Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dana Point Gran Prix

While I was in Sunny SoCal for the weekend, we checked out the Dana Point GP. Floyd Landis was there but I don't think he's a crit specialist. He did draw TONS of spectators however. A former MTB team-mate of mine, Neil Shirley is riding for the Kelly Benefits team this year and was on the final 4-man break with a few laps to go. Unfortunately, Rock Racing went to the front on the final lap and set up Rahsaan Bahati for the win. Neil's hard work paid off since team-mate Alexander Candelario came in 3rd. Neil and I were team-mates on the Turner/Fantasy Springs team years ago. I caught up with him after the race to congratulate him.

Sunny Southern California

Spent the weekend in California relaxing with family and enjoying some perfect beach weather.

Any trip back to California has to start with a stop a Baja Fresh. When I first moved to the Kansas City area in 2004, there were 2 of them still here. Why they left is beyond me. We spent the day at beach, went out to Balboa Island, then headed to Kristine's Sister Michelle and Brother-in-Law Brad's house. Sunday we headed down to Dana Point for brunch at the harbor, then over the the Dana Point GP venue. Gorgeous area over-looking the ocean. Great family atmosphere and the Michelle 2 little ones had all kinds of fun.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Week in Review

After last weeks emotional car bomb seem to blow both legs off, it was a challenge to get them fired back up. Had a great group of people over on Sunday for some burgers, beer, and hotdogs. Finally turning 40 was sort off anticlimactic, since I've felt about 45 since last fall. Tuesday Nights Crit was fast but a little sketchy. I had no problem sitting it but bugged out with 3 to go. Legs were a bit heavy still after riding to work and back. I accomplished my workout and didn't need to see any more bar banging. Me and a couple other guys hung around and jumped in the B race to help it flow better and stay together. We patrolled around the group and tried to keep things more organized and helped draft some dropped riders back into the group. Mission accomplished as the group was almost intact for the sprint. Wednesday's hill ride wasn't too bad. I "managed" to stay in the front group all the way till my turn off at Woodland and Praire Star. I use the word "managed" loosly here 'cause it wasn't very pretty. I kept getting popped out of good position, then had to fight back on. Did this once on the first climb and twice on Renner. The Woodland climb stayed together all the way up till about 100feet before the top, then I was cooked and the anchor came out. Had visions of finally hitting some trails tonite but then woke up to some impressive rain this morning. The rain actually woke ME up. So much for riding off-road. Might as well hang that bike up. Heading to SoCal this weekend to see family. Watching the Dana Point Gran Prix on Sunday. Should be a good show with Floyd Landis there and most of the domestic Pro guys there. Italy trip is getting close. 4 weeks and counting.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lou 2/15/97 - 4/17/09

It was an extremely rough week for Kristine and I. Last Friday we said goodbye to Louise, our adorable little white Westie dog. She had developed complications earlier in the week from a combination of Diabetes, Cushing’s Disease, and Pancreatitis. “Lou”, as we always called her, was a feisty little dog, very funny, very cute and snug-able. Lou was very special.
Lou came into my life about 6 1/2 years ago through a strange set of circumstances, when I still lived in California. I hadn’t had a dog since I was a kid, and at the time, I did not want a dog since I already had cats to deal with. That all changed the very first day Lou came into my life. Not long after I got Lou, I left California behind and moved to Kansas. Lou made the long 24 hour drive with me. She loved to travel and sat on my lap for much of the trip.
Lou embodied all the characteristics you’d expect from a Westie. She was definitely a large personality in a little cute white dog. Everybody that ever met Lou said she was special. For the first 4 years I had Lou, she wasn’t exposed to other dogs, just the 2 cats I had. She was extremely active and chased squirrels around the back yard all day. Lou was my therapy dog, always there for me and she would always put a smile on my face during difficult times. One of those difficult times came about 2 ½ years ago. One chapter of my life had come to an end and it was Lou that got me through it. Little did I know how big a role Lou would be in starting the next chapter in my life. I met Kristine in January 2007. She loved Westies, loved me, and she loved how I loved Lou. Kristine had 2 big dogs and Lou was a bit of a handful around them at first. After all, she’d only been around cats since I had her, so she didn’t really know how to be a dog. She quickly figured it out and before long, she ran the show. Buster and Athena, are about 100 lbs and 40 lbs, while Lou was only 24 lbs. Size doesn’t matter with dogs.
It was extremely funny to watch her interact with Buster and Athena. If Buster got too crazy, Lou was right there. If Buster had a chewy, Lou was right there stalking him trying to steal it. Buster was afraid of Lou since Lou would often nip at him. Lou and Athena would cuddle up together when Athena was cold.
Lou was very protective of us. See would always sit on our laps or on the floor next to us. At night, she would spend part of the night on the floor facing the door. Lou had lots of funny nicknames that all have great stories behind them: Snap Dragon, Shmoodle, Squirrel Hunter, Cute Little White Dog. Lou was extremely happy. The sole purpose in a dogs life is to make its owner happy and she did that tirelessly.
Lou turned 12 earlier this year. She was born 2/15/97 according to her AKC paperwork. She was still active and very sharp but obviously slowing down. She didn’t show this much but we could tell. Dogs will often not show any signs that they are having problems. They do this so that they do not lose there place with the other dogs and to keep making their owner happy. They sometimes do this until it is too late. As dogs do with each other, they could smell something was wrong. She starting having a tough time getting up the stairs and became very lethargic. We took her into our Vet and they ran some blood tests. She probably always had Diabetes but she never let it show. We knew she had Cushing’s disease, but it hadn’t really effected her yet. The Pancreatitis had apparently developed recently and her blood values became extremely bad. She spent all day Wednesday at Aid Animal Hospital, were Dr. Rowe worked to get her numbers back in line. We brought her home that night and she really seemed to improve. She perked right up and her appetite was as good as ever. We were very happy and hopeful, and of course Lou was happy that we were happy. She was hiding how she really felt in order to make us happy and to show the other dogs that she was still in charge. Thursday morning we took her back in for more fluids, medications, and more blood tests to see if things were getting better. He hadn’t improved from Wednesday. We again brought her home Thursday night to be with us. She was very tired and could no longer get up. The harsh reality was beginning to set in that we would have to make that ultimate decision. Lou was a fighter and hadn’t given up. She didn’t really move around much Thursday night, but still pulled enough energy together to go over and take a chewy that Athena had. She couldn’t do much with it expect lay on it to show the other dogs that she still could. She still wasn’t ready to let go. A dog will tell you when it’s time. That time came early Friday morning. I cuddled her in bed for a while before I eventually had to leave for work. Kristine took her to Aid Animal Hosptial for the 3rd day. We both knew what was eventually going to happen but that hardly prepares you for when it actually does. I was not doing very well at work thinking about this and stepped outside for a moment to collect myself. That’s when the call came from Kristine. The hospital had called and Lou’s condition was deteriorating quickly. She was not in pain, but too weak to move any more and her breathing was very labored. We were both there, and Lou was happy, almost smiling at us. She even tried to perk up her little ears when I said “Squirrel?” We took her outside for a while and just held her. It was important that we let Lou know that it was OK to stop fighting and that she could let go. We both petted her and told her we loved her till it was over. This was the first time I have ever went though this and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Lou was a huge part of our lives and it felt like a piece of us left with her. Our Sun rose and set with her. Driving home afterwards, there was the most beautiful sunset. Lou wasn’t just a pet. She was a great friend. Time heals all wounds and time will heal this one. We still have 2 terrific dogs that love us both and we both love them. Buster and Athena are both going though the same emotions that Kristine and I are going though. A time will come when I will be able to think about Lou or see her picture, and it will only bring a smile to my face, and not the tears it does now. How long that will take is unknown, but not a day will go by that she’s not remembered.

I miss my little white dog
I miss my friend….

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tasty Singletrack!

As I watch the pouring rain and hail build up on my deck, I'm so glad I hit the trails for a hour tonite before this crap blew in. Trails at SMP were BONE DRY and gates still closed. I'm in good shape right now, not great, but the lack off off-road riding really hurts the technical skills. The Bonebender 3/6hr race is coming up. Could be my last mtb race of the year. Heading out to sunny SoCal in a couple weeks to celebrate my big 40th birthday with family, both mine and Kristines. My beloved little white dog Louis gave us a little scare. She broke off a tooth so we got her antibiotics just incase. She seemed to really slow down and we feared the worst. We've since taking her off those and she's starting to perk up again. We're hoping she just had a bad reaction to the meds and she'll be back to her fiesty self in no time.

Too Much...

Good week of riding so far. Up and down weather as usually. Sunday cold and rainy, Monday just plain cold, but got out and did about an hour on the cx bike at Lake Lenexa. Tuesday's Crit went OK. Warm and not so windy so everything stayed together. Managed something around 10th in the sprint, which I rarely ever go for, but I found myself too close to the front to peel off and get out of the way safely. Wednesday was gorgeous so I decided to ride in the work. 18 miles in about 50 minutes. Only my 4th commute this year so i'm behind last years pace by quite a bit. the ride home in the afternoon was tough. I was just tired and didn't have any snap. the steep climb on Renner south of Holiday sucks as did the the long climb south of Midland. Of course the the climb on Woodland to my house wasn't fun either. Got home just before 5pm, grabbed some food, then headed back out for the 45minute ride over to the start of the Wed Hill Ride. I was feeling pretty stale by now but what the heck, it's just training. Sometimes I can ride through feeling crappy and sometimes I can't. Once the ride got going, the legs just turned into dead wood. I tried to go at the bottom of Lawrence Hill but came to grief rather quickly. That was it and the rest of the ride was just miserable. I've done the commute to work and then did the Tuesday night crit many times but trying the Hill Ride was too much. I ended up have just under 4hrs in the legs by the time I got home. It's good to stress the body like that periodically. With the rain coming today and Friday, i'll get a good rest period and come back feeling great.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Tuesday Night Crit - Another kick in the face!

In years past, I've always have 3-6 mtb races in the legs by now, and a whole lot of MTB training that comes with that. Since MTB racing (& the training for it) make up about 90% of my overall fitness, it's no surprise why i'm not exactly flying on the pavement right now. My off-road form is OK right now, but not even close to 100% given the zero race schedule. I can do all the paved "junk" miles I can stand, but that really doesn't do much for me. Contrary to some popular opinions, riding road doesn't make you fast off-road. Last night's crit was another windy-as-hell 45 minutes. I managed better than the week before but still sat out 1 lap around mid race to nurse a leg cramp. Never really did much expect stay in the right place to avoid the wind. Few more weeks, I should be back out there on the cross bike, and probably going better. I'm only doing the Tuesday crits to keep some high-end over the Spring/Summer for cross season. The Wednesday night hill ride tonite was a good one. Plenty of fast guys. The roll out was nice and brisk. I managed to hang near the front on the first climb till the top when I got gapped a bit. Shad Shreiner went pretty hard near the top and we got an lead group established. The Renner climb was a bit more subdued, with just a few little digs towards the top. The lead group slip in two over the top and somehow I stayed in the front one. I did get spit out briefly along Renner but I got back in with the help of some 360 guys that were popped on the Renner climb. We were all together up Woodland and I managed to stay near the front, till Shad went near the top. I didn't have much left after that.