Friday, October 22, 2010

MRC Cyclocross

I can spell the MRC Cyclocross race: F-U-N!!! That race was a blast and that was the most fun I have had in a long time. I am going to be surprised if this race doesn't become one of the biggest cross races in New England. I loved the new venue; the Lancaster Fairgrounds. I can go on and on; the beer, the chili, hanging out with team-mates and friends on a gorgeous fall day. I loved the course also, not easy and the club featured a "fly over" which means you pick-up your bike and climb stairs, mount quickly and fly down a steep ramp. This pick is me going back under the fly over (thanks for the pic Russ!!!) - big smile on my face. I hadn't honestly touched a bike in three-weeks (thumbs down, boo, unhappy face), so I just jumped in and raced with no expectations, goals or even caring about racing; which is probably what made it so much fun. I had only one crash; sprinting against Mark from Landrys, I passed him and said "you aren't going to let me pass you are you?" We proceded to sprint down a straight away, of course I passed him only to be going way too fast into the turn and did a complete 180 only to be facing Mark coming at me. He spared riding me over though and I paid him back when he WIPED OUT going down the flyover and I held this young guy from mounting and riding over him as he was laying on his back at the bottom of the ramp! I put my CX tires on the night before only to see that the tread is worn on both tires; they need to be chucked. Anyway, I really enjoyed that race and raced well. I was definitely in a groove 2/3 of the way through (also, not one CX practice this fall and I still raced).

Back to running. I am racing the Groton 10mile trail race this weekend(cheers! hooray! clapping!). I have mostly been running trails, so I think it makes sense for me to race now and maybe do an early off-season or some other low-key races. My numbers have decreased over the last week in a half, so it has almost been like a taper. I look forward to returning to Groton. I think it has been 5 or 6 years sense I last raced there.

I hope everyone is enjoying fall. It has been a cool fall for us New Englanders. Let me know what everyone else is doing! I may jump into another cross or trail race in the near future.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tornados, The Jellies and The Fall Season

Okay, so it wasn't a tornado (I just like to get people's attention), but was an incredible force exhibited by mother nature flexing her muscle. Okay, I don't know what the correct term is; microburst, downburst or windshear. I think they are relative terms (if anyone skilled in weather is reading this please comment below). Anyone who knows this blog always knows there is a story.

Date: October 1st
Time: approximately 10:am
Location: Boxborough, MA

No fancy doppler on wheels or TIV (tornado intercept vehicle) like you see on those shows on TV. Just a couple of guys out for a run on a fall morning. Instead of chasing storms, the storm chased us. Here is the story ...

I arrive at friend Bill's house late again for the run. He is pointing to the weather channel saying that the squall line is coming our way and that we should get going. I had seen the report on NECN, which was wrong again! That we would see the heavy rain until afternoon. Looked to be pretty good conditions for a run, except that it was extremely humid. We did the usual 8 mile out and back. At the 4 mile turn around, I noticed the oncoming weather, as I could see what looked like a black curtain in the distance and I point and say, "I think that is the squall line." I get an atta boy for that one, as we now have the wind picking up and blowing acorns and stuff on us. I comment; don't worry about the acorns, I just don't want a tree limb or something to fall. No more than 60 seconds later would we experience something I had never before. It was like the wind picked-up, but never stopped picking up. It was so extreme that I am watching the trees blowing over and it just keeps getting more intense. Now debris is flying everywhere! The trees are now bent over like an upside down J. A big tree right in front of us, big - bigger that I could wrap my arms around - it just could not withstand the force, snaps off at the base. That was okay until another tree on the other side of the road snaps and falls across the road in front of us into the power lines. When it hit the power lines every thing lights-up like a lightning strike. I was pretty well convinced at that point that our lives were in danger. I see the look of horror on Bill's face. His hair is being blown horizontally to one side. I look for some open sky, as the next tree to come down would probably be on us. I signal over here and we jump a wall into some one's yard and run over to their house and end up pinned up against the backside of their chimney. If the house goes over we would be dead anyway, so it was a pretty good option. I joke that I think I will stop my watch and maybe we should stay here for a minute. The debris is still flying over the house, but we for the moment are safe. Then it is over ... we walk across lawns to avoid the downed power lines and run home in torrential rain with lots of adrenaline. This week I run trails and discover trees down along the same line (I think it is called a yaw line), with another big tree that had fallen across the train tracks (and was then cut-up). Any weak trees are down along this line. I've been running competitively now for 35 years and I've seen a lot; had to ditch many a time with strong thunderstorm cells, but I have never experience something like that!!! I estimate the wind speed was around 100mph, which would make it hurricane force.

Moving on to the Jellies.... I would swim later that day and I know everyone has heard - I see jelly fish in Walden. I thought they were air bubbles at first, but then I see one very clearly. Hyperspace to 10/8 - my last open water swim of the year (I think!?). The water was unusually clear and I see thousands, probably tens of thousands of jelly fish. They are indeed fresh water jelly fish from Asia. Scientists aren't sure if they will or will not be back next year. I've been swimming in Walden since I was a kid and again, have never seen anything like that!

Weekly running numbers:

9/20 - 58
9/27 - 51
10/4 - 48mi

I will summarize the last three weeks; I am unable to put in the necessary training in for a marathon, too busy and the time has just slipped away. I am planning to run Manchester half marathon instead or maybe just call it a year and look towards 2011. It's kind of a bummer, but now is just a bad time for me. Next weekend I will do the MRC cross race and have some fun!!

Hope everyone is doing well. Lot's of MRC folks CX racing every weekend. I just saw Macca won Kona. Also, lot's of other big races last weekend BAA half, which I want to do some year and Hartford, also on my radar screen.