Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Chicago trip and the week that followed

Last weekend I made the trip up to The Big Windy to hang w/ my brother's family and check out a band I'd been wanting to see. As you know from the last post, I was nursing a freshly blown-out back and sitting in the car for 4hrs was not exactly what I wanted to be doing. But I made sure to move around a lot while driving and text as much as possible to keep my mind off of it (jk). Once there we rode bikes pretty much everywhere we went, which I think is good for me in those situations; sitting around just seems to make it stagnant.
This wasn't quite the food tour that my trips there usually are, but we did go to Lou Malnati's pizza, which was killer-good. After that we went all over town including up to Wrigley Field, which I had never been up to before. There was a game starting in a few hours when we were there, so it was bustling.We spent a few hours out on bikes which was nice. It was 90+ outside, but it really didn't feel all that hot.
Sunday evening we went to a a food festival a couple miles north of my brother's specifically to see The Hold Steady play.        

(I don't want this photo to get out. I like my job at Bikesmiths and I'm afraid that Rolling Stone may come calling when they see what great rock photographer I am)

They were really good and I'm really glad I got to see them. 

Also Sunday was Father's Day, so we took this picture to send to our Dad.

It was a short but nice visit. I left Monday afternoon, but we did some more running around before I left. And I rode everyday this week once I got back home. So although two days were on my commuter bike I still rode everyday last week. And as of today (Sunday) my back feels pretty normal, which is to say it still hurts, but not as bad. I did a long(er) hard(ish) ride today mostly as a test/to prove to myself that I could. It wasn't w/out some discomfort, but I put out good numbers and got it done. I needed that.
This weekend is MTB racing over in North Vernon, IN. It's a 2-day affair with a short track race Saturday and then the standard cross country race Sunday. Hopefully everything keeps getting better and I'm R-T-R for the weekend!      

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I hate missing races. And I hate making escuses

This weekend I have both. I missed the DINO MTB race at French Lick. And I have an excuse.
I have, can and will race w/ nagging injury. It's just part of it; even for a lower category half-assed armature such as myself. I have been feeling pretty okay for a pretty long time though. But race morning I woke up and my back was blown-out. I couldn't stand up straight or support myself. This has happened to me a few times over the passed several years. But never on a race day. My thought was 'I'll just give it some movement, some extra stretching and hopefully it comes around.' Well it really didn't. And the extra time stretching was eating into drive time. Finally I thought 'okay, I can mow down some cliff bars on the road, take some high caliber pain killers (naproxin, though my actual plan was to take naproxin prior to leaving, then ib profin prior to starting and hoping for the best) and probably get through it.' My final "test" for myself was simple: pick up my socks to put them on. My socks were sitting on a ~knee high table and I said to myself  "if you can pick up those socks w/out having to support yourself w/ your hands, you're good." I couldn't make it. I went and laid back down w/ a heat pad under my back.
It was a rough morning, but I felt like I should get on the bike if I could. My back has been blown out a time or two before and I have found that doing something active, but not overly strenuous kind of helps. Just having blood flowing and some general motion seems to help to keep things loose. I ended up riding for 2hrs and felt okay. My power wasn't great and I couldn't really stand up so I ride the hills very easy. I could feel that my left side was tighter (shorter, more contracted) than my right. I could feel it from mid-back down to my ankle. I really tired to focus on stretching out the left side as I pedaled and just get the ride in. I'm glad I did. I think I would have been (even more) upset w/ myself if I had just laid around all day.
So that's behind me now and I'm heading up to Chicago for a couple of days to hang w/ my brother and his kids.
Should be fun. I'll try to take some pics!                   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Better late than never

I'm getting this post up late. Whatever, I do what I want. Actually, nothing too special went down last week. I had a very solid training week; got in some good hours and some good workouts. I spent a couple hours on the MTB to cap it off. Lindsay was attending a clinic thing at Brown County Park, so I decided to go and ride while she was doing her thing. I didn't ride particularly hard and as such felt great. I really just wanted to ride a good solid steady tempo and focus on maneuvering the bike. I was able to do that for the most part. There were about a million people out there, and my rule (for myself) is yield to everyone. So I stop and let other people go when we meet head to head. So I had to do a good amount of pulling over. But all in all it was good ride and good day.
Lindsay and I went and ate in Nashville afterwards. There was a dude playing (mostly) shitty cover songs (he played a few gems though) at the restaurant (Big Woods Brewery) while we there, so it was a nice afternoon. After getting home I cleaned my bike and washed the car. Then Lindsay and I went and got ice cream at Brusters (our fav). Pretty solid day.
This week has started out good as well. I got in a good session Tuesday in prep for the weekend: the DINO MTB race at French Lick resort. Thus far it's looking like it may be dry this year (last year it stormed hard all day). In the two years they've had this race it's never been dry, so I'm ready for anything. Today (Wed) I went out and rode a little loop I've never done before. I've ridden all the roads, just not as part of one loop (they're always parts of bigger rides). It was nice loop that was actually somewhat challenging, but it turned out to be only 1hour from door to door. I was thinking it would be about 1hr 15min, maybe 1.5hrs, but whatever.   
After Saturday's race I'm heading to Chicago Sunday to go to a festival thing and see The Hold Steady play. Plus visit w/ my brother's family. My niece Daphne is 4months old now and I've only met her once...and she slept the whole time we were there! Should be fun. And while I don't ~need~ days off the bike, I'm going to get a couple anyway while up there.Oh well, a day or two off is probably not bad for me anywho.          

Monday, June 04, 2012

Onto the dirt

This weekend was the Brown County DINO MTB race. I spent most of the week thinking it was on Saturday, but it was actually Sunday. When you're a "planner" like me, this is a proverbial monkey wrench. But as it is, Sunday races work better for me anyway, so adjusting is no biggy.
Going back in the week though, Lindsay and I went to Mooresville on Wednesday evening to meet up with my parents for dinner (post birthday hang-out). We went to Zydeco's which was featured on a Food Network show. The place was cool, but the service was lacking; very slow. And the food was just okay. It was nice to hang w/ the fam though.
On to the week end. I woke up Sunday morning feeling pretty good. It's worth noting that I haven't been feeling particularly "good" the past few weeks. Not feeling bad, just not feeling like a cyclist. But I was feeling pretty alright this day. And I've done this race enough times to know what to expect from it. It starts on a paved climb w/ a ~20% pitch right away. So the first ~3minutes of this race alone are some of the hardest minutes of your racing year. Next decent passing opportunity is probably ~5min later, so if you don't get position off the road and into the woods, you're race may be over. I rode the climb hard, but within myself and entered the woods 3rd. I quickly moved into 2nd and rode most of the first lap there. But first was checked out. Eventually someone passed me and moved me to third. I stayed w/him for awhile, but was eventually gapped on a downhill. There were two guys really riding each other hard behind me and they caught me at the end of our second lap. I stayed on them for the entire lap, but one got away on the long descent. The other I gapped and held off. I finished 5th out of our race. Not a bad result, not overly great. But most important to me was that I felt really good and rode really hard. It was a fun day seeing all of my cycling buddies on a super nice day.
And I feel like training again...for now!  
I hope to find some pics from the race soon. I'll throw them up here if/when I find some.