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.