Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Remember the Alamo

Los Alamos Road,that is. I was feeling ambitious yesterday and got to thinking.... lets try Los Alamos Road. It goes up part of Mt. Hood. It starts two and a half miles from home (135') and gets up to 1721' All in 6.8 miles. I started feeling like the tiny defenders of the Alamo real quick like. The mountain was the entire army of General Santa Anna. For better or worse the middle is the steep part 14-21%. My visions of really hitting that mighty army of a mountain faded. Where was Sam Houston anyway! I'm glad I wasn't on a HRM because I had to stop 3, yes 3, times just to get my breath. The third time I nearly turned around, but I continued and a good thing because it eased up after that to a milder pitch.The view was magnificent at the top. Now the turn around, Those of you who know me in the mountains probably think of me as a capable descender. Out here it is way different, not only is the pavement rough, cracked and patched, but it is often very twisty so you are on the brakes hard. Today was a new experience-about 2/3 way down I hear the hiss-hiss-hiss of a flat. Front, fortunatly not a blow out. It seems I was braking so hard that the tire/tube had spun a little on the rim. This pulled the stem and a hole developed at the juncture with the tube body. That's never happened before. A week and a half 'til the Gran Fondo, actually the Medio-metric for me. I feel good but there is a huge wall about a mile long at the mid point. Think Grandfather Mtn, the last part. Its odd, when the Tour of California did this the first couple years, it didn't even rank as a climb. The view out over the Pacific is grand. The Gran Fondo(103 mi.) goes over an extra hilly stretch into back country more remote than anyplace I know of back in NC. There are 3500 people registered and 1500 are doing the whole enchilada. I hope y'all get to dry out soon, roll on! HH

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sturm und drang

from the German, conventional translation :storm and stress, perhaps more literally storm and urge or storm and longing. This is an appropriate storyline for Friday night and Saturday. Saturday was indeed my first cyclocross race for the season as I have hinted earlier. Not having my usual training buds or opportunities, I had a case of pre-race anxiety and fitness concerns. I got all my gear arranged and into bed at a reasonable hour. I was awakened by heavy wind blowing in the window about 12:30. I got up and closed it somewhat and got back in bed-rumble- who is unloading a dumpster at this hour? what was that flash of light? Back to sleep. 2:00 AM rumble -boom ,awake, thunder and lightning. That's OK in NC, but there is never thunder or lightning here especially this time of year. The cat is most disturbed, his agreement was, CA is fine if there are no thunder storms. two months in and we are made out to be liars. In the morning there are very light showers on and off all the way to Sacramento two hours away. Not enough for mud and the ground is so dry it disappears. So there you have it; storm, stress, longing all knit together with weather and racing in my personal observations. This sturm und drang stuff is descriptive of a movement in German literature in which subjectivity and extremes of emotion were given expression in response to the rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment. Back to the race. I get through my typical pre-race routine and warm-up. I get to the line with the other B Men Masters all 20 some of us. I feel pretty good. Bang! off we go, and go and go. Skills are a little rough, but I settle in OK, a few mistakes here and there, a few good moves. Then it all settles down in the mid-point pain. I'm determined to hold off the guys behind me and trying to maintain striking distance to those ahead of me. Laps are short by NC series standards about 5 min. so I get to do 9 laps, ouch. Lots of sandy turns, two grassy barrier sections and a gravel straight away followed by a rocky section and 100 yds. of pavement. I finish up 5th of 6 55+ men. I am pretty satisfied for a early season race. Sandy off-camber turn run up a finish!