January 26, 2009


Crashing tends to become a regular thing on the MTB when I go into "preseason" mode with multiple days a week in the gym wreaking havoc on my speed and skills. I always seem to have some mishaps during this time, but typically get them out of the way by Christmas.

2 weeks ago I was riding at LHP. It was the day after the Tour de Felasco, which I hit at a pretty good pace, so I was admittedly tired. I was on my last lap, just cruising due to being tired. I took a drop on a red trail just a bit too far to the left and stacked hard. The impact blew my front tire off the rim and slammed me into the ground, knocking the wind out of me. Once the adrenalin wore off I could feel it in my rib cage, but there was no bruising so hopefully nothing was broken.

I spent the following week riding on the road. There was only some slight discomfort in the ribs, but nothing big. So the weekend rolled around and I logged 8 hours on the MTB. I had no issues while riding, but Sunday night I woke up in so much pain I could hardly breathe from muscle spasms.

So there I was, the week leading up to my favorite local race of the year, and I'm nursing a rib injury. It was pretty bad during the week. Tests on the road showed that I could ride tempo if I kept the cadence high, but trying to push a big gear or standing up to pedal was quite painful. I didn't pull the plug until Saturday, when I rode a couple of laps on the course. Every root, rock and bump in the trail resulted in a squeal of protest from my ribs. So, I spent a lot of time on the road this weekend.

The good news is that I'm finally seeing improvement. On yesterday morning's road ride I was finally able to blow respectable snot rockets. Attempts earlier in the week were feeble at best. This morning I was able to sit up to get out of bed instead of rolling out like some cripple.

It looks like I made the right decision. Racing yesterday would've delayed my recovery. I sat out and am making progress. The prescription is working so I'm going to rest up this week and hopefully be ready to get back at it so I can re-group for Santos. Rumor has it that IF Racing is gonna try to take over the podium.

January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

My celebrations of past new years have been limited. My idea of a good new year is usually a nice dinner at home, a quiet evening and being in bed well before midnight, followed by a nice ride the next morning.

2008 was not a normal year. While it contained one incredible high, it was defined by one incredible low. I can honestly say that 2008 has been the worst year of my life and I needed to kick it in the ass on its way out the door.

Team O'Dea has been camped out at my house for the past few days, wrapping up their winter training camp. We started the celebration off with an afternoon ride at Boyette with Kurt and the dogs, then headed back to my house for dinner on the grill and some really good beer that Eddie picked up. We capped it off by walking over the the local bar district to watch drunk people and ate pizza at 1AM. This will probably be the last time I see 1AM until at least next new year's.

2009 is here and there's nowhere to go but up. Racing starts in 4 weeks and a blog overhaul is due. I'll squeeze that in somewhere between all the riding.

Good fucking riddance, 2008.

December 05, 2008

What's going on

Harvey's off-season, that's what! After racing XC at Alafia, I took the Halloween trip to Ellijay, came home and cruised right into post-season laziness. I did that for a couple of weeks until the anti-slug came out and got me moving again. I want to make a good run at Florida's winter enduros and time off followed by a full buildup has been the ticket the past few years. I'm in the middle of my 3-month weight program and have finally made good on my threat to take up running. I have decent running shoes now, so no more foot cramps. I eeeeaaaasssed into it to acclimate my muscles, and this morning did my longest run yet: 6 miles at a sub-8 minute pace. I know you runners out there are shaking in your shoes hoping I don't get serious about this. Don't worry - it'll probably go out the window in a month. I do intend to keep it up at least once a week. It's a nice diversion, a great way to exercise my dogs and it's so freaking easy to do: Lace up shoes and go. It's going to be my goto method of exercise when I'm travelling without my bike from now on.

I've been playing around with Facebook for the past month or so. Eddie O turned me onto it the last time I was up his way. Man, what a great way to keep up with everybody in the MTB community! It's waaaay easier than updating my blog and reading a bunch of other blogs. I fully intend to keep this blog going, but look up my profile if you want to keep tabs of me there.

In the short term, I'm looking forward to hosting Eddie and Namrita's winter training camp. I doubt I'll get to ride with them much during the week since they'll probably wait until noon to start and I have that pesky job thingy, but the weekends will be fun with people who don't cringe at the thought of a 4-hour ride.

I mentioned the Alafia XC race and even put the result over in my sidebar. My second time lining up against all the fast guys was just fun as at Tallahassee with the added benefit of familiarity with the "resting to puking up a lung in 30 seconds" concept. These two races were enough for me to decide whether to upgrade or downgrade my USAC license in '09. I'm going back down. I'm 42 years old, will be training less next year and will still be focusing on enduros. The real reason is that it's an extra $90 for what would equate to a status symbol for me. I won't race any national events where there's a pro class. I might race a few AMBC races, which is the only time it would make a difference. With the likely chance that I'll race the full FSC next fall, there's no pro class so I can race the fast guys in 19+, or play with slightly younger (than me) guys in 30+. I'm not going to go into my age group until I need to, but a few more podiums (and maybe even the top step) would be fun before I start getting old and slow.

I will be racing for the original Team Green in 2009. They have graciously accepted my services for another year and I'm happy to give even though my plans are kind of vague. I know that I'll race the 6 Hours of El Lagarto in January, 12 Hours of Santos in February (title defense!) and the Squiggy Classic 6 hour in March. After that I hope to hit up select enduros in the southeast, a few hundies and maybe some XC, probably finishing up with fall XC in Florida. A lot of this depends on the availability of cash, so we'll see as the year progresses.

December 01, 2008

Let's not forget about Fontana

Being that he's a refugee from the mountains, I don't have a known birthdate for Fontana. When he went for his first checkup on 6/1/05, my vet estimated him at 6 months, judging from the formation of his teeth. From that point, his birthday would be 12/1/04. Happy 4th birthday, you little wingbat!

We'll call this past weekend a combined birthday party for Fontana and Max. I was at Santos by 2:00 Friday, setting up camp for the weekend. The boys ran 9 miles Friday, 16 miles Saturday and 11 miles Sunday. The rest of the time was spent charming treats out of the hands of fellow campers. After their run Saturday, I went back out in the afternoon for a 30-mile jaunt. That ride, combined with the morning ride with the dogs, was my first 4+ hour ride since I was in the mountains for Halloween. It's time for long days in the saddle again.

About this time last year when I got Max, I wrote about the fact that Fontana had gotten a bit chunky. He was a portly 52 pounds then. Now he's down to a svelte 44 pounds. The haunches are back. So are the ribs. And he can run with the best of them. I doubt the difference can be seen at interweb resolution, but here's some before and after shots:

Summer 2007

A couple of weeks ago at Boyette

Now, thanks to Namrita, I have to come up with 6 things people don't know about me and write about them. Ugh. Thanks, Nam. ;-)

November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Max

He turns 3 today. If I were to ask him what he wants, I'm sure it would be some of this:

or this:

followed by this:

Happy birthday, my dear friend.

November 03, 2008

Pics from Mulberry Gap

I'm gonna go against the grain to start my account of Halloween weekend and let some pictures do the talking. Pictures never do nature justice and the pictures are really good. Words will follow, but for the time being Eddie has a good account of the weekend and Saturday's epic.

October 15, 2008

Random thoughts on XC racing

It hurts like hell when you're doing it. Just when it starts hurting really bad, it's over. My legs were tired Monday, but when Tuesday rolled around I was fine. No cankles! No feeling retarded for days!

Flying through the woods at XC speed is just plain fun.

The Florida XC crowd is a great bunch that I've missed being around the past 2 years.

When you haven't gone anaerobic for a loooooong time, going anaerobic and staying there for a while really freaking hurts.

This was my first time lining up with the fastest guys in Florida since upgrading to semipro in 2006. Knowing how long it had been since I've done a "sprint" race, the plan was to start conservatively and up the effort as the race progressed, munching carrots along the way. That's pretty much how it went. I was 2nd to DFL at the end of the first lap, but the thing that got me was the top 2 guys in 30+ expert, who started 2 minutes behind me, were breathing down my neck by the end of that lap. Am I really that slow? It turned out that those 2 guys posted the 2nd and 3rd fastest times of the day and nobody else from that group caught (or virtually beat) me.

As was the plan, I munched lots of carrots on the last lap when I discovered that I could actually stay anaerobic for a long time. I started feeling twinges of cramps in the last 5 minutes, which prevented me from munching one last carrot. With the way I drilled that last lap, I was wondering whether I went hard enough the first 3 laps. The cramps answered that question.

My 10th place finish out of 15 starters might not look that impressive, but my time would've put me 3rd in 30+ expert behind 2 guys who probably should be racing pro/semi, and I would've won in my 40+ age group. Given that I'd rather challenge myself against better riders vs. a guaranteed podium spot, I'm right where I need to be. That answers the question of whether to upgrade or downgrade next year, as long as I don't have to pay a silly amount of money for a pro license.

The Bent's Cycling team is one of the best groups of people around. Leroy offered to give me feeds, which he did flawlessly, and Ali volunteered to watch my dogs while I was racing. Thanks. You guys rock.

I'm looking forward to doing it again on home turf next weekend.