Friday, February 29, 2008

Reflecting of Life. Something you can only do away from home.

You know, sitting around a foreign town while on vacation, you get a fair amount of time to review your life.

First is that it's amazing how many people care for my well being. I crashed last week as many of you know... hard. Oh, here's a picture of the carnage. To the right is me falling and the end of my bike, skin etc. as well as the beginning of my nasty road rash.

Thanks to all of you who called, emailed, Facebook messaged me, etc.

I'm racing again in Austin this weekend. It's called Prima Vera at Lago Vista and I hear it's hard and, well hard. Works for me cause I'm not here to be a slouch.

Today we, okay, Steve took my 2007 new Trek Madone apart and put all the parts on the new ride. It went better than we thought.....

So far I'm totally digging Austin. Warm weather (yeah, I like that). Groovy people and places. It's kind of like L-town, but bigger. I've been down here before, but I wasn't ready for Austin. Strange how that works. I needed the experiences of Lawrence to make me grow enough so that I'd be ready for somewhere else. I guess, "every good person from Kansas gets the hell out of Kansas." -Ryan Lash. I'd write more about this, but that's a conversation for later.

So for all you that care enough to ask, here's a list of the ailments from the crash as they are now:
I'm numb on my left ASIS from swelling (and a possible chip fracture- but it could be an old one...)
There are still a couple of wounds that are open and bleeding. That's bad right? How bad?
Lots of bruising and a couple of hematomas still.
Fractured, or just plain broken rib. It's making that "click" feeling as it starts to heal.

Steve and I hooked up with Dave Wenger and Stefan Rothe on Wednesday for an epic 115 mile march through hill country. Dave called it the "Cave Ride." Really a cool ride, and I didn't show too much of my February form. Important: Now it's March, so I'm fit. Ha! It seems that every bike rider is an environmentalist. I think it's because we see what we are losing everyday. Ultimately, our "progress" is restricting our own freedom and ability to escape to a more serene place.

But we did see cows!

I raced today... all busted up and everything. I'll post more on it later. Now, I'm tired.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pace Bend RR: Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

This was a race to remember always. For starters, I'd like to say this: Trek Bicycles stands behind their product 100%. Sure I ride Trek and I have for a while, but Trek really helped me out and got back on the road in virtually no time. Thanks.

Back to the race. I did this race last year and the course is very rolling. Think KU campus hills for 6 miles, and 13 laps of it. But it's so rolling that the hills are fast! 40 down and 26 up! Woo Hoo! I'm really good at coasting downhill 25 guys deep in a 130 man field. The players were everyone from Saturday's Walburg race, and a few more guys all in teams. Orven was again the team to beat as they only had 13 good riders on their team. Blah! C'mon, at least make it fair. Actually, they weren't too organized. The speed was really too fast for anything to get organized.....

Basically the race was pretty simple to read. With only a few big (numbers) teams there and everyone on the hunt for break aways because Saturday one worked nothing was going to work unless the mix was right. Oh, and everyone was watching the Orven riders. Everyone! One move got away and that ended up being myself, three other riders and FIVE Orven riders. Five. Can you believe that? Crazy. They were trying to get us to work and drive the break. Why would I want that? In reality, they should have all gone to the front and driven the break whether or not the rest of us pulled. Then gotten the break so far ahead that the peloton was never going to catch..... THEN started attacking. But alas, that was not how it worked. We started arguing over who was not going to be taking a turn (I was one of the "nope" riders) and started not pedaling. So everyone caught us and we were back to square one. In the end, it was a field sprint, which is where my troubles begin.

So... there was just riding along (JRA) when all of a sudden, the guy in front of me decides to crash his bike in the middle of the sprint finish! BAM! I'm on the ground and it HURT!

The damage: One shredded team kit of clothing, One broken frame, one fractured olecranon (elbow), 8"x8" of skin lost if you add it all together, multiple lacerations, three massive hematomas (hip, calf, elbow), two stitches installed by Steve Tilford in my hip, 4 stitches installed in my elbow by Annalyese- a super cute med student, one refused dose of morphine in the ER (while getting the stitches), and one fractured rib. I guess it could have been better, but it definitely could have been worse.

Also, Cathy Walburg crashed too. She's okay, just has a Texas sized hematoma on her thigh, and some road rash. I'm not really sure why there were so many crashes... nearly every lap we raced there were people lying on the ground. Barry, the promoter, is the only one who knows why each crash happened, so he should be able to figure it out. I didn't think that the course was unsafe at all, except for the finish/ feed zone where there were way too many cars and people walking around on the road. I know that the entire Women 4 field was on the ground sometime during the race. That's right, Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

The left leg:

Wrapped elbow:

The First stitch:
The second stitch:

The left side:
The left shoulder:

The elbow before stitches:

Now I'm going to go ride bikes. I'm here to ride and healing will happen sooner or later.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fun in the Texas Sun: Walburg Road Race

It was supposed to be "cold" in the morning. Yup, in Texas 41F is cold. Being from KS, I just put on some arm warmers and used the leg goop for warmth. Onward:

Walburg is an excellent way to start the season. First, it's warm. Not like doing the Frozen Toes. It's warm, there's lots of guys (110+) and you can really race versus being marked by all 13 guys in the field back home. The key players are Hotel San Jose, Team Orven (from Monterrey Mexico), Brian Jensen, and Mercy. Everyone else either had too few guys to be effective, or were simply so disorganized as a team that they neutralized themselves by acting as individuals.

Orven was the TEAM this day. But with 13 organized guys, that should be expected. They put two up the road immediately and we never really saw them again (more on that). The other guys just rode in the field, covered moves, and rode tempo on the front of the field controlling everything. Kudos to them for clamping the vice grips on the field. Other teams really fizzled as far as my expectations go. Mercy, as I found out, is probably as under-powered as we are in that they have numbers, but not the motor yet (big, huge YET) to do much about Orven. That will change as their guys come into form and they will be a quality team as always. Brian was the only pro and therefore marked like no one else. But team Hotel San Jose surprised me with their non- cohesiveness. They put two guys on the front to chase one time, but it only lasted for about 10 minutes. It seems like 5-10 minutes is the longest you can get an amateur team to organize for before they give up.

Typically the wind cuts the field into pieces and only a few guys finish. However, this time the wind wasn't really a factor until the last 20 miles or so. With one lap to go Steve Tilford went hard enough to break the field into 2-4 groups (I was in the second, but didn't look behind me to count) by himself. In the process, this fractured the the grip that Orven had on the race and showed them to be vulnerable. About 2 miles later, 2 more guys slipped off the front as we watched. But the stage had been set for the final lap (dun, dun, dun).

Steve and Brian Jensen went to the front with another U-25 development kid. The three of them started hammering and really going fast, dropping the peloton into the gutter for a draft free ride on the white line. The three were being followed by 7-8 of the Orven riders so it looked a bit menacing. I saw what was going on and jumped up to the rotation where I said, "Steve, could you ask Brian to slide left a little please." Steve saw me, Brian gave me room and now there were 4 of us rotating. Every time I looked back to check the damage, there were less people. 15, 10, 8, 8, 7, 5, 3. But they were all Orven which is still fairly ominous.

We caught the other two that were in the secondary move and were only about 2km from the finish, which is uphill, which is hard, especially after riding hard for 8 miles at the end of your longest RIDE of the year. Oh yeah, and only RACE of the year so far.

I ended up leading out the sprint for Steve and Brian (lead out is a relative term here). One Orven guy went by us so fast that we were never catching him.... until he broke his chain and fell down. Another Orven rider got by us for a 1,2,3 sweep. Brian got 4th, Steve 6th, and Adam 9th. Also, we took about 3:30 out the break in 8 miles, finishing 25 seconds behind the two original break away riders. Pretty good outing for February. I'll put some pictures up if I can find some.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Austin here we come!

Thank gawd that winter took a brief hiatus.. for me! Well, okay, so I’m taking a brief hiatus from winter via Austin, TX. Of course this comes at some sort of sacrifice…..

First, I was forced to leave this:

And ride one of these:

And go do this:

BUT, when the weather and roads look like this:

You can’t really do lots of this for training:

But you do end up drinking lots of this:

So, now we’re driving down to Austin, which is a good 10 hour drive, and we didn’t even leave until 330pm and saw the sun set while we were just south of Topeka.

That’s not a good sign.

I’m staying a week down here to work on my tan and to ride my bike as much as I can. Also, there are some friends here I’d like to reconnect with.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sick and Tired

Okay, I think I cracked. I've been cold since I got up today. For me this means that my hands have, more or less, been numb since about 730am today. I'm tired of being cold. Where's some hot air (insert political joke here)? For real! You can only drink so much hot tea and coffee before you get too jazzed to handle anymore. What else is there that's hot? Ideas anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Flying Solo, yet never alone.

Yeah, I know what all of you are thinking. "Man, Adam's writing about being single." Well not really. I'm not saying you won't get a good rant here, but I haven't really figured out what I want to come out of this blog yet. It, undoubtedly, will undergo some transformations as all this gets sorted out.

It snowed last night, and all morning here... again. I miss the days of Choco tan lines, Reef sandals with bottle openers built in, eating watermelon after a bike ride. Those days are gone for a while, and will be back soon when the full glory of summer will be on us once again.

I think the most difficult part of winter is the solitude. Many of you know that I'm an outdoors person. I've lived my entire life being outside as much as I can. That feeling of freedom as the warm breeze blows on your face while your bike glides over the road. I miss the camaraderie of group rides, of the team (HRRC), of the other racers. Instead, it's the dead of winter and here we all are, flying solo.

Yet it's not really flying solo though. Because as a bike racer I'm also a bit competitive. I need to be on form and ready to compete when the time comes. So too, are the ways of many riders. So we train. And we train. And we train. None of us really know how fit anyone else is. We just know that we're not race ready anymore. So we train, and train. Hoping to get closer to that long forgotten July form by the time "opening day" comes around.

But where does that leave us who live in a frozen tundra where apparently hell has frozen over? Well the choices today for me were: put on all sorts of clothes and head out, ride the trainer, run, or sit around and do nothing. Let's see. I tried the "nothing" option yesterday during the 24 hours of rain, sleet, hail, snow, rain, and sleet. I may have mentioned some more than once but that's the order they came in. I ended up lying in bed at 1:40am praying I would get tired enough to sleep. It worked, eventually. Run: Somewhere I developed the tightest I.T. bands in the world. I am seriously considering stretching now. I used to hate running, but lately it's been good to me. Okay, trainer. I hate these things. They totally defeat the purpose of riding. That just leaves the riding outside thing so that's what I did. 3 hours, two cramping hamstrings, and about a billion hard pedal strokes later here I am, totally blown up but happy I rode.

The trails are very peaceful when blanketed with snow. You may think you're alone. But truth be told, you need only to look down and see the tracks from all the critters to remember that many a pair of eyes are on you at all times. Not only that, but your competition is training. You should probably get out there and get some work done.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Whoa Now!

Hey anyone crazy enough to read this. I'm just figuring this thing out. I'm not even sure what an HTML is. I think I have some of that in my cupboard right next to the cashew butter but who knows. Give me some time and I'll try and have this thing looking pretty.