Friday, October 29, 2010

Simulation Bootcamp

I feel like I've been at simulation bootcamp at work for the past few days... weeks... Lots of analyses to run, lots of new problems to solve. The good news is that I'm learning a lot. The bad news is that I'm working too much...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Well, my knee is back to where it was a couple weeks ago (before I started riding again). It feels more-or-less normal during most activities, but it's still sore to ride at all. I've been practicing some of my Gene drills in the driveway, and I notice a little pain doing that, even though the pedaling is minimal.

My plan is to take it very easy on my knee for another week, and then start to gradually introduce a little more activity. I've been using this time to stretch, work on core and upper body strength, and practice some bike-handling drills. Things have also been very busy at work, so it's just as well that I'm not trying to stay in shape for racing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2010 Season Review

Well, after being fairly sore for 4 days after my last bit of riding, I've decided to pull the plug on this year's season. I could probably continue to ride a little, but I don't think I can push hard enough to race. From what I've gathered, these bone bruises can take months to heal. Not fun.

So, the 2010 season was kind of a dud. The mountain bike season ended up being short (3 races!) and unspectacular. I got off to a late start and didn't really get in good race shape until the last race of the year (Addison Oaks), and by that point, I was already on to my current injury, I just didn't know it. Still, I moved up to Expert, and at Addison, I beat several people and felt really good, so I know I can hang with the Expert guys. I also had a really good time at the Tree Farm Relay.

'Cross season ended up being one race. I actually rode OK, given that I'd just gotten back from Europe the day before. I need to work on the setup of my new bike a little though. I'm not satisfied with the position of my hoods, and my brake setup isn't quite right yet.

So, rather than dwell on 2010, I'm going to look to 2011. For next year, the key has to be maintaining some consistency. The injuries just killed me this year, although the second one was kind of a freak thing. I'm optimistic that next year will be much better than this year.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Linden CX

No, I didn't race today, but I went out to watch the B race anyway. The weather was perfect and the course looked fun. It made me wish I was racing.

(Mark Caffyn... so fast he's blurry...)

On the other hand, my knee got achey after just pushing the kids around in the stroller this afternoon, so it's probably better that I didn't; I'd hardly be able to walk tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not Quite There

Well, I rode a few times this week with mixed results.

On Monday, I did a nice easy spin through the neighborhood and then a little backyard 'cross practice. The knee felt more-or-less OK, but not perfect. To top it off, I crashed in the backyard going like 2mph. I was making a tight turn from my patio to the yard when my rear tire skipped over a rock, and somehow caused me to fall. Of course, I fell to the same side as my bruised knee. As I was falling, I tried to pull my knee in as much as I could, so I took most of it on my hip. Still, not a good way to get restarted.

I felt terrible on Tuesday night, like I was getting a cold, so I didn't ride. It rained Wednesday night, so I rode the trainer in the basement. I went harder, maybe too hard, and the knee was a little achey afterward, but still not too bad.

Last night, I met up with some Rhinos at Indian Springs and rode the paved trail. I figured it would be a relatively easy ride and a good chance to loosen things up. Frankly, after not riding for the better part of three weeks, I just need to spend time doing anything on my bike. Anyway, my knee didn't feel so hot at first, but it seemed to get better as I kept riding. It was a little cold and rainy, which probably didn't help.

Today, my knee was fairly sore in the area where I bruised it. It felt kind of bad this morning, but it seems to have gotten better as the day has gone on.

So I'm really on the fence about what to do: there are just over 7 weeks left in the season. I could try to push through it, or I could stop now. I don't see how I could rest another couple weeks or so and still hope to do anything at the last races, at least not with all the time I've already missed.

Probably the smart thing to do is to stop for now, but I haven't convinced myself yet...

Monday, October 11, 2010

So Far, So Good

It's been a slow recovery from my trip. There was lots of work waiting for me at work and at home when I got back.

My knee has been feeling pretty good, but I resisted the temptation to ride over the weekend. Today officially marks two weeks of rest (or at least, not riding), so I'm going to try to get on the bike tonight and do an easy spin and see how it feels. If all goes well, I'll get back to riding a normal schedule this week. Unfortunately, I'm sure that my fitness level has dropped over the past 3-4 weeks, so it will be a rough comeback.

I did a little light exercise on Saturday and did the FMS test for the first time in a long time. Surprisingly, the movements that I spent a lot of time working on over the Winter and Spring were still pretty good. The ones that I hadn't worked on as much were not so good.

I played hockey for the first time in a long time last night. I actually skated OK, but I felt a little sluggish and my puck-handling was very rusty. This is early in the season for the group I skated with, so everyone else seemed a bit slow too.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Europe, Part 2

My second trip to Europe (in three weeks!) didn't go as smoothly as the first. I got off to a bad start when my flight out of Detroit was significantly delayed. It caused me to miss my connection to Europe, so I got rebooked. I ended up flying from Detroit to Atlanta to Paris to Nice. That's a long day... to top it off, my luggage didn't show up when I did!

Once I was actually in Monaco, things were fine. The weather was nice (so much nicer than the cold, rainy day I left in Detroit). I had a good time with my colleagues from Germany in the evenings, although I definitely drank too much beer.

I had more time to poke around Monaco on this trip. I walked around most of the Formula 1 course, spent some more time around the palace area, saw the casino, etc.

Working in Monaco is definitely different. It felt a little odd to walk by a Ferrari / high-end Mercedes dealer on my way to the plant every day. It also seems like the place really clears out at night and on the weekend, at least in the non-touristy spots. I found out that all but a few of the people that work in our plant live farther away in France or Italy.

I stayed there over the weekend. On Saturday, I took the train to Nice and met one of my other colleagues. He took me around the old city; we visited with his sister who sells vegetables at the market. Then we went to the climbing gym his club is working on and spent the rest of the day there. Even though I was working (helping to hang drywall on the ceiling and putting together pieces of the wall), it was still kind of fun. Definitely interesting to see how people live away from the tourist areas.

Since I'd been up late almost every night of the trip, I slept in until noon on Sunday. I walked around Monaco a bit and then went to a soccer match being played at the municipal stadium. It's still not clear to me whether these guys were good amateurs or not-so-good professionals. Anyway, it was fun, but I got pretty cooked in the sun. (The woman selling tickets exposed my nearly non-existent French, "Trois euros". Between having to stop and think about what she said and my unfamiliarity with the currency, it took me a while to buy the ticket. She was nice though.)

On Monday night we left for Paris. My air travel woes continued. The plane we were supposed to take had been hit by lightning on the way to Nice. After some delay, they decided that the damage was too significant and it shouldn't fly again. So, we took a later flight and ended up arriving in Paris very late. At least this time, my hotel room was much nicer.

Tuesday morning was my customer meeting and then I flew back home in the afternoon. To get the later flight out of Paris, I had to connect to Detroit via Montreal. Turns out that connecting through Canada is just like making an international connection through the US (actually worse). You have to get your bags, go through customs, then go back through ticketing and security, and, as I found out the next morning, US customs. So, I had no chance to make my connection, even if I'd carried my bag. I ended up spending the night in Montreal and then I took a 5:30am flight home. Yikes!