Sunday, August 31, 2008

Eight trails in 64 miles

We had the day off on Friday so I had planned to get out and do a longer ride. I haven't done one in quite some time. The weather was calling for a chance of rain but the radar looked like the rain would pass to the north and south of us. I decided to resurrect an old ride that would take in many of the trails in the area.

I started with some older trails off the the PollyAnn trail; these were used a few years ago for a race and way back were part of some motorcycle trails; you could tell from the bermed corners. Unfortunately they had become overgrown so I spent some time ducking and weaving around the brush. And also getting very wet from the moisture still on the leaves from the rain the night before.

I then headed to Orion Oaks where I got even wetter when the rain decided to let loose in a short downpour. I had a rain jacket with me so put that on for the rest of the time in the park. The sun came out and the jacket off as I was leaving and heading to Lake Orion High School for a lap around the race course.

From the High School I entered Bald Mountain South for a partial lap and then headed over to Bald Mountain North. I rode most of a lap before exiting the trail and riding to Addison Oaks for a full lap.

After Addison I took the back roads over to Stony Creek and completed a lap of the XC course that will be used next weekend. On the way home I was on part of the Paint Creek Trail before the final short stretch of roads back to the house.

I could have ridden down to Bloomer for a lap after Stony but decided that I had enough for the day. Maybe later in the fall I will do the ride again and pick up Bloomer as well as the Macomb Orchard Trail and the Clinton River Trail as well. As it was I had 64 miles and only 24 of that was on roads. Even when on the roads only a little over 7 of the 24 miles were paved, the rest were dirt.

Yesterday I was talking to my team mate Bernie and we decided to get together for a ride today. It turned out to be somewhat similar to my Friday ride except that we skipped Orion Oaks. We started with the high school course and then headed to Bald Mountain North. Then we did an easy lap at Addison with another team member and his friend who was camping there. Bernie and I then headed over to Stony so he could check out the XC course as well.

By the time we got back the sun was starting to cook us and I could feel the effects of Friday's ride plus from my ride yesterday testing my SS gearing. We had almost 48 miles and again, a majority of that was on the trails. In spite of being tired it was nice to ride with someone for a change.

I'm glad tomorrow is another day off work, I need it to recover from the weekend.

Hopefully I will be able to post the flyer to the October 26 LOHS running and mountain bike race pretty soon. We should have it down this week.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sure is quiet

Jason and family left Friday afternoon to start their trip back to Spokane. After being here for almost three weeks it was very hard to see them go. We had a great time with the whole family and enjoyed the chance to see our grandson. The house didn't seem the same once they left.

During the time they were here I had taken vacation so that means I have to go back to work tomorrow. That will seem strange that I have to get up early again and play the corporate game. I wish I was a year and a half older, I would have been eligible for a retirement package from Chrysler. I think I would take it and look for another line of work.

Today was the Pontiac Lake XC race, part of the USAC series where I currently hold the series lead in my class. This is probably one of the harder courses in this series with lots of climbing and rough downhills. It is also one of the more popular trails in the area and gets a lot of riders on a daily basis.

I started out well, running fourth in a paceline at the start and eventually working up to 1st as the other riders in front of me would make mistakes or take bad lines. That lead didn't last for the whole lap though as two of them went past me before the end of the first lap and another after starting the second lap, putting me back in fourth again. I stayed there for the rest of the race but finished in front of the two closest to me in the overall points chase.

So now it's back to work and a normal schedule with the next race not until two weeks at Stony Creek. This will be the last race in the USAC series and one of the final important XC races for me until the Iceman race in November

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ft. Custer TT

Instead of racing the Pando 12 hour we decided to make a day of it at the Eastern Market. Or to be more precise, the morning at the market turned into a lot longer than originally planned once Sandy and Emily found the antique shops and recycled clothing. Both came away with some new (old) hats but now I've heard that they need to go shopping for something to wear with them!

Today Jason, Emily, Oliver and I headed to Ft. Custer to race the last event of this year's time trial. The neat thing about a TT is that you can start with someone other than in your age group if you are both in the same category. Jason and I signed up so we could start at the same time. A father and son battle to be first across the finish.

Jason wasn't feeling confident in his ability to outlast me but I told him I was going to use him as a rabbit to set the opening pace. I needed to finish ahead of a particular racer in order to earn 2nd place for the TT series. Once we started Jason took off and I chased after him as he opened an early gap.

I caught up to him as he lead the way for the first few miles. At one point I bobbled and lost him but before too long I saw him ahead as we came to a small climb. Once the climb got steeper I passed him as he was starting to struggle. I kept the pace up as long as I could that Jason had set early on but eventually I backed off to a more comfortable tempo, if there is such a thing in a TT.

Parts of the course were familiar from the spring XC race but other sections I hadn't ridden in four years. I played it safe around lots of corners since I wasn't sure what to expect. There were a couple of exciting moments as the sandy corners would cause the front end to slide but I managed to stay upright.

I ended up with 2nd place in my class for the day, about a minute back from the winner. I didn't feel too bad knowing that I had gone about as fast as I could. At least I didn't get beat by one one hundredth of a second like some of the Olympic swimmers. That would be tough to take. I also managed to secure second place for the series and received a really nice engraved plaque.

This week will be Jason and Emily's last week here before leaving for Spokane. We have a few things planned but mainly plan on sticking around as much as possible. Then for me there is the Pontiac XC race next Sunday.

Oliver gets carried in style when we go out.

He was facintated by the brick wall while the rest of the family shopped.

Showing off his teeth that are coming in.

Posing for the press

Discussing race strategy just before starting

Podium spots

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Family Time Part 2

Jason and Emily went up to a friend's cottage for a few day which meant we got to be the typical Grandma and Grandpa and spoil Oliver. We took him to the Armada fair today and are happy to report that he approves of french fries and hand squeezed lemonade. He mad friends with a few of the animals while he was there.

Earlier in the week everyone went out to Cook's Dairy Farm for some of their fabulous ice cream and Oliver had a few close and personally encounters with the cows. The have t-shirts for sale that described it perfectly, "I got licked at Cook's Dairy Farm". That cow's tongue moved pretty fast.

Hopefully we will get a chance to get to the zoo and up to Frankenmuth, maybe take in the Renaissance festival in Holly. On Sunday Jason and I are racing the time trial at Ft. Custer. We decided not to do the 12 hour race on Saturday and spend more time with the family.

Playing in the cold fountains by the Ren Center in downtown Detroit.

Ice cream at the dairy farm

New friends at the fair

Farmer Oliver

Looking at all the sights at the fair made Oliver tired.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Family Time

We had been eagerly waiting for the arrival of Jason, Emily and our grandson Oliver. Although we were keeping up on Oliver's growth through Jason's blog, we have only seen him in person twice, once a month after he was born and then again in February when we was about four months old. Plus we had not seen Jason since November.

The family arrived by train on Monday evening and will be here fro about three weeks. Oliver had begun crawling shortly before coming to our place and pulling himself up to stand which meant we needed to literally baby proof the house at a different level.

My parents came up for the weekend to see both their grandsons and great grandson as well as to get better acquainted with Emily. They had only managed to meet her briefly back in December of '06. On Friday I was fortunate to get three tickets to the PGA from my friend Mark; my dad, Jason and I spent the morning at the tournament. We also spent the rest of the day in the doghouse since we had taken the vehicle with Oliver's carseat. We didn't realize it until we got to the event.

With everyone coming we hired a photographer to take some family pictures. Oliver didn't seem especially pleased about it but we managed to get a few smiles out of him. Later we has some of the kids' friends over for a barbecue.

The next two weeks will be spent going here and there and the kids getting away for awhile by themselves as we babysit. Jason and I are supposed to race this weekend on a team but we will see how he is feeling. A little over a week ago he had his wisdom teeth pulled and is still feeling a little bit of an effect from that.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dry and Sandy Big M

Sunday I returned to the site of the Lumberjack 100 but for a much shorter USAC XC race. The race course ran in the opposite direction of the 100 mile race and only used 6.5miles of the 25 mile endurance loop. We had perfect weather for the start of the race and the driest race so far this year. In fact, much of the course has sandy patches that were no problem for those of us running 29” tires.

I ran with the eventual leaders for a half a lap before falling back, feeling the efforts of three consecutive weeks of racing. I ended up fourth but ahead of my closest rivals in the chase for series points. Next up will be a 12 hour race as part of a team, racing with my son who is in town visiting from Spokane and then a time trial the next day where I can wrap up a top three spot in that series as well.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My 15 minutes of fame

Someone told me that Cannondale had linked my rider bio to their front page. So for a short time, anyone that goes to the Cannondale main page will see my name and can link to find out more about me. They took some of my answers to questions and turned them into a bio. Cool!