thumbing my ride…

June 15, 2010

So, I am out of the Livestrong Ride this Saturday due to a busted up thump and hand.   I feel on my left thumb/hand when I said hello to that blackberry bush during the Ski to Sea race on 5/30.  It swelled all up and hurt bad for quite a while.  Just as it was starting to get better, I tripped and fell on it again this Saturday (wine might have been involved).  Now it is back to being swollen with a bit of blue for color.  Went to the doctor, and the good news is I didn’t break anything in there.  The bad news is  –  it is a tendon injury and I need to keep weight off of it for three weeks.  I am not even supposed to open a jar.  Great.  It finally got sunny and I have to go back to a stationary bike for a few weeks.

I might try my sit upright commuter bike with the really good disc brakes (so I only need to use one) to commute to work.  But sustained rides are out for a bit.  It is a bummer.  At least I helped raise a wee bit of money to fight cancer, which was the whole point anyways.

So, I will set my sights on the Tour de Whatcom.   I did the 25 miles distance last year with my 8 year old son.  He did the whole thing on a mountain bike!  He wants to do it again this year.  We bought him a 24″ wheel road bike last summer (old steel peugeot ) and he is looking forward to riding that this year.  He wants to do the 50 – but not sure he’d finish it.  Maybe next year!

I am also going to think about the Chuckanut Century, maybe try to do at least the 50.  We shall see.

In the meantime, once the thumb heals up, I am going to start training here  (but ummm, much much sloowwweerrr…)!


Ski to Sea 2010

June 9, 2010

On May 30th I did the Ski to Sea Race in Bellingham, WA.  A total of 464 teams of 8 people (Thats just over 3,700 folks!) participated in the event.   Racers ranged from everday basically out of shape people (like me) to former Olympians!  

It was alot of fun.  It was also a good amount harder than I expected it to be.  It has been raining non-stop in Bellingham (WA) for weeks now (usually we have dry weather by now).  So, the mountain bike leg (which is really a cross-country course with some urban assault sections) was transformed into a “14 miles long mud wresting pit,” as one friend and fellow racer called it.  I had not trained as much as I would have liked (ah, the joys of working for a living) and my leg strength was just was not up to the task of slogging through all that mud with any speed whatsoever.  But, I finished,  I had some good laughs, and I wasn’t last.  I finished about 390 out of 464.  Oh, and I fell off my bike onto the only blackberry bush they had not cleared from the course.  Falling into the bush wasn’t so bad, but ripping myself out was not alot of fun. 

I really had to push myself in a couple of sections, and even though I was much slower than I would have liked to have been – I didn’t quit.  Although when I passed a bar about 1/2 way into the race I was very tempted to just pull over and go have a beer and watch everyone else slog by!

Below is the only picture of me on the course – coming into the finish line. I am the tired looking one behind the guy handing off the timing chip with “419” on his bike.

I will do it again next year, but I am going to have to get in better shape by then.  I have about a year.  I better start now.

Test for Ski to Sea

May 27, 2010

The ski to sea race is this Sunday (May 30).  I have not had much time to train, so I wanted to go out and do a test run to see  how bad I might be this Sunday.  (The Ski to Sea is a relay race from Mt. Baker to Bellingham, Bay.  You can find a cool write up on it at USA Today.)

The Mountain Bike leg of the ski to sea is mostly urban assault riding probably due to the fact that we have to ride between the take out point for the canoe leg to the put in point for the kayak leg – and there are no mountians between those two points.  So, to make it different than the road bike leg of the race, the course (in addition to gravel road and pavement) goes over spongy fields, some muddy single track, and makes you ride a section of railroad tracks.  All in all, it is 14 miles long.

You cannot ride the course ahead of time – due to portions of it that are on private property.  Last year, they let everyone do a practice ride on Saturday the day before the race.    This year, they aren’t going to let us ride the course ahead of time. 

So, I had to find another location to do my “time trial.”  I picked the gravel path around Lake Padden.  An image from Map My Ride is below (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GET THE FULL SIZE MAP).  I thought this location would be a good choice because the Ski to Sea course is not technical (except in a very few spots) and a good portion of the course is on gravel paths and some pavement.    There are no spongy fields around Padden, but if you go around 4 times, you have to climb about 900 feet of elevation total – and there is only 250 feet of elevation gain over the length of the Ski to Sea course.  So, I figured it was a trade off.

I did four laps around the course in the pouring rain on Tuesday after work with no snacks and no water bottle.  My mileage was just over 11 miles and I finished it in 44 minutes.  This includes slowing down for the numerous folks who were out there walking with their dogs and stopping to drink from the one water fountain I found that worked.    That isn’t too bad.  I think that maybe now I won’t make a fool of myself on Sunday.

My goal is to finish in 1 hour 15 minutes.

Not gonna worry about it

May 18, 2010

My hips are always going to hurt me a bit.  Maybe sometimes, more than a bit.  I’ll never run a marathon.  I’ll never climb Mount Rainier (unless I get a volunteer to carry me).  But, I am not going to worry about any of that stuff anymore.  I am just going to go hard until I can’t go any farther.  Then I’ll sit and have a beer.  I am just tired of thinking and worrying about it.   Seems pointless and exhausting.  I want to have some fun darn it!

I saw this poster the other day, and it made me laugh for 5 minutes!  I think I am going to get it made into a T-shirt.

Ski to Sea is in 2 weeks.  I have been very busy at work and haven’t had much time to train.  But, I think I’ll be ok.  Slow, but ok.   Here are some videos of what the course was like last year.   I am looking forward to it.

I updated by Training Page, although using the word “updated” is probably reaching.

“Can’t Do” mentality

April 12, 2010

I have been trying to get myself motivated to train – and through this effort discovered something about my attitude.  Simply put – it ain’t good.

Since my diagnosis about a year ago, and especially following my surgery, I have had a “can’t-do” mentality.  I can’t go for a hike, I can’t kick the ball around with my kids, I can’t ride at the bmx track, I can’t play softball, I can’t ride up that hill out of the saddle, I can’t walk to the store, etc.     

My hips have hurt me on and off since I was a teenager, but I never believed I couldn’t do something.  I just worked around it and went on as best I could.  I didn’t worry; I didn’t question too much (or at all really); I just thought about being outdoors and about having fun.   I got on my bike and felt like this: 

 Now I find that I worry and ‘what-if’ and question and doubt.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  I want my ‘can-do’ attitude back. 

A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.” – Albert Einstein

42 road + 15 dirt does not quite equal 71

March 31, 2010

I hated to make this decision – but I have decided to downgrade my road ride in the Livestrong Challenge Ride to 42 miles.  I have thought long and hard about this – and my work and family schedule have just not provided me enough time to train properly for a 71 mile ride that includes a pretty good sized climb.  In addition, my left hip (non-operated side) has gone downhill quickly the last month.  It will most likely be going under the knife in September.  So, I don’t want to put too much pressure on it heading into surgery. 

But although I have removed 30 road miles from my upcoming plans (and a big hill), I have added 15 miles of dirt (a.k,a. fun).  I am going to be taking part in Bellingham’s annual Ski to Sea Race.   It is a relay from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay and includes almost every type of recreational activity one can imagine.  I participated on our corporate team last year.  This was our team photo last year (which I took):

The one with the green “hat” is me.  Last year I did the canoe leg – 18 miles of paddling on the Nooksack river.  It was a long long long way to paddle a canoe.   This year I’ll be doing the mountain bike leg!  It is 15 miles and the course is not too challenging.  Since I have personally seen several folks finish the coarse dressed as giant strawberries or in gorrila suits, I think I can pull it off.  It should be a lot of fun.

5 month Post-PAO Checkup

March 13, 2010

On Tuesday I made the 2 1/2 hour trek to Tacoma to see my surgeon and check up on how my right hip is healing post PAO (surgery was on 10/12/2009).  It has been feeling pretty good the last several weeks – so I was interested in what the professionals thought.  I got a look at x-rays of righty from December and the one they took that day – and what an amazing difference.  You really can’t see where the cuts were made in the bone anymore – they are all healed over.  I was told “if it wasn’t for all the screws your hip would look pretty normal!”  HA! 

So, I think at this point I can say that the surgery was worth it.  My hip is not perfect, it never will be.  There will always be some pulling, some clacking and some hurting.  But it is very minor compared to what it was like 1 year ago.  Except for the clacking – that is pretty much the same, but you can’t have everything.

Now, lefty is on the chopping block.  I gotta decide if I am going to get surgery on her or not.  My plan for now is to wait until the summer is over and see how she holds up.  Hopefully, the left hip will not go down hill as fast as the right one did.  My measuring stick will be this — as soon as the left hip bothers me more than the right one does post-op, then it goes under the knife (or saw or whatever the heck they use that I don’t want to know about). 

Tomorrow is the day I put the seat back on my road bike (it is on my comfort bike right now) and take it out on the pavement.  I was hoping to do it earlier this week – but it was just too windy.  I am already at a disadvantage with hip and hill climbs – I don’t need wind too!  We shall see how it goes.  By the end of this month I’ll know if I need to bump the Livestrong Challenge Ride down to 40 miles.