Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer is Going Fast

This is the setup...

Nice and sparkly!

Multiple chains ready for action

Like always, summer in Duluth goes past in a flash. I am back to work this week and start with students next Wednesday. I am excited to start up again and get back into the teaching groove. The posted picture depicts our clean drivetrain. Thanks to Scott's hard work and ability to try new things, this has been one of the best things he has done to make sure our bikes work perfectly! We have had perfect shifting and no grease marks all year.

The SKJ household has had a rough summer health-wise. Sara somehow picked up Lymes and the flu at the same time. She was on antibiotics for a couple of weeks but her stomach is still giving her fits. Thankfully she can ride her bike and race shorter races. Her eyes were affected by the Lymes and that was one reason she didn't do Ore2shore. The other obvious reason was that she was bed-ridden for almost a week and she didn't eat a thing only two weeks before... Thankfully she opted not to race, but that meant I had to. Sara was able to win the River Falls race while still on antibiotics, but she cramped badly/couldn't see very well because her eyes watered so badly, and in hindsight, it is an event she shouldn't have done. She felt much better at Mount du Lac and she's hopeful that she will be able to do Chequamegon but it is still to early to know. She didn't feel normal yet (she was ready to be done after two laps and she usually finishes feeling like she could do another lap). Diana McFadden ended up second and Rachel Byrnes was third so the Duluthians had a good showing.

Kiera managed to get the flu a handful of days before Sara, followed by a crazy bad stomach ache which found us traveling to the hospital for x-rays and then a CT scan. We hate exposing her to that kind of radiation but she was in so much pain we didn't feel like we had an option. No answers but her stomach ache is much better. Our gut instinct from the start was constipation but we don't know for sure...

I was able to break a couple of ribs at the Lester race but it only kept me off the bike for a week. Plus, my injury was pretty minor based on Kiera and Sara's troubles. I was able to race without tightly wrapped ribs for the first time at Mont du Lac this past weekend! I was willing to risk it since it was so blasted hot. I ended up in 3rd behind Jesse Rients and Eric Thompson. I would catch Jesse at the bottom of the singletrack loop and he would put 30 sec or more into me on the climb each lap. This seems to happen every year between the two of us... I also set a new trend (?) using a ridged fork on my Specialized Epic since I broke my suspension fork. It worked just fine at River Falls and I was able to nab sixth place in a sprint. Broken ribs and a ridged fork aren't the best combination but I was able to make it work. Ore2Shore was a pretty fun course and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the race. I had a rough start and was off the bike behind a big crash early on but I the legs finally came around by the 8 mile mark or so. I was comfortable pulling the group for a solid 10 - 12 miles before catching a large group where I could sit in. Finished somewhere around 30 but still plenty content considering I wasn't planning on doing the race until Sara decided last minute to pull the plug.

Paul, Kelly and Leo Hanson drove the motor home up north and stayed in our driveway for a few night this past week. Kiera and Leo had a terrific time playing together and Sara and I enjoyed showing Paul and Kelly some of our trails. There is nothing like watching young people giggle non-stop while playing in the yard.

Sara and I will be doing some coaching for the newly formed Duluth Mountain Bike Team. We have some super fast riders in Duluth and they are chomping at the bit to race against other kids instead of a variety citizen racers. Thanks so much to the Minnesota State High School League for helping get us organized and off the ground. We are excited to hopefully host our first race in Duluth next year.

First "official" high school team practice.

No racing for us this weekend but we are excitedly gearing up for Maplelag.