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XTERRA Training Update

June 30, 2010

With the release of “Eclipse” the latest iteration of the Twilight vampire series, I thought I would repeat a joke I saw circulated on the internet: 

How is Twilight like professional soccer?  They run around for two hours, nobody scores, and their billion fans insist “you just don’t understand”. 

That being said, I am sooo “Team Jacob”.

Anyway.  I am preparing for my “A” race in the middle of August, XTERRA Camp Eagle in the Texas Hill Country.  I have begun to ramp up my mountain bike training to improve my fitness and skills.  I have been riding the single speed 69’er for most of the early season, but with plans to ride a more technical cross-country course with lot of roots, rocks,  and steeper downhill sections at Erwin Park, I dusted off my old FSR.  It felt a bit like riding a La-Z-Boy.  Really comfortable–I missed that.  Really heavy.  It is amazing how ten extra pounds of bike fat and suspension bob will detract from climbing prowess–I did not miss that.  I’ve grown so used to riding a single speed that I noticed even with my geared bike, I totally abandoned the small chainring.  I’ve either gotten stronger either physically or mentally, or some combination of both.

Ouch.

I’m also preparing for the “Fat Tire Festival” in Eureka Springs, AR in a couple of weeks where I plan to race short track, downhill, and XC in three days.  I got my feet wet last year with downhill (and my old FSR) with resulting broken seat and 2 cracked ribs.  This year I have decided to try to work on my bike skills, so in my training ride, I pushed myself on the downhill sections.  In one section that transitions quickly from slight downhill-open-field trail and quickly plummets into tight-treed woods, I knew I was taking it too fast.  I hit a root at just the wrong moment and the right edge of my riser bar met tree trunk.  The world slowed down as I knew I was going over.  Luckily (unluckily?) I have gotten pretty good at endos and performed a nice “tuck-and-roll”, absorbing most of the impact with my hydration pack.  The FSR was unscathed.  After dusting off and slowing down a bit, I almost hit a lounging armadillo who bolted, terrified of his near miss.  I’m sure hitting him would have done more damage to me.  The ride was hot–anytime the heat index approaches my body temperature I have a hard time cooling off.  I know my limits though, and stopped for more frequent rest during the last half.

Look out sucka!

Interesting notes about armadillos

  • Armadillos are one of the only known vectors (other than humans and a few monkey species) to carry mycobacterium leprae, the organism that causes leprosy.  So don’t eat undercooked armadillo meat.
  • Armadillos are the only known animals to have bones within their skin.  These bony plates are called “scutes”.
  • Armadillos almost always produce a litter of four identical “pups” that come from the same fertilized egg.  They are always all of the same sex.

Morning Spider Patrol

For the run portion I have been spending time trail running.  This morning I ran early to avoid the heat.  Pro:  Much cooler!  Con:  Running into spiders in their webs at face level makes me insane.  It’s bad to be the first on the trail in the morning.  After the first lap I have cleared all of the critters for me and any who follow.  I am excited for the TdF and will probably be posting various hot sports opinions thereof!  That is after I attend Twilight: Eclipse with my wife on Monday (sigh).

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