My sleddogs

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Friday, December 18, 2009

sled dog (bladejoring) training.....

well, still training the boys....and girl. there have been good days and bad days. having a third dog really throws off the dynamics of trying to train two dogs. i think i'll have to only train two at a time. i have been putting bailey and skates together while also holding onto little teemu. it's had it's ups and downs. my biggest problems have been trying to get them to stay still when we stop and also how to focus on traveling without stopping for distractions. bailey and skates work well together, but when i put little teemu with bailey or skates he gets too rambuncious and tries to play/bite the other dog and the lines end up getting all tangled. anyways, i think i'm going to have to start at the beginning and train them to first stand still when i'm getting all the lines hooked up. the second thing is to get them going straight ahead instead of coming towards me. skates and bailey know what hike means, but sometimes they decide to come towards me which once again tangles up all the lines. i think they're getting confused with all the different commands being thrown at them at once. it also looks like i may have to get some new rollerblades since my current ones don't have any brakes and i'm wearing out all my wheels on one training run trying to use the old T-stop. it's a good thing i've got a bunch of spares from my pro inline hockey days waiting in backup. for what i'm going to do i need to get some basic blades with a rear stopper type brake though.

as for cycling i've just been on the trainer the last couple of weeks. the new dog and the weather have been keeping me indoors for now.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

new addition to the family.......

i had been thinking about getting another husky for some time now. i wanted to get a puppy, but the thought of going through raising a puppy wasn't too appealing. i had been searching online for some and i decided to do my part and adopt one instead. i found a 10 month old red/white husky in indianapolis. he looked very cute and after talking with stephanie, "grippo's" foster mom, i was reassured he was what i was looking for. he was partially trained, still a pup, and he looked good. i couldn't understand why someone would surrender him unless they just couldn't deal with a husky. on thursday i loaded up the muts and drove to indy, my old stomping ground where i lived for eight years. i met her at the eagle creek dog park, where i'd been a few times, but it was at least six or seven years since i'd been there. i got lost, but finally did make it there. it was pretty damn cold, but there were people there and i saw grips running around with the other dogs. i brought skates and bailey. there wasn't really much of an introduction, but i did notice grips follow skates a few times. skates seemed to be pretty indifferent to him though. he seemed like a good dog so i paid his adoption fees and we were off back to st. louis.

the drive home was pretty uneventful, just a few nips and growls of testosterone between the two huskies. i couldn't see calling him grips, grippo, or even g-man, what stephanie was calling him. it would be too confusing to yell gee to g-man. i'm training them to be sled dogs and gee is a commonly used term to turn right, so no g-man. his new name had to be something with hockey. i narrowed it to tuuk, which is the name of the bladeholder on hockey skates or teemu. teemu(taymoo) is after teemu selanne, the hockey player, the finish flash. i decided on teemu. he did good in the crate and he seemed to be housebroken. his only accident was the next morning when i took him out of the crate and he dribbled right by the front door. the same thing skates used to do when he was learning to hold his bladder. he was also a little agressive when i tried to take his rawhide away so i put him right on his back. he's a little food aggressive, but i've been able to put my hand in his bowl now. i feel a little more comfortable doing that then i did that the first night.

yesterday was our first full day together and i brought them all to the park for little sled dog training. i didn't know how he'd do. skates and bailey did really did a good job pulling the tire around the park. there weren't many people there and it was great. teemu took to the harness without any problems. i wasn't going to hook him up to it, but he started pulling when i had it on his collar so i hooked it up to the back of the harness. i think he's gonna be a natural. he made it around the whole loop. he did exceptional for his first time. he didn't even get scared that i was on rollerblades. no biking for me this weekend, i haven't ridden the trainer or done any spin classes. may get on the trainer later this afternoon though.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

winter update.....training, biking, my new hobby, bikejoring

it's been a while since i've last posted anything on here. my last race of the season was way back in september. i did the gateway cup and then the following week a race out at castlewood. my form was pretty decent back then as i got a late start in training last year. this winter i'm not playing hockey. i thought i'd concentrate on more cycling and just try to be in top shape for the spring road races. i was able to get out about once or twice a week in november, but recently, the weather has not been cooperative and i've either been stuck on the trainer or doing spin classes. i did get a new bike for next season though, a trek madone 5.2 with full campy. i've also been taking up a new hobby and the beneficiaries are my two dogs.

i've decided to train my dogs to be sled dogs, even though one already should be a sled dog. we don't have consistent snowfall here so i've just decided to try bikejoring and skatejoring. basically, you put a harness on your dog or dogs and let them pull you around. i already did that in rough form with my husky, but it wasn't exactly true to form and far from the sport of bikejoring. he would always run behind me or to the side of me, rarely in front, and rarely pulling. he did get in a workout though. he was also in a cheap glorified petsmart harness which isn't exactly made for pulling. my lab would just run off leash following us. well, i bought the correct harnesses for them along with the correct tow lines. getting involved in this i've really learned a lot about sled dogs and the training involved. so, right now the biggest problem i've got is trying to get my husky to pull since everything i taught him before was to stop pulling. it's definetly not as easy as one would think. i've also got a whole slew of terms to teach them. my lab, who's rarely ever been in a harness, and who's always ran free, now has to be contained. i'm sure she's going through a major change having all these lines and harness on her, let alone have to pull something. their training has started with them pulling a motorcycle tire. they're a long way from being sled dogs, but they've shown improvement just about every time i've taken them out. skates has even learned what gee means!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

oh cyrstal ball, oh crystal ball.....

tell me what the future holds in store. unless you haven't heard, american ailines has decided to pull out their hub here in st. louis. that is about 90% of our business here in st. louis. working as a regional airline we are at the mercy of the mainline, american. with them moving all these flights up to chicago, it doesn't leave us with much work here in st. louis. we've already been notified that we will either shut down our operation here in st. louis or possibly maintain a smaller version of our current operation to do maintenance. that hinges on our other mainlines(cont, usair, delta, frontier, midwest) bringing in a few more flights. either way, we will more then likely still have layoffs. i'd like to say i'd be safe being one of two supervisors, but i'm not counting on anything. going strictly on seniority i'm right on the bubble. if i had to relocate, i've been told milwaukee, kansas city, columbus, oh, or possibly back to indianapolis may all be open to relocation. denver might even be another possibility since we bought frontier airlines. it's only a matter of time before we start opening maintenance positions there. I would think we would bring in more of a presence with frontier to to give southwest a run for their money, that's just my opinion. ain a market like st. louis how could you not bring them in. another low cost carrier here is just what we need. My goal however is to stay here in st. louis and not have to worry about any of that. taking a layoff right now is certainly not in the cards for me.

i just got a new cross bike a couple weeks ago and have since have decided to sell it. as much as i want to keep it i can't justify several uses when i've got all this going on with my job. i also got a new trek madone 5.2. it's got all ultegra sl that i'm getting ready to strip and sell. i'll be putting on all my campy stuff. i tried the ultegra, but i just can't get comfortable with it. something about that cable sticking out of the shifter and the way it shifts, preference i guess.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Castlewood XC race....

I hadn't planned on racing this weekend until somebody mentioned the race at Castlewood this Saturday. I thought about taking off the next couple weeks after Gateway and then start concentrating on Cross. In fact I was going to skip the first cross race in Alton, but then the CW race won out.

I rode part of the course on Friday just to get acquainted with the dirt again. It didn't help much as I really didn't have a great day resultwise. First, I thought I'd do the expert race, but with the later start I just decided to go with marathon race which started two hours earlier. I didn't get off to a very good start. On the first lap I rode the wheels of Mitch and Jeremy until getting a rear flat about midway through. I got it changed pretty quick and then got back in the race. During the second lap I thought my front tire was going flat so I took the rooty and rocky sections with caution. When I got to the feed area I dismounted and filled up both tires with co2. I rode lap three without any problems, but then at the end of lap four I came up to some other racers and they took a wrong turn where somebody tore down the markers. Myself and a couple other riders followed before we realized it. Some riders kept going, but myself and two other riders turned around. That propably cost me about another five minutes or so, not that it mattered. On the fifth lap my lower back was killing me and my knees were starting to hurt, so by the end of that lap I called it quits.

I only road 10 miles off road yesterday and today I woke up a little sore, I can't wait for tomorrow morning......which comes in about six hours.

All in all I had a good time. It was my kind of course with lots of climbs and technical stuff, but I certainly need to ride more dirt to be competitive. It was a good time and saw some old faces I hadn't seen in a while, noot a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now ready for cross!!!



After years of racing mt. bikes and roadbikes, and even bmx when I was a young lad, I'm ready to try my hand at a little cyclocross. I'm looking forward to it, but first gotta get through this little race called the Gateway Cup.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sedali/Otterville carnage...




What had hoped to be some good prep prior to this weekend of races ended up backfiring. I thrashed my legs out at the TNW's doing both the A and B races and then was going to rest up for Sedalia. Well, all went well until Friday, when I brought my husky, Skates, to my parents house while I rewired my dads 55 Chevy pickup truck. Well, just like any husky, they love to get away and are escape artists. My mom put him on his leash and tied him in the garage. I then hear a noise and look over and see his little tail running off. I end up having to chase him down at a full sprint, then stopping, then sprinting again. I finally chased him down to a lake which he decided to have a little fun in. I saw it as an opportunity to grab him so I jumped in after him. I was able to grab him and I ended up putting him around the back of my head and carried him home. After a shower I started to work on the truck again. An hour later I hear the phrase, "skates got away again". I dropped what I was doing and chased him down again and this time had a little help from my niece and nephew. Not a fun time, and definetly not pleased to be running before the weekend.

Saturday rolls around and Brian picks me up for our trip to Sedalia. We have Denny, Brian, myself, and Ron, who I didn't think would be there in Saturdays race. It's a six turn course much like Soulard. The roads were rough and had a lot of potholes, but once we raced it didn't seem like it made much of a difference, it was everybody else that made the difference. The race was full throttle from the start. Plenty of accelerations which could be expected for this kind of course. My legs felt ok considering the day before. Denny took some massive pulls at the front for a while until he went down by himself going too hot into a corner. Thankfully he didn't take anybody out. Nice strawberry on his hip and ruined bibs. He was able to get back in the race. I then decided to attack and got a pretty good gap. another guy joined me for a lap and then I was on my own for another. I burned out and integrated back in the pack. a couple laps later a guy goes down in the middle of the straightaway, apparently he broke his chain while trying to go out on attack from the field. He took out my teammate Ron, who snapped his stem right in half. I was a couple bikelengths behind and a guy fell in front of me. I rode over his tire like it was a little ramp and jumped over it. I thought I had gotten a flat so I went to the wheelpit for a tire change. Apparently Brian also was involved and had to bunnyhop the sidewalk to avoid it. He didn't make it and ended up over his bars. At about five to go I Denny took his brother to the front for two laps. I decided it was better to let me lead and save Denny to bring Brian to the finish so I overtook Denny and told him to get my wheel. I guess I went to fast and he lost my wheel. Brian was able to hold my wheel and I was able to go hard for another two laps, but I started to tire and I was back in the pack until one to go. I then go into turn one and some guy on the inside trying to divebomb the turn crashed and took us all out. I had nowhere to go and went over the bars at about 25mph. I ended up being tangled up in a bike and needed help out of it. I had blood all over my arm and my race was done. Brian and Denny both finished with Brian taking fifth. I ended up in the emergency room with stitches in my elbow.

Sundays race wasn't much better for us. Ron ended up with a flat early on the second lap. I fought to keep cramps at bay the whole second lap and Jeff got in an ill-fated break. I almost went down again when there was a big pile-up of guys going up one of the short steep climbs. It looked like someone dropped a chain and came to a complete stop. I saw one guy go over the handlebars which was seemed kind of hard to do on that grade, but he did. As I took to the outside and thought I was around it it felt like someone just grabbed onto my back wheel and tried to pull me down. Well, I got around and was back into the group. I didn't get to the front in time and before I knew it the second to last turn up the hill was already in sight. Here's where it gets scary. As we made the right turn up the little climb I see out of the corner of my eye, actually, I got full view of Brian going wide and smacking a moving car at full speed. I saw him do a superman through the air, but saw him move after landing. Denny, was right in front and yelled "that was your brother". We ended up both riding up to the finish and then made our way back. He was shaken up but he was alright all things considered. His bike was totalled, but all he had was a bruised knee. He was also my ride home. I offered to drive, but he insisted on driving himself. I'd normally say hockey players are tough, but he was pretty tough after hitting a car and walking away from it. I ended up finishing 19th. I wasn't in good position to make a good run to the finsih, but I was happy with the race overall.

This certainly was not one of the better weekends for Dogfish. One totaled bike, one broken stem, a dent in my top tube, four stitches, flatting out of a race, a bruised knee, and a skinned up ass pretty much sums up our weekend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

finally a weekend and a race in indy......

after one day off over the last nine days i can finally sit here in starbucks and enjoy the first day of me weekend. the last race i did was the state crit, but then i worked five straight days of 14 hour days, ate like shit, slept like shit, then had one day off on saturday. i did a 50 mile ride to st. albans in the middle of a heat wave. needless to say i felt like crap. i then worked my normal week on sunday. i got off yesterday in time to make the tnw a race. i thought i'd better go and get the cobwebs out and all the junk food i ate over the last week and a half out of my system. saturdays ride was hard and not too promising. i thought i'd feel like sluggish and have to bail out of the race. i managed to survive the initial surges and even gon in a semi break to catch the five or six riders in the main break. i could tell i was having a hard time staying in that group so i eased off back into the pack. it was a good choice as they were all brought back. i thought about the b race, but that would've done more harm then good so i left. this weekend there is a race in indy i might do. it's the mass ave. crit. it's right in the heart of downtown indy. i remember watching it back in the day when i lived in indy and only raced mt. bikes. i'm looking forward to going to indy and doing this race.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2009 MO. State Crit....

Today was the State Crit down in Jeff City. Just a few days ago I only had plans to do the Cat 3 race, but once again Denny talked me into doing the masters and the 3's. The last time this happened I made the mistake of getting a massage the day before and I guess they went a little too deep and my legs were worthless. That was two years ago and a big waste of time since I ended up only did that race. Last year I only did the 3's and managed to get a 9th place finish. Since the weather was mild compared to temps in the 90's the past two years I figured I'd give it ago.

The Masters race went ok, I didn't go into the red zone right off the bat. That was a bit unusual since I didn't get much of a warm up if any at all, one lap around the course does not constitute as a warm up. The race was going good and after about 20 minutes Denny was on a break with some Bigshark guy. They had a several second gap. Next thing you know a guy blasts out of the group to bridge. I hesitate and think for a bit, should join Denny and put two Dogfish in the break? I decided to put in a bridge attempt to latch onto him. I finally catch him and we catch Denny and the Bigshark guy. We made it around another lap and I was spent, so I told Denny to go and I was gonna get back in the group. I spent the rest of the time recovering, but during the last 15 minutes I tell I was getting gassed. I was having to put in a big effort on the left hand turn on the straightaway just after the hill. It took a bit of a sprint to grab a wheel. Needless to say I finished the race at the back end of the pack for 15th place. I felt like throwing up and tried to get the thoughts of bailing on the 3's race out of my head.

I sat in my car with the air conditioning on and just rested after that race. I made it up to the line for the 3's race feeling a little better, but not by very much. The race started and I was actually not feeling too bad. I didn't do anything crazy like try to go off the front or cover an attack, actually I was doing all I could to just get my ass to the finish. The last 20 or so minutes my calves started to cramp up and I had to stretch them out on the downhill portion. I managed to keep them at bay. The last couple laps the pace really picked up and I couldn't make it to the front for the final sprint. I ended up finishing in 19th. All in all a good day of racing. I may take this week off the bike since I may have to work all week, so it kind of works out.

I had planned on doing the Tour of KC, then I found out they weren't doing The Cliff Dr. Classic. That's an awesome race and a good reason to go. Then I planned on just doing Saturdays downtown crit, but then I found out it's a late afternoon race. That's not going to work with my schedule so now I don't think I'll be racing next weekend. I may go to Indianapolis for a crit in downtown Indy in two weeks. It looks like a fun race and a good excuse to make it to my old stomping ground.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today is my B-Day.........

and so i'm another day older.....so what!!!!! well, not up to much today, propably run by the folks house and get a few pictures of the '55 chevy to post on craigslist. anyways, the last day of the dirt crit's are tonight. i wanna do them, but after a hard ride yesterday and shitty sleep i don't know if i'll make it. just like last week sometimes rest is more important then extending yourself to depletion. i over did it last year and by the end of the season i had nothing left, all the power in my legs were gone. the state crit is this weekend too so i may want to lay low and just get some easy miles in. yesterdays ride didn't go so well, i met dk for about an hours worth of hard tempo riding, but i didn't make it too far. i flatted and then my spare had a flat, i had to patch up and then by that time dk was done. i took his wheel and finished my workout. it ended up being 48 miles with intervals into a nice headwind.....the body is feeling it today, so more then likely no dirt crit for tonight as much i'd like to say screw and head out anyways.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

BOINGO!!!!

don't really know what boingo means, but it works and it's cheap. i'm just sitting here at starbucks using their wi-fi. i did have a verizon card, but found it too pricey for what i used it for. while it sucks that starbucks charge a fee, i found that using boingo wifi is the cheapest way to go. sometimes i bring my laptop to work and you would think that a major airport like st. louis would have free wifi, but it doesn't. i did find that boingo charges $10 a month and has partners with all kinds of businesses, airports, and coffee shops. i barely have a signal at work and is slow(because my work area is below the terminal), but it's better then nothing. today i'm to testing its use outside of the airport and can say it works great here at starbucks. starbucks charges like $20 a month for the use of their wifi, so i've got to say it's a deal for $10 a month and use at multiple locations. i guess they just piggyback off everybody else's signal.

i managed to make the tuesday night worlds. i only did the a race. it was pretty hard, but managed to survive. a group went off the front halfway in and i attacked our group with about 20 minutes to go to try to make the bridge. i brought two other riders with me and we worked together for a lap. we had gotten so close, yet we were still so far. it took a huge effort to get a gap and we were all spent. we ended up getting swallowed up by the group. i managed to finish respectably in our group, however i felt like heaving after the race. we had a cookout at work and i ate like crap, the usual cookout food, burgers, chips, and potato salad......not exactly power food for racing.

i'll stay off the road bike today and try to make the dirt crit races tonight somewhat fresh. goal for the race? just make it on time!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summertime blues......

What have I been up to you may ask, well, not a whole lot. It seems as if it's been a while since my last road race. The last race was Winghaven almost a month ago, hence the blues. I was supposed to do the Babler circuit race last weekend which would've kept my race legs going, but wouldn't you know it, it got cancelled becaused of a little rain.......argggghhhh!!!!! That was a wasted vacation day!!! So this weekend I thought I'd head up to do a couple circuit/road races at Superweek, but I cancelled at the last minute. I couldn't see driving seven hours by myself and then shelling out over $300 for two days of racing.

I decided to hang out here and do the Thursday short track xc race. I've been meaning to make the first two, but prepping for Babler it didn't fit into my schedule. I've only had a handful of rides on the mt. bike this year and even had to renew my off-road license yesterday since it was my first mt. bike race this year. I got to the race late and registered as my group shot off the starting line. The fine folks in charge, Dave and Ralph let me jump in after they came by after their first lap. Seeing how it was my first off-road race of the year I'd propably be in that spot anyways. I shot off and proceeded to follow, no warm other then the 20 miles I road earlier in the day, and my heartrate paid for it. It spiked up like a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale. I hung in there and finished. The next race was the B race which I also signed up for. I didn't have any big hopes for this race since there were like 45 guys in this race and I figured the trail would clog up pretty good. I just wanted to keep my legs going. I didn't go for the holeshot, in fact started out a little nonchalant. I just tried to get in a decent position as to not have to many riders to contend with. It still seemed as if there were about 20 guys in front of me. Anyways, I passed a few more here and there. On the final two laps I had two more guys in my sights and finally caught and passed them. I figured it was decent enough for a top 10. Today I found out I ended up in third. The night was mission accomplished, good training, good racing. Hopefully next week I'll make the A race on time.

This weekend is the Tour de Soulard, a favorite of mine, but I won't be doing it since I decided to take vacation for Babler instead. Next up on my schedule is the Tour of KC, so until then I'll hit up a race here or there, whatever fits into my schedule, there's a few to choose from.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tales from Winghaven....

I did this race last year and made the mistake of popping a couple Tylenol PM's the night before. Propably not the smartest thing to do, needless to say, it was a hot miserable day which ended up with me getting shot off the back of the peleton with about three laps to go. I ended up riding with another rider for the last couple of laps. Yesterday, I actually got some sleep and the legs seemed to feel pretty good. I thought if they were having the KOM, actually more of a hill competition, I'd go for it. It was going to be a tall order though since this was an NRC race and a CAT 2/3, instead of just 3's. They announced 93 entries for the race. It turned out to be a bigger field then even the pro,1's field. As for the team, we were going to try to get somebody in a break and try to control, which is propably what every other team was going to try. After about 10 minutes on the trainer I headed over to the team tent only to be delayed. While waiting myself and a couple teammates took a warm-up lap.

After waiting around it was finally time to line it up and I got a front row spot. At this point they told us we were now doing 10 instead of the 12 laps of the 2.74 mile course, and there there would be no KOM competition. Well, there went my plan for the race. It was actually a good decision because once we got going I could tell my legs were not as good as I thought they would be. I don't know if that was from the heat(mid 90's plus humidity), doing 45 miles in the heat a couple days prior, or just the fast pace of the race. Either way I'll chalk it up to a combination of all three. Once the gun went off I stayed towards the front for the first two laps, but soon found myself fading towards the middle of the pack. On the second or third lap I went around athe first round-about and heard the awful sounds of metal hitting pavement. It turned out it was just behind me and caused several riders to come to a complete stop including a teammate. Those riders were not able to bridge back on because of the blistering pace, especially having to go up the climb with zero momentum to take you through. As the race went on I found myself getting delirious from the heat. I took two bottles of accelerade and another with water. I should've taken two with water because I went through every bit of it just to cool myself down.

The team was not able to sustain anything and soon everyone was in a big group ride. Any breaks that went off were quickly covered. The heat was enough to contend with let alone trying to stay off the front. All pre-race planning was out the window at that point and the task was now to get our sprinters to the front. With a couple laps to go the pace grew and on the last lap coming down the 40mph decent there was another crash on the 90 degree left hander. I took the inside and didn't even know or hear the crash. It took out two teammates, one being our sprinter and a buddy from another team, also a sprinter. I ended up doing my own impression of a sprinter and sprinted to the uphill finish. I narrowly avoided one guy tumbling to the ground. He apparently crashed by himself from sprinting too hard, weird. Glad that the race was over I crossed the line in 28th.

The race afterwards was the Pro, Cat 1 race. I envy the guys who finished that race, hell, even for the guys that didn't. It was even hotter then our race and almost three times as long. I stayed and took lessons from Brian Jenson who put on an impressive one man show of how to go on a break. He ended up finishing second, but impressive nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ste. Gen RR

My goal in this race was to try to get a decent finish (top 10) and stay in the lead group since my fitness hasn't been there after a long break over the winter. I could tell my fitness has been coming around and yesterday was a good guage. I also made a big move about a week ago to go with compact cranks for hilly road races to give me a little more low end for climbing. In the end I actually increased my top end also by going with an 11-25 cassette instead of my 12-25 so it was a win win situation. As for a team, we hadn't really talked about anything special and we were more or less in survival mode and wait and see what transpires. Ron is usually our strongest rider so if we could help him we would.

Early on Denny went on a break by himself. I thought it was a little early, but his lead grew to the point he was out of sight. Not bad I thought, so I decided to go to the front and try to slow things down a bit. Myself and Ron were up there and accomplished this for a few miles, but soon Bigshark and Momentum were starting to chase. We just sat third or fourth wheel. I could tell we were going to catch them so I asked Ron if he was going to counter, but he said no. We did catch them and then soon after the KOM came. I managed to make it up in the top 15-20 guys safely in the field. After the KOM everyone was back together and Denny asked me about his rear wheel. I told him it looked a little low, and that he may want to get a wheel from the wheel truck. A few other guys told him the same thing.

As the second lap came I started to feel a cramp coming in my right leg so I kept drinking and eating. I only brought three bottles and started to worry about having enough. A few miles into the second lap I looked back and noticed that we hadn't really dropped anybody, at least that's what it seemed like to me. It started to worry me because my initial thought was that I was in bad shape and everybody else was doing just fine. A few other guys took off one by one and nobody chased them down. At this point there was three or four guys up the road with Bigshark controlling the peleton. The field was getting a little antsy, but nobody wanted to chase down the break. After the first climb on the second lap I finally saw Jeff and Jeremy who I hadn't seen all race. Two more guys got away, and then another group of about seven went. I grabbed the last wheel on that train, but then really felt the cramps and backed off and got back in the peleton. That break was then quickly caught. Finally we got to the KOM and my legs felt fine. I spun up the hill in good position. Yielding looked really good and had about 20 yards on me. We reorganized and dropped more riders and were down to about 15-20 for the run into the finish. I got into a sweet spot up the final hill to the finish. The pace picked up until about 200m to go and Aaron Rauls/Ghisallo made a dash. It was sprint on and I passed two riders. With the five from the break, I got 10th out of the sprint for 15th place. In hindsight, I was feeling pretty good at the time and thought about attacking in the last uphill to the finish. I decided to play it safe though and stayed with our group. I'm not sure where everybody else finished. In the end I went through three bottles(two accelerade, one water), 5 GU's, granola bar, and a banana. I never did completely cramp.

I achieved my goal of staying in the lead group, which ended up being the second group after letting a break go. It wasn't a top 10, but in the company I was in for the finish I'll take it. It was certainly a weird race as nobody got organised to chase down the initial break including us. We had five guys in the peleton and could have had a good shot had we kept Ron up there. Next to Bigshark and The Hub I think we had the most guys besides maybe Trek and Gateway.

This has to rate up there in favorite races and Ste. Genevieve was a great host city with excellent facilities. Todd did another great job organizing this race. The course had a little bit of everything, climbs, rollers, and fast sections. I did this race two years ago and remembered it killed me. I had bad memories of the climbs. I had put in a lot of miles(50 then 20) the two days prior to that race thinking that was what I needed and I paid for it. This year I kept my riding to a minimum prior to the race and while it was still a hard race it wasn't as hard as I remembered.

Winghaven is up this weekend and will be another true test as it will be a CAT 2/3 race. The way it works out is that I'll have five days off prior to this race and I'll have to do all I can to stay off the bike, at the very least keep the miles to a minimum.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

State RR prep.....

Well, I haven't really been doing anything really special. I haven't had a season I can feel good about so far. The almost seven month break I took last year from complete riding propably hurt me more then it helped. It put me behind the eight ball for all the early spring races and am only now feeling my fitness and form coming together. My ideal weight is right around 135 and I'm now a few pounds shy of that. My eating out at work and sweet tooth just get me in too much trouble.

This race has a little bit of climbing to it, while it's no Hermann, it'll still have some. I've known a few guys that have actually been using compact cranks and been doing just fine on them. After some thought I decided to go ahead and try them. The idea is to eventually build two bikes, a climbing bike and a crit bike.

While I have no grandioso plans of winning the State race, my main goal will be to stay in the main group until the finish. It'll be good to see how my form is coming along. I imagine with all the climbs in this race it will be a race of attrition.

I got a good deal on some Campy UT cranks and put them on last week and did two rides with them. They felt fine on the Ghisallo training ride, I was first on the Ossenfort climb, but then dropped the chain shifting the front derailleur and pedaling too fast. I guess I learned a lesson there. I didn't feel I was too undergeared, exept when trying to bridge after dropping the chain. I also felt fine on the hammerfest back. The Tuesday crit was a different story though. I did feel a little undergeared at times and I've also learned I've got to spin a lot more then I'm used to. It also takes a few shifts to find just the right gear too. Because of this, accelerations made it harder to keep up. I don't think I'll always keep these on my bike, but also think I could get used to them and use them in a crit if I had to. Hopefully after Sundays race I'll have good news to report about these cranks.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

O'Fallon GP.....

What does one do when it's 2:30am and can't sleep, well, you write on your blog of course. Actually, I've got to get up at 3:30 anyways for work, but could've used that extra hour since I didn't got to bed until 10pm.

Anyways, the O'Fallon Grand Prix was 67 miles of short power climbs, headwinds, crosswinds, and twists and turns. Accelerations were the norm out of each turn, not as bad as some race though. Normally, a 19th place finish wouldn't be cause for celebration, but with my legs cramping like mad during the last 15-20 miles and riding on a back tire that was slowly going flat it was a definite victory, well, sort of. I had four teammates with me for this race, although one guy is new and don't really know him.

I didn't do this race last year and didn't know what to expect. It was a weird course doubling back on itself several times. It wasn't too bad though and the climbs were as stated, big ring climbs. The first lap was just to get intimate with the layout. I ended up staying towards the front and before I knew it my teammate Ron was off the front. I thought it was a bit early, but he thought he had the legs to go. Who am I to judge and if anybody could do it he could, he's done it before. He had another Bigshark guy with him, but with just the two of them with headwinds and 45 miles to go it would have taken an exceptional effort. We, I should say they, ended up catching them before the end of the first lap. It was a good effort, but short lived. Not much to speak about on the first lap other then a guy making one hell of a recovery when his wheel got caught in a crevice. He was directly in front of me and had he gone down I was sure to follow.

There was not much to speak about on the second lap. Now I found myself fading towards the back of the pack as more riders were getting a little revved up to get in better position. A few attacks started, but were all extinguished. There was even a strong group of seven that went away, but they were brought back too.

I made my way back up to the front and as the third lap started myself and a bigshark guy found ourselves at the front. We made a left turn after the feedzone and we soon found ourselves with a little bit of a gap. We both looked at eachother and talked about how neither one of us wanted to go on our own break so we started to let off the gas. About that same time we got attacked by Russ, an Indiana guy, and then a few others. I think it was five up the road then myself, bigshark, and a hub guy with the pack breathing down our throats. We gave it a bit of an effort, but the five was too far for the three of us to bridge. A little too few and a little too late. Soon I found myself pulling pretty hard into the wind on an uphill grade. All I did was tow everyone else. I decided it was more work then I was willing to do with 20 miles to go. The pace picked up and as we were going up another hill a guy bumped my back tire and just hoped I wasn't gonna go down. A close call averted. It was about this same time I noticed my back tire really losing pressure. As the race went our group was now around 15 guys. With about five miles to go a mack guy wasn't paying attention and bumped the wheel of another guy. That created a little chaos, but i think those were the only two to not make it back on. Myself and Ron were on each side and made it around unscathed. The next thing I know I'm once again driving our group into a headwind, don't ask me why, but I just ended up there. With about a mile and a half left and a tire that propably had no more then 70psi my legs locked up at the last climb before the final stretch. I fell off the back of that group to finish about a minute behind. Ron was able to finish 12th, myself 19th and Matt and Justin just behind. As for other CATS' Brian got 6th in 4's, and Mark got 3rd in the pro 1,2's.

It was a fun race even though I suffered through cramps on the last lap. It turns out I propably didn't drink enough as I found I still had about half a bottle left out of the three I brought. The little bouncy ball I waas riding on propably didn't help either. I was lucky to have finished because it was completely flat about an hour later. In any case I'll call it a personal victory with the problems I had on that last lap. My fitness is starting to come through as I found myself doing a little more work than I had in previous races.

It was good to see a few guys from Indiana that I knew. Russ, the guy who got second, was a strong rider that I'd ridden with when I lived in Indiana. He used to go out on solo breaks on our training rides, much like he did yesterday.

Next up is the state roadrace, but I just may go to Indiana and do their state rr which is next weekend.

Monday, May 18, 2009

hellbender, 2009 edition

I gotta say I thought I was feeling pretty good. I got a lot of rest in and only did the tuesday night crit. I actually got to a race early enough to do everything withou being rushed. The race started about a half hour behind so that didn't help my nerves out. I usually like toget going when they say it's supposed to start. I guess I hate waiting around just like anybody else. Last year I got 12th, but I was also about seven pounds lighter. My fitness was also much bettrr at this time last year. Anyways, the race was uneventful for the most part with the exceptuion of a few failed atacks. Then the one major decisive climb came. It's usually make or break on this climb. You either make it with the lead group or your chasing. I was actually towards the front at the crest of the hill, but soon faded and was falling back. I ended up in a chase group of four. I was still redlined and fell off that group and was in no-mans land. A few minutes later a freight train of about six guys came trucking past. Denny was in this group. I latched on and we attempted to bridge. This took a major effort from everyone. I was definetly the worse off in the group. I took one more pull then went to the back and soon faded. I was so close to the main group that I could've thrown a rock and hit them. I was pretty much done at that point. Another group of five riders cam by that included another teammate. I hooked up with them into the feedzone, but two quit and I had to persuade a couple guys to do anoth lap with me. I ended uup dropping my bag at the feedzone and went back to get it. Another mesa kid decided to turn around because he had no water. I had two fresh ones and gave him one. We were now four until one guy decided he'd had enough and turned aroun.. it was his first cat3 race. The three of us ended up just cruising along the rest of the way. It was aggod first lap with some good efforts put in, but in the end I just didn't quite have the gas. Now if I can just lose that extra five pounds I might be alright. Next up is the wildwood tt. I hpe my typing wasn't too bad since I did this on my g1 phone. It's not that bad typing with thumbs.

Monday, May 11, 2009

o'fallon gold cup and other stuff....

Last week was just another week of training, it's hard though not to go on long training rides because of the upcoming races. I tried to make the Tuesday crit last week, but wouldn't you know it, I got out of work late and could only make the B race. I suited up only to find out I didn't have my helmet. I asked a few people and nobody had an extra one. I thought about asking a few guys just getting done with the A race, but the thought of wearing somebody else's sweat soaked helmet didn't really appeal to me so I just went home. I don't know what it is with Tuesdays, but i can get out at 5pm on the dot every other day, but then Tuesdays roll around and it's like pulling teeth!!! Somebody just doesn't want me to do those races. Fast forward to Saturday and I was taking my dogs out for a run in the morning, actually they ran, I rode my mt. bike. I had skates on the leash. Skates decided to turn on the gas and try to catch Bailey, so I stood up and tried to sprint to catch up. Next thing I know I'm on the deck. Grabbing the handlebars with the leash wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. I ended up with a bruised shoulder, and hurt ego, hopefully nobody saw me.

Later in the day was the O'fallon Gold Cup race. The legs were a little fatigued from my long ride on wedensday....the legs just don't recover like they used to. My teammates for the race were Denny and Ron. We had quick talk about a game plan and then the race was on. Things started out uneventful. The three of us stayed towards the front. A few breaks tried to go away, including efforts by ron and denny, but all were brought back. The course had a little hill in it just to shake it up a little bit. It wasn't really anything special, but just enough. About half way into the race I noticed a kid from maplewood going to the front. I was pretty sure he won Hermann so I figured he could climb and that he might try to make a move on the hill. I marked him and was second wheel up the hill. I started to pick up the pace and then I heard it was a prime lap and so I turned the screws a little more up the hill. I guess I got the jump on everybody including the maplewood kid. I figured he'd be right there with me and we'd have to fight it out, but when I looked back I had a good gap. Later I found out I had a little help from my teammates and eduardo from bigshark. They were in front of the pack and just rode tempo. I redlined it up the second incline to the backside of the course. At that point I had a pretty sizable gap. I ended up riding another lap solo and by the second time up the hill a bigshark guy joined me. I tried to go with him but was pretty gassed from my effort and told him I was going back to the peleton. As I drifted back Denny made the move of the day and joined the lone bigshark guy. They rode off the front for a while then waited for a hub rider who decided he wanted in on the break. Meanwhile, us and bigshark just worked for the break the rest of the way. I guess another gateway guy caught the break at some point, I don't even remember when he got away. It stayed like that until the end. Denny ended up finishing in third. It was good to see him get a result. He's one of the hardest working guys in the peleton, and finally got a well deserved podium. All in all it was a good day for dogfish, I ended up in 14th and a prime and ron in 16th, he made his move a little too early for the bunch sprint. Up next is Hellbender, actually, also the tuesday crit, but we'll see if I make that one.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

tour of st. louis...

tour of st. louis was last weekend, i only did saturdays events since i had to work on sunday. that included the crit and then the tt in the evening. the crit wasn't really anything special, just a plain jane four corner crit. it was fast and i was able to take it to the finish. i couldn't really get into a good position and started to fade in the last 50 meters or so. it turned out a few breaks had gone away but were all brought back, or so i/we had thought. it turned out one guy was away and stayed away. i had seen a rider in the distance, but thought it was just somebody preriding the course. oh, didn't really effect my outcome anyways, but good ride by him.

the tt was in the evening and was running late. i ended up riding another 10 miles for my warm-up since i had an hour to kill. the tt went ok. i felt good for about the first two miles and thought it would be good to have this tailwind for the first half. that only lasted that two miles because soon it took a right turn and into massive crosswinds. i was getting beat up and felt the wind through the vents on my helmet. i also never did tape my aerobars so all i heard was awful whistling noises. i tried to reposition my hands to cover them. it was really messing with my head. anyways, i got passed by two guys in full tt gear, but i almost caught back up to one of them going into the headwind. don't know where i finished in that.

i was also able to make my first tuesday crit this year. the plan was to do both a and b races. i was at work and things were going as planned until the last five minutes when everything went south. three airplanes broke and had to stay late to get those worked and turn everything over to the oncoming shift. i missed about the first five minutes of the a race. the legs felt good and the races went well. i'll try to make more of these in the future.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

a little c'wood today.......

so i looked at the schedule and saw that the castlewood xc race was coming up. i figured i'd do that race and thought i needed to get down there to shake some of those off-road cobwebs, plus i'd just take it easy from the ride i did yesterday. well, wouldn't you know it, just before i headed out i double-checked the date on that race and i've got to work that day. for some reason i thought it was a saturday race. oh well, it was a fun day to get out on the soft stuff, not to mention it was too nice of a day not to ride. i ended up riding for an hour and enjoyed every bit of it. i'll propably take off tomorrow since saturday is the tour of st. louis.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tour of Hermann...

Well, what can I say, it just wasn't my weekend as has been lately. The TofH got off to a decent start with the TT. I gave it a good go in the TT. I was satisfied with my performance and it was an improvement over last year.
After a subpar lunch at some dive restaurant we headed to the Crit venue. The battery in my car also died so I had to find jumper cables and then get my car jumped. Mission accomplished. We sat around for several hours waiting for our crit to start. It was about this time I wish I had a hotel to go crash at. I thought I would be ok, for the crit, but my legs were just not up to par. I stayed up late the night before to watch the Blues game and ended up not sleeping a whole lot so by the time the crit started I was already pretty tired. My legs were also physically not recovered from the TT. Anyways, the crit started and everyone started out like a bat out of hell. There was a huge downhill with a 90 degree right turn. I started towards the back and just couldn't maintain my position after all the turns. It was also wet out and after the first two laps I was off the back because of all the turns and not being able to bridge. The climb and my legs didn't help either. I ended up duking it out with several riders the rest of the way. My teammate also ended up in the same position, we actually traded spots every several laps. I haven't felt that bad in a race in a while. The only difference was now I felt that bad and I was well out of the mix. I ended up finishing the race though, got a massage, and then drove home.

The next day came the road race and I decided since I already paid for the race I'd at least show up, which is really about all I did. I got there and had just enough time to change and get to the line. I didn't warm up at all. I thought since it was a road race I'd feel better after a few miles. Well, I don't know what the hell I was thinking. The first climb came three miles in and I was already bad shape. Next, I actually did the first smart thing the whole weekend. I packed it in. I turned around, rode down the monster climb, turned in my chip, changed, and watched the rest of the races from the Dogfish tent. It was pretty demoralizing at the time since I was right in the thick of things in last years race.

I've come to the conclusion that I need to step up my game. Even if I did have some rest, my fitness level is just not where it needs to be for some of these races. I'm going to have to race myself into shape. Although my fitness is not there it's good to see a lot of my fellow racers showing good form. They've all stepped it up and now I've got to do the same.

As for my health, I go to get another MRI on my cervical spine. My catscan found a 3mm bone spur right in the area I've been having problems. My doctor doesn't think it's big enough to cause my symptoms so I go get yet another MRI. My other doctor also found an elarged tonsil, so I'll do a few more tests for that too to see if it needs to be removed. Wow, I'm pretty f'd up.

It's time for Blues hockey, it's do or die tonight. GO BLUES!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

BLUES GO FROM CELLAR DWELLAR TO STANLEY CUP HOPEFUL

Even though my BHL (beer/brentwood hockey league) season is over since we tanked in the playoffs the Blues are in the playoffs!!!! As of last night I watched the Blues on the telly and the Nashville/Minnesota game on the laptop. It was great to see Nashville go down.....I really hate that team for some reason. Anyways, the Blues completed their bid for the playoffs with a big win against Columbus. Can you say who OOHHWWWNNSSS THE BLUEJACKETS??? That's right the f!@#ng Blues. I also made my tribute to TJ Oshie by honoring him with his own youtube feed as you can see above. I believe if he hadn't been injured for 25 games he'd have been a legitimate shot at rookie of the year. Just so you don't think I'm just joining the Oshie bandwagon, I picked up this kid for my fantasy team at the beginning of the year when most of St. Louis didn't even know what they had in him....jus' sayin'. One last thing is Murray should get coach of the year for what he's done.

As for my training, I had a good ride on Thursday and I'll ride today at some point. With Hermann next weekend the goal for week is to only do short rides of light to moderate effort. My two and half hour ride on last Wedensday may have done me in for Saturdays road race, so no rides over an hour this week. I checked my weight this morning and I've still got a few lb's to be at my ideal racing weight.

My husky skates was feeling not so good yesterday as he jumped over the gate in the kitchen while we were out and decided he needed some B complex vitamins. He tore into the bottle and ate the whole bottle. Well, I came home to two big huge spots on vomit on the carpet, not pretty. He seems to have his jump this morning though.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

BHL season finally over!!!

my hockey season is finally over. my teams play over the summer, but to be honest i couldn't wait for this season to be over. after last seasons cycling debacle i needed a break and lacing up the skates was just what i needed. now that cyclings finally here and i've started training again there just doesn't seem to be enough time to do both. anyways, there are three leagues in the BHL, a tuesday, wed. and thurs night league. i play on wed and thurs and the way the playoffs work is the top 12 teams from all three leagues combine to make the playoffs and play eachother. i haven't played for about three weeks and i had the hillsboro race on saturday, which my legs are still trying to recover from. as it turned out, i, and about four of my teammates had to play back to back games last night for both teams since both of them made the playoffs. needless to say, we didn't do so hot. i was pretty much worthless, didn't do much more then take up space on the ice. i just didn't have the jump in my legs and without playing for three weeks my hands weren't there either. by the way the games were at 9 and 10:30 last night which also didn't bode well. by the second game i was so tired that i was just watching the clock click down hoping for a way to speed it up. i actually didn't even want to go out for my next shift i was that tired. we ended up losing both games which pretty much ended the season. sitting in the lockerroom i was the last one to leave, i just sat there so tired i couldn't even change. when it was all said and done i packed up my locker, had my one on one chat with the coach, said bye to the boys, and told them i'd see them in training camp next year.............of course we don't have coach, lockers, or even a training camp, but it sounded good.

on a high bluenote, the blues won last night which put them in sole possession of the final playoff spot.....GO BLUES!!!!! this would be so great for them to make the playoffs. the kids on the blues could learn so much from the playoffs and excellerate their development. heck, even this stretch run has helped them gain confidence and has been beneficial. they're going to be a powerhouse team in the next few years.

i also finished my first week on dayshift working from 5am to 5pm. coming from midnights, now i actually get to enjoy my three or four days off. being on midnights usually sucks because it seems like you're always behind a half day and the full weekend is never like a full weekend, not to mention having to readjust to living like a normal person. heck, this is my long weekend and i don't know what to do with myself. i don't have to be to work until sunday morning. i suppose i'll ride, although the weather may not cooperate. i'd like to ride today, but my legs and body are just screaming not to. time to take the kids to the park.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hillsboro Roubaix wake-up call!!!

The day started out with me heading to Bigshark in the a.m. to purchase some new Vittoria's for my second race of the season. I called the shop the night before and Mike was nice enough to meet me since he was going to be there anyways, gotta appreciate that. It was about time I get rid of the training tires. It was also the first race for the newly rebuilt Easton 90slx's since they were destroyed at the Gateway Cup last year. Oh, I should mention how nice it is to have a Johnny on the Spot at an offramp!!! Let me just say it was certainly johnny on the spot!!!!!!!! I picked up Denny and we were on the road. After a few scheduled pee stops we arrived an hour early and after registering and putting my number on I barely had enough time to ride before lining it up. I also turned on my garmin and no heartrate, great.

I lined up towards the back third of the 3's and we finally started. The race started like I thought it would. Ride, turn, accelerate, catch up, turn, accelerate, turn, hit afterburners, recover, turn, bridge gap, fight headwind, recover. I did that for almost two full laps before hitting the last turn into town. I just didn't have the jets to bridge that last acceleration. I had to shut it down. I kept the field in my sights, but there was no way I was going to catch them. Running into town I rode by myself and decided whether or not go out for another lap. Well, I was already there, what the hell, I went out for another lap. While out there by myself I wondered what the hell I got myself into. The headwinds were crazy and I was hatin' life being out there by myself. I was actually hoping Denny would've gotten dropped so I'd have somebody to ride with, but as it turned out he pulled the chutes on the second lap. He was suffering from a cold all week and have to give him props for just showing up.

I'll chalk that that one up as a good training race. I ended up 53rd of the 63 finishers. All in all I was satisfied with just finishing that race.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

a long week...

here i am at work, on my lunch break of course. i've got the milan-san remo race on the laptop in the background and just thinking.......this is going to be a long week at work. i only got two days off this week and spent my last day at work for 20 hours trying to get an airplane fixed. one of my best mechanics had a massive brain dump and over a tug with the airplane. it wasn't a pretty sight and i feel so bad for him since it may cost him his job.

anyways, as it stands, i'm on day two of seven in a row. it's going to be a long week leading up to dogwood. i did get two good training days in on my days off and denny kicked my ass on one ride. i definetly felt the pain. the most riding i'll be able to get in the next week may be a couple one hour rides or maybe just on the trainer. this may actually help since i tend to ride a little too much leading up to races.

my garmin 305 is pissing me off. this is the second time it's takin' a crap. i haven't even had it a year and it just died again when i tried to plug it into my laptop. it won't power up at all!!! hopefully they'll warranty it for a second time

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Forest Park Crit...

This was the first race of the 2009 season and I'd have to say I was happy with my performance. I basically ended up around the top 15, although I wasn't scored. In fact my number wasn't even on the results anywhere. I didn't get a chance to protest it because I knew I wasn't top 10 and plus I wanted to put in some more miles before I had to go in to work tonight which is where I'm at now, on break of course. It kind of sucks, but, as they say, I guess only the top ten matter.

As for the race itself it seemed fast at the start with a few surges, but then settled down. My best position I could maintain was about mid pack, which is about where I wanted to be anyways. I made one attempt to bridge a gap of a group of about 10 pulling away. I shut off the gas when I realized the effort I would have had to put in and seeing the group behind coming up pretty fast. I sat in the rest of the race before putting myself in a good spot for the finish. I was about top 15 coming around the last corner to the final straight, but with no one in front of me I had no one to draft off of and pretty much finished in the same position. Next up is Dogwood.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ready for days....

i'm on my lunchbreak right now, it's 1:30am, it still seems odd saying that after all these years working this shift. the good news is i just found out that I will go to days. i was able to maintain my supervisors position. i'm so ready to get back on that shift. i've been eating like crap lately, but what's new. wednesday i go in to see another doctor. i did go last week to a neurologist and he showed me my mri. it turns out i do have damage and a herniated disk that is poking into my windpipe. he said it's not bad, but in 15-20 years i may need surgery if it gets any worse. he just gave me exercises to strengthen my neck and lower back. my lower back is causing my hamstring problem, so he says. i liked that doctor. he was up there in years, but seemed old school and was matter of fact. when i asked him about trigger point therapy he said "bullshit, that crap doesn't work, do these exercises and that will solve your problem." after just thinking about it, it really didn't solve my problem. i still have this tightness in my throat, i guess he's saying i better just live with it. i go to see an orthopedic spine doctor this week and we'll see what they have to say about all this stuff. i just can't believe there is nothing they can do.

on another note, after not riding for almost four months i've finally gotten in over 500 miles. just in time to get them ready for some spring races. i still haven't had anything high intensity. i've been playing hockey for that that, and speaking of hockey, several more weeks left, maybe this week i'll make both my games.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lucky I have a job.....

This was written last week, better now then never to post it. Well, for the last two and a half years I've been working the midnight shift at our hangar here in St. Louis. I was just notified last week that we will be shutting down our maintenance facility here and maintenance will be performed at other bases around our system. Our lease on our hangar was up in April and there was no other suitable hangars to move into. Actually, there were hangars available, just not what our company was willing to spend. It now looks like we will go back to a line maintenance station, meaning we will fix and put band aids on anything that breaks here, just like we did before. We will be laying off roughly 30 employees, although many were offered employment elsewhere. I feel for many of the guys that worked for me. They worked hard and we went through a lot of growing pains opening up this new maintenance facility. Now that we are like a well oiled machine it's going to be dimantled. It also sucks for the guys being offered jobs elsewhere. They were basically given one week to make a career decision to move to another city or take the layoff. I'm sure it's going to be tough on them and their family. I, on the other hand should be safe here considering my seniority and position, although nothing is set in stone. On the bright side I will go back to a more "liveable" shift, either a dayshift or nightshift postition. It won't be the graveyard shift. In fact, that was one of the main reasons I moved back here almost three years ago, to get off the graveyard shift until I was offered my new position. Anyways, just getting off graveyards should help me physically and mentally throughout the race season. It's bittersweet.



As for my health, I go to the doc today, a neurosurgeon. Amongst my groin and ankle pains, I have neck pain resulting from several whiplash injuries. I should've been doing all this during the offseason, but never did go in until today. I will find out if the bulging disks are what is causing some of my aches and pains in my neck. I'm pretty sure they are so the question will be, what do I do now? Surgery, therapy, rehab? I'll find out some information today and then next week when I see another doctor for another opinion.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Time to get back on that bike....

Well, after a subpar end to last season and taking an extended break off the bike I've decided it's about time to start training in earnest for the upcoming season. I can now say I've actually been on the bike for maybe five rides so far this year. I've done a ride here or there, the trainer, but since last weekend I've officially started putting in base miles. I even got a new set of tried and true Rubino Pro's for the training wheels. I've been through many sets of those tires and they've always come through for putting in the miles.

I've been playing hockey all winter, but it's not the same as getting in the long miles on the road. It's great cardio, but now it's time to get that endurance up. I can tell I'm not totally out of shape, but also know I'm nowhere near where I used to be. Hopefully the long break is what I needed. I took such a sabbatical from biking that after last years Gateway Cup crash that took out my Easton EA90SLX's I finally got them sent back into Easton for repair. $130 to replace one hoop and true the other seems pretty reasonable. I was actually expecting to pay a lot more. They were a $700 wheelset so it's well worth it.

My latest dilemma is getting a new phone and plan. I like gadgets and now I've got to have a smartphone to include in my collection. I've had pocket pc's with wifi before and thought having it on the phone was so gay. I've seen a couple new phones like the iphone and blackberry touch screen and thought, these would be great to have for the road, not to mention accessing the web at high speed from anywhere. I guess I would say I'm somewhat addicted to being "wired". The GPS would come in handy driving to races out of town. I even thought about integrating the GPS into a cycling computer somehow. I've already seen a couple applications that make your smartphone into a cycling computer. I've already got my Garmin, but it would be pretty cool to have a color screen of the route your riding and not spend another $500 for a cycling specific computer. I've even seen that Garmin is coming out with a new phone.......I wonder what kind of applications that will include.

Note to all you travelers. I was just told by the young Grasshopper aka Casey, that he was walking through the airport the other day(on his way to Jelly Belly camp....lucky dog) and saw a bunch of pictures promoting St. Louis. One of which was of the Gateway Cup. He said it was a huge poster and I was right in the middle of it. That's pretty cool. I work at the airport too and seemed to have missed it. I guess I'm not getting any royalties for that one.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Season Approaching...

This was written back in January and never posted it so posting it now. A new seasons approaching. I can't say I'm raring to go just yet. I haven't really been riding much since mid september, in fact I can count on one hand how many times I've been on the road since then. I've been keeping in some sort of shape though playing hockey a couple times a week and riding the trainer. I've upped the time on the trainer lately, but really need to get outside on the road. I've also gained a few more injuries from hockey(bruised back, bruised ribs, arthritic wrists), but those should be totally healed by the start of the season. It's my ankles with tendonitis I hope will have been totally healed from the end of last season. I also need to shed some pounds, but that'll come with some miles on the road. At this rate I'd say my base miles and fitness should be in by mid march or later. I haven't looked at the race schedule yet or even know if it's out to know which races I'll do. I guess I could check out the stlbiking site, but I'm to lazy to do that right now. I'll check it later. It'll be tough to get in the miles and still play hockey since the season won't end until March or April. With any luck I'll be ready for all the early season road races.



Now for the dogs. Skates' training is coming along and he's turning out to be a great dog. I've taken him to the dog parks and he always makes friends. In fact it was pretty cool the other day when I put his food in his bowl and he sat there a foot away just staring at it. He was waiting for me to say "go" and I wasn't even trying to train him. He's also walking better on the leash. As for Bailey, she's just happy as long as she can play with her tennis ball.