Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hartford 5k Scramble

Tonight Becky and I headed to Hartford with her friend from teaching, Erica, to run the 5K scramble event. It's a great run. Instead of just your run of the mill 5K road race, this run take place on a variety of terrain right along the CT river. Some pavement, some mud, some gravel and some grass. Their were over 600 runners and for good reason. Not only was the course cool and different, after the race was over, there was free beer, hot dogs, burritos, and more. They had a great band, and did I mention this was all outside on a beautiful evening along the river in downtown.

The race itself was a little tough. I hadn't run on surfaces like that in a bit, it was about 95% humidity and I sweat out about 3 gallons of fluids. The crowds were pretty heavy on the little trails, but all in all it was a blast. I finished in 132 place with a time of 26:14 or a pace of about 8:20 a mile. I was pretty happy with it considering the heat/humidity and the enormous Mexican lunch a had a few hours earlier. Becky came in right around 30 minutes which is pretty par for the course for her, and like I said, the best part was winding down after the race with the band, food and scenery. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday night after work. The new job I'm loving by the way, thanks for asking.

I've got a long way to till I'm ready for the NYC marathon, but every run counts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Camping and a little more riding

This past weekend we headed out to do some more camping. I was hanging out with my brothers a couple months ago and in passing it was mentioned how much fun it would be to go camping for the weekend sometime. Now, if that conversation had just been between my brothers and myself, it probably would have ended there, but lucky for us Becky was in the conversation and that woman can get things done. Instead of a "Ya, that sounds like fun, we'll have to do that sometime..." it turned into an email that was like "OK, I got a campsite for the weekend of the 26-27th, who's in charge of bringing what?", and like that we actually had something planned.

Chad's wife Heather is pregnant with baby numero tres, and was perfectly fine, spending her time sans children and husband at the spa, so she didn't join us this trip. So that meant that Chad and his two boys, Luke and Boden were going to be there, Clint was coming down from Beantown to spend sometime in the great outdoors and then there was Becky and I. Then in a great last minute twist, Becky invited her Dad Larry, who had been chilling home alone for the past two weeks with his wife out of town and her brother Eric. We had quite the crew and we had quite the weekend. We all, Chad, Clint, Larry and I, brought our bikes with the hopes of getting a ride in. Chad and Larry brought kayaks, and I of course brought cornhole so we were set.

Friday night we got there in time to set up camp, get a great fire going, and cook dinner, chili cheese dogs, over the fire. Some of my favorite times camping have just been hanging out around the campfire and Friday night was no let down. We had a great time laughing and talking and just relaxing outdoors, nothing much better. We were just starting to think about turning in for the night, when it starting to rain, which made the choice easy. We scrambled to throw everything, and I mean everything, under the picnic table and we all headed to our respective tents. We were then treated to a spectacular lighting show in our tents and it rained like crazy. Our tent held up though, kept us dry and by the time we woke up, the rain had stopped and it was a beautiful Saturday. We walked down to the lakes beach and hung out there for a bit, the boys, Luke and Bo getting some fishing practice in. Then we had some lunch, and headed out for a kayak around the lake. We were short one kayak so I wound up towing Eric around on a little inflatable tube. It was hilarious. The kayak I was using was crazy old, had no rudder and no hull shape which meant I had n real way to control the boat. It was so bad that after awhile, we gave Eric a paddle and from the tube in back he became my rudder. Not the most graceful kayak excursion ever, but we made it back in one piece.

After that, it was time for some cornhole. I successfully created 3 more cornhole addicts in Chad, Clint and Eric. Chad and Eric were on the same team and dominated. I was hoping that it was beginners luck at first, but they both were star cornholers. It took like 5 games before Clint and I finally won one. We had a blast.

Then Luke started tugging on my arm to go bike riding. Now, here's a kid who's just turned six and for his birthday Chad and Heather got him a sweet six speed Trek mountain bike. Lots of kids his age are still rocking training wheels and he speeds around on this "Big Boy" bike like he's been doing it for years. He's awesome. We rode around the campground for a pretty long time. It was cool to see how well he can ride a bike. His balance is great, he's fast and he loves it. He kept saying how much fun he was having. It was great, not much beats the enthusiasm of a kid doing something he loves. It was finally time to pull back into our site for dinner but not before Luke made me promise that we'd ride some more "first" thing in the morning. I happily obliged.

After another night of good campfire food (cheese quesadillas with peppers, onions and cilantro) and some adult beverages, we hit the sack. It rained again during the night. Becky and I again fared well in our tent, staying totally dry, but this time some of our camping compatriots weren't as lucky. I think Clint, Eric and Larry were a little more damp than they would've liked but we all survived. As planned, within about 40 seconds of me being awake, I found myself riding bikes with Luke. It was a refreshing way to wake up for sure. It was cool to be riding around like a kid, with a kid. In all this training, and the lead up to this 100 mile race, it's easy to forget how to just ride a bike around for the sake of riding a bike. Riding around with Luke, going somewhere, but yet nowhere in particular was a blast. Before we knew it though, it was time to pack up and head home.

It was a great weekend and many thanks go out to Becky for making it all happen. If you want to see some pics of the weekend, including Luke on his bike, click here. Becky uploaded the photos to the Internet but not my computer so I don't have any to post in this post as of now. If I do later I'll update it.

So that was the weekend. Now it's Monday morning and I start my new job today. I can't wait, I'm very excited for the possibilities that T-Mobile has to offer. I'll be training Radio Shack employees on how to sell T-Mobile. It's the same industry that I was in before and I'm doing Training just like I love to do. As an added bonus, Radio Shack is Lance's new team partner for 2010, very cool. Hopefully I can score a Radio Shack/LIVESTRONG jersey somewhere down the line. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cali and another good group ride...

Back from vacay and much to report.

First of all Becky and I had a great time in sunny California. We got back around midnight last night and were needless to say, whooped. Our trip started in San Fransisco where Becky has family so we got to see her Grandma, Aunts and Uncles and cousins. After one night in San Fran, we motored in our rented Jeep Wrangler to Santa Cruz for a couple nights in a nice little beach house. Becky's Aunt Laura happens to also live Santa Cruz and she also rides bikes. Jackpot. Not only were we able to beach it up, I was able to get the grand tour of Santa Cruz via two bike rides. One was about 25 miles and one was about 30, both were awesome and both were a tad on the hilly side. Not a lot of flat in Santa Cruz in turns out.

Laura Bontrager, me and her friend Stephanie before our first ride.

Laura's bike was made for a Team Discovery member a few years back. When he left the team she inherited a sweet ride, and yes that's me lifting it up with my pinkie fingers.

I was able to use Laura's husband Keith's bike which was pretty sweet. Full carbon frame, carbon cranks, carbon handlebars and great components. The saddle was better than I was used to as well. Turns out I have a pretty cushy, probably pretty heavy stock seat. Keith rides a pretty slim and hard, nearly weightless I'm sure, saddle. After two rides my butt bone was pretty tender. I brought my own pedals and shoes so I had to get Keith's pedals off. It took me a minute and some help from Laura to get them off but then we we good to roll. Our pre-ride breakfast was homemade organic oatmeal pancakes and the best coffee I've ever had. Laura then took us around Santa Cruz. The scenery and pit stops for wild blackberries were a couple of the highlights. Just riding around a different town is cool enough but Santa Cruz is beautiful. Having a local who knows her way around town is great too. Both rides were great and I can't thank Laura enough. Also, many thanks to Keith for letting me use his bike while he was out of town.

After Santa Cruz we headed to Yosemite for the rest of the trip. We camped, hiked, swam, cooked over the fire pit, took pictures and generally had an awesome time. If you haven't been, I definitely recommend it. I can't even describe the scenery. It's all so very impressive and it was great to see. Can't wait to go back one day.
Back in CT today, I headed out to the Pedal Power Monday night ride. I set out with the A/B group. We head out together but sooner rather than later the A group kicks it up a notch and leaves the B's behind. I'm naturally one of the B's left behind. I have ridden with the B group once before and tonight was another good one. We got in 30 miles averaging about 17.9 mph. A couple tough hills peppered in made it interesting and towards to end I found myself in a group that was breaking away from the rest. There was about six of us, about half the B's, and these guys started cranking. I was working pretty hard not to get dropped. At one point I was near my max and suddenly there was a pretty long, very visible hill right in front of us. I was just about to break when I noticed that we were taking a right hand turn right before the hill, total lifesaver. I didn't get dropped and soon we were pulling back into the shop. Just to prove that I'm a good Noncyclist, as I pulled up to a couple of the guys after the ride, we started talking and I forgot about riding.

Wait for it...

I totally fell over still clipped in. Here I am pulling up to talk about what a great ride we just had, and before I know it I'm on the ground. Real slick Mav. It happens so fast yet so slow. You can't lose focus for a second, I'm just glad I was back on my own bike, not Keith's. The guys, who I was really just meeting, were nice enough and did the whole, "Everyone topples over clipped in once in a while". Whatever, good for the ego to get slammed down like that from time to time. After helping me up, we did introduce ourselves, and talked about our good ride. Maybe next time it won't end with me on the ground.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Long Overdue Post

My Bad.

Lots of stuff to report as I haven't posted in a while, but I also don't want you to have to sit and read for the next hour, so I'll briefly mention what's been going down in my world and in my bike riding, and then I'll go into some more detail in upcoming posts.

First of all, congratulations go out to Clint, who won the Frost Mileage Challenge for June. His consistency has paid off and he handily beat Chad and I for the month. Things have been a bit busy for the three of us it seems so pictures and results were slow to come in this month, but that shouldn't take away from Clint's victory. He was able to stop the mileage train that Chad was on for a while and now each of us has won a month. July is the last month that we'll be doing the mileage challenge as the century ride is in August so being that's it all tied up, July should be interesting.

I'm back in a pretty good groove when it comes to riding. I went through a spell of being uninspired and not very motivated a few weeks back but now I'm back on it. A ride up in Ithaca with my father-in-law Larry got the juices flowing again. I was a bit bored and burnt out with the lame roads I was riding around Meriden and the beautiful scenery and roads up there drove me to look a little bit deeper in my own backyard for better routes. Since I have taken up riding in a group ride out of our local bike shop on Monday nights and it's been going well. The first time out, I went with the "C" group. They ride at a fun 13 or so mph pace and we had a great time. I found some spectacular roads that I had never been on before that were literally less than 10 miles from my house. As I had a pretty easy time with them, the next time I set out with the "B" team and was more challenged for sure. We averaged about 18.8 mph for 33 miles and I had an awesome time. Riding with a group is drastically different than chugging along by your lonesome and I'm loving it. Still a bit nervous that I don't know all the proper riding etiquette and what not, but I haven't pissed anyone off yet, and I'm making it pretty well known that I'm new so maybe I'm getting some slack.

I'm still out of a job, so it's been a few weeks but it's the summer and I have a couple things working so not in any sort of panic. As a side project even before I was laid off I was starting an online retail store so this has given me a chance to get that off the ground and I even made my first sale already. You may recall my post after Memorial Day not only did I talk about the 100 Miles of Nowhere, but in that post I also talked about the greatest backyard game/sport ever. Cornhole. My new online store offers everything you need to learn and start playing Cornhole. If you haven't heard of it yet, you soon will, and if you're that guy who likes to have everything first, go to, get your gear and bring Cornhole to a neighborhood or tailgate near you. It's awesome.

Besides that, I've been looking for a job, working on securing financing for the movie and trying to enjoy the summer. Weather's been a bit dodgy here, but riding should really pick up in July. Oh, I almost forgot. Another reason that my mileage has suffered is that I now officially have to split time between riding and running. As you've heard me mention, the speed of cycling has made running seem a bit more tedious, but I've been on some great runs lately and realize that it'll always have a spot in my training routine. That's good news too, considering that I found out about a month ago that I was selected to run in the 40th running of the New York City Marathon. It's that Cadillac of marathons and I'm really excited to have the opportunity. I'm a bit scared as this will be my first full marathon but I will have six half marathons under my belt by the time November 1st, race day, rolls around and I'm now really motivated to get out and jog a bit.

Lastly, great news on the fundraising front. I have officially crossed over the halfway mark to reaching my goal of raising $3,000.00 for the LIVESTRONG Challenge. Thanks to a great supporting email from Kim, Todd's sister-in-law who is battling breast cancer right now, and the support of Becky's California relatives, I'm at $1,605.00 and going strong. I have a motorcycle rally in support of the cause coming up later this month and I'm hoping that with you're help will put me over the edge. It's a great cause and I can't tell you how much your support means to me and to the overall fight for a cancer cure.

Thanks for catching up, more frequent posts to come.
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