Sunday, July 18, 2010

A horse of a different color

For the past week I have switched my riding from the trails to the road. I borrowed the bike pictured above from my great Cannondale rep, Jason Edinger, in preparation for the Senior Olympics coming up in a few days. More on the races later in the post.

The bike is set up for someone a little smaller than me so I have been trying to spend as much time as possible to try and adapt to the riding position. The road bars are not any easier to hang on to with my left hand than my mountain bikes. The taped fingers just hang along the outside of the brake lever but can't do much.

The bike is one of Cannondale's top of the line road bikes, a SystemSix, which is super lightweight and fast, yet also stiff when pressing on the pedals while still providing some comfort over rougher pavement. I could be persuaded to have a road bike at sometime but maybe one with a more upright position for an old guy.

I first heard about the Senior Olympics last year but the cutoff for entering was past. I made it a point to mark my calendar for this year. The bike races are road only, both time trials and regular road races. Even though I haven't ridden a road bike in years I thought I would try anyway. The races are held over two days at the local road race track, Waterford Raceway.

The first day has a very short time trial in the morning followed by a road race in the afternoon. The TT is only a 5k, or about 3 miles. This will be closer to a sprint for seven minutes or so. The road race is also fairly short, only 40k or 24 miles. This should take somewhere around an hour.

The second day is similar to the first but the TT is twice as long, 10k, and the road race is half as long as the prior day, being only 20k. But that is OK because I leave later that evening to fly to Spokane for two weeks. I think the race distances are so short because they run the same races for all age groups, which may include people in their 80's or older.

I am looking forward to seeing the family out west, I haven't seen them since Christmas plus I haven't seen my new grandson, Jonathan. I'm sure the time will fly by and all too soon I will be back in Michigan.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pull my finger

I rode with a bunch of guys early today at a local trail, Pontiac Lake. My plan was to do two or three laps but early on a little mishap changed all that. I was riding my singlespeed which usually means you have to work a little harder to get up the bigger hills.

There is a particularly long hill known as two mile hill that can be tough to climb as it can be a loose surface and is fairly steep in spots as it winds its way up. The trail is also built along the side of the hill which means you need to be careful from going to close to the edge. I have never had a problem on this hill before.

Today while climbing it my foot pulled out of the pedal which caused me to jerk the wheel just enough to have it slide off the edge, causing me to slide out. I quickly popped back up and didn't think much of it other than I had reopened the scab from last weeks race. It didn't take too long to feel some pain in my left hand.

I noticed I couldn't really bend my left middle finger around the bar and in fact, the finger was pointing off in its own direction. The pain was more pronounced when trying to pull on the bars while climbing and if trying to use the front brake. Bigger bumps would also send pain shooting through the hand so I just slowed down some and pretty much used only the back brake. The mishap happened two miles into the 9.5 mile trail but I wanted to finish the ride instead of turning around.

When I got back to the parking lot and pulled off my glove I could see that something was definitely wrong. I called Sandy on the way home to let her know that she would probably need to take me to the urgent care. By now she is used to it and as long as I was breathing and moving it couldn't be too bad.

Once I finally got into the Dr's office they took some x-rays and then gave me the results, a severe dislocation. I was afraid of that because I know how these things get fixed. I was more worried about the cure than my present pain. The x-ray did look pretty cool though.

The nurse came in to give me a shot to numb me us some but gave it to me in the butt. I still can't figure that out but the doc said it was sort of a calming drug as well as a pain killer.

The doctor was a young female and as she started to work on my finger (read: pulling really hard) she kept apologizing for the pain she was causing. I kept telling her it wasn't her fault. She was having a hard time getting the finger to move so after awhile stopped to let me recuperate, probably her as well. Now my finger really hurt and I started to feel light headed.

She came back in a little while later and had me lie down while she gave my finger another go round. Her hand kept slipping slightly as she was pulling and I was afraid they were going to have to send me somewhere else that had somebody stronger to work on it. Finally the finger started to move around and I could feel a couple of pops as it worked its way back into place.

They took a few more x-rays to confirm that it was straight, they didn't want to move it too much more because they were afraid that it might slip back! They finger was splinted and taped to the finger next to it to keep it stable. By the time I left the finger felt 100% better. In fact, I hope to ride tomorrow, just not on a very rough surface. Hmm, that leaves out most of Detroit's roads.

Worse than it looks because I reopened an old scab.

Friday, July 09, 2010

My 15 minutes of fame

A while back I was going through some old mementos and found this page from a magazine. I had appeared in an ad for Mercury clutches, back then the hot setup for mini-bikes. The ad appeared in lots of different magazines and I remember one of my older brother's friends had seen it while stationed in Vietnam. I don't think I got much money for the shoot but reading the mini-bike and motorcycle magazines the ad appeared in was the catalyst for my interest in motorcycles. I do remember the tattoo got a lot of criticism though.

Monday, July 05, 2010

She's Baack!

Sandy arrived home yesterday just in time for the heat wave we are having. Spokane gets hot but humidity is usually far less than here in Michigan. It sure is good to have her back but as I previously wrote, it's too bad things didn't work out where she could stay.

Greg and I had been busy around the house in preparation for her arrival. Not that the house was every that dirty but we wanted everything to be extra nice. The last few days were a little hectic as we cleaned, I finished all my ironing, refinished a piece of furniture we bought last fall, and did last minute grocery shopping on Saturday evening. And I was gone at the Stony marathon MTB race most of the day on Saturday. I think I did an extra marathon just getting everything finished after the race was over.

We succeeded in impressing her. She said she felt like a big weight was off her shoulders since she could simply relax and unwind. She was glad to be in her own home, she said there was something special about being in a place that was truly your own. She was especially surprised by the chest that Greg and I had refinished. But we may have done too good a job in cleaning, now she expects us to keep it like this all the time!

Sandy has to adjust to east coast time and will be taking some time to unpack and get settled back in. It was kind of strange for the three of us to be sitting around the table today when Greg and I had usually sat in different chairs so we could both see the TV while eating. She was out doing some grocery shopping today to get the things that us guys never have bought for ourselves. I imagine in the next week or so she will start the job hunt all over again. But at least this time it can be from home. She will miss the family out west but there is nothing to say we won't move out there, just not in the immediate future.

Saturday I raced the Stony marathon MTB race, really it is just a longer XC race than usual, about twice the normal distance. I had preridden the course last week to get a feel for what gearing I should use and approximate lap times based on my target heart rate. I felt pretty good about the race as the times I was turning were near the top based on last year's results.

The race was going to be a hot one so I didn't want to start out too fast. I kept to my target HR as much as possible and was turning laps in the time I expected. But even though I finished two minutes ahead of last year's winning time I was still almost 10 minutes behind the first place winner and only managed a fourth place. I am not sure I could have gone too much faster anyway as I started to cramp up in the legs a lot on the last lap. I just don't have the the same speed as the top guys in my class, although most of them are much younger. But it is more fun in some ways since I have the extra challenge of competing against younger riders and also seeing how I would have compared against the geared riders of my age.

I don't plan on any more MTB races until August since in a few weeks I will be traveling out west to visit the kids. I also am competing in the Senior Olympic road races in two weeks.