Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The McFlurry Incident

I got about 1/3 the way through this post before I realized it was going to be a long one, but a good one. Grab a snack, coffee, beer, or whatever, and have a seat.

Road Trip!!

Yes. Finally, a bike race. I managed to race 7 times in the first 4 weeks of the season. But since then, it's been one race every other week. Strange. I remember when you could do stage races every weekend from Mid- March to Mid-June. Now, not so much the case. I may have mentioned it, but racing is so much fun, I could do every weekend! So, I'm going to climb on my soapbox and say this:

Riders, please contact your area promoters and implore with them to check the area calendars before scheduling a race to avoid conflicts. April 19, 20- Zero Races, May 3, 4- Zero Races. April 26, 27- 3 races within 300 miles! Velotek Grand Prix, Iowa City, and Tour of St. Louis. All of these are quality races and deserve a great turnout. The only problem is that there is only so many riders to attend. The end result is that none of the races had the attendance that should have, could have been there! Had they been on different weekends, I would have done all three along with dozens of other riders. But alas, they were not, so the HRRC/ Trek Stores team jumped in the Team Car and drove to Iowa City, where we figured the best competition would be. That's the end of my soapbox speech.

The best part about the racing is the road trip. It seems that the racing is always that. Racing. It's definitely exciting and awesome. But the driving, man! That's the best part. In the Team Car it was Shadd, Adam, Bill, and Joe. Basically, from what I remember, it was a bunch of us characters laughing for most of the trip. It does make the miles go by faster.

Speaking of miles: Shadd just got a brand new Chevy Impala as a new company car. Woo Hoo! So, there we were, leaving Bethany (mile 97 on I35 in MO, the last coffee shop stop until Des Moines) with our breakfast of McDonalds Hotcakes and eggs and back to our road trip when a Highway Trooper clocks an unsuspecting Shadd at 85mph. Awww hell! But, the guy is in the lane traveling the other way. Okay, that gives us a chance right? No, way! Mr. Officer veers directly into the water filled grass/ swamp median at about 50 mph to cross the highway and chase us down. All we could see was the enormous splash and the car emerging from being submerged from the standing water in the grass median. I was hoping it would get stuck like this car. But that's pretty much what he did, except he succeeded in his swamp crossing and indeed chased us down. I hate that moment when the officer is behind you, and hasn't turned his lights on yet. You think, "maybe he's not pulling me over..." Yup, there are the lights.

So, there's a Team Car pulled over with 4 elite bike racers in it. 3 of them are stuffing their faces with McDonalds breakfast. Meanwhile, Shadd tries to keep his cool. Here's a brief exchange. I may have altered some of the conversation, but you'll get the idea.
Officer: Good morning, you boys (never good when the cop calls you a "boy") in a hurry?
Shadd: Well, not really (thinking: we are be now!). I was just getting on the highway and about to set the cruise.

Okay, for anyone who hasn't been on a road trip with Shadd, his "cruise" used to be at just a hair below the sound barrier.

Officer: I believe I clocked you driving at a good deal above the speed limit. (Adam thinking: Yeah, you should have seen us an hour ago)
Shadd: You know, I thought I was a bit fast. I was getting ready to set the cruise.
Officer: Are you guys some kind of professional team or something?
Shadd: Sort of. We're heading up to Iowa City to race all weekend.
Officer: So you're a bunch of pro athletes and ya'll are eating McDonalds?
Shadd: Yeah, but the food isn't that bad for you.
Officer: License and registration.

Now, normally you hand over the license and some profound paperwork that the state makes everyone keep in their car. However, this Team Car is really just a company car that is doing double duty. So.... that means everything is in some the name of some company that runs the whole company car thing. Bottom line. NOTHING is in Shadd's name. Crap. Is Shadd going to go to jail? Is he doomed to spend the day in the Bethany City Jail? Will the evil policeman not believe this perfectly respectable citizen? Will we miss the race while we bail Shadd out of jail? How will Trina take this?

Okay, it wasn't that bad. Shadd did have to go to the cop car and sit with the guy as he writes out the ticket.

Oh, it gets better! While Shadd is in the cop car, Patrol Car, I believe. There's dialogue. It goes something like this:

Officer: So you guys are team huh?
Shadd: That's right. We're the HRRC/ Trek team from KC.
Officer: Shouldn't you have, like, a team van or team car or something?
Shadd: You know, we've been working on that for a while.
Officer: I mean, what do you have all those expensive bikes doing sitting on the back of that cheap bike rack? That seems a bit scary.
Shadd: We're hoping that all the bikes make it there.

Here's some pics of the Team Car:

Yup, that's the Shadd-wuar! Now, here's what a team car SHOULD look like:

Who are these guys? Oh, and there's a third car, but it wasn't parked next to these two.

And the Team Car bike rack:

What's that? $15000 of bikes on the back of a $25000 car, being held up by a $150 bike rack? Why yes, it is. Let's take a closer look.

Rhode Gear? Where can you find that at? I know, ebay $35 plus $14 shipping.

Basically, the Officer owned us. Not a good way to start the day.

But now, Shadd was on a New Plan. Driving slow. Old Plan is gone, New Plan is in!

Part Duex coming up!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ready or Not......

Yup. It's that time of year again. The one down point of it finally getting warm is that it's also time to mow the yard. Ungh.... I forgot how much I really don't like doing this. I didn't actually own a mower a mere 48 hours ago but I knew of a guy that does small engine repair and happened to have a bunch of extra mowers sitting in his shop. My yard was getting a bit out of control. As a side note: lawn is a term I reserved for the manicured and perfect looking yard. Mine is just a yard. So, there I was.... needing to take action of some sort. Do I: 1) Burn the yard like all the fields in KS (See Steve Tilford's post about that). I live in North Lawrence so it's probably okay right? 2) I could rent a bailer and bail the grass into hay to sell on the market. 3) Buy a goat. This one I thought about for a bit. You get a good pet that's probably well mannered, controls your yard and you even get some goat milk out of the deal. D) I could obtain myself a Yard Mower. Yup, it's a Yard Mower to me.

So I chose the mower. Now, I had the choice of a 3.5 hp for $50 or a 6.0 hp mower for $60. I figured that big engine was better as I would not be hampered by long grass. Not one regret. Here's the mower and the grass too. The grass didn't even phase the mower!

Tuesday Night Worlds

These races are always fun. You ride to KC from Lawrence, then sit at the QT for about 10 minutes drinking as much Gatorade as you can. Finally, you roll your bloated and water logged self over to the race to start the 45 +3; P,1,2,3,4 Criterium. Say what you like about having so many guys of varying abilities together; I like it. The course is about as "Nascar" as you can get, but with right turns vs. left. Basically you can pedal all the corners all the time. Also, it gives the riders a chance to race with their local "Heros" and see what those motors really have under the hood. As far as the bike driving... the good riders just go around the more timid ones. It's not usually a big deal.

Back to the race. 50 guys, Nascar course, very light breeze from the East/ North East. Crap. No brutal wind, no hard features besides the gentle uphill on the front-side and the exact same downhill on the back-side. This could be brutal. The race is pretty simple if you want to sit in. You can even work it out so that you're coasting about 2/3 of each lap most of the time. But, if you decide to be aggressive and get away and it gets really hard, really quickly.

We start off at the usual fast pace that we all know and love in criteriums. I'm looking down at my speedometer and I see that we're rolling (coasting) at 27-28 mph. Cool. I guess I'm not going anywhere without other guys to pull for a while. But it doesn't mean that I won't try..... There were a few ill fated moves, and Joe Schmalz and Cameron Chambers rolled off the front at about minute 15 and started to steadily put time into the field.

Joe has been in every break when he shows up to the race on Tuesdays. Cameron is a professional Mountain Bike Racer, which means he's got a big motor. Yet no one deems it necessary to mark these two who are definite threats. Weird. Fine by me as Joe is one of the "good guys." These two gain about a half of a lap on the field before Shadd and I have a conversation. The talk goes something like this:

Adam: Shadd do you think those guys are having fun?
Shadd: Yes.
Adam: You want up there? I can get you most of the way across.
Shadd: Okay, but let's give it one more lap.
Adam: Just get on me and say, "when."
-- one lap later--
Shadd: I'm waiting whenever you're ready.

Then, like a fat kid chasing after the last piece of cake in the whole world, I hit the gas. Hard. I get Shadd 70% across the gap where he jumps and puts himself in the winning break. In less than a lap, Shadd went across a 40 second gap. Sweetness.

I could imagine Joe asking, just as Shadd gets there, "what the hell took you so long?" Ha!

Now Cameron is outnumbered and indeed HRRC scores another win with Joe raising his hands in victory. A great way for him to prepare for his Tour of the Gila race coming up next week. Wish him luck!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Warmth. The lifebreath of nature.

Old Man Winter is gone and has taken its harsh unforgiving chill with it. Winter air is, by nature, arid. It leaches the moisture from every tissue it contacts, leaving it shriveled and thirsty as it passes. It chills and irritates the lungs, giving anyone brave enough to venture outside that bitter cough we all know so well. Old Man Winter was brutal and unrelenting this year.

The warm and humid air is everything that is spring. New life arising from the cold and desolate season of Winter. Every inhalation and exhalation brings reprieve and refreshment. Spring air has substance unlike each arid breath taken all winter. Each Spring breath can be felt as it flows into the nose and sinuses. Each crevasse creates small eddys where the humidity swirls and begins to replenish that which was cruelly and slowly drained by winter. As the air flows down the trachea and into the lungs it can be felt as it replenishes the body. This air feels like it can be drawn in, chewed, and released. This air shows you that it is bringing the essence of life. This spring air is much needed and was missed dearly.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Once upon a Time.....

This could be the beginning of a wonderful story.......

But that story has already been written and fully capitalized on (milked for all the $$ it's worth). Instead of a great bedtime story you'll just have to settle for this:

Flint Ridge Circuit Race

It's been cold. Gawd, I can't stand it anymore. I remember the days of lore, when Average temperatures in Lawrence are 56F in March and 68F in April. Those should be fairly pleasant months. Sure, it's spring and sure, you get the total shit days. But seriously, I can count on one hand how many days we've had over 60F in 2008. I don't even think I need the thumb, forefinger, or pinky. I had a chance to race and train down in Austin, TX (check past postings) this spring and I don't think I've had one day without a jacket or long sleeve jersey since I got back. Basically, I'm suntan-less and starting to get bit depressed. In response, I've been traveling south for pretty much all the races this year. 4 in Austin, 2 in Oklahoma, one in Arkansas. I seems strange that I've raced nine times, and only once in KS. But that's a whole other talk that I may or may not have now.

This race is super fun, it's more like a roller coaster. From the start/ finish line it rolls uphill. Twisting, and banking in a meandering way that resembles the flight path of a bumble bee. The back side of the course is the same, but it rolls downhill to a super steep, crazy fun roller coaster drop into a pair of corners and then back uphill (20-22% ish) to the finish line. 9 laps. Fun.

The HRRC/ Trek Stores team brought Myself, Shadd Smith, and Joe Schmalz. Mercy was in force featuring Alex Welch, Matt Ankney, Chad Cagle, and Bill "Iron Liver" Marshall. Also, in the mix were the Tulsa Wheelman. With only three teams present and some independent riders, this had a good chance of being an attack fest with a bit of a negative feel to it. That's fine with me. It's just like local races back home with small fields. It kind of resembles a cross race.

As it turns out, I'm not sure exactly why it happened or really just what the hell happened. Did I totally mis-judge my abilities? Did I just get too careless? Was I a bit overconfident? Or did I get totally and completely worked over? Anyways..... when the dust settled, the two riders that were the biggest threat to win the race were up the road and I was left behind. Fuming and frustrated. I take full responsibility for having botched the race for the entire team. That's right, all for me.

I ended up riding around in no man's land with on Tulsa guy, Chris until the last two laps when 4 more guys showed up, including Shadd Smith. In the end, it was Shadd taking 4th, Alex 5th, myself 6th. Matt Ankney won the race after riding about 35 miles solo. Tough man for sure!

Bill Marshall and I stayed in Tulsa with Chad Cagle Saturday and had the wonderful experience of a night out in Tulsa, Mercy style. It was interesting seeing these guys in their "real world" clothes and doing regular things. Okay, so hula hoop dancing at the Sound Pony isn't so normal. Sound Pony is an awesome bar owned by bike racers and cycling enthusiasts. Oh, and it shows. It seems that everyone lives an alternate lifestyle outside of racing bikes. You know, mild mannered "normal" person until they get in the team kit, then they're super heroes!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Roy Falls, Brew to Brew, 75- 68 OT.

Roy's Boys Fall

Everyone knows how this one ended by now. The amazing thing was how it seems that everyone needed this game to happen. Now, finally KU fans can get over the fact that Roy is gone. Self is here. No one misses Roy anymore. No one second guesses the KUAD anymore. Thank gawd. About time.

This guy was so happy that he took his pants off and got to spend the night in jail without them. Ooooh.

But this adventure of a game did lead to a long night. One of many. 20,000 of my closest friends and I celebrated in the streets until the wee hours of the morning. So, one down. Stage two begins at 630am the day after.....

Brew to Brew

Round 2. This run is to benefit Cystic Fibrosis and what better way to do that than to run from Boulevard Brewery to Free State Brewery? In years past, I've avoided doing this because of... well, really no good reason. And, given that I'm bound and determined to have adventures, "I'm in!" Okay, lets digress.

I started running over the off-season for a number of reasons. 1. Cyclocross/ cross training. Riders tend to be susceptible to nagging injuries due to muscle imbalances and I didn't want that to happen to me. 2. A girl. Yeah, I know. It's always a girl. Actually, it was to avoid embarrassment. I figured IF I could at least keep her from waiting on me too much then my whole, "hey let's go for a run" idea would be a success. 3. Brew to Brew.

Okay, back to now. Not so much then, but now...

I went from celebrating the demise of the UNC Tar Heels in the Final Four to getting in a van not more than 4 hours afterwards. Still feeling the effects of some good, "hydration." Some folks take this thing seriously. C'mon! It's a run from a bar to a bar. How serious can it be? We named the team- wait for it:

"Mustache Rides- 25 Cents. Buy One, Get One Free."

Our Captain.

Matt and the get up.

Yes, this IS a woman in a drive through window at Dairy Queen.

There are 10 of us, but I don't have pictures of the whole team yet. It was, classic. I think we mortified many participants with our less than mature behavior. But man, we had fun. Every one of the mustaches are fake, but they do look good. That was Sunday.

So far, I've ridden on Saturday- 4.5 hours. Celebrated Saturday till about 230am. Got up at 630am, started drinking by 8am, ran 5.7 miles around noon (by the way- running is not my forte). Got sore by 1230pm, while running. Kept drinking. Worked Monday at 7am. And now for the Grand Finale......... drum roll.

75- 68 OT

It's been 20 years and all that I could remember from 1988 was my neighbor shooting fireworks back home in Topeka. KU is the NCAA national Champs. Absolutely phenomenal. Analysts were saying all sorts of things and will say them for many years but here's the endgame and MY comments.

"Scoreboard." -Ben Coles
You do not win a national championship because of luck. Ever.
Memphis did not deserve to win, or they would have.
If a 1 seed plays a 1 seed, there is no dominant favorite, ever.
Time to party like its 1988!!

You could, literally and without exaggeration crowd surf from 6th and Mass St. to 11th and Mass St. There were so many people there that it was like a mosh pit for 6 solid blocks.

Yes, you could crowd surf this.

9th and Mass had a DJ set up in an apartment playing for the crowd.

Utter mayhem, but no violence.

I took refuge at Sunflower Bike Shop

And in walks Steve Tilford! It was 1am and Steve drove in from Topeka to see the show! After all, anytime a once in a lifetime chance presents itself, you have to take it. Have to. I don't want to be lying on my deathbed wishing I did more in my life. It's too short to pass up opportunities like this. Well, one thing led to another and all of a sudden it's about a "billion o'clock." (Shadd Smith).

Steve took this picture of us.

Crazy. Here I am walking down the street giving high fives to hundreds of people. Many of whom I would never really ever have any sort of contact with in, "real life." We were all Kansas fans and we all were national champions. It's a night that will stay with me for as long as I can hold the memory. Always.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rest Day?!!

With all the athletes I coach for CTS, and all the bike racers/ riders I associate with, I get asked, "what do you guys (the whole HRRC team) do for rest days. Well.....

First, I have a, "no wet ass while training" policy. I figure, I ride enough all year that when it rains I don't need to train. I mean c'mon, cold and rain... who wants that?

And, it rained today, all day. Talk about depressing. What to do? Well, I finished a bunch of those little 1-2 hour projects that always need done but somehow stay on the back burner. And, you make cookies!

Yumm. Cookie Dough.

Make it hurry up!


My roommate, John, enjoying. He just had a "cookie-asm."

Yup. Not losing weight today.

Also, it's a sad day, but a new beginning. Yes, I have retired my wallet. It had a good run. 12 years or so. Actually, my high school sweethart got it for me as a Christmas gift. Now, it's time for a new beginning. The first wallet I've ever purchased on my own. Strange... I bought my first house before I bought my first wallet. Hmm....

Old and Busted:

New Hottness: