Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring craziness

Wow, it's just been nuts since my last post. In my last post I spent part of a week with the kids during their spring break from school and then headed of the the Mercy Cycling team camp. Good times, relaxing, and I returned worn out but ready to get back to the real world of work, school, and family life. I just was not quite ready to get slammed at the shop. I walked in and there were repair bikes everywhere, in the back, up front, filling the break room, it was nuts! I'm not complaining, and it's all most amusing that after 2 weeks the bikes keep rolling in and out the door at the same pace. We still have bikes in the break room but we are only 1 day out on repairs. Classic story in the bike shop, schedule a full week of repairs over the weekend, fix them during the week and maybe pick off a few repairs for the next week, and hope they get picked up during the weekend as the new repairs cycle in. During week 3 I'm hoping we will get in a groove and things will settle down. It would be nice to not have to move bikes to get to the microwave and refrigerator.

So let's see what else is new....

The Mercy team will be sporting new colors this season. Going for Blue and White on the kits and bikes . Nice to be back with TREK bikes and Verge clothes again. Tried and true products that all ways works right.

More tales from the bike shop, this bike probably came from a sporting goods store and looks like it's been off road a bit. The funny part is that the piece of black plastic hanging off the rear axle is packing material from when it was shipped new. Can't believe it's still there, they usually fall off just taking the bike out of the box.

THE NEW HOT WHEELS ARE OUT!!!!! Yep, still collecting Hot wheels after all these years. I took some time off collecting cars when I didn't care for their designs but the new batch is pretty good.

Cross season may be over but Belgian Waffle time is forever

Just for the record, I did ride a gravel road last weekend. I can't remember the last time I rode gravel but it was kinda fun.

Two  things here you may notice, one is that it's just a bit flatter terrain here than the last post. Second is that field is full of alfalfa blossoms. Every thing is blooming here so if you have allergies you are miserable. Today the tires on my bike were yellow from all the pollen when I was rolling home with Curly.

Looks like Joe and the Elbows boys are getting some notice these days. They got some press in the pages of Road Bike Action magazine recently. Joe had a great race at San Dimas and the team rode well at Redlands.

So now it's nearly April Fools day and time for Flanders. One of the biggest of the Spring Classics and it's live on NBC sports Sunday morning. Yahoo!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Training Camp-Hell's Kitchen Road Race

The road season has finally kicked off last weekend with training camp and ending with the Hell's Kitchen Road Race. The Mercy Cycling Team is lucky to have a very supportive sponsor that sets us up in a hotel next to the Mercy Hospital and Health center. During camp we get is some high mileage training but camp is much, much more. During camp we had time to hang out and get to know the new guys, but most of the time off the bike was spent with sponsors and club members. This may sound boring but we had a great time with a team presentation dinner one night and a club night the next. Good times on and off the bike made for a great camp! On our last day we loaded up and headed up to Fayettville to do the Hell's Kitchen Road Race. This year we had a change in tactics and decided to do the whole club ride on Saturday instead of 120 mountainous miles like last year. The hope was that we could recover from our 7hr, 118mi, 5000ft climbing ride from the day before.

In the race we went to the start with a plan. As a team we knew who was riding well and who needed to do the work to help them win. From the gun the race took off and as planned we had the right riders in the breakaway. Unfortunately the rest day just wasn't enough for me to recover so I did what I could to help the team but only made it 2 of the 3.5 laps. It was pretty hot for this time of the year so I rode back to the car and got back to the feed zone before they came back around to help with hand ups. Pretty sweet at the finish to see Colton roll up the hill solo for the win with Dillon close behind in 3rd. After a bit of a wait along came Austin soloing in ahead of his group for 4th. Adam led his group in for 8th. After working for the guys Shadd, Zach, Nick, and Jason, rolled in with the rest of the riders. Great results for the first race of the year for the team!

Colton with the coveted pitchfork for the win.

I think Colton was too tired to raise both hands.

Spending time with sponsors and club members is part of the deal and a great learning experience for the young guys. It's all part of moving these guys up to the next level.

I love this road. They said they tried to make a tunnel but it collapsed so they just blew it up and hauled it away.

Stopped near the top of a 1500ft climb for water and food. Near the top? Why not on the top? Well, that's where the Forest Ranger was with our water. It's a long story.

Team presentation

One of my favorite pictures, we ended up on top of that mountain in the background.

Heading out on Saturdays club ride. We had a great time hanging out with 40+ Mercy Club riders.

Rolling the Arkansas hills

Nemo at his best, Nick is attempting to escape.

Stopped at a really rustic gas station/quick shop near Sugarloaf. That's Zach's bike hanging from the fish/deer/whatever scale. Must kill some big stuff to need that winch.

So camp is over and I am a train wreck. We did more hours on the bike in 3 days than I normally do in a week so I am feeling it. Funny how people recover from training. On the team the ages range from 20 to 52. The 20 something guys seem to recover overnight and it progressively takes longer as you get older. I knew that was the case but it was really interesting to watch it play out right in front of me. Not complaining, it's just another part of the puzzle I have to take into account and watch as the important races come up in the next 2 months.