Friday, March 29, 2013

The God's Country Report

This is one God's Country Fat Tire Festival I will remember for a long, long time.   Not just because of the adverse weather, but also because what I learned about people including myself.

First thing a quick report on my first attempt to race since my wrist injury. I really wanted to earn one of those sweet medals and was going to take a handful of pain killers and race on.

This year I had planned to race the Long Course, but when Christopher decided he wanted to take a more back seat approach to race promotion I had to switch to the Short Course.   I usually like to race the short course event during the God's Country Off-Road Duathlon if I can. and to be honest having the short course option is really just for me - it gives me the chance to race and still have time to help with the event and give out awards.  This year I was again able to race again since Heather was handling scoring, Christopher and Tyler were handling the music, the Trail Patrol was out on course keeping everyone safe and most important Carolynn was there to take care of any emergencies.   I almost did not get to race as the time really passed quickly this year on race morning.  I looked at the clock and only had 15 minutes to get dressed and ready to race.  Luckily I am quick at transitions and made the start with about 2 minutes to go.  I had been running down in Florida almost everyday and actually felt good during the 2 mile run leg.  Once I got warmed up during the first mile the return mile I started passing runners and setting into the event nicely.
I came into transition feeling good and had a great transition.  I passed a dozen or so and nipped Black Coffee going into the woods when he was on his Unicycle.  I set off on a good pace and felt strong but was having problems in the turns and whenever I hit a bump.  I rode most of the ride dominating my right side.  It worked out o.k. but to be honest I would not have been able to ride on any other trail system.  The Lawrence River Trails are easy enough that you can ride them with basically one hand. The trails were in great condition except for the back section which were a little slick.  Nothing bad, but I took it really easy because crashing and hurting my wrist again was not an option.  This year we decided to add the new Sand section.  I actually liked it and thought it was fine.  I know some riders (Hector :-)) did not like them, but it made for a different event.  I cruised into the final mile and really did not know where I sat overall.  Turns out I was leading the short course division only to let Chuong Doan pass with 1/4 mile to go.  I knew he was in the Male 30-39 class so I was not worried.  Chuong had a great bike and deserved the overall short course win.

First win of the year - 1st Place Male 40-49.   Nice to be on sharing the podium with my teammate Bob and my friend Kent - both very good multisport athletes.  Speaking of Bob, I was going through some old files and found some results from back in early 2000's.  I checked out the results of the Blue Springs Triathlon and guess who I was racing against?  Good ole Bob Tarne.  He kicked my butt on the run back then and today, but I got em in transition and on the bike :-)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2013 Spring Break in Florida

Spring Break in Florida.  I remember those days fondly.  Of course it is totally different when you live there versus taking a vacation down to the Sunshine State.  It was good to get back home and visit my parents.  I had hoped to see some old friends also, but it appears life has moved on for many.

On day one we headed to Ft. Lauderdale beach.  We blended in nicely with most of the other pale white tourisst.   Christopher got to see first hand what a bunch of drunk college kids do on Spring Break - well at least during the day.

 Day two was spent at Oleta State Park.  We rented some bikes to ride the mountain bike trails there.  Carolynn and I rode there often when we lived down there.  The trails were fun, but the lower end bikes we rented sucked.  Christopher said he would rather ride the bull by my parents house than ride that bike again. We did not ride long nor very hard because of my wrist injury but despite the bikes we used it was fun to get out on the trails. 

After the ride we had lunch at a local Cuban restaurant.  It was very tasty.   Christopher ate so much that he could hardly paddle his SUP.  After awhile he finally got up to speed and we both headed out into the bay to explore leaving Carolynn to enjoy a peaceful afternoon on the beach.  It was a little windy but we both did well.  There are several small islands in the bay south of Oleta and we decided to head over to one.  It ended up being the same island that was used during an old adventure race that I did with my old friends Joel Leffler and Scott Hayford.  After exploring the island it was time to head back and return the SUP's.  On the way back a very cool thing happened to us.  We spotted a couple of large fins and at first I thought it was shark because they were in the news recently.  The fins ended up belonging to several Dolphins.  As we got closer they came right up to us.  It is not often you get within a few feet of Dolphins

The weather started to get a little cool down there so we headed out West to the Everglades for a little kayaking.  It had been about 6 or 7 years since Christopher went on this trip with us.  I always enjoy canoeing and/or kayaking in the Everglades.  We got to see about a dozen Alligators.  We got very close to several but Carolynn was afraid they would attack and kept us outside of harms way.

A couple of more beach days, a surprise visit by Christopher's girlfriend, a few runs and night bike rides and a very fun trip on some scooters closed out our vacation.  Carolynn did not want to leave and is currently looking for a place to live on the West Coast of Florida!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Story of My Life

Just when you think you are on the way up and things are looking good, life has a tendency to kick you in nuts. This has happened to my countless times in my life, especially with injuries. 

Setbacks and failures are a part of life. But like the saying goes "it is not what happens to you, its what you do about it".   Well for over 30 years I have been picking myself off the ground (Note: sometimes I got assistance/medical help due to being unconscious), dusting myself off and got back on my bike and/or motorcycle.  Well after yesterday's visit to a wrist/hand specialist I am seriously considering finally walking away from competitive racing while I still can.

If you recall about 1 month ago I took a nasty fall while out riding with my son.  We were up at Smithville lake riding the MTB trails.  A bunny hop over a log went bad and I ended up going over the bars very hard.  For the past 4 weeks I have been having wrist pain.  The diagnosis after a quick trip to my family doctor was just a sprain.  I have had plenty of sprains in my life and this one was not getting any better.  Yesterday confirmed what I thought - torn ligaments.

I sat for hours thinking about all the training I have done as of late.  All the hours in the gym doing physical therapy not to mention the time spend riding and running. Currently I have to do about 5 hours of physical therapy a week just to keep my body and all my nagging injuries in check.  I thought about all those cold ass rides I went on to get ready for the 2013 season.  All of it now seems like a big waste of time and sacrifice.

Getting injured has been the story of my life.  I still remember back in 1988.  I had just finished up a very successful season - winning the 1987 Florida State Motocross Championship in the 125 A division.  I decided to give it 100%  and focus on trying to make it as a Professional.  Things were going great.  I had support from several key sponsors including Honda West.  I had a mechanic (Storman Norman Racing) to build and maintain my bikes.  I had great support from my brothers and friends like Tom Pantley.  Leading up to the Tampa Bay and Daytona rounds of the AMA Supercross series I felt like I could get a top 10 in the Lites division for sure.   Then while practicing at an area track I attacked the whoops full gas in 4th gear and about 1/2 through my wrist just snapped. That ended that season and the following.  It took me just about a full year for the bones in my wrist to fully heal.

One question I have been asking myself is why do I still want to race?  Do I really need to compete?  I have hundreds of medals and trophies.  I won several state championships and series titles.  Do I really need another? Early on these "little tokens" of a job done well came easy.  The last several years they have been much harder to come by.   When I do earn a spot on the podium I sure do appreciate it more than ever. I guess the real question is at what price will these victories come at?  Will I be able to lead a normal life when I get (if I get) into my 60's and 70's? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Prologue Cycling Interview

Prologue Cycling is doing a very good job of covering our local cycling news.  Check out their coverage of our God's Country Fat Tire Festival below.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Solo Grinding

The past couple of weekends have been all solo. Leaving only one track in the snow covered roads that I traveled. Now I know why I started hosting gravel grinders.  It gets kind of lonely out there only surrounded by the cold snow and your thoughts. 

Conditions have been trying at times which is one reason I have been riding solo.  Not too many enjoy this type of riding. On my rides I have yet to see another cyclist.  I did see one lady out on a run yesterday.  Made me feel good for a few minutes that I was not the only fool out in this mess.   The other reason is total lack of motivation.  I did get on the trainer twice but that was no fun at all. I now know why Christopher has given up on this cycling stuff this winter - it totally sucks.  

Winter has been long this year just like this icicle.  I am hoping old man winter will break its hold on us soon.  Otherwise I may have to start looking for a new place to call home. 

 The wind really cuts into you as it blows over the snow packed fields, which only adds to its strength.  During yesterday's ride I got so cold that I actually considered calling Carolynn and having her come pick me up.  Several miles of positive reinforcements worked enough to allow me to continue on.  I have had it with this cold ass weather and all this snow. This Florida native is officially done with winter.