February 2005
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Month February 2005

the curse of the rappel continues

sadly i see a trend beginning…. the 3 races i’ve done that have included ropes work are the only 3 races i’ve never finished (in fact, never even got to the ropes section to experience that wonderful bit of fun). first was the southern crush in 2003… then fall creek falls last summer. and to that i now add the 2005 raging russell.

the race started at 2pm on saturday, a gorgeous, sunny, mostly blue-sky day. clifford, lisa & i raced as team ride eat sleep repeat (their mtn bike team’s name). we took our time plotting our points, since clifford and i are both fairly new to this. we began on foot, hitting CP1 quickly. confident, we took a direct route to CP2. but oh, we somehow didn’t judge our distance accurately and blew by our turning point. thanks to the strangers on the hilltop that pointed out our error. 20 minutes later, at CP2, we tried to bushwack to 3, but decided the thick brush wasn’t worth the effort. back to the road, longer in distance but an easy trek. at CP3, we were helped with our incorrectly plotted CP4, although we might have gotten down ok following the specified bearing. this was a pretty cool area though, very steep all around with few accessible routes to the bottom (but that 76º laid a nice path).

the trek from 4 to 5 included a nice easy bushwack, but then the trail we got on, while nice by definition, did not fit the description on the map. since we had already made several nav errors, we were second guessing ourselves constantly. finally we got 5, but the trail took a nice detour into the broad river. not wanting to get wet, we scrambled up a steep, already muddy slope, to catch the trail a little ways down – flashback to the gorge incident at FCF!!

our support crew (thanks ashlie & charles!) had warm food waiting at the transition area, and soon we were off on our bikes. we overshot our turnoff to CP7, but another team (on their way to 12!) told us their route which helped. they also gave us some pointers to get to 8 – “cross the river. you’ll want to cross it again, but don’t. there’s a sign for a trail, but don’t follow it. instead, go over a few fallen trees and you’ll see a trail that looks like it doesn’t exist. follow it. it’ll be muddy. you can’t ride it. go over more trees. it’ll look like the trail ends, but it doesn’t. keep going …..” this went on for awhile, but thankfully did help us as otherwise we mighta thought we were totally off course (again).

CP 8 & 9 went ok, but 10 took it’s toll on us. again, we missed our turnoff and ended up 5 miles down the road in some residential area. took us awhile to get back on course. frustrating for sure. then, after a nasty long singletrack (that clifford & lisa loooved, but i of course didn’t!), we ran into 3 teams hanging out in the middle of the woods with a campfire. apparently we all took the wrong trail down, although it looked right on the maps (with both direction & terrain). after warming up for 30min (the rest of them had been there for 2 hrs!), we all trekked up the nasty hill and found a much more pleasureable trail. CP11 was easy… 12 though remained elusive, even with 12 of us searching for 45 minutes. we heard rumors one had been misplaced, so we moved on to TA2, where we sadly learned that the rappel section had been closed. sniff sniff. alas, fate has spoken and i’m destined not to play on the ropes during a race.

while we could have continued on an alternate course, lisa & clifford were a bit whooped. we had 2 more biking legs and their bikes were acting up too. so the consensus was to stop. while this wasn’t the first time not finishing a race, it’s the first time i didn’t have a say in it. it’s much more difficult to stop something when you’re still energized and ready to go. but alas, guess that’s part of the whole team sport thing. still though, i had fun and definitely learned a lot.

next up: SMAR!!!

raising money for a cure…

i haven’t mentioned my team in training stuff lately and just got an email that reminds me… to date, the triathlon groups (St. Anthony’s and Gulf Coast) have raised $115,391.92. that’s awesome! i think our group goal is around $150k, so just a bit more to go. i have raised $3k so far this season, putting my 5 year total around $10k. to learn more about team in training, visit my fancy tnt page (which does need to be updated soon!) or the generic one where you can donate online.


whoever said you can’t have good mtn biking in florida obviously hasn’t visited the razorback course in reddick. chiseled out of an old limestone quarry, this course was full of short steep drops & climbs, with lots of rocks and roots. in the weeks preceeding this race (12 hours of razorback, i was getting jealous that i was only supporting my friends and not racing. well, i think i made the right decision, as we know my technical skillz aren’t at what they should be. besides, the 3 teams kept me quite busy!

after a “short” drive down friday night, we awoke to lots of frost outside. i think i had figured out by now that the tent i borrowed wasn’t meant for cold weather (thanks anyways kev.. it was better than nothing!) some yummy banana pancakes got us all fueled for the day, which turned out to be absolutely gorgeous – lots of sunshine & blue skies! the Ride Eat Sleep Repeat crew was camped right next to the BOD folks, which made for a great set up – warm up area, food, lounging, garage… which came in quite handy with all the mechanicals we had. i can’t even remember them all, but clifford’s seat kept moving, justine’s rear derailleur got trashed, josh’s chain got funked up, and ashlie had to have some work done to her brakes (which as we now know, were definitely needed!)

mom and dad came up to see what this whole racing thing was all about. i think they were quite impressed, although perhaps a bit nervous when it came to envisioning me out there. they saved the day by bringing lots of cookies and firewood out too – thanks!

the race ended at 10pm, with everyone finishing somewhat strong, in good spirits, and most importantly, healthy. after cleaning up, we lounged in front of the fire until passing out again (luckily night #2 was somewhat warmer!) congrats to clifford, coming in 4th in the single speed solo division, and to the BOD guys, 10th overall in the 4person coed sport division!

quote of the moment:

enlightenment via starbucks…
had a cool quote on my chai latte today:

The Way I See It, #8

if you want to cheat death,
it is not how much you earn
or how good you look.
it’s in every small act of kindness
you share with someone else.
that is how you live on.

- Mitch Albom


have got to be one of the coolest, handiest inventions. i am sitting here trying to pack for this weekend’s race and would be lost without my quart size plastic bags. normally i prefer the freezer kind – added durability for all the rummaging and such – but i settled for the regular kind (generic brand) due to lack of $ this month… those slider tops are pretty cool too, quicker than the yellow+blue=green kind (of course that’s a name brand type amenity).

so the race: 12 Hrs of Razorback, down in reddick, fl. i’ll be going down there to support friends of team ride eat sleep repeat (josh, clifford, john, charles, lisa, justine, ashlie) and see some other friends race too (adv racers kevin & shelley, and the BOD/Slowspokes team of jay, patrick, brandon, mark). part of me gets jealous not to race, but i’m not sure how primed i am for some tough, unfamiliar singletrack. (“next time!”) besides, i do have an adv race next weekend that should sate my desire!

i love nav

the trailblazers had our second annual valentine’s nav training today up at red top mountain (thanks to ron sanders for setting up a great course!) it was absolutely gorgeous out: lots of sunshine, little wind, blue skies, and temperatures near 60! i was up there with my raging russell team, the dynamic duo of clifford & lisa… and not to forget the wonder pug, kona! (who hung out in a special backpack lisa had on.)

we started off early (8am) and i taught them the basics of plotting utm points. then we hit the woods in search of points. the first we were a little shaky on, but we settled into our groove (thanks bill hill for the onsite tutorial on taking bearings properly). clifford is more of the mathematical navigator (with the bearings & such); i tend to prefer reading the terrain and keeping a close eye on the map. together i think we’ll have a great set of checks & balances to keep us on course.

we were on foot till 12:30pm, then hopped in the canoe and paddled to more points until 4pm, when we called it a day. or at least, so i thought. on the drive home we pondered the weather… it was supposed to rain tomorrow, and we hadn’t ridden our bikes at all. the decision was made to have a night ride out at the horse park. it was a beautiful night to ride- clear skies, lots of stars. serene. i had a great ride which was much needed since i’ve been sorta sketched out since the clemson endo. lisa made the comment that i should ride more at night, as i seem to ride better then. maybe so. maybe the peacefulness of the night takes over and nervousness dissipates. maybe it was riding after 8 hours of training earlier that day (i’m sorta sick like that!)… maybe i’m just finally getting my confidence back. whatever it is, i like it.

testing email posting

for some odd reason, i can’t log on to blogger from my house, which
sorta defeats the purpose of having this whole thing (since that’s
where i will potentially be doing most of the updating)…. that is,
unless this whole “post from email” thing works. that would be pretty
cool. fingers crossed.

big news… to come. later.

got a very cool email today…. but i might wait to write more until it’s more official. hehehe…. come back later!

be back on …….. (insert your guess here)

but soon!

we are post-holidays… post-ngar….post-atl ice storm.

that means it’s time to get this baby up & running!