Sunday, February 24, 2013

Semi Epic week...but not riding

As was predicted last week, the weather this week turned (back) to crap. Cold, precipt, etc. It was not a good week to be a cyclist in these parts. I got outside Monday, but was inside the rest of the week. I lifted one extra day just to not have to ride inside. But all of this kept my weekly hours waaay low. About half of my "normal" hours right now, which are down form "in season" hours as is. Uggg. This week was basically a throw away. These things happen.
This past week was still in my "whatever" workout phase, so I'm not getting hung up on it being a crapper; it is still Feb. But now we're in the last week of Feb. Time to start looking ahead. I'm going to start up with some light intervals this week. Nothing crushing, just getting used to doing X effort for Y time (getting in the groove) and start the building.

So this all seems pretty boring crap, huh? So why do I have the "E" word in the title? Well let's rewind to Wednesday...Wednesday night to be specific. This is a loooong story, so I'll tr to compress it.
Lindsay went out for a night MTB ride. Somewhat out of character for her, but she's trying some new things, and I'm down with that. She was going with a friend of mine, not alone, but you still always worry a bit. And as such I went to bed with my phone which I don't normally do (I leave it charging in the other room). Well somewhere around 10:30 my phone rang. I was half asleep and didn't answer it, but when I looked at it I saw I had a facebook msg. I looked at the msg and it was from someone who I didn't know, but knew me through MTB racing. The msg said "Adam: the Jackson County Sheriff is trying to contact you. Call them at ______ or call me at _______." Then a text came in form the same person: "Adam, call the Jackson County Sheriff at _______ or me at _______." So I got out of bed and am kind of shitting myself at this point. Then a voice mail comes in (phone didn't ring though) and it was my mom: "Adam, call home as soon as you can." So I composed myself and called the Sheriff number first. No answer. So I called the dude who had msg'd me next. No answer. At this point I'm starting to get my cloths on and figure out how I can get a car to get out to where Lindsay is (she had our car). I was about 80% sure that I was going to be asked to come out and ID bodies. No shit. Then I was maybe 10% thinking that one or both of them were seriously hurt and I was going to have to deal with that.
So I called my mom next. Home number: busy. Shit. Cell number: answer! She answers "Adam? Where are you?" I say "home. What's going on?" She has the sheriff on the home phone and says that they "found" my car in the "middle of nowhere" (now the other 10% of my WTF has happened is maybe the car was stolen) and after running the plate, tried to call me (which was the call I didn't answer), then called the Clinton County police (our car is still reg'd in Clinton County), got my parents number, called them and basically told them that I was missing (they asked if my mom knew any friends who I would have last spoken to). That obviously sent my mom into full-on panic mode. I told her everything's fine and to tell the officer that Lindsay is out there night riding. She did, and hung up so the officer could call me. By this time the sheriff had completely blown this "situation" out of proportion and made it (which was nothing, a parked car) into something. So when he called me I told him my wife and a friend are out night riding MTB's and parked the car "there." He said "you do know it's 25degrees and 11o'clcok, right?" I said "yes, they're out night riding." He asked "are you sure they're okay out there?" I answered "well I have no reason to believe they're not okay, they're just out there riding." This type of back/forth went on for a minute or two because 1) he couldn't grasp the idea that people would be out doing stuff at night in the cold and 2) he had already made, I don't want to say a mountain out of a molehill, more like a molehill out of nothing. It finally got resolved when Lindsay and Erik got back to the car and saw cop cars surround it. They were given a fair amount of shit for no reason and the cops scared the crap out of numerous people for absolutely no reason. The car was parked in a very popular running/hiking area, but when it was "found", they assumed (I) was murdered and then started making phone calls based on the assumption. Bad deal guys. Besides, it's not like bad people walk around w/ hatchets. Just stoney good Samaritans.                                  

So enough of that crap. Today (Sunday) Lindsay and I went to the birthday party for our (now) 1yr old niece, Daphne. She was born last year on leap day (Feb 29), so she only really gets a b-day every 4  years.

Photo: Birthday girl.

But we celebrated anyway.

Photo: Party people. 
Good times. 
This post was way too long. If you made it all the way through I thank, applaud and pity you. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nice week...cold weekend

Last week wasn't too bad for riding. I have reminded myself multiple times per day that it is still February, so I shouldn't be too bummed on the weather. I got out Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the week; not too bad. 
Still no real work on the bike, just riding steady. My power numbers aren't bad. I'm sure my top end power and speed aren't there, but I'm finding myself able to average similar numbers to what I average for solo rides in the middle of the summer. I'm not feeling too bad. I'm ready to be done with the cold, but this coming week isn't looking very favorable for that to happen.    

Photo: Doesn't show up well with n the pic, but the horse in back is covered in hay. Wonder what his deal is.

Anyway, nothing too exciting to report from the road. I did see this horse while out one day this week. I found it odd that he was covered in hay. Odd enough that I stopped to take a picture.        

Photo: Thanks for last night everyone.  Hope you had a good time and thanks for coming out to lend support.

 Saturday night Lindsay and went up to Indy for a little showcase of a friend's handmade bikes before he heads off for the Handmade Bike Show in Denver. It was a cool night and we got to see a lot of people. Plus we all went out to a pizza joint in Indy that was really good (Jackamo, if you're in the Irvington area I recommend).
My original Sunday plan was to roll with the road group at noon. The sun was out, but the temps was just inching to around freezing by a little before noon so I decided to go ride the MTB to keep the speed down and not be out on the opened road (where it's inevitably colder). This plan seemed fine, but despite to ~32 temp, the northern section of the MTB park was thawing form the sun being on it. It was a total muddy mess. But the southern part was still frozen and fine. So I modified the crap out the loop I normally do and several ~10minute loops on the south side instead. Not the most fun ever, but I was already there, so I made it work.
This week is looking like one to just get through. Low temps, possible precipt, ugggg. I'll miss riding this weekend because we're going to a birthday party for our 1yr old niece. She was born on leap day last year, so she doesn't really have a birthday for another 3 years, but we're having a get-together for her anyway. Should be fun, although one of the presents Lindsay and I got for her is currently lost in the mail system and may not make it in time. We'll get something figured out.   Actually it showed up today (Monday), so we're good to go!
As of now (Monday evening) the weather has already began to turn to shit, so have a good week everyone...or just get through it.      

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stuck Between a Dog and a Bomb Place

This week was pretty up-and-down with the weather. I have a feeling it will be that way for several more weeks. I was inside two days, but outside four. Not bad.
I'm starting to feel pretty good on the bike again. I've been riding, but not really "feeling it" for about 8 weeks now. But this past week I think the switch flipped and I'm ready to actually get going. I still have quite a bit of time before I need to be actually training and/or riding particularly strong, but I feel more on track than I have.
Sunday I decided to get out earlier than the noon group to miss the forecasted rain. I had a ride-buddy lined up, but he had gone out the night before and ridden and had a mechanical on his bike that wasn't fixed by morning. So I headed out alone to ride some gravel.        

The gravel roads were very wet, so I got very dirty very quickly. There's a (rightfully) feared climb on this route and it was very muddy today; not like wet gravel "dust mud," but actual mud. I'd say it had 1-1.5" of mud on it so there was no way I could make it up it riding. I'm like 80/20 on making it up on a perfect day, so with bad terrain conditions; no way.
Now to get to the "story" behind the post title and a scenario that is just plain laughable and maybe slightly unbelievable. On this loop after "the climb" you ride along a ridge for while, then pop out onto a paved road which descends back down. When you get to the bottom of the descent you make a left onto a road that becomes gravel again. Got it? While on this road I heard a gunshot. That always wigs me out, but isn't too crazy of a ting to hear out there. But what was crazy was about two seconds after the gunshot was an explosion. A big explosion. I had no idea what it was until I looked over and saw a big smoke cloud and a group of hillbillies. I can't be sure, but I'm guessing these dudes have been watching a good amount of MTV's quality new program, Buckwild and has shot an explosive of some sort to ignite it. They weren't very far off the road, so my thought was 'I need to get by these dudes and make some sort of positive gesture so they don't see me and say "he's seen to much, we're going to have to kill him."' So I yelled something like "hell yeah man!" and threw up some 'horns. But as I got a little further up the road there was a HUGE dog (Great Dane) standing across the road. He was clearly on high alert because shit was being blown up near his territory. He didn't like me encroaching. I stopped and got off my bike to try to "reason" with him. His head came up over my waist and I'd wager he weighs more than me too. I had no doubt he could take me down if he wanted. So my dilemma was a dog as tall as I was that wasn't happy to see me in front of me and 3-4 gun toting, bomb wielding hillbillies behind me. I literally stood there with my bike between this dog and myself laughing at my situation. The dog wasn't mean, he just wasn't sure what was going on or who I was. But every time I tried to move forward, he would growl and show me his teeth. I decided to turn around and head back toward the hillbillies. I noticed though that when I started away the dog started heading home (home for him turned out to be up a hill way off the road). But he kept stopping and looking back to make sure I was leaving. Once he was up the hill and out of sight I turned back around and finished my loop without any further weirdness.
I did get rained on 3 different times, but just a little each time; nothing big. It was an interesting ride to cap of a decent week.
The 10 day forecast has high temps of 50 and lows of 20. Because I do my riding in the morning I usually pay more attention to the low than the highs, which occur while I'm at work. It's going to be touch-and-go, but it's time to be moving forward.    

Sunday, February 03, 2013

...Saturday it is then...

Semi-epic winter storms up north (read: from here to Indy) caused a potential down stream flooding of the Ohio River right about at Eva Bandman Cyclocross park on Sunday Feb 3 2013. That? Oh that's the day of the Elite World Cyclocross Championship. Where? Oh, at Eva Bandman CX Park.

And so Sunday was cancelled and all Sunday events were moved to Saturday. Minor hiccup to plans, but nothing major in terms of (our) planning.

So Lindsay and I headed down to Louisville Saturday morning, leaving around 8am.  It was snowing and the roads were bad. It was real white-knuckle driving the entire way down. I thought for sure the interstate would be clear, but it wasn't in much better shape than the highways to get to it. Enough of the boring details of the drive down. We go there. It took a bit longer, but we made it.

Belgium's Kevin Pauwels was my pick to win. But he had mechanical problems while riding the front group that cost him a possible win.
 It was actually totally cool to have all the races in one day. I'm sure it would make the people putting it on (the UCI) less money to do it that way, but I though it was awesome.   

Jonathan Page was my pick for top American. He was riding comfortably in the top 10 until mechanical issues set him way back as well.

I am a big fan of professional cycling. And CX is my favorite discipline. This was hands down the coolest sporting event, or any type of event really, that I have ever been to. Being at a world championship event was huge for me. I've been to Cross Vegas twice and it was no where near as cool as this. The weather was constantly changing making the day very tricky for racers.
The women had a pretty frozen-over course and it wasn't too muddy. This made the course rather fast, which didn't favor American Katie Compton as well as we had all hoped. Marianne Vos of The Netherlands rode off the front of the race for her 5th consecutive world title. Vos is also the current world road champion and the Olympic gold medal holder. So she's obviously a very worthy champion. But nearly ever person there was rooting for Katie Compton. She was second to Vos. Again.

Blurry picture of eventual winner Sven Nys.
By the time the men took to the course it had been snowing on and off most of the day. According to my mobile device the temp was 36 as big wet snow flakes began to fall. It might as well been raining on the course; it made it totally muddy. Which made for an awesome race. As expected the U.S. riders weren't a factor for the overall. It was an awesome race to watch unfold. One of the best worlds I've seen. You can never count out Sven Nys for the win of any race he enters. 

Although I didn't pick Nys to win, I knew he was capable. And he won the day. It is "just" his second world title. He will most likely retire after next season, so it was totally cool to see him win what will likely be his last world title.

The crue.I'm kind of hiding on the right.

Even though the venue was packed with people, we still managed to hang out as a crew, just like at an OVCX race. Be it a world championship or a weekend series race, this is "the crue." 

 As for my "training:" with temps in the 50's and 60's for the beginning of the week, my week went pretty well. I rode outside Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, lifted weights Thursday and rode rollers Friday. For the sweet 60's early in the week we paid with morning temps Friday at 8 (eight).  So after that I planned to take the entire weekend off for worlds, but since we were back Sunday I went for a MTB ride. 

It was not good snow for riding though. It was the crunchy stuff that's really difficult to ride through. I rode a lap I have laid out at Wapahani Park that is normally 18-20minutes. It took me 28. Riding at full gas heart rate and barely moving isn't much fun. Add multiple crashes is due to not being able to see what's under the snow and it just kind of sucks. So after my lap, I rode a couple really short abbreviated laps then headed home. I put in just 1.5hrs, but since I already had my hours for the week in, this was just extra credit anyway.
The weather is really bumming me out. In another few (3 or so) weeks I'm going to start doing some light intervals. I'm really hoping for consistent outdoor ride-ability by then. It just keeps snowing and being cold though. Hopefully it's about over.