Thursday, March 1, 2012


Easy ways to make money from home

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tulsa Tough

A blur. That's how the morning of Friday, June 4th was for me. It seems like maybe I have the habit of putting things off from time to time. The 3 a.m. race day trips aren't a problem and everything is always packed and ready to go but the leaving at 9 a.m. trips always seem to get me. Amie, the girls, and I all rushed around the house trying to get everything loaded and in the car and out the door. Amie pretty much took care of everything but me and still managed to be ready before I was. In my defense though, I did have at least five bottles to ice down, air pressure to check, had to run through my gears one final time, shave my know all the important things a cyclist has to do before they can hit the road. We somehow managed to leave close to on time and headed to the inlaws house to drop off the girls. Girls dropped off and we are finally on our way...not really. We had forgotten our hotel reservations at the house and had to run back to the house to pick them up. All of that rushing so we could forget one of the most important things. Once we were both over the whole, "you forgot, no you forgot, no you forgot" thing everything was great. We made it to Tulsa, grabbed some lunch and checked into our room at the Crown Plaza. Great rooms with a pretty nice view. We unloaded the car and then just kind of chilled waiting for race time.

Friday night at Tulsa Tough is amazing. It's a huge treat for the CAT 3 racer as I don't know of another race that let's you feel as "Pro" as racing Friday night. Field sizes near 100, jumbo trons, tons of spectators, helicopters, camera's,'s amazing. It's 45 minutes of getting to feel like the people who actually have the opportunity to do this for a living. Friday night is also a night littered with crashes as everyone gets their race jitters out of the way. I will say however that this year the crashes didn't seem as bad as last year. I wasn't really sure how I was going to approach this race though. The goal I had set for myself going into the weekend was "GO FOR IT". I wanted to just lay it all out there one day and see how the dice fell. I kept flirting with the idea Friday night. On the front, off the front, back on the front but I didn't do it. I didn't pull the trigger Friday night and go for broke. I did my share of work up front, got on the jumbo trons, got my name on the screen and finished in the money. Not a bad night but still not what I had came to do.
Day #2 of Tulsa Tough started off with some sort of stomach bug or something. I wasn't feeling to great to say the least. After a day like that, I think it would be a good idea for Crown Plaza to add vents in their bathrooms. I'm pretty sure Amie was wishing for another roommate and all I could think about was to keep hydrating. Once on the bike, Zach and I started with a really great warm up. As he and I are cruising through the not so nice part of Tulsa engaged in friendly conversation, from no where comes this pit bull charging straight towards us. It had one of those cables attached to it's collar and both of us saw it and I think it kind of gave both of us a false sense of comfort. We were both waiting on that cable to snap and jerk the dog back. Running through the yard, now crossing the sidewalk, now hitting the road, still no snap. I'm in my small ring and probably about my 15 and I try to drill it and lean at the same time and squeeze a little prayer in there also. I could feel his breath on my calf and thought, oh man, here goes my Tulsa Tough. How about some rabies. I'm not sure how we managed to out run him but we did. That was the effort that completed our warm up. I was a little nervous about today and how I would be feeling after "making race weight". I had decided to kind of just play it low key for the first part of the race and see what happened. I stayed within the first 20 riders and just went with the flow. After the first 30 minutes the clock switched over to laps and the countdown began. By now, I knew that I was feeling okay and was hoping for something to send me up the road. With about 5 laps to go I noticed another team starting to move up and had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen and so I tried to position myself as best as possible to go should an opportunity present itself. With four laps to go there was the opportunity. A friend of mine from the Tuesday Night Worlds, Mr. Jason Pratt, shot out of the field and I went with him. Here it was, the one thing I'd wanted, the chance to go for broke. To put it out there and see what happens. Jason and I took turns pulling and our gap seemed pretty well established. With about three laps to go another rider bridged up, I couldn't tell who it was as he was getting closer but there were a few riders I was hoping for...he was none of them. I think he took one pull and then decided to sit in hoping for a free ride I guess. As we cross the line with two laps to go Jason jumps and I go with him. We shell rider #3 and now it's just Jason and I. Right now I'm starting to think..."what if". What if we actually pull this off. We cross the line with one lap to go and as we make the first left I look back to see where the field is and they are closing. We make the second left and I don't look back this time. We drill it on the straight but then make the right, I do look back here as we start up the hill and they are about 50 meters behind us. I knew our shot was over but I was also a little excited because sitting third wheel is one of my teammates, Erin. The hope was back, maybe this wasn't all for nothing. If Erin counters we could still possibly take this. Jason and I get overtaken by the field and I kind of just sit up not really concerned with my placement now. We make the next left, then the downhill, then the last left. The field is strung out and crossing the line. I'm cruising just thinking about 1/2 a lap to go and then this guy comes from behind and looks over at me as he's about to pass. My race wasn't over...not yet. Now I'm racing for 55th or 56th place. I look back at that now and laugh about duking it out for a mid field placement but I also think, damn, half a lap away from a win at Tulsa Tough. Jason and I might not of pulled off the win but we gave a good fight and when I got off my bike I was proud of myself for going for it. I know almost doesn't count in bicycle racing and if anyone is hard on themselves it's me but that taught me a few things and also brought the fun back into racing.
Day #3 Tulsa Tough - Cry Baby Hill. This race gets more fun as it goes along. Lap after lap you climb this hill and lap after lap you hurts a little bit worse. The hard part once you reach the top is trying not to lose your concentration. The party on the hill gets better each lap and there is no telling what you will see once you get to the top. I do know laughing does not help and only makes breathing a little more difficult. With the temperature being in the mid 90's I feel like I am going for a prime every lap up that hill because if you can position yourself right and beat the guy next to you, you can make your way to the right hand side of the road where they are waiting with a water hose to cool you down. We NEED MORE water hoses at the top. That's like a little bit of heaven. Sometime mid race I was decending the hill and just as I'm making the hair pin right turn my rear wheel locks up. Totally seized up and I go sliding across the turn. It felt like all the videos I've seen of cars drifting. As I'm drifting across the turn my rear wheel starts to go slide further around making it closer to the curb than my front. It seemed like I drifted from the apex of the turn all the way to about a foot of the curb. Somehow, I ride it out and I don't take anyone else out with me. At the time I wasn't sure what had happened. I just grabbed my top tube and took off running to the wheel pit hoping for a quick wheel change. Once the bike was on the stand we saw the problem. My rear tubie had rolled off the rim and jammed itself between the wheel and the frame. This didn't make the officials too happy and as the SRAM guy was putting a new wheel on I was getting the first part of my lecture from the officials along with a "see us after the race." My wheels on and they send me to the official that tells you when to rejoin the field. Here comes the field, there goes the field, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, GO! Now that there is about a 200 meter gap and I'm starting from a stand still I'm drilling it and catch the field just as the last guy starts his way up the climb. I manage to pass a few guys there and get back in the main field but I was burnt and hoping to chill a couple of laps and get my lungs back. That's when it happend, the Break. Any other break I wouldn't of sweated and would of thought it would come back, but this break had OKC Velo rider Paul Bonds in it. I knew it was gone and I knew I couldn't go with it. If you were in that race and you know Paul, you also knew you missed the move. I believe the break ended up consisting of 7 riders, 5 originally and two who bridged up. I ended up finishing 15th, 8th in the field sprint. I played it safe on the final downhill as it's mostly single file. I did think about trying to take the inside but after rolling my tire earlier I didn't figure it was worth something like that happening again. I was hoping for a top ten on this course as it seems like it somehow suits me. I was five places out of that but I'm not sure I've ever felt more lucky to just have finished the race. I've seen quite a few guys wipe out in that corner and I'm happy to not have been one of them.

Tulsa was first class and gets better each year. I had a great time and it was great to have Amie there with me. She's an excellent cheerleader and I don't think I have ever seen anyone ring a cowbell quite as good as she did. This was also her first race to shoot race pics and she did an excellent job. I had a wonderful time on and off the bike with my teammates and am already looking forward to it again next year.

Now I've got to get to work, I've got one year to be able to hold it for four laps.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Lincoln Bella Mira Matrix

Okay, so it's been a while...a long while. I wanted to post some sort of update and some flashy pics because it's going to get pretty busy again here in a few weeks and if I don't post it now I'll totally forget everything.

Let's start with the Lincoln, AR Road Race. Okay, i haven't ever done Joe Martin, so I can't speak for that road course but I have done NWA and Hell's Kitchen. Both of those are quality events with great courses. Both courses are also very challenging in their own ways. Take both of those courses, put them together, add some more climbing and a few screaming descents and you have Lincoln. I'd go as far as to say that Lincoln is the best road course I have ever ridden. To me, Lincoln is one of those races that would be worth making it an A race on your race calendar. Not for the payout, because like the other Arkansas races the payout isn't great, but because if you win Lincoln you have accomplished something. Lincoln for me was not so hot. Trying to diet and shed some weight beginning a few weeks prior, for no real reason other than that's what we do, and chinese for dinner the evening before (wouldn't suggest it) didn't really lead to great race preparation. I was fairly confident in my ability to make it over and through the climbs going into the race. What little confidence I had was shattered on the second climb of the day. I had nothing. I would say this is the absolute weakest I've ever felt on the bike. I had no energy what so ever. I did make it over that climb with the field and recovered okay. Then the second lap begins, I make it over the first big climb okay but then a break goes up the road. With a few other large teams not represented in the break I kind of waited to see if anyone else would do anything but it didn't happen. So, for some reason I decide to go to the front and try to pull it back. I was at the front until the base of the second climb. The break got reeled in but about half way up that second climb my individual pursuit began as I watched everyone ride off in front of me. I spent the next lap reeling stragglers in and watching a group of five 500 meters in front of me hoping and praying one of them looks back to see me and eases up a bit so I can join in their rotation. It didn't happen. I did catch the previous AR state champion and we worked together to the line. Lincoln wasn't really humbling because I wasn't over confident in myself but it did leave me hungry. Hungry for my next race, hungry to dissect my current training plan, hungry to examine my diet, and hungry for that foot long Subway sandwich.

Next up was the Bella Mira Crit hosted by Exfuze Racing. Dark clouds, rain, strong wind, dirty bike, and gritty water bottles all come to mind when I think of Bella Mira. This course is around a neighborhood in it's early development stages. The property and roads are there but no houses have been built. There are two hills, one on the backside of the course and the other leading to the finish line. Andy and myself decided to go out and get dirty for this race and I'm glad we did. Exfuze put on a quality event, great course, great support and friendly faces. The turnout was actually way better than I anticipated. The rain let up just long enough for us to get our race in and then it picked back up. After about 15 minutes in Andy was able to get off the front with a rider from SoundPony and start gaining a little distance. With two other riders from SoundPony in the race I decided it'd be smart for me to try working with them and help both our riders stay off. I felt like the SoundPony guy and I worked well together taking turns to cover and also giving each other a heads up when something was coming. It all worked out nicely and Andy was able to take 2nd and I came in 4th just getting edged out of my first podium for the season. Thanks again to Exfuze for a great day.

Next up, the Matrix in Dallas, TX. The Matrix, the King of Crits. I was totally syked for this weekend of racing. This would be big time Texas racing with full fields and some of the fastest guys in the region. This would also be the first races Amie has gone with me to this season. I love it when she's able to make the bike trips with me. It's great to have her support and let her see why I enjoy this sport so much.

My boy Zachary as well as Andrew "Rivet" Chasteen also came down to do a little racing...with wives in hand I might add. It was looking like a great family weekend of racing. Matrix is fast, Matrix is also a very tight course which leads to a mainly single file race. Had we known that everyone would begin staging immediately after the race before ours it would of helped out dramatically on the first day. Zach and I were warming up under the Alliance/Velocite tent and with about 10 minutes until our start we decided to pre ride the course once and then hit the porta cans. As we made our way to the street we looked down towards the finish line to see everyone had already started staging. With a 20 minute gap between races we weren't expecting that. By the time we got there the three of us were somewhere around 71-75 place, as the field limit was set at 75. That's right, almost dead last. We went out and made the best of it and had a great time. Matrix is a great course, kind of the shape of a figure eight...kind of. We were able to make up a few places and be there for the bunch sprint at the end. Day 1 of the Matrix was over. It was great to have that race under my belt and get refresher on crit racing. I needed to hurt so I would know how to hurt for the next day. I needed the intensity and to just remember a few of the little things that really add up to saving energy in a high intensity crit. My placement wasn't everything I had hoped for but it was a great day of racing.

Day 2 of the Matrix. I'm going to keep this a little more brief as this race still kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I'm not sure how it happened, what I ate, how I slept but I actually felt better on day 2 than I did on day one. It was like day one was my openers or something. Everything checked out better on day two. I was pleased with the way I raced and happy with the way we raced as a team. I felt like I raced a lot smarter on the second day. Going into day 2 I had marked one person who I felt was very smart and could post the results. I tried to keep an eye on him the whole race, if he moved back, I'd try to move back, if he moved up, I tried to move up. It worked like a charm for 59 minutes and 30 seconds and that's when my whole race came crashing down. As we were going into turn three I saw a few guys coming down the hill on my right, I knew they were going to try to cut the corner and made room for it to happen not crowding the corner but taking it wide. I guess that didn't get them the placement they wanted because the decided to also cut the corner in turn 4. When they did this, they hit the rider a couple bikes in front of me. That guy then hit the rider in front of me, who then hit me. We all went slamming to the concrete and sliding to the curb. The rest of the field behind us was either caught in the wreck or caught behind the wreck I'm sure costing them time and a better result. It wasn't the way I wanted to end my weekend or my race. I wasn't expecting to win that race but I was hoping for a shot at the sprint and not even to win the sprint but to see my marked man throw down. I was hoping for a top ten result but instead received my first DNF of the season and 59:30 hard fought minutes tasted like asphalt and blood. My Helios somehow survived it without a scratch, my bar tape only torn in a few places, my rear Salsa skewer toasted and soil and grass filled my helmet vents. My left side, from ankle to shoulder absorbed most of the impact and now two weeks later has mostly scabbed over or healed. What I guess hurt the most about this race was just not getting to finish, to be that close and then not get to cross the line. That sucked. The wreck, could it have been prevented, certainly had a few guys thought about the safety of everyone else other than their own personal result. But that's racing, it's not "if" you wreck, it's "when" you wreck. Hopefully, they are few and far between and I'm able to walk away from them each time like I did this one. it really wasn't much shorter...sorry.

Now that this is finally written I can look at things a little more current to write about. I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Classic at NWA

3:30 a.m. my iPhone buzzes under my pillow and I'm quickly brought into a state of awareness. I was aware that I had about thirty minutes to shower, finish packing, load my gear and bike into the truck and be on the road if we were to keep our 4:30 departure time. I hate being late, especially if I'm the one who sets the schedule. We had decided to all meet at Andy's house and leave from there. I arrived with about ten minutes to spare shortly followed by Zach and Erin. Once we saw everything we were taking we were a little hesitant about everything fitting into the FJ but with a little shuffling and rearranging everything fit snugly and we were off to the races.

The trip to Prairie Grove was nice. It was cool to get to hang out a little and catch up on what's been going on with everyone, discuss some team tactics, sleep, watch each other sleep and really just get a chance to enjoy each others company. We made a short little pit stop in Sallisaw to hit up the local Braum's for some Hotcakes and coffee. After that it was straight to Prairie Grove. The closer we got to Prairie Grove the worse the weather looked. The temperature was gradually dropping the further west we went and then once we crossed into Arkansas we were greeted with the rain. This looked to be another epic NWA Classic. Fortunately for us about 20 minutes or so before we reached our final destination the rain stopped and the sky somewhat cleared. The wind, however, did not.

We had decided that we would drill it right from the gun just to see what happens. Either they let us go off the front or we know real fast that it's not going to be that easy. That lasted all of about three minutes. At this race you have a neutral rollout of about maybe a quarter of a mile or so and then it turns right. That's were we went, when it turned right we all went off the front. It didn't seem like such a bad idea until we hit the open field about 2 minutes away. That's were we were hammered by the crosswind. There was nothing to shield you from the wind and it was showing no mercy. That crosswind and the fact that the road was turning upwards seemed like a perfectly good excuse to wave our little white flags. We sat up and slowly filtered back into the field.
This race seemed real negative to me. Not individual attitudes but the attitude of the whole peloton. Everyone seemed pretty content on a light tempo pace and the only real surges were the jumps to prevent a break from going off. Once the break was caught everyone just went back into chill mode until the next one. This type of race is always hard for me at the beginning of the season, not the course or the distance, but the need to be patient and conserve energy and see how the race unfolds. I'd rather be towards the front and hoping for a break to stick and find myself in it. That's great when you burn just a few matches attempting it but when you pretty much burn your whole book it's bad news. I keep thinking I've learned my lesson but then find myself relearning it at the beginning of each season.
We tried several times to get a break established but nothing worked. It didn't matter who we went with, guys with numbers, guys who could solo the whole course by themselves, it just wasn't happening. At one point, by accident, Zach found himself in a solo break just because when he was at the front everyone else sat up. His break lasted about 1/3 of a lap and then he was back in the peloton. The whole time he was off I was just thinking how did that happen and if he could just get out of sight we might actually be able to pull this off.

It wasn't until the third lap that we were successful in getting a rider up the road and in a break. Erin was able to establish himself in a four man break somewhere around midway through the final lap. We'd been hoping for a break all day and finally it's off. I moved up a few places to the front and "did work". Myself and a rider from Bicycle Shack Racing assumed the responsibility of keeping everything under control and not letting anyone get in the mood of bringing our break back. BSR had a teammate in the break also so it was in both our best interests to do what we could to help it succeed. In the end it all paid off with Erin pulling off another excellent finish at 4th place and the Bicycle Shack racer taking 2nd.

Myself, I rolled across the line in 14th place. Once Erin was off I was hoping for a top ten but after attacking, countering and covering when it came time at the end to sprint it out my legs just didn't have it. I somehow managed to avoid cramping on the last climb even though I could feel my muscles trying to seize with every pedal stroke. If I look like I'm in pain in the picture below that's because I AM!

Ah, NWA, until next year. Maybe, just maybe...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lost in Thought

It's been a bit since I last wrote, so I figured I'd jot a few things down and get caught up on my blogging. I really enjoy blogging but the time just isn't always there. Today, however, I'm sitting solo in my office during lunch after enjoying some leftover spaghetti and am choosing my blog over looking at these prints.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my girls. I chose not to hit any of the races over the weekend but to just stay close to home and spend some time with them before the season hits hard and heavy. Amie had plans Saturday night and that meant that it would be just me an my girls. Really, I was looking forward to it. I got up early Saturday, put my time in on the bike and had that all out of the way by 10:30'ish.

I had all these great expectations as to what my evening would be like. Between the four of us, it seems like something is always going on. I wanted to this weekend to be special and a time of smiles and laughs and chasing each other around the house. Well, it wasn't. It was almost the opposite of that. Emily is teething right now, cutting molars, and just about requires being held all day. When she's not being held she's learned a new cry and it is very loud and sounds like she is extreme pain. Addi, is almost 4 now, and loves her little sister more than anything in the world. However, she feels like she has to show her how much all day long by hugging and kissing on her. Which is great, really it is, I know one day that won't be happening. But right now, that kiss on Em's hand, the hand that Addi just pulled out from under Em while she was crawling just made Em bite the dust and in the few moments she wasn't crying, she is now. That's how the day goes. You have all that going on and then you try to mix in a load of laundry or dishes or dinner and it just adds fuel to the fire.

Needless to say, I wasn't the father I hoped I would be over the weekend. It seemed like no matter how much I tried or what I did something always happened to turn the tide on things and someone was getting in trouble. I have a little thing called a "temper." Both my girls now have this so called "temper." It's something that I have in check 99% of the time but when I slip that 1% it isn't a moment to be proud of. Mostly it's something to be ashamed of because I over reacted and could of stopped it had I just walked away for a minute. It's not physical or abusive or anything but a little over kill for girls as young as mine. Maybe, when we hit the teenage years there will be a time and place for it. But not now. It's something that I actually pray about every day. That God would just help me to control it and at some point get it out of my life.

A friend of mine recently posted a blog that I've been thinking about ever since it hit the board. More specifically, I've been thinking about these three sentences, "Fathers have a HUGE impact on how there children see and view God. And for me that is certainly true as it is for my three sisters. The impact that my father had on his children was and is far reaching."

I don't know that I feel exactly the same way, as I don't know that my dad had a direct impact on how I think of or view God. None the less, those three sentences have been on my mind since I read them. If that is true for some people, then it might be true for my girls and I want them to view God as a kind, loving, and forgiving person. God is someone who protects his children and He also disciplines his children. But that discipline is more of a loving discipline rather than harsh. This is an area of my life that I need to work on. My girls mean the world to me and if my actions in anyway prevent them from finding Jesus or knowing God's love then what good have I done as a father. I need to be the daddy my girls need and lay down a good example for them to follow. One day, hopefully, way down the road, my little girls will be bringing a boy into our house and I will see the mistakes I've made over time in that boy because that is how my girls are going to think they should be treated. Hopefully, I'm the best daddy and I'm someone my girls can be proud of.

To close all of this, I want to say I have never been the husband to think my wife's job of being a homemaker, domestic engineer, or stay at home mommy is easy. But after this weekend I want her to know what an AMAZING job she is doing. She's the glue that keeps everything running as smoothly as it does. Sweetie, WE love you!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lil' Em

On March 4th, 2009 Emily Elizabeth became the newest member of my family. This past weekend we had the opportunity to celebrate her 1st Birthday with some close friends and family.

Emily is Amie and I's second blessing. Both beautiful blond haired, blue eyed little girls. FYI, for future reference boys, don't be fooled by their sweet smile and big blue eyes. Beneath that beauty lies a very short fuse and a personality that knows what they want and when they want it. Most of the time it's, "NOW." However, if you can overlook those traits that their father passed down you'll find a big heart, endless hugs and kisses. My girls are precious.

It's amazing to me to look at Emily now. A whole year has passed by. She has grown so much and it seems like each day brings something new. Her and Addi are so much alike and so different. They both share the same physical and personality traits mentioned above but Em is a problem solver. She loves to figure things out. Give her some shapes and a box with cutouts in it and she'll find which shape goes where, or give her some rings and she'll stack them in the right order. She doesn't get frustrated when it comes to problems. Not having her milk ready when she wakes up though is another story.

Emily is so close to walking and talking, but right now she's content with crawling. Crawling fast! I'm pretty sure if she gets on a bike, she'll be a sprinter or if she keeps the "Lil" she might be a climber. Addi was the exact opposite when it came to these things. She almost walked before she crawled and she's loved to talk since the words "da da" came out of her mouth.

One thing is for sure, my girls love each other. To see Emily look up to Addi and follow her from room to room and want to play with and be like her big sister is awesome. And I don't think you could find a bigger sister who is more proud and loving than Addi. I'm not sure how many kisses Em gets every day from Addi but if I got a dollar for every kiss I could quit my job and live happily ever after.
Happy 1st Birtday Em! Daddy loves you and thank you for the smiles you bring to our family.