Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sign of the times

I really get made fun of by other runners. But I did have a glorious gravel ride on saturday sunny, no wind. I guess its my cross to bear.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

my love/hate relationship with KS

My opinion of this state really varies wildly according on what the weather is like. Kansas has some really weird weather, and I knew this coming out here but I had no inclinations it would be like this. I got to looking at the climate data for manhattan and the weather data for the upper mountain research station in laurel Springs, NC. the mtn top wind meter records wind speeds that are not all that much less than wind averages here. So whats the big difference?
Well in the mountains you have enough sense to get to the other side of the mountain or down into the holler to get out of the wind (hollers are where all the moonshine and inbreedin happens in case you were wondering)
I went out for a trot this morning and took some new unexplored cowpaths across the prairie north of Manhattan to get my mileage in, see some new ground, and rock out some hills (this is a source of much mocking from my cycling friends that do not approve of my running. They seem to think cycling is a more manly sport. what with shaved legs and socks that match your outfit?).
I loved climbing hills back home both running and cycling, cuz you can always look forward to long descents and easy cruising. There are several long rides in Pisgah that are literally 11 miles of climbing to do a life altering 5 mile descent that is so steep your fore arms will start to cramp from hanging onto the brake levers and steam will come off your rotor when you cross the creek at the bottom (Black mountain, Squirell gap, Clawhammer)
anyway this morning I was really grinding it out up this long hill to get to the top only to be blasted backwards by a 30 mph wind. Getting to the top of a hill around here just means that your gonna get pelted by the wind. So in the midst of my ill fated trot I conceived a new motto for the state of Kansas:

Kansas: It Blows
I have to say that when the weather is good here it is incredible, low humidity, lots of sunshine, and the people are so awesome, but when the weather is bad it can rain like piss pouring out of a boot. I will contact Gov. Sebelius and get this legislation rolling immediately.

Monday, April 7, 2008

SS mediocrity and our brew to brew stew

So it was a big weekend for racing and running here in KS. We hosted the first of the NCCCC road weekends, and saturday morning was the road race consisting of the carnahan creek loop north and east of manhattan. I gazed upon the mass of shiny aluminum and carbon bicycles that were present this cold and windy morning, and thought to my self, "Self, just stay with them until the hills". Well that was easy to do since the first half of the race saw us (the D's) bucking a 30mph headwind. Which created some interesting pack riding (its always interesting riding in a cat 5 pack so I am told). But I was surrounded by a few like minded folks like Josh Patterson, Brian snyder, and John waller (the only other person on a steel frame), and we made it our jobs to be in the outer fringes of the pack. Coming out of the first turn you knew it was gonna be sketchy when you immediately heard the shriek of tires on tires and then the sickening crack of a helmet hitting asphalt. Multiple riders went down, and scott Smchercheck(sp?) split open a brand new LAS helmet, but everyone seemed to be ok. That crash took out our ND boys (Andy, David, and Chad) I think that Mario escaped unscathed. Nick Gruesel also went down, but bounced back up and was able to chase down the pack immediatley. You could always tell when Nick was near you in the packs cuz you could the erratic shifting of his bent Dérailleur and the cursing that followed. Every once in a while a few riders would surge to the front in a attack only to be beaten back by the wind. The group might have done 18mph for the first half of the race.
How do I know that?
cuz I can spin out my 42-18 SS at 21 mph and my cadence stayed relatively low (under 110) most of the ride. But as soon as we turned out of the wind it was on. The leaders shot off and up the hills of carnahan creek. Those kids from Saint Cloud were really hauling. Towards the end Andy from ND caught me, after having gone down in the pack calamity earlier. He was looking bloody but awfully determined. I was really under geared at 42-18 and could have easily turned a 16 and perhaps even a 14 up those hills. But even then I lost so much ground on the backside of the hills it would not have mattered what I had geared. I had a good time and got some cheers from a few. and will try riding a geared bike next weekend.
After a burrito with Brian Snyder, Big Al and I worked the TTT at the turn around point in the afternoon and made fun of lots of stuff while we sat in the KS sunshine. It was really enjoyable.
That evening I made dinner for the ND team and then we went to aggieville to checkout the crit course and indulge in a beverage at the Kathouse lounge to see the KU/UNC game (I always hesitate to tell people that go to a place called the cathouse sorta sounds like a strip club)
KU laid the beatdown on UNC!

We were up early the next morning to pick up our Brew 2 Brew team of Josh Patterson, Paul Bassel, Eric Barten, myself and our team driver/coach/DD/eye candy, Alison 'big Al' Stamper.
Patterson had been out reveling in the victory of his team the previous night but appeared bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to bust out the first leg of our adventure. Which was more than what could be said for me. It became obvious early on that our main competition was gonna be a bunch of yahoos that were one short of a six pack. There were five to our four (Pale Ale, Porter, Wheat, Irish ale, and a Stout) We yo-yo'ed back and forth throughout the race. and Eric (our fastest runner) really smoked the Pale Ale on his last and our next to last lap. Paul was running his third leg as our anchor leg, but he was unable to hold off their "Stout" over the levy section leading to the finish. It was a valiant effort on Pauls part, but those beers just had a little more "hop" in their step than we did. We also found out that Eric Is moving to Portland, OR and has an interview with Nike. We are gonna miss him. Good luck Eric!
We had a great time and were really challenged by the mileage aspect of this race cuz the mileage for each leg was really inaccurate and erratic. You would think that you had a 5 mile leg and it would only be 2.3 miles. That made it hard on you mentally and physically to set pace. Would do it again though!

Notice in this picture Josh and I made Paul and Eric stand downhill on the levy so we did not look so short. We are crafty like that.