I visited Belgium yesterday for my one day of cross work this week. It rained on and off all afternoon, when we went up to the course it had soaked the dry spots from race into railable berms of our own making. After 45 minutes of work my front tire went flat. The bike felt great, the lungs are starting to match the legs and the skills feel good. I was rolling through sections that in the race were slippery because of the dryness and loose rocks, in the mud they were tacky and carvable. Good fun good day!
Really cool moon this morning. It made the sky as I was riding almost an inky indigo, like a giant octopus had stained and the full moon was the sun looking up through the milky blue ocean. I couldn't stop staring at the sky, I barely remember what was playing over the Pod. I swam to work through the sky breathing like a natural-born reef fish. My light did nothing other than break me out of the sky/ocean gazing fog the moon/sun put me in. The octopus had painted a picture with his eight arms for a few of us, if you got to see it you won't forget what you saw. A short lived masterpiece, fleeting like the special sunset somewhere you probably won't return to visit. Look around today.
The bears are getting more and more bold. They walk down inot the hood and look for food. I feel guilty sometimes living where we do, taking over their habitat. All wse can do after the houses come in is keep the garbage away and avoid the opportunity for a tragedy. A bear was hit last night around dinnertime on Hwy 9 between Breck and Farmer Corner. Sad. Such beautiful creatures, no different from a raccoon just bigger. Road ride to day easy except for one or two efforts to see what the weekend left in my legs. Not a whole lot of lactic, skating isn't making me as sore as it did the first few times back. I was pulling smith grinds on the mini, it feels really good. I wonder how long I can skate up here before the ramps are all iced over.
I rode Boreas Pass today on the road bike. If you know the Firecracker 50 course it's the opening climb. I made it up and down without flatting, good pace, good work. Little bit of snow, soft road, great views of the peaks all covered with snow. The road was oddly crowded with people in cars too lazy to go up the hill on foot or on a bike. Weird because the aspens are all gone, laying on the ground, last week's snow took care of the aspen colors. They didn't want to stay on their side of the road either, like I was supposed to get out of the so some jackass in a Geo can get past me to get back from his little dirt road journey. Coming down I was passing cars about every 2k, that's always fun!
Better sleep and more time on the road bike is really getting the head cold out and the good training in. I'm eating a lot too, I actually feel like the training is going somewhere. Being an athlete again appeals to me. I overslept today, the extra sleep was worth the quick trip to work a few minutes late.
Getting to sleep early isn't that easy. 8.15 I was in bed, but really not asleep for an hour. Good dinner, grilled cheese sandwich and Tuscan White Bean soup, wow, it was good. A good dinner like that when I'm fighting a head cold is the stuff of dreams. Walking through the grocery looking for the stuff for dinner was like my visit a year ago, odd looks from my fellow shoppers, all to the soundtrack of the Pod. Loaded with my groceries I made my way up the hill, the single carrying me home into a warm shower and a great dinner.
Another one today, more snow and more ice. It reminds of the winters on the eastern seaboard, damp and sketchy. Sometimes you get a gem and you see all that it offers. The snow and the heavy tree limbs bowing, the peaks getting their first blanket of real white for the season. And I get to enjoy it before most other people do. My own private screening without a musical soundtrack today, just the sound of my tires on the snow and crackling over the ice. The bridge today was all snow. it froze solid overnight and let the snow fall over it and not melt, I made sure I didn't come in at too much of an angle, no crashes today! The single feels better and smoother everytime I ride her, it just locks in, different from every other bike I have. A few little tweaks and it'll be spot on. Another thing that made Saturday's race cool aside from doing the Open event and having a good ride was it gave me the opportunity to catch up with a friend. He doesn't race a whole lot anymore, but when the rare chance to chat comes up we always have cool stories to share. Sitting on Main Street sipping a beer and eating a brat was the highlight of the day, we sat and talked with Shaubie and Beckham and caught up. Since I started this site I have reconnected with old friends and also made new ones. The cycling world is a great place, so many characters and stories.
After the all day snowstorm yesterday I was expecting (hoping) to roll through a few inches on the roads to get to work, no such luck. It was just wet and a bit slushy. The cross bike handled it just fine. The newness of it makes me feel energized, I'm not tired today, the snow and brisk air made me feel really good on the bike. THe season has changed and the weather will vascillate between Indian Summer and Autumn for a while but we all know what's coming. I know what I have to do for a good cross season, I know what it will take, I'm not worried about burnout, I just need to stay healthy. The bridge was a sheet of ice, those signs are right, the ones that say "Bridge Freezes Before Road Surface." Well, I remembered my first fall from last year, one of only three all winter long, and got over it without sliding. I'm no longer sore from Monday's ramp session, the wrist isn't tweaked too bad, and I'm still re-living my landed tricks, my new tools to skate a ramp well. I never could get the 5-0 when I skated before and it just came to me, odd. I may be hooked for a while, winter visits to the parks in Denver may be in order. Check out the link to the article from Saturday's race:summitdaily.com
I couldn't sleep from about 3 am until about 6 am. The last day of summer or whenever the equinox is it should be today. The weather is what most people would associate with mid-winter, those in more temperate climes can look at the weather on a day like this and say "well, this is as bad as it gets." We see it a bit differently, well, it can only get better than this. More snow. More moisture, better trails, better skiing later on, and better fall mtb riding. My day got worse from the bout with insomnia until now, home safe. A drive to the hospital for a scheduled doctor visit for Little B, only it was under anesthesia, pretty sucky situation as every time we go through it (this was number 15) I stop getting good rest about 4 days out. B weathers it pretty well, just a few hours of hunger for him, not much more. I wouldn't want him to go through it, all he feels is the hunger, he doesn't always know the whole deal, just pieces to associate with a central shitty day. The drive to Denver sucked! Cars sliding off the road and people not slowing down to compensate for the crappy roads, odd how stupid people can be. We made it in plenty of time, no problems just slow going. The day was an allegory for how I was feeling, the weather on a day like this can mimic what your insides are like. An allegory for the crap we are forced to deal with, when if we had nothing to do we could enojy the weather for what it is, a change in the seasons and a change in the systems of the world. Another summer season gone and another long winter on the way, not that it's bad, just a change. If you hate winter you can't really survive the season with a smile. At 9600 feet in the sky the snow comes thick and fast (hopefully) and winter lasts until May, if you like snowsports you can have them for a long time. I like it, it's a quiet time until Thanksgiving, the weather allows for more of a challenge to do most things; commute on your bicycle (my conveyance of choice), go to the grocery, get coffee, get a session in on the outdoor ramp or go hit your favorite singletrack for a little ride. The snow gives it all a better face, better because you are getting it when fewer are, not that they don't want to, they just don't see the desire the way we do. Perhaps a winter getaway to Fruita, dry singletrack, desert landscape and a cool scene. A chance to recharge. Mmmmm maybe celebrate the end of cross this year with a mtb road trip, or mix it with a bit of climbing, vertical desert sandstone as well, cool! Change. Good.
This morning I rode the road bike for about an hour. Good spot of work, good legs, nothing lingering from Saturday, pretty good considering I finished the race really empty, and rode the cross bike again yesterday to work on skills. Tempo blocks to build form, good fun! This afternoon I went skating, and I learned a trick that escaped since I started skating, the 5-0. I can get it most tries as long I focus. It felt so cool, pop the board up onto the coping and lock it in, when I got it right it just felt perfect. The feeling brought back so many memories of trying these tricks before, it's great to work on the basics before trying tricks that are beyond me. I was linking a few tricks on my runs that actually made me feel like a skater again. Little things are making skating again a lot of fun, it feels great to learn tricks and escape with just a tweaked wrist.
I survived the first cross race of the year, a few strong guys showed and made the ifrst couple laps pretty hectic then like most races it settled into a rhythm. I came third, not awful, not the best. The most encouraging sign was that I did the "A" race and didn't make a fool of myself, maybe I can build form and not start a downward slide to an anonymous exit from cross season. The first place guy went away very early and from what I heard stayed on the gas the whole time. No big deal, he's been flying all year, maybe he's getting the mix right this season. My skills were good, the legs felt ok, the flow was solid over the runs, pretty enjoyable to get in that kind of training within riding distance of home. I think we started about 25 riders, not bad to get that deep of a field in September for a cross race so far from the population center. The course was good, a triple followed by a grass-dirt nordic trail to the big bridge leading to a killer road section that was a mellow stair step climb into a descending dirt section after an off-camber, loose switchback, followed a run up onto the nordic humps which are basically rideable mounds about 10 feet high that kind of tabletop. More nordic trails into the lodge area to the triple. I guess we were doing 6-7 minute laps. Good work!
Today without even realizing it I wore Sponge Bob socks and underwear. I was stretching and someone saw my socks, thinking they were pretty sporty they remarked and it occured to me that my pleasantly warm underwear area was flannel, holy crap! I accidently matched my underwear with my socks. Thank you Sponge Bob.
Yesterday was bad, I was so tired I was nauseous. A bad dinner followed by a good night's sleep and I woke today actually feeling like I'm worth a snot. Tomorrow will be good no matter what race I do. I like my plan, do one and see how it goes. Beyond that I'm leaning towards the "A" race for the rest of the season. Shaubie was sick yesterday and dinner was more of a hassle than usual, when we finally agreed on something that wouldn't make us sick it was late and we made a poor choice. A small pizza delivery outfit, thinking about it now makes my stomach turn. It was a bad experience, brought on by hunger and laziness, we normally eat so much better than that. They sent out the wrong pizza and then when I called they accused me of ordering the wrong pie. We got our pizza in the end and it was awful! Bad food isn't worth it! We didn't get sick though and we were asleep by 8.45, so the night ended well. I was riding in today not feeling so tired, wondering if I could do more. Not more riding but just more. I trying to get it all together and not be lazt at home, get things organized, do little home improvemnet projects that normally intimidate me. The things that I know now if I try I'll do just fine, not half-assed but properly. I get such satisfaction from being able to do these projects I'm going to try more.
I feel lucky to be in the place I'm in. The hardest choice I have to make this week is which race to do on Saturday, the team wants me in the 35+ for the points I can score towards the overall team standings. Not that I think the 35+ race won't be fun, I would rather have the competition in the main event. I think I'll do this one in the 35+ and then move onto the "A" race for the rest. I'm a crosser afterall, not a newbie to this and I want a good ride at nats, and states too! The extra 15 minutes and the overall faster pace would better prepare me for states and nats. I'm happy that my big decision for the week is so trivial.
I ran yesterday, by the time I had chance to get out time was short and the lightning was chasing the rain. I really am beginning to like the run. The simplicity of it, running up the road with myPod listening to Radiohead gave me 3/4 of an hour of good work. Now I don't expect to become a runner, my body would fall apart, but I may run every week for a while even after cross, I like it. Radiohead was on shuffle, which for a band that has evolved so much in the last ten years is fascinating. Going from the poppy sounds of Pablo Honey through to the ambient sonic place they visit in Hail to the Thief is great to think about while doing such a solitary effort. I wonder if Hail is a rip on Tony Blair or W? When the road gets steep I close my eyes, it hurts but it helps. Running on a dirt road is great, softer than asphalt or cement but not as fun as trails but still good stuff, great for a bit of work. Coming in this morning it was cold, I was told 25 or so. Not too bad, I'm happy Jack sent me the knickers they kept me good and warm. I actually saw another guy riding! Weird to see another cyclist at 5.20 a.m. I need better lights.
One cross ride and it all came flooding back. Scott showed me the course and with a bit of input and tweaking the course will be good for saturday. I guess the ACA bigwigs didn't like the old course that we all loved, the course riders were still talking about in December after racing it in September. A shame! The skills came back quickly, mounts were solid both ways and the bike slid when I wanted it to with the slicks on. Good work with a few fast laps and then one hot lap to see if the course was long enough and to get an idea where my fitness is, I know I have a long way to go. Got home to a great dinner of french bread, good mozerella and bruschetta, mmmmmmmmmm.
Another good week of riding and training. Maybe this will all workout and bring me to December with form and motivation. Another problem with the impatience I wrote about the other day has always made me want to be fast sooner and not build as the season wears on, frustrating but why not win early and ride out the season? States are late in the year now, not mid-November like they were. I love bikes.
I skated yesterday. My first time back out there in earnest in a few years, too many years. Since I stopped skating in college I tried one other time but quickly lost interest when the seasons changed and there weren't any more parks or ramps to skate. The whole cycling thing has kept me off the board too. The sissy cyclist in me doesn't want to get hurt, while the old time skater wants to get out. I felt good on the board, without my pads I wasn't trying many tricks just getting to know the bowl and getting around the corners. The new decks are different from how I remember, that and I'm 15 years older! More maneuverability, and the board feels so springy underfoot, I missed it! I escaped with minor soreness and no loss of skin.
I have this weird quirk, most times when I watch a movie I find it to be too long. I don't see myself as impatient but as wanting to see the movie resolve. I wish the director would shorten the movie instead of going longer for the sake of runtime. We watched Requiem for a Dream the other night and I guess drugs are bad and you shouldn't get involved with women who do drugs. While watching it I was dissapointed at how predictable it was, kind of like a PSA. In everyday life I'm not impatient, I can wait wherever I go, and my driving has changed since the boy came along. I find myself relaxing and slowing down while before I would drive much faster.
Another good block of work today, it's amazing how good it feels, a little run in the valley and then a ride with some pace and all of a sudden months of lethargy melt away. Kind of like our political system, sit around until campaign time and then attack your opponent on what he didn't accomplish, when you did less. More random loosely linked similies to come. I better get out and read those old phonics books.
Great cross work on the road machine, Travis beat the crap out of me around the lake and back to Breck, then we picked up Shaubie and B in the Burley, I took Beckham and after three hours of intensity I got another hour towing him behind me. It feels good to be training again!
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&ncid=519&e=2&u=/ap/20040905/ap_on_re_us/bear_attack You need to read this story, even though Grizzlies are rare here, a bear is a bear. Really scary stuff! These guys at least had the right stuff to get less hurt.
The weather is really turning, yesterday made getting in my ride after 11 hours at work a bit of a challenge. I felt really good out there, pretending I was cruising through the Belgian countryside, getting in a training ride between races on the classic courses at Koksijde or Hoogerheide. The rain and hail made sure I paid attention, the path got pretty slippery in spots with the hail laying on the ground. Today I'll wait out the overnight snow and get my ride later, not the big ride I wanted but a good local ride with plenty of climbing and a run.
I had an epiphany the other day, I realized that I didn't need to be in form for the first race of the year. I want to do well at states and perhaps nats too, I need to ease into the season and just enjoy it, not worry about form and results. This year it's been fun not being hung up on finishes but enjoying the bike. I love cross so much that to skip it and miss the fun of the rides and the course work would be silly. Maybe we'll have a muddy year!
Yesterday was really dark, I rode without trouble but I needed more light. Today was brighter, odd. I guess the full moon doesn't always shine bright. With the new template I'm having trouble with my links, maybe an HTML junkie could help me post my links better, I'll make a list at the end of this post and get it in the sidebar in a few days. The Pilots were successful on the CT, no major problems or injuries. Then a broken collarbone in a softball game? Bad luck for sure.I got some new music on iPod the last few days, old and new stuff that I never had on CD to load into the iBook. Pixies and Pavarotti, memories brought back from one, and a new appreciation from the other. I feel good, ysterday I did a real ride on the road bike and today the legs and body are remembering the effort, it's good to feel the remnants of a steady workout, not just the soreness that accompanies a long mtb ride. It makes me feel better about the world, long rides are great, just not a reality most days. Timmy's Blog Hypnotic Designs Off CAmber