Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September ,a month in review

It is hard to believe that another month is done. September was pretty busy for me starting with the 24 hr race the first full weekend of the month. This year the HACC fielded two teams. Both teams focused on having fun verse trying to win. John Girmsey decided to give the solo event a go. Chris and Courtney took advantage of the opportunity to camp at Koaloa ranch and spent the night with me. The first few laps went pretty well. I was managing to clear all the obstacles and stay in my pedals. Unfortunately on my 3rd lap, i misjudged a drop and endo'd hitting pretty hard. After that, it rained off and on and I spent more time walking over the technical sections than I did riding them. I still managed most of my laps under 30 minutes and really enjoyed the race.

The next weekend, I headed to Mississippi for a conference. Several of my friends from Germany were at the conference and we had a great time drinking beer and talking about how much we missed Deutchland. My buddy Ron is stationed in Mississippi. Ron and I came into the AF on the same day, were in brother flights in Basic and went through tech school and our first base for 9.5 yrs. I probably spent more time with Ron than I did my wife and kids during those years. Ron picked me up at the Airport and took me to Hooters for Lunch. We spent most of the next Friday drinking beer, smoking cigars and talking about the good old days and all the characters we worked with. It was great getting to see him.

Curt, Denise and I played a lot of golf while we were in Mississippi. I started to get the golf bug and was playing some of the best golf I ever had. I have been trying to get out the Par 3 course since I got back but haven't had a chance. I even started to look at buying some new clubs.

Courtney's band has made great progress. Last year the HS band only marched in one game and look pretty bad doing it. This year they practiced all summer and really looked and sounded very impressive.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

24 Hour Race

Here are some clips from this years race

Monday, September 1, 2008

Aug 2008

If you are a regular reader of my blog (that is if I have any regular readers left) you may have noticed a lack of blog entries. August was an extremely busy month for the Steele family.

The first weekend, I put aside the road bike and competed in a mountain bike race at Koaloa ranch. Koaloa ranch is a very popular tourist destination on the Windward side of Oahu where they have filmed several movies and TV shoes including Lost and Jurassic Park. It is nestled in a beautiful valley . The race included significant climbing on Jeep roads followed by some technical single track. This year my fitness level is definitely on track but all of my bike miles have been on the road bike. I started the race in the front of the pack climbing the hills feeling pretty strong. That all changed when we left the hills for the single track. I was definitely a fish out of water. When we lived in CA I was the King of the Single track riding the most technical trails with no problem. Not now. I was timid. I kept telling myself the advice I used to tell my friends "momentum is your friend" but couldn't force myself to listen to it. I kept stopping to walk over the technical sections. Needless to say the guys I left in the dust on the climbs did the same to me on the single track. Each lap I would pass a bunch of guys on the climbs only to have them pass me on the single track. I ended up in 9th place overall and 3rd in my age group.

The week of 10 -16 Aug was full of activity. At work we held our annual Manpower Conference which my office was responsible for setting up and at home, Stephanie had her College Graduation at HPU. Normally I wouldn't have been that excited by the conference by one of my best friends Curt was attending as our Career Field functional Manager. Curt arrived on the 10th. I picked him up at the airport and had him come over for supper. Ben graciously let me borrow his mtn bike and golf clubs for Curt to use. We were able to play golf and work in a bike ride between the conference.

Mom and Gina arrived on Wednesday for Stephanie's graduation. Stephanie really appreciated them coming since her graduation was kind of short notice. She originally planed on finishing in January but she was able to squeeze in a few more classes so she could walk in August. It was so great to see her walk across the stage. You could tell she was proud of herself as we were proud of her. The ceremony was held in the Waikiki shell, which was a beautiful. It was too late after the ceremony so we decided to have the traditional graduation dinner Saturday at the Hale Koa after going to the outdoor Mass.

To close out the month, I competed in the Annual Dick Evans Memorial Race. This ride has been going on since 1983 to remember a Cycling Ledgand who was killed while riding his bike in Honolulu. The race circles the island for 112 miles. We lined up in Hawaii Kai at 0545 and started with a police escorted trip across Honolulu. the first 30 miles was considered neutral as we tooled along at 20 miles per hour. It was great rolling through the stop lights. It took only 20 minutes to get from Ward Center to the Kuntz gate turn off. It can take as long as 90 minutes in a car. Once we got to Kunia road, the real race started as we climbed the hill. I kept telling myself what John Girmsey said about keeping with the lead group up the hill and was able to hold on. I was so glad I listened to John as I was able to recover as the lead pack dropped the tempo after the climb. I was feeling pretty good on the flat part of Kam Highway and decided to stay in the front of the pack. This was not good strategy as I used way too much energy. I was towards the back of the pack at the last water station and failed to make the break as the group attacked up the hill. I stayed in the chase group and we were able to catch up just as we hit the second long climb between Koneohe and Kailua. That is where I fell off for good. My legs were cramping and I barely made it up the hill. Luckily Casey came up behind me and he, I and another guy traded pulls until we almost caught the chase group just as they headed up another hilly section. Casey ended up getting a flat so I had to solo it into Wiamanolo until Shanon and another rider caught up with me. I stayed on their wheels until we hit the Makupu climb where my cramps started up again. I managed to ride all the way up the hill but couldn't keep Shanon's wheel. I was able to finish but had both legs literally freeze up with cramps after I crossed the finish line. My original goal was top 25. I finished 26th or 27th depending on where you look. Next year I may not be as strong but at least I will be much smarter.