Tag Archives: biking

Fat Chuck’s Revenge

Today was my first-ever mountain bike race.  I even bought a (one-day) racing license.  Ned Barnett made me do it; it gave him one more opportunity to demonstrate his biking superiority over me.  The race was called “Fat Chuck’s Revenge” — named after the toughest section of the course, which is an area called “Fat Chuck’s.”  But the rains this week made that section too muddy to ride.  Kudos to the rain gods for actually making the course a little easier.

Mountain bike racing lesson from today:  Slow but steady….means you’ll finish way near the back.




Hottern Hell Hundred — lived up to its name

Another summer means another trip to Wichita Falls for the Hotter’n Hell Hundred-mile bike ride.  For the one-millionth consecutive year, Scott and I sported the yellow G&B jerseys, based on the hopeful belief that the lighter yellow color would reflect the sun and keep us just a little cooler.  The temperatures were well over 100 degrees by the end.


The lowlight of this year’s trip was the flat tire I had in the first 10 miles.  It was still just after daylight, and when I stopped roadside to fix the flat, I was swarmed (and bitten) by so many mosquitos I broke out in hives.  Worse, I thought the hives were more mosquito bites (like 1,000 of them!?!); I was a little freaked out.  Thanks to my loyal HHH team — Shane, Scott and Mike — for helping me with the flat, calming me down, getting me Benadryl, and letting me draft behind them for an hour or so while the symptoms subsided.

Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race 2011

First, you should know that less than a year ago, neither I nor any of my friends rode mountain bikes.   And you should know that the Leadville 100 is perhaps the most “epic” mountain bike race in the U.S.  Lance Armstrong won it a couple of years back.  It’s a 100 miles, and it starts at 10,000 ft. elevation.  And when I tried to ride just a portion of the course, there was a five-mile stretch during which I crashed (hard) three separate times (to say nothing of the thin-air climbs up bumpy trails).

There’s a lottery to get in, and Shane and Ned wound up getting “slots” in this year’s race; for better or worse (almost certainly better), I didn’t.   They trained like crazy, especially Ned, who spent about six consecutive weekends in Colorado (ask him about the oxygen tent over his bed in Houston – no kidding).  They both rocked it!  At least I got to tag along, drive the chase car and take pictures.

Oh:  And it all took place on my birthday.  So I got a nice present from the gang — a Payday (candybar).  Long story.


Ironman Texas


In a moment of weakness and/or bravado a couple of years back, I claimed that I would do an Ironman on every continent.  So, Brazil 2008 (South America: done); Germany 2010 (Europe: done).   Last year they announced, for the first time ever, that there would be an Ironman event in Texas — right here in the Houston area.  I was bummed — on one hand, if they’re having one in your hometown, you can’t NOT do it, but I’d loved doing them as “destination events”  in cool distant places.  Worse, they scheduled it in late May — in south Texas where, you may already know, it gets really hot in late May.

And so we did it.  My friends / training partners all did great.  Scott exorcised his IronMan demons (his last attempt – in Germany – landed him in the ICU rather than the finish line).  Shane logged his fourth Ironman (his third within a 12-month span).  The one female in our group, Angie, kicked all our butts (in our defense, she’s a fitness “professional” and she’s about three age-groups younger than the Shane and me).  All good.  Me?  I had some unmentionable problems during the bike section, which set me back nearly an hour and gave me my worst Ironman time ever.  But hey, I finished, so who cares, right?  North America: done.

And my Mom and Dad even came down to watch.

That’s me in the black tank top (#2079).  [Update: I added some pics of Scott, too].  I’ll try to gather and add some pics of the others.  Here are a few for now.


(Obviously, I didn’t TAKE any of these pictures).


Ironman Kona 2010

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My friend Shane Merz  raced in the 2010 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — even for me as a spectator.  I’d just bought my new camera (my first “real” camera in 20 years or so).  Not bad for a first outing.  Oh:  Shane did great, too, as his finish-line picture suggests.

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