Friday, November 28, 2014

No, really - it's going to be muddy

My prediction of mud didn't come true last week. Not really, at least. There was some mud, but it wasn't that bad. I wiped it off easily at the end of the race.

But tomorrow, it's really, really going to be muddy. It snowed seven or eight inches in LeMars earlier this week. Today it's going to hit 40 or so, tomorrow it's going to be in the mid-50s. And ahead of my race at 2:30 will be five or six other races that will basically just churn everything up.

It's going to be great!

And then it's going to be 18 degrees on Sunday. I am not racing my bicycle on Sunday because that would be silly. Well, I'm not racing specifically because I want to avoid silliness, but it will be silly. And our schedule won't work for it anyway.

But mostly, it's the frozen mud ruts. I'm OK with missing out on that.

Two more days until peppermint stick ice cream. Lots of it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ride it! Ride it! Ride it!

Matt Steele took this photo of me probably about halfway through Sunday's race in Lincoln. It's a pretty cool shot. It confirms that I'm actually sort of doing it right with remounts.

Of course, the flip side to this is that I'm hopping back on at the top of Hooligan Hill, the famed "Oh, he can ride it ... or maybe he CAN'T!" feature of the Pioneers Park course. Earlier in the day, I saw a video of some of the juniors riding it and thought, "Eh, no sweat."

It rained a bit between then and when I rode. Even in warmups, it wasn't a huge deal. Some slipping, but I made it OK. It was not the same story during the race. Definitely slipperier and definitely torn up. By my count, I full-on ran it once, rode it twice and the other four laps were some mix of screwing it up and bailing. This is most likely one of those latter four attempts.

I actually did OK overall. I mean, still in the bottom half of the race, but not terrible. It's all relative, you know? And I'm fine with that, because that's everything I have. I went as fast as I could go. I even managed to wheeze a bit in there, and almost died after grabbing the remains of a can of Ranger IPA. I don't drink that crap when I'm not riding a bike, so why I thought it was a good idea in the middle of a race is beyond me.

Anyway, my lone disappointment from the race was not being able to ride that stupid hill on every lap. Why? Because while not terribly adept at a few of the finer points of ... well, most of bike racing ... I wanted the hooligans to watch me go past and say, "Well, he's getting his ass kicked but the guy can ride." The truth is that I can sometimes ride. With two to go, I nailed the hill. The last time up, I wasn't close. I still think the time I ran it the whole way might have been the fastest.

But then I also think that I might actually get good at this someday. I'm not altogether sure. More than once this year, I've wondered exactly why I continue to donate $30 a shot to have my brains beaten in by arguably the strongest local peloton in the midwest. And I ride a ton. I should be at least kind of OK. Most of the time, however, I'm not.

I thought about dialing back the racing, or maybe just changing from training to riding my bike lots and lots. That's actually one of my most favorite things — riding lots and lots. But if I'm putting in that much time, I might as well keep trying to be fast.

Also, a long time ago Mark predicted I'd be out of road racing within five years. Burned out on the grind and the constant drive to improve. This is the end of the fifth year. I can't let him think he was right (again)!

Friday, November 21, 2014

His mother's a mudder

Omaha and Lincoln are frozen right now. By the end of the day, both will be thawed out a bit, only to refreeze overnight. And then they'll thaw and refreeze again a couple of times. And in between, there are a couple of days of bike racing to be had.

Someone hoping to do well will have to love the slop. They'll have to eat it up. It would help if both parents are mudders, I imagine.

I'll be there on Sunday, mud tires (actually my only raceable tires) at the ready. And when I get home, it'll probably be a good idea to have the OxyClean at the ready, too.

Only two more weekends of trying to stay focused on fastness. After that, it's just peppermint stick ice cream and little smokies and dark beers long, steady miles and coffee in the bottles.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Somewhere in middle America

We have been Omaha for a little more than 10 years now. That's ... oh, that's a long time. We've done the usual Omaha things — zoo, College World Series, Old Market, etc. But there are lots of other things here. You know, like the Keystone Trail.

We have memberships to the zoo and to the Children's Museum, and have for a few years. This fall we added a membership to the Rose Theater – Omaha's children's theater. We've been to a few shows already with another scheduled for tonight.

It feels like now, 10 years into things, we are finally taking advantage of what Omaha has to offer. We went to Louie M's Burger Lust a few weeks ago. We were at the Slowdown on Tuesday, where we saw the New Pornographers. We ate at Blatt before the show and felt like for-real, reasonably social Omahans.

It was a fantastic show, by the way. The New Pornographers, I mean. Really great. We were right there in front of the stage - maybe 5 or 6 feet away. I think the last time we went to a concert was when they were in town in 2011, though. We should probably work on that.

This post is going absolutely nowhere. So ... uh, you're fun, Omaha. Thanks?


I am going to race Frosty Cross in two weeks. It could well be cold as hell, which will be a lot like this coming weekend in Iowa City. That would be terrible. That said, I'm doing it anyway. I have truly learned nothing over the past few years of bike racing.

It's going to be terrible, but I'm going to do it anyway. Perfect.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Darkness on the edge of town


This is all related to sunshine. We are facing a fairly distinct lack of sunshine these days, and it's going to be like this for a while. It feels dark when I leave and dark when I get home. I have lights for my bike — nice ones, front and back — but I gotta say I'm not the biggest fan of doing a training ride in the dark. (Maybe my lights aren't good enough? I don't know.)

I should probably work on that.

But I'm also not ready to ride the trainer yet. Like, at all. Not even for a tiny little bit. That makes things difficult for being fast at Frosty Cross. There's maybe an OK chance it wouldn't matter, given the competition. But I'd rather not just donate money just for kicks.

So, basically, I'm not really riding bikes much. I'm doing core stuff because that seems like at least something useful. And I'm trying not to eat a bunch of Halloween candy. That part is pretty tough, actually. Candy is great!

So that's where we are. Eventually (soon, really) I'll fully embrace either riding the trainer or riding in the dark or maybe both. Or maybe I'll just start getting really good at video games.

Nah, probably not. We have a lineup for next year that requires not letting anybody down. I'm going to have to get this figured out.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Fade to black

I've done almost nothing since the Bellevue CX races. Well, that's not true. I've had some caramel apples and some Halloween candy, plus a decent amount of peppermint stick ice cream.

And, really, that's OK. It might be detrimental to being fast at Frosty Cross, but I really like peppermint stick ice cream — and it only comes around once a year.

With the time change coming up, it's time to start thinking about the winter and next season and everything. I groused about the lack of daylight since October 1, but we're looking at months of the same stuff now.

This is, of course, how it goes in Nebraska at this time of year.

So core stuff starts soon. And then trainer rides. I'll get the 2015 road bike built up here in a few weeks. I'd like to maybe upgrade to Force 22, as well. I guess I should keep doing 'crossy stuff, too.

I'm going to need a flashlight, though, I guess. Dark in the morning, dark at night. So it goes.

Friday, October 24, 2014

This explains everything

Just take a look at that Strava file. Just take a good look at it. Twenty-point-three miles in 55 minutes and 8 seconds. A nice tempo really.

But really soak that file in. Chris Spence, noted Omaha-area Man With The Hammer (and also a really nice guy), riding like a bat out of hell around what appears to be a middle school track. Possibly early in the morning in the dark.

That he was going fast on this ride says nothing about why Chris is fast. The fact that he's followed it up with another few HUNDRED laps over the past few days is why he's fast. He has the ability to be extremely bored for a very long time, which is something needed in order to be fast. You have to be able to put your mind in a place that allows you to be tired and sore and uncomfortable and ... yeah, bored.

Super bored. Like riding in circles for an hour bored. That's how you get fast.

There's a middle school track visible from my front window. I'm there.