Friday, October 23, 2015

Cyclocross Racing In Walla Walla

What I was up to last weekend. Wearing the pink and yellow striped tie and striped socks to match my pink and yellow bikes, everybody knows who Hank is even though they don't know me. On Sunday a set of parents told me their son said he "wanted to be like Hank" and wear some flashy socks. So now he's sporting Seattle Seahawks colors. Hey, as long as he's having fun.

Saturday's racing was especially fun. I got through the single speed but the men's 60+ was great. Steve Rapp, Frank Benish, and I battled for third place for nearly the entire race. Steve and Frank are strong on the straightaways where they'd blast by me. I'm faster in the technical parts and I'd get right back in front again on a turn or at the barriers. Frank dropped back and Steve and I pushed each other hard for a couple of laps. On the last lap, Steve pressed forward on a straightaway and I just couldn't answer. I was out of gas. As we winded our way towards the end of the race I saw that Frank was catching up to me.  Being tired and feeling pressured I made a huge mistake at the barriers and crashed. (It's right at the end of the first video.) That allowed Frank to gain a lot of ground and later pass me with about 100 yards to finish. Had I stayed upright I might have held him off for fourth place. But that's part of racing. For me it was fun just to have someone to race against.

Allegro Cyclocross Day 1 from hank greer on Vimeo.

Allegro Cyclocross Day 2 from hank greer on Vimeo.

To my shock and surprise my name was called for third place in the men's single speed. I had finished fourth out of four on Saturday and fifth out of five on Sunday so how can that happen, right? It turned out that the combined scoring system they were using that weekend required you to race both days for your score to count. Only three of us raced both days so I scored this wooden belt buckle with a number "3" made out of bike chain links. Sweet!

Truth be told, though, this is hardly a testament to my prowess on the single speed. Racing the single speed is hard and I'm not nearly as strong as the other racers. I'm in it for the fun of riding the course. I like to get two races in and doing the single speed allows me to have a two or three hour break between races.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cyclocross Racing In Moscow

It was fun racing yesterday. A strong wind made the course even more challenging. It finally got me on my last lap when the wind blew the tape into my handlebars. I quickly tried to clear it but to no avail. The tape pulled on my handlebars and down I went. Luckily I only got some minor scratches.

Palouse Cyclocross Races from hank greer on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Next Speaker Of The House

Cathy McMorris Rodgers may have never entered the race to become the next Speaker, but I think she is perfectly qualified.

I'm not running, but pick me! Pick me!

Look back at her work as chair of the Select Committee on Earmark Reform, all mention of which is scrubbed from her web site. The disappearance of that information is an indicator of leadership potential, but let's look at what disappeared. To review, she was appointed chair of the committee in December 2008 and the committee was supposed to provide a report on earmark reform in February 2009. By March 2010 there was still no report. Better yet, the committee never held a single meeting during it's vaunted existence. So if you want someone to lead something that would benefit the country by simply fading away into history with nary a footnote, Cathy McMorris Rodgers would be a pretty good choice.

Besides, it's not like the House of Representatives could get any more dysfunctional, right?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Crosstoberfest IV

This weekend was my first cyclocross race and it was at my favorite course up in Sandpoint. This year the Team Autism folks built it up into a very challenging course. There's a set of stair steps spaced about 15 feet apart consisting of buried railroad ties. This is on a slight uphill grade. Directly after the steps were the barriers. Not the best place for barriers so most of us were in for a long run. The run up had two levels to it. The first is rideable although I couldn't on the single speed. And the second level is steep. A new addition to the course is a LASR (pronounced lay-zer), which, in this case, is the opposite of the speed of light. A Long-Ass Sand Run. Of course, for the elite athletes it was a Long-Ass Sand Ride. It's about 100 feet of soft sand. And there was a double barrier of logs to get over. This course kept you honest.

As usual, I entered the single speed and 50+ races. I got all six laps in on the single speed. The wind was blowing fiercely, making some of the straightaways slower or faster depending on the direction you were going. And it made the sandpit area more like a sandstorm at times.

I worked on technique and finding good lines. The ground was getting soft in many places especially later in the day. One thing I was confident about was my ability to jump over the logs. I'm thrilled to report that I cleared the double logs on each of the eleven laps in my races. A couple times I was able to pass someone because they either dismounted or slowed down to ride over the logs. They still caught and passed me later on but small victories, right?

The 40+ and 50+ masters raced together. I was a little tired from my earlier race but I was still able to ride hard. But not quite hard enough. The 40+ leaders caught me on their last lap, which made my fifth lap my last. One thing that didn't help my time was my stopping at the halfway point in the sand pit and accepting the beer that was being handed up. I was their best customer! And to top it off someone handed me a can of beer just before the finish line.

The Wild West CX Series medals are pretty cool. The medal for each race location consists of part of the shield logo. So if you medal in every location you can put the pieces together and make a complete shield. Since the only way I end up on the podium is if there are less than four people racing in my category I'm focusing on having fun and staying fit.

Here's the video from yesterday's racing.

Crosstoberfest IV from hank greer on Vimeo.