Monday, March 30, 2009 the Hospital

After last weekends beating at Fayetteville, I was more than ready to get back on the dirt. Fortunately for me, the next race on the list was in Warda, TX at Bluff Creek Ranch. A short 90 minute drive. The Saturday before the race, I threw on my new warranty replacement wheel from Stan's (props to them for a quick turn around) and prepped my bike. Although I worked all day Saturday, I managed to get everything dialed in a ready to go with very little stress.

After work, I headed over to Morgan's parents house to celebrate her Dad's birthday. The food was excellent and the times were good. A few hours later, I went over to Mr. Comardo's residence since he was racing on Sunday too. We loaded up and headed to my place soon to find Marshall on the edge of his seat watching the US vs. El Salvador soccer game. Good thing I showed up, because USA tied it up shortly after my arrival. The Dynamo game was on after the USA game, but I had to pack so I missed it. Go team!

Anyway, the plan was to leave at 8am, getting us there in just enough to register, get our bike costumes on, and warm-up. All went smoothly until the warm-up. Unfortunately, Mitch's bike was acting up and eventually forced him to pull out of the race. A definite bummer because he is in great form. Now, for my race report...

I made sure I got a good warm-up beforehand because I tend to neglect this crucial pre-race ritual. I felt fresh and pretty snappy so I was in high hopes. The race started as riders began jockeying for position. As we entered the single track I was right in the mix of it. My legs felt good, I was in control of myself, and was riding at a comfortable speed. My only complaint was that I had not ridden trails in quite some time so my handling skills were not up to snuff on the first lap. Other than that, lap 1 was a success, on to lap 2. As I entered the trees for the second time, I was feeling smooth and relaxed, ready to pick up the pace. I was caught behind some guys who were struggling so I tried to pass them. Unfortunately, I was not aggressive enough and lost a few minutes riding too slow. Once we were out of the thickets, I opened it up and tried to bridge up to the riders in front of me. I was feeling great! I passed one more rider right before Gas Pass, a speedy downhill section, and was flying all the way to the 90 degree turn. I roosted the turn and began bombing down hill. Using my prior experience from BMX I began cruising over the rollers. As I approached the final and largest roller I tried to hop over it for a clean and clear landing, but as a I pulled up on the bars, they rotated in the stem and my rear wheel hit the lip of the hump sending me flying over the bars onto my head. I hit the ground hard crushing my helmet and leaving me in the fetal position. Fortunately, I crashed at the feet of one of my buddies from Bike Sport, Jack Gutweiller and he sprang into action. I took me about 10 minutes to collect myself and get my bike rideable again until I was off. I was riding on pure adrenaline trying to make up for lost time. The 3rd lap went great, but as the 4th was approaching I began to feel the aches and pains from my encounter with the dirt. I was not about to DNF so I pressed on, catching two guys in my class ahead of me. As soon as I crossed the line, I hopped off my bike and took a seat on the ground. Soon enough, I was being examined by the EMT's which eventually led to a trip to the emergency room. After getting my brain, neck, and back scanned, I was released with no signs of major injury. Thank God for helmets. All in all, I was fairly pleased with my race. My fitness was definitely there and I know I could have placed well if I hadn't nearly died.
A big thanks goes out to my family and especially Morgan for taking care of me. Morgan went above and beyond yesterday and today to make sure I was comfortable and safe, so thanks! Another thanks/congratulations goes to the big stick Andrew for checking on me during and after his race. He also ended up 6th overall in a very fast cat 1 field. Plus, he rode 45 miles off road the day prior.

This coming week will be focused on my recovery for the Ouachita Challenge. I'm pretty sure I'll be 100 percent by the time Sunday rolls around, so it should be a good time. I am also excited because I get to install my new Chris King bottom bracket. Hopefully, it will give me some extra fitness.

That's all for now, tune in next time.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring No-Break

Last week was supposed to be the highly anticipated Spring Break. A time where college students are able to enjoy the warm weather and get some much needed rest. Unfortunately, that was none to be had by this guy. I ended up working more than I had wanted to, but the shop definitely needed the extra help. Kyle, the owner, was short handed so I figured I'd try to pitch in while I could. I also had to be at school some to work on a big project for my advertising campaigns class. It wasn't too bad being there, but actually getting to school was the tough part.
St. Patrick's Day took place during this hiatus from school, so Mitch, Marshall, Ari, Morgan, and myself set out to celebrate our Irish roots. We ended up at no other than Kenneally's Irish Pub, a favorite of mine. Sporting our green, we discover that a few other people have decided to visit the local pub few I mean about 3000. None the less, we try to have a good time. In short, all I can say is I think I was poisoned by my beloved Newcastle. You wouldn't think such a delectable golden beverage would ever treat you wrong, but it most certainly did. Marshall and I both were sick the next day and it wasn't from drinking too much. I should have drank water.
The "highlight" of my break, and I use that term loosely, was the Fayetteville Stage Race on Saturday and Sunday. Maybe I was a bit over confident going into the weekend, but it was good to get some much needed high intensity work and extra miles into the legs. I feel as if I have been working fairly hard to obtain my cycling goals this year, but it's hard not to want to dominate everyone all the time. There are some who can, but they are hard to come by.

The Saturday road race was fairly tame, and with 93 Cat 4 pro's it was hard to make a move anywhere. Several times I contemplated violating the yellow line rule (a safety rule that condenses the peloton into one lane of traffic) but decided I didn't want to get hit by a car or nailed with a time penalty, so I sat in... boring... The next event for the day was the individual time trial. This event separates the men from the boys and I assumed I would be able to rip it up. Much to my disappointment, I didn't. Now, I have a million excuses for why I didn't live up to my expectations, but in the end I was not the fastest man. Oh well, many lessons were learned and I still had Sunday left to make things happen. As the morning of the race rolls around, I get my sexy bike costume on and head to the start. The first lap of three is pretty mellow as everyone gets a feel for the race, but once lap two starts, the attacks come. Unfortunately, I am one of those who attacked, and being the high priority target I am (sarcasm) was reeled back in after a short stint out front. It was looking like it was going to be another day for a pack finish as the peloton would not let anyone go, so I sat in and tried to make it to the end. Now, I consider myself a pretty strong rider for how green I am to the sport, but one thing I did not take into account this weekend was the surging involved with road racing. It was brutal. I did manage to hang in until the finish so all in all it was a good training race and I didn't get crash. I can't say that I am stoked about my results, but I have to think long term and what my pre-season goals where. None of which included road racing.

Oh ya, congrats to Mitch for being in the P1/2 break for 70 miles on Sunday and killing the time trial. There were some big time pro's in his race, but he managed to equalize with them and end up 7th in the GC. Another congrats to Kyle Johnson for his victory at Cameron Park. Now cat up jerk!

One cool thing I did try out this weekend was the Normatec MVP ( recovery agent. Shaun Taylor, an endurance freak and Sugar Cycles athlete, picked up this machine not too long ago and let some of the roadies use it. I must say I was skeptical at first, but my post race fatigue was significantly reduced. A cool product for sure that will certainly help Shaun in his quest for glory at the BC Bike Race. Good luck to him.

My next road event will be the Houston Grand Crit, but until then I have much more time on the dirt to enjoy. The next two weekends I have an XC race out at Bluff Creek Ranch in Warda, TX and then the Ouachita Challenge, a 60 mile mountain bike race in Arkansas. Both of which I am looking forward to.

This concludes our program, have a nice day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Random Happenings

The bad weather has finally passed and the sun is out. Good timing for Spring Break! I also have been granted time off so I can do the Fayetteville Stage Race. Now, I just have to build up a time trial bike and get some race wheels. I hope my fitness is good, but I am confident.

In other news, this campaigns project for school is annoying. In two months I won't have to deal with so many things I care so little about. Like I've said before, I am not an academic.

Oh, I finally bought new tennis shoes after 5 years. My New Balances had seen better days so I picked up some new Zoot Advantage running shoes. Pretty slick I must say. I am not a runner, but its nice to have some kicks that are lightweight and have some support. Zoot says they are made specifically so you don't have to wear socks with them which I don't normally do, but its nice to have options. I also don't have to tie them which is another plus.

Another awesome thing I have discovered is the latest and greatest in drink technology. DRANK! This beverage has some excellent qualities.

1. It tastes like grape soda
2. It mellows you out like a cold brew, but is non-alcoholic
3. It wears off quickly, so there are no lingering effects.

Now it's probably not healthy in any regard, but I can't argue with something so tasty.

That's all for now people. Stay classy

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The End is Near

So, I have some time to write a blog entry so here goes...

This is my final semester in college. It's been a long, horrible, five year journey. When I look back and see what I have accomplished or learned I notice a few things. Most of the things I feel proud of are not academically related in any way. In fact, I don't think I've really learned a whole lot in college. Maybe about life and all that, but most of the true learning I've done has come from experiences outside the classroom.

I've poured blood, sweat, and tears into one activity with hundreds of like minded individuals. When I think of what ever motivated me to do something so strenuous and time consuming, its hard to say. Drum corps truly was the most mentally and physically challenging thing I have ever done and to be removed from it at the age of 21 is difficult. It's been two years now since I've stepped foot on the field for a performance and I have to say I miss it. I often have dreams that I get the opportunity to march, but they are just that, dreams. The microcosm of life that is drum corps can't be summed up with words. I'm hoping that one day I can fill the void in my life with something as challenging and as rewarding as my time behind the drum.

Cycling seems to be the only thing that can occupy my mind. It certainly has been an interesting learning experience, much like drum corps was. With drum corps, you have no choice to work hard and put in the time/effort. With cycling, self discipline is everything. In order to achieve the highest level possible you must make the time to ride, eat the right foods, get your sleep, and execute your workouts...but no one is telling you to do that. You will be as fast as you are willing to be. Maybe that's why I like it. The individual is responsible for the outcome, not anyone else. Anyway, this season I've made it a point to train and race to the best of my ability. So far, it's been a tough road. My first two mountain bike races, the Mas o' Menos 100k and the Bar H Bash, haven't been the best, but I am still content and know my fitness will continue to improve. I haven't been racing very long and know that is my limiting factor, but I'm not giving up.

Enough rambling. I'm on Spring Break, but I still have to be at school. That's pretty lame if I do say so myself. My mountain bike race at Waco was also postponed this weekend, so now I have to decide whether or not I want to do a the Fayetteville Stage Race or go to Waco next weekend. Hopefully big boss man will let me have the weekend off. We'll see...till next time


Greetings earthlings, I am back with a new blog. Check back soon for updates.