Friday, December 28, 2012

We'll return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly!

I apologize for not updating this week. With the holidays and work being a bit hectic, along with getting ready for Beginnertriathlete's mentor groups to start again (it's not just for beginners, and besides myself there are a lot of good mentors running groups!) I just let the blog slip a bit. I'll get it back together for next week! I hope everyone had a great Christmas/Holidays!

Happy New Years!

-Christopher Morelock

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Christmas Post (Feliz Navidad!)

Better Christmas movie than Gremlins?

It's the most wonderful time of the year... at least that is what I've been told. It seems like the closer to a Holly Jolly Christmas we get, the more likely it is that somebody will try to bite your head off. (I pity you if you still have to go near a mall before the 25th)

I've never been much of a "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" kind of guy, but I do admit I enjoy (and moreso as I've gotten older) gathering with my family at Nana and Papaw's house, stuffing myself on Turkey and taters, and then settling down to watch Frosty the Snowman / Nightmare before Christmas and open presents with the young'uns. (not mine thankfully) I am extremely lucky when it comes to family. Although they might be a little odd, they're a tight and loving group of nuts! I've also got my "other" family I have to throw a shout out to. My best friend Wes has always had me come share Christmas eve with his family, and I don't think they have any idea how much I have always appreciated that.

Okay, Okay, enough sappy stuff. How about a picture of Santa on a bike!

Santa rides a Kestrel... who knew. Don't ask where he has the presents.

In training news I'm giving my best attempt at becoming the Run, Run Rudolph of triathletes. At almost 90 miles currently and another week and a half to go, it's looking like it may turn out to be a record for me in miles per month. I'm hoping that by March or so I can get up to 200mi/months... then I'll be singing Joy to the World! I'm still not sure if I'll end up a "runner" by the end of this focus, but it certainly has to help.

I hate to leave you guys with so little substance this week, but I'm not in the review mood and, well, I basically summed up all my training right above. (Run. More.) What I do have to give you is my fondest wishes that you and yours will have a good holiday... I know we're not all into the whole "Silent Night" or "O Holy Night," at least not for their proposed meaning, but I do hope that whatever your belief you can have a good Holiday season and maybe come to remember that some of the things we try to emphasize this time of year (good will towards man, spending time with your loved ones, buying cool sh*t...) shouldn't end on December 26th... it should be how we act all year round. So leave your Christmas lights out, let the tree take root in the living room, ring the silver bells, leave the fruitcake on the counter until it ripens, go on a sleigh ride in June! That's right, I'm saying maybe we should all be just a little more redneck :)

I mean... this picture is just awesome.
As always, thank you for reading my random thoughts. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy/Merry (not sure which is right) Kwanzaa... or just happy holidays.


Unless the world ends on the 21st. Hopefully if it does, it's kinda like this!
Save me Will Smith!
Thank you all
-Christopher Morelock

(Bonus: How many Christmas songs did I mention in here?)

It's currently 7:43a.m. Eastern... and I'm still here. I guess I'm still holding a vague hope for a Zombie Apocolypse that I'm just not aware of yet, but for some reason I feel like the Mayans were wrong. Guess taking out that ridiculous interest rate loan yesterday and spending the night at the strip club was a bad idea...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happiness is a day of climbing on a warm December day

I love it. This time of year. No, no... not Christmas. (although it's fine too) I'm talking about that time, after you've suffered through season ends burnout, (for me it was basically every day post Augusta) that you start to feel it. That passion. The fire. For me, it came yesterday at the local shop ride.

Always look relaxed when you are on the bike but aren't riding. ALWAYS!

It started off innocently enough. I'd been meaning to get back out on the road for our Sunday group ride, things just seemed to keep getting in the way. (And by that I mean... I'd wake up about 30 minutes late every Sunday with a hangover.) NOT yesterday though! I had the Cannondale fit and tuned, ready to roll... my long sleeve gear to combat the mountain air (unneccesarily as it turned out) and even some GU and Lar bars to keep me going. Nonetheless, I wasn't overly excited. Sure, sure, I've not given up on cycling during my run focus these last few months, but I certainly haven't celebrated it. To be honest, I was just a little burned out from the "hit these target watts" for X sets of x minutes type workouts I had been doing leading into the end of the season. I've been going to a weekly indoor cycling "clinic" at the LBS twice a week, but other than that (and dusting off the Kreitlers for a few nervous rides... man you forgot how to ride rollers fast!) I've been letting the bikes collect a bit of mold.
1 leg drills for giggles. Notice the pool of sweat beneath me :)

All that changed when we decided to add a virgin (to us at least) climb to the ride. Three steep (albeit not very long) ascents to the top of the mountain, with a little bit of time between them where it levels off and gives you some time to recover. Nothing over 20% grade I don't believe... still, pretty tough. Enough to really get you nice and cooking. Deep into "The Suck" as it were.

Then it hit me. Holy cow. This is awesome!

The view from the top! Now I've just got to get down

I love climbing... always have. (Descending...ehh) Something about how you always see the "wars" in cycling fought on grueling climbs. Jersey unzipped, cross hanging, sweat dripping and that face of absolute "I wish this was over" splayed across your face. I love it. Not only that, but I noticed something else... I was climbing (and riding) in better form than I was earlier in the year! On much less training. I suppose to break through some roadblocks in my performance I had to totally change things up. Who'd have thought it! Run more, bike less, do both better! (Ok maybe it's not that simple, but still)

Even Jan looks like he's having fun!
 I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm totally out of my lethargic mindset, (I am still enjoying extra cookies and spiked eggnog pretty regularly.) but I've certainly got the spark kindling again. It helps that for the first time in 3 years, I'm not "focusing" on one A race. This year I'm doing races because I love to race, not because of some (of my own and others) expectations.  Who knows, I may even come out of 2013 better than I came out this year! We shall see.

Until next time, keep grinding those gears. Thanks for reading.

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All I want for Christmas is a 29er!

In the "real world" I'm running 30+ mpw, swimming poorly (ehh not bad really, just cut down to 2x a week) and cycling with my LBS 2-3x, mainly shorter stuff. I'm hoping to go sub 19 in my next 5k (tentatively on January 1st... although that seems ambitious given my history with New Year's Eve party's.) and besides that (and most exciting of all!) I think I've finally narrowed down the Mountain Bike I am going to buy. If you haven't heard of these guys, let me introduce the Airborne Guardian and the Airborne Goblin.
Considering my history with staying upright, this may be a bad idea...

Oh look, a nicer version for me to break something on!

I haven't quite decided whether the Guardian or the Goblin is right for me (that is, if I can justify the extra $$$ for the Goblin) but either way, the Airborne's check off all the boxes I have for my first 29er. Those mainly being
- a Hard tail
- Aluminum
- Front shock (better than a Suntour)
- Full bike (I'm not ready to "build" my own quite yet)
- Under/at $1000.00

The Goblin breaks the $ barrier by about $250, but does have some significant (i think...) upgrades, primarily being the upgraded fork, (Air instead of Preloaded) the drivetrain, (x7 instead of x3) the brakes (Avid's instead of Tektro's) and the crank (x7 double instead of a truvative triple)

None of that is a dealbreaker for the much cheaper ($599!) Guardian... only the triple crank really bothers me. (For some reason I've always, probably irrationally, hated triples) I assume that most disc brakes stop with ample power, and from what I've read an Air fork is more of a luxury than a necessity for a smaller guy like me.

I've been leaning toward the Guardian since I'd hate to buy a $1200 bike and then never use it (ok... that's unlikely, but still) but I also don't much like the idea of buying a $600 bike and then spending $600 on it in the next month or two!  If any of you faithful readers out there have some input, I'd love to hear it.

Oh, and who is excited for the Holidays? This guy!

I know I know... It was 4a.m. on Black Friday.
Until next time, thanks for reading!
-Christopher Morelock