Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Got A Little Woody Today

Today was the first of two days of WSBA cyclocross racing at Riverside State Park. They have a different schedule so I only signed up for one race each day since both races I usually enter are running back to back. Today I did the men's masters 55+. Since I was only in one race I planned to race hard and see how it went. The course made it very challenging.

Yesterday we had a ton of rain. The park normally drains the water away but since the ground had frozen a couple days before much of the water pooled and froze overnight.

They started all the masters, 35+, 45+, and 55+ together so I had no idea who I was up against. There were about twenty of us in thee group. I jumped out at the start and was around 5th or 6th when we went through a twisting, winding park. Coming out of that I tried to power around a wide turn to get past a couple more guys. I hit a lot of loose debris on the ground--I never fell on the icy parts--and my back wheel slid out from under me. Almost everyone got by me before I was back up to speed. 

I was bummed out by that but I raced hard and started reeling people in. But I had no idea if they were in my age group. So I just kept going and finished feeling good about my performance. Well, except for the part where I threw away a good start. After the race I changed into clean, dry clothes and broke out the cameras to shoot the remainder of the days racing.

Later on I was taking photographs and I heard the announcer calling out the names for the 55+ podium finishers. Danged if they didn't call me out at second place. Heck, I never podium. So I figured there must've been only two of us. Nope, there was four.

It was a great day of racing. The day warmed and the course turned to mud. I wished I could've raced in the afternoon. Tomorrow I'm in the single speed race. It's the state championships. I'll get my ass beat big time. But I'll have fun.

Dodging icebergs on the first lap.

We crunched up all the ice that covered the water.

 My little woody.
I thought everyone yelling for Frank was calling me by the wrong name.

 I yelled for my buddy Brian to wheelie for the camera.

 The run up was very, very long.

 It got muddy in the afternoon.

 Bad ass teen jumping the log at the bottom of the run up.

 Bad ass Cat 1 guy jumping the same log.

 As the day warmed there was more mud.

Friday, November 21, 2014

How Dare The President Do Something

Cathy McMorris Rodgers had this to say about President Obama's decision to address parts of immigration reform through executive actions.

"Tonight the President articulated his plan to act unilaterally on one of the most significant issues facing America: the future of 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country.  His decision to act alone blatantly disregards the will of the American people: for their elected leaders to work together and enact effective, long-term solutions that make people’s lives better.  Tonight the President has done exactly the opposite.  He has revealed that his own desire for unilateral action trumps the democratic process upon which this country was founded.

When it comes to fixing our broken immigration system, the American people want a permanent solution, not a quick fix.  They want the most effective solution, not the most expeditious one.  They want their elected leaders to come together, transcend partisan divisions, and advance real, common-sense solutions.  Make no mistake: I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle – and I will listen to the American people – to get immigration reform right.  I urge the President to join us in that effort."

Our congresswoman laments the President's unilateral action and claims his actions trump the democratic process.

Here's what she's not telling you.

The democratic process isn't working because of the extremists in the Republican-led House. The Senate passed a comprehensive bill in June 2013 that would provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally and tighten border security. Sixty-eight bipartisan votes passed that bill. The bill would double enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border but provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The House leadership has refused to bring the bill up for a vote so it's been languishing in the House for almost 18 months.

What does the president's unilateral action consist of? President Obama is not granting citizenship to anyone. His executive order will protect about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Those people will not become citizens nor will they receive legal permanent residence. Deportations will focus on the people who threaten public safety.

Plus, undocumented immigrants who have lived her for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents and register and pass criminal and national security background checks, will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers may cry havoc about the president's "decision to act alone", but what it really translates to is, "The president is doing something because we won't."

Does anybody else need a Kleenex?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apple Cross Video

Apple Cross 2014 from hank greer on Vimeo.

So what took you so long, Hank? Well, I was in the middle of transferring 2TB of video and photo files from my old iMac to my new iMac. It took 16 days to copy everything over. Hence my relative silence on this blog because I didn't want to interfere with this very time consuming process.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Apple Cross

Apple Cross, hosted by the Zusters, was held last Sunday at Walter's Fruit Ranch up on Green Bluff. The weather was cold and rainy, the course was muddy and nearly every turn is off camber. It doesn't get any better than that. I sputtered out of the chute for the single speed race at 9:00. The heavens opened and drenched us. The mud plastered onto me and the bike and made the bike feel 20 pounds heavier at the barriers and the run up.

Two and one-half laps in I was wondering, "Why is this so hard?" I was really struggling. My progress was not matching my output and I was having a tough time. Shortly after starting my third lap I hit a real soupy part of the course and I could feel the ground really well under my front tire. And I mean really well. I had flatted at some point but didn't notice since the course was so mushy. The extra front wheel sitting in my van wasn't going to do me any good so I just took it easy and made sure I didn't peel the tire off the rim, which would have forced me to walk. The race leaders passed by me on my fourth lap and I was thankful for them ending my race for me. I washed my bike off and changed out of my muddy kit into some dry clothes so I could take photos of the next couple of races.

Two hours later I put my muddy kit back on and lined up for the men's masters 50+. (My extra wheel set was in the pits.) I had a good start but my depleted energy level made itself evident by the time I hit the run up. I focused on technique and worked the turns as best as I could. I saw I was reeling in a couple of riders ahead of me so that was encouraging. I went down once when I pushed a turn too hard and I got hung up on a course marker trying to take a turn too tight.

The Bike Hub crew set up camp next to a particularly treacherous set of muddy serpentine turns. On two of the laps my friend Brian gave me a beer hand up. That forced me to maneuver through the turns one-handed while I tried tossing down the beer. I'm happy to say I was successful both times.
On one of the laps someone at the top of the run up had a can of whipped cream."Hey, Hank. Want some whip?"
 What the Bike Hub folks saw all morning.

"Sure," I said and opened my mouth as I tried to maintain something I hoped would pass for a running effort. Things didn't work out as planned. She hit my lip with the tip of the can and then sprayed whipped cream all over my goatee. It was pretty funny. After the race someone asked if I was okay because I had blood running down my chin. So not only did I not get any whip, she drew blood. That's cyclocross.

I did all my laps and got in line after the finish to get my bike washed. Props to the guys at This Bike Life for bringing bike stands, buckets and brushes, and standing in the mud and water as they removed mud with water. Sometimes from riders, too.

 Andrew crushing the MTB race right after doing the single speed race.

 The run up. And it wasn't chewed up yet.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Missoula Rolling Thunder Cyclocross

Wow, the folks in Missoula know how to put on a great race. I decided to race just men's masters 50+ because the race was back-to-back with the single speed race. Our races were scheduled to run 50 minutes. There's just no way I could handle back-to-back 50-minute races and come away with any feeling of enjoyment.

Stephanie is going to school at the University of Montana so Kathy went with me so we could hang out with Steph. Consequently, I did not do my usual routine of shooting all the races and creating a video. But I did turn Steph loose with my camera while I raced and gave her a few tips. She did great and I uploaded about 600 photos to the INWCX Facebook page.  Thanks, Steph!

My race on Saturday was at 3:40 pm and it started out cool and dry. The masters 40, 50, and 60+ groups were started in waves with a 20-second gap between each. I started in the back of the 50 group so I wouldn't get in anyone's way. As the race progressed four of the hard-core 60+ guys passed me by. The course was hard at first and seemed to get easier with each lap, most likely due to an increase in comfort and confidence levels. The run up on the back side was pretty cool in that they cut these huge steps out of the hillside. That got chewed up more and more with each race. It was a worthy run up. On a side note, because of the permitting no hand ups of any kind were allowed on the course. Fortunately, that's the only down side to this event. The back side also included navigating through deep gravel with a couple of sharp turns thrown in just to shake things up a little. I stayed upright, kept my weight towards the back, and kept a light touch on the handlebars. Every once in a while my front wheel would squirrel off into a deep section but as long as I kept applying power I was fine. The course included a succession of short BMX-like whoop-de-doos. Those were fun. That was followed by a 180 through deep sand. On one lap I heard people yelling for me to get the money in the sand. I spotted a $1 bill during my turn, dismounted, grab the buck, and ran for the barriers that were up next. After the race Steph told me a racer after me picked up a $20. Dang! I need to look around more.

The barriers were tempting in that they were short enough for me to hop. But they were also close together so if I didn't land the first hop correctly I would pay dearly for the second one. I decided to dismount and run through instead. The second set of barriers were higher so there was no discussion there. Clouds threatened most of the afternoon and finally followed through during the last 1-1/2 laps. Rain slicked up the course. On one turn in the grass I powered by another guy only to have one or both of my wheels slide out from under me. That got my right side dirty and my pedal took a chunk out of my right shin.

I took the last downhill before the finish really fast and my front tire slid out during the turn at the bottom. That got my left side dirty and gave the side of my butt a nice rash. It was a fun race. Steph took photos for me. I wish I could show you some GoPro footage but I forgot to turn the darn thing on. Brilliant!

Thanks to the rain I was cold and wet at the end. We packed up and headed to the Marriott where a wet and slightly muddy old man wearing a black shirt, black shorts, bright pink and yellow socks (I had removed my tie) got a lot of strange looks as he checked in.

Day two found us at the race at 10:00 am. I was set to race at 11:10. The course was soggy and muddy from the torrential rains that feel during and after the races the night before. We were going in the opposite direction this time. They removed the run up but one of the ride ups was too steep and slick for most of us so that served as a suitable substitute. The tight turns were precarious in several spots because the mud was so thick. There was only one set of barriers to run through. The wet sand packed down pretty good so it wasn't a factor. But the mud was glorious. This time I remember to turn my GoPro on--about 2-1/2 laps into the race. I only fell down one and this time it was while going up the downhill I feel on the day before. I took a bad line and my front wheel slid out from under me. I even got it on video.

 I was actually in front of someone.

 A split-second capture of my subsonic speed on the bank.


 Not quite on the Sven line.


 My best side.