Monday, July 07, 2008

Gotta figure something out

This past weekend, was fun, but it was also an eye-opener for me.

I need to pick something and do it whole-heartedly. No more of this dabbling in this and that and trying to be above average at everything. This goes for most aspects of my life and it's becoming more and more dis-satisfying. I have the ambition to be really good at most things I apply myself to, but since I try to do so many things, I'm not as good as I know I can be at anything.

Last week, we learned that Allison's Grandfather Smith had passed away at his home during the night. This meant we needed to get a last minute ticket back to NC for the funeral. While in the midst of planning, I wasn't sure I'd be able to go due to work obligations and upcoming changes. (more on that later) Our friends Brian and Nicole helped us get a buddy pass (Nicole works for Delta) which got Allison to Atlanta for free based on standby availability. Once in Atlanta, she caught a ride with her cousin Eric on his way to NC. At the last minute at Allison's request, I got a ticket to NC through priceline that left Denver 1 hour later than the flight she and Isabella were able to get on. Mine went all the way to NC so I beat them there by a day.
Once there, everything went smoothly and I returned home on Sunday afternoon while Allison stayed behind for a few more days. Her return trip to Denver was supposed to be on Wed afternoon so instead of driving back to ATL from Fayetteville, her sister Amy bought her a ticket from Raleigh to ATL stopping over in Charlotte. However, once in Atlanta, she was unable to make it on any of the overbooked flights and kept getting bumped. She and Isabella were both exhausted from the trips and we had no idea when she would be able to come back. Frustrated with the whole mess, I just bought them a ticket from ATL to DEN for the next afternoon and put them in a hotel so they could both get a good nights sleep and be home at a definite time on Thursday.
On Thursday, I picked up Allison, Isabella, Mark Koester, and his girlfriend Katie at the airport and brought them all home. Later that afternoon, Mark, Katie and I went to the Rockies game losing 1 extra ticket we'd purchased for Allison because she was too tired to go and we didn't want to add any more confusion to Isabella's already crazy world now that she was finally home.
We had a good time at the game. It went extra innings against the FL Marlins, but the Rockies were able to win it at the bottom of the 12th.
THEN we were dazzled with a very cool fireworks display at the stadium.

While at the game, Chris Locke and Eric Tiffany arrived at the house. They had been driving from KC all day and were staying with us since we all were doing the Firecracker 50 mountain bike race in Breckenridge on Friday July 4th.

We got up early (5:30) and hit the road around 7 am for the 1.5-2 hour drive over to Breckenridge for the race. This was the National Marathon MTB Championship race so we knew it would be a packed race full of talent. We had read the course description, but I don't think it really sank in with either of us just how much climbing there would be.

The race consisted of 2x25 mile loops. The course was BRUTAL and very technical on some of the descents. There was ~1000 racers that started and I have no idea how many finished, but the finish rate was MUCH lower than the start total. Of the 45 pro riders, only 32 of them finished. Many dropped out during the first lap from exhaustion and/or mechanical failures.

My age group started several minutes behind the elites and the beginning was a lot of fun. The bike race was the kick off to the parade in the middle of town and we were part of it. We had to ride an enforced 10 mph behind a course marshal until we were outside the outskirts of town at which time the marshal peeled off to the left and we began racing in earnest.
The first 6.5 miles was all uphill and seemed more like one of the mountain stages in the Tour De France than a mtb race.

Several of the downhill sections were very steep and technical and many riders experienced multiple flats and some race ending crashes. During the first big decent, the rebound adjustment valve on my Fox 32 F80RL front shock blew off due to the rough terrain and this left the inside of my shock wide open. This was not a good thing as dirt can get in and all of the oil was getting out. And every time the fork would compress, it would shoot oil all over the right side of my body. I had shock oil from my helmet all the way down my right leg pooling in my shoe. This was a yucky situation made worse by the super dry conditions which caused all the dust to stick to the oily part of me. The busted front shock also meant that I had to ride more carefully through the rough stuff (couldn't ride race pace) because it was destroying my bike.

I completed the loop more tired and beat up than I should have been due to the mechanical issue, but it also made me realize how much fitness I've lost with my lack of focused training.

The next day (Saturday July 5) we rode part of the Colorado trail and then did the trails close by my house. Chris and Eric were both tired too, but they wanted to get in as much Colorado biking as they could. Great training weekend for me. Now I need to pick a race to train for and apply myself.


Chris Locke said...

You forgot about the pre-departure bike repairs that took place causing me an ulcer the size of one of the boulders out on the course :-)

That course was a lot harder than I first visualized. Next year I will prep for the race by sleeping in one of those high altitude tents. Hopefully that will help me climb at high altitude without nearly passing out...

Thank you again for letting us stay with you. And Thanks to Allison for all the good eaten.

Mark Studnicki said...

I know exactly what you mean about trying to focus on one thing at a time and doing that one thing to the fullest. I can't walk and chew gum at the same time. If I get too many things going on at once, I just lock up and turn into a caveman with just enough mental capacity to rub 2 sticks together.

Shane"CRASH"Jones said...

I've always found that a race in Colorado is nice when I want to really get my ass kicked. I think we're going to come out in a couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to doing the Moab to Slickrock 50 miler? That would be a good one to train for and in a beautiful time of the year out there also.