Monday, December 13, 2010

And we finish with a BANG! What next?

Mark F. headed to the run-up (walk-up, really this day)

Yesterday was the last race of the 2010 Cap City Cross racing season. Held at Lobdell Frisbee park in Alexandria, OH it proved to be a snowy, muddy, freezing, hard but fun race. Well, it sort-of was. Seems I made contact with some sort of stomach-bug a few hours before the race and wasn't feeling on top of my game. However I did finish the year by racing with the C group, just not well enough to line up with the B's again.

But I must have been well enough because after letting Duncan and Mike go, I was slowly able to claw my way up to pass one guy in the middle of the second lap and held on to that position to finish with a 6th. I will have to thank Jovid in a way, because he got really sick and didn't race at all, so I used his bike (really, my bike that I set up for him if I wanted to get snitty). What was the advantage? Lower gearing than my other "race" bike and most other people's bikes for one. Secondly it had clearance for wider tires with bigger knobs that helped me from completely wiping out most of the time. Yeah I did wipe out on the last lap but hey... snow and mud? You'll have that. It was a long, stretched out course with lots of climbing and not too many tight-n-twisty sections. To sum up, I wasn't all there physically but made up for it mechanically a bit. But that's not the "finish with a bang" now is it?

The B's took off and on the last muddy downhill stretch, lots of people were wiping out. One gentleman (a different Duncan) broke something in his shoulder- area (perhaps a clavicle). Bad stuff. Catie my lovely bride and another racer/spectator took him to the hospital. Ouch. Then the A group took off for the last race and dang, John Proppe from Team Lake Effect laid a whoopin' on the field. On that very same downhill everyone else was wiping out on, John mashed the pedals and came blasting through it. Yowza.

And while that was pretty cool to watch, it wasn't the "finish with a bang" that I was referring to. You are probably saying "Alright already! What the heck are you talking about?"

Glad you asked. At the beginning of December the contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project had slowed to a trickle and I thought "Well, I guess that's it." We had done pretty decently by collecting $755 in donations at that point. But by last night we were at $1,650. HOLY WA! We more than doubled donations in just over a week. Which was amazing considering it took us three months to get over $700. Not only that but we've attracted multiple people who are interested in putting on and sponsoring something like a one-day race or event ride.

It leaves me feeling like we really did accomplish something. Getting to this point was not easy but the Wounded Warrior Project was something that our family felt very strongly about.

What next? Racing season it over, our fundraising efforts for this year have officially concluded. After the holidays it looks like we have an event to plan. But do I continue with this blog? Do I have anything witty, clever, interesting or at least slightly amusing to add? I would like to think that I do. Or has this blog served it's purpose, run its course and it's time to move on to something else? All things to ponder.

As always, thanks for reading. And posting something for me to read is highly encouraged!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Photo Caption Contest Winner, and last race, last chance!

OK, I need to start off with the much-delayed announcement of the photo caption contest winner. To refresh your memories, here's the photo:
And the winner was H with "Not too certain of the terrain, J.D. was hedging his bets about his choice of transport. " So I've made a $25 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in her name. Thanks to all for playing!

Now, I personally like "Mommy, I want a new pony! All these are too slow!" But it wasn't for me to play so my caption is worth as much as car keys to a dog.

I'm getting ready to help set up for the last race of the year tomorrow so this is going to be short, with a recap to come Monday (or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or... whenever). But I did want to take a minute to say that with the newspaper articles and coverage & with the AWESOME show of support from Cap City Cross and all the participating racers we are now DOUBLE the amount we had two weeks ago. Can you say "Holy Cow"? Because I sure as heck have been. To everyone that has contributed, my deepest gratitude.

Additionally, while I felt that the coverage was very complimentary but a bit too much about me and not enough about WWP, it has opened the doors to multiple potential sponsors. I think the direction everyone wants to go is a single day ride that showcases and supports the wounded veterans and the WWP. Which I think means that even if we don't race for the cause in the upcoming year we certainly will still be doing something for our nation's wounded warriors.

A big, heartfelt thanks for reading and sticking with us.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tally 'em up, here's what we've got

OK, so we had this race-thing on Sunday that you may or may not have heard about. Grown men & women wearing spandex, riding bikes on difficult courses (designed that way!) in very cold temperatures. Sounds like great fun when we put it like that I'm sure. And perhaps you may or may not have heard that we're raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project by doing this, ahem, activity. Which means we should tell you how it all shakes out, right?

The set-up: Dec. 5th Cap City Cross held a race at Smith Farms in Columbus, Ohio. This course had a little bit of everything - long straight fast sections, gravel paths, twisty tight technical turns, a couple of steep climbs and barriers. Yeah! This is cyclocross! Of course we had barriers. The "triple threat" as we came back from the first half of the course & the hay bale barriers toward the end of the lap. Not a lot of pavement but what was available was utilized. The course we better suited for those who had their fitness and had speed. While we didn't get much snow accumulation it was still coming down at times. Cold, too. I don't think it got about 28 degrees F.

We roll up for the C race (beginners). And - what the He.... I get a call up? Whoa. (For those of you not familiar with the term, typically last race winners or series leaders will get called up to take a place at the front of the pack.) I figured I better show up to race if I'm going to get a call-up. So we take off from the gun and I'm doing great for the first, oh, 30 pedal strokes. Then I start slipping back. Yow. Just one more thing to work on is maintaining speed. The good thing is after the first lap I start slowly working my way up, gradually picking off other riders. I thought we were going for three laps so we come out of the left-hand 180 and I sprint around another racer to the finish line, only to see the "1" card displayed, meaning one more lap. Crud. I had sat up thinking I was done, allowing the guy I passed to get back up to me. He raced pretty smart, staying close but behind me for about 3/4 of the lap, then he gasses it and he gets past me. I make up time on him coming through the hay bale barriers. Back to the left hand 180 and I manage to sprint around him to the finish line to take 5th. My best finish all year, very cool. And a heck of a battle those last couple of laps. I can't wait for the results to get posted so I can learn his name, he's going to be tough.

Jovid did really awesome too. Only his third race ever and he carded a 13th place finish. Outstanding job, Jovid! I wish I was back with him to see how his race progressed. Nonetheless I'm proud of him.

Next up is the B (intermediate) race. No call up and once again, I slip to the back of the pack from the start. Once again, pointing out again that this is an area I really need to work on. Ugh. But As the lap goes on I'm feeling pretty good. Lap 2 and I start getting around a couple of guys. But halfway through that race my legs just fell apart. I started feeling awful. Endurance wise I was OK -- not great but OK. The legs just hurt hurt hurt. Must have used them up on the first race. I honestly thought of just dropping out of the race with 2 laps to go. But I keep using the motto I borrowed from my Marine friends - "Die first, then quit." Yes, I got 6th in my age group. But that's only because the other guys in my age bracket didn't want to be turned to Popsicles. Yes, I got lapped. I stayed in there, tho.

It was a good day for some other racers, too. Some of the guys I've ridden with in the middle of the pack turned in some great finishes. Guess the cold agreed with some people. Good show!

The BIG deal, however, was the fundraising for the Wounded Warrior Project. Cap City Cross did an fantastic job of promoting our fundraiser. Between Cap City Cross and all the contributions from the racers we accumulated $325 in donations! Team Lake Effect came down from the Cleveland area to race with us to support our cause. Wow, that is truly AWESOME. Add that to the other contributions we've received in the past week as a result of the newspaper articles and we are currently standing at $1,235 in donations. That really has me floored. Team Lake Effect, Cap City Cross, racers and everyone who's contributed - you guys rock! You don't know what it means to me, to be racing with such a great group of people. I don't know what else to say. Except that we're not done yet. Please think of contributing to the Wounded Warrior Project at this link:

Goodnight for now. Tomorrow, I'll announce the winner of the Photo Caption contest. Drum roll, please....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Getting press coverage, getting donations for WWP. yee-haw!

Wow, the past weekend has got me reeling. Can't believe it. Like my fragile ego needs stoked any more, eh? I know, I know. So here it is.

Saturday, 4-December, we made *FRONT PAGE* on the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette. See it here:
Then this morning, as I'm trying to find the legs that left me in the middle of my second race yesterday, I see we made *FRONT PAGE* of the Columbus Dispatch, as seen here:
Holy Wa.
(Special thanks to Ryan Steubenrauch for his expertise and help in getting the story to the Columbus Dispatch.)

And for those who think it makes a difference if it's above or below the fold, well, the story was smack dab in the center both times, putting it both above AND below the fold. Nyah nyah nyah.

But no matter if my goofy face is in the paper or not, what does matter is that we are raising awareness and donations for the Wounded Warrior Project. And what does matter is that yesterday's race was a fundraising activity that the awesome folks at Cap City Cross offered to us. With a smaller-than-usual field of racers, we still brought in $325 in donations for the Wounded Warrior Project. Which is in and of itself has me floored, humbled and grateful.

But we are not giving up yet! We have one more week to accept donations for the WWP. "So where do I go to donate?" I hear people ask. It is easy. Click on the link below or copy and paste it to your browser's address window:
Once you click on the "Donate Here" button, you will be directed to a secure (https://) website, so that your transaction is protected. This donation goes straight to the Wounded Warrior Project, I don't see it. It only gets credited towards the goal that we have.

Recap of the race and more info to come, honest.

And if you wanted to see the face of a monkey deep in the pain cave, here you go:

copyright 2010 Greg Sailor - VeloArts

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Crrrrrrrr-oss Rrrraaaaaaacing!!!

First a few things before we start your irregularly programmed schedule. A big "Thank you!" to Cheryl at Deckside Thoughts for her write up on our blog/fundraising activities. Which send it back to us to congratulate her all over again, like a light beam bouncing back and forth between two mirrors for infinity +1.

NEXT ORDER OF BUSINESS:  The Photo Caption Contest is going to continue until Sunday night. That's the cutoff. Get your smarty-pants comments in while you can! Win great big bragging rights! Be the Big Man on the Innerwebs!

And now, on with our show...      Before we get all jubilant and jumping up and down, we have to recap last race's results. If you've kept up, you'll recall that last Sunday was the Ohio State Championship races. so how did we do?

Well, we didn't. Truth is, I got pretty sick Friday night and that lasted until well into Saturday. Long enough for me to say Uncle. I am pretty stubborn and wanted to go out and race anyway but I've finally learned that sometimes I have to know when to stop. Then on Sunday, Jovid started not feeling well. So it ended up being a good call. Besides, I went out for a ride Sunday just to keep the legs limber and see where I was. Where I was, was smack dab in the middle of Get-offa-da-bike Town. I felt like such a wet noodle when anything required more than minimal effort. Bleah.

I was really bummed that I missed the Ohio State Champs. Not that I thought I had a chance at donning a State Champ jersey. I hadn't been out to John Bryan Park before and heard it was a great place to ride. Besides that, Phil Noble and T.J. Turner were putting this race together and both are good, knowledgeable people so I knew it was going to be a good event.

However there's a chance for redemption. Or at the least, an opportunity to satisfy my cross-cravings as well as raise money for Wounded Warrior Project. This Sunday, December 5th, the fine folks at Cap City Cross offered us the opportunity to bring our message to the masses. Not only are we racing flying the WWP colors but we will be out in full "we-want-your-money" force. Tables, fliers, everything. Sounds kind of crass to put it like that I'm sure. But let's call it what it is. We want you to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. We don't need you to donate hundreds of dollars. A couple of bucks is great. Honest. So if you're coming out to race Sunday (and we hope you certainly are. Won't even hold it against you if you kick my butt), bring a couple dollars to drop in the jar, OK? Thanks.

If you don't carry that much extra cash or can't make it our to join in the raucous cycling fun, you can donate at this link HERE, it will lead you to a secure (https://) website. It goes straight to the Wounded Warrior Project. I don't see a dime of it. Nor do I want to. I've got a job. WWP gets all the money to help our wounded vets. That's as it should be.

We're approaching the finish line. December 12th is the last race of the season for the Cap City Cross series. Looks like the fundraising has slowed down to a trickle. I know it looks like we're exhausted but we got to have that final kick! So if you haven't contributed yet, please do.

To remind you why we're working for the Wounded Warrior Project, check this out:

And as we're finding the finish line I have to wonder... when we complete this fund raising drive am I done with this blog? Does it lay dormant in hibernation until next 'cross season? Does it continue on, perhaps veering in different directions? Voice your opinion!

More to come soon. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Photo Caption Contest! Woo-hoo!

Many of you reading will see this and say "Hey, you're cheating! You're making us do the writing!"  To which I reply "Oh heavens no, I would NEVER do something as lame as that!"

Phht. Anyway... See the photo below. Respond with your bestest, most-inspired caption. Enter multiple times. Have your dog enter. Don't bother with the cats as they don't care unless it's time to feed them. Sorry, it's not cat-feeding time. However, I digress...

With "contest" in the title you'd think you'd win something, right? Yeah, that would be my thought process too. Now, what to give the winner... better think of that part... OK. Because I'm trying to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project by doing this, *I* will make a $25 contribution to WWP in the name of the winner. Sound fair enough? And hey, if YOU want to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project, too, all the better. In fact, I'm hoping you do. Click on the link HERE or at the top right.

None the less, here's the photo:

On your marks, get set... fire away

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stuff and People we like... yeah, the ol' Thanksgiving post (Part one)

The title was going to have something to do with "our sponsors" but some of these organizations aren't really sponsors in the traditional sense. However, they are all good people and deserve accolades. We're thankful that somehow our orbits have crossed at some point. 

Road ID is one. Why do we like Road ID? For one, I approached them with an unconventional way of doing a fundraiser. While they normally do sponsor many fundraiser/charity events, ours didn't quite fit their program. Road ID saw the value in it and agreed to help us. Granted, their contribution to our fundraising activities isn't any different than the usual for them. But they took the time to listen and said "OK, here you go."  The second reason we like Road ID is that when you purchase a product from them you have the option to have a portion of the proceeds from your purchase go to a charity and Wounded Warrior Project is one of those charities. Excellent! And thirdly, Road ID is just a darn good product.

Westerville Bike Shop is a great place to get  new bicycle our get any repairs done on your bike. If you are in the Westerville or northern Columbus, OH area this is the place to go. One of the two best places I know of to have any work performed on your bike.

Another bike shop we dig is Cyclist Connection in Canal Winchester, OH. Ric and his crew have always treated us really well. They also host a plethora of activities so you certainly won't get bored (I've always wanted to use the word "plethora" in a sentence). If your looking for a bike shop in the southern Columbus/SE Ohio area, you can't go wrong with Cyclist Connection. Great people, great service. Good times. Also the other best place I know for having work performed on your bike.

I have to mention Cap City Cross. We're having a blast in our first year of racing. The Cap City Cross group is a great group of people working hard to put on some fun, challenging races in Central Ohio. When I approached Cap City Cross with our idea of racing to raise funds for Wounded Warrior Project, not only did they say "heck yeah!" but they gave us the opportunity to make the Dec. 5th race at Smith Farms a fundraiser for Wounded Warrior Project as well. And did I mention the fun? Rad Dogs? (Oh, that's good food right there!) Cheering other racers on, heckling your friends? That's good stuff right there.

When I first had the crazy idea to actually put together a fund raising cyclocross race team, I approached the guys at Cyclocross Magazine about it. I turned to them only to get a gauge of how far off kilter I was; after all Cyclocross Magazine is run by people who have had a lot of time and experience in cyclocross. They are THE print mag for cyclocross as well as one of the premier website for all things cyclocross. Not only did they encourage me to pursue this (raising funds by racing bikes) but they also said "Write it up! Get some photos!" Wow, that was encouraging. The result is HERE. Thank you to Cyclocross Magazine.

Once all this was getting put in to motion I realized I was going to need some help. So I turned to shel-shok. Shel-shok helped get the words together in the right order as well as point me in the right direction. Shel-shok provides consultations to provide creative, strategic and interactive solutions to business and marketing problems. Their help has been immeasurable.

Ryan Stubenrauch has been very instrumental as of late, not only by letting us use his photos for our article in Cyclocross Magazine and our blog, but by bringing our message to a new audience. I am glad to have met Ryan and am tremendously grateful. I am also very grateful I don't have to race directly against him - he'd leave me way behind.

Lastly for today, if you're looking to take your bicycle riding off road check out Airborne Bicycles. The name has been around before but this group is looking to not only revive that legacy, but to improve upon it. Airborne Bicycles has a great line of mountain bikes to suit whatever your needs may be. I'm looking toward great products from this Ohio-based company.

That's it for now, but that's not all the people we like or have helped us out. More to come soon. No, really. I mean it! Yeah, honest!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The good, the bad, and well, I was ugly

Cap City Cross race #4 was held at Infirmary Mound park in Newark, OH. It was a bit of a homecoming for me as this was the location of the very first cyclocross race I raced in last year. I felt I had a bit of a "jump" as I remembered this pretty well. However I was wrong as it turns out.

The track is very long and stretched out compared to the previous races and the front half was changed a bit from last year. None the less we started with a short uphill paved section, turn and hit the barriers right away and we're off. Their are long mostly straight sections of dirt patch wide enough for two-track for a good portion of the race, another short paved chute into a tight left hander headed back to some tight twisty single track, up the steep climb (which last year was a run-up but most people could ride it this day), a few more chicanes and rinse, lather, repeat. On Saturday I thought it was going to be a muddy mess as the forecast called for rain. Which it did, right around midnight, letting up about 7am. However what I found was the grass was wet but most of the rest was in pretty good shape except for the single track, which just had a layer of greasy-slick mud on top but wasn't deep at all. This made for a track that was pretty fast and the gazelles could stretch out their legs on this one.

Jovid leads our group into the woods  © Ryan Stubenrauch

Jovid was back! Yeah! During the first race (C race, or Cat 4/5 -- yeah, I know it gets a bit confusing especially if you're not a bicycle geek) I rode with Jovid. He was trying pretty hard and he learned the lesson I had learned the previous race - don't grab too much rear brake heading into a turn or you'll hit the deck. He recovered quickly and we were back in business. Until we came off the pack paved chute and I turned too sharply after just coming off the concrete and went head over heals.  I dusted off, collected my wits, straightened the handlebars and we're off. Yeah, we were pretty much off the back. I could have raced a bit harder but to tell the truth I enjoyed it more to ride with him. Jovid decided to sprint to the finish line and dang it, I could not get around him.
Jovid accelerating out of the turn © Ryan Stubenrauch

J.D. trying to crest the hill  © Ryan Stubenrauch

Jovid climbing the hill  © Ryan Stubenrauch
 Then it was watching and waiting. The first race we entered started around 10am and went for a bit over 30 minutes. My next race was at 2pm. So what was I to do? Same thing everyone else is doing - grab my cowbell and go cheer on the other racers!  By combining the Cap City Cross series with the OVCX series we now had a decidedly larger group of racers (over 300 I had heard, but don't quote me on it) so a lot of the groups got broken out and raced at different times.

There was also a short Kids course set up nearby! Kids from old enough to straddle a walk-along bike to 7 or 8 I think raced three laps. I thought that this was an awesome idea and a great way to make 'cross even more family-friendly.

Time to line up for my race. What we previously referred to as the B group is on this day the Cat 3 Masters, 35+ and 45+. The old men got to race by themselves. Which I would have thought was a good thing. However, the OVCX guys "took me to school", meaning I got shelled from the starting whistle. Holy crap. My lack of training plan reared it's ugly head that day. I did manage to claw back a few positions so I didn't end up DFL but I felt like it. Without trying hard I'm sure I could come up with a few decent excuses - legs weren't there that day, course didn't suit me - but ultimately there is no excuse. That is just where my fitness and abilities placed me.

So I have a few things to work on. In the short term I have got to really develop my cornering technique as this is one area where I'm losing time and really killing my momentum. Long term is in order to do better I really have to get some sort of training plan together. Now the question is: Do I want to get better bad enough to make changes in my work and life schedule OR am I going to be content with my general abilities and just out there to have fun and challenge myself a bit? To this question I don't have a firm answer but I think I am somewhere in the middle, pointing a bit to making changes. If that is the case I have to figure out how, when, where and STICK WITH IT. (I'm shouting at myself, not you readers).

What I am sticking with is asking new people to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project. While I'm out riding my bike in the woods wearing goofy spandex, our nation's military men and women are getting injured with life-changing injuries. While I am debating if I can squeeze in a "training plan", our warriors are facing serious life and death situations. I think it's incumbent on us to take care of our fighting men and women. I hope you do as well and will contribute now to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Special thanks to Ryan Stubenrauch for the photos.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A few words on what we are doing

Here's a few paragraphs from our Press Release. I think it illustrates well WHY we are raising money for Wounded Warrior Project.

"To date, over 34,000 members of our nation’s armed forces have been physically wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Studies estimate that more than 300,000 will suffer from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. These injuries are often devastating, leaving a formerly active young man or woman unable to care for themselves. While grateful for their return, the round-the-clock care required to treat these wounded warriors often falls on their families, giving caregivers no choice but to leave their jobs and forego health care of their own.
WWP provides programs and services to assist injured veterans and their families during their recovery, rehabilitation and transition. Whether through caregiver retreats, combat stress programs, career and education services, or adaptive sporting opportunities, Wounded Warrior Project’s vision is to help make this generation of wounded warriors the most successful and well-adjusted in our nation’s history."

I believe it is incumbent upon us to help our wounded, returning from battle. I sincerely hope that you do too, and can contribute (here) to the Wounded Warrior Project.

And how we go about this, as you well know, is by racing bicycles. Why racing bicycles? Most of you already know, but in case you don't or are a new reader, here's an article here. 

Tomorrow is a race at Infirmary Mound Park in Newark, Ohio. It's not the only one, but it'll be a good one. Hope to see you there. At the least, I hope you can contribute to our nation's wounded.

Thanks for  reading.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today is Veternas Day. Please take a moment. . .

Take a moment to thank any Veteran for giving up some of their prime years of life to serve our country.

Take a moment to think of the Veterans who knowingly put themselves in harm's way so that you don't have to.

Take a moment to remember those Veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for something bigger than themselves.

Take those moments and don't let them just face away.

Please remember all of those who've served our country. And while we'd really like for you to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project as a means of thanking and honoring our military personnel, just please take a moment to express your gratitude regardless of what form it takes.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 8, 2010

MORE COWBELL, LESS BRAKE: Things I'm learning... things I have yet to learn

First: A link to a small photo essay from the Cap City Cross race at Dublin, Ohio by Tim Norman:
Good stuff. Now, on with the rest of our show...

As this is my first full season of cyclocross there's a lot I've been trying to absorb and/or learn. Here's roughly where I am at:

1) More cowbell, less brake: I have a habit of trying to go "deep" into a corner (those familiar with auto racing probably get where I'm coming from), brake, and then have to jump on the pedals to get going again. Watching others who are kicking my butt shows that they ease off a bit sooner but roll through the corner with no brake, or very little. Then they just get through the corner faster than I do leaving me to really huff and puff to try to catch them. And if we are otherwise evenly matched, that's all the advantage they need. Have to work on that

2) Less REAR brake: Ugh. Least weekend I was in second after the first hairpin, down a short fast chute and into the left 180. I grabbed the rear brake and promptly hit the deck, sliding in front of most of the C field. Not a good place to be. I've really had to work on relying more on just the front brake.

3) You can take most corners faster than you thought: If there is some grass, vegetation, or about anything other than loose dirt or stone I'm finding I can really corner faster than I thought possible. Last race I went through the C race and halfway though the B race before I realized I didn't have to swing so wide for a Right to Left set of 90 degree turns. Had I known that sooner I could have held on to a few positions.

4) Look where you want to be, not where you're going: I know, I know. I keep telling this to my teenage boys as they are driving. I should know this. But on the bicycle (not so much on the motorcycle) I have a nasty habit of looking down. STOP I tell myself! By looking further through the track I'm seeing that I can cut corners smoother, more arc and less "sharply". I can anticipate gearing better. Let the peripheral vision take care of the close up stuff. Why I have difficulty with this on the bicycle, I don't know.

5) Gear big for rough ground: I took a page from the roadies who attempt Paris-Roubaix here. When the ground is bumpy, uneven or rough go to a larger gear. You end up supporting more of your weight with your legs, allowing you to flex more. To me, it seems that I am going just as fast as if I'd try to spin like a roadie. As well I find that if I spin on the rough stuff I end up bouncing all over the place.

6) You can go faster for longer than I thought: Right after my first race this year I thought I was done. But after an hour or so afterwards I really felt like I left some cards on the table. So the next race I tried to remember that and went harder; went for the hole shot (did really well until we got off the pavement and then I got shelled!), went after whoever was in front, tried to hold off who ever was behind and generally tried to keep a higher pace throughout the race. It worked - I moved up from mid pack (18th-20th) to just outside the top ten in the last two C races.

7) You may be stronger than you thought: Last year I bough a cyclocross bike and promptly swapped out the rear cassette for something with a wider range, lower low gear because that is what I had been used to riding during my long wandering road rides with the steep climbs in them for years. This year I ended up having to get another bike for myself and didn't have the extra scratch to buy even more stuff to recreate my beloved wide and low range gearing so I ended up riding what came stock on that bike. Even up the long steep climbs near my house. And strike me dead if I didn't make it up those hills with the harder gearing. Wow. This was a major revelation to me. I do end up standing more but I'm no more or less tired when I get up the climbs. Which translates pretty well to the race course.

8) Stuff to work on: Off-camber stuff, how to get through it without wiping out. Still trying to nail down tire pressure which I think has some to do with this but I think it's also a matter of picking the right lines. Speed - I just need to work on being faster. Yeah, when I work on it I don't know but it'd help! And endurance - pushing myself just a little harder for a little longer. Keeping a higher pace in general. Prior to racing this year, I've been happy to tool around at whatever speed. I don't recall what it's close to as I tossed the bike computer years ago. But now, I need to get the acceleration, cruising speed, recovery speed up; all these I need to increase somehow.

Yes, I'm sure intervals and weight lifting and all those sorts of things would help. I'm working on intervals at the local super-secret dirt track that the ATV guys tear up (it's short, about a 2 minute lap depending on how I ride it) with one easy lap, one fast lap, and so on. Or I stitch together a series of steep hills nearby which seems to help some. But most of all, I have to get out there and DO IT.

There is of course more I need to work on than I can identify. So if you race with me and want to point it out, by all means feel free! Hopefully this means I'll do better in the races and that will translate to more contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project! (Look, I guy can dream, can't he?)

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Article in Cyclocross Magazine is here!

Wow, never thought I'd see the day. We are getting some national exposure thanks to the fine folks at Cyclocross Magazine. Our article appears HERE.  Why we can get national exposure while all the local outlets seem not so very interested I'll never know. Ah, so it goes.

Have to say, thanks to Ryan Stubenrauch for some of the photos. That totally made the article.

There are still some photos from last weeks race I'd like to post, I just need to talk with said photographer. My fault, totally. And Ryan said he'd keep tabs on future stuff - thank you Ryan!

Very short today, I'm a bit scatter-brained. I need to get out on the bike and use up some of this daylight we've been saving. Alright, let's go!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shoot out at the Not-So-OK Corral!

Last week we posted the challenge for Halloween -- make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project and you get to vote on what costume I wear to race my bike in. The grand winner is . . . the 187s! Chief 187 picked me to dress up as a old-west Marshall, perhaps Wyatt Earp. Well, you asked for it:
Photo ccourtesy my lovely bride
The yellow helmet bag is not exactly period-correct, I grant you. Yes I look like I'm about to reach for my six-shooter but alas I had none. I did have the Sheriff star badge but it kept falling off. And you can plainly see all the tired ponies laying about. More photos exist to prove I actually raced the C race in this get-up (swapping the cowboy had for a helmet) that I am working on getting permission to use. Will post them soon.

Too bad we didn't think to get pictures of my lovely bride. She dressed up as "The Devil as played by Josephine in the theatrical production of "Tombstone"." She looked absolutely stunning. My bride also won the prize for "costume with the longest title." Which I didn't think existed outside of the Halloween party in Athens, OH. But this was instead Uncle Steve's in Marysville, OH. Cap City Cross race #3.

I didn't win any prizes for my costume nor for my riding. I did win the "first guy to wipe out" in the C race. To set the scene: All people wearing costumes got a call-up on the starting line (A call-up meaning you get called to come up to the front of the pack). Heading up the front stretch, through the first turn and down the next stretch it's Scooby Do followed by yours truly. YEAH, alright! But it didn't last so long as going into the left hand 180 I grabbed a bit too much rear brake and slid right at the front of the field. A recipe for disaster as we all can imagine. (Lesson #4: Less rear brake. More Cowbell). However most people were able to avoid me and such falls are pretty common place in a cyclocross race so evasive maneuvering is a quickly mastered skill in this line of racing/havoc. I quickly got back up and back in the race. Which meant I pedalled to the point of oxygen deprivation and tried not to cross that line. I didn't pass out so I guess I succeeded.

The course for the most part was very technical; tight, winding back and forth on itself like a really long, really confused snake. Maybe the snake reached oxygen deprivation and fell over. I don't know. There weren't many long stretches that allowed for a lot of speed and most of the long stretches we had were really bumpy. Wonkers, my shoulders have never hurt so bad from a bike race. And then we went down a STEEP drop off into the creek bed, following the creek bed for a good 75 yards or so. Pure vintage 'cross. The mud was more than ankle deep and halted anyone who attempted to ride it, although many tried and many more would ride just up to the muck. I just hopped off the bike prior to the drop off, jumped down and ran. Run, dumb bike rider guy, run! Then climb back up, hop on and pedal like mad to the start/finish line to do it all again! Not a fast course but that probably suited me OK as I haven't worked on holding a fast pace in the straights.

All in all, I held on for another 11th in the C race. And yes, I did indeed race the B race again. My beautiful bride and those who challenged me at the last race to do it showed me that I can indeed handle it and I increased my placing over last race - 7th place in the B (Masters 35+). Not bad considering I wiped out shortly after the start of the race and was DEAD LAST coming out of the first series of S turns. It was a little further in and was just one of those racing things. We were all wadded up trying to get through the S's and my front wheel overlapped a rider ahead of me with nowhere to go. So it goes. I ended up passing some guys who got me in the C race and now I'm beginning to think that the longer nature of the B race might suit me a bit better. Not the fastest off the start but able to maintain the output a bit longer. And hey, we had beer hand-ups! What's not to love?

We did observe but not participate in the Columbus City Championship race. I can't tell you all the details due to some super-secret double probation but it involved a shortened course, the ability to cheat at will and LOTS of Boon's Farm. Yes, *that* Boon's Farm. It was the scariest thing I saw all Halloween.

Next race is at Infirmary Mound in Newark, OH. It's a great place to race, hope it is laid out like last year. Sort of. However it's an OVCX race and the OVCX group brings some serious guys. So I'm expecting a LOT of riders and might get run over. So it goes. But I'm sore, tired & ready to go again.

Hope you are, too. Or at least ready to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. What's stopping you?

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween challenge!

At the last Cap City Cross race, I not only raced in the C category (where a guy who has only raced three races ever in his life should) but I also raced with the B group due to several people taking up my challenge and contributing to the Wounded Warrior Project Holy cow, at first I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought I was going to just suck wind all day long. But as the race for the Bs went on I realized not only was I going to make it, but I might just pass a few people! Whoah… even after completely wringing myself out for the C race I still had enough left to not just roll over and die in the B group. I was actually getting by a few people. Very few, I’ll grant you that, but I did pass a few people. Certainly that was a boost to the morale.

Which is a long way of saying Thank You. Thanks to the people who took up the challenge and forced my hand to race in a category I didn’t think I was ready for yet. Thanks also for CONTRIBUTING to the Wounded Warrior Project! Thanks to my beautiful bride for knowing that I could do it long before I thought I could. And thanks to the Wounded Warrior Project for giving me the opportunity to race for something bigger than my own ego.

But we are not done with the challenges, oh no! We need new people to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. And we aim to do that with a new challenge. How, what, when and where, did you ask?

Sunday in not only race day, but it’s Halloween. Which means – yep, you guessed it – time to race in costume. Maybe. What costume should it be, if any at all? I’ll let new contributors to Wounded Warrior Project have their say. So if you make a contribution then also leave a comment below with your costume idea. To the 187s – you made your contribution earlier this week so you get to vote, too. And heck, I may still do both races. Yes, I know, I’ll have an oxygen tank at the finish line and the wheelchair. And *then* I will re-insert my brains.

So what do I get to be for Halloween? Make your contribution HERE and then type in your suggestion BELOW.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for your contributions.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grog talks about bicycle racing

Some of you may know of Grog. For those who don't, grog is my inner caveman. Or alternate personality. Or part of my sadly delusional failing mind. Take your pick. But now that we are back in town, I thought it best to let Grog talk.

Grog like bicycles. He go lots of places on bikes. Grog sometimes go for faraway rides. Grog sometimes ride in circles. Grog gets grumpy if Grog no ride for several days. Grog not know why. Just is.

Grog likes racing cyclocross. Grog think it a good excuse to play in dirt like he 7 years old again. Grog think whoever dream up idea of cyclocross racing must have been really drunk. But Grog like it anyway.

Until Grog get halfway through race. Then Grog think he crazy. Going so fast he can't breathe is no way for Grog to live. Grog get ready to say hell with it all. Grog think he crazy to do this. Grog wonder what he thinking, then Grog remember that Grog don't think.

But Grog keep going. Grog no like to be quitter. Grog think "Die first, THEN quit." Grog finish race and feel tired. Very tired. But good. Grog feel alive.

Grog not know what he can do until Grog try. Grog not do any better unless Grog keep trying. So Grog keep trying.

Grog be back. Maybe you see Grog at next race? It on Halloween. Maybe if Grog get new person to contribute. Grog like that, too.

Grog thank you for reading.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Head down, full speed ahead! OR, "We're not dead yet!"

After re-inserting my lungs I'll try to recap the last race of the Cap City Cross series out at Coffman Park in Dublin, OH. It was a great course - another coup for the Cap City Cross guys. Although the course was mostly flat, they did manage to find some short climbs, winding off-camber work and the only two places in the entire park there was a mud, they found and had us ride through it. Yee-haw! Very few places to rest.

There was a great turn out, too. Not just racers, but spectators. While the weather was much better for spectators than racers (70 degrees F and sunny)  the racing was still great. I tried to change tactics in the C race, starting up front instead of near the back. Which worked great! For the first 40 yards or so. Then we got off the pavement to the grass and I quickly slipped backwards. Dang. But I didn't lay down and let myself get run over. I keep imagining those patches some of the Leathernecks we hang out with have on their vest that say "Die first, then quit." Which is a bit crass, perhaps, but a race is not really a time for eloquent speech. So as a mantra it works for me. Really poured it on and a bit better results this week - just missed the top ten. But I didn't leave anything on the table. Holy Wa did I need oxygen at the end of the race.  Lesson #1: I have to work on speed. Oxygen tank optional.

And as several people took up my challenge I raced the B race, too. My first ever stab at the Bs, and my fourth race ever. Yes, I got passed but I actually passed some as well. After three laps of clawing my way up to Zach, only to have him gap me in the off-camber stuff I finally got by him (he got the better of me in the C race). Zach was one of many awesome people I raced with. It was good to follow him through some sections to see where he was getting me. Lesson #2: Follow the mountain bike guys through the turns & LAY OFF THE BRAKES.

But I digress... I did OK. Actually, much better than I thought. A 9th out of 12 in the B 35+ age group. Given that I don't get much time to train and haven't raced the Bs ever I feel like I did pretty good.

My bride Catie was right in that I actually can race with the B group. Probably not contending for the lead next race but I wasn't DFL. The people who took up the challenge I threw out there last week, thank you. Thanks for forcing my hand to race Bs and thanks immensely for contributing to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Next race is Halloween! So, what should be the next challenge? Perhaps the person who has NOT yet donated to Wounded Warrior Project gets to say what costume I'll race in? Stay tuned, this may get ugly...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Let the pain begin! Getting ready for Cap City Cross race #2

First off, I need to thank the four people that took me up on my challenge. They saw the value in contributing to the Wounded Warrior Project, and they probably really wanted to watch me make a fool of myself once I hit the stage of oxygen deprivation that renders hallucinations or unconsciousness. Or both. Jovid, to his credit, decided to make no such challenge. So he may be carrying my limp, noodle-like body to the car after the second race. Good think Catie is driving. Hope she remembers some of her CPR. 

But that said, we are excited to be racing tomorrow. It's race #2 on the Cap City Cross schedule. This is a whole new venue - Coffman Park in Dublin, OH. Lots of cool things going on here: There will be a beginner's race at 2pm. So if you have never raced cyclocross before but have thought about it this is a great chance. You'd hit the starting line with Dublin City Council member John Reiner. Also, there will be a clinic for all beginners at 11:30. Not to mention Rad Dog hot dogs, Jeni's Ice Cream and a very spectator-friendly venue. Top it off with what looks to be outstanding weather and I'm thinking, how can you NOT have a good time?

We'll see you there. Thanks to everyone who's contributed to the Wounded Warrior Project so far. You guys are awesome. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting ready to rumble... or grumble. And a challenge!

As I've posted before, I don't really get the opportunity to do a heck of a lot of training for the Cap City Cross races. Mainly because I'm on the road most of the week and when I get home, it's all catching up with family time. I am trying to make the best out of whatever time I do have, however. Sometimes that means I ride at the super-secret-small-dirt-track or I work on riding the steep hills nearby. With the final results of the last race placing me squarely in the middle of the pack (19th out of 40 in the "C" race) I have a lot of training to do.

The super-secret-small-dirt-track-in-a-small-patch-of-woods is basically a couple of trails that are used by the ATV and motocross riders from the motorcycle shop across the street.  Over the summer they didn't ride it much which meant some of the trail became overgrown as my little bike riding once every couple of weeks wasn't enough to keep nature at bay. Which is good or bad, depending on your point of view. To me, it is what it is (or, was what is was, I guess). But now they have been back, breaking new trail. It's fun to ride out there and gives me a chance to work on putting down power (yeah it even sounds silly to even type that) in the grass and dirt along with working on technical skills. I find that I make a better collector of burrs than a fast rider. When those tiny ones that are about the size of ticks get stuck all over your leg hair, they tend to cling like ticks, too. Ouch. No, they aren't ticks. I do know the difference. But then again when oxygen deprivation blurs your vision enough that you find the trees moving, maybe, Rabbit. Just maybe.

While Ohio is mostly flat, pretty close to my house is a series of short (less than a mile) but steep hills, and when I'm out on the road I try to stitch several of those together. This I found is a great means for bringing your lungs to the outside of your body and turning your legs into the consistency of 3 day old pudding. Enough of a skin that you can balance a vanilla wafer on top of it but not enough to support a half dozen, let alone the weight of my burgeoning middle-aged body. Yeah I forward to that.

Nonetheless, I honestly feel better after I get home and get showered. I've always sort of known that my mental well-being is better if I do some sort of physical activity. My bride has recognized it long ago and has sent me out at times when I start getting extra-grumpy. Like you, I've heard of the "exercise releases endorphins" thing too. Perhaps there's really something to that. But it's the same whether it's a one-hour self-punishment fest, or a 3 hour slow rambling ride.

Hopefully it will pay off. We shall see maybe Sunday. Race #2 in the Cap City Cross series at Coffman Park in Dublin, OH! The weather should be great for spectators. Much better than selling ice cream when it's 43 degrees F outside, too. This promises to be a good, fun event so I look forward to seeing lots of people out there heckling us. Or giving us beer hand-ups. There's always a great bunch of competitors to be on the course with at Cap City events.

Speaking of, I've almost been talked into the challenge of racing not only the "C" race that I place squarely in the middle of (30 minutes +1 lap), but also racing the "B" race directly afterwards (45 minutes +1 lap). Holy bendy legs, batman. Am I up to the challenge? Sure, why not?

Question is, to those of you who haven't yet contributed to Wounded Warrior Project, are you up to the challenge? If I can throw down for a second more punishing race, can you toss some money to the Wounded Warrior Project? If so, please contribute HERE, please.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Picking up sponsorship, picking up steam

I'd like to first off give a big "Thank You" to Road I.D. for lending a hand. This a big step in getting the ball rolling. Of course we will post pictures of our Road I.D.s when we get them in. We are working with several other sponsor opportunities and hope to be able to bring that to you soon. In the meantime, please check out Road I.D. If you are a cyclist, runner, swimmer, hiker, or just plain spend any time away from home this is a very good idea. If you read the testimonials on their website, it has saved more than one life.

While we are at it, let's save a few more lives. Yes, I am prompting you to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project, please. For the men and women returning from overseas and their families, the WWP provides some very crucial services. Family Support, Peer Mentoring, Advocacy, Warriors to Work, the WWP Packs for soldiers getting to a hospital and on and on. I think you can see the scope and importance of the Wounded Warrior Project. This is why we've taken on this fundraising task.

Thank you for your contributions. Thank you for reading. Now, it's nice outside, let's get out there.

 - JD

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Race #1 completed, and the results are...

We're not awful! Woo-hoo! And we both finished! Yeah!

Jovid actually did well for his first race EVER and for not getting to ride very much. He wasn't last so there's that small comfort. But add to that that this was a very challenging course with lots of off-camber descents and climbing in the grass, a couple of good hills that would wear you down after a few laps. Jovid also did a great job negotiating the barriers and the run-ups.

I did OK - 17th  (I think) out of more than 40 in our class. So better than halfway. But there's a lot of room for improvement. What little time I do get on the bike I'm going to have to work on speed. Which means probably intervals - oh, joy. But as long as it yields results then I guess that's what I need to do.

Catie was fantastic. She jumped right in and helped out where she could with getting riders registered, helped tear down the course at the end of the day and did what she could for us before and after our race. The day would have been longer and much more difficult without her. So, a big Thank You to my bride.

Mechanical-wise all went well. The Green Monster worked flawlessly for Jovid and the New Guy worked pretty well for me. I sure appreciated a lighter bike on the run-up!

The competitors were great. When someone passed you they were pretty cool about it  and if you passed someone, they usually said something like "Good job on the barriers" or some such. I think that's a product of the type of races Cap City Cross puts on - not so big that it's all cut-throat racing, and just the general attitude they put forth.

The course was a lot of fun. Some flowing sections on the front half, lots of off-camber climbing and descending. The run-up wasn't too punishing. Nice steep hill to grind up on the back half. Fast spots on the pavement, just to get right back off and negotiate some hairpins in the wet grass. It was a course that really switched it up on you, kept you on your toes. Big Run park proved to be probably one of the most fan-friendly sites I've seen. If you stood at the top of the Soap Box Derby hill by the finish line you could see pretty much the whole course. Jeni's Ice Cream was out, and the Trek store was giving away Frites! But the blowing wind bringing in the cold and spitting rain kept some spectators away I think. Ah, too bad.

When it comes to the fund raising for Wounded Warrior Project we're at the top of the hill looking around. We're slowly but surely getting closer to our goal but there's a long way to go. For everyone who's helped us get this far, THANK YOU! As for the rest, we are asking if you can help out in any little way. You can donate HERE very securely online. The money goes straight to the Wounded Warrior Project, we don't see it. It just gets credited to our goal. If you would rather donate the old-fashioned way, please feel free to do that as well. If it's a check or money order, make it out to Wounded Warrior Project and send it to:
J.D. Kimple
PO Box 222
Carroll, OH  43112

Just like we think Cap City Cross puts on a great racing series, we think that Wounded Warrior Project does some amazing work for our returning soldiers, warriors, airmen and seamen. We hope you think so, too.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Racing starts Sunday! Donations to Wounded Warrior Project start anytime!

Woo-hoo! First race for Cap City Cross series is Sunday in scenic, lovely, Columbus, OH. Big Run Park, actually. Are we excited? Oh heck yeah! Is there a bit of trepidation? Oh HECK YEAH! Why is that? Well, the work schedule has been rather hectic lately so between a week of work work work and no riding, and getting sick last weekend, not much riding (as in, training, or "pretending we could actually possibly maybe kinda-sorta race") has been done.

But that's OK. We are subscribing to the "Training? We don't need no steenkin' training!"  plan. So, we just plan to go out there and nail it.  Um... yeah... right... You don't seem so convinced? Well, that's OK, neither do I.  C'est la vie. Or as Vonnegut would say, "So it goes." And the weather looks OK - PM showers but not all day showers. Which means we'll get muddy in the sunshine! How does this differ from getting muddy in the rain? It takes slightly longer to get soaking wet. Only slightly.

And that plays right in to our tactics. I'm banking on everyone else wanting to stay inside to stay warm & dry, leaving Jovid and I to battle it out for the victory. BUT... this is cyclocross. You are supposed to get muddy. And Wet. And cold. So in reality I don't think such tactics are going to work so well. So it goes.

So what now? We race anyway. Yes, I'd like to think that I am a serious bike-rider-type and was really really in shape. But I'm not. There's more to this life for me than riding my bike. And there's more than just me in my life. So it goes.

I suppose that for the men and women returning from war injured, impared or otherwise harmed one could say "So it goes." But I can not do that. I can say that I can, and need to do something for them. I am hoping you feel the same. If so, please make a donation in time for Sunday's first race here. Or you can mail something to us at:
J.D. Kimple
PO Box 222
Carroll, OH  43112

if you're mailing a check or money order, please make it out to Wounded Warrior Project.

So come out and race with us. Or come out and watch the racing - cyclocross is one of the most spectator-friendly forms of racing there is, with a great family atmosphere. Rad Dogs and Jeni's Ice Cream will be there, so there will be plenty of good eats. Besides, SOMEONE has to heckle us. Why not you?

Thanks for reading. Thanks for helping us get closer to our goal with your contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project. You may not know how much we appreciate each donation but we do.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who's your inspiration?

From large projects to small, seemingly inconsequential decisions, we are at times inspired by someone or something. Perhaps it's your faith or belief system. These "inspiration factors" can take on big or small roles in our lives and sometime differing roles at differing times. For now I'd like to touch on people who've had an influence in my life. I certainly can't touch on them all but here's a brief highlight.

My father is a big inspiration, which is probably obvious to anyone who knows us. He has a great sense of humor but is very engaged and thoughtful at times. Whenever he takes on a project he is very meticulous. Sometimes we kid him on the amount of time it takes him to complete a model or other project but you can be assured that he has paid much more time and attention to all the small details. Details that no one else would seven see, let alone notice. But he know if he is going to do something that he is going to do it right.

My grandparents have inspired me to be kind, helpful and generous to those you don't know. Being kind to others not only helps you maintain a better keel, but you never know when you may see them again.

My bride, of course. Through the good and the bad that goes with staying with someone for more than 20 years she's managed to open my eyes on more than one occasion. Had it not been for her I can say I would not have considered becoming an EMT or Firefighter, for example.

Our sons at times inspire me. At times they have a different way of looking at things as well as a great sense of humor (perhaps there's a trend here?). Besides, at times they ask me some simple questions that I had never considered and it makes me take a moment and rethink things.

When it comes to bike-related activity, Kent Peterson is one person who really motivates me. When he first tackled the Great Divide mountain bike race in 2005(?) and wrote about it, I read that story to by boys at night for a few nights. (Read the story yourself here). It prompted me to get off my butt and start doing something. I haven't, and probably won't do anything as grand as Kent has but it makes me think and gets me doing.

After we lost James the Lima Company Marines and the Leathernecks Nation really stepped up and showed us what being a Marine is about. Without hesitation (and sometimes without even being asked) they will and have helped us however they could. Their actions and manner of taking care of their own has really made an impression on me and has me striving to act in the same manner.

Of course, there is our son, Lcpl. James Kimple. On his second tour of Iraq he didn't want to just work in Logistics. He was certain that he needed to look out for his fellow Marines. That is why he volunteered to work security patrol for that tour. Which leads us to why we are raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project. James felt it very important to look out for his brothers and sisters, and so we are inspired to do the same.

Some of the soldiers that have been helped by the Wounded Warrior Project are tremendous inspirations. For example, just watch this video clip here or this one. These soldiers have lost their limbs and yet continue to do some amazing things.

So what inspires you? Hopefully, we can inspire you to give to the Wounded Warrior Project. Please do so here. Thank you.

Who or what has inspired you? Hopefully

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No more excuses

After several weeks of bantering back and forth I discussed buying a new bike with my beautiful bride. I wanted to go look at a bike that my local bike shop (Cyclist Connection) did not carry, but wasn't sure if we should buy or not. I rely on her to help me think straight because after all these years together, she knows me and what I would and wouldn't regret. So I am expecting my bride to talk me off the ledge, so to speak. Instead she takes my hand, smailes and says "Let's jump!" 

To make a long story short, I did not buy the model I intended because my bride pointed out another that was several "steps up" from what we originally went to look at for the same amount of money... so yeah, we bought it. Turns out it was mis-tagged and should have been several hundred dollars more.  Bottom line is: Now I have a bike that isn't old, heavy and slow. It's just the rider that is old, heavy and slow. No more excuses for me. Well, I'm sure I could come up with a few if I tried, but... nah. Time for me to man up.

As for our fundraisng for the Wounded Warrior Project, what's the excuse? We're not asking for a certain amount, only what you feel comfortable with. These men and women veterans are coming back and not only need, but deserve our help. So please help us meet our goal and provide help to the Wounded Warrior Project. Click on this link to contribute electronically. Or you can send a check made out to the Wounded Warrior Project to:
J.D. Kimple
PO Box 222
Carroll, OH  43112

Thank you for your help.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life, interrupted

Like most days it seems like no matter what I have planned, things will change. Saturday is a fine example. We got up, and Catie and I were supposed to go to breakfast and then she would get the blankets and comforters washed while I went on a long  bike ride.  Hey, two thumbs up, sounds pretty good to me.

Well, our youngest son needs to go to work. So we hold back a bit, take him with us so that we can take him straight to work. Slight delay, but still no problem. The day is young, right?

"Oh yeah, I need to help my niece with some shopping, it'll be quick,then we can get started" was what I heard. I have learned that there is never such thing as "shopping real quick". Hmm....

While we are shopping, we learn that our grandson's birthday was that day. Shoot, I thougth it was Sunday. OK, frantic gift-finding spree for the grandson. Then we head on out to grandson's birthday party. I was a bit antsy at this point about not getting the ride in that I had planned but this is more important - I have only seen him two or three times in the past year.

Time to get our youngest from work. Oops, there's a delay. He can't leave right away. Not a problem, we walk across the parking lot and get ice cream for everyone. Yeah, I know, not like we didn't have ice cream at the grandson's birthday party but.... these things happen.

Take son home. Oh look, now it's time to get on the motorcycles to welcome home the Honor Flight with our Leatherneck Nation friends. So at least some time on two wheels.If you don't know much about the Honor Flight, The  Honor Flight Network provides World War II and terminally ill veterans FREE trip to Washington D.C. to visit and reflect on their memorials. It is always worth it to welcome these veterans back home from their brief trip.

And then... day is done.

Got the long training ride in Sunday. And if, by not riding Saturday, that I give up the difference between 3rd and 23rd place, so be it. Some days  you have to be flexible and not be so annoyed if it doesn't go your way - a lesson it's taking me a long time to learn.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Join the team!

We have the technology... we can make it bigger... better... make cool sounds when going in slow motion to emphasize super-human feats...  What's not extra-cool about that?

How? By getting more people to join our team - Riding with my Son.

What does that mean? Do I get a cool jersey like ours?  What it means is you've decided to help raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, or just decided to make a contribution yourself. As for the jersey, I can direct you to where we got them, but you have to purchase that on your own.

How do I do that?  You can go to our fundraising page and  click on "My team page". At the top is a link that says "Join Our Team". Click that and sign on. Or you could just email me - jdkimple (at) yahoo (dot) com (you know what to do here) and I'll get you signed up.

What are the requirements? Besides the fundraising for WWP, I'm going to require just one thing: You take the time to go out for a leisurely ride with your son or daughter, sibling, go for a walk with your neighbor, sit on the back porch with your Mom or Dad. Share some relaxing stress-free time with someone. Part of why this is called "Riding with my Son" is because one of the very last father-son times I got with James was home on leave was to go for a long leisurely bike ride with him. Part is because our son Jovid is racing with me and I get to have some time with him free of the other stresses.

Why? "Why not?" is the bigger question, I think. you get to be part of  a group of people who've decided that helping out wounded veterans is a pretty important thing.

What? Over where? Are we lost?

As I mentioned the other day, I did have the opportunity to ride with my brother. Two good things from that are 1) He's faster than me, so if I am going to race, I better work on the "fast" part... oi.  II) That quote about "Inspiration can be found in a big pile of junk...". Well, Matt has an entirely different pile of junk than my own and hey! He's got the bottom bracket I needed to get the old heavy bike to shift right. And I was right on the cusp of going and buying a new bike. Seriously. So the old and heavy bike has been revived for the old and heavy rider.

Which worked out well, as last night my last job was in Monroeville, PA. And with some daylight left, it was time to hop on the bike. I headed over to Boyce Park to find the trails that were supposed to be there. But where? Find the tennis courts... yeah, right. It's a BIG park. 1,096 acres to be exact. Not exactly with the best signs. Which is OK if you're a local, but for an out-of-towner who's spinning his wheels it's a bit frustrating. Ah, OK, now I've found the tennis courts! The trails are... are... keep going... turn around... I think I see something... hey, found soemthing! But are they hiking trails where I'm likely to run over pedestrians? Hmm... over here I see tire tracks, so let's try it out.

Turns out there's a LOT of trails out here but the trails have no signs posted. Again, OK if you're a local but for someone trying not to get lost in the late evening all I can do is pedal on and hope. The good thing is that most of the trails I found were all contained in a certain area of the park so I always ended up not too far from a recognizeable area. It was kind of like being 9 or 10 all over again, out exploring. "Where does this path go? I don't know, let's find out."  Glad I brought my lights, as I didn't really get started until 7pm. And the old heavy guy on the old heavy bike did pretty well. OK, I was sort of slow. Yeah, yeah, probably a lot slow. But it was fun. Which, all said and done, is the main thing.

But we're not lost when it comes to donations for the Wounded Warrior Project. We're picking up steam in the right direction. But we still need your help. So be sure to donate, please.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hammer down, huffing and puffing

Last night I had the good fortune of riding with my brother Matt. I had a couple of jobs in his neck of the woods and instead of getting a hotel room, stayed at his place. Which also meant we got to go out and ride together. I don't get the chance to ride with him too often so this was a welcome event.

Holy Wa. Matt tends to ride faster than I do so I was spinning away madly in order to keep up. I knew I wasn't in the best form due to not getting to ride very often but I didn't think I was that slow! Of course I *could* blame it on my heavy old bike as Matt rode his svelte, sexy light road bike but I know that wasn't really the issue. Shoot, what else could I blame this discrepency on?.... oh yeah, nothing.

Crud. That means I better pick up the pace. Soon.

Of couse, we need to pick up the pace with the fundraising, too. What, you didn't think I'd get through the whole post without asking you to contribute, did you? We are off to a good start but we have a ways to go. If you haven't yet contributed, please do so here. And for those who have emailed or called and said they aren't comfortable donating online and aren't close enough to see us at the races, donations can be mailed here:
J.D. Kimple
PO Box 222
Carroll, OH   43112

Checks should be mailed out to Wounded Warrior Project.

Thanks again for reading and for your help.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We've reached a milestone!

Thanks to all the wonderful people who've contributed, we've reached $300 in donations for Wounded Warrior Project. And cyclocross season hasn't really started yet! We are very grateful and thankful.

And for those who are haven't yet contributed, please do at any time. We've been riding our hineys off trying to get into shape. Really.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Old bike for an old man?

When I decided I would actually start cyclocross racing last year, I bought a bicycle specifically for cyclocross. For those of you who are not bike geeks, that means it's a lot like a road bike except it has more room around where the tires pass through the frame and forks to allow for slightly bigger knobby tires along with a few other small differences. Woo-hoo, I was all set! I raced it at the last race last year, worked great. This year I was good.

Then I discussed this project (raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project). Jovid said he'd join me. And because he's close to my size, well, I turned my bike (dubbed the "Green Machine" by Andy) over to him and starting wrenching away madly to cobble something together for myself. Basically I found a late 70's/early 80's road bike as the basis for my creation. Usually something like this will work. In this case, sort of. The fork is from something else, not sure of it's origin, but it works. Most of the parts I had for various reasons (didn't Thomas Edison say something about  "Inspiration can be found in a pile of junk."?)  Tires wouldn't exactly fit in the frame at the back. This was "corrected" by several applications of the metal persuading apparatus (hammer and C-clamp). The results are ugly, but it works. Then the wheels wouldn't work right. Something to do with bent axle, something out of round... wouldn't have anything to do with my previous abuse at all. No, no no. I did have some nice wheels that were originally slated for the Green Monster that I could use on this creation, but that's sort of like polishing a turd. The wheels cost more that everything else put together. However we were getting down to the wire and... hey, with a bit of filing of the frame they work! Sort of... under any heavy pedaling (climbing up hill, sprinting) the wheel pulls forward, jams the tire in the frame and forward progress is no more. Ugh.

OK, I'm sure I swore more than that. But you have imaginations. I ended up using a different quick release on the rear wheel and really torquing it down. Not a very quick-release to actually release the wheel, but it holds. Mostly.

Then there was shifting issues. The crank I bought for this project didn't quite fit right. Lots of experimenting, swapping of derailers and other bits, and, well, it too works... mostly.

Here it is, in all it's pieced-together glory

However, my manly pride at having created something is clashing with my desire to have something work correctly all the time. (Which could be done, I just need to spend a few more bucks here and there... AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I was trying to do this withouth spending any more money!)

I could just buy another bike for myself to race. We have the technology. We could build it lighter, faster, have a bionic eye. Make cool slow-motion sounds at times of super-human feats.  However I've said that at this level of racing it's more about the engine (self) and less about the equipment. I guess I better walk the talk. So for now, the old man will keep riding the old bike.