Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Doctor, doctor...

Gimme the news, I got a bad case of the IT Band, deep knee bruise, scaphoid fracture/wrist sprain blues. OK, only the first one is officially diagnosed. Tomorrow is doctor day. Appointments just so I can get more appointments, PT to tell me I walk and run really funny, and hopefully an answer to my wrist issue. Since July 19th I can not bend my wrist back without pain. I can pull at my wrist and actually move the position of the bones. You can hear and feel them move. I can not do one, yes one, push-up. Every stroke in the pool has a pain in the wrist. How many strokes are in 3500 yards? A lot. Heaven forbid I catch my thumb on something. Holy shitballs, does that send a shooting pain up the forearm. You can imagine how much fun it is to hold an mtb handlebar or ride in the hoods bouncing around in a cross race. It friggin hurts. Every little bump, aaarrgghh.
Then I have another stupid crash at Whirlybird. Low speed around a tree, but my knee is flexed and lands squarely on a tree root sticking out of the ground. After two weeks of riding my knee has won the pain battle with my wrist. Every pedal stroke was a sharp pain under my kneecap. IC Lite was the icing on the pain cake. I could pedal about 400 meters on Sunday. Walking yes, pedaling no dice.
So after two days with no riding or running I see the doctor tomorrow. At this point I just want to know what is up. I just do not want to hear, "rest".

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Polishing a turd

That is pretty much what racing felt like yesterday. No matter shiny you got it, it was still a turd in the end. Whirlybird cross was a great event. The course was super, barring one small thing that will surely be fixed for '10. Guy's Bicycles team have shown what hard work and being open to rider feedback can do for an event. The event has grown threefold since 2007. Kudos to all involved.
To the race. I had just built the new bike Thursday and was ready to race it. i warmed up on hte bike and felt good. I just managed to talk myself out of racing it. That was the first wax on wax off of my proverbial cross turd. A blah start and a seat that was too low on bike 2 led to a painful first two laps. As I started to come around I slid out in a corner and drilled my knee. No big time loss, just something that does not happen usually. A lap later I get tangled in a crash in front of me and end up with some handlebars in my wheel. At this point the turd is pretty shiny and still four more laps of polishing. I soldiered and shined on, always feeling like it was a death march. At one point Tom McDaniel states "you don't look so fresh this week". I reply, "I am not so fresh this week", and so it goes.
End up fifth, I definitely did not deserve any better. It was a great course, I saw some friends I have not seen in a while, and still had some fun. So be it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

#1 in the country baby

Not on a bike, but with work amazingly enough. Albeit only for the first month in Q4, our #1 spot has moved us up to #2 in the country for the year. Interestingly enough, my counterparts in Harrisburg are #1. The ironic thing is, all four of us were talking today about how we may not have a job in two months.
With a decent August for us, and a less than stellar August for the Harrisburg team, we may be #1 in the country for the year, with one month to report. That would be a fine showing.
Still totally on edge about the job. I think all will be OK. I have a few things working in my favor, however you just never know what will happen until the day you are told "wait by your phone to be told if you have a job, and where it will be". The most ironic thing about that is the call is more than likely going to be made November 13th. As in, Friday the 13th.
The Colonel himself could not have planned it any better.

Monday, September 21, 2009

To be shamed, or not to be shamed...

...into starting this thing back up.
It is not like it is a literary masterpiece. It is not like my life is so intriguing. Maybe that is the point. Ok I will give it a run.
Cross is here. It is a beautiful thing in the Mid-Atlantic region. You can race every weekend from mid September through mid December and never drive more than two hours to a race. Cross is friggin' booming. Over 400 at T-town and 600+ at Charm City this weekend. People dig cross. It is fast, exciting, fun, short and easy to spectate. It is not a surprise to me that cross is surpassing road and mountain race numbers in the Mid-Atlantic. Cross has the speed and tactics of the road, the bike handling and turning skills of mountain biking, and everything is right in front of you.
I will leave this parting thought from my friend Mike Yozell and add a little twist.
"I am not a cross racer, I am a bike racer. I race bikes, I like bikes, I just happen to be racing cross right now."
Enjoy cross season kids, and also remember just how fun it is to ride/race those other bikes in your garage.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It is that time again...

...where all my bike racing and blogging buddies are out slaying it on the bike in hopes that this year is better than last. It really does not matter if the previous year was great or not. The only thing that really matters to most is how can I be a little better than last year. Not that there is anything wrong with that, personally I fall in the same boat. The shit end of this is, The Law of Diminishing Returns. At some point in the future, you will be less good, effective, whatever, than you were in the past. Before you/we/I hit that point and inevitably have some sort of crisis, just take a little stock in the good moments and accomplishmentsthat you have been a part of.
It is an interesting phenomenon in that, people seem to not really enjoy the good things that they have accomplished. I am not saying to dwell on that touchdown run in the high school homecoming game 23 years ago. I am saying afford yourself the confidence and perspective that some of the things that you/I/we have done have been good accomplishments and/or significant. Moreso than just, "I can do better". We do not need to gloat or brag. Accountability is more than taking credit for the bad, it is also taking credit for the good.
I am not really sure how I ended up with this topic. It certainly was not planned. For my family's benefit, there is no need to interpret this into some sort of crisis. All is well. All is going very well. In fact I am taking stock as to what I have accomplished in my life and in the sport that I love. I am not afraid to say I am pretty proud of it. I am not throwing it in anyone's face either.
All this self-indulgent drivel has thrown me for a loop. I am not sure where to go, so I better stop.
I am definitely looking forward to doing some racing in about a month. I definitely lookforward to returning to my inner geek, sans Speedo, as well.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feels like...

Last year this time I would be on the bike no worries. This year, yeah, a bit different. I have all of a sudden become averse to the three hour solo 24 degree 15mph wind training ride. Maybe I am smarter? Maybe I am more of a sissy? I guess I will do a little knobby tire MTB ride over to the local poaching locale and twirl for 90 minutes and slog home. As I write this, upstairs, I just heard K breathing hard on the trainer downstairs. I shudder to think what that effort was. She can suffer as much if not more than anyone I know. Yep, for numbers geeks she was rolling along at her race TT pace. Hay friggin' Zeus!
Enough on training.
I have the good fortune of having a pretty good job. One of the downsides of the job, downside if you actually give a shit about humanity, is that I spend a fair amount of time in community mental health centers. One of which is a facility for children. There are times when I leave that place and am so sad and disheartened. Thursday was one of those days. A major scientific premise, that has been proven, is that mental health disorders are hereditary. Your risk factors increase exponentially if your parents suffer from a mental health disorder. That being said, I was in this facility for about 30-40 minutes Thursday and 50% of the parents that brought their kids in, were definitely passing along some less than stellar genes. The other 50% were such derelicts that I felt so bad for the kids. Those poor kids do not stand a chance in their lifetime. What is your chance for a decent life if your point of reference is someone that has a hard time living their own life? It is moments like these that I hate doing what I do. Not because I am not of value, but because I see little kids that are destined for such an incredibly hard life. No matter what any doctor, nurse, therapist will do or say the unfortunate child is still going home to a parent/guardian that will only make matters worse.
Let me be clear that you do not need to be affluent to be a great parent. This has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with bad parenting and the unfortunate fact that children of parents with a mental health disorder are forever stuck behind life's eight ball.
So in tough economic times and you think you have it bad, take a field trip to your local community mental health center or MHMR facility and sit in the waiting room for thirty minutes. It will give you a new perspective of the gifts that we have, and take for granted.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Humble pie

Yep, had my fair share on Saturday. We went climbing at Earth Treks in Timonium on Saturday. One of K's friends has been after her to go climbing for a while, and Saturday finally worked out. We set off to experience something different and try a new challenge.
Well, challenge it was. Holy handholds, Batman. As I type this my forearms are still tight and my grip strength, what little there is, is finally returning. Climbing was fun, and incredibly humbling. We both went through the 5.6/7 beginner routes with ease. Then it was on to some tougher stuff, with more incline. I tried a route that absolutely paralyzed my forearms for the rest of the day. I "completed" the route eventually. To make an analogy, it would be like McEwen hanging on to the window of the team car up the Ventoux and contesting a sprint. Yeah, I "completed" it. K's friends were such amazing climbers, and even better people. The maneuvered the wall with a crazy combination of power and grace. They took their climbing time to coach us and belay us, as we hung off the wall trying to shake some feeling into our forearms.
Climbing was fun and I can only imagine how much satisfaction you would get climbing outdoors. Listening to Ross explain climbs he did was so cool. I am definitely looking forward to the next time. Next time I will set aside my athletic ego. Hey I can pedal a bike fast, therefore I MUST be able to climb a wall. Right?
I have always had a great deal of respect for those who can do something that is so physically demanding. Saturday just proved that point again. I was amazed at the skill I witnessed Saturday. Maybe next time I will eat some humble pie before hand and work my way through the challenges, commensurate to my skill level.
I wonder what Steve Rice is doing these days?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cold Turkey

I put the road bike away somewhere around the beginning of September. I have not been on a "road" bike since then. Granted it is somewhat semantics, as I rode my cross rigs on the road during CX season. In fact I do not even have a road steed built up at the present time. My last roadie started to crack at the chainstay so I am patiently awaiting the warranty replacement and my fixie is apart since I switched some cranks around for K.
I am going to break down and actually build the fixie back into a road steed this weekend. The fixie has just become an ornament in the garage, so I might as well build up a rain bike with soem older road parts. Hopefully the new steed arrives soon so I can build up yet another white bike, with some fancy schmancy Red shifters. Who knows maybe I will even race it? Prolly not. Better chance racing the TT bike than a pure road bike this year.
Funny how things can be cyclic. I lived and died for the road a few years back. Now, I could honestly care less if I ever race on the road again. I am quite sure that the road scene could honestly care less if I ever came back as well. MTB and cross are much more fun, at least for me. I guess you just get to a point where you want to do some different things. I remember speaking with Ry a few years back before Lower Providence crit. Your prototypical four corner mind-numbing 40 laps. Ry asked if I was doing an MTB race that day. I said that I was doing LP crit, his reply has always stuck with me. "Woo hoo 160 right hand turns, that should be fun." Crit racing was fun, but it just pales in comparison right now. With all the good road events around Lancaster I should check some out. I am sure they will be quality events.
I wonder if Mike Miller is counting his pretzel intake yet?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New year, new leaf

Obviously my last post alluding to more literary prowess went by the wayside. With so many things to pontificate upon maybe I was just overwhelmed?
After a much needed two week hiatus from work, I have hit the new year fresh, relaxed and in better spirits than I have seen for years. Which segues into part of the new leaf for '09.
I am going back to my roots, so to speak. I entered the bike game as a geek, and I am returning to geekdom. Well, at least off-road geekdom. In search of something different than just turning circles, I am going to compete in XTerra races this summer. The end goal has not changed from the past few seasons, National Champion. Legit National Champion this year. No gravity hucking, pure endurance for '09. Maybe this is even more legit than any two wheeled only national Championship I have been striving for? Maybe not, just more work.
So yes, the bike leaf has changed, at least somewhat.
The personal leaf, now that will make any success or lack thereof in 2009 pretty insignificant. No matter what happens on the bike, it is only a bike. I go to bed and wake up a happy, fortunate man.
Time to ride some virgin snow.