The worst driving conditions, it took us four hours to get to Boulder. That drive usually takes an hour and a half. Oddly it was too cold to be muddy, the foot or so of snow on the ground washed the landscape so you couldn't make out the lines through the field, flat light. I started a bit more mellow, followed wheels until the selection was made. I faded the way I usually do in the second third of the race, got complacent for a while and then started to really focus for the last 20 minutes. I got around one guy and made a mess of getting around the second and lost him at the wrong time. The clouds that hung low all day had a silver lining for me, 20 degrees and snowing and we still had a solid field, 30-40 riders. I finished strong but not a place up like I should have been. Fifth on the day and fourth in the series, good work. States next weekend, then on to Portland, two more weekends and that's it! The program definitely is working.
A little bit of fresh snow on the ground and some still falling for the commute today. I never had a more quiet ride, the two inches or so I cut through on the cross bike never made a sound. Watching the tracks from the few cars that were out before me to see if they had trouble with the roads, not too bad a few miscues off the road or into the curbs in town helped me see where the ice may be. I got in a great little road ride yesterday in Loveland, just under two hours in the wind and on the steep hills near Carter Lake, low red-neck factor, only one or two. I got to spin for a while with a nice guy who rides a lot in Europe, he was super fit. I hope he gets back there this coming season. The legs felt great, One more weekend of races and then we get into States/Nats mode. More sleep. More sleep. The road bike needs help, full strip and rebuild before the new season starts. mmmmmmm new cables.
A ride outside is a ride outside. Shaubie came home in the middle of the day so I could do a little work. Rolling into a headwind to climb Swan hard, the combination of cold air, headwind and snow made it feel like more work than it probably was. I'm still responding well to training, I guess I have what it takes to make it to States and Nats on form and motivated. Riding today my legs and lungs were super, not even a thing to go hard, no cough afterward, maybe I'm hitting form?! We got finished just in time to avoid the heavy snow, I was inside maybe ten minutes and it started sticking, good timing.
I got to the Rec Center today for 45 minutes of an executive workout (stretching and hot tub/steam room). The legs weren't too bad, except for the IT band on my right leg which is like a wire cable. More stretching, maybe yoga. Then I mananged nearly an hour on the rollers to handle the rest of the knot untying. Lots of food, water and coffee, a good day of recovery.
The weather today made for proper cyclocross, a few inches of snow last night in the Boulder Area and then a cold sunny day to melt some of the snow into a fine muddy mess. Lots of offcamber stuff, plenty of elevation change made it a mudders course, not the pure road stuff we have had a lot of this season. Good friends got me a fresh bike every lap, I needed it. On the first run up of each lap the bike was already 10 pounds heavier, by the time I hit the second run it weighed 20 pounds more. A good start had me leading at the start of the first full lap and then I hit the wall for a bit, suffering around the top 10 somewhere before I got into a better rhythm to rally through. The mud on the descents had a nice mixture of ice-snow and mud. Not enough grip in back cost me that next place, new tires this week. I managed to get within ten seconds of third, fourth, it's better than eighth. I ran well but it was hard to tell under all that mud with a 30 pound bike on my shoulder.
Every fall since I was probably about 20 I have had a feeling that when winter is right around the corner I needed to get ready. Not that the few winters I spent in the East were all that serious, or for that matter the winters here in Breck. No matter what I have felt a need to get ready for the season, eat more fruit, drink more water, lay off the bad shit. Put together my little bag of cold weather riding stuff so at five in the morning I'm not searching the house for a neck gaiter or better gloves. I like it. After picking up Beckham last night at school we are driving home listening to Marketplace and talking about his day, I'm getting myself ready for the onslaught that begins next weekend and doesn't stop until March 31. More cars on the roads but not at 5 am. More people in front of me at the grocery when I try to go on my way home from work, more quizzical looks from tourists not understanding my funny get-up as I go through the produce aisle. I feel good, knowing I am ready, I will be all set when it comes. It's coming, I can feel it. It's in the morning darkness, It's hidden in the mid-day sun.
Not as tired as I thought I would be today, I guess I slept well, riding outside for training instead of just commuting tires me a lot more. Lights cut through the falling snow this morning, showing me where the ice was. Last minute stop for a bear claw. Proper choice of bikes. Single was perfect. The road bike would have been bad and the cross bikes are getting some love. I need clear glasses. Lost traction in a few unintended two wheel drifts but managed to stay up. I saw the fox, I think he's more well-fed than me. No blue water. Another cool link.
I got lucky today. A mid-day road ride on dry roads, it wasn't long, just right in fact. But since the paths are all snow covered the road itself was the call. Maybe when it gets cold I get more sensitive but the diesel fumes really fried by nose and sinuses. I normally don't notice it, I guess, but today it actually hurt. I got home and hit the rollers for another half hour to cycle through the crap I built up and stinging that was lingering in my nose. I wish I could hit the trails or dirt roads and avoid the diesels but I only had so much time and I had to get home in time. Good work anyway, steady pace and then a few jumps, now I'm tired. Sleep, more sleep.
My first double weekend of cross in a few seasons and I can't figure out why but it was really successful. Not necesscarily looking for results but just looking for some good training, I found both. The break from racing and training must have come at the right time. Another good course today, plenty of riding over bumpy shit with a lot direction changes and a mud bog with a ton of specatators heckling riders who didn't ride it. I ran. In my defense after yesterday's mud bath I really didn't want to do the heavy-duty bike cleaning I did last night and this morning. And in the end it worked out for me. I came third. When the two fastest guys in the state go off the front after the first lap you race for third. Not wanting to heave up a lung I raced smart and used the course for skills training. I got some company with three to go, he was attacking me, I just needed to weather it. But he let me through at the bell and I got away over the bumpy techie stuff. Good weekend of racing, two solid results, States will be good!
Not bad. After a little vacation and a break form training, a few days on the bike leading into yesterday's race not expecting much. I got a good start, managed to be top 5 through the first lap and then somehow I found vices on my legs for 25 minutes. Riding the mud along the lake shore was where I was gaining time on the roadies and then on the corners, the bike was on rails, if I could only get rid of the vices. Second half of the race I bridged to a group of four while pulling a group of four, that only lasted about a minute, through the top of the dirt road the legs shed the vices and I got away from all seven and started hunting down the guys in front. I got a few by the bell lap but wasn't able to get the last two that were close. Eighth. Not bad for a guy sitting on a beach four days ago. Just fun, cross in the mud when it's cold is the way it should be.
I like to look for patterns in numbers, I find it entertaining. In school I was never a math whiz, but when I applied myself and payed attention it wasn't that hard. Now that I'm far removed from Math Class I look for every opportunity to do math, even skills I never really managed to perfect in Class I can figure out. I like the relaxed thought of going over numbers in my head, the way they seem to fall into a rhythm, something that on the surface seems so removed from the creative has a pleasant artful layout on a page. When doing my mid day work there are constantly patterns poping up. A story on NPR tonight turned me on to the Conet Project http://www.irdial.com/conet.htm two stories that give better background than I can http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35647-2004Aug2.html They give new reason to wonder what is going on with our governments, what they are up to that isn't being reported or monitored. The subtle eerie sounds on Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot are from these recordings. Akin Fernandez stumbled onto the whole "Number Station" phenomenon in 1992 and has spent the time since trying to figure out what it means or what it is doing. Nobody seems to be able to explain why the Eastern European countries still broadcast and why the Czech Republic broadcasts using all kinds of voices, one in Scandinavia uses a little girls voice. Speculation that it is spy communiques or getting info over private radio waves that aren't open to all. I'm fascinated by the random sequence of numbers, they have that rhythm I find it soothing, and oddly creepy.
Working in a fitness center brings good people watching, I wonder what brings people in, what they don't like about themselves that brings them in here in an effort to change it. I think a lot of people go through the motions to feel like they are doing something, not changing, sticking to their rut. Not that I have room to talk, I have a convenient little rut, it provides enough but lacks a certain, what's it called... oh yeah, Fulfillment. Challenge is found elsewhere. I guess I'm just as guilty as the people who come in here not changing their program. Fear of change or in my case fear of changing my convenient little rut.
I managed to stay up on the last three rides, this morning and the two yesterday. Not that I fall frequently but with the first few snow rides of the year I seem to forget just how fast a bike can hit the ground while going over ice. Last night was cool, a great climb up Boreas to see if I still had sea-level lungs and legs (oddly I didn't) after getting to the gate I cruised home steadily comfortable with two-wheel drifts. The sunset from the top of Boreas was great, getting extra clothes on for the descent and enjoying the view for a few minutes before getting the drop over with. Bright crimson mixed with the dark grey of lingering clouds from the day's storm was perfect, a great way to end my first day back from the beach.
Sitting in airports makes me wonder what people do, not for work as much as what they do for entertainment and free time. Eat? Lots of America does lots of that. I know most of the people aren’t cyclists because they wouldn’t try to run down other cyclists. They lack the understanding of what it means to get out on your bike and do what you love. I wish the other problems we face were as easy to solve, but wait, they are, simple understanding that some people are more well off than others and that some may just need a leg up, not to be run down. Subtle huh?
I'm going to try and avoid the political shit for a while, I'm too depressed and angry that there are that many idiots in this wonderful country, or maybe that the places are wonderful, and the people are, there, I guess. Great mini vacation in Florida, ran a bit ate a bit and got some sun and got rid of the crud that was hanging on me. Going to the beach with B was amazing, he loved all water; pool, puddles, ocean, bay whatever we had. No fear, he'd run fast as he could straight into the breaking waves. I managed to avoid getting a tan, and B avoided getting a sunburn, good sunscreen goes a long way. Not that I really wanted to return with a tan but I wanted to get some color. Getting into Denver last night at sunset, looking West at the Front Range, I knew the drive up the hill wasn't going to be smooth. Not too bad, the new car handled it very well. Waking up to more fresh snow and a B that wouldn't sleep past 4.30, I cut through the snow on the cross bike and managed to stay up, got my bearclaw and saw an odd amount of people out, who runs at 5.15 am? Odd. A warm bearclaw was the ticket today, full of fried flaky jam-filled goodness, mmmmmmmmmm bearclaw. More on Florda later.
Bush won, I hate Bush. I hope maybe he'll be less of an idiot in his second four years. I think that he's been given enough rope to hang himself. We are one more day closer to the day that Bush will leave, I know that I voted the proper way, and when he has lined all the pockets of his corporate backers at the cost of our natural resources, the world can look at the shambles that was created by the Bush/Cheney administration and pretty much disband the Republican Party, replaced by people who give a shit about the environment and progress not American Imperialism. This will go down in history as the worst president to be re-elected, and the darkest hour in our nations history. Bush Sucks. The American Public has been fooled again.
Did you know that George Bush and John Kerry are ninth cousins? Ralph Nader continues to be a Republican pawn, but do you think he knows it? I really can't believe that Bush could get that many votes after the horrible job he's done, he needs to be re-defeated again. I'm lucky I voted last week, living in a state that allows early voting is great. I hope everybody voted, and didn't get hassled by voter intimidators.
There are a million things you can control for race day and a few you cannot. Yesterday I was taken out by one of the former. I didn't tighten my pedals, when I got the new ones a few weeks back I put them on and rode them for a few days and then sort of forgot they were new pedals. Well, you can't do that, you need to snug them. Mine came off just I was beginning to move up to the lead group. The good part was I rode everytime a foot and a half high wall that most were not. It was up off the lake shore and presented a good challenge. When the pedal came off I slammed my leg into the bike somewhere and have a nasty bruise on the inside of my lower thigh. Stupid mistake. Now I start a break with a long weekend in the warmth of the Atlantic Ocean, then back to it next Tuesday. Good to plan for this king of thing, I can get rid this cough-crud and maybe even put on a pound or two sitting on the beach, returning refreshed and ready for the final push of the season.