Monthly Archives: May 2008

Excuses

It’s been a while since I posted and I have all the usual excuses: I’ve been sick, I’ve been busy and I haven’t had much to say.

I got sick on my birthday and I’m not a good sick person. It makes me grumpy. Every day I think I feel better but the nausea just keeps coming back. Hopefully this will pass soon.

Despite not feeling well, I spent much of the weekend at the Beach Sportsplex watching Ellie’s ACN select squad play in a soccer tournament. Ellie scored the first goal in the second game on Saturday, which her team went on to win. Unfortunately that was their only win. They lost their first game to a tough West Virginia squad. On Sunday, they played a Charlottesville team close through much of the first half of the semifinals before the wheels came off. They wound up losing 0-2. The team looks great for moments. Wish we could string all those moments together for a full game.

On Monday, I probably didn’t do the smartest thing. I drove to Williamsburg and rode 70 miles with some friends in the long-planned Billy-Roubaix. Probably set my recovery back. More on the ride a little later.

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Things not to do when mountain bike racing

1) Don’t put the mountain bike away for two months between races and expect to race well.

2) Don’t start a race feeling real hungry.

3) Don’t roll wet roots like you do when they’re dry.

4) Don’t destroy your bike.

The second race this spring at Camp Hilbert was nothing short of a disaster for me. I hadn’t ridden the old K2 since the first race back on March 9, so my MTB-specific handling and conditioning were absent.

Even though I ate like I normally do pre-race, including a peanut-butter-and-jelly and a banana about 90 minutes prior, I started to feel real hungry about 30 minutes before the start. I should have eaten something else, but I didn’t. I felt hungry and empty throughout the race.

Still I started well enough, getting good positioning as IF rider Jeff Herrick disappeared ahead of us. However, I quickly bobbled several little technicalities, slowing Scott Ramsay behind me. He got by and rode away to ultimately finish third. I hooked up with Kevin and we rolled along for a bit, but along the creekside I took a line across some big roots that I clean when dry. Not this time. The bike slipped out and I slammed my shoulder into a tree. The chain jammed down, so it took me a minute to get rolling again. When I did, my left thumb was throbbing. It hurt throughout the rest of the race. I think I hyperextended it. (Feels better today.)

However nothing hurt quite like just not feeling good on the bike and watching the other classes start to come through me. I ultimately finished dead last in my vet expert group and my lap times were slow enough to place me well down in the sport vet class I was winning two years ago. No excuses. My form just wasn’t there. I need to work to get it back.

But first I need a new mountain bike. The seat tube of my long-serving K2 frame cracked near where the rear shock attaches. Noticed it after the race. That’s the second frame I’ve cracked in a year.

Thanks again to Marc Junkerman and his RunRideRace for putting on a great race. Wish I’d kept my running up so I could do the duathlon he’s got coming up in two weeks (presuming I had a bike to do it on).

What team means

Team means not getting left behind even when you arrive late to the group ride.

I headed out to the Tuesday night World Championships in Great Bridge after dropping a job candidate off at the airport. The traffic on Interstate 64 was bad enough that I arrived at the starting point just as the group rolled out. As I parked I noticed that Bill, Tim, Kevin and Laura from Tripower, plus Chris from Fat Frogs waited for me. I changed as quickly as possible, but it still took me four or five minutes to get myself together before we rolled out.

Our warm-up last maybe a half mile, then we were rolling at 23-24. We didn’t take any shortcuts, but we started catching stragglers on Long Ridge Road and even had the lead group in our sights, though well ahead on the cutover to Head of River. We amped the pace to 26-27 out Head of River. Each time I pulled through, I hammered as best I could (if they waited for me, I ought to work my butt off to get them back to the lead group). After each pull I had to really hump to remain in the paceline. We caught the lead group on Blackwater and moved straight to the front.

As we turned off Blackwater, Tim punched it to 29 with me on his wheel. I was hypoxic, but I held on… briefly. I couldn’t pull through so Kevin did with Bill on his wheel. There was no one behind them. Tim bridged, but I just couldn’t do it. I looked back to see Laura and two other riders about 100 meters back, so I waited and jumped on with them. We kept them in sight, chasing hard for a while at 27. Laura and I even shed the other two riders, but we lost sight of the escaping trio after the turn on to Indian Creek.

I was spent. My pulls slowed to 22-23-24 as we passed Northwest River Park. Laura, who recently upgraded to Cat 2, remained strong. Not long after the turn onto Cedarville, the chasing duo caught back on us and we rolled all the way home, but I was dying. I haven’t been so fried in a while. In the end I averaged 24.5mph for 36 miles. Ouch.

Turns out one of the twosome Laura and I rode with was Jason Lloyd, a triathlete and former teammate from my Port Norfolk Bike days. We were surprised to recognize each other after the ride.

I want to thank Bill, Tim, Kevin, Laura and Chris for waiting. That really is what a team is all about.