Today was the first cross practice over at Penn Valley Park. Mr. John Williams got everything organized with the help of the good folks at KCBC. I called this first practice the Pot Pie Cross because just like a good Pot Pie it was piping hot out there. But also like a tasty Chicken Pot Pie it was all good.....
Carolynn and I (and 11,000 fans) ventured out for a rare concert last night. The last concert we attended was Bruce Springsteen several years ago. A great show and maybe one that can not be bested. This time out it was the tour of Heart and Def Leppard. Heart, especially 61 year old Ann Wilson, was great and sounded better than they did the last time I saw them.....
Why I love this band:
Heart opened with "It has been a long time". Which it sure has been. The last time I saw Heart was in Tampa, FL back in 1987. My girlfriend at the time knew I was a big fan and wanted to do something "really special for me".
I can still remember back then. I was going to the University of South Florida as a Junior. Believe it or not, I was attending the College of Medicine. Yes, I was going to be Doc Locke. As you know, sometimes things just don't go as planned.....It was a great evening with the Wilson sisters and the members of Heart. We spent about an hour with them enjoying dinner and then we were escorted to the front row for the show. It was after the show that my life took a turn. Somehow it came up where she got the tickets. She had bought the tickets and backstage passes from her co-worker, who had won them from a radio station, for roughly $500.00. At the time, I was a college student, a motocross nut trying to race with little money, and working part-time. You could imagine I was on a seriously tight budget. I about freaked when she told me this and I immediately blurted out "I would have never done that for you". She took this the wrong way and the next day when I came home from class she had moved out. This event sparked off a chain of events that changed me life.
Here is that concert series back in 1987. I loved the 80's and the music it has given us.
The next couple of weeks I hit the books and also put in some hard racing up at Dade City Raceway. There were a couple of big money races with a nice cash payout in Open Money class and an upcoming round of the Florida Gold Cup. I was leading the series and need some extra cash to help pay the rent due to my lose of roommate. I was riding with a lot of anger and built up emotions. They only way I knew to deal with it was ride really hard.
My friend Tom had a better way to deal with it - drink heavily. So I did both - parted with Tom and rode my butt off at the races. I did both really well for several weeks earning some big payoffs with overall wins two weeks in a row at Dade City. But then excess caught up with me. I had told Tom that Sunday was a big race for me and that I could not got to this big party over in Temple Terrace. Somehow he talked me into going and I did not get home until very late with one too many Jack Daniels in me.
The next day I made my way up to the race feeling really sick. I actually had an o.k. first moto where I battled with Suzuki factory support rider Vince Devane in the 125 Expert class. He got the better of me but I still gained points on the rest of the field. Second moto was a different story. Between moto's I got sick a couple of times from my prior night excess and could not keep anything down. I still lined up of course and actually got a good start. A couple of laps into the moto I was having a hard time keeping up and making a couple of the harder doubles on the course. The last thing I remember was taking an outside line in this one turn so I could make this triple jump. They said I somehow drifted to the outside while I was in the air and as I started to land I taped the rear brake so I could land on the downward side of the far jump. Only thing is the outside of this jump had not been worn down and it was basically a drop off.
I awoke two days later in the Dade City Hospital with sever head injuries including broken nose, two broken eye sockets, detached retina, skull broken in several places, brain swelling and bleeding. I was left alone in the hospital with no way to get home and no one to call. There was no way I was going to call my parents as they hated the fact that I raced motocross.
I was never the same person or rider after that. I had to drop some of my classes because I could not really comprehend the subject mater well enough. A year later I was back in South Florida attending Florida Atlantic University where I was now studying finance and working towards my B.B.A. Funny how life works out sometimes....
This past weekend I was working on a fall race schedule. Still trying to finalize one based on my current fitness level, recovery rate and motivation level (it is hard to get motivated when your form sucks :-(). I came across an interesting series call the American Ultracross Championship Series. Basically a long distance mix of cyclocross, gravel grinding and mountain biking. I have always wanted to do the Iron Cross. Maybe this is the year.
I have an idea for a unique event that would fit in line with this Ultracross series. Who knows, maybe we can get a round of the series here in KC.
This past weekend I participated in the latest phenomenon to swept the country - an Extreme Running race called the Warrior Dash. Essentially it was a hilly ass 5K run with a few obstacles thrown in to good measure. Some of the obstacles that we had to navigate were barricades, stacks of hay, rope ladders, tire fields, small creek crossings, slightly muddy trial, logs of fire and a mud pit. Some of the advertised obstacles were not included which is a shame. Maybe it would have changed my view of the event.
The event starts by corralling 500 wave starters together like cattle. You stand there for 30 minutes in xtreme heat listening to bad loud music. Finally we enter the course and escape the music only to find it is just a long stretch of endless sun baked hills. After about a mile you come upon the first obstacle. A few jumps and crawls later and you past the barricades. More endless hills but now finally we get to some double track. A short balancing beam section and a field of tires follow. It is really hot and the shallow water crossing, while not hard were very welcomed. I almost just sat down in them to take a break, but I proceed to one of three rope ladders. For some reason they put in multiple sets instead of some of the advertised mud slides. Plenty of hills and some muddy trail sections followed. We ended with a jump over some fire and a short crawl through the mud pit. Then it was off to wait in line for an hour to try and get rinsed off.
After participating in this event I am really asking myself why the sudden interest in these races. Are runners that bored of a normal 5k run? Do they like standing for hour just to get stinking mud hosed off them? Have they ever tried one of the local Trail Nerds events? Because the Warrior Dash was just a pimped up trail run. It was diffidently not "The Craziest Frickin' Day Of Your Life" like they advertised. Maybe the other events like the Tough Mudder, which is more extreme, would make them more fun and more of a challenge. Maybe the "average Joe" coming off the couch would consider this an extreme event, but a good muddy off-road triathlon/duathlon or cyclocross race is way more extreme and fun than this event.
If There Are Roses In Heaven Will You Send One Just For Me So I Can Hold It Close To My Heart Where You Will Always Be I Will Lay It On My Pillow Each Night As The Angels Tuck Me In I Will Know That You Are Near Me And Feel Your Presence Once Again I Am Thankful For All The Years You Were There To Help Me Through I Will Always Remember “My Little Brother” Whose Love Was Honest And True!
In Loving Memory Of John J. Locke
Life has never been the same since you got injured. Part of me died that summers night so many years ago. I can still remember all the fun times we had - like they were yesterday. Vivid memories that can be a blessing and yet a curse at the same time. 3 years ago you left us going to hopefully a peaceful place. One day I will join you and be at peace with myself.