Dé hAoine 30 Samhain 2007

an feilicean agus an tom agus samplai cac.

sunrise this morning

berry laden bush

same butterfly from the other day. found it in the dpw garage, figured it was done for as it was cold as hell in there. i kept 'encouraging it to open it's wings so that i could get a picture. it had been just sitting there, wings closed, waiting to die. i joked that i had instilled the will to live in it. at the end of the day today, we ot back to the garage, i changed and sat down, and there he was, flapping away on the floor in front of me. i picked him up and he instantly spread his wings and kept them that way. so i tried to keep him warm for a while. took a bottle of flat minute maid orange soda from the bottom of my locker and filled the cap for him. set him on the table and went home. wonder if he'll be there tomorrow...

by special request(chucku), my poo samples. lined up and ready for the doctor. i could have just sent them to chuck to satisfy whatever strange little fettish would cause him to ask for pics of them, but figured perhaps they should be available for public viewing.

Déardaoin 29 Samhain 2007

urlaicim ar do bhroganna nua.

collecting stool samples in the most stomach churning activity ever. i'm never gonna have kids or be a proctologist.

Dé Céadaoin 28 Samhain 2007

an craosan agus an loch agus an terracoir.

sunrise yesterday

sunrise today

dad on the tractor


oak ridge gorge

oak ridge resevoir

sunset today

Dé Luain 26 Samhain 2007

Dé Sathairn 24 Samhain 2007

cracailte? b'feidir...

i've paid my moneys and am now an official entrant in the Susitna 100. 100 miles in very sub-freezing temperatures in alaska in february. sounds like a party to me.

potential ways to die during the race:

*trampled/dropkicked by a moose.
*mauled/eaten by a grizzley or black bear.
*mauled/eaten by wolves.
*mauled/eaten by crazy backwoods alaskan.
*fall through the ice and freeze to death before i have time to drown.
*freeze to death on my bike.
*run over by a snowmobile.

any others i'm missing?

ta TUSA ag dul sios, focar maithre!

so apparently there is another sean grady. and he races singlespeeds at endurance events. i saw his name among the dnf's at lumberjack while perusing the results online. i can't allow this. i once dated a girl and found out aout 1 month into the relationship that she had previously dated another sean grady. i've heard of probably a dozen. i think i need to go on a killing spree to claim my name. eliminate the competition. or subjugate them, and train them all into elite level atheletes who look like me. that way i could sit on my ass drinking beer while my 'me's go out and win races, get paid and score a bunch of hot, naughty ladies to bring home to their master. yeah, that's the plan. an army of me....

Dé Máirt 20 Samhain 2007

la ruta la a cathair.

i laid in bed before the hour i was due to arise on day four, legs stiff and sore, signifigantly more than lingering doubts in my mind. in fact they were pretty much overwhelming. i was wondering if i would be able to get a ride in a support vehicle to the finish. i knew there was to be 5,000 or so feet of climbing in the first thirty miles. i knew that would hurt. i almost bitched out. i'm glad i didn't. got out of bed. put my 'still wet from last nights washing' shorts on. continued with my dry socks and my last clean/dry jersey. got all geared up and ready to go and headed to the restaurant for breakfast. by the time i got on the bus i felt alot better.

i'm not sure why, but tinker took the bus too. i sort of expected him to have a chauffered ride to the start line every morning. i guess not. i can pretty much guarantee you that the only thing that got the guy who he sat next to across the finish line that day was the fact that he sat next to tinker juarez and had a long conversation about the race. the guy was hurting really bad, which severe blistering on his foot. but he finished.

got my bike and changed the front brake pads, with devin(another sser)'s help. flipped the bike over and the lever went straight to the bar. guess i dislodged an air bubble. some pumping and tapping of the brake later and i was ready to go. lined up at the start with kevin, dan, doug, dicky and timmy a few in front. i think andy was somewhere in there too. my gearing choice worked for me right off the uphill start, as i was keeping pace with the pack dicky and doug were in. the other sser's had switched to a larger gear for the 40+ mile flat to the finish. it eventually turned to walking. i eventually stopped to remove the rain jacket i should have had with me the day before. kevin came up on me at that point and stopped to remove his as well. he told me not to wait up, just keep going, so i did, giant striding it up the hill till it was mellow enough to ride. then came the big fun. i came to a downhill of length and speed i have never experienced before. i was flying down it, screaming "passing", "passando", "left", "right", etc all the way down the doubletrack section where i must've passed in excess of 40 riders. then it turned paved and straight and i became a human rocket, reaching speeds i'm sure i've never reached before on a bike. it was absolutely amazing, and the single most fun part of the entire race.

from there it was a little rolling pavement, then a mid-pa length paved downhill, with very uneven and irregular pavement that presented plenty of opportunity for catching air. my back tire cased what i though would just be a ripple but turned out to be a big crack and i pinch flatted. got it changed reasonably quickly, but a bunch of people passed me, including bob. i eventually caught back up to him in the next rolling bit, and we went back and forth till he dropped me on the big wall of a climb.

approaching the downhill after that big wall, i passed two locals. they readied themselves and psyched each other up(in spanish). the first one passed me on the flat before the hill, and i laughed. the second one gave me a dirty look for it, and i felt like a dick, but said "va a ver.", or "you'll see.". and sure enough, within 150' of starting the descent. i blew right past them in the first turn. it's an odd phenomenon, but, despite their incredible fitness and climbing prowess, the ticos can not descend. it's really odd. near the bottom of the hill, it got mellow. mellow to the point that anyone with a big ring was just cruising past me. occasionally i would get into my super aero tuck, with chin on handlebar clamp, but that hurts my neck, so it would never last long. i would find myself gaining ground back on the big ringers when i did it though.

at the bottom of the hill we turned 90 degrees right onto the railroad tracks. a few facts i didn't realize ahead of time where that A: the ties are square edged concrete, not slightly round edged and forgiving wood; and B: there wasn't going to be nearly as much actual track riding as i had expected. for the next forty-plus miles, i was able to pass alot of people where it was rough(tracks/dirt), and get passed by some where it was paved. i caught bob after a while, and pulled him to the next dirt section. he stopped to take a leak and i kept going. i passed alot of people in the remaining section before the last section of train tracks. i was on fire. especially when i saw the ocean. got back on the tracks and motored along. got a little nervous when i heard my rim hit the ties a couple of times, but figured i would be ok. then my back end started feeling squirmy. i looked down and cursed pretty loudly. got off and decided to walk to the next checkpoint. then people started catching up, and i realized if i walked to the check point and then changed the flat, more people would pass me than if i simply changed the flat now and then rode. i was out of c02, so i would have to use my pump, and had already used my spare tube, so i would have had to use my patch kit. sat down, begand to get to work and it started raining. i wondered how i was going to patch a tube in the rain. finally lenny and one of his buddies, who i had gone back and forth with all day, stopped to see if i needed anything. i asked if either had a tube they would be willing to part with and lenny's buddy handed me a 26" tube, previously patched, that worked like a charm. i thanked him immensely and got to work. as i was nearly done, a group of four rolled up on me with bob on the back.

i got mounted up and rolling quicker than the other two people who were fixing pinch flats in the same spot and caught up to bobs group fairly quickly. came to a spot where there was room to pass on the outside, hopped and hammered. got to the checkpoint and went through it as quick as possible, passing alot of the people who had passed me while i was fixing the flat. charged the rest of the way with a multispeeder, me spin-coasting to keep up with his big ring. we went through a couple of intersections, taking the obvious route because there were no arrows or signs. he slowed down and looked behind us, and then i got nervous too. maybe we were off course. there were no other racers in sight. i suggested maybe we should wait a minute and see if any came from around the last bend. a taxi rolled by and stopped to tell us we were going the right way. as we took off, he looked behind and said there were now 7 other racers coming on strong. i told him to go for it since he had the gears. we came to a choke due to vehicle traffic, but it was just wide enough to ride through. i kept shouting "GO GO!!! SHOOT IT!! YOU GOT IT!!" because there were two riders on our tails, but he hesitated. when we came through the choke they gunned it. there was a guy with a checkered flag just up the road and we all thought that was the finiesh, so we all charged. they had me, untill we realized there was a 90 degree left turn onto the actual finish on the beach. it was an all out three way sprint, dropping the ramps onto the beach. one of them bested me. what a great stage. after a bit of time swimming in the carribean, i went for food and beer.

after hanging out for a while john came by and mentioned to me that there was a small, early shuttle bus leaving right away. i ran, grabbed my bag and got on it. kevin tried too, but i guess didn't make it in time. we sat in the parking lot for a while, because we were blocked in by a box van and a parked car. after alot of trying by the la ruta staff to find a driver of either, 5 or 6 of the male racers in the van(myself and john included), got out and simply picked the car up and moved it out of the way. drew a crowd and got a big cheer for that. once on our way things rolled along fairly smoothly, despite our drivers rather scary innattentiveness behind the wheel. we were to take the tunnel through the mountain, the quick route, to san jose. we stopped and asked a police officer if the route was open, and he said yes. we soldiered on for another hour and came to the traffic jam where people were being turned back because the tunnel was now closed due to rock slides...

an hour back to the turn off. we rounded the bend and found the driver of one of the other busses hitchiking on the side of the road. after a "food" stop at a liquor store, where i shitted up the bathroom good, the drivers switched and we had a much more relaxing ride back to the hotel.

the bike trucks wer another fiasco. i unloaded the first one, with several other riders. my bike wasn't in it. all the bikes got lined up out front of the best western. and stayed lined up with the hundreds of other bikes that showed up later that night. when you felt like it or woke up, you simply walked up, took your bike and walked away with it. total honor system. at one point, i'm sure there were more than $150,000 worth of bike sitting essentially unguarded outside the hotel. kind of scary. 50 or more bikes were still there when i left sunday morning. flew all the way back to charlotte on the same flight as dicky and dan. i sat next to dan but unfortunately was pretty boring and slept most of the way. i felt really sick from the time i took a crap at the airport in san jose, and it lasted through till this morning.

once i was home and had a good nights rest behind me i headed off to the oral surgeon to get two wisdom teeth extracted. i just figured la ruta wasn't painful enough and needed to make up for it somehow. unfortunately the surgeon was pretty good at what she did and my mouth doesn't hurt much at all. even after the low dose painkiller wears off. i have a whole bottle of percocet, but i really have no use for it. guess i'll save it for a rainy day.

day 4:
68th open class

overall: 93rd out of 108 open division due to my stage 3 dnf. finishing stage three would have put me somewhere in the 70's most likely.

la ruta la a tri

day three of la ruta broke me. i came into it after a kickass day two. i though i would clean up on day three. the shortest stage. essentially one big hill that i presumed would not be steep. off the start i rode through town with kevin, then let him go when the road got steep. i assumed it was going to mellow out any minute. and i kept assuming that for the next 20 miles basically. i can't really remember as everything is kind of hazy from that day, but i think i caught up to kevin at some point on the first climb, thanks mostly to my long legs and absurd walking speed. i let him go after the checpoint though, as my legs just didn't want to turn the pedals over.

the nice part about all the walking is all the views it awarded me. the not so nice part is getting passed by everyone and their grandmother. litterally, a 65 year old woman rode past me half way up the second part of the climb. there was a light, slushy snow falling at one point which made me decide to put the only extra piece of clothing i had brought with me, a long sleeved jersey, on. got to the top. sat down. ate a bunch of food and tried to mentally prepare myself for the rolling 8 miles before the 12 mile downhill. then it started raining.

i decided to go. almost immediately i started getting alot of sand and grit in my eyes. it's gotta be something to do with my riding stile, but i ALWAYS end up with more dirt and everything else on me after a ride than everyone else on the same ride. i don't understand it, but it's a fact. anyway. i would pass some locals, then get a bunch of crap in my eyes and have to stop to get it out, they would pass me back while i did this, then repeat. then my bottle/cage/pump fell right off my bike. collected and pocketted them and continued on. then my legs stopped working. then my hands stopped working. then i started getting generally miserable. then i started shiverring, and i couldn't stop.

within a few hundred meters, i was walking the flat sections. the guy who seperated his shoulder on day two and was riding with one arm passed me. i started telling people to inform the staff at the next checkpoint that i would be bailing. i eventually had to hitch a ride there with a locals support vehicle. the three guys in the truck were a load of fun and super nice to me. they beat the living hell out of the vehicle though. cased the transmission at least three times, and bent the transaxle by the time we got there. 8-10 cups of hot sugar cane water and two hours of sitting in a heated ambulance later and i was still shiverring and dissoriented a bit. i was afraid of day 4...

i bailed at checkpoint 4 around 12pm. no official finnishing time or position.

la ruta la a do

day two of la ruta. kevin really hooked me and my bike up after day one big time. loads of endurolites, an easier rear cog, chamois butter. all of those, combined with me buying a bunch of extra food to take along with me made a world of difference. there was no cramping involved at all. my legs actually felt fresh for the most part. i finally spotted another jersey rider than tim and myself in one of the marty's guys. i would just refer to him as marty's amd he to me as jersey for the rest of the race. much easier than trying to remember names.

anyway. the day started out with a road section were i charged and was able to stay with a quick group. when it started point uphill, violently, the walk-fest began. it involved alot of walking. i felt a bit of yesterdays fatigue and had to stop every couple of hundred meters for a breather. near the top kevin and i were riding together. pineapple bob came by at one point and i decided to head off chasing him. we rolled into the first checkpoint pretty close with kevin not far behind. bob was quick, kevin and i much more casual. that was the last we saw of bob that day and he went on to catch doug i believe before the end of the race. strong showing. from there the race got alot easier for me, and i really started enjoying myself. i got ahead of kevin on a downhill, and didn't see him again till the tripple road climb, which we walked/rode pretty much together. at the top, he stopped to take a photo of a pretty huge black beetle, and decided to keep rolling because i knew there was a super fun downhill coming up. i was well rewarded with a fast, fun blaster down into a town. through the town and up a road climb, which i happily walked. a little bit of rolling road, then a clay/rocky walker climb. some more rolling, a tacky, peanut butter clay downhill to load our bikes up to near 50lbs, and then a barely walkable wall of thick, slippery, soft, sticky clay. it took nearly ten minutes to scale it's 100 meter distance. at the top i saw people going through a nearly waist deep mud puddle, and a singletrack to the left through a field that looked to be in use by the racers. i took the singletrack. it was much more pleasant by all accounts. what followed was about as much fun as i had all race up untill that point. tires packed with mud making tread pattern a laughing matter, it was a slippery hell ride down a rutted out, rocky, muddy singletrack. i alternated between riding, stopping to pull mud out of my fork brace and seat stay bridge, running, and 'skiing' down it. so much fun. i even managed to sprint into the finish with a huge smile on my face that lasted till i was out of the shower. i wanted to ride more. i felt great.

249th overall out of 438 finishers
open results not posted

la ruta la a haon

first day of la ruta saw a super early, pre-dawn start. dicky and i rolled into the check in area super early, with tim and doug not far behind. we cruised up front and chatted with some people for a while. looked around and noticed everyone was in the big ring and decided to join tim and doug a bit further back. the temperature was perfect and i was a little excited to see what the race would bring. i found dan in the start area and got a shot of him, he offered to take one of me, and i tried to give a pose that showed off the nathan waist pack water bottle holder i got hooked up with for the race. it ended up just looking like a cheesey ass-shot... the area slowly filled up. at one point a local pointed to timmy's bike and then shook his head dissapprovingly and pointed to the back of the starting area. he was reconciled by timmy's friend jorge who explained that timmy was indeed not only stupidly fast but with him, so it's ok. i wonder what kind of reaction dicky and i would have gotten had we stayed up in the very front...

the race finally went off and we were left spinning out balls off to keep a good pace coming into the big intitial climb. i was spinning along fairly comfortably with timmy, dicky, doug, and andy sanidas untill the climb started getting really steep and my legs decided that they had enough of trying to keep the pace of guys who are clearly much faster than i am. so the walking began. and continued. and kept on going, and going and going. i didn't know it at the time, but the picture i took on the hill shows pineapple bob walking past me with his ss santa cruz on his shoulder. finally it ended and we got to go downhill. a right turn into the rutted, swoopy, somewhat technical mud and the fun began, and then promptly ended when it started going back uphill. repeat for a while. at one point i was sitting on a rock, half in a waterfall, eating a cookie. some guy rides up and decides resting is a good idea, so he joins me. he knew my name. i asked him how. he swore we had met the day before, multiple times.i tried as hard as i could to remember ANYTHING about the day before, but for the life of me i couldn't. in fact i probably couldn't have told you much about anything at that point. i was delirious. bonk #1.

i started cramping around mile eleven. walked most of the big road climb, getting caught by tom brown about halfway up. apparently we had met that morning before the race and i still had no idea who he was. so i got re-introduced to him. then he stopped to take a leak and i continued on. he caught back up and again, i had no friggen clue who he was. he stopped for a soda at a roadside restaurant and i managed to repass him because of it. he found me a mile or two later up the hill, taking a nap on the side of the road. he gave me some endurolites. at least i recognized him this time around. bonk #2.

my wishful, and slightly stupid brain had only noticed the big downhill after the big climb on the elevation chart, and completely failed to register the rolling hills to couple mile climb finish on it. so needless to say i was sorely dissappointed when the long downhill got flat, then started rolling up and down. i had foolishly been very quick about the last checkpoint, thinking it was all downhill from there. i would ride down, then stumble up, then repeat. i started getting reeeaally hungry. i was out of food. i was running low on liquids. i begged a local's support crew for some extra food. i must've looked desperate, because they hooked me up big time. as i was finishing up the peach in a baggie, barely able to stand, kevin rolls up on me. he gives me more endurolites and walks/rides with me to the finish. bonk #3.

made it back to san jose with enough time to catch the tail end of happy hour. the room i was supposed to share with lenny had one big bed and a cot. kevins rommmate was a no-show, and he had two beds of decent size, so i crashed at his place. i felt bad about 'ditching' lenny, but it just made more sense.

day one hurt, really bad. longest time in the saddle in over a year.
84th place in Open category

ar ais as la ruta

la ruta was quite an experience, and costa rica is quite a country. from the native artwork in the museums, to the beautiful jungles and rainforests, to the staggering hights of the mountains, i was blown away and humbled,amazed and broken. i'll be back to become an official finisher. it's gonna take me a while to put it all in words, so i'll start this party with the photos from the three days i had down there before the suffering began. out of order because blogspot is wierd like that...