Friday, September 30, 2011

Die first, then quit - Our new motto

Woo-hoo! The season that we've all been waiting for is upon us. Well, the season that *I* have been waiting for, anyway. Sunday starts the first race of the Cap City Cross season at John Bryan State Park (although it's a joint raced with the OVCX series and is their 5th race of the season).

I am anxious to start racing but more than a bit of trepidation as well. Always feel nervous leading up to the race, especially at the starting line. I surely haven't gotten near the riding in that I would have liked to in training or just general fitness. I certainly haven't gotten any faster. And yes I'm afraid I'll get halfway though the race and just get shelled.

But that won't ruin my day. My new motto, thanks to the Central Ohio Leatherneck Nation, is "Die First, then Quit". It's not as new-agey and affirming as "I believe in myself" or "You can do it!" but it works for me. Of course I think "Shut Up, Legs!" is pretty funny and appropriate also.

Even if the legs won't shut up I won't be brought to tears. Because I can't take it that seriously. "What, do you not want to win?" you might be saying? Yes, yes of course I want to win. But if I don't, it's just a bike race in a group with other guys my age with little experience. We've not the top of the heap by any means. Besides, it's just guys in spandex like so much sausage bursting out of its casing, racing bikes.

What am I taking seriously? Helping out our local Veterans in need. As do the Central Ohio Leatherneck Nation. Which is why they started their Memorial Fund. They are trying to help local Veterans, whether they are homeless and need a hand to get back on their feet or if they are at the end of their years and are bedridden in a local V.A. Hospital. Whatever it is, the Central Ohio Leathernecks Nation feels strongly about helping out people who were willing to give their all for their country. As do I. If someone who was willing to lay down their life for their country needs something to help them get by I think it is incumbent upon us to help them.

So yes, we will be collecting donation for the Central Ohio Leathernecks Nation Memorial Fund. Soon I hope we will have a website set up to make it easier and safe to contribute but for the time being, you can flag us down at the race (well, maybe before or after the race) or you can send a check, money order, quarters glued to an armadillo, here:
c/o J.D. Kimple
PO Box 222
Carroll, OH   43112-0222

And be sure that the checks or money orders are addressed to Central Ohio Leathernecks Nation Memorial Fund.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"You're barking mad, that's what!"

That's what I hear from some folks. Well, not so much here in the United States. It's usually put a bit more crass here in the U.S. If I had friends in Dublin or Glasgow I imagine that is what they'd say. I have a great imagination. But I digress... (Digressing is one of my better talents).

It's what I hear when I tell people I race cyclocross. Yep, bicycles. In the mud and/or snow if that is what nature provides. And I enjoy it. Well, afterwards I think "Wow, that was pretty cool". During the race itself I'm often thinking "Holy Mother of Cows what the hell was I thinking to go out in this stinkin' muck in temperatures that would make a polar bear find a sleeping bag and a camp fire?!?!?!"

I've heard a similar phrase when people have seen my tattoo. Not many have, so today's the big unveiling.

I know, I don't look like the tattoo-type. For the most part I would agree with you. But as you may have guessed, there's a reason for it. It started out as a joke with my wife (because previously I told her I never had a need to get a tattoo) and she called my bluff. Oh crap, I had to own up. After several months of watching his work I approached the fantastic Any Johnson at Cap City Tattoo. I wanted to come  up with something to not only in the memory of James, but something to encompass our other sons as well. Between Andy, my bride Catie and myself we came up with what you see above. The falling feather is to symbolize James of course but to me the rest of the feathers are family and friends - all the people that keep me aloft, so to speak. Every one just as important as the others.

More madness? Guess what? After several months of Craig and I kidding each other about how cool of an adventure the mountain bike race of the Great Divide would be, I opened my mouth (OK, let my fingers fly) on Loving The Bike's review of Ride the Divide and guess what - I won a copy of Ride the Divide and backed myself into racing the Great Divide in 2013. Doh! Now this one is really bonkers. How do I transform myself from a field service guy who gets to put in 60 miles a week if all goes well to someone who can ride 100+ miles a day, up and down the spine of the Rocky Mountains & hauling all of my own gear? Doing that for a couple of days would be barking mad. Making the entire 2,745 mile trek is... unfathomable.
Of course the question is "Can I really do this?" The answer is, I just don't know. The Tour Divide is not just a hard race. It's more that just a big challenge. The Tour Divide is a brutal race if the truth be known. I have to be able to take about a month or so off of work. I need to have enough money together for me to use during the trip as well as for my family to live off of while I'm off playing masochistic bike monkey. I need to be up to living in a tent or bivy sack for most of that trip. I need to physically be up to the challenge. And I need to be able to cope with the day after day of solitude. Well, I'm sure Craig will be with me at the start but after a few days he's going to want to take off and I'll be holding him back so I'll tell him to take off and not wait for me and after the fourth time saying it he's going to take off and... See, I told you digression was one of my talents.

Yes it would be an amazing accomplishment. Yes the scenery would be indescribable. Yes I'm crazy. But am I crazy enough to really, honestly do this? Well, let's get through this 'cross race season and go from there, eh?

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Revving the engines, shifting the gears & new fund raising opportunities

ALRIGHT! It's time to ramp up to race season. The practice races have started, the trash talking has started, and my training has... not had the start I had hoped. But that's life. While I'd like to have been better prepared when the racing starts in the beginning of October I was reminded recently by Larry Penya to not take it too seriously. Guess that's like this blog... haven't been getting the writing off as regular as I had hoped. But really I will try harder - on both. Really. I mean it. No, really.

In addition to having other things in life happen besides my not-so-carefully scripted training plan there's been other changes. For instance we're shifting gears in our fundraising efforts. Last year as you may or may not recall we were racing to raise money for Wounded Warrior Project. We did alright, ending up with just shy of $1,700.00. Not too shabby. But this year we wanted to focus our efforts on a more local charity. This year we will be raising money for the Central Ohio Leathernecks Nation Memorial Fund. This fund is used to aide our Veterans in Central Ohio whether they are in a nursing home needing basic amenities, homeless needing a hand or somewhere between. We chose to do this because the Central Ohio Leathernecks Nation has been there to help and support our family in the past three years without question or hesitation. We feel that if we get the opportunity to help them out for a change we should do so. As well, I'm hoping we can raise just as much money for the Central Ohio Leathernecks Nation Memorial Fund as we did for Wounded Warrior Project. It's a big challenge but I think we can do it.

Soon we hope to have a website up so that donations can be made online through a secure transaction. In the meantime you can still use the really old fashioned method of mailing a check or money order. If you choose to do that, it should be made out to the Central Ohio Leathernecks Nation Memorial Fund. It can be sent to:
J.D. Kimple
PO Box 222
Carroll, OH   43112-0222

While I may not be taking my training and racing too seriously I am taking this cause very seriously. I am taking this opportunity to ask for you to take it seriously, too. Please.

Thanks for reading.