Posted by: gofastturnleft | November 19, 2012

An Imaginary Conversation

“Hey Kevin, long time no see!”

“Oh hey, how’s it-”

“You’re a wuss!”

“Wait, what?”

“You had this big old ‘Look at me, I’m going to be an awesome racer this year!’ talk going on and what happened with that, huh?  Wuss out?  Again?”

“Well, no, it’s just that-”

“It must suck, being a big sucker who sucks suck all the sucking time!”

“Ok, yeah, that’s totally mature.”

“SUCK!”

“This is clearly going somewhere, so I’ll just sit back here and wait, shall I?”

“Ok, I’m done.”

“Yeah, I have been a little bit off my game plan.  Turns out, this was a pretty busy year in general, so the whole riding and racing thing didn’t pan out so well.  In fact, I didn’t really touch a bike from May until September.”

“Really?  What was so important that you gave up cycling for four month?”

“For starters, this:

DSC_8658

Bam!  Baby!”

“Hmm, ok, yeah, I guess that’s a decent excuse.  If, y’know, you actually carried her.  I think that was mostly on Kelsey, huh?”

“True enough, but it just felt wrong heading out for rides either without her or without her even having the option to ride.  It felt selfish is all.”

“Fair enough, but-”

“And this:

DSC_8339

Bam!! New clinic!”

“Oh!  You got a new job, huh?  That’s a bit of a change, but still-”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa there genius!  This is a bit beyond a new job.  That there is mine.  That is my own personal private slice of therapy heaven.  That is six months of 60-70 hour weeks of settling contracts, signing leases, ordering equipment, making phone calls, arguing with insurers, and the thousand other things that go into opening a new business.  Let’s just hold off on the judgement regarding my lack of training and consider where I’ve been spending my time instead, shall we?”

“Yeah… sure…  So how are things going?”

“Pretty well at the moment.  Things are fairly smooth and the schedule is filling up nicely.  Things as calm as they are, I’ve actually managed to get out and race a few cross races this Fall.  You know, without any training to speak of.”

“How are you doing?”

“I’m riding really consistently.”

“Consistently what?”

“…last…”

“SUCK!”

Posted by: gofastturnleft | March 11, 2012

Hammer at the Slammer #2

Well that was less than fun.

First race of the season:  9:00 start time, 52 miles, 30 MPH winds, rolling terrain, uphill finish.  There were three races that started right around 9:00 –

Cat 5
Cat 4
Cat P/1/2/3

Yes, you read that right.  That’s how we roll in Idaho.  The 4s and 5s get their own race but if you’re a Cat 3, the race promoters around here feel that means you’re basically on par with and should race against the local pros.  By the way, that includes current Olympic Time Trial champ Kristin Armstrong.  You can probably imagine how well it went.

The race went off  and apparently there was a pact amongst the pros and top Cat 1s (who, and I really can’t stress this enough, were racing in the same race as me, a Cat 3) that road races suck and team time trials are much cooler.  So up went the pace and out came the echelons.  The pack lasted something like three miles before shattering all over the road.  I was close enough to the back that I was gapped immediately.  The group I was with worked about as well as Andy Schleck’s front derailleur in the 2010 Tour de France (Hiyo!)  The BYRDS rider I was behind decided that riding in a paceline meant drift back, sprint up, repeat.  He pulled this move rounding a corner into the brutal headwind, leaving a 4 second gap I could never quite close.  After 2 out of 4 laps I called it quits, at which point Kelsey told me there were tons of riders behind me; I was sure there were 5 at most.  In any case, I didn’t really feel like riding another 26 miles solo in those conditions so packed it in.  Only later did I remember my mantra – DFL is better than DNF.

Next weekend at the Speedway Omnium and Hammer #3 I’ll only drop out if I crash (while racing against pros).  Deal?  Deal!

Posted by: gofastturnleft | March 7, 2012

Motivation

I’ve been keeping this post in my drafts folder for the past couple weeks.  I’ve false-started posting it a few times but chickened out.  Why?  Because I’m a little ashamed.  Then I figured, why the heck not?  The fact that I even post to a blag means I’m probably at least be a little OK sharing private information with my tens of readers.  I know that generally you want to read about how awesome I am (very, by the way!) but today we’re going to focus on the shame.  Buckle up and enjoy:

 

Motivation is a funny thing.  Back in 2008 I drove from Spokane to Seattle every single Friday during the summer just so I could race for a grand total of like 40 minutes at Marymoor.  I was super motivated for good results all winter.  I spent hours on the trainer during the winter since there was too much snow to ride anywhere in Spokane.  I made excellent use of my Netflix subscription and burned through probably 10-12 movies per week.  I was in great shape and was able to snag the elusive upgrade to Cat 2 that summer.  That summer also happens to coincide with my long absence from blagging, as you’re already aware.  Yes, I was burnt out.  Yes, life got in the way.  But as I stated not 2 weeks ago [Edit – A little longer than that now, thanks to my chickening out] I’m rip-roaring and ready to go.  Goals set, training plan written up, bike legs itching.  Then Jenn had to go and ruin everything by telling me I can’t race Masters Nats this year.  It’s odd, but that totally defeated me.  I let a little sickness get in my way, then I got lazy, then I got off-track.  I know I was flippant about the idea of not being able to race in Nationals this year, but deep down it really affected me.  It was going to be my glorious comeback, my return to sport.  I had it all planned out.

I keep trying to figure out why I can lose all motivation like this.  That winter of noting but trainer rides was much more grueling than anything I did this year.  Driving 600 miles round-trip to race every weekend is an absolute beast compared to the weekly local races I have available in Boise.  And yet…

I should be excited.  I should be out, busting my butt, gearing up for all the great races that are just around the corner.  Yet without Nationals on the horizon I’m simply not motivated.

I need my drive back.  I need to race for the sake of racing, not for some far-flung podium dream.  I need to remember what it’s like to be in a break.  I need to remember what it’s like to win a head-up sprint.  I need to love my sport again.

 

So there it is – I suppose that wasn’t too bad after all.  It is awfully embarrassing to get so discouraged by something as simple as missing out on one race; I feel like I should be better than that.  I will say that I had a solid ride today – did some nice tempo work, made the old legs wake up a bit.  I feel like I can race this weekend (Holy crap, the season is already here!) and regardless of results feel good about it.  But the part I’m most excited about?  I didn’t look at the 25-30 MPH and give up without even trying.  The overnight flat in my rear time didn’t deter me.  The crazy amount of work I felt needed to be done had to get put aside for a few hours.  Maybe it’s not a big victory to just get in the bike but I’ll take it right now.  Anything to get out of this little slump.

 

Thanks for reading.

Posted by: gofastturnleft | February 19, 2012

Not the Greatest of Weeks

You know what makes training really difficult?  Getting a sore throat that makes just half an hour in the cold air feel like breathing 80-grit.  On Wednesday I began feeling under the weather a bit.  I never felt awful and never felt particularly tired, but I was absolutely unable to do more than commute to work without wanting to rip my own throat out.  So that derailed my training plans a bit.  I was expecting redemption this weekend, until Kelsey reminded me that her brother, Todd, was going to be in town.  It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, so this weekend was spent hanging out, eating absolutely fattening food, and brewing beer.  I guess I get some beer out of the deal though, so that’s cool!

This upcoming week: back on track!  I’m still very solidly in Base since none of the races I care about are for months.  As Jen Triplett was kind enough to point out, I actually can’t race at Masters this year.  Which means one of two things: I either already failed at a goal for the season or already succeeded at one.  Hey, think about it – did anybody in my age group ride faster than my at Masters Nats this year?  That’s what I thought!  Luckily, that was essentially the last road race of the year for me, which means that my entire season hasn’t been thrown off kilter.  What I’ll probably end up doing is just take a long transition period over the summer, do some mountain biking, cross train a little, then hit the ‘cross season running.  Followed by remounting.  That was a little bike humor there.

My other major road goal for the season, as I mentioned last week, is the Exergy Twilight Crit.  Previously the Wells Fargo Twilight Crit, it’s often colloquially known as the Boise Twilight Crit, especially to those from out of state.  I love this race.  It’s on the NRC calendar, so the pros are out in force.  It’s a huge deal for Boise, so there are tons of spectators, even for the lower categories.  There’s a good cash purse, even fro the lower categories.  It’s in the middle of the Summer in the desert, so it’s mirage-inducingly hot.  It’s simply awesome!  I’ve raced it a couple years and am really looking forward to getting back out there.  Since I know my (admittedly small) readership is from a wide geographic area, I thought I’d put together a little poll to see what others are planning for the race:

On tap for this week: actually riding the hours I’m scheduled to!

Thanks for reading.

Posted by: gofastturnleft | February 12, 2012

Remember Racing?

I do – barely.  Here’s the deal – I set up this blag to be, first and foremost, a place to discuss bike racing and its related activities.  I have made a number of posts regarding work and house projects, but for some reason it just never seemed right to put them here.  I rarely perform either of those activities in spandex.  For that reason, and given my impending marriage at the time, my fiancé-at-the-time-now-wife Kelsey and I started a separate (but equal!) blag over at http://boisespiegels.wordpress.com/

Slightly-related note: brides-to-be are fiancés, grooms-to-be are fiancées.  Huh.

So what’s the upshot?  My life for the past 3 years has been dominated by not-racing.  Ergo, this racing-related blag has fallen by the wayside.  My last update that mentioned racing at all was on November 25, 2008.  That’s ages ago.  Between moving, buying a house, starting work, getting married, and doing tons of outdoor/indoor projects, finding the time needed to dedicate myself to racing has been pretty much impossible.  I got used to not racing.  I got used to being content with commutes and the occasional long ride on the weekend.  I would go mountain biking, but it was all about goofing around with Kelsey and not busting myself to go faster and harder.

Then a glorious thing happened.  A wonderful, amazing, splendiferous occurrence.  It was summer.  Kelsey and I had been riding downtown to the local Co-op for groceries a lot.  I had a rack on my old ‘cross bike and she had one of those Topeak Beamracks on her road bike to allow her to carry up to 20 pounds.  By the third time I had to haul 40+ pounds of groceries (including watermelon at times!) up the 12% hill by our house while Kelsey rode away with her 15 pound load, I said “Enough!  We’re buying you a commuter bike!”  Off we went, scouring bike shops for a decent touring bike with eyelets for a rack.  By the fourth shop or so, met with little success, the heavens parted, Kelsey stated, and I quote: “Wouldn’t it just make more sense to buy a cyclocross bike and put a rack on that?  You know, in case I want to try racing?”

YES!  RACING!

We did end up getting her a ‘cross bike and race it she did.  We both entered almost every race in the Treasure Valley this past Fall and I was hooked again.  I ended up taking 10th in the SWICX series, based purely on consistency of showing up to races versus actual results.  But that’s mainly because I suck at ‘cross.  It didn’t matter, though.  Every race was awesome.  Even the ones that hurt and sucked were awesome.  I was officially back to racing.

I subsequently drew up a training plan for this season and it’s been going well so far.  Since all the races I care about are in the Summer (and Fall, once ‘cross comes back around) I just started my Base period this week.  I’m capping it off with 4 hours out on the roads today and I am absolutely looking forward to it.

Before everything gets underway, though, I’m going to lay down the ground rules, starting with my observations from reading many blags over the years:

  1. Exquisite details are exquisitely boring.  You don’t care what zones I was in during my ride, my gearing, my exact route, my exact mileage, or how many vertical feet I climbed
  2. Frequent updates are nice.  Blags that languish get deleted from reading lists.
  3. Fluff posts are worse than a lack of posts.  Each post should actually add something meaningful.
  4. Overly-serious amateur racers are funny.  But not in a good way.

With that in mind, I will make an absolutely concerted effort to post at least once per week, usually on Sunday, since that’s when I’m planning my next week’s rides.  I’ll hopefully be in the right state of mind.  I won’t bore you with mind-numbing details but will try to give an overall impression of the week.  While being relevant.  And funny.  Or, you know, what I think is funny.  I’ll also keep everything in perspective.  If I ever post about how awful it was that I didn’t win the Tuesday-Night World Championship Parking Lot Crit, for the love of all that is holy, call me on it.

On to goals!

The Exergy Twilight Crit:  This is the big one!  Packed streets, screaming crowds, top-level racing, big prize money.  I’ve done well here before racing for Recycled Cycles and want to do well again.  It’s in July and I should have plenty of time to prep.

Master’s Nationals: Yes, I’m old enough to be a Masters racer now.  Nats are in Bend, which is a car drive away rather than a flight across the country.  There are very few 30-34 year-olds who enter since the fast ones are focused on Elite Nats.  Not me!  I’m taking the easy road to try for that coveted jersey.  I’ve always known that I can’t climb for crap, but this year I’ve really decided to cement my status as a rouleur so will be focusing on the time trial.  Early September, so I’ll have to be careful not to overdo it and be cooked by then.

‘Cross State Champs: Since I’ll be focusing on TTs anyway, doesn’t this make sense?  ‘Cross is just a TT interrupted by running and jumping.  Plus it’s fun to play in the mud and there are a couple really strong series around these parts.  Probably sometime in November if this past year is any indication.

 

So that’s it.  Riding, training, racing, blaging.  Plus, you know, all that other stuff I talk about on my other blag.  Man, days need to be longer.

 

 

Posted by: gofastturnleft | November 25, 2009

Oh yeah…

I (basically) finished the garage project!  There are some areas on the legs that still need a coat of paint or two, but the major portion is over.  Go look at Flickr.  It’s ever so exciting.

What I ended up with is 12 feet of workbench complete with 4 foot high pegboard running its length.  The height of the bench varies from about 36 inches to near 40.  Yeah, I know 40 is pretty tall, but that’s what you get when you build in a sloped garage.  Most people would also think 36 inches is pretty tall, but most people aren’t freak-sized like yours truly.  When I work at normal-sized benches (30ish inches) my back kills after a while because I’m so hunched over.  My custom bench is totally going to rule.

In the meantime, the other side of my garage is filthy.  Crap piled everywhere, sawdust and dirt all over the place.  I ned to tackle that sucker so I can actually start putting my car inside and not have to scrape off frost every morning.  Becuase that’s pretty stupid.

 

On the work-related side of things, I have awesome news.  I’ve accepted a full-time position working in pediatrics.  It’s four days a week with Wednesdays off.  It’s pretty much my ideal schedule.  Half the days I’m in Meridian, about 5 miles away, the other half I’m in Nampa, about 20 miles away.  I’m going to start riding into my Meridian job once I get my commuter all set up.  I might even be crazy enough to try commuting to Nampa some as well.  We’ll just have to see.

 

Posted by: gofastturnleft | November 12, 2009

A Little Paint

…makes everything better.  More garage photos are up on flickr, with a first coat of paint added.  It definitely needs at least one more, as you can see the primer through the paint in some areas.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get that taken care of this weekend and finish everything up early next week.  Meanwhile, I’m cooking up a double batch of apple butter and will be canning it shortly.  Delicious.

Posted by: gofastturnleft | November 8, 2009

Another Busy Weekend

I decided to learn how to can this weekend.  I bought a giant 33 quart pot and mason jars and went to town.  My neighbor has grapes planted along the fence along our property line, and I picked somewhere around 50 pounds of concord grapes which are now in the process of being turned into jam.  I’ve got a dozen half-pint jars so far, and that’s like 10% of my crop.  I’ve also got 5 quart jars of applesauce that might need a home in the near future.

The garage is coming along nicely as well.  It’s now got a frame structure consisting of 1x2s set up in 3 squares each 4 feet on a side along the wall right above my bench.  You can check out the most recent photos on my flickr site.   I’ve actually made more progress since those photos.  The entire structure has a coat of primer and will get a coat of paint soon.  Then the finishing touches go up and I’m good to go.  It’s exciting to be this close to finishing.

Posted by: gofastturnleft | November 1, 2009

Cooking Up a Storm

Kelsey and I finally picked a gym to join.  We’re proud members of the Idaho Athletic Club now.  They’ve got seven facilities across the valley and there’s one about 2 miles down the road from me.  They’ve got nice, clean facilities and don’t seem to get too crowded.  We’ve set up a schedule so that we can be workout buddies and keep each other motivated.  Especially during the winter.  The downside is that between work, hitting the gym, and riding, there’s not a lot of time for making decent meals during the day.  We don’t really want to eat crap all the time, so decided the best thing to do is make a week’s worth of meals every weekend that we can just heat up.  This Saturday was our first great cooking experiment.  We made 12 pans of lasagna to freeze.  That’s right, 12.  In addition to that, we made barbecue pork, paella, gratin potatoes, and sweet potato stew with pork.  There are pictures of everything up on flickr.  Check them out, but be careful not to drool all over your keyboard.

Posted by: gofastturnleft | October 25, 2009

Garage Update

The great garage renovation continues. I’ve posted a few more pictures on Flickr. As you can see, the workbench is starting to go up. I’m making it 12 feet long so I bought a piece of 3/4″ plywood and had it cut in half, giving me a couple eight foot planks, each two feet deep. I’ve got one of them up and need to cut the other in half so I can slip it into place. There’s a twelve foot 2×4 running along the wall, providing lots of stability. I’ll have a total of 4 legs along the front with corresponding supports under the bench and struts about halfway down, adding a little more stability. You can also see the paint that I’m using for the whole wall. I know there’s a big patch that’s still just primer. That’s going to be covered up, though, so I didn’t want to waste paint. Yes, I know I primered it, but I wanted a protective coating over the whole wall. I should be able to finish the bench tomorrow and then I’ll add a bit of color to it. All in all, it’s coming along nicely.

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