Thursday, October 30, 2008

Got to thinking about my friend, Barry...

He's the guy I wrote about below. While he's been caught up in raising a family and building a fine homestead, he's HARDCORE when it comes to mechanical things. Barry and I see eye to eye on many things. He's a hardcore motorcycle drag racer. Here, he's refueling his dragbike on the dynamometer for tuning: (pics are maybe 5-6 years ago)

Just HOW COOL is Barry? He loaned me his "big tire" dragbike! No way! Loaning a dragbike is something that just doesn't happen in the real world! I made 4 passes on the bike at the drag strip. Talk about a RUSH! The thing launched HARD! I was doing the first 60 feet in 1.36 seconds (this pissed Barry off because my 60' times were slightly better [on this bike] than his and he's ridden for years)! :):) Here's my debut into the world of dragbikes:

Screwing around at the end of my driveway in Helotes:

At the race track, doing the 'burnout' to warm the big ole drag slick:


I'll never forget that! The initial acceleration is off the best be hanging on when you let go of the clutch lever!

You "pin" the throttle wide open on the starting line, engine is screaming at red-line, on the rev-limiter as you wait for the starting lights to flash, when it's time, you snap your finger off of the clutch lever (no feathering) and you and the bike completely launch!

The acceleration exceeds the brain's sampling rate, you ARE somewhere other than where you started, before you realize where you are! It is GO TIME BABY!...Fond memories....Barry is top shelf folks...I'd do this again, big time!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last Weekend...Great time, Great weather...

As I wrote earlier, I was going to cover up my running attire to sneak the Border Collie into the car and take her to the RTW5k race. Even in street clothes, both dogs KNEW it was weekend and both tried to jump in the car as I opened the door. Fail. Had to leave them both here...the American Bulldog would have scared folks at the race.

My sister-in-law ran her FIRST running race! Yea! I ran with her and pushed my young nephew in the stroller. She finished the race and did a fair amount of running, mixed with some walking. When she gets her running pace settled down a bit, she'll be able to sustain running. I then repeated the 5k after everyone was gone to get a brisk workout.

Next up, motocross at the track. Gorgeous day, perfectly groomed track, fun friends! Man, that set me up for the whole weekend! I just live for weekends! It was a productive day of riding. I short-circuited the track in a couple of places so I could work on turns and double-jumps that had been giving me some trouble. Practice, practice, practice! In fact, I have errands to run and a stop at the track is going to be included in a while.

Sunday had me driving round trip to NW San Antonio to score yet another load of my business stuff. I hauled a big U-haul trailer and filled it up pretty well. A couple more similar trips and I'll be out of SA!

On the way up, I stopped off visit my good buddy, Barry. He's worked his tail off building a new home near San Antonio and farming his 28 acres (I know where I'm headed when society collapses). Barry/Adorable Daughter/Beautiful home:

Had to stop at Joel's BBQ, in Flatonia, on the way home:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Switching Gyms? FAIL.


I ain't signing no freaking TWO year contract! Hahahaha!!

Gold's Gym doesn't have the FitLinx system, they have nothing.

Totally freaking queer music videos that have ZERO artistic value? Yep, they got 'em.

Ceiling fans above the treadmills and elipticals? Nope.

Swimming pool? Nada. Just how the hell am I going to do my cumulative 1/2 hour of swim training for triathlons next summer??

According to old running buddy, they can jack the price within the contract period.

TWO YEAR contract? You're out of your mind, shame on you!

Gold's Gym, FAIL!

The YMCA will welcome me back.

I'm switching gyms, funny jacking with the sales guy...

I'll join, the price is right. So anyway, I'm nearing the end of my 1-week free trial and the kid that's trying to sell me the membership comes out onto the floor when I'm stretching (YES, I actually WAS stretching!) and sits down on the rubber ball thing. He's angling for the deal.

On the way out I say, "I'll join, but I'll come back at lunch time when I have my debit card with me. And BTW, what's the term of membership, how long?" So he's quickly jotting down my name again, SCRAMBLING for the "best" phone number to reach me. Dude wants it NOW! He pushes the contract across the table and I reiterate that I have neither credit card, NOR reading glasses.....the dude was FREAKED that he couldn't close the deal! He's real concerned that I'll never be back!

Poor kid. I'm thinking I'd like a term no longer than 6 months. Think it'll happen?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

RTW 5k, followed by DIRT BIKING is on! EDITED

I just spoke with Elisharose, it's a GO. Their son has been slacking in his studies and this has postponed our activities from last weekend to this Saturday. Apparently the boy has decided it's a good thing to study, as dirtbiking is at the end of the will be great...If not this time, no sweat. Riding can happen on any weekend... :):)

See topic a few topics below this one....

C'mon out...grilling, riding, good times...


Apparently a key figure in this HUGE endeavor this weekend is already in the hospital! Even before riding dirtbikes with Ev!

Dude claims to have a kidney stone, in the hospital, and says "it hurts"....oh cry me a river, little man!! Good grief. WIMP!

Just kidding! DAMN, I'm feeling for you! Females who've had 'stones have said it was worse than giving birth to a child (where's my 'freaked-out-eyes-wide-open emoticon'??). Sucks to be you, rest up.

I'm going to SNEAK Tessie (pure bred Border Collie) out of here tomorrow morning to go run the RTW5k with us. EVERYONE just LOVES Tess! Firstly, I can't dress in running clothes because the dogs KNOW when it's weekend and get totally stoked when they see me in running attire. I really don't want Mackie to bolt if she sees me drive out with Tessie. Before Jazz disappeared, it was Jazz and Mackie who battled/played every morning. They didn't notice/didn't care when I took Tess to the RTW race, because they had each other. With Jazz gone, I'm concerned. I'm fenced, but a dog that wants out IS out of the yard.

So I'll dress nonchalantly and change clothes at the race....and Mackie will be out grazing in the yard, checking stuff out and I'll whisper to Tessie and she'll know EXACTLY what we're doing and will silently hop in the truck and lie down as told!

Mackie is an American Bulldog, the BEST dog on this earth! BUT, folks who live in The Woodlands and walk on the trail where the race is held WOULD MOST CERTAINLY submit complaints!! Mack's a big dog and old people with little dogs surely won't appreciate Mackie!

Running in the WG Jones Forest off of 1488:

Over and out....

Ok, let the whining begin! Hot weather is good, cold is not...

I really didn't have a problem with the summer, it was easy this year. Yeah, there were some warm days, but nothing approaching unbearable.

[Rant ON] I do not do cold weather! It seems I'm going to have to trade in my shorts for jeans and put on another sweatshirt. I'm freezing out there! [Rant OFF]

[Rant ON] Ok, on a different note: Massage Envy. Good grief. After moving a bunch of stuff earlier this year, I was feeling Plantar Fasciitis. Even through my years of running I'd only heard about it, never felt it. I reasoned it had to be from lifting and moving a bunch of stuff. I contacted a local massage therapist who didn't return my call. Finally I decided to go to Massage Envy on Market Street in The Woodlands.

1)A 1 hour massage is only a 50 minute massage.

2)A 6 month contract is really a 7 month contract.

3)They recommend the gratuity to be paid to the therapist and I recall reading that gratuity is automatically added for 1 1/2 hour or longer session.

4) I didn't use up my massages that I had already paid for. My 7 months expired and I was told that I lost the 4 sessions because my membership had expired. But I had already pre-paid for the sessions, months earlier. "Our computer won't let us do that".

5) A 50 minute massage is really only a 45 minute massage. Complain about it and you'll again get another 45 minute session, next time.
[Rant OFF]


Damn I miss Sher!! She's in San Antonio, She's THE BEST Massage Therapist IN THE WORLD! She's totally hardcore and does very well for herself! Why and How does she do so well? She's totally knowledgeable and she WORKS her ass off! Most/many massage therapists are totally flaky people who just kind of irresponsibly bounce around in life. Not Sher, she works very hard. There is NO WAY I could have done all the great running and tri stuff without her! And you should hear the foul language coming from my mouth when she gets really deep into my deep tissue massage. Very bad language! She's petite and very attractive with a great personality. But I've never had any sort of 'arousal problem' while on her table. While she's finding stuff WAY deep, it's often uncomfortable/painful. You find yourself asking, "I pay money for this?" Sher is great. Here:

We used to go trail running in San Antonio Ranch and Government Canyon. I've also cycled a good bit with Sher. Good times, great memories!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ride and Tie. Hmm, that's a different twist on Multi-Sport.

I met a lady during last Sunday's run who's into "Ride and Tie". Apparently these folks have teams of 3. Two people and a horse. The races have the horse being ridden ahead, then tied to a tree. The person riding the horse then runs ahead while the person behind catches up to the parked horse, then rides ahead of the runner. And repeat. You get the idea.

The girl is going to compete this weekend in a 25 mile race. Hmm, sounds like fun. Not unlike a triathlon or duathlon. But it seems there aren't a lot of participants around here, mainly a California thing. Now that's a different sort of sport, eh?

Monday, October 20, 2008

OK, Let's try this again, Running/Dirt Biking/Picnic...

This Saturday, October 25th. Same stuff as the previous topic. We'll go to the Run The Woodlands 5k at 8 am and go to the Track at 9 am.

All are all invited. Yes, EVEN Carolyn! I'll teach you how to ride and you'll have a GREAT TIME! We're safe and level-headed, no one gets hurt, everyone leaves with an ear-to-ear GRIN!

There will be some riding, grilling, feasting, riding, chatting with great folks, sitting in the shade checking stuff out. And prolly go riding some more, too. :)

Here's a FINE example of what it'll look like. Topic from the July 4th weekend:
Fourth of July

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dirt Biking, Sunday 10/19....Wanna go?

It looks like the track will be dry and the weather BEAUTIFUL! I've invited my friends to join for another half-day of riding dirt bikes.

I'll take some docile bikes along for beginners to ride. Track opens at 9am. I'll run with The Woodlands Running Club early, then load up and head out....

C'mon! Coach Bill? Manny/Cassie? Lance? Adrienne? John/Sabrina? I've neglected to mention a bunch of folks here, but that don't mean you ain't invited...

It should be a fine day for riding! Lemme know....BTW, I'm an excellent instructor!...


Thursday, October 16, 2008

So, about 3 weeks ago I raced my FIRST Motocross Race!

Yep, I entered the Motocross races and ran 2 Motos (heats). As y'all may know, I live 5 miles from 3 Palms Extreme Sports Park and often ride during the week at lunchtime. I also have several regular MX friends I ride with on weekends.

I've ridden motorcycles all my life and was in the "holding onto the handlebars" position while inside my mother's womb. I'm innately gifted and talented with all things mechanical! I was the most "wrenching" little kid anyone's ever seen! So consequently I worked on bikes throughout childhood/junior high/high school/college. I had never actually been to a motocross track because that wasn't the main attraction for me.

While living in San Antonio, I amassed no shortage of motorcycles and had/have plenty of dirt bikes. We would go riding at a less-than-hardcore track pretty often. And the less-than-hardcore is a GOOD thing if you're out there to have fun and don't want to get RUN OVER by the REALLY fast guys! The track we rode wasn't representative (I guess) of real motocross tracks because it was hard-pack terrain. So my bikes of choice were Kawasaki KX-100's. I'm 5'8", pretty compact. I can ride big bikes, having owned 125's, 250's, and even a Honda CR-500 (INSANE BIKE!). But the 100's fit me really well. It's WAY different than the bigger bikes, even the 125's! There are things you don't do on the small bikes that you will do on the bigger bikes. But I was plenty quick riding the 100's.

Skip forward to my relocation back to Houston. I grew up here. My stomping ground was the Champions Forest/1960 area and spent summers on Lake Conroe. I relocated here for a number of reasons, but that's another topic.

Upon moving here, I loaded up the KX-100's and a KX-125 and went to 3 Palms. Had a MISERABLE time! OMG! The tracks are NOT hard-packed ground, but loose, deep sand, mud, dirt. It's a nightmare trying to get the small bikes around the track because they don't have deep broad power output. With hard-pack, you launch out of a corner and the hard ground offers little rolling resistance. Launch out of a corner and build speed that is very easy to maintain on the hard ground. NOT the case here! You gotta put power to the ground and you've gotta KEEP IT COMING! The loose deep ground takes A LOT of horsepower! Even the 125 is heavily taxed.

I bought a very slightly used (like 10-20 minutes old) 2004 Honda CR-250R the day after Christmas, 2007. Even after riding it a good bit, I was still struggling. I still wasn't enjoying the track as it's really tough to get around the track. I quickly reasoned that the problem HAD to be me! All of these other guys are flying by and having no trouble.

I learned of a really cool MX instructor, excellent instruction! I took 8 hours of professional Motocross instruction, four 2-hour "classes" over the span of a month. TOO COOL! Best value in education EVER! It took me a while to realize that wheelies, jumps and general hooliganism IS the premise of this particular form of "continuing education". The guy really got me straightened out and got my form and riding position corrected! Money well spent.

So after months of recreational riding, almost exclusively on the "Main Track", I'm pretty damn competent and certainly comfortable. I LOVE riding the Main Track! If you drive by on I-45 and look over, it could be ME that you're seeing there! WooHoo!

So I entered the race on the "Gran Prix" track. I don't like it as it's very fast. You've gotta REALLY go very fast to catch air....and it's LONG AIR. Just not my thing. I entered the "Over 40, 250 Novice" class. There were TWO things that needed to happen:

1) Do NOT get hurt!
2) Do NOT come in last place!

Well, having never launched out of a Motocross starting gate ever before, I was last out. After the first turn I looked back and there was no one behind me. "#$%^" OK, I'll just chase 'em down! WRONG!! Geezus! You know what it is about the Over 40 class that makes it so tough (it never occurred to me until after the race)? Every one of these guys were riders all through their lives! These are guys who REFUSE to let it go!

So I came in LAST PLACE! Do you have ANY idea how demoralizing that is?? I'm very good at my running and work/career stuff. I'm just not wired to accept failure. Hell, I would have GLADLY traded a minor injury for not coming in LAST PLACE!!

Between Motos, I went and practiced my "launch" in another area of the facility. I got it down much better than the first. Starting in 2nd gear, not 1st. Sitting WAY up on the seat/tank and modulating the clutch to keep the wheelie from getting too high.

Second Moto, I was ready for the launch, but still blew it. I bogged the bike, then got too aggressive with the clutch and had a hell of a wheelie, but was drifting out of my line to the right side. NO!! Can't do that as there's a bike RIGHT there! DOH! Had to shut off and let 'em go past. AGAIN last around the 1st turn, I was PISSED! I did manage to get around 2 guys!! WooHoo! But I really didn't like it! I was riding much harder and taking chances that I REALLY wouldn't have otherwise taken. Six laps per Moto will WEAR YOU OUT!!

I don't think I'll pursue Motocross racing (not on the Gran Prix track, anyway), as I just pushed too hard and am not willing to take the chances that I was taking. I WILL try the same 'Over 40, 250 Novice' the next time they have races on the Main Track, as I'm really comfortable there.

Coming in LAST PLACE in the 1st Moto SUCKED! Scoring 13th out of 15 riders in the 2nd Moto was much easier to take.

Don't think for ONE SECOND that the Over 40 guys are wimps, they HAUL ASS!! I learned a lot that day!! Just thought I'd share this with y'all....

Carry on.....:):):)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I had a date today! And she's a runner.....

Had a great running date today, followed by an abbreviated lunch (smoothies). I wanted to run in Memorial Park today, as I had to go 'in town' to deliver some client stuff. So I thought, "hmmm, who can I get to go running with me?" Given that it was during the day and during the week, that greatly narrows the choices. But I did recall one lady who's prolly just taking up space on her couch, so I emailed her.

Had a GREAT time! While there are rare occasions, I pretty much only hang out with running chics. Neat lady. Next time I'm in town and looking to run, I'll call her again. Memorial Park is a great running venue, I've always enjoyed it.

Carry on....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Huntsville Half Marathon...I DONE THUNDERED!!....

MUCH to my surprise, I kicked it really well this morning!! WooHoo!! The Huntsville race is brutal with hills! Everything was quasi-OK after the 1st lap. Things started going wrong after that. Because I have ZERO training, I have no callouses on my toes (well I have some, but not enough for what I was doing).

Between the hills and the bloody toe, my athletic fortitude crumbled late in the race. I walked a bunch, I wasted 3-4 minutes walking. I was hoping to go under 2 hours.....Soooo, how did I fare, you ask??

1:47:40, BABY!! That's about 8:14 min/mile....Sheesh, I'll take it!

There was at least one casualty:

And I saw my running buddy, Sabrina (middle) and the SUPER FAST CHIC, Adrienne (right). I don't know how she did, but she probably won it! Heck, if I can't be a truly great runner, I might as well hang out with great runners, eh?! Here:

And saw Karen, Bill Dwyer, Jon Walk....GREAT bunch of folks! They're truly committed to the runners' cause and are responsible for putting on a TOP NOTCH event! Thanks guys!

And that's just the 1st-third of my day...shower, then client work, followed by the Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival. And I have a date! I'll be welcoming a restful work week, weekends are tiring! WooHoo...

EDIT: Bill Dwyer (Bill, THANKS for ALL of your contributions to the local running scene!) just sent me these pics he took...I chatted a good bit with the girl in the first pic. This was at the half-way point, before the whole thing began to unravel and get tangled. :):)

Second pic, post race, briefly hanging out with Sabrina (after I was pretty sure I wasn't going to puke).

And major kudos to Sabrina, she was HAULING today! Better than 10 minutes ahead of her goal...She's about to go run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2 weeks! She's stout and uninjured with lots of training miles on her shoes!

OK, I'm back! How rude to have bailed on y'all....

Sorry for the lengthy delay in writing! How RUDE! I'll be brief at this very point in time because I'm in trouble!!

About a month and a half ago, my running buddy, Sabrina, mentioned the Hunstville Half-Marathon. Of course I went and mouthed off, "sure, you're on!" Suffice to say that my running has been non-existent with the arrival of Ike. My gym training also non-existent. I'm out the door right now to go run the Huntsville Half!

I'm sending out distress signals, EVEN before the race!! This could be ugly!! It's a 2 lap race, so if the "wheels are falling off and the connecting rods have punched holes in the block" after 1 lap, I'll exit. If I'm still intact after the 1st lap, then I might go the whole way!

I've got a new camera, so maybe I'll snap some pics!

Oh dear, I'm scared! I'm outta here!!