I have a confession to make …

There’s a reason I haven’t been posting lately. It’s because I wasn’t sure you’d understand. After all, I’ve been making fun of marathon and half-marathon runners as health-ignoring lemmings for some time now. And, if you’ve been reading long enough, you might be aware that I have no desire whatsoever to run a normal flat, downhill, paved (aka 90% of the races out there) half-marathon or marathon.

So why on earth would I have signed up for the 13.1-mile Race to Robie Creek? Valid question. (And yes, that’s my confession.)

Well, I should mention, if you’re not familiar with the race, that it climbs 2,000 feet, including some relatively steep gradients toward the Aldape Summit.

I should also mention that the bulk of the race occurs on dirt rather than pavement.

I could even bring up the fact that folks keep telling me how much FUN the race is.

But you would know that all of those are just excuses, wouldn’t you?

P.S. I found a video of some guy running the course. He’s a CrossFit nut, which isn’t exactly endearing, but the video is otherwise well done.

Here it is:

Testing CrossFit: The Race to Robie Creek from Greg on Vimeo.

Tougher than it sounds

Not too long ago I wrote an entry about a subject I call ‘suckering’ or talking people into riding with you. I suppose ‘recruiting’ might sound more professional, or ‘organizing.’ Yeah, that gives it a positive spin. It was tough enough finding people to go for a weekend ride, but talking people into doing an endurance race or participating in any winter sport outside of snowboarding is something else.

So I’ve got this cousin. When we were in junior high/high school, I was the one who would be at home munching on sugary cereal, watching cartoons or college football and he would show up at my door covered with mud after riding 30 miles through provincial parks and trails. I was the lazy wuss still eating my hallowe’en candy while he was this athletic marvel.

That was at least a decade ago.

Now, the tables have turned. The former star shooting guard hasn’t touched a basketball in years, and the only contact he’s had with his sweet disc-brake equipped mountain rig has been to load it up when he moved a few months ago. I won’t call him fat, but his gut’s hanging out, and his once gigantic biceps are now sagging in atrophy. Okay, so I’m no physical colossus myself, but I’m staying moderately trim. I’ll admit, I’ve gulped down two quarts of eggnog in the past week, and my sixpack is nowhere to be seen. (Don’t look at the photos on the entry before last.) But I’m still planning on racing a little. Why? With a larger goal in mind, you keep yourself in shape, right? So I called my cousin to see if I could persuade him to see the flip side yesterday (plus, I could use some company if I’m going to ride the preview version of Botched’s E100). After the reacquaintance, the conversation went something like this:

"So, I’m actually wondering if I can talk you into doing a bike race with me this summer. What are the chances?"

"Probably pretty slim. I’m in the worst shape I’ve ever been in."

"All the more reason, right?"

"That’s true, and we were looking for an excuse to go to Utah about that time of year. I don’t know, I’ll think about it."

Getting washed-up cyclists back in the groove is a difficult task. I’m thinking maybe if I get him a subscription to Bike for Christmas, he’ll catch a whiff and start thinking with two wheels again.

On a distantly related subject, I’m also trying to recruit family members for a cross-country ski trip this Christmas. Most of my family members are snowboarders or skiers, but I’m ever so slightly averse to the downhill winter events (though I haven’t yet attempted downhill snow mountainbiking), so I’m looking into this happy-medium territory of XC skiing. I called my mom yesterday to see if she could talk my stepdad into joining me. His response? "I’ll watch from a safe distance, but …"

Tranquilizer darts, maybe?