We are off to Ft. Lauderdale.
This is why:
We are off to Ft. Lauderdale.
This is why:
Last year at this time Sarah and I had the privilege of visiting Savannah, Georgia for the first time. We originally went up to tour the city and do a cyclocross race. We instead toured the city, raced bicycles, and witnessed Wag-O-Ween. Yes, dog Halloween. Perhaps it was at this time that I finally convinced Sarah we should get a dog.
A few weeks later we met Otis and we instantly fell in love:
Naturally, we started planning on going back to Savannah with Otis for Wag-O-Ween. What were we going to dress him up as? We had a ton of ideas and many were of the usual fare for a 3-legged dog (pirate, soldier etc…). Sarah outdid herself when she came up with the idea of Otis going as Def Leppard drummer, Rick Allen:
So, she did all the hard work of getting his costume ready and boom:
Not everyone in Savannah got it. In fact, only about 30% of the people did, but when those people realized who Otis was they thought it was the greatest thing ever. People shouted from across the street, rolled down car windows and had a ton of fun pointing it out to their friends. It was awesome.
The weekend was even better than we had planned because our friends Keith and Theresa came along with their dog, Wilbur. He and Otis are BFF and they were loving all of the doggie treats!
I got 16th our of 25 in my bike race. I had a horrible start and I was probably a little tired from all of the walking. Once I got into a rhythm I was able to pass a few other racers. It is a long season so I am not too concerned at this time. The next race is in Tallahassee on November 4/5th.
Sarah and I were able to watch the NSC Minnesota Stars play against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in the first leg of the championship series from the hotel. They won 3-1 and now have a two goal lead going into the final game this Saturday night in Ft. Lauderdale. We are excited to be going down there and hanging out with 15 other Dark Cloud supporters that are making the trip from Minnesota.
I just hope we get to celebrate like this:
Because that is what the party was like in Minnesota last Saturday night as 4500 people showed up to the playoff game and over 300 people crowded the supporters section!
My team, the NSC Minnesota Stars, won their semi-final series against the dreaded Carolina Jailhawks on Saturday evening. They headed into the final game of the total goal series up 1-0. After an amazing game of heart stopping action the Stars took the win in a shootout in which we saw Papa Joe Warren get big and stop Captain Jonny Steele to book their trip to the finals. As luck would have it, the Stars will be facing the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in a home-home total goal series to determine the champions.
Guess who is heading to South Beach?
I love this photo of Jonny Steele getting a yellow card. What a hack.
64,000 people showed up to a regular season game in Seattle the other night. There weren’t any gimmicks like fireworks, bobble heads or free tickets. In fact, the game was between the playoff bound Seattle Sounders and the lowly San Jose Earthquakes.
Gotta figure the haters that think soccer will never make it in this country are struggling to come up with some excuses to explain this one.
This will never get old:
This past weekend I went down to Miami with a few teammates to take in the first cyclocross race of the Florida season. We also had the opportunity to head to a United States Men’s National Team soccer game against Honduras. The weather was miserable throughout, but since it was cyclocross it didn’t really effect the mood.
When we arrived at the stadium it was raining. By the time we got into the stadium with our $.99 ponchos it was beginning to rain sideways. Luckily for us a friend of mine scored us some amazing seats in the club level section of the stadium. This meant we were in some amazing seats completely out of the rain:
The game was a blast. It was even better out of the rain. The USA beat the weaker Honduras team 1-0 on an amazing goal by Clint Dempsey. One of the best goals I have seen in person. What a hoot.
The next day we headed down to Virginia Key just outside of downtown Miami. The course was situated in a mountain bike park near a water treatment plant and across the water from the illustrious and exclusive Fisher Island. The course was made up of a little singletrack, fire road and a few nice climbs, including a rare run-up that was a good 30meters long. Throw in a weird section of road next to the water treatment facility that was being perfumed to soften the smell and you had a pretty decent course.
The only drawbacks for the course was a rather difficult section of the course that went through a mountain bike trials park and a hole-shot that defied all rationale. Why the official insisted on us starting the race and immediately turning 20yards after the start, rather than starting on a section of road of more than 100yds of straight distance is beyond me, but maybe this cyclocross thing is too new for people here in Florida? The section of the course that went on the mountain bike trials course was a run-up for those of us on cross bikes, but if you had a mountain bike and were skilled, like the eventual winner, you were able to ride it.
While the race was a good one it is always a bit disappointing when a mountain bike is an advantage and not a disadvantage.
The hole shot immediately prior to the left hand turn 20yards later.
(Photo: Graham Partain)
The race for me went fairly well. I had a little bit of a slow start as I missed the hole shot turn to the left. I soon settled into the middle of the 20person field. I was able to find myself in a group of four riders halfway through the race and was able to pick off a few racers along the way. I ended up in 7th place out of 23racers and 4th place in the Cat3s.
Something I did find a bit odd after analyzing the race results was that the winner only did 39minutes while the flyer stated 45minutes of racing. The laps averaged out to about 6min for the leader, so theoretically we should of have had another lap to do. Oh, well. I don’t think my position would have changed.
An ugly pain face, but it was truthful.
(Photo: Graham Partain)
Cyclocross season has arrived in Florida.
This is a full three weeks behind the start of the season in Minnesota, but I can’t complain as there are a bunch of quality events in the area that will keep me busy. I was a little late getting my cross bike dialed in for the season, so I have been spending this past week riding it as much as I can and doing a few efforts down the street at a local single track section of trail complete with a nice long dirt road area to really ramp it up.
While I still dismount on the driveside I have a fair amount of confidence going into the season. I wish the crowd and fields were as big as in the midwest, but within a few years time we will have decent fields here in Florida. In fact, just over the past two years the Florida scene has gone from 50rider average to about 100+. I remember when we would get excited if Boom Island had 150 people at it!
On Thursday I drove to Jacksonville with a teammate of mine, Ben Smith, for a practice cyclocross race. I wasn’t expecting much, but when we arrived we found a pretty decent crowd (40+ racers) and a course that was muddy, technical and a lot of fun. The crew that put it on was super pleasant and were very excited to see such a large group of people show up.
The race was a single wave start. There were about 10 people in the A (cat1/2/3) race and the rest were in the Single Speed and Bs (cat3/4). I was third into the hole shot and found myself in a decent position sitting about six back at the end of lap one. I then settled into a nice rhythm and was able to pick off two more racers to finish fourth overall and third in the 1/2/3 field. The overall winner was a Cat1 roadie on a single speed who was over a minute down on Ben just prior to the bell, but was able to capitalize on a major mechanical that cost Ben his lead.
Judging by my result, it should be fairly obvious that the field wasn’t of the highest quality. Ben and the overall winner finished a good minute and a half in front of me and I was about 30seconds down on third place overall, but I am still stoked with my place. I believe I have some decent form, but then again, I have always been decent in uber-muddy conditions like we had in Jax on Thursday night.
As I mentioned, there was mud at a cyclocross race in Florida. SHOCKING.
My prize for third place was a free 2lb box of Bubba Burgers. Is this the greatest prize since the $5 off coupon for Golden Plump chicken? I think so. I can only hope that I am able to get on a podium again, even if it is a training race.
This Sunday I race cross in Miami and I have the feeling it is going to be much harder.
It isn’t every week that your favorite professional soccer team is in the playoffs. It truly isn’t every week that their playoff game is just a two hour drive away. So, what better way to celebrate than heading down to St. Petersburg to watch the game in person?
The original plan was for Sarah and I to go to the game and meet up with our friend KJ who was flying down from Minneapolis, but Otis had a battle with some fire ants and we felt it was best that Sarah stay back with him, rather than put him in boarding. I wish Sarah could have been there for the awesomeness.
Al Lang Field is a pretty awesome venue for minor league soccer. The weather on the night was perfect and the palm trees on the bay are a nice touch. We got to the stadium fairly early and set-up the banners for two of the Minnesota Dark Clouds favorite players: Devin Del Do aka The Pleasurer and Kyle “Captain” Altman.
The Stars pulled off a hard fought 1-0 victory. They scored in the 30minute and held on for dear life. It was all worth it in the end. Victory!
After the game we talked with the players for a little while. Minor league soccer is pretty awesome because the players get to know the handful of fans that live and die by the results of their team. The Minnesota players are top-notch and they even have fun seeing the banners the fans have made for them:
It was a great weekend. The Stars won and now they go on to the Semi-finals!