne Bay. I enjoyed a great swim with various wildlife and all other athletes that day. At the Red River we got to swim in a cold, murky lake which is situated in the middle of Oklahoma. I almost didn't finish the swim due to hyperventilating and nearly having to clinch onto a kayak for my life.

The Bud Light Off-Road Triathlon bike course was held on the very popular Oleta State park MTB trails. I set the fastest bike split of the day and was leading overall off the bike. At ole' Red River we got to ride 15 miles of some of the muddiest trails ever. Not the fun type of mud either (yes there is a fun type of mud). The type of mud we got to enjoy is the kind that continues to collect on your bike until it weighs somewhere around 50 pounds. It's also the type that builds around your chain stays until you wheel stops turning and causes newbie Xterra athletes to say "this is just awful, why did I sign up for this..."

The run was the only thing that was somewhat similar. In Florida we ran on some very nice trails, along the beach and through a little mud. After leading off the bike I only got passed twice and ended up 3rd overall and 1st in my age-group. At Red River, the run course was very nice and had several technical sections that I was glad I was walking (yes my wimpy self walked the really technical sections because my legs felt like they weighted 100 lbs each after that mud bog bike leg) instead of running. In both events I only got passed by 2 other runners.

Even with the mud and being in poor shape, I had a fun time and plan to do one more Xterra this year in preparation for a full season next year. I will be moving to the 45-49 age group next year and hope to improve on the 3rd place results I got on Sunday. My teammate Tige(r) Lamb did awesome and got 2nd Overall Male and won his age-group. Especially considering he lost his brakes at the 3 mile mark of the bike leg.

I am still looking for some pictures of the bike leg. Once I get them I will post them up.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

2010 Car Free Challenge

Looks like Bike Week is here again. So far this year I have done a very poor job of commuting. Mainly because I am a creature of habits (bad habits mostly). The other is Carolynn does not like me riding on the road at night. I have to leave around 0515 in the morning to get to work by 0700. That means riding in the dark with lights on busy streets. Taking mostly residential roads really helps, but adds to the commute time.

The 2010 Car Free Challenge is almost here! Saturday is the first day to log trips, so make sure you get registered now. Just go to to sign in with your email address and last year's password.

Then come to the Old Northeast on Sunday for a great family-friendly car free activity. The third year of Car Free Cliff Drive is expanding onto Gladstone Boulevard for Sunday Parkways, Kansas City's first installment of the Ciclovia movement that is growing around the world. Streets will be closed to cars and open to people with bike rides, yoga lessons, face painting, history walks, free music, food, dog shows, and much more.

This year we also have some great additions to the prize list, including a bike giveaway at the Challenge wrap-up party. Be sure to check to Bike Week calendar for a wide array of car free activities all over the KC metro area.

Good luck!

Eric Rogers
Car Free Challenge organizer

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Little Too Much Fun

Life is starting to get back to normal after spending the month of April promoting the God's Country and Bone Bender events. That is the last time I ever try promoting two big events back-to-back. Still not fully recovered yet so I decided to take a little break from my normal routine and headed over to Big Springs, KS for round #4 of the Forward Motion Hare Scrambles.

Heck, I didn't even know you had a motorcycle you ask. Well I didn't last week, but borrowed Ashley's old XR400 for a little spin and decided that I would go ahead and get one again to play around on. After a near death experience on the beast climbing one of the steeper hills out behind my house I decided that I really did not need a tractor and instead found a gently used KTM 300 EXC.

I had two choices today. Head over to Perry to ride the OHV trails or head to the Hare Scrambles and try a virgin HR course. Everyone on the FMHSC forum was talking up the Big Springs course so the decision was made. With no seat time on the ole' KTM I was unsure how it would run. It ended up handling well, but sputtered really bad if I got on it. Check out the leakage after the event was over. I ended up having to short shift the bike which can make it rather hard when you have to navigate all the crazy obstacles that they threw at us.

One such set of obstacles was a stupid ass EnduroCross section. I signed up for a Hare Scrambles not an EndroCross. My last name is not Dowd and I really did not like seeing all the crashes in this section. It was really stupid for them to put this in. But when you think about it, the really stupid thing was that we all decided to race anyway. On the way home I decided that the Big Springs promoter would not be getting any of my hard earned cash anymore. Check out the below pictures of some poor guy who ate it big time over the tires. He was out for a couple of minutes.

The rest of the course was o.k. It was virgin alright. Tight, tight, tight. Barely any room to ride, let alone pass. I am glad my bike came with BarkBusters. They saved my hands dozens of times.

Short recap of my event. Lined up with 25 sport riders. I was going to race the Advanced Veterans class, but decided I needed to get some saddle time in before I race with some really fast guys. I got DFL off the start. I miss my old electric start CRF230. Great! 8 miles of virgin, slimy, muddy single track and I am stuck in 25th place. To top it all off my bike is running way to rich and I have to short shift it just so it runs half way decent. I started to make some good passes mainly just waiting until someone else made a mistake, but I have always had a knack for passing. There were several mud holes/creek crossing on the course which at times had 20+ riders backed up trying to find a good line. I quickly learned that this is where you could make up a lot of time or loose a dozen places at the blink of an eye. The end of the first lap came quickly and after I navigated the Endurocross section I found myself in 4th place. Not bad for the first time on a new bike and one that you can only give 1/4 throttle to..... Second lap did not start well as I went down past the mud pit when I got T-boned by a crazy rider who tried to jump the mud pit. Later on in the lap at one of the muddy creek crossings I stopped to help a mini rider who was getting run over by everyone. Heck, I did not even know they let the juniors on the same course as the adults. The kid was in a dangerous position and I helped him get out of the way. I would rather help a young kid out than worry about my placing and would hope someone would do the same for my son if he ever participated in these events again. I got going again and passed back up to 5th by the end of 2nd lap. The mud holes were getting really backed up by this time as there were 200 riders out on the course. It was insane at times as guys would just cut through the trees trying to find new lines. 1/2 of them would get stuck. This is were the "Fun" leaves and you end up just trying to make it back to the finish. While just making it back to the finish I ended up cutting a corner a little too close and got a sharp stick stuck (which was trimmed incorrectly) in my throat - just a small puncture, but one none the less. Stuff like that makes you stop and think twice. This was getting a little too dangerous for me and I decided to call it a day at the end of the 3rd lap. I guess I was just having a little too much fun but that quickly came to an end.