Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A little late summer Blackberry picking for the Schmitt's

I'm picking, Holden's eating

Great Buckeye Challenge

Results are posted for the Great Buckeye Challenge and I'm pretty
happy with my effort, especially since I worked the event as well.
Overall 32/209 - which is great for me. 3rd in my age group. I've
never placed before.

34/209 swim - I'm usually a little better than that, but not bad.

22/209 bike - this is a big improvement for me and in hindsight,  I
think I could have gone faster. pretty good

87/209 run - ouch. slow, slow, slow - last year this would have been
187/209, so improvement but I need to get better.

Heres the transition for about 700 racers. Beautiful morning.

Fwd: update

> Just a few picture updates. Little Holden is part rabbit, I'm sure
> of it. On a side note, I'll be racing at Buck Creek on Sunday at
> the Great Buckeye challenge. Just the sprint.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Vintage Press photo circa 1988. Echo and the Bunnydorks.


Just a few picture updates. Little Holden is part rabbit, I'm sure of
it. On a side note, I'll be racing at Buck Creek on Sunday at the
Great Buckeye challenge. Just the sprint.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Rockin' week-long camp strums final chord

Published: Saturday, July 26, 2008 3:00 AM EDT

NELSONVILLE - The guitar crackles like lightning, backed up by the rhythmic thunder of the drums. The bass throbs like a pulsing vein, rattling the speakers like a heartbeat. All of the week's work at Hocking College's Rock 'N' Roll Camp is finally pieced together, each individual track of guitar, bass, piano and drums segued together into one song, the pieces finally becoming a band.
"Starting to sound like a record?" music teacher Neal Schmitt asks rock 'n' roll camper Paul Smith.
Schmitt leans back from the soundboard controls with a satisfied smile. "That does sound pretty cool, a little sloppy, but I think it's got what it takes," agrees Smith. The Rock 'n' Roll Camp at Hocking College is about giving music everything it takes. For a week, high school students from across Ohio get to play rock stars with recording studios and tools and tricks of the trade at the tips of their fingers. The students form bands and make a song from scratch - writing lyrics,
crafting guitar licks and matching it with the drums and the bass.

The bands then post their music on Internet sites like MySpace and PureVolume, ready for the world to listen. The week-long camp, which ended Friday, was held at Hocking College's Washington Hall. This was the second year of the camp, which gives kids the chance to roam of a host of recording studios and equipment, all the ingredients for great rock 'n' roll.
"Not everybody wants to do archery or ride horses for the summer," Schmitt said. "Some kids want to spend the summer making music and being rock stars." Schmitt teaches music technology at Hocking College during the school year. Because the college's music
studios sit empty during the summer, Schmitt thought it would be a fun time for educational experience for high school students to take a shot at making their own music, providing an alternative to the traditional summer camp experience. "My high school experience was defined by playing music," Schmitt said. "Music is what made high school tolerable for me. I wasn't a jock. I wasn't going to be valedictorian. Music is what I did. I wanted other kids to experience music, learn what music can do for you."

What's great about Hocking College's Rock 'N' Roll Camp is there are no auditions, Schmitt said. All levels of ability are welcomed. Some kids have been playing music for years; others just learned how to hold a guitar. Some campers didn't play an instrument, and helped out more on the technical side or wrote lyrics. Many of the campers had never made music with other people before, Schmitt said. "We've got this camper who just learned guitar two weeks ago, and now he's going to have a guitar solo on MySpace," Schmitt said, as the camper's guitar chords screeched from behind the closed door of a practice studio. "How cool is that?"

The different levels of proficiency help the students feed off each other, Schmitt explained.
"Some of these kids have never heard of The Who; some live and die by The Who," Schmitt said. "These kids throw their different musical philosophies together and grow from it. I am really just there to guide the process. The real direction the music takes is all up to the campers."
The kids came up with names for their bands and took promotional photographs for the fun of it. The two bands formed from the camp include Property of Us and Badical, a combination of bad ass and radical, Schmitt explained.

"It's an experience where you get perspective from all sides," said Smith, a camper from the central Ohio area. "You can't just do your own thing. You have to coordinate your music with everyone else." While music might be a collaboration, actively pursuing it is what counts, Schmitt said. "I tell these campers that Prince had a No. 1 song and a No. 1 album all by the age of 25," Schmitt said. "I then ask them how old they are and what are they going to do with the next five to 10 years of their life?"
Copyright © 2008 - Athens Messenger

Fwd: Race photos


Sunday, August 03, 2008

This is my second summer of Triathlons and my first attempt at a half Ironman, or as it's called officially, a 70.3 race. (70.3 being the total miles covered. 1.2 on the swim, 56 on the bike, 13.1 on the run)
We had driven up to Benton Harbor on Friday for mandatory early registration and to drop my bike off. The sun was hot but the weather would have been perfect and the water looked super inviting. The race site is at a huge public, gorgeous sandy beach. There was a free dinner for athletes but Tracy and Rowan ate most of my plate as my nerves worked overtime, not so much out of fear but anticipation.

Race morning started with a 4am wakeup . . always pleasant. We loaded the brood up and drove the 35 minutes to the race site in the dark. The very first thing I noticed after getting out of the car was the strong, cool wind. So much so, that I grabbed a sweatshirt I had thrown in the trunk "just in case". We parked about a mile away from the race site and while there were shuttles, we had a wagon to transport the kids, so we hoofed the bundled up kids over to the park.

My bike was already set up but I needed to get my other gear ready. About 30 minutes later, I made my way to stand in a long bathroom line before making the 1 mile trek down the beach for the swim start. As I crested the slightly inclined narrow path that leads to the beach, I saw the effect of the cooler winds on the water. Whitecaps and waves on Lake Michigan . . . frankly calm if this were an ocean but certainly worth noticing.

As I'm standing in line, I heard all sorts of comments like "This is going to suck." and "Oh Shit". While still in line I hear the words that I was afraid of . . . The race promoters canceled the swim. The triathlon will now be duathlon . . run,bike, run. I'm fairly bummed and disappointed. I want what I signed up for. However, as I watch the safety kayaks surf in to shore and the seadoo's fly in the air from wave to wave, I realize that the boats would have had trouble watching the swimmers, let alone keeping themselves in position and upright. So, would-be swimmers are heading back to transition and a duathlon we will have.

The 7am start was then changed to a 8am start and since I'm wave 15 out of 17, I probably won't start until after 9am. I've got some time to kill . . except over the PA system the announcer is telling everyone to be at the new run start by 8am as they arent' sure if they are going to keep the same wave start times. I find Tracy and the kids, who are sporting their new Team Schmitt shirts. We hang out a few more minutes, then I make my way 3/4 mile up the road to the new starting line.
And . . . I wait. and wait. And watch about 2,000 nervous racers turn this small stretch of secluded park road into the biggest pee festival. Pretty gross but what other option was there.

Anyway, the race directors finally starts wave 1. Only 14 more to go. So I wait some more while cheering on the runners as they come back through the crowd and make their way down to the transition area.
To the sounds of AC/DC's "For those about to rock", wave 15 is off. First up, a 2.1 mile run. Now, this is an interesting choice and one I'm not sure I get. We were supposed to swim 1.2 miles, bringing the total event distance 70.3 miles. so, now the total is 71.2 miles. In an Olympic distance duathlon, the distances would be a 5k run, 40k bike and 10k run. So, why such a short distance? I don't know but since the run is my weakest sport, I'm not complaining. 16:41 for 2.1 miles. Not fast but I already knew that.

1:35 later, I'm grabbing my bike stuff and heading out. I see Tracy and Rowan as I leave the bike area. Yeah!

56 miles. I wanted to complete this is under 3 hours, which means an average speed of just over 18 miles an hour. Not exactly flying but there are enough rolling hills that I had to push in the flat stages. Riders from group 16 and 17 caught and passed me about 5-10 miles into the bike. I was catching a few riders myself but I knew it was a long ride. About 15 miles in, I pass a scene where a bike is laying on the left side of the road, a front tire is on the right side of the road and a car is stopped about 50 yards up the road. Everyone looks OK but that still sucks. I press on. I see an occasional rider on the side of the road changing a flat tire or taking a pee break. Mile 20 has the first aid station. As someone who has volunteered at a running event, I give the bike aid station volunteers a lot of credit. It's one thing to hand a cup of gatorade to a runner, but another to shove your hand out as I come racing through at 15-20 MPH. We're biking on pretty country roads that are fairly empty if not choppy and bumby. A couple of intersections have 10-20 cars waiting to turn but on this day, the bikes have the right of way.

Mile 30, 1:30 into the bike and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm doing a pretty good job of eating and drinking. It wasn't until after the race that I entered the facts at but I used between 2,500 and 3,000 calories on the bike. Mile 40, still OK and I'm starting to catch a lot of riders. About mile 46, I see an ambulance and a cop car on the side of the road. Someone's in the ambulance but I can't tell what happened. I press on. I'm catching a lot of riders now. The last rollers seem longer and bigger, but they're probably the same as all of the other hills, I'm just tired. I've switched to water, as the sugary gels and gatorade are too sweet for me to consume. I see the Mile 50 sign and I know that I'm close to transition.

By my computer, I pull into the park after 56.05 miles in 2:36:22, I dismount and run to park my bike. I pop 2 Excedrin, change shoes and after 1:48, I'm off for 13.1 painful miles. I missed seeing Tracy and the kids. They're busy I'm sure.

As I leave transition, I see a homemade sign being held aloft with a picture of Will Ferrell as Anchorman with the lines, "It's so damn hot . . Milk was a bad idea." I want to stop running I'm laughing so hard.

Now, I ran a half marathon in April, so I'm a bit familiar with the distance but there is something very different about running after biking. It takes about 10 minutes before your legs feel like legs and not like tingling logs attached to you butt. My plan is to run 9 minutes and walk 1 minutes. About mile 1, I see the leader flying down the road. "Wow, he's only 2 hours ahead of me. He's doing pretty well" I think to myself. I see the female leader flying down the huge hill I'm shuffling up. "Go runner" I yell between gulps of oxygen. "Thanks" she calmly replies with a smile and turns the corner. I wish I could A) run that fast and B) smile that calmy after what I'm about to do. I'm impressed. (BTW, the female leader was 4th overall, that's awesome)
The promoters did an excellent job with their aid stations and I'm guessing have learned from the Chicago Marathon fiasco last year. (With record high temperatures, most of the aid stations ran out of fluid, eventually causing the race to be canceled four hours in, and before thousands had finished.) My 9/1 survival technique works for awhile. That is, until I start walking the aid stations as well. so basically, I'm running 4 or 5, walking 1 . . which is fine. I want to live through this run and survive to run another day. Mile 4, turns to mile 6 . .I'm actually feeling good cause I've slowed down to keep my heart rate down. Mile 10 . . . only a 5k to go. Mile 11 . . closer but my calves are aching pretty badly. Mile 12. "Oh c'mon already", I'm pleading inside. Mile 12.5 I get called out by my number by a cheering spectator "You've only got half a mile to go 2434, you can do it". I start running. Thanks spectator.

I turn the corner for the last 1/4 mile, which I know is through sand. Running in soft sand sucks. I take one more walk break and turn onto the sand, where I can hundreds of cheering spectators. "Oh crap, I can't walk anymore" I think. Press on . . . . I see the finish line but no Tracy or Holden or Rowan. I cross the threshold and stand still. "Nice job" I tell myself. 2:26:53 for the run, just over an 11 minute mile. One volunteer puts an ice cold towel around my neck . ."ooh, that feels great.", one puts a finishing medal on my neck and a third grabs my timing chip. I see something 10 yards in front of me that looks simply awesome. A shaded chair under a tent. Nice. I take just a minute to sit before I go looking for Tracy. When I do find them, I find another chair.

After about 30 minutes of downtime, we pack up and head out. My finish time is 5:23:17, which, had I done the swim, would have been around my goal of 6 hours. That's pretty cool.
I "placed" 1183 out of 1888.

The kids had a great time but were exhausted as we made our way back to the car.

My ice cream that night tasted delicious.
Thanks for reading,