Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Beach Volleyball update - Undefeated season

Beach volleyball in Ohio, who’d thunk it? My wife of course. As most of you know she is a volleyball lunatic. She played throughout high school and went on to play in college. Last year for her birthday I got her tickets to the AVP in Chicago and she went ballistic. I don’t think she was that excited for our marriage. (I’m beginning to see where I rank) At the event she knew everyone, got pictures with her favorite pro players and began my lessons on the rules of the game. She’s been trying to get me to play the last couple of years but I think has been to embarrassed at my skill level and never put together a team I was worthy of playing on. This year that changed, she finally dropped down to my level of play and we got on a coed team. I got a call from my little brother, Todd who is living in Kent OH. They have a beach volleyball league going on and asked if we’d be interested in playing the next session. This was my chance, “Ya…we’re in” How hard can this be, I thought to myself as we drove up the first game. 10 minutes later, sweat dripping from my forehead and breathing hard I realized, dang this is tough, harder then I thought. We were losing our first game and I was thinking it was because of me, I think I missed my first spike, put the first serve into the net…well - we battled back and won the first game and then went on to be the only undefeated team in season play. 24 – 0. I think I was the only 6’-4” guy who could not spike. Towards the end of the season I was spiking 30% of the sets, but man…the other 70% were ugly, I could not get the timing and angle right but I did get slightly better as time progressed, which I guess is all I could ask for seeing I’ve never played before. Connie was very encouraging with her smiling, snickering and all out falling to the ground in hysterical laughter when I would be set up for the perfect spike and I’d shank it. The season ended with us going into the tournament. Since we were undefeated we had a bye and did not start play until 10:30pm, for us that is late. We were both up at 5:30 in the morning, Connie went to work, and I jumped on the bike and rode 1 ½ hours to work in Akron. Well the opposing team climbed up the tourney ladder and was hot after just playing, we had not played at all and here we where in the quarter finals…needless to say we gave away our first game and lost, all of us miss-serving about 9 points…it was ugly. We battled back and won the next two games and took the set. This moved us into the semi-finals and we had our next game at 11:30pm. Once again we played awful. We gave away many points and we lost the set 2-1 to a team we had swept in the regular season. Still pondering what happened - we simply had no mojo that night. The other team did not play good either, it was an ugly semi-final game, I apologize to anyone who was watching. It was a good chance to see how my wife played under pressure…whooo..look out! Intense! I think I played the worst I’ve played all season. It was probably a good thing we lost though, the other bracket in the tournament was behind schedule and if we’d won we’d be in the finals with the match not starting til after 1:00am.

We had fun and I learned a lot. My wife kicks ass at volleyball...this is her game! She has a wicked serve and would make a great coach as she broke it down for me many times. I tried to make my highly critical wife proud, but I’m not sure I succeeded. I did get a couple high-fives from her when I did get a strong spike or a good block. The real test we be if she ever asks me to play on another team with her again, but 24-0 aint bad…is it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reagan Park Time Trial - 4th Place

Finally home court advantage. After traveling to Florida, Tennessee, Michigan and Colorado to race this year it was nice to be able to leave my house on my bike and ride 3 miles over to the local trails to enter a local race. The 3rd Annual Reagan Park Time Trail was Sunday and consists of a blend of old school and new school trail design. Tight, curvy and technical is the first half of the trail verses open, free flowing contour line CAMBA designed trails of the last 3 miles of the course. The best overall skilled rider would win this race…and that would be none other then my Solon team mate Steve Twinning who set a blistering pace at 33:46 minutes. I went off in the 10th starting position and decided to take the first half slow and smooth. That lasted about 10 seconds when I decided to stomp on the pedals a bit, but after the first small hill I felt the lactic acid build up a bit so I backed off and went back to the original game plan of easy the first half and then stepping up the pace on the wide open trail at the finish. The tactic seemed to work decent as I felt good the entire race and was able to maintain a good tempo. I came across the finish line at 35:56 which was good for 4th place. Jeff Cochran took 2nd place at 35:27 and my team mate Ross Clark finished 3rd at 35:30. The Solon Team almost took a sweep of the podium with 1st, 3rd, 4th & Bob Rodgers roll'n in at 5th place. Dustin, Jason, Mike & Larry did a great job running the event. From a rider perspective everything looked well organized the trail was in outstanding shape!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2007 Leadville 100 Start - WOW!

Landon's First Podium

Landon's been long anticipating his first bike race and what not a better venue then the Big Valley Race Bike 'n' Tikes Kids Festival. Landon lined up with the other mini-mites (2-3yr olds) and was eager to get things rolling. He was counting down and inching forward before the start gun went off. Landon and I talked before the race and decided not to go out too strong and save it for the end of the race. So the flag dropped and the kids went off, Landon, Emily and 2 others must have been listening to our strategy as they stayed back a little also. Landon hasn't got the pedaling thing down yet so I pushed him the entire way while he steered his bike like a drunk'n sailer. We rode and ran down the course and the finish line was in sight, we stepped it up and just as it looked like a sixth place finish for us someone fell and Landon pushed on and crossed the finish line in 5th place. He got his first trophy and was so proud he took it to school on Tuesday to show his friends. He are a few photos for Landon's proud day!