Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crashing out of July

I headed to Yankee Springs for a loop. Hector came out and we went down the trail. I think we rode together for a few miles....then he, just like everyone else I ride with, disappeared over the hill. I spent the rest of my ride fighting with my bike. I need a serious adjustment because I was having shifting issues. Anyway, I kept fighting. Made most of the hills....just attacked them with a very slow approach. With about two miles to go I carried up the side of a berm and it grabbed my leg. Down. Hard. Fast. Head snapped to the ground. Shoulder sore. Ribs....oh no.....that one hurt a little. Wait....is that blood? SWEET. I have a nice mark on my leg and my back is killing me.....but I didnt break anything. My time was super slow....but I still had a good ride. It was fun to ride a different trail....but one that I still know.


Now for July. Not a good month by any stretch of the imagination. I logged a total of 137 miles. Enough to keep me on pace but not what I wanted. There were two weeks out of the month where I only rode one time. The Boyne race really messed with my mind. I was sick for about two weeks. There was a death in the family. I have been following the downward spiral. I need to get off of it because I have another race in three weeks. I will just do what I can and build my fitness back up some.....then try to be faster.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back to your normally scheduled stupidity...

This past week will be one that won't be forgotten. But....it is the past and I need to get back into the swing of things.

I did that today with a nice 20 mile road ride. I had all kinds of intentions to ride a half century, which was cut to 47 miles (one for every year Tim was with us), then down to 15 miles (the number of years I have known Tim), and then I just kept going. This is how the trip went

One mile....

Two miles.....just getting away from home

Three miles....nice long climb. Felt like standing and started to understand why Shleck and Lance do it.

Four miles.....man...its windy....

Five miles....the roads are so wet.....I about crashed on a washed down area filled with sand

Six miles....gotta keep going.....

Seven miles....that car was kinda close.....I need to start thinking about turning or going straight...

Eight miles....went straight....just passed the DNR office....wonder if we can ride out there yet...

Nine miles....Megan's friend lives there....meg will be leaving for camp tomorrow....

Ten miles.....since I went straight I will ride to the next paved road and turn around. that road has to be in about 4 miles.....

10.5 miles. The decision was made for me. The road was flooded and it was about a foot and a half deep. Not riding through that....just going to turn around and head back.....20 miles will be enough for today...

18 miles.....damn....this hill is really hard....stand and pedal......sit......just keep going......wow....that hill was super hard.....harder than normal....good thing I am close to home.....

20 miles.....oops...ran that stop sign.....its okay....no cars were coming. Glad that I am home.

20.99........how did that happen? maybe I should have just kept going....


Back on the saddle again. Good to be back....

Monday, July 19, 2010

It ended....for the one that started it all

How many of you know how you started in cycling? Did you never lose the fever that we all once had as children? Did you decide to start riding again when you got older? Do your knees hurt, so you gave cycling a shot? Did a doctor tell you to get in shape and cycling caught your attention? Or...like me...did someone spur the interest in you many years ago?

My story begins some time ago. My best friend, and brother-n-law, stirred the interest for me. We both bought bikes and started riding. There was this crazy race that we decided to do called The Iceman...maybe you have heard of it. Tim started the craze for me with little pressure. He brought home a race flier and a Trek brochure. I started looking through the pages filled with shiny new bikes and the ideas started flowing. When we bought our bikes the debates started.

Who's bike was better?

What manufacturer had superior quality?

Who was faster?

In those first two years we rode ourselves skinny. We did a few races. We ate, drank, and slept bikes. One day we were riding close to home. We just wanted to do a quick little ride. We thought we were cool and he tried to bunny hop a log. Front tire clear. Rear tire...not so much. He endoed, breaking his fall completely with his face. Knocked out and Bleeding. For a second I thought his neck was broken because when he landed his helmet turned on his head...giving the appearance of his head being turned past the breaking point. With a tall build of 6'4" I had my work cut out getting him untangled from his Trek. Clipless pedals are very efficient...even in a crash. I got his bike off to the side and said his name once again. Tim?!?!! No response. I reached down to pop the strap on his helmet and when it popped....he sat straight up. I told him that he crashed and was bleeding so it was time to go. He wiped his eye and looked around. I asked him if he knew where he was. Behind the school.....he said....looking at the branch....then he smiled and said....apparently I didn't make it? Knowing that he probably had a concussion....I wanted to get him home. We walked a few steps....and he threw his leg over his bike and started to pedal. The next mile to our houses was rather interesting.

In that mile he started to forget what happened. When we pulled up out front we were joking around and then our wives saw us. Panic. We, Tim and his then wife Kim and I went to the ER. 7 stitches in his eyebrow and a concussion. He never really rode after that. He told me that he lost his confidence...and that he had no business being in the woods on a bike. Later he sold it....but recently I have been thinking about our riding.

You see....he passed away Sunday morning. My wife's brother. My niece's father. My children's uncle. My friend. The one that started it all.

He taught me so many things over the years. We renovated our entire house, with him showing me what to do. We blew breakers while cutting down walls. I cut his wedding ring off of his finger when a nail grabbed it as the porch was pushed off the house. We laughed. We cried. We got angry. We laughed some more.

So I will finish with this....a short letter to my brother.

Tim,

Thank you for everything that ever did for me. Thank you for teaching me how to finish drywall, and not caving the roof in on us that day. Thank you for believing in me when I felt my worst. Thank you for bringing home that brochure. Thank you for introducing me to bikes. Thank you for riding with me for those first few years. Thank you for fixing our computers all those times and answering any questions we ever asked. Just....thank you for everything. I was thinking about the day we met. You were buried at your kitchen table with various computers and parts. I sat down and tried to offer my help....do you remember? That was almost 14 years ago. I wish that you were still here so we could start working on stories for the next 14 years. Rest in peace brother. Tell our passed loved ones we say hello. Play a song. Build something. Relax. Enjoy.

R.I.P. Tim Counterman. 47. Taken from this Earth for reasons we will never know.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick and dirty

Since I apparently "stole" a camera at the Boyne Marathon, I made arrangements with teammates of Glen and Ali to return said stolen property. At the time of arrangements I was not planning on working the rest of the week. I planned on meeting John at Cannonsburg SGA around 5:30 and giving him the camera for safe transport back to that little house up north. Instead....I had to work. So....my one hour drive turned into an automatic two hour drive. It was okay though....gave me an excuse to leave work early.

So....the camera is delivered to the transporter.

Now...the quick and dirty.

Cannongsburg State Game Area. 7.6 miles of nice trail. We rode. It was muddy. I walked around the mud. We rode some more. That was about it. Nice ride with Chris.

I was thinking about riding another lap but it was already getting late. I decided to hammer as hard as I could through the first section and take the road back. I think its just about 3 miles round trip...with a nice paved downhill at the finish! Since I had decided to hammer I did just that. GO. Hard pedal strokes....big ring all the way....just mashing the pedals. Fast for me is not really that fast....just cruising. Today...I was fast. I redlined in about 30 seconds and I kept my heart rate up until I hit the last downhill on the way back. I know I was cruising 20mph on the flats.....and I was carrying 12-13 on the uphills. My body wanted to stop but I willed it to just keep going. That 3 hard miles was well worth the driving time. I need to do that a little more often to start building myself up more.

I feel good right now, but I will be off of the bike until at least Tuesday. We will be heading to Cedar Point for a few days of family fun and just stress forgetting. Gotta blow off some steam every now and then ya know!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Positives and Negatives

Here is a list:

Negatives:
Stress from work
Not riding much
DFL at Boyne Marathon
Not working
Bills
Car needs to be fixed before more it costs me more $$$

Positives:
I will ride today
I will ride tomorrow
I might work tomorrow
I am going to Cedar Point with my wife and big kids on Sunday and Monday.
I am 3rd in the CPS standings...

This last positive is the one I am struggling with. I have not even had a top 5 finish this year. In fact...I have had 4 sixth place finishes in a row. I was hoping that Boyne would be my opportunity to break into the top 5, but the whole class showed up.....all 6 of us. The cool thing is that I am getting to know some of the racers and they are all good guys. I just cannot quite compete with them yet. Just hanging on to 6th....or taking last place in other events. If I get an overall award...I might just stay in Beginner. I shouldn't....but if I can't compete with the beginners....how am I supposed to hang in Sport?

It will still be a different class.....because I don't plan on being a Clyde next racing season. So...I might land firmly in Beginner 30-39 or Beginner 35-39.....and I might end up getting my ass handed to me again....but if I am under 200 pounds I will be able to compete again.

Have a good night everyone....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sometimes you're the nail

I could sum up my Boyne Marathon race in two words: I finished. There is really nothing more to say....but I feel like I need to speak more on the subject.....so here we go....

I drove up to an area just south of Kalkaska on Friday night. Ali and Glen invited me to tent camp in their yard....and I just couldn't refuse. When I got there Glen started to clean and tune Ali's sweet Quiring rig while I checked out his Niner. When Ali got home we headed out for a quick ride while Glen cooked us dinner. I have to say....the dinner was awesome. After about 12 miles we got back to their house and the smell coming out the door was amazing. You know me...I am all about food. After dinner we went and got some ice cream. Then it was tent set-up and air mattress filling. Ali helped with the then....then Glen and her filled the mattress. I was just kinda sitting there....lol.

In the morning we loaded up into the car and made the jaunt to Boyne Mountain. As we approached I could see the hill....and the doubt started to creep in. I had been feeling ill all week and lost my voice on Tuesday. Add in the idea of not having a job again and my stress level was very high. Thankfully the family was all good....so no worries there! Before the start I was talking to a few of the other racers and trying to look tough. On the inside I was wondering how bad the course actually was. GO....it was time to find out. The first few miles were sweet. Flat. Nice. Then.....someone tilted the earth and it never flattened out. I felt like I was climbing for hours....wait....I was....that's right. My first lap was horrible. The second was worse. With about 5 miles to go I was ready to toss the Epic into the woods or just give it to the people at the aid station. This is where someone passed me. As he passed he looked at me and said "sometimes you are the nail"....and went out of sight.

Perspective. That comment put things into perspective for me. Even though I was being pounded.....I was still accomplishing something. I was moving towards the finish line. I crossed the finish line. Last place. The fourth 6th place in a row. At least I am consistent....

At least one more race for the year......maybe more if I am working. Might be getting an interview with another company this week. Fingers crossed.


Big thanks to Glen and Ali for the weekend of fun.....and torture!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Holiday ride

I took a guy new to the sport out on Monday morning. We met up with an old friend of mine and headed to Cannonsburg SGA. 7.5 miles of sweet trail. When we started my niece's boyfriend, Jeff, took off like a bat outta hell. As this was his first time I just smiled and waited for reality to set in. It took longer than I anticipated....but eventually he slowed down...about 4 or 5 miles in. At about 6.5 miles it really set in when he pulled off the trail and created an interesting waterfall of water, fig newtons, and a cheese danish. Not good. He was a trooper though.....finished the lap and then we rode another one. 15.25 miles with a few crashes for him...and ONE for me. Good times....

The crash was not very much fun. I pride myself in the fact that I don't crash. I can count all of my crashes on one hand that I have had in the last three years. Earlier this year I tanked at Custer when I slid off of a bridge. Reaction was to pull the bike like normal....wet bridge made the tires slide under the pressure....DOWN I went. No injuries.

Monday was different. Speed was higher....was riding someones wheel.....he hit the sand and fished a bit.....I hit the sand with my brakes at full squeeze....couldn't hold the wheel straight. DOWN I went again. This crash hurt. I stayed on the ground for a second because I was wondering if I broke something. I sat up....no blood. I stood up....ouch. Shoulder was jammed in and my ribs on the right side were sore. I could definitely tell I crashed. I felt okay on Tuesday. I managed to pull on my shoulder to make sure it wasn't jammed into the socket. Mobility good. Ribs a bit sore. Today....whoa.....legs hurt...shoulders are sore....lol. To top things off I lost my voice on Tuesday...in totally separate deal.

Today....sore. Drinking water and orange juice. Boosting the Vitamin C. Voice coming and going. Nose draining with the help of Vicks. Setting up the tent to air it out before the weekend. Not working due to no orders......man....I am a mess.....

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The importance of hydration

On Thursday night I barely drank anything. No water, pop, milk, or liquid to speak of. Friday, I drank a grand total of about 40 oz. at work. Normally I drink over 80 oz. while at work alone. This lack of hydration caused me some issues on my ride Friday. I rode two laps at Custer...and neither of them was very impressive.

I felt good on the first lap. Red loop only. Granny's Garden went by and I was impressed with my progress. I didn't clear all of the climbs....but I did clear some that I usually don't. Bonus. The problem was that I felt fast....and I was just slow.

Second lap....same thing. I was riding a slower pace....and I started to feel loopy. I noticed my balance was off a little. I didn't make the switchback on the green loop because I misjudged the roots towards the end of the climb. Then I flew off the trail a few different times....but never actually crashed. Almost.....like an idiot...couldn't get my foot off the pedal....and nearly fell down towards the foot that I had on the ground already.

Anyway....20 miles on the dirt was fun. I could feel that I was dehydrated and I drank a ton of water last night. I was sore and had pains in areas that never hurt. This morning I felt much better and I am still drinking a lot of water. I need to take the Hydrapack to Boyne...because I cannot afford to have cramps or be slow there!

Happy 4th of July everyone!