Monday, May 26, 2008

Whoa! Double post today! I guess it is vacation!

After going out for a late lunch with some friends for a B-Day party I decided to hit up Seven Oaks. My goal was three laps in three hours. I started my first lap at 3:35. It wasn't long (the first 100 feet of trail!) I realized that it was going to be a slimy day at Seven Oaks. If you have ever ridden at Seven Oaks when it is wet you know exactly what I am talking about. Your tires feel like they are on glass covered with vaseline, especially on the clay portions of the trail. I rode slow and cautious and still has having some troubles in the off camber parts. I was having fun, but it was slow. I finished the first lap in 59 minutes (only one crash! GT, remember that somersault last year? Yeah, I got a 10 at least in the same spot!). I called the wife and to let her know I was still alive and going for lap two. After working out some dish network issues on the phone and then fixing a flat I was off for lap two.

This time the trail was slowly drying, but it was still slick. It was muddy enough that your tires were filling my chain stays so it certainly wasn't DRY that is for sure, but getting better. I realized that I may need to throw on a front derailler for my 1 X 8 set up as going over the bumps my chain would come off (only about 5 times per lap! %^( I finished this lap in 55 minutes. Another call home and I was off.

The third lap was getting quite a bit drier. I was able to make some of the climbs and turns I couldn't in the previous laps. I finished the third lap, once again, after a pretty good crash on a turn I normally make, in 55 minutes. So, 2:49 total so I met my goal. Kinda! It actually took me almost 4 hours total. It is strange, I don't feel like I stopped for an hour and 10 minutes, but those phone calls, stopping to put my chain back on, etc. really took up more time than I thought it would.

Wednesday night will be a trip to the Center trail in Des Moines (more than likely, unless the weather is bad!). We will leave Gilbert around 5:00 unless someone needs to leave a little after that to be able to come with us. Leave a comment if you are game.

Happy training.


Well, we had the whole gang at our place on Saturday and now my wife is a bit more sane! We finished with all the honey do's and graduation was on Sunday so hopefully I can get back on the bike a bit more now! It looks like rain this afternoon, but maybe tonight I can get in some miles.

With gas very near $4.00 I have been commuting more than ever into Ames. It usually is a 15-20 mile round trip so it has been great. Now I just need to keep it up!

I am hoping for a Wednesday ride down to the center trails in Des Moines leaving around 5:00. Leave a comment if you want to come.

Race on Saturday in Council Bluffs? We will have to see.

Happy training.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I did a bit of a rare workout tonight. I am normally the time of guy that just rides. I don't necessarily ride hard unless I have to due to the wind or the terrain, but tonight was a bit different. My wife has had more honey does the past few weeks I practically have a new house now so riding has been pretty sporadic, plus, I have been running in the morning so I haven't been riding much. At least I will pretty much be done with my students on June 3rd so I should get some more riding in!

Tonight I went over to Soper's Mill outside of Gilbert and did some repeats on a .67 mile section of the trail that has one hill on it and then some tight twisty trail leading to a downhill. I did this in three repeats of 4:24, 4:25, 4:25, and 4:18. Now I just need to get out there once a week to try to get that down to 4:00 or so. That should be doable.

More riding to come... I hope.

Happy training.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Seven Oaks

Alex, Matt, Ian, Sal and I headed out to Seven Oaks today. The weather was perfect and the trails were in GREAT shape. There were a few muddy spots, but nothing horrible. I was loving the new rims and the geared set up. I think I may change it to a 30 up front and a 11-34 in the back. I can spin a bit more with that set up than the 32 X 11-32. I hope to either single speed it or to take out the Ibex next time to try something different! We will have to see!

Here are a few pics.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ok. Back at it!

I haven't ridden since this past Monday and I am going nuts! My wife and I are working diligently on our kitchen. We should be done tomorrow. We removed everything from our living room and had Lowes put in new carpet on Thursday. I should have everything (stereo, tv, etc.) back in order tomorrow. I started painting our shed tonight and hope to get that finished up by Sunday. We are driving to Forest City tomorrow morning at 7:00 to pick up a car we bought and then I have about 10 graduation parties to hit up on Saturday and another 10 on Sunday. It has been crazy.

Worst of all I have been way too lazy in the morning. Tammy gets up before 5:00 and puts in her 5-6 miles of running while I lay in bed. She gets back around 6 and I just sit around pushing snooze. What a waste of time.

One of these days I will become a real rider!

Attention!!!!! Sunday morning there will be a bunch of guys going out to Seven Oaks just outside of Boone. We are leaving Ames at 9:00 so you can could on us being there between 9:30-9:45. It looks like a bunch of guys from Des Moines will be there between 7-9 as well! The trail should be well ridden by noon!

Happy not so much training.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wednesday is out for me!

Sorry guys. I am sanding and painting our kitchen cabinets and if I want any chance of racing this weekend I have to get these things painted.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Ok. I am getting to it. %^)

On Sunday, Paul Varnum and I headed to the Ingawanis mountain race just outside of Waverly. We got there almost two hours early so we had time to ride a lap before the race got started. I loved the trail. It was the perfect difficulty for me as it wasn't overly technical, it had great flow and I could really keep moving. There were only a couple of climbs that really worked you over so it wasn't bad. Much easier than Seven Oaks in my opinion.

Anyway, there were sixty plus riders so that was good. There was almost always someone out in front or behind you that you could see once in a while so that was fun.

I decided to ride single speed and it was obvious after the race that I have a long ways to go in the strength department before I can compete in a cross country race on a single speed. I ended up getting 8th out of 9 riders and the guy I beat has won several races so I guess it was tough competition. At least it felt that way to me. Now I know to enter into my age group as they don't automatically give out age group awards like running races do. Being my first xc race I have a lot to learn that is for sure. I felt like I had the right gear for the course at 32 X 18. I would have died with 32 X 16. I wonder now though if I would have been faster with 32 X 20. I know I would have been faster with my new rims and 8 more gears. Next time.

Here is how it played out. I started very close to the back of the pack which was a mistake. I think this cost me at least a minute. In small town Iowa running races I love to start in the back and pick people off. I just love doing that. This doesn't work in a cross country race. We had a 1/4 of a mile climb up a gravel road and I was probably about 30th place, but I am guessing. Right way I passed a couple of riders that must not have ridden much single track as they couldn't make the first switch back turn. This would suck as I am sure everyone and their grandma tried to pass them before they were able to get back on their bikes! Within another 100 yards or so I passed another guy and then I joined into a group of four riders or so. The guys in front of me now were long gone, other than the four, and we were losing the group behind us. During this first lap I passed the four people ahead of me. It wasn't until I was about a quarter of the way into the 2nd of the 3 laps that I caught up to the next couple of riders. I got by them and then continued on my way. I then caught another group of four riders. About 2/3 of the way through the 2nd lap I passed fellow MOBster Chris Hansen. I continued on my way keeping Chris behind me. Chris was running 32 X 16 which would be a pretty tall gear on a 29er for most folks. I know I walked a few hills on my 32 X 18. The third lap sucked. I was tired and I started hearing people coming up on me like I was standing still. Luckily, they were in the expert class so I didn't feel so bad! In the end, I didn't get passed by anyone, except for the starting gravel hill so I am very happy with that. I was able to make up some good ground throughout the race. Now, I just need to start off faster so that I am not trapped in a slow bottle neck. This makes me very excited for the next race!

I can't wait to get out there and ride at Ingawanis again! Thanks to Jeremy Bidwell and Casey Dean for a great race! I can't wait to do it all again!

As for a Wednesday ride this week. We are going to have to watch the weather. I will plan on being at Peterson Pits beach at 6:00, but again, if it is rainy then we will not ride the single track. If it has rained, but isn't at night we can always go on a gravel grinder. Leave a comment if you are interested.

Say hi to my brother Mark here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Luckiest Guy in the World.

Sometimes we need a reminder of just how fortunate we are. While there are times that I am a very positive, happy-go-lucky guy that feels he has life figured out, then there are certainly times that I feel like things just don't workout like they should and that life is tough. Today, I watched Into the Wild for the third time. Each time I watch it I am reminded of some very, very important things.

From my days as a college student going on climbing adventures with my wife and brother I have always wanted to just quit my job and be a climbing bum in Yosemite. I have gone on many climbing trips with my great friend Jim McGuire. Each time we go to Colorado we talk about it for weeks or months and count down the days until we leave. We almost always plan on a weeks worth of climbing. We call our wives and talk with our daughters daily. Nearly every time we are on the road back to Iowa by the fifth day dying to see our family again.

In watching Into the Wild I get this HUGE urge to realize yet again the importance of family and friendships, that life doesn't always have to be an adventure, the unimportance and unsatisfaction money and things bring us, and that everyday we need to love doing what we are doing or what is the purpose of it all.

I have been blessed. Very blessed. I have a wonderful, wonderful wife and daughter.
I have great parents and great brothers. I have a job where I can help teenagers make the most of their high school years and to help parents be the best parents they can be. I am VERY lucky. I have a good income, a nice house, and stuff, but...... what really makes me happy everyday is having my wife and daughter with me. Hearing from my brother Mark, spending time with my dad, having my mom call me everyday (twice by noon today!) and spending time with my friends.

I was given some excellent advice by a teacher I was replacing when I got my first teaching job. He had just gone through a nasty divorce and I really looked up to him as he had a heart for kids and was an excellent teacher. He told me on the first day of school, "Paul, you can be married to your job or you can be married to your wife. You need to decide right now." This REALLY hit home to me and I will never forget it. I also heard this comment a long time ago, but I don't remember where, "You don't ever hear someone on their death bed wish they had put in more hours at work."

If you haven't seen Into the Wild yet you should check it out. It is an amazing movie. I can relate with Chris McCandless pretty well, and am fortunate that I didn't have to learn the hard way to appreciate the fact that good times are much, much better when shared with other people.

Thank you guys for being good friends.