This is a fantastic race. I’ll definitely be doing it again next year.

The 2.5 mile uphill (6.8% avg grade) TT was tough. I’m very disappointed in my time on that. I went into it w/ the idea of not redlining too early.. then I realized after the last turn as I saw the crowd at the top of the last pitch that I had not yet redlined at all! Fail. So I started hammering away and redlined for the last 150m. I honestly think I could’ve done better on this TT. Almost makes me want to drive back over there just to do it again and get something better than 12:39. Terrible.

Later that day we had a 35 mile road race through some beautiful Arkansas roads. Plenty of climbing and plenty of good climbers in our field. At the first significant climb the field blew up. I managed to stick with a lead break/group of 9 others. We were being chased by a group of 5 about a minute back. There were only about 4/5 of us in our group willing to work. The Tyson kids seemed content w/ doing a majority of the work so we let them do that until we needed to pick up the pace to make sure we were not going to get caught. We rolled in to the finish fast and I managed to sprint it out w/ the others and grab 5th place. I am happy with that. I surprised myself in this race. I didn’t think I could climb as well as I did.

The crit course looked like an absolutely challenging course with the long climb up to the start/finish. I really did want to do the crit, but our race was not until 4:40PM on Sunday. With Sunday being mother’s day, I decided it would be best for me to skip it. I stuck around and watched the Womens 3/4 race and then headed back home. Hannah is so supportive of me in this stuff that she was fine with me staying to do the crit. However, I’m sure she appreciated me coming home early to do the mother’s day thing with her.

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Last night was my first experience w/ a local summer tradition; The Tuesday Night Crits. First of all, it’s nice to have a cycling event that I can ride to instead of having to load up the bike and drive. I can get a 4 mile warm-up in heading to the crits.

Yesterday, however, I was running a tad late. Had to wrap up a few work things remotely from home and then hopped on the bike to head over to the Safety Training Center (crit course). Rolled in to find Gina and Grant suggesting I sign up for the B race w/ them. I had limited time to make a decision, but I opted to go w/ the C race. My reasoning for this is that I am still very new to this whole game and need to get some practice before I jump into the B race. I think, out of respect for the riders in the B race, that it makes sense to start out there (C) to build and show adequate bike handling skills before I jump into the B race.

Anyhow, on to the race. I got signed up after everyone was already lined up. Teammate slapped my number on my back and I rolled to the line. Last guy to the line (sorry guys). An introduction of sorts was done and Garrett Grow from 918xc made mention of the preem ($25 gift cert for the shop) they were offering for our race. After that, the whistle blew and we were off. Now, after my mishap in Arkansas and not knowing many of the folks I was about to be racing with, I knew I wanted to be on or near the front for this race. I worked my way up to the front over the first lap and for pretty much the remainder of the race Matt Carnal and myself took turns on the front. We had a pretty fierce South wind to contend with in one section of the course so it was nice to have a break every other lap or so. Mid-way through the race they rang the bell for the preem lap. The pace hastened a tad and as we approached the final turn I tried to protect myself from the wind behind Matt. About 50 meters out I got out of the saddle and sprinted towards the line. It was close, but I snagged the gift card! I was stoked about that, but the race must go on. We continued our on as we had so far and didn’t bother seeing who or what was going on behind us. Turns out, on the last lap, a well-rested Chris Wilcox and SOG (some other guy) were behind us and made a move (good job, fellas). Matt and I both answered too late and were unable to hop on their wheel. Once we hit the wind we thought there may be a chance, but they carried on. Chris won, I believe. I finished 4th behind SOG and Matt. Overall, a great experience and a good workout. I’m looking forward to next week and seeing the time increase from 20 minutes to 30 for the C race. 20 is way too short!

Until next time..

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NWA Spring Classic

April 1, 2011

Well that was exciting. We went into this road race with a pretty decent plan, I think. Right from the start we had a couple guys off the front. No big deal, they weren’t headed anywhere.. However, we brought them back and then kicked up the pace. Grant, myself and a 918xc guy took turns pulling. We were trying different things, but mainly were hoping to string the field out early and perhaps shake a few people off the back. At about 7 miles in there was a climb, nothing big, but a climb. I was slightly overlapping Grant’s wheel when he stood up to climb. Wheels crossed and next thing I know I’m being ejected from my bike into the ditch. Awesome. I hop right up and make sure no one else went down with me. Matt is standing there on his bike, apparently my bike stopped his.. somehow. I immediately start checking the bike to see if I can continue. Front wheel good. Spin the rear wheel. My rear wheel won’t spin, what the? I look at my handlebars and notice the right shifter has somehow been destroyed in this catastrophe. Sweet. I try to manipulate the brifter back into place. It kinda goes where it should, but at least released the brake from the rear wheel. I hop on and try to shift, but the only shifting that takes place is the brifter lever shifts right off of my bike and bounces across the road and into the ditch. Cool deal. I’ve got three awesome guys (Grant, Matt and Jonathan) by my side hoping to work together to get back into the race. The plan was good and likely would’ve been quite possible if it were not for one minor problem.. I can’t shift my rear derailleur now and am stuck in my 12T cog. This could be a long ride to the finish. It was. Finished 21st out of 28.

We hung out after our race to watch the other races finish. Got to see several teammates finish very well in their races. Awesome work out there by everyone. Well.. except for me, I guess. #fail

No major injuries sustained and no one else injured or anything so that was good. I had some light road rash, stiff neck, random bruises and a slight headache for a few days but am feeling tons better now. Looking forward to getting new shifters installed today and hopefully get out for a spin this evening.

Better luck next year! (sounds familiar)

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Oops.

image

Reynolds Assaults (clincher)
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Last weekend I had a nice little road trip w/ some teammates. We headed to Hogeye, Arkansas for the Hell’s Kitchen Road Race. Road trips w/ great teammates are a blast.

This was a great race on a course that ran through some nice countryside with plenty of rolling hills. I thoroughly enjoyed the climbing challenge this course presented. It was windy. I just sat in and rode along. I jumped off the front at one point and got a pretty decent gap, but decided that was just for fun and that I had better recover before the climb. I think, in retrospect, I should have stuck with it and tried to get the guy that came w/ me to work together and form some separation leading into the climb. I could have used a little head start, I believe. Going into Hell’s Kitchen, I had heard everyone say how absolutely terrible (long, steep) of a climb it was. Given that, I started into the climb easy. Tried to take a nice steady approach which apparently differed from the strategies of those around me who hammered away from the beginning. They seemed to fare better than I, but I did pass a few guys going up the climb. Once I hit what I suppose is the half-way mark I bumped it up and hit the remainder of the climb hard. This helped get me closer to the lead pack, but not close enough. I TT’d the remainder of the ride and hit the descent hard trying to make up as much time as possible. Ended up gaining a slightly better position overall, but not enough to catch the lead pack. I picked up a 15th place finish out of the 39 riders that started. Grant, a fellow teammate, ended up in part of a lead pack which led him to a 7th place finish.

Must. Climb. Faster.

Awesome race. I’ll do better next year.

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Salty Tall Race Weekend

March 17, 2011

What an exciting weekend of racing that was!  Salty Tall consists of a Saturday criterium in Mannford, OK and a Sunday road race in Skiatook, OK. The criterium is a 2.6 mile course through the Salt Creek Recreation Area while the road race is a 20 mile loop through the Tall Chief Cove area. This race is generally the first race of the season for many Tulsa/surrounding area racers.

The crit, again, was on a 2.6 mile course with only two real corners and some sweeping bends.  As we waited our turn to start the 4s went by on their last lap. We saw all of our Tom’s guys pass by (James, Jamie, Mike, Glenn, Robbin, Travis, JK) doing well in that race and hoped to see them finish well also. However, as they were finishing their last loop on the West side of the course Mike bumped wheels w/ James and went down hard along with a couple other guys. This delayed our race as we waited for Mike to be hauled back up to the start/finish. Mike is an awesome guy and has put in a lot of effort over the winter to come out riding strong, and he has been riding very strong. It was such a bummer to see Mike roll up in the back of the truck all bandaged up and wincing in pain from a broken collar bone. This sent chills down the spines of several of us waiting to toe the line for our race.

Shortly after that, we were called to the line. Grant, Matt, Shane, Toby, Jonathan, Paul, Ron and myself represented Team Tom’s in the 50ish-man Cat 5 field. As we rolled off the start line and down a hill the pace picked up fairly quickly, as to be expected. Grant, Toby, Shane and myself maintained a position near the front of the group for the majority of the race. Tony from Undiscovered spent some time on and around the front helping to push the pace and toy with the field a bit. That made it pretty fun and exciting.  Otherwise, a couple of 918xc guys did a majority of the work. On that last lap in the section with the majority of the crosswind some guys tried to gap the field but we pretty quickly brought them back in. Coming around 1 of the 2 real corners on the race I had to bump the brakes as the guy in front of me was easing into the inside line I was on. No big deal, lost some precious momentum, but I managed to work through it and get back up into the field a bit. Nearing the last turn into the final climb Dennis Lyle took off in a pretty good move. In that moment, the field blew up pretty well leading into the climb. I hit the base of the climb in the wrong gear and could feel it as I slowed tremendously towards the top of the climb. I ended up coming in 9th place. The best part about the day? My lovely wife was there to cheer me on and be a part of my first local race. I loved it.

The following day, Sunday, was the road race. While fun, it was pretty uneventful until the end. We started out right into a 150ft (or so) climb leading up to the Dam road. From there you cross the dam into some more climbing. This is where most of the separation took place. I found myself behind two guys whom had let a decent gap form. Once I noticed that I went around and spent the next mile catching the main field. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing with only one other notable climb (Bridle Creek) that seemed to slow things down for a moment. Nothing really happened there. There was one guy in the road race that would briefly launch an attack to see who, if anyone, would chase it down. Grant and I spent most of the day on or near the front again and chased anything down. I hopped off the front once just to add a little excitement to the somewhat boring bit of racing we were into. Had we been more organized a better idea of what we were doing we may have tried an attack of our own. Maybe next time…  Anyhow, at about mile 16 I hopped on the front to try and drive the pace a bit to shake anyone off the back that may be barely hanging on. Not sure if it worked, but it was fun. Once we hopped on Oak St the pace picked up pretty nicely as we were 2-2.5 miles from the finish at this point. Coming out of the final corner w/ more than 1K to go to the finish some outstanding individual decided it would be a great idea to start the sprint. This destroyed the field as the pace ramped up to 33ish for a few moments and then died down to 28 or so before it picked up again for the real sprint. I had a hard time picking a good wheel leading into the second sprint effort. I ended up finishing 13th.

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I’m dying!

March 2, 2011

..not really. It just felt like it last weekend. But it was fun. Weird, right?

Since my last blog post (sorry.) I’ve joined a racing team.In that, I decided I needed to drop some weight if I want to be able to hang. I’ve been working pretty hard since the beginning of December on this and have managed to drop 20+ pounds. If you are not familiar with riding bicycles (shame on you) at all then you may not understand, but a 20lb drop is pretty significant in terms of climbing hills and generally going faster (maybe not downhill). Over the ‘winter’ I hit the trainer often as well as spent time in the gym doing some Shaun T Insanity videos. Those high intensity interval workouts are killer. That, along with not eating like crap, definitely helped drop the pounds and make my heart more efficient for exercise. Plus, the workouts are fun (heh).

Anyhow, I’ve started racing my bicycle. I’m slightly competitive, like a challenge and care about my health/fitness so I figured this would be a good fit. Turns out, I abso-freakin-lutely love it so far! The weekend before last I ventured to Mineral Wells, Texas with several mates from my team, Tom’s Bicycles. We raced in the Mineral Wells Stage Race. Day 1 included a 7.6 mile Time Trial in the late morning and a 30 minute criterium in the afternoon. Day 2 included a road race on a 24.6 mile course in which our category would do 2 laps.

The TT went well. I enjoyed a slight tailwind as we headed down the hilly 7.6 mile course. I ended up w/ a time of 20:37 (minus a few seconds) according to my Garmin data. However, official time read 20:53 or something around there. Everyone’s time was off by about 30 seconds, so it didn’t matter in the end. I placed 14th out of 30 or so riders. I think I could’ve pushed myself harder, but this was my first TT effort ever so I wasn’t sure what to expect and how much gas to save. I was happy with the result though. No complaints here!

Later that afternoon we were back in the heart of Mineral Wells for the crit. Our group was to do a 30 minute session of pain. My HR was at 145 before the whistle was even blown. Upon hitting the first corner it had jumped to 180 and hung around 185 for the next few laps. At that point, things got a little messed up. I had made the strategic mistake of deciding to ride my old Allez for my first crit. This resulted in my riding a heavier bike that was not nearly as smooth handling as my Giant. I started out with a great position near the front, maybe 6th or 7th back. I quickly became aware of how intense crit racing is. It wasn’t long before I found myself slipping back and maintaining a position about 10-12 back. From there I wasn’t completely aware of the happenings ahead of me and did not notice that the guys directly in front of me had let a gap form from the lead pack. Over the next several laps I spent time weaving through the guys in front of me to make some progress. As it panned out, I finished 11th. Not too pleased with my performance there, but it was a learning experience for sure. The RR? I failed. Rode strong to the climb and then made some strategic mistakes that led to me getting dropped near the top of the climb. Spent the next 6-7 miles trying to chase down the lead pack into a head/cross wind. After lap one I just rolled off the course. This turned out to be something I very much regretted. Not even sure why I quit. Never again will I do that unless I’m just dying.

On to the next race!

image

 

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Elijah returns..

July 8, 2010

..to the internet that is.

Ah yes.. time to update. It’s been ridiculously busy as of late, but here’s a quick update with a couple recent pictures of Elijah. I’ll post some of Emery soon, I promise.

Elijah has a blast playing outside, he absolutely loves it and would stay out all day if he could. He had played with some stickers, which he likes to put on his face, prior to going outside so one of these shots you’ll see a bunch of stickers on his face. I photoshopped them out in the other shot though. He’s quite the character these days as you can tell from his choice of outdoor attire. =]

Oh and the favored way to pop those ‘Pop-Its’ firework things is to do it w/ a t-shirt, underwear and rainboots on.

and finally.. one from July 3rd. He picked this flag up at a friends house and wanted to carry it around with him everywhere he went. He eventually fell asleep w/ it in his hand as shown here. He had a blast watching fireworks on Saturday/Sunday nights too!


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We woke up at 430AM to get to the hospital by 6AM. We got ready and dropped Elijah off at Nana’s house for the morning. We then headed to the hospital ready to kick this baby off. After we got checked in, moved into the room where Hannah was all hooked up, IV’d, gowned, etc. The next hour or so seemed to take forever. Eventually 8AM rolled around and they wheeled Hannah out. They were sure to let me know that they would come get me, but you never know if they’ll forget or not.

Well.. they didn’t forget and I headed down the hall to the operating room where Hannah was comfortable as could be while her insides were being (temporarily) relocated while Dr. Walters extracted Emery from her belly. It was such an awesome moment and much less stressful than Elijah’s birth. My beautiful daughter came out from behind the curtain crying and ready to go. Such a wonderful blessing to welcome her into the world!

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She’s ready.

May 20, 2010

We were able to get out and grab a few photos a couple weeks before Emery arrived. Hannah was definitely ready to be un-pregnant. =]

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