Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Frozen Boogers...

My motto for the weekend: "Suck It Up"
What and awesome weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) it was!  There was literally so much that went on that I don't know if I can maintain the attention span to catalog my experiences on this blog post.  I will definitely do my best to fill everyone in on my experience of having frozen boogers.

So, I'll just say the weekend started on Friday for me.  My wife had to make a trip to Nashville for work and I decided to tag along and do a little riding in the Music City.  When I got to Nashville, I hit a pretty cool coffee joint, Bongo Java, and warmed up with a nice cup of coffee.  Shortly thereafter, I hit the Nashville streets and explored some of the neighborhoods in East Nasty.  This area has turned into a cool and eclectic area of the city.

After my little spin around the city, I made my way over to the Nashville Bicycle Lounge to kick it for a while with Dan Hensley.  Its always a pleasure to kick it at the bike lounge.  Where else can you start drinking a beer at 10am and not feel guilty?  The conversation is never boring at the bike lounge either.  If you know Dan, you know he doesn't hold back what he thinks.  He'll tell you like it is and somehow you always find your skin becomes a bit thicker.

Ride for Reading Crew
Big Dummy Loaded Down
After the bike lounge, I borrowed Dan's Surly Big Dummy cargo bike and headed over to the Titan's stadium to take part in the Ride for Reading book delivery to Cumberland Elementary.  There was a great turn out considering the temperature was a bit chilly and overcast.  Spent most of the ride to the school busting balls with Thad.  When we got to the school, he became an instant celebrity to the kids when they found out that he rode his mountain bike 100 miles (uphill both ways, through 12 feet of snow and during a monsoon).  While at the school, we observed a few of the kids getting in trouble while picking out some books.  Thad and I conversed about what we were like as school kids.  I, of course, was the kid who looked to get into trouble.  Thad said he was a bit more reserved youngster.  We did conclude that our buddy Dan would have been the kid who took two books and stole an additional three from his other classmates.  Overall, the book delivery was a great experience.  It is definitely an inspiration to give books to underprivileged kids.  After the book delivery, we were all riding back into downtown Nashville when the Ride for Reading head honcho, Mathew Portell, had a flat tire.  And guess who forgot to bring a wrench and a spare tube?  So yours truly gave Mathew a ride back on the back of the Big Dummy.

Saturday, I woke up nice and early and packed the old truck with my CX bike and a lot of cold weather riding gear.  An hour later, I was in Gallatin, TN for the last weekend of the Cross The Way CX series.  Saturday's races went really well.  My first race of the day was in the Cat4 group.  I had a great start from the line and the course felt perfect.  The temperatures were in the mid 30's but I felt comfortable in my choice of layers.  Throughout the Cat4 race, I was able to maintain a decent lead and chose to race a little conservatively as to not crash out.  Finished the race in first place and immediately went to the beer cooler for some liquid nourishment.  My next race was in the Single Speed class and was the last race of the day.  By the time the race started, the rain had set in and temperatures were dropping fast.  The course was super muddy by this point but my adrenaline was on my side.  I started off the line with a little fumble to clip into my pedals.  This put me 3rd in line once we hit the course.  The three of us maintained a fast starting pace through the first lap of the course.  Graham Gerdeman was directly in front of me and Michael Edens was leading off the front at this point.  About halfway through the course, I found a hole to get around Graham.  I made my pass and hung onto Michael's wheel.  Michael was holding a really steady pace on his single speed 29er mountain bike however he would spin out once we hit the open sections of the course.  This afforded me the opportunity to make a pass.  Once we got back into the tighter sections of the course, Michael's bike would handle a lot better than mine on the inclines.  I made it a point to try to lead into these sections as to hold the advantage of picking the line and guarding our pace.  Each lap, Michael was able to pass me at some point within the technical sections.  On the last lap, I let him lead until we we 3/4 of the way through our lap.  At that point, I picked my line and sprinted as hard as I could.  Michael held strong on the last straight but I was able to maintain my position and crossed the finish in first.  This was definitely the most exciting race I have ever been a part of.  Michael kept me honest and put up a good fight.

Dan Hensley railing the turn as Brad Wormer sleds down the hill.
On Sunday, the temps dropped into the mid 20's and my wife decided to join me for the day.  She is definitely a trooper for braving the cold weather and spending the day outside just to watch me race.  Sunday was the last day of the Cross The Way series.  We again started the day off with the Cat 4 race.  From the start line, I was called up right next to Tony Adair.  Tony is an amazing cyclist.  He is a really strong rider on both the road and the CX course.  I knew it would be tough if I wanted to hold onto him.  We both started off the line together but Brad Wormer got the hole shot.  The three of us hit the course strong on the first lap.  About 3/4 through the course, I made my pass around Brad and shortly afterwards, Tony made the pass around me.  Tony would gain some significant time from me on each lap.  On the third lap, I heard the spectators shouting to Tony in the technical section.  I caught a glance out of the side of my eye and saw that he had crashed at the bottom of the worst turn.  I stepped up my pace a bit and made a significant gain on him.  However, Tony was still ahead of me and as soon as he got back on the bike, he took off again.  We finished the race with about a 20 second gap between he and I.  Tony raced really strong.  My 2nd place finish clinched a Cat 4 series victory for me.

Later in the day, the snow started to blow and the Single Speed race was ready to start.  We shortened the race to only 3 laps since the race conditions were miserable and everyone's boogers were freezing.  We had a pretty stacked field of racers for the SS race.  Off the line, I got a good position and led into the first lap.  I honestly don't like to lead into the first lap of races because I tend to push myself harder than I should and make mistakes.  However, this race, I felt strong.  After holding on up front, I got passed by Thad who was apparently having troubles clipping in due to all the mud.  He passed me and then he came unclipped and I went for the pass of him again.  I made my pass but was soon passed up by him and another guy.  I was now holding onto third place and trying to hold onto Thad's wheel.  After the 2nd lap, there was no way of catching Thad or the leader.  The both had a pulled a good distance and my gearing was not helping me at all on any of the inclines.  I finished across the line in a strong 3rd and was able to clinch the 1st place victory for the series.

Along with my victories this weekend, I won a Jamis Supernova frame in a raffle from Harpeth Bicycles.  I was pretty stoked about this as I have been wanting to build up a new CX bike.  Later that evening, I sat on the computer trying to figure up how I was going to build up this frame.  I came to the conclusion that I wanted to build it as a single speed with a White Industries ENO hub on the rear.  I then realized this would take a little bit of an investment to get all the parts I was needing.  Monday morning, I called up Harpeth Bicycles to talk about some options was pleased to find out that they would be willing to trade the frame for a complete All City Nature Boy CX bike.  This has been the bike I've been wanting for sometime.  So hopefully, I'll have the bike either by the weekend or the beginning of next week.

Lastly, Sunday night we got a nice dusting of snow and ice.  All the local school were called off and my wife decided to stay home from work since the roads were pretty bad.  I sat in the house looking out the window and became eager to get out and ride in the snow.  Since my CX bike was already pretty muddy from the races, I geared up and met with my buddy Ellis and went for a snow ride.  This ride brought back memories as a kid of riding bikes in the snow and crashing.  It was a blast to be out and about on such an awesome cold day!

So that concludes my weekend.  It was awesome to say the least.  I honestly can't believe that I sat here this long to type all of these events.  I'm not going to proof read anything because that would just take up more of my time.  Now that I'm done with this blog entry, I'm going to go thaw out these frozen boogers.

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