Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Harvest MTB Race Results 10/26/08

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Whew! Lot's going on

Wow, two weeks since my last post. But I've talked to my parents since so they know I'm still alive. They use the blog to keep track of what is happening up north.

Actually, a lot of things. First, last week I was out visiting Jason, Emily, and Oliver for the weekend. Flew out Thursday evening and back on Sunday evening. As you can imagine the three hour time difference to Spokane was not easily adjusted to in such a short time. But while I was there we had a great time and there new place really looks great. They have been doing a lot of work on it and it shows. It was also nice to see my grandson again and watch him walking now. They grow up so fast!

Those in Michigan, and especially the Detroit area, know about the dire straights that the auto industry is in. Of course in the news lately is what will become of Chrysler; will we become part of GM or Renault/Nissan? And in any case what will happen to our jobs. The predictions are not pretty.

If GM were to get Chrysler they would probably let go 15,000 of the 17,000 or so salaried employees. Even with another company buying us there would be jobs lost. And Cerberus, our current owner, has admitted they want to shed our company. So something is coming but we don't know yet.

Friday morning we got an e-mail from the company president talking about hard times in the industry, etc. etc. Basically leading up to telling us that by the end of the year we would be losing 25% of the salaried and supplemental workers. That's a lot but I think just the tip of the iceberg compared to what may be coming. included in the e-mail was a notice about enhanced buyouts and retirement packages. Unfortunately no details as they were supposed to be announced this week.

We do know that they lowered the age for packages and have added deals for others not eligible for retirement. The deals include cash and a car voucher. I don't know if that means giving up any claim to future benefits though. In any case I should find out tomorrow what my options are since I am one of those able to take advantage of something. I just don't know what that will mean. But it could mean we end up leaving the area. As you can imagine, I'm not getting a lot sleep right now.

On a brighter note, today was the benefit race at the Lake Orion High School. The run did not get a big turnout but I was pleased with the number of the bikers that came out. We got some of the top racers, both male and female, to race and they all had good things to say about the course. The weather was cool and overcast for the advanced and sport race but the beginners got rain, hail, and sunshine. They finished muddied but with smiles on their faces. The biggest winner of the day was the food bank. We raised close to $1000 plus the food that was donated. So thanks to everyone that donated or sponsored the race. Hopefully this becomes an annual event.

Looking at Spokane from the deck on the house.

Looking the other way across the fields is Mt. Spokane

This old barn is adjacent to the house

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Have you wondered what Cyclocross is all about?

Here is a video of the cyclocross race last weekend at Stony Creek. Good action footage shot by the lead rider and the camera pointing rearward spliced in with other footage. About 3/4 of the way through there is a couple of seconds in slow motion of me running over the barriers. Hmm, maybe that was in real time?

Fall doesn't get much better than this

Beautiful weather! Fall in Michigan doesn't get much better than this weekend. As long as we don't talk about U of M football. Other than that it was just about perfect.

Saturday was the big ride that would take place on much of the back roads and trails that i usually ride but a lot of people would be meeting at Stony park to follow a marked course with a couple of aid stations along the way. Riders were supposed to leave anywhere from 8-10:00 am.

Since I had a lot of things to do I wanted to make sure I got there early. I left the house before the sun came up and rode the southern portion of the route on my way over to Stony. I got to see the sun rise through the colors on the trees; I love to ride early in the day. It was cold though, there was frost on the ground.

I got over to Stony around 8:15 and left there shortly after arriving. For the rest of the ride I was the first one on the route, just enjoying the ride. For the day I ended up with just under 60 miles. That included the required extra mileage for doughnuts at the cider mill.

I got out early again this morning but waited until the sun was up and it was a little warmer. I jumped on a different bike with skinny tires and made good time in racking up another 40 miles.

For the rest of the day I tried to clear up some of the junk around the house that we have accumulated over the years and then I hiked the LOHS race course to put up some markings in case anyone wanted to practice the bike or run portions.

Next week I will be out of town so I may not get much riding in but
I plan on hitting it pretty hard the following week once I get back, leading up to the LOHS race and then begin a taper for the Iceman race on November 8.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Masochistic Tendencies

I think those that engage in some form of self propelled racing must have some kind of latent masochistic qualities. What else could explain why we put ourselves through agony, swearing that we will never do a race again, only to start thinking about the next race a half hour after the last one is over?

I can't count the number of times I have been in the middle of a race and tell myself that this is really stupid, it hurts too much to continue and if I stopped, the pain would be over. Actually I can count the times, darn near every race. But I usually struggle through to the end and even start to enjoy it.

Today I decided to enter the Stony cyclocross race and enter the singlespeed class. Since I don't own a true 'cross bike anymore but do have a very lightweight SS I thought it would be easier, and dare I say fun? And in a way it was. Besides, I hadn’t done a ‘cross race in years.

I knew going into the race my legs would be tired after training hard a couple of days earlier in the week. And yesterday some of my CMR team got together for a moderate back road ride and then a casual ride to the cider mill. Riding four hours on the day before a race is not on the list of recommended race preparations.

Today was one of those beautiful Michigan fall mornings with bright sunlight and chilly temperatures. The trees are starting to turn color and the Stony course is right next to the lake; part of the course includes riding (or running) on the beach.

I got out to the park early enough to take a few laps around the approximately two mile course to get reacquainted with a 'cross course and also practice my dismounts and mounts as we ran over the barriers. I could tell the mostly grass course was going to be tough pedaling and wished I had made my gearing a little easier.

When our race started we lined up in the back of the B racers and were given the green light 30 seconds after the B guys took off. I got to the front but it wasn't too long before the series leader passed me. I stayed on his wheel and passed him back shortly after.

He passed me again and the chase was on. I stayed right behind him but in one of the tight 180 degree corners I slid out and he opened a gap. I started to close it but the efforts from earlier in the week were making themselves known. He started to pull away, eventually finishing a minuter in front of me.

I was content to try and pick off as many of the B guys as I could since I had a comfortable lead ahead of second by over 5 minutes. I don't know the final results but I think I managed to finish in front of a number of younger B riders. Actually I think everyone was younger than me in this wave. Later I heard from some of my friends watching that someone had made a comment about "the old guy racing a SS" that was passing the geared riders. I resemble that remark!

The total race time was about 47 minutes and is one of the hardest types of racing in bicycling. But also one of the most fun as there is always someone around you or in front of you to catch. Racing on my mountain bike allowed me an advantage in some of the corners as I could dive inside people to take the line.

The cross season has just started but I'm not sure how many more I will have the chance to do based on other events coming up. It was fun though, in a masochistic sort of way.

Getting the holeshot