Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaking Into New Territory...But Not On Two Wheels

I normally wouldn't rant about rave about my bowling but......

My first game of league night last Saturday night I wasn't happy with a 170 something I threw but I was content that I was closer to where I wanted to be. I should be able to throw 180-190 every game. I had 2 bad weeks before this and I was working on digging myself out of a rut. Only issue today was that I was hitting the pocket well but the pins weren't falling for the strike. I felt like my first game I should have had 2-3 more strikes than I ended up with. No issue tho, that's how the game goes some days. At least I was throwing a consistent ball to the pocket. I did miss two spares that cost me a 190 game though. I get more upset with myself for missing spares than I do with not getting a strike on the first ball. But as a team we did enough that game to pull off a win against one of the better teams in the league.....by 16 pins.

Before game two I went to talk with Sean, my officially unofficial bowling coach. He is on the league and loves to help people bowl better and does it well because he only gives out advise if and when you ask for it. He said, "Slow the ball down. Lower back swing and you'll control the release. Plus you know your ball gets better pin action at a slower speed. So game two I made the adjustment and slowed the ball down a bit with a lower back swing. I also toweled the ball more often. Some times I forget how important that is. So I was able to rack up a few more strikes and managed a solid 218. Picked up all my spares and we won that game by 11 pins. Sue, Danielle and Todd were throwing their averages both games but we barely escaped a loss both games. I knew in order to take the series I needed to throw another good game. It was then I realized that another 600 series was possible if I just threw a 210.

So going into the third game I was focused on my 600 series. I wanted to start off with 2-3 strikes to get the team rolling. The first three strikes felt perfect coming off the hand. 4 was a little different but barely. 5 was spot on like 1-3. So I had tied my record for most consecutive strikes and was on my way to the 210 I wanted. 6th frame the ball slipped out off my thumb and I threw it flat, end over end, no side rotation but since I felt it slip I adjusted the release and sent it straight to the pocket from the right side with no hook. I figured I'd leave a pin or two and was very surprised when they all fell. I turned around and said out loud, that was pure luck right there. Number 7 was a picture perfect strike. Could possibly be the best ball I have thrown in decades, seriously. But it didn't really sink in until the 8th frame.

While going up for the 8th frame the sweeper, Jon, for the other team stopped me. He could tell I was starting to get nervous. He said, "Listen, this is bowling. It gets scored one frame at a time. Don't think about any thing else but this frame. Relax and take it one frame at a time." I knew Jon and we had talked quite a few times in the past. He's an avid bowling with a more than a few 300 games under his belt. So I relaxed a bit and remembered what he'd said.

After I threw the strike in the 8th it started to become a reality that I might be able to pull off a 300. After the 9th I wasn't sure what to do with myself while waiting for the 10th frame to come. No one was talking to me but I wished some on would of but at the same time I was to wrecked up to start a conversation with anyone. 10th frame comes and I am the lead off bowler for our team. In a regular league I'd be third or fourth man but this is for fun so it didn't really matter. Well the girl on the other team didn't even get out of her seat. I walked by her and she gave that look like, "the lanes are all yours." Very classy move. Jon gave me 'the nod' like he knew I could do it. So I grabbed my towel, and cleaned my ball. By now I had developed a pre approach routine, even where I was putting my towel down after wiping the ball off. Took my stance, then a deep breath and then my approach. I knew if I was going to mess up any of them it would be this one. It left my hand and I knew it was good. Went back to the ball rack without making eye contact with anyone. My nerves were really starting to get to me. Grabbed my towel before my ball came so no one would see my hands shaking.

Ball came and now I am set up for number 11. 'Two more' I told myself. As I stood there for my approach I noticed the music was louder. That's when I realized more people had stopped bowling and had come to watch me bowl. That didn't make number 11 any easier. However, I kept the little cool I had left and managed another smooth release. It was tracking good but I made sure to watch it all the way through. They all fell and I closed my eyes in amazement. I really couldn't believe the situation I was in. Just 6 months ago I threw my first ever 600 series and this season I had only thrown a handful of games over 200. I had no business being this close to a 300. For crying out loud my previous high game was a 248 I did that over 10 years ago at open bowl with some friends.

But none the less I was here and had a chance at perfection. Now the whole damn place was quiet. Music was still on but he had turned it down. When I went back for my ball I didn't look up as I really didn't want to see how many people were watching although I had a good idea of how many. While cleaning my ball I thought about volleyball. I had played for so many years and been in so many good matches but it was nothing like this. I thought about cycling. So many races I had did well at but I trained my ass off for them so I expected good results. This tho, this was all new to me. As I held my ball for my approach I could now see it moving from my hand shaking. 'Uno Mas' I thought to myself. Took my approach and it all felt good until the release. The pressure had gotten to me and I threw it a little to much to the left but it did not have as much lift on it so it wasn't going to hook past the pocket. I knew it was going to hit a little high and heavy on the head pin but the crowd behind me already started blowing up because it looked like it was very possible I'd get the strike. Problem was me and maybe one other person there knew I had thrown it a little to fast and I would not get that side to side pin action that had been working so well. As it hit the pins, they scattered and I could see some of them went up to high and when they all went still the 4 and 7 were standing.

298. . . . so close.

As I walked back I got a lot of hand shakes, high fives and congratulations on an awesome game. I knew it was incredible but to be so close I couldn't help but be a little disappointed. I'm human. So we had won the third game, the series and retained first place in the league for yet another week. Todd immediately said, "Let's go get a drink and celebrate." It took a few minutes for the disappointment to go away and once I had the drink down my nerves also went down and my hands finally stopped shaking.

In the end I learned a few things and also saved some money. I told Sue if I would have hit a 300 I would have had to retire my ball and put it up on a stand above the fire place in the Living room. I got that look and she said, "Well, I would have let you keep it up there for a couple weeks." and then gave me a big hug and kiss.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Burchfield Time Trial

Well I had this big, long, me gloating about me, boring to everyone but me write up done about this race I did back on October 1st. Seriously it was REALLY long. It described a lot of the trail sections in detail but after thinking about it Brian and I drove all the way out there to race that trail with out ever even riding it before so why should I give anyone more of an edge than I had if they are even remotely thinking about going out there next year. Sure Dubs sent us a VERY descriptive email laying out the trail meter by meter, short of sending up a virtual topo map. But really even if I had a month to study that email there was no way I'd remmber all that come race day. Plus there were others out there racing that had never been there before. So not only am I being selfish for Brian and me, I am being selfish for the others I know who went there blind....thus my pictures only showing the easy sections of the trail.

So my personal recap is as follows:

1 - It was frikin' cold when we got to the race. 36 degrees on October 1st.
2 - Met many cool people before the race and signed up for Men's A (highest division they had listed)
3 - Scoped out some of the course while warming up.
4 - Still frickin' cold at start time, 10:00am.
5 - Course was killer with a little bit of everything.
6 - Rode a clean race to the finish with litle to no mistakes.
7 - Still cold after the race and quickly layered back up.
8 - Won some cool stuff int he silent auction and warmed up by the fire
9 - Found out I had won 1st place in the Men's A division and was feeling pretty good about myself.
10 - 5 minutes later found out I didn't set the fastest time of the day. Ends up some high school kid from Brighton smoked my time by a full 3 minutes. Props to the young ripper. Solid time!
11 - Packed up camp and loaded the car.
12 - Still frickin' cold outside.

Still went home happy with my fancy trophy medal wooden ninja star thing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to the basics

Welp, the road bike found it's way to the basement and is now one with the fluid trainer. This will allow me to ride around the weather a little better. I'll still get out for the occasional trail ride this fall but the morning road rides outside before work are done for the season. Just plan to spin thru September and use it as a transition time. In Oct I will be back to the weights and will plan to start building my base back up on the bike. No races planned for the rest of 2011. Have some penciled in but none I feel I have to be at.

Next 5 weeks will be interesting. My son's soccer schedule will own me thru this time and also we decided to start my daughter in a volleyball program. After seeing me play last Monday she got all excited about the game. Plus the wife's volleyball season starts in 2 weeks so she has been working out hard to get ready for her up coming season. As much as I like the sport of cycling, most people know I'd give it all up to be able to play volleyball regularly again. Although I was just a shadow of my former self on the court earlier this week, I had a blast playing with and against the old crew. Marlowe, Bob, Tony, Len and this fancy guy named Cougar. After 3 games I was done and should have probably called it quits after the second game. It was just to hard to say no. Been doing a lot of extra stretching this week to keep the femur and tibia as far apart as possible to keep the pain down and it seems to be working. Still having issues walking down the stairs though. This was my reminder as to why I had to walk away from the game years ago. The muscle soreness is easy to deal with. It's the bone to bone contact that hurts like a mutha.

I am really happy with how the summer went as far as riding and hope to start earlier next year. I am going to focus on returning to Yankee and Fort Custer, two races I have not done since 2007. Yeah I missed a few races this summer due to scheduling, father-in-law having heart attack and not renewing my license but I was pleased to see the level at which I was able to compete at the races I did do. 2 races, 2 podium finishes. Gives me motivation to train this off season thinking that I can still keep the big guns on my radar screen. Sure I may not win any races but I could become a regular podium threat again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Going Solo . . . Maybury Time Trial

It seemed my alarm went off way earlier than I wanted it to. Had a hard time falling asleep the night before due to all the excitement of my first solo race in almost 3 years. It would be a Time Trial format but a good way to measure up. Soout of bed I rolled to start the day. Had packed most of the car the night before so it didn't take long before I was in my car with my waffles and tea. Couldn't of asked for better weather. As I drove to Maybury along 696 through Royal Oak all the classic cars were everywhere as the Woodward Dream Cruise was the same day. A little later down the road I was passing Farmington and thinking about Becky, Brian and Jim who were running the local 5K at 9:00am. My morning mission was to get to Maybury early so I could drive my car up to the staging area and unload before the crowd got thick. Plus I wanted to avoid the long registration lines. I was preregistered but Brian wasn't and because he was running the 5K and would be cutting it close to race I would be signing him up to make life a little easier for him.

As I set up the tent and such I started to think about the race. The field was 12 large but you know there'd be a few day of's to fill more slots. I was trying to be realistic with my goal for the race. Top 3 get medals but I'd be happy with a top 5. Heck I'd be happy to finish in the to 50% of my class. Being out of the race scene for a while I wasn't familiar with many of the names in my class but the two I did know posed a serious threat to my Top 5 finish. Jeremy "Dozer" Daum would be there as well as my long time racing threat Brad "Loco" Lako. Yes, even tho Jeremy and I teamed up just a month earlier for the Tree Farm Relay, we'd be racing against each other now as he really races for Trail's Edge. He'd matched my lap times at The Farm but the advantage I had was I am starting 30 seconds behind him so I get to be the pursuer, not the pursuee. The bigger threat tho was Brad. I'd be stupid to think I could match his power this early on in my return to racing. I had him favored to win so I planned to use him as a measuring stick to see where I stood against a guy who regularly sees the podium.

After setting up I went to the registration table and the first person I run into is no one other than Brad Lako. He looked the business. Probably 10 pounds lighter than the last time I raced against him. It was hard not to think about the fact that he was going to kick my @ss. Nevertheless it was good to see an old friend who has been behind me, pushing, to keep me riding during the time I have been away from this whole scene. After all the paperwork I went back to the team tent and relaxed and had my second breakfast which would be my last solid food until after the race. Not to much later Jon "Dubs" Wlodarczak and his entourage showed up. Like Jeremy, Jon rode the relay with us but he actually rides for a different team. However, after winning a medal together he is considered part of the pack. Personally I wanted him to race in the same class as Dozer and I but he's new to the whole geared bike thing so he planned to race Sport geared and then Elite/Expert Single Speed. He pitched his tent right next to ours and then told me to stop talking and go warm up.

Surprisingly I was more calm than I thought I'd be. Really the only thing I had riding on this race was to see where I stacked up. But it was Maybury, a very favorable course for my style of riding, so I knew I would have a slight advantage. During warm ups I ran into Jeremy, Elaine and her son John. Wasn't sure if Jeremy had obligations to Trail's Edge tenting but I told them to feel free to park under our tents anyway and pointed out where they were. Was glad to hear they wanted to hang with us as we all had such a good time at the relay. I ran into Brad and Jeremy again near the start line and chatted with them both. My serious conversation was with Jeremy as he would be 4th off in our class and I would be 5th. The objective for us was for me to try and catch him and for him to do his best to stay away from me. Yes, this is the normal plan of two racers but it was different with us as we knew each other and this would only push us to be faster.

At 9:05:00 Jeremy went of like a flash. Within seconds he disappeared into the woods. As I rolled up to the starting line the nerves were gone and the adrenaline started flowing. Plan was to attack hard right from the go and use the pavement/grass sections for regroups and prepare for further attacks. 9:05:30, I am off. The first climb of the course threw me off a little as it was a double dip off camber climb. I expected the first part but not the second. Oh well, I tend to do better when I don't pre ride a course. I mean it was Maybury and I could ride it blindfolded, the extended race loop sections were what would be a surprise to me. The second surprise was the right turn at the first pavement crossing. I expected to cross and go back in the woods but they had us turn right on the grass and ride down a hill just to make us turn at the bottom, scrub our speed and have us climb back up. No problem tho, that section gave me a visual of Jeremy and the other 3 guys in front of me and also let me know where the guy was who started behind me.

I could see I was gaining ground on Jeremy but I knew Jeremy would kick it up a notch when he saw me. This is exactly what we needed tho. He had already put a rider between us, Bici Libre, and now I had to take care of that business soon. It was a clean pass in the gravel road climb and as always when you pass some one in a TT format you need to make sure they don't hang onto your wheel so I pushed the pace hard for the next mile in order to drop him. Not to long after that pass I heard another chain clanking a stay in front of me and quite honestly I knew it wasn't Jeremy. No way would I catch him this soon. My 6 was clear so I stayed focused on the bike in front of me. It took a while but I closed the gap to the ACF Wolverine and made the pass before the trail spilled out to the pavement section. So all I had in front of me now was the entire Elite class, Dozer and one other from our class, Razo who is a solid rider as well. Of course this was the long pavement section where I was supposed to recover but I had just passed a Wolverine and needed to push the pace to make sure he stayed behind me. So I went low into TT position but grabbed a gel and liquid. I saw a glimpse of Dozer but he still had about 30 seconds on me. He was riding strong and even from the distance his pedal strokes looked smooth.

The entire second lap was a game of hide and seek between Jeremy and I. Felt like we were the only to people on the trail as I did not hear anyone else's bike except mine and his. Maybe I had tunnel hearing tho as I was focused solely on reeling him in. On the grass hill climb I was starting to feel the attacks in my legs. I could see Jeremy in front of me, closer than before but his hardtail was pulling away from my full suspension. Just then. Jon appeared out of no where and pulled up alongside of me. After a brief conversation he concluded that I wasn't working hard enough and to shut up and pedal. Brought me back to 2008 when I was doing the Short Track at Brighton and Todd Powers told me from the sideline I wasn't going fast enough and I needed to open it up and ride like I am capable of. Jon said exactly what I needed to hear and I was back in attack mode. I was now in full hunting mode....blood hound style.. Brian calls it smelling the blood trail. I saw Jeremy on some switchbacks and would take notes of a point of interest so I could count the gap between us when I got there. First it was 20 seconds, next was 35, then down to 15, back up to 20.....the first lap I came in just under 41 minutes and this lap was turning into a war. Attack, counter attack, attack, counter attack. I know he saw me every time I saw him and it was driving him as well.

I was running out of time to close the gap and was surprised but also proud of Jeremy for keeping ahead of me for this long. He was riding a hell of a race to stay out of my grasp. Then on the last pavement section I saw him. I told myself if I don't do something now I won't catch him. Less than 5 minutes and this race will be over. So instead of reaching for the bottle I shifted into the biggest gear I had, got low, hands close to the stem and pushed hard. The pain increased dramatically but I was closing in on him. Steady breathing, controlled pedal strokes and eyes focused ahead. As I entered the last single track section I rolled up onto his back wheel, so in the red I was unable to let him know I was there. After about 10 seconds he heard my bike and was surprised to see me. He was deep in the red as well but I manage to belt out a coupe things to him. "Almost done brother! One more short climb! Keep pedaling in circles!" He was losing his smooth pedal stroke and I didn't want him to blow before the end. He picked up our pace even more and we rounded the corner at the top of the climb onto the grassy two track standing on our pedals. I was still on his rear wheel when he shifted into his bigger ring on his 2x10 set up. We onlyhad 200-250 yards to go and I had lost sprints before with my 1x9 setup so I immediately shifted and took off. I was taking a gamble passing that early but he hadn't generated much more speed yet and we were only 150 yards from the finish. After the pass I never looked back and pushed for the finish. We came across the line less than 2 seconds apart and were so out of breath we couldn't even talk to each other for a few minutes.

It had been so long I had forgotten what it was like to be in that zone. Sure I had done some endurance relays but those take hours to unfold. You can train all you want but nothing compares to a solo race where the outcome of your day depends solely on the decisions you make. After we were able to talk, Jeremy and I couldn't shut up about the race. Course was about 19 miles long and we did it in around 1:21:00. We watched others come in, notably Mr. Lako and John Heft who we were both ghost racing against. We checked and checked the timing tent for the live results and waited for the day of guys to come in to see where we placed. As I was taking off my shoes Brad came over. "Did you see how you did?" I said no. He replied, "You got 3rd man!" I was floored as there was 18 total riders in our class for the day. I didn't have to ask him how he did, as I knew he would finish ahead of me, but I did anyway and he said he finish 2nd about 45 seconds ahead of me. The gap was much smaller than I expected which made me happier, however I was upset that he didn't win. I really thought he'd be setting the curve. Jeremy ended up taking 5th, missing 4th by 0.7 seconds! I know that 0.7 is was eating away at his insides but he beat the time of his friend John Heft and that marks the first time he has done that in a race.

After the award ceremony and on the drive home I reflected a lot and even got a text from Brad congratulating me again on my finish. He had to jet after our race and I let him know I picked up his medal for him. The Tree Farm Relay finish gave me a sense of accomplishment but this finish was much more rewarding. This made 3 for 3 on bringing home hardware at Maybury but this time it was in Expert. I had been waiting for this since missing this race in 2008, when I last raced Expert solo on a regular basis.

Next up, the Addison XC.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Great Balls of Fire

Man was that hot. Two weeks in Florida with the family and it was in the 90's all but one day we were there. Day we went to Magic Kingdon it was 95..... I sweat more that day than at the last 60 mile Stony Marathon I did. Thank god for Under Armor. Wore a sleeveless one under my t-shirt and it helped keep me cool-uh-cooler than I would have been without it.

Well the 5th month of 2011 has started and I am close to all the goals I set for myself to hit by the time we went on vacation. Best part is I came back from vacation under 170 pounds......not sure how I managed that considering how I ate while I was down there.

While I was gone I missed some good races. The Pontiac TT, Yankee TT and Custer Stampede are all in the books for 2011. My boys Lako-Moto and Dubs had some great results while Chunk and "Tigerblood" Evans seemed satisfied with thier results. And the word on the street is that Ox is practicing for the annual Oreo Cookie stacking contest.

Hopefully the steady Spring Showers will let up soon because the skinny tire bike wants off the fluid trainer and I am ready to get the Schwalbes dirty again especially since they seem to finally be holding air now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

You're gonna do what?

April 10th, lazy Sunday morning. Sydney and Tyler (my niece and nephew) were over the night before and we were wore out. Sue had a doc appointment at 9:00 AM and I was hanging out with the kids. Chocolate milk and Pancakes for breakfast. Was supposed to get up to 80 and I had plans to clean the garage and the cars while the kids played outside. Ash was doing some homework before it got nice out, Abi was dancing to Pretty In Pink by the P Furs and Ciara was being Ciara and coloring. 11:40 AM, phone rings. The In-laws want to take the girls to the zoo at 12:30. 11:50 the girls are fed, dressed and ready to go with snacks packed. 11:51 I get an idea. 11:52 I tell Ash the idea. 11:53 Ashton and I start rushing around to gather up all our gear to go ride at ILRA. Neither one of us have been out to ride yet this year and our stuff was scatter from the front closet to the basement to the garage. He remembered everything he needed and even grabbed some of my stuff without being asked to while I was packing us foods and liquids for afternoon. 12:25 the girls are off to the zoo. 12:30 Ash and I are giving Sue a kiss good bye and are heading out the door to the trail. We head west on 696 and I say to him, "Dude, good work on helping us get out the door." He replies, "dad, I grabbed ROAM. Can I watch it on the way there?" I said, "Only if we can play the music loud." So we jam as I drive and he watches his favorite mountain bike movie. 1:15 we arrive at the parking lot trail head. We get the bikes out, do a once over which included raising his seat, some quick brake adjustments, lubing chains and airing up tires. We also rapped with the guy parked next to us that was about to take out his Surly Pugsley. I wanted to take it for a spin but Ash was all geared up with his helmet, gloves and pack and was ready to roll so I passed on the offer, hit the keyless remote to lock the doors and off we went at 1:30. 3:30 PM we are back at the car and gearing down after an awesome ride together. Yup, my 8 year old rode for 2 hours which include a couple stops here and there for munching on some energy bars for him. We just cruised along at his pace and talked about riding the entire time. He rode great and even tackled some hills, ups and downs, that he couldn't or wouldn't do last year. Very proud of him. So needless to say the cars never got cleaned and neither did the garage. But I really don't think that was the best way to spend an 80 degree day in early April in Michigan anyway. Some quick cell pix of the ride:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Raining but at least it's getting warmer

Well the first quarter of the year is over already. Training was going great until I got food poisoning last week which forced me to take 6 days off the bike. Seems I am the only person on the planet that can get sick fromeating hashbrowns. Can't ride if I can't eat. That really cut into my build period seeing as I am going on a 2 week vacation in less than 2 weeks and every session counts right now. But hey, no one is paying me to do this so I don't sweat it. Plus I just got an email last week that will force me to miss the 12 Hours of Stony which was going to open the race season for me. That leaves me with all of May to train now since there is nothing else on the schdule that catches my eye.

Actually, after looking at the race schedule a little closer I may not be at a starting line until late June or early July now. I hope to take Ashton to a couple races before then so he can do the Beginner 11 and Under. The plan is to get him to the starting line once a month. He is really excited about it and has already asked me when his training starts. We are targeting the Brighton Stage Race XC to be his first race. We'll see if we can get a ride or two in before then. It will be hard with the Florida trip being so close and most of the trails still being closed right now. If not then the fort Custer TT will open his season.

In less than two weeks and it will be 2 full weeks of no work for me and no school for the kids. Can't wait. Sunshine and swimming pools!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Where'd who go?!"

What's up with all the changes you ask? Well, the tires on Team Signoutfitters.com are completely flat. So we are moving into 2011 with a clean plate. No official team or club name. No official team kits, or stickers, socks, towels, beer holder things....or all the snazzy swag that came with being part of the team back in it's hey day...or is it hay day...or hay dey?

Anyway, the names you see on the right are the ones you'll see at the endurance races this year. So who knows what colors we will be wearing, if we will even match or if we'll even bother to brush our teeth or comb our hair before we show up.

What matters is that we are still planning to compete as an unofficial team to keep the roots alive. So we'll see you all out there this season.....even tho it will be harder pick us out of the crowd. Just give us a better chance to sneak up on our opponents from behind....MU HA HA HA HA!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

So ends February of 2011. I know, we have 3 more days left but Monday starts the next stage of training. I was planning on doing my last ride of the period tonight but I don't think my body is not going to let me. I may just lay on the couch tonight and going into a Coma for 8 hours. I think my body needs it. Let's review the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

- Miles and ride times are up for the month. A little shy of where I wanted to be but still over the minimum so I am pleased with my progress.

- Managed to test the waters on a couple morning rides. By April I'd like to be doing all my rides in the morning to make the transition for the warmer weather. I like riding in the morning much better because then i can go about the rest of my day without worrying whether or not I will have time to ride. I have done this in years past with positive results.

- Lost another 3 pounds this month. Down to 171 lbs. Plan was to lose 10 pounds by April and I am down 9 for the year so far. I am at a very respectable weight that I could stay at for the season and not complain about carrying extra baggage on the trail. Again, I have been lighter but I don't have little noodle arms anymore and a roadie chest. Only issue is that the European Race Cut Team Kit is a little tight around the arms and shoulders.

- Still need new brakes for the bike for this season. I really have to decide soon so I can get the bike ready for the season. I could be riding outside as early as April so i need to get my sh!t together.

- Tires aren't holding air very well. The Schwalbes Racing Ralphs are awesome tires but I can't seem to get them to seal up. Have put so much sealant in them I might as well be running tubes to save weight. I am open to suggestions on this. If I can't get them to seal up soon I may make the switch to Kenda Karamas. I am not crazy about the tread pattern but I have heard nothing but good reviews from fellow riders on the Karamas.

- I am sick. Been popping Halls all morning and am on my second round of Dayquil. There goes my 120 min ride tonight. Plan to rest today and tomorrow and maybe by Sunday I will be ale to saddle up.

- My car is still covered in salt. After this morning's snow fall we have had the second snowiest February in Detroit history since they started charting it. Five more years until I buy a snow blower. Promised myself I wouldn't get one until after I turn 40.

So bring on March and the intervals that come with it. Monday starts my 6 Weeks of Pain program (Disclaimer: It's actually 7 weeks long. 3 weeks of pain, rest week and then 3 more weeks of pain) then after that it's TWO WEEKS in Florida with the family for some much needed R&R and when we get back the riding/race season will be in full swing.....which reminds me, it may be time to shave the beard.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Beginning of the Beginning.

2011 is already 26 days old and I am doing well in my progress to get ready for the season. Lets looks at some of the highs and lows for the month:


I - Stepped on the scale this morning and saw 174. I have lost 5 pounds already this year. A good work out program and strict diet have helped. I am tracking everything I eat on the Livestrong website, and I mean everything. I encourage everyone to check it out - http://www.livestrong.com/profile/pongomoto/

II - I seemed to have gotten my digestive system issues under control. After a year of ups and downs, it feels good to finally know what I can and can't eat for the most part. The new diet I am on has treated me well so far and I am not in a constant state of misery over the penalties of eating. I have had a couple small issues this month from testing certain foods but it's small in scale compared to what I used to have to deal with.

III - The 6 weeks I took off at the end of last year has helped my feet. My left foot seems completely healed and my right foot is about 85% and holding up well to the program I am doing this month.

IV - I am enjoying the cross training I am doing. I am back to doing weights again but what is really different is that I am not spending all my training time on the bike. I have been using the wife's fitness club grade elliptical machine. For those who don't know Sue a personal trainer. Anyway, the wife has tried in the past to tell me about the importance of cross training during the off season but I was always so bent on riding during my free time. So this year, mostly due to my foot issues, I am listening to my highly educated wife and giving it a try. She has a bachelor's in Exercise Science and has many certifications so really I should be listening to her. So what could have been a 350-400 mile month is turning out to be 200 miles . That's alright though because come the warm weather I will be able to ramp up my miles and ditch the elliptical and ride further into the season without the fear of the body wearing down.

V - The Kona Hei Hei 2-9 Deluxe is a solid ride and I cannot wait to rip the season apart with it. So glad I made the switch to the big wheels. Last October the bike was really good to me and I got enough of a feel from it to see how my 2011 season will be improved by having this bike.


I - My tool around bike, Redline D640, that I use to scoot around with the kids and occasional jump at the parks has a frame recall. Bonus for a new frame but I really liked it so it's hard to see it go. 2011 was suppose to be the year I didn't make any roster changes in the stable but I have no choice. Redline says the frames are failing. So my new frame is in and I have to go give them my D640. Sigh. Haven't got the specs on the new frame but hope it's as good as the one I am giving back.

II - Due to budget constraints I think I will be squeezing one more year out of my road bike. Talk about old faithful, man's best friends, whatever cliche you want to use, this bike had been my workhorse for many years. It has taken the bulk of my training miles and keeps going. I had to get another set of wheels for it last year, it's third set, and will need new cables again this year. Hoping the drivetrain will hold up but I may have to cave and get a new chain, rings and cassette at least.

III - Lance......what's going on with this? Guy is back in deep water, past the bouies and it sounds like he'll need more than arm floaties to get back to the beach on this one. Sounds like he is going to spend more hours in the court room this year than on his bike. My take, well I have never been a huge fan of his. I think what he has done for cycling in America is great but as a person I think he's an ass. I would like to think he never doped and achieved all he did on his own but soooo many men have risen tot he top only to be found doping that it's hard to believe anyone. The biggest thought in my head is that for years he won the TDF and beat all those other guys, half whom were dopers, all on his own natural legs. Are his heart, lungs and legs really that genetically gifted? I really hope so for the sake of cycling in America.

Friday, January 7, 2011

THE NEW YOU.....okay maybe just me.

2010 was not a good year for me. My trail bike sat in the basement collecting dust from May 15th all the way until October 7th when I finally made it out for another trail ride. I still managed to rack up close to 2,000 miles on the road bike for the calander year but that's about half of what I had planned to do. After life started to get back together in the fall and I was riding more consistently again I came down with a case of plantar fasciitis in both my feet. The right much worse than the left. I fought it for a good month before I threw in the towel and realized I had no choice but to take time off the bikes, again, to rest my feet. During that time I went to see my Podiatrist and got new orthodics made for my everyday shoes and he is in the process of making a set for my cycling shoes as well. Bonus!

So after taking much of November off and all of December I am back on the bike and rolling again.....at a very slow pace. 8 miles last Sunday. 10 Miles on Tuesday and 15 last night. Gotta start slow to make sure I don't sack my feet again. With the constant stretching and foam rolling I am doing okay and by February I should be able to start ramping up a bit.

Before all this feet stuff this past summer and fall I went back to doing upper body workouts because I was getting tired of having spaghetti arms and a weak upper back, shoulders, chest, elbows, fingers, eyelids....you get the point. So I am happy to say I have gained some unaccidental weight in areas that I planned to gain weight. However, I also gained some accidentail weight in some areas that I didn't plan to. I figure I have about 5-10 pounds of excess cargo to drop before open season starts in May.....probably closer to 10. In 2008 when I was stupid fast, lean and actually fit into my European Race Cut Team Uniform I floated around 165 pounds. I was toothpick thin but a strong wind (along with my then 5 year old son) could easily knock me over. Well now I am closing in on 180, the weight I was when I retired from volleyball, I figure more solid 170 would be a good number to get back down to.

So you are probably asking yourself, what does all this talk of Aryn's bodily parts and dimensions have to do with me? Well it seemed like a good topic and I haven't blogged in a while. And since I am the one that controls this blog page you are forced to read whatever I feel like typing about.

Last, my goals or should I say goal for 2011. Only have one. Ride my bikes more. After work trail rides. Early weekend morning road rides. Rides with the kids and rides with all the people I haven't ridden with in a couple years.

That's all I got people. No bells. No whistles. No baseball cards in the spokes. No signature closing sentences to my blogs. Just RIDE.