Sunday, July 27, 2008

A race with no rain!

Wow! The Stony TT was completed on a darn near perfect day. There was a good breeze blowing but it was head wind on the way out. A pretty big crowd showed up as well as the trails are popular among the eastsiders plus it was one of the MMBA races. The time trial format is also a popular way for newbies to get into racing since instead of a mass start you go off two at a time every 30 seconds.

I wasn't sure what to expect since my legs were feeling pretty good but I still had a little muscle soreness from last week's race. And yesterday while preridng a section of the course I hit an overhanging branch hard enough to about knock me off my bike. I thought I may have cracked my helmet I hit it so hard. As a result I have a little stiffness in the neck but otherwise I'm OK. I would have said I was knocked silly but others would ask how I would be able to tell.

I was one of the last starters and ended up trading leads with the guy I started with. I managed to drop my chain twice and also forgot my water bottle. I'm not sure what was going on today. I ended up third in my class, 15 seconds behind 2nd place. I checked the results from last year and ironically the guy that beat me this year lost to me last year by 15 seconds.

This was not an important race for me and it was more of a filler; a race to keep me tuned up if I decide to head north next weekend for the race near Manistee. That race will be part of the series I have a shot of winning. It would be nice to have an insurance race in the bank so that I don't have to rely on finishing the last two races in the series.

In a little over a week Jason and family arrive for a three week visit before heading back to their new place in Spokane. They have been spending the last few weeks visiting Emily's family and friends in Indiana and Illinois.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Practice makes perfect

Practice in the mud that is. And I've certainly had plenty of opportunities to race in the mud this year.

Today was the Ruby XC race and I already knew I would be getting wet since the course crosses a river twice on each lap. But the weather forecast called for overnight rain and into the morning and of course this forecast they got correct.

Bernie and I drove up this morning and we hit harder rain just before the course. With the wet conditions and falling rain it made it easy to decide which bike to use. The 1x9 with Michelin XC tires came out and the fully geared bike stayed in the van. This is essentially the same bike setup I used at Pontiac this spring and the Stony race a few weeks ago. Except this time I had a slightly smaller chainring on the front to make it easier to climb the couple of hills this course had.

At the start I got in right behind the fastest guy in our group as we headed into the first section of singletrack, the other guys were right behind me. At the start of the race we had warned each other to stay safe and take it easy but it didn't take too long before I heard the guy behind me crash. "That's the first one," I told the guy in front of me, figuring there would be more to come.

A little later he had trouble on some roots going up a hill and I went around him. I knew he was having a little more trouble with the mud than I was so I tried to push my advantage in case it started to dry out. By the end of the first lap I had a lead of about two minutes.

For the next three laps I concentrated on trying to stay upright and only fell once, when I put my foot down on a slippery bridge section. The mud began to get thicker and the course faster as it stopped raining and began drying. I was worried the others would begin to catch me.

I also had some problems with the chain skipping on the two smallest cogs as the mud packed the cassette. On one lap through the river I stopped to try and wash some of it off. The river was deep enough that most people were running with their bikes instead of riding. The water actually felt refreshing as it was not too cold to cause a shock to the system or to cause the muscles to cramp.

I managed to extend my lead over second place to four minutes to take the win. I actually had a good time in the mud. I always seem to do fairly well in the nastier conditions; part of is from practice and the other from having a positive outlook. It also helps when you have the right equipment.

Next race I know I will get wet again, even if it doesn't rain. The Stony Creek time trial runs through a creek twice but it is usually pretty shallow. The current forecast for next week's race actually says 0% chance of rain. I won't know what to do.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lazy weekend

Even though I spent some longer time on the bike this weekend it seemed like a lazy couple of days. Sandy and I had dinner at the White Horse Inn on Saturday and I made my marinated shrimp and chicken barbecue for Greg's birthday dinner today. Topped off by finishing the bottle of Riesling and some of my wife's orange cake I was ready for a nap on the couch.

The legs are starting to come around and hopefully they will be ready for the next couple of weekends in a row of racing. I haven't decide if I'll head back north in a few weeks for the Big M race but first I have two other ones to contest.

Jason and family are moving to Spokane tomorrow and then start their eastern trip to Indiana and then here for a few weeks. And if you hadn't read it on Jason's blog, they found out last week that their new addition will be a girl. We are looking forward to seeing them all in a few weeks.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Oliver seems to get this grin on his face a lot. I wonder what he's planning?

Sunday, July 06, 2008


I didn't ride the bike for five days in a row, and on purpose. I had to look way back in my training log to see when the last time was that I had taken that much time off in a row. My legs were fatigued from the early season racing and training and not responding the way they should. I was going to take more time off but this weekend's weather was just too hard to ignore the bike.

I am easing back into the training, having rode for a short and easy ride on Saturday and a little longer today. I don't want to push hard as I can still feel a little fatigue in on of the quads. Saturday's ride made me feel like I had lost all my fitness but today was about back to normal. The first day after a down day is always the hardest, after five it was even worse. That is why the Tour de France riders get out and ride on their rest days; they want to keep their legs relatively active.

Work is supposed to be taking some downtime as well. A few months ago they announced that the company would be having a two week shutdown in July. As it turns out a lot of people are working anyway, including my me. A good indication of the number that will continue to come to work is that the fitness center will remain open along with one of the cafeterias. I'm glad I don't have to take a forced vacation as I'm saving mine for when Jason and family come back for a three week visit in August.

Speaking of the Montana (soon to be Washington) family, Greg has been out there visiting since last Sunday. I guess they have been having a good time enjoying the outdoors by hiking and rafting. They had a close encounter with a bear on one hike. Greg has also bee beating up on his brother while playing roller hockey.

The house has been pretty quiet with Greg gone. In fact the whole neighborhood has been strangely silent given that it was a holiday weekend. We didn't hear many kids around or even a lot of fireworks this year. Speaking of fireworks, Sandy and I parked the van at the rail trail and rode our bikes up into town to watch the fireworks. It is only about a mile and a half ride each way and it eliminates any traffic problems.

Hopefully I can get back into decent shape for the next couple of races as there are a couple of them in a row starting in two weeks. And then the kids come in to town and we will be busy with other things.