Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Here are a few pre- and post-race photos from Lubbock. The full race report will follow soon...

Photos courtesy of Rick Kent and ASI

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Remember when you learned about foreshadowing in your English class way back when? Remember? It was that thing that happened early in the story; that thing that happened once, and you might not even have paid any attention to it. Remember? It was that thing that happened once, only to be relived again, in another way, shape or form. You do remember it, don't you? Well I remember it, too. And I remember what happened the night before Amanda and I left for Lubbock...

...The car was packed and we were only four hours behind schedule. This wasn't too bad; I've been much later with my departures. The car was packed, the bikes were on the roof, and we were about to head outside. Before we could even reach the door, a little summertime storm kicked up, and suddenly it was raining. Then suddenly it was hailing. (For the less-than-astute reader: this is the foreshadowing part.)

The bikes got pounded, the car got pounded, and I got hungry. I had gone several hours without eating, and it was finally catching up to me. I got the bonk real hard. I saw this hail storm as the final sign (combined with the numerous little things that aided in the delay) that we should not leave town. We did not leave town. Unfortunately, my mother's house was to be our first stop on the drive to Lubbock, so postponing the departure would mean skipping the visit with my mom: not good.

After the storm passed, we removed the wet Javelins from the roof, and set ourselves to the task of getting a good night's sleep. I could have posted on my blog, but instead I chose to rest up for the six-hundred-mile journey the following day. Yes, Amanda's blog was updated, thank you very much.

Day number two on the trip to Lubbock saw a much more positive beginning. We were up at 5:30, miraculously; and to further prove that miracles do happen (and sometimes twice in one Colorado summer morning), we left the house before 6:30am! In fact, we were at the coffee shop and bagel joint before 6:31. Wow. Did this wonderful start to our trip (attempt number two) bode well for a wonderful race?

Our drive to Lubbock was easier than we thought it would be. The dogs were along for the ride, and even they seemed to enjoy the journey. We stopped three or four times for various reasons, including any combination or variation of the following: I was hungry, Amanda needed to stretch, the dogs were hungry, the dogs needed to pee, I needed to pee, the dogs needed to stretch, Amanda needed to pee, I needed the dogs to pee, Amanda needed me to stretch, and so fourth.

With about an hour to go, some ominous black clouds appeared on the horizon. These ominous clouds were the type of tornado-wielding, lightning-having, thunder-throwing, rain-spitting ominous clouds that appear on humorous but serious natural disaster movies The roads are pretty straight down in West Texas, so when you see something in front of you, you can pretty well count on it being in your path. This storm was in our path.

I've driven to or through Lubbock, Texas about two dozen times over the past fifteen years, and I think it rained on me half of one of those times. It just doesn't rain that much in Lubbock, especially in the summer months. Well, it rained. I opened the sunroof cover to make sure that the semi-hurricane-force winds we were battling hadn't knocked the very wet Javelins off the roof. At this point, the bikes were on the roof because the dogs were in the car. This should show you how much I love my dogs, because I really love my bikes, yet I was willing to put them in harm's way... just for my dogs. Ah jeez.

Arriving at the hotel, I noticed that the dead bugs that had accumulated on the front facing surfaces of every part of our bikes had been super-duper pressure washed off by the driving rain. Not bad: one less thing to tomorrow!

Tomorrow turned out to be Friday, which also turned out to be the day before the day before the race. Funny. We spent the day checking out Buffalo Springs Lake, the run course, and the bike course. It all pretty much seemed the exact same as the last time we were there: the lake was warm, sort of green, and kind of nice but gross; the run was long, hilly, and nice but stinky; and the bike was windy, flat yet hilly, and treacherous but nice.

The last time I raced Lubbock, there was this nasty little slick spot on the road. It happened to be positioned right in my line of progress, right at the top of a tricky descent. Well, I fell down and hurt myself. I struggled to finish the race that year, in fact, it took me close to eight hours.

The last time Amanda raced a half ironman, she was so timid on the down hills that she pretty much wore her break pads right off the calipers.

The reason for mentioning the above points is that we decided we had better make ourselves VERY familiar with the two technical sections of the bike course. Sure, we had raced there three or four times before, but we wanted to be VERY safe. We ended up riding up and down Spiral Staircase once, and the Golf Course Hill (see above story about my wreck) three or four times. Combine these climbs with once up the Tunnel of Trees hill, and Amanda and I got a pretty good hill workout in that afternoon. Maybe not too smart to do the ups, but we'd sure be ready for the downs!

Saturday was a bit easier. Well, the morning was easy. We did a short swim and run with Luna and Blue, then we headed out for one more trip down the hills (and up them, of course) on our bikes. This concluded our training for the day, and although we got an early start, it was somehow already time to go to the expo for my scheduled talk, and to check in.

The afternoon got a bit tricky, as we realized we had still quite a bit to do before bedtime: pro meeting, grocery store, organize race gear, eat dinner, miscellaneous errands, etc. We did our best to get through the list, and along the way we inadvertently ditched my mom and sister for dinner. This added to a slightly stressful afternoon, but we took it in stride, and tried to move on to our tasks at hand.

As we were finally winding down in the hotel room, we got a call from Kimmy Fresh McCormack, our good buddy and cat sitter. It seemed there was another summertime hail storm hitting Boulder, and Kim was calling to tell us that our house was getting pounded by golf ball-size hail. Uh oh.

She called back thirty minutes later, saying that she and Allan had just begun bailing ten inches of standing water out of our downstairs living room. It turned out the hail busted open our garage door, rushed into the garage, and broke into our living room. The hail covered everything in our garage below about twelve inches, and the rain water made its way into the house. Frisco the cat, having headed for higher ground, was floating on top of an bobbing ottoman.

The astute reader sees the foreshadowing part now, I'm quite certain.

Amanda and I did our best to put all of this out of heads, as we knew that our home and our cat were in the capable hands of Kimmy Fresh. We went to sleep trying only to think of the race the next day.

The "next day" report will follow shortly.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ok, I've fallen so far behind that I don't know where to begin. I know I promised a Bolder Boulder report; there is a Stroke and Stride report to give; and then there's the second Stroke and Stride race; plus, there is the Lafayette Wine Festival 5k report to give. Where to begin?!?!

I think I'll skip ahead, in favor of getting back on track. Then I'll try to stay ahead of the game.

Today was a very busy day. Amanda and I woke up early, and hit the floor running... sort of. Amanda did a bit of training, and I jumped to the task of getting ready for our road trip. We're making the return trip to Lubbock to race the newly named 70.3 race down at Buffalo Springs Lake. I spent the morning getting some things ready for the race, and getting myself ready. After running numerous errands, Amanda and I were set to pack. Yes, that's right: we han't even packed our bags yet.

Rather than bore you with the details of how we did it, we somehow found ourselves finishing our packing at 4:00pm! With a goal deperture time of 12:00, we were a bit behind! WIth a six-hour+ drive to Albuquerque (our halfway point), we opted to eat a nice dinner and postpone the departure. So here we are, still in Boulder. I believe these things happen for a reason, and although we do not yet know why we were delayed, I'm sure it's all for the best.

Tomorrow morning bright and early, Amanda, Luna, and Blue will make our 589-mile trek to Lubbock, Texas (the home of Buddy Holley).

Be sure to check back in, as I'm sure there will be something exciting that's worthy of a report... if not before, definitely after the race!

I'm back on!

Monday, June 05, 2006

It would appear that I have some catching up to do. It would appear that Amanda is a much better blogger than I. It would appear that I have yet to tell about the calf contest I entered last week.

So, I thought I'd boost my moral after a true lack of performance in Baja. I noticed that there was a calf contest at the local Fleet Feet. I figured this would be just the thing I needed to jump back into the competitive arena... with a go at the podium.

I arrived with Amanda, who was to be a guest judge (I figured that meant I'd have a bit of an advantage over the other boys.) I checked out a few of my competitors, and noticed that there were some pretty beefy guys out there. I hoped that my tan would carry me past them, and perhaps my smooth shave would add extra points in my favor. I was confident I could do moderately well, so I jumped right up to be contestant number one!

The last-minute rule recap indicated that style and size were the two main criteria for the judging. With no mention of complexion or hairlessness, I soon realized I'd need some help. I grabbed Amanda's flip-flops, which sport a three-inch heel. I figured they'd bump me up in style, knowing I'd be middle of the road for size.

As contestant numero uno, I strutted my stuff, precariously perched on the tall sandals. I flexed, I ambled, I posed, I sauntered. I moved with grace--as much grace as the flops would allow--and I stood for my measurement. I notched a tad over 14 inches, a number that soon proved to be VERY common amongst my peers. Next step was to sit back and watch the show.

I truly enjoyed hooting and hollering at the others, and even coaxing some shy types to join in the fray. I was impressed by the largest lower legs, which stretched the tape at 16 1/4 inches!

After twenty calf-champ hopefuls passed by the scrutinizing eyes of my wife the Judge, and her two counterparts, we were all invited for a final flex-off.

Anticipation was dripping from the shoe displays.

(And I was getting a bit of a buzz from the beer I drank.)

(And I was wondering if the bodies attached to the sixteeners would get a buzz from just one beer.)

And then the Judges announced their final three! I didn't hear my name, and I was listening for it. No such luck.

It seemed I had been smoked yet again. Ah well, the winners of the contest were well deserving of the honors. Silvio Guerra's twelve+ calves were incredibly tan (or BROWN), very lean, and strutted with true style: first place. Contestant fourteen had the act down, and he combined it with a really bad outfit, and some bicycle chain grease, and a short strip tease: second place. And third place was an older, wiser, 16-inch-calf-having stud, who certainly displayed the most impressive ballet moves.

I was done for, but I was again reminded that it's not always about winning, but rather getting out there and strutting your stuff.