Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Day

Me and Kristine spent our first Christmas Day quietly at home. We both got plenty of great stuff. She must have read my mind (or my Ebay watching list) and got me a new pair of Pearl Izumi cold-weather gloves. I've been using the same pair of PI Pittards Fleece gloves that I got from Pearl direct on an employee purchase deal when I worked at Answer - a long time ago let just say. After opening all the presents, I convinced Kristine in allowing me to go for a quick ride. Perfect weather, about 40 something. No leggings and no gloves for the first time in a while. I needed to burn some calories before our big Christmas feast.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I used to go FAST on this bike?

After ripping around on sub-18lb 'cross bikes for 4 months, it's time to get the MTB back out and attempt to ride that thing. MTB is still my "bread 'n butter" bike, but it takes a few rides to get it re-figured out. The very-rocky trails at my local ride spot are challenging to begin with. Combine that with not being "one" with the bike AND a fresh layer of snow makes for a big meatball sundae. I have over 2 months to get all the cobwebs out before the first mtb so i'm not too concerned.

Cyclocross Season (mostly) Over

With all (or at least 90%) of the craziness out of the way and the bad weather settling in, it's time to start enjoying my LIFE OFF THE BIKE. Went to Quinn's band concert at school the other nite. Not hearing her practice her flute everyday, I didn't realized how good she was. New school for her this year. She's doing OK in school, although old habits die hard, like forgetting to turn the work in. She's in 8th grade now so everything will start to count towards college next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cyclocross Nationals - Elite Men

What a difference a day makes. After yesterdays ice-cold frozen tundra, the sun came out and turned most of the course in to a sloppy muddy mess. Ruts were still frozen but at least there was a coating of gritty slurry covering everything. Starting spot on the grid wasn't too bad since all of these guys are fast. I didn't move up too many spots going up the paved start hill but once we hit the muddy sloppy grass, guys starting flailing like fish on land and I moved up quick. I was able to pick guys off one at a time but any little mistake would send the 10 guys on my wheel right on by. Hit the ground hard twice but at least the ground was softer than yesterday. Coming up the paved hill expecting to see 2 laps to go, I got flagged off the course as the last rider 1 lap down in 41th place out of 98 starters. Tim Johnson and Jonathan Page were coming up right behind me. Johnson has a winning streak going as far as Nationals held in KC, he won the last time they were here and todays weather was flash back to that day. Defending champ Ryan Trebon hit the deck earlier in the race and got smashed by another rider. He on on the ground for a while and the course marshall actually re-routed the course around him till he could be moved. Chris Horner spent the night in the hospital getting his appendix removed so he was a DNS.

Cyclocross Nationals - Masters 35-39

With guys like Travis Brown, Mark McCormick, Brandon Dwight, and a host of other fast guys, this was going to be EPIC. The muddy ruts from the previous days races were frozen solid and treacherous. Several inches of fresh snow fell over night and it kept snowing throughout the race. I had a terrible start position but that really didn't matter. I was able to move up about 30 parts on the long paved uphill start hill and then got by other 20 or so as we hit the grass and guys started hitting the deck everywhere. I kept it upright and picked guys off one after another. The first lap was a mess in the traffic but once I got past all of that and up into the top 20, things were easier as the talent level was higher and the lines could be picked easier. The main line was getting too much traffic and polishing out so the the fastest route was often off-line in the fresh snow. I managed to pull off 16th place out of 90+ starters. Not too bad. A better starting grid spot would have made a top 10 for sure. NEXT YEAR, I'll register a little earlier. An old teammate of mine on Nantucket Nectar/Specialized took the win ahead of Mark McCormick who was right with Brandon till he crashed into a lapped rider. Tough Break.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Kansas State Cyclocross Championships

COLD, COLD, COLD. The temps were in the high teens, and the ground covered some fresh frizal (that's freezing drizzle). The paved sections of the course had to be taken out since they were like ice rinks. The rest of the course was acutally fun and challenging. The "run up" was actually ridable for all the guys in my 1/2/3 race. The turnout was rather small with only 4 guys braving the elements. Shadd Smith and Cameron Chambers set the early pace with me pulling up the rear and not doing very good at it. I kept Cameron close for the first half of the race but faded from that point on. The only other guy in the race, Joseph Smaltz, was no where close behind me so it was just a solo training ride for the last 25 or so minutes. I never did feel my toes the whole race, or for about 30 minutes after the race. Thankfully the race venue (a high school) hot showers available so I rode straight from the finish line to the showers to unthaw. Kristine bundled up and braved the weather and got some great pics. She had my street cloths and towel waiting for me as I ran to the showers. Right now, it's super cold out here but it's supposed to warm up before Nationals next weekend so that course could turn into a real mess.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Going back to Cali, Cali, Cali

Spent the weekend in SoCal with Kristines family to watch the big UCLA vs USC game, drink plenty of beer, and exchange some early x-mas gifts. Heading for the airport right after work on Friday. Southwest Airlines is always a comedy show with wings and this time was no exception. Any plain heading for Vegas (we though though Vegas on the way to the O.C.) on a Friday night is bound to have a few drunks or people trying to get drunk. The row in front of us had 3 girls heading out to LV for a bachorlette party. The Plane left KC about 30 minutes late due to bad weather in Vegas. No big deal if we were only going to Vegas, but we had a catch the connecting flight (more on that one below). The 3 stewardess's (2 chicks and 1 dude) offered a free drink to any passenger that could guess their combined age. After about 30 minutes, they came though the cabin and wrote everybodies guess down. After reviewing the results, they announced that only 1 person on the whole plane guessed the right answer: Row 9, on the right-side of the plane, in the middle seat? Since it's Southwest, nobody know's what row their in so everybody starts looking around and eventually everybody is looking at me :-) YEP, I got it. I free Heini ! Know the rest of the story about our connecting flight. Since we left KC 30 minutes late and only had a 1 hr layover in LV, we had to hussle to out next gate. We look on the Departures board and it isn't even listed. Uh Oh. Some random guy laying on the floor under the departures board pipes in: "you lookin for Orange County, it hasn't been up there in hours, don't know when it's leaving.............". Great! We find a Southwest person that directed us to a gate. We get there and find out that 2 different planes are coming in to that gate and depending on which one gets there first, that will determine the next flight leaving that gate. Fortunately, the right plane made it first and we were soon (albeit about an hour late) on our way to Orange County. Saturday was spent tail-gating (on the couch) and eventually watching USC give the Bruins a beating. X-mas gift exchange and a fantastic prime-rib dinner ended the evening. Sunday was spent walking the 2 dogs (Kona and Sammy) up at the Huntington Beach off-leash area. After that it was back to the airport for the flight back to the cold crisp air of KC. Now i'm at work, falling asleep 'cause I hit the pillow at 2am this morning and up at 6.