Monday, August 31, 2009

Opening weekend of Futball

Sunday was spent in Ames for Maddie's soccer game. Hannah was kept occupied with the camera and the glider that kept on doing laps from the nearby airport. Maddie had a good 1st game of the fall season. 1 assist and lots of minutes.
They won 4-3 and played well as a team.

We then moved over to the ISU Cyclone soccer stadium. The Griz were playing the clones in Women's soccer and we had to show them the love. We were only able to see the last 20min as their game and Maddie's had started at the same time. The Griz were down 1-0 when we arrived, but seemed to have the upper hand and were pressing hard. Then a fluke goal rolled across and the game ended 2-0. As they left the field, I called them over for some autographs (the girls were too shy to do it on their own). I think that the Griz were a little dumbstuck.....why would they be asked for autographs 1500 miles away from home? However, when they came over and saw our Griz gear, they quickly warmed up and treated the twins to 10 minutes of their time. The girls sure appreciated it, THANKS TO THE LADY GRIZ!
In hindsight, it was pretty funny. The Cylones had left the field and were milling around with boyfriend and parents and the griz were getting all of the attention of the autograph seekers (all 2 of them).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Night Ride at Center Trails

Put the word out for a night ride to test the lights before next weekends race. Had two that wanted to join the fun. However Pete ended up getting out early which was a good thing because he called and informed me that Denmans was dry and rideable (thanks for the call, I wouldn't have guessed).

I rode from the house and met Brian in Denmans near 7:45 and then we headed towards the pool to see if anyone else had decided to join. We were a little late to the meeting spot but didn't see any signs of life so we headed towards rollercoaster with the lights finally getting turned on. Just as we started the climb, Jacob appeared out of the dark and joined in the fun.

Three amigos on the 1st night ride of the summer (for me). Coaster, extended hillside loop, Denmans, J11 back to a short hillside loop and done.

Riding home with Jacob he invited me in for a quick beverage and 15min later I was riding the Greenbelt home. 38miles total and the new lights worked great!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Seven Oaks Race Recap

Like Rick, I had the best intentions of writing a race report early last week. I also keep watch for others race reports and can't wait to hear how it went for them. I should be more prompt in mine.

The girls opted out of being my race support and I really don't blame them. While it is nice to have them there to cheer me on, I realize that they only see me for a fleeting moment and then sit and wait for another 45min until I come around again. Racing is exciting for the participants, but not so much for the spectators. I arrived at Seven Oaks near 10:30, registered and took my time getting ready. Jason and I headed out to ride the beginner loop and I stashed a spare bottle for the middle of my race. I felt good during the warm-up and thought I might have a pretty good race. Seven Oaks rewards those that have dirt skills and can stay on the bike the most often. I quickly drank a Monster (bad idea) and got lined up with the others.

The usual suspects were there including 4-5 really fast guys (I only plan on seeing Cam, Jed, Kent, Aaron and Jay at the start). I marked a few others that are in the 35+ category and we were off. The group spreadout quickly and got in line for the 1st singletrack climb. Funny how the experts really seem to understand where they fit in the line (speed wise). I was 12th wheel as we climbed and I felt good. All of us were still bunched together until the 1st switchback climb after the bridge on the backside. Bullerman was in front of me and riding strong until we hit the tight singletrack. A gap quickly opened in front of him and although Steve has the fitness, I could tell he wasn't comfortable on this section. I made a sketchy pass on the inside of a downhill switchback (thanks Steve) and pushed ahead to catch-up. I thought that I had dropped the group behind me, but on the next sustained climb I could feel them on my wheel again. Obviously these guys can climb better than me. I tried to push it harder on the technical sections and usually opened a small gap. Then Steve would power up to me. After awhile I asked if he wanted by, he stated that I was faster and would stay where he was. Wouldn't you know it, shortly after that I would bobble on a rooty uphill and have to hop off the bike. Steve got buy and I ran to quickly stay in touch. As luck would have it, we were just hitting the top/power section of the course and he motored away. I should have tried harder to stay with him, but I just didn't have it.

It was here that the Monster started to play with me. I was 30min into the race and couldn't tell if I had stomach problems or was dehydrated. I couldn't decide if I should drink or not. I paced myself through the start finish and was already behind Steve by 1:20. It took 1/2 of the next lap to get my body back to normal. In that time, Brad Patty had quickly caught and passed me. Again, I tried to stay with him, but couldn't hang on. Near the end of lap two I felt better and was able to push harder. I let it all hang out and thought that I was catching those in front of me. At the end, I don't think that I made any headway, but I did feel good about the effort.

Overall, I finished 13th out of 15. 2min behind Brad, 4 behind Steve and 6-8 behind those that I should be shooting for. I did get some small victories in this race. My lap times were consistent (something that hasn't been happening). 45min, 47min, 46min and my heart rates stayed higher for longer 173, 170, 169 avg for each lap.

I also learned to stay away from the Monster before the race. Overall, I'm happy with the way that I've been learning and progressing with each race this year. It was a big jump to move up a class, but I wanted the longer race times and in the end I will be faster/stronger for next year.

I couldn't figure out how to download the pic, but good race photos from Angy. I am photo #31.

Next up is the 24hrs of Seven Oaks. Racing with Rick, Nate and Jason. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kids MTB Video

Back in June I posted a short version of the girls on MTBs from vacation. I then worked on cropping a few smaller videos together, here is the result.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cool Trail in Michigan

I found this video a while back, but forgot to post. It is from Copper Harbor, Michigan. From what I understand, the boardwalk trail connects two trails that were separated by a section of woods that would have made it hard to construct a normal trail. Cool looking trail with some "flow".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1st day of Middle School

Late posting on last week's news. I was in Sioux Falls for week from Sunday-Friday night and then racing over the weekend (update later). In the meantime, the twins started 6th grade on Wednesday. The traditional front step picture for this year is above. Funny how they are growing up and gaining independence and yet they wanted to dress as twins. Holly even asked them that morning if "they were sure". I'm sure they were nervous and this was their way of getting comfortable.

Of course, the day went off without a hitch and they are now completing enjoying the new routine. Lockers (with locks and combinations to memorize), home room and class rooms to find for each period, Ala Carte lunch and larger menus.

Before we realize it, we will be planning for senior pictures and graduation. Time to enjoy them while they still let us in their lives.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ouch part III

It doesn't seem to quit from Ahquabi. Jason and I went to Boone on Saturday morning to pre-ride for this weekend's race. On the first downhill my fork was bottoming out so I locked it out and finished the lap at an easy pace. I added air to the fork and we started lap two. Halfway into this lap I had the same issue. By the time I was at the car the fork was leaking oil from the bottom.
I had hit a large hole last weekend and remember being surprised that I hadn't done any damage to the rim. Obviously it wasn't completely damage free.
I dropped it at Rassy's hoping it can be fixed by the weekend.
Laps were good and the course is in pretty good shape. Looking forward to a good course.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ouch part II

I haven't been on the bike since the race, but I pulled it out last night to wash it. I noticed and then remembered that I had a seat problem during the race. I didn't think it was as bad as this...(click the pic)....the nose of the saddle was a good 2 inches too high.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

19 years ago today

Holly and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary today with a dinner at Phat Chef's. Some nice quiet conversation and good food.
Looking back, we had some great years and some fantastic times. We are truly blessed to have each other and a pretty good life on top of that. No complaints from me. It dawned on me during dinner that we have now been together for twice as long as she has been alive (more, but who's counting). It was our 2nd or 3rd date when I took her out for her 19th birthday. It was a big night because 19 was the legal drinking age in Montana at that time. Dinner at the Mustard Seed and a hastily drummed up party compliments of a few buddies.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Odd race for me today. At the end I hurt more than I have in any of the races this year, but during points of the race, I thought that I could go faster (but I couldn't). Then when reviewing heart rate info, I was pleased about several of the laps and yet others were wimpy.

I placed 3rd in the Cat 1 Masters category and I think 10th or 11th overall. I did match my 1st lap goal of 32min, but lap two dropped too far in time. Lap3 was much better, 4 was ok and 5 sucked. I haven't seen the full results yet, but I think that I came within 3-5min of a few that I was marking. Everyone was hurting, it was hot and humid.

Congrats to Rick on the Cat2 open win. Has to be his best race yet. Also congrats to Jed, I heard a story of a two singlespeeder sprinting (uphill) for 2nd in the Cat1 race. Apparently they locked bars and both fell over. It turned into a running race for the finish. If this is true, I hope someone has video, sounds great!

I saw lots of photographers on the course, if someone knows of links to photos, let me know.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ahquabi Recon

No pics, I was having too much fun! I drove down to Ahquabi to recon the course for this weekends race. My plan was to do a 70% lap and then one close to race pace. I wanted a time to set my race goals against.
Let's just say that Bruce Brown (race director) has found another .5mile or more of trail and although you won't be climbing up the rr ties, you might be cursing him even more once you reach the top of that hill. A great addition to the course. :)
Thanks to Chad V, and Nathan C. for showing me the proper route. Can't wait until Sunday.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gone Tubeless

After a lot of research and emails to those that have done it before me, I finally decided to go tubeless on the 29er. I dropped by the shop this afternoon and bought a Stan's kit as well as new WTB Nanoraptor tires. I even skipped the Taco Ride tonight in order to get them mounted up (need to allow as much time as possible for testing).

Overall, it went fairly well. The front tire, took a little over an hour. It would have went faster, but I forgot to read the directions on how to mix the soap/water testing solution. Maybe you could skip that part, but I was following directions to see how hard this might be. Since I was running across the street to the neighbors to use their air compressor, I made several trips.

Just about the time that I was going to give up, the bead decided to pop in place and hold air. As I was placing the Stan's liquid into the tire, I was wondering if the air-up was a fluke. Fortunately, it went as easy as pie and I was successful.

The rear tire was much easier and I completed that one in about 30minutes. By tomorrow morning, I'll know if I was really successful, or if I have two flat tires.

I'm looking forward to testing the ride. I've knew they would be slightly lighter (no tube), but it didn't occur to me just how noticeable it would be (I've forgotten that it feels like 29er tubes have a pound of rubber in them).

Possible ride at Denmans tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weekend Recap: Ingawanis Races

We loaded the wagon up to the gills and headed out on Saturday to Waterloo for the weekend. Holly had found us a room at the local casino online, so we took a mini vacation. Three bikes, bike gear and the bags of three girls almost had me attaching the ski box to the roof rack.

We arrived near noon and checked into the hotel. The plan was for the girls to enjoy the pool while I went to the Ingawanis Boy Scout camp to check out the race course.
I happened to show up as they were starting the time trail. Race Director Jeremy asked me if I was racing, but I told him that I was only looking to pre-ride. I changed and hoped on my bike as the last rider headed out. 30seconds later, I heard "Tom, 1:30 to your start time". I figured I might as well test the legs and lined up with a grand total of 2minutes for a warm-up. I rode at about 90% and enjoyed the course. I ended up with a decent time, but the local hotshot "kids" turned in times near 2min faster. At least the Taco Bell that I had enjoyed 45min before didn't come back more recon lap and I was back to the hotel for dinner.
We enjoyed a pancake breakfast at IHop and went up to the course. I had been talking to the girls about doing the Kids Race, but they were pretty apprehensive. Maddie had decided to do the race, but Hannah was against it. I took them on a pre-ride and it only took Hannah one lap to get into the mood to join in the fun. Holly quickly registered her and we put her number on the bike just in time for the racer's meeting. If you look closely, I think you can see butterflies in their stomachs on the above picture.
At the gun, it was obvious that I need to work with them on their starts. The two Snoop boys left them in the dust. However, they quickly caught back on. They did two laps of a small singletrack course. Maddie finished second and the last climb made it difficult for Hannah to catch up to 3rd place. Overall, I think they had a blast. They seemed to have a good sense of accomplishment after the race.
Sisters, enjoying the fact that the race is over.

My race wasn't as strong as I hoped, but it didn't go bad either. We had 11 men and 3 women on the line. I went into the singletrack in 10th place and behind Robin Williams. The pace seemed hard, but doable for the 1st half of the lap. In fact, the top 11 had moved away and were still within 10seconds of each other. Then (for some reason) I decided that I couldn't hold this pace and started to back off. I held what seemed like a decent pace and let the others go. This seems to be typical of my Cat 1 starts. The end of lap 1 and the rest of 2 were at this pace. Lap 3 and most of lap 4 were at a pace equal to the 1st lap. Lap 5 was just looking over my shoulder and maintaining my place to the end. I finished at 8th male and 9th overall. At least I was 1st in the 35+ category.
I'm learning a lot about racing for longer than the Cat 2 races. I also have to have more confidence and just push myself harder. The heart rates don't lie and I haven't really pushed as hard as I am capable of. I'm learning that I don't need to "save" anything in the middle of the race to finish.
Next up is Lake Ahquabi and I've been studying my past results as well as the results from last year at Ahquabi. I've set some higher goals for myself and will have them taped to my stem as a reminder. If I can hit these time goals, then I should be closer to the middle of the pack (that seems to leave me behind).