Monday, July 25, 2005
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Rambling by Tyler at 11:00 AM
Friday, July 22, 2005
I hit a nice shot over second base for a single. Then the next batter had what I thought was a nice hit, right past the 2nd basewoman. Well, she made an unbelievable play to get the ball and get back toward 2nd base to tag me out as I was going in. Well, there was grass all over the infield, except right where 2nd base was. My knee and shin went down and scraped right across the dirt. It didn't feel too bad until the next inning when I went back out to my position at 3rd. Now it is pretty gross looking and hurts a bit. As I said, very ironic that after all the "dangerous" mtn. biking that I have been doing, going over roots and logs and rocks, I end up tearing up my knee on the National Mall!
And on another note, I just wanted to mention that I saw Wedding Crashers last week when it opened and I thought it was hilarious!! I highly reccomend it to anyone! I really want to see it again too, I always miss things the first time through a movie. But if you haven't seen it, make that the next movie you watch!!
Rambling by Tyler at 1:30 PM
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I was having a tough time deciding what to do yesterday evening. I had tickets to the Nationals game against the Rockies and I also had my 4th and final mountain bike race in the series at Wakefield. What actually made my decision tough was that I couldn't find anyone to use my Nats tickets. At lunch yesterday, I was able to get rid of them to a co-worker, so everything fell into place and I went to the race.
When I got to Wakefield and got out of my car, I knew that it was going to be a tough race because my back was aching a bit. I went up to let them know I was here, then took off to warm up a bit. I didn't see quite as many people this race as there were at number 3. I put my gloves in my camelback for a little bit, but then I went to get in line for the race and forgot to put them back on! I realized that halfway up the big hill at the start. When I got to my grid position, I wanted to make sure that I was in the 2nd row this week instead of the 3rd row last week. And then off went the Expert men. There was only 1 Expert woman, so she decided that she would start with us Sport men.
I got a pretty good start up the hill this time and was probably about 15th going into the single track. Then I got caught behind a slow rider. I didn't realize it, but we had about 6 of us in line behind him. We finally got around and another guy got past me, so I followed him for a bit. I definitely wasn't feeling very strong at this point. My back was aching, but it wasn't really causing my problems, and my legs were tired. I finally realized that I had pushed myself really hard in the race on Sun. I didn't feel it just walking around, but it was noticable when I got on the bike!
The expert woman went past me at somepoint on the first lap and then she took off, with me struggling to keep her in sight. A few people passed me and I passed a few of them back on later laps. It was about the beginning of the 2nd lap when I realized that my back tire was way too low and that was causing me handling problems. Oh well, I would just have to deal with it. So 49:22 after the start, I crossed the line for the last time. This was about 1:30 faster than last week!! When I saw the results and could compare my times, I was shocked. I felt so much slower last night, not faster. And on the 3rd lap, I didn't really have anyone at the end to follow to push me along.
This race had a few less people, 34 instead of 40, start the race. But I came in 17th instead of 23rd. So I broke the top 20 like I wanted too, but I was still right about the middle of the pack when it came down to it. I was happy to have done the race, but not as happy after the finish, thinking I was really slow. Afterwards I was starving, so it was off to Bungalow to get a burger and meet my friend, "anti-blog" Todd for a drink. I told him about the blog, and he wasn't a fan of the idea. We'll see if he reads this and has anything to say in his defense! Also, the Nats lost, so I think I made the better choice in my dilema. :)
Rambling by Tyler at 10:02 AM
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
What an amazing experience that was! I had such a blast this weekend at the EMS Off-road Tri up near Cumberland Md. I couldn’t have asked for a better race for my first one!! I only had one small flaw in the race, and it was in a transition. The race was held at Rocky Gap State Park, which is a really great park off of I-68 with a nice lodge. However, the rooms are a bit pricey, so we opted to stay at the Holiday Inn in Cumberland.
(BTW, this is pretty long)
Sat. July 16th
Paul and I decided that we should go up Sat. afternoon, register for the race, and head out for a nice easy recon ride to see what the bike course was like. This was probably the best decision that we made with regard to the entire weekend. It helped me cut down my bike time significantly, I am sure. I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially for an off-road race. About half of the run course was along the same trail as the biking, so we decided it wasn’t too important to check out the rest of the run course. We got a big surprise when the run trail split! However, I don’t think that I would have done anything differently on the run by knowing where it went.
After our bike ride Sat. afternoon as we were packing up to go to the hotel, the rain was moving its way up the valley, so we had great timing! We showered and packed up for the drive to the Holiday Inn. We got a little surprise when we got there. There was a bit of a miscommunication as to what a “standard room” is when I made the reservation at the hotel. They told me it was 2 double beds, but when we showed up, the last room they had in the whole hotel only had 1 double bed in it! We got it worked out though, and I took the cot.
After getting settled, we met a fellow DC Tri Club member, Laura, to have a pre-race dinner at a place in Cumberland called Where Pigs Fly! They had a coupon for a free crab dip appetizer in our race registration packets, and that was really good. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was time to hit the sheets to get a good night’s sleep.
Sun. July 17th
We decided that it is better to get to the race way early than to be rushing to the start, so we showed up when they opened the transition area at 7:00 am. The race had a 10:00 am start time, so we could make sure everything was ready and we had time to relax. We got a good transition spot and got everything all set-up for the race. I recognized a few people from the W at W series that I have been riding and a few people from the M.O.R.E. website, so I chatted with them. Then it was time for the pre-race briefing, any last minute pit stops, and the race start!
This is the part that I was worried about the most. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it definitely could have been better! The swim consisted of 2 laps of 0.375 miles. In between laps, you got out of the water and ran a good 30 seconds back to the start of the lap. They corralled all of the entrants into the starting area. With the small number of people registered, there was just 1 start, no age waves. As soon as everyone was inside the corral, off we went running down to the water! They told the faster swimmers to run down faster, so as not to trample the slower swimmers at the start. I went down to the water about 2/3 of the way into the pack. Paul and I were running down together and we took an inside approach to most everyone else. This was a more direct way to the buoys. At the first buoy, I saw Paul, and he gave me a thumb’s up, however, that was the last that I saw of him in the water.
The first lap did not go quite that well for me. I was not able to get comfortable in my breathing. I could not breath alternating sides every 3 strokes; I had to breath every stroke. I also had to stop and breast stroke a few times to relax myself. Then I got out and ran for the second lap. This time I was sure that I would do better. I jumped in the water and right away I was able to establish my breathing and I was swimming a whole lot better. I was happy with my second lap, which made me feel good going into Transition 1. Paul was just taking off on the bike as I was cruising in. I realized that I need to spend a lot more time training in the pool though, since I have slacked off on that a bit. I think it would have helped me get comfortable sooner than the second lap.
I had everything all set up and it would have been fine if I only had a race belt for my number. I was not able to wear my DC Tri jersey for the swim, because I had to pin my number on to it for the run. Having a race belt with my number on it would eliminate this and smooth out my transition a whole lot. I cruised in, threw on my shoes and socks and then went for the jersey. This is where I lost a bunch of time because it got hung up since I was wet. I had trouble pulling it down and the number was in the way. Next time I will have a belt!! That was the only real issue that I had with the entire race, so that was ok. Then I put on the camelback, helmet, gloves, and glasses, got water thrown on me to cool down and off I went.
Bike - 1:25:55 (28th)
This was my strong point in the whole race. Once I got on the bike, I knew it was time to start passing people to make up for my slow swim. The bike course was 2 laps of about 7 miles. I think about 5-6 of those miles were on the trail, a very rocky trail in some spots. I gained a number of places on the road section and seemed to do very well in the trail section also, only getting off my bike once to walk through an incredibly rocky section. During the preview ride, I fell twice in that section, so I decided that walking was the faster option. Due to the rain from the night before, the back single-track section of the trail was very muddy! I thought it was fun, but it was really slippery. I almost lost it several times, but was lucky to keep my balance, sometimes due to well-placed trees!
This was a cakewalk, despite not getting my bike on the rack the first time I tried, and having to take off my “not so easily laced” biking shoes. When I was done, I stood there for a second, thinking I had forgotten something, so I jumped up and down a few times to get my legs moving, then stopped off at the aid station to get Gatorade and dump water on my head.
Run - 55:34 (44th)
Now it was time for me to stay strong, find my legs, and bring it in to the finish line! The run didn’t have as much on the road, instead it followed the lake trail, which was great. I started out a little bit behind a guy named Tucker and over the first mile or so I was gradually getting closer. I kept telling myself not to push it too hard, but eventually I pulled up next to him, we talked briefly, and then I moved ahead. I had a feeling that I would see him again. Off I went, following the bike trail to the top of a section called Evitt’s Revenge. This was about the highest we were all day and where the run and bike trails split. It was from here on out that we had not seen the run trail.
The course description could have been a little bit more descriptive here also, but I still wouldn’t have quite been prepared. We headed down the backside of the ridge we had come up, but this wasn’t as easy a trail as the trail up. It was very steep and incredibly rocky. Someone had passed me right at the top of the hill, but he was fast and I was left all alone to head down the valley. I am used to scrambling down hills like that from being in Cashiers, so I think I did pretty well there. When we got to the bottom of the valley, there was a decrepit looking bridge covered in slime. There was someone there to remind us to walk across it so we didn’t slip into the stream.
The next section of trail was more like a class 5 scramble, because I needed my hands to climb up part of it. Once I got to the top, it was back the road to the finish with one last aid station to help the last mile. I was feeling low on energy about this time, regretting not taking 2 goos with me on the bike! Now I was off for the finish with a few people in my sight. A few minutes down the road I heard footsteps behind me. It was Tucker, who I passed right at the beginning of the run. My feeling that I would see him again was correct. I probably pushed it a bit too much at the beginning, but his footsteps were pushing me along at the end. Eventually he pulled up next to me and was pushing me to the finish with his stride. I tapered off a bit so that I could sprint toward the line, and he went ahead, but he was still motivating me. Then I entered the finish area, sprinting as hard as I could, and crossed the line and the clock showed 2:50.28. I was so happy because I was shooting for less than 3 hours.
Tucker congratulated me after I crossed the line, but I was really spent. I walked it off to the aid station, downed a bunch of Gatorade and water, then headed straight for the lake to cool off and rest. It felt so good and I spent so much time in the water that I missed Paul coming across the line. What a horrible teammate I am! And then I got in the water with Paul, and we both missed Laura, the other DC Tri member cross the line, again, horrible teammates. But the water felt sooo good; especially because I knew I didn’t need to swim I could just sit there!
After cleaning off the bikes, and packing up the car, we stayed for a bit of the awards ceremony, and then checked out the results that were posted. Results! I was very surprised with my 33rd place finish! And if you remove all of the relay teams above me, I came in 28th out of 144! I came in 7th in my age group out of 14 who started the race. That was about 28 minutes behind the first place guy my age. I had no idea that I would do that well! Paul and Laura both finished very well also!! It was a great outing at an off-road tri by the DC Tri Club! I am so excited for my next one, but unfortunately I think that will have to wait until next year. I will be stuck with on-road tris to stay in shape until then!
Rambling by Tyler at 11:30 AM
Friday, July 15, 2005
I have been racing in a Wednesday night mtn. bike race series for the last month to prepare for my upcoming off-road Tri. It is at Rocky Gap State Park in MD this coming weekend. It is an XTERRA Series race, sponsored by a great group from the DC area, EX2 Adventures. The W@W (Wednesday's at Wakefield) has been a fun little adventure that's close to home and very convenient. I have been right about in the middle of the pack for the 3 races that we have had so far. The last one is on the 20th. I am hoping to break into the top 20, we'll see how it goes. It has definitely helped me prepare for this weekends race.
Now, on to the Tri. I am a little nervous about the open water swim portion of it, but supposedly there are only about 130 signed up so far. So when all the waves are spread out, I don't think I will be kicked or clawed too much. It is also 2 laps of 0.375 miles, so I think that will be a bit easier than a full 0.75 miles all together.
I did a nice little run this morning to make sure I am all ready for that. We did about 5 miles at a 9:00 minute pace, so now i just need to add roots, rocks, and other obstacles and I'll be all set to go. M friend Paul and I are both racing and we are heading up there tomorrow afternoon to register and to preview the course so that we aren't going into it blind. I will have a nice race report next week sometime!
Rambling by Tyler at 2:25 PM
Rambling by Tyler at 10:40 AM
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I survived the red eye back from CA yesterday morning. I basically slept the whole time I was on the plane. I always sleep on planes though. Some people think I snore, but I know I don't! I should get one of those horseshoe neck pillows, you would think with all the plane sleeping i do, that I would have one. The only issue I had, besides only sleeping like 5 hours, was that my neck hurt when I woke up.
So, on to the trip. Seeing Grant was awesome! It was so nice to see his family too, they are really nice and a lot of fun. I met a few of Grants friends that I had not met before, we went out to grab some drinks Thur. and Fri. I also did some bouldering on Fri., and I realized that it has been so long since I have done it, that I really suck now. Oh well, I am sure it would come back with practice. Then on Mon. while Grant had to work, his sister Riana and I went to the SF MoMA and the Batman Begin IMAX movie. We also had a nice bite to eat at an outdoor cafe.
The MotoGP and AMA races were a lot of fun, but there was one thing that I was not expecting. he terrible terrible traffic. I figured it would be pretty bad because the track was sold out, but when I had been to Laguna before, I remember there being plenty of parking and a few entrances. Well boy was I wrong!! It took us 2 hours on Sat. and about 3 on Sun. just to get into the place. Luckily, getting out wasn't as bad of a problem. And fortunately, we didn't miss a single race, just some practice and qualifying. I decided that next time I go to an event like that, I am going to ride my motorcycle so that I can get out faster than all the car like all the bikes did.
The other thing that was disappointing to me was that we were not able to get up close to the bikes and such. That is only because I didn't buy a pit pass. I am not sure how close to the MotoGP bikes we would have gotten with the pit passes anyway. However, the races were great and 2 of the guys that I wanted to win, Nicky Hayden and Eric Bostrom, both did, so that made it even better! I am so excited that I was there for Nicky's first MotoGP win!!
Here are some shots of what we missed in the pit area:
Rambling by Tyler at 1:30 PM
Thursday, July 07, 2005
I am off to CA for the weekend. I am going for 2 reasons, the first to see my college friend Grant who moved back there 2 years ago, and the second is to go to the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca!! I am excited about both of those!
This is the first time in 11 years that MotoGP will be back in the US. I just heard today that the track was sold out also, so that means its going to be very crowded, but hopefully a great time! I don't think we are going to be able to get as close to the riders as I would liek to, but oh well. It will be great just to see them riding around the track.
The one thing I am not looking forward to is the red-eye back on Mon. night. I am definitely going to go home for a little while before coming straight in to work. I hoep everyone has a good weekend and I will let you all know how it was when I get back!
Rambling by Tyler at 2:15 PM