So many things have happened in this past quarter, that if I gave them all the attention they deserved, I'd have another "War and Peace" on my hands. Most of my friends suffer from A.D.D., so much more than three words, and they check out. I'll keep the words as small as possible, so maybe they'll make it to the end.
A visit from overseas was a welcome change from the every day, here in old T-town. Fat Lad and his lovely bride made the journey across the big pond, and during their holiday, spent a few days in our fair village. It was really cool getting to meet someone in real life, who from their writings, I see share a passion that ties most of our crew together. I've always envisioned Al and his pootle crew as sort of a UK doppleganger to the various tribes we have locally. I've often wondered what it would be like to visit their crew and ride their terrain. Al and Sarah bit the bullet, and put my thoughts to reality. I have to say I'm quite envious.
We all did our best to entertain our visitors, including showing off the local trails like proud poppas, and taking them out for dinner and drinks. We even celebrated Al's birthday at Cool Beans Cafe, followed by more beer at Finnegan's. Even my wife, who only see pieces of all of this blog fodder, has now made new friends, thanks to this interweb of jabber. She and Sarah have been trading emails, and she was really excited about the possibility of crossing paths with Sarah in New York, in the next couple of weeks. Alas, it was not meant to be. It seems they are doing the Juancho trick, where one flies out the day the other flies in. No worries, though. Michelle is already starting to plan a trip to the UK for some time next year.
We've been racing more this year. We used to race a lot more, when the core group was still in their 20s. But for the past 10 years or so, we've just done one or two a year. This year has seen he crew on the road more often, traveling to these events. Some of the guys have had great success. Big Jim Slade has been on fire, with a couple of solid wins, and a podium spot here in T-town. Ice Berg is well on his way to winning the Junior class for the entire series. Marcus is flirting with a mandatory upgrade to expert, thanks to his consistent placement in the top 5. Silk is only doing select events, but his careful planning, has him perfectly prepared every time, and he just keeps killing the expert class. Every time he toes the line, he is a threat. That must be a nice feeling.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to share in the revelry. I've had worse luck than ever this year. I don't think I've had this many mechanicals, in one season, not even when I used to do 15-18 races a year. I flatted in Birmingham, flatted at Ft Clinch, and broke both seat rails in Tallahassee. Now everyone has their theories on my issues, but I think it's just dumb luck, with the exception of the Tallahassee race. In hindsight, I really shouldn't have been running that saddle. The flats were with two completely different set ups, both of which had I had been running for over a year with no extraordinary problems. I still learned a lot at the last few races. I've found a new way to pace myself at the beginning of the races, Racing at 38 is a lot different that racing at 25. I found I can no longer pin it to win it. I've got to back off in the early laps, and then start to reel in the guys who got free. My lap times got a lot more consistent, and my overall average speeds went up. Like Silk says, ride smarter not harder.
The latest on the personal news front, I've pissed off my ankle again. I'm hoping it just an overuse issue. I've always been flat footed, and a nasty sprain about 2.5 years ago brought more long term aggravation to left ankle. The last couple of weeks leading up to the Tallahassee race, my ankle started to give me some extra grief. After trying to ride half a lap of the Tom Brown race course standing, with broken seat rails, it was damn sore. Anyway, by the 2nd or 3rd ride the week after the race, I couldn't stand up on the pedals, so I've been taking some time off the bike, to let it heal. Apparently that slows down, too, when you're 38, and not 25. It's tough to sit around when this is the Tallahassee mountain bike season, but I guess it's what's necessary to heal my tired body.