Saturday, May 23, 2009

Oats, Shit and Wet Cabbage

For some reason I find British humor so much funnier than our stateside version. One of my absolute favs is Ricky Gervais. If you have never seen the original "Office" but you watch the american version, then you are doing yourself a huge injustice. Several years after "The Office" he did a 2 season show called "Extras." The premise is that he is an aspiring actor who bides his time getting gigs as an extra on movies sets. Each episode has a big name star as the guest who is in the movies that he and his female friend are an extra on. The big name star is playing her or himself but is either a huge a-hole or just plain crazy. The best episode stars Clive Owen who is starring in a movie as Lord Byron. This clip is the funniest thing I have ever seen, Bit and I must have watched this 15 times in a row. The woman playing the prostitute is Maggie, Ricky Gervais' best friend in the show. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Six Hours in the Saddle

This last Sunday Travis Donn, Cameron Chambers and myself drove down to Oklahoma City to compete in a 6 hour mountain bike race. Andy Chasteen (OKC local) had informed of us this race and invited the group down to crash at his place on Saturday night and race Sunday morning.

I had been dreading this race all week, because i really didn't think I was in shape for 6 hours of racing. The only other race I had competed in was last August at Landahl, which was a six hour race as well. At Landahl I had rode decent but my arms and hands were blown out after 4 hours, and the last 2 were hellacious. Up until May this year I have only done a couple of 2 hour rides, so I was excepting to suffer for the whole 6 hours.

We arrived at Andy's hip downtown loft around 11 p.m. and quickly found a sleeping space on the living room floor. Andy was hosting 3 triathaletes from Brazil and Sweden who were in town for a big money competition. Early morning found us stuffing our faces and departing south to the Clear Bay trails on Thunderbird Lake. 

The trails are a sandy maze through rolling hills of oak and poison ivy. There are a handful of decent climbs, very few rocks, and lots of bermed corners. Because of recent storms the race promoter had spent 6 hours the previous day chainsawing fallen trees and rerouting ne trail to avoid muddy sections. He warned us of several trees that he just wasn't able to get to and several long muddy sections. The tree turned out to be nothing and the mud was pretty benign as well.

After a lemans start the small field of riders sprinted into the woods. The first lap the corners were super loose. I had ran hard to get towards the front of the group and pushed my first lap a little faster than I normally would. By the second Lap Andy passed me looking strong. One of my goals was to keep up with him and try to beat him. Andy is an enduro beast, although he had voiced concern about not realy mtb riding over the last 3 weeks. One look at the size of his legs and most people would ask the court reporter to retract that last statement from the record. 

By the third lap, the loose sand had been pushed up into berms on all of the corners and things were fast. I had settled into a nice steady pace and was just concentrating on eating and drinking. Every once and awhile I would get a glimpse of Andy on a adjacent section of trail. I would look at my watch and see how long it took me to reach that location. It was always around 2 minutes. Lap 5 was the half way point, Cameron lapped me and asked me to "get on my space craft and hoover" as he blew by. Confused by his statement I plodded on. I ran out of water and rode one dry lap leaving my camelback to be refilled by Travis. 

Finishing lap 7, I came into our transition area to see Andy getting ready to head out. I refilled on water, slammed several sport beans then left hell bent on catching Andy. Travis and Cameron were racing as a team and by then had a commanding lead of 20 minutes on their closest competitors. Suprisingly my arms and hands were feeling pretty good. My legs were having some cramps occasionally that would go away after several minutes of easy riding. I caught Andy on a climb and kept pace with him for a while, the next climb he let me pass. Both Sean and Travis had told me that when you pass someone make a gap and push it. That is what i did for the next lap and a half. The cramps became much worse, I passed another singlespeed rider and pushed it even harder.  Travis caught me on the final lap and paced me for several climbs till my legs exploded. Finally I crossed the finish line, and was relieved that it was over, yet suprised at how well I had felt. Thanks to the Swope Trails, climbing and general riding everywhere else seems much easier. Like I said Swope Trails are "the shit."

I ended up finishing 2nd in the singlespeed division with Andy right on my tail in 4th.  It was a even better day for Travis and Cameron, they crushed all of the competition coming in 1st overall. Travis manned up and raced in CAT 1 and pulled some impressive lap times way to go bro. Also Cameron got the fastest lap of the day which earned him a little extra cash.  

Andy's friend Nicki took some photos of the race you can check them out here.  She was crouched in the woods towards the end of the 6.6 mile loop shooting. I can only imagine that she was covered in ticks and posion ivy by the end of the day. Thanks Nicki for providing the photos.

We all had a great time. Thanks to Andy for pushing me above and beyond my mental limitations, if he had not been racing I would have surely put forth a pathetic effort. Andy and I are already plotting our next enduro bike event. Did someone say 12 hour race?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Grass Is Always Greener...

Each year I have 1 enviromental New Years Resolution. In 2007, it was to stop using a gasoline powered lawnmower. I had read numerous carbon footprint statements about these stinky loud machines that we all use to keep our yards nicely manicured. After doing  much online research, I finally settled on the a Scotts' Reel mower. Yes, like the kind that you "reely" have to push to 
make it cut your grass. I have a small yard so it isn't that big of deal, you just need to follow a few simple rules:
#1- keep the blades sharp
#2- make 2-3 passes to get an even cut
#3- cut your grass often
#4- cut your grass more often
#5- did I mention that you need to cut your grass more than normal

As you might have guessed, I haven't been following some of the "Rules" lately. Having neglected my back yard the grass was way to tall to use the human powered mower. I ended up having to cut it down half way with my electric trimmer then borrow Jeremy's new electric mower. So from now on I will be more diligent about keeping up with the rules.

Some other things aside from composting and reel mowers that I have been doing for my yard to keep with my "greener side" of life, is no chemicals. I never have and never will put any chemicals in my yard or garden. 2 years ago I found a little device that massacres weeds and dandylions. It is called the Weedhound , this thing rocks. I got my mom one for her birthday last year and she spent 45 minutes in the yard poppin weeds, it is totally addictive. 

Thats it for today, I am off to enjoy the spring weather.