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.