Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Windham World Cup

After nationals, the next big race was the Windham World Cup in New York. The interesting thing about this race is that everybody does the same course. So that really fast guy, Nino Schurter, I got to race on the same course as him. The sad part about this race, its the last mountain bike race of the season. 

I went into this race telling myself I was just there for fun. All of the stress from training and Nationals was enough for one season, and I just wanted to relax and race my bike. I pre-rode the course on Friday morning with Veda and her dad, Glenn, and just rode however I wanted. We practiced a couple of the technical sections a few times, then headed back to the cabin to hangout. 

Temporary Home
The course is pretty short at just over 3 miles, and with only 3 laps my race ended up being a really short 9.21 miles, according to my garmin. Its not an easy 3 miles though, thats for sure. I racked up a serious 1919.3 feet of climbing over those 9.21 miles, it was rough. The downhills were sweet though, so it was worth it. There were a few technical sections, but none of it was too challenging. Overall, the course was pretty smooth and fast. 

I raced on Saturday at 10:30am, but I was over at the race venue at 8:00 to watch Veda race. I was killing some time riding around talking to different people I knew from the Talent ID Camp, and just enjoying the day. I did some hill sprints to warm up for my race, then went and sat at staging for a while. I was relaxed for the race, but I was still going to get a good start. It started off pretty hard on the hill, 2 guys off the front, but not too far. I passed one and caught the other, a friend from camp named Lucas, before the top of the hill. I jumped in front of Lucas right at the top of the climb and stayed there until the bottom of the descent. I went through the feedzone, getting my bottle and starting up the climb for the second time. Unfortunately, I was getting tired of climbing and Lucas was not. He pulled away from me about halfway through the climb and then I was sitting in second. Another person passed me part of the way down the descent and I was determined not to get too far behind him. I sat on his tail all the way down the descent and at the bottom we had caught up to Lucas. Again, I cruised through the feedzone, but this time I had to stop to fix a small chain problem and then get going again. The third time up the hill was a bit rough and I was not able to catch the 2 leaders, but nobody was in sight behind me. I got to the top of the climb, excited to fly down the hill and finish the race. I came across the line with a quick wheelie, and the race was over. I was kinda sad about not being able to ride the downhill more, but I was really happy that I didnt have to climb the hill anymore. 

Post Race Meal =
 Bacon Cheesburger
After waiting for about two hours for the podium, I finally got on and put my hands in the air. After the podium, I talked to the guy from Kenda Tires(sorry, I forget his name) about my setup and some of the new stuff they are coming out with. Then headed back to the cabin to get clean and take a nap. 

Me in 3rd, Lucas in 2nd, and Zeke in 1st
After my nap my dad and I headed back to the venue to watch the Redbull Berm Burners competition which was pretty awesome, and then went to get some food in town. Back at the cabin after dinner, I got the majority of my stuff packed up so I would be ready to put it all in the trailer and roll out in the morning. 

On Sunday, out last day, we went to watch the u23 men and the pro women race. They were pretty freakin fast. After their races, we hopped in the van for the long seven hour drive home. The most exciting part of the van ride home was probably playing Sonic Racing on the PS3 with Veda. I crushed her a few times and that's all I have to say about that. We arrived home around 1:00 in the morning and I was tired as heck! After a short reflection on the four days behind me, I fell asleep. 

Perfect Weather
I can't wait to go back again next year!

Thanks to Kenda Tires for keeping me on my line with the Slant Six tires, Cannandale for keeping my head safe and cool with the Cypher Helmet, and ProGold for keeping my bike squeaky clean with all their products! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vacay Wrapup

Its been a week overdue, but this will wrap up my vacation.  I intended to ride a couple more times, but I woke up Thursday with a slightly stiff back so I skipped the bike and just decided to be a tourist for the day. Every trip to Maine, for as long as I can remember, has involved a trip to the local shoe store for a pair of new school sneakers from my mom.  Despite the fact that I am 42 and haven't been in school for more than 15 years, I made the trek to Belfast with my mom and 2 nephews. We hit Olympia Sports to look for our new kicks.    I took the longest because the pair I wanted weren't in stock so I had the dubious task of deciding on the black or red instead of the blue model. It required a second trip back to the stockroom.  I have to say, shoe shopping with boys is fun because we were literally done with shopping in 5 minutes.  I have done the shopping gig with my two nieces before, and it is always way more time consuming.  Here's to the power of being a dude!

After shoes, we walked next door for a trip around Reny's before hitting we hit Wasse's Hotdogs (a mid coast tradition!) for lunch.  In my humble opinion, no trip to Penobscot Bay is complete without a stop at both of these businesses.
View from the Temple Heights Beach... its been less than a week and I am already looking to head back

That evening I headed inland to visit with one of my best friends. We met in the summer of 1990 when we were both scrubs at the Lobster Pound Restaurant. Back in the day, I was a fry cook and he was out in the lobster area. Over the next 5 summers, we grew our friendship that has somehow endured, despite the fact that we tend to see each other only 1 time a year, and sometimes go a couple years without crossing paths. The last time we got together, he was showing off his newborn son, Levi.  His son is now over 3 years old and an absolute wrecking ball. Man was it great to catch up with him.
Tim, Jaimie, & Levi dropped in to visit the rest of the fanily at Temple Heights. 

Friday, the stiff back that I was hoping would have mended was feeling worse than ever. Again I decided the prudent thing to do would be to skip the ride since I was planning on heading home later that night. My nephew Nate decided he was going to go for a short run and Patrick didn't want to go.  For some stupid reason I thought it might be good to go run with him, despite the fact that I heard him say he was hoping to be around 7 minute mile pace. I quickly introduced him to Strava for his phone, and we were off. I tried hanging with him, but around the 1/2 mile mark, both my nephews (Patrick decided to join us afterall) started to slowly pull away. At the one mile mark, they turned around (I did too, but well short of the 1 mile mark) it wasn't long before they were catching me and passing me. I tried hard again to stay with them, but they just casually dropped the old man behind them in their dust. They finished with a 7:36/mile pace and I finished with about an 8:28/mile pace.
Shadow Selfie on the "beach" at Temple Heights, Maine

Shortly after we got back my sister Amy arrived from Indiana, PA. With her were my nieces, Abbey and Eliza, as well as Eliza's boyfriend and on of Abbey's friends. Mom and Dads quiet little cottage were suddenly bursting with activity. While I was sad that I was going to miss spending time with everyone, I was not going to miss the whirlwind of activity that was beginning to take place. And then Sunday Morning, my other sister, Heidi was arriving from Waynesburg with her husband, her other son, his friend, and her daughter. Only Amy's husband and I were not going to be there at the same time this year.  Add to the mix their puppy and I can only imagine the neighbor's impression of the Gernert Clan.  I know the Temple Heights Spiritualists are considered by most to be a little off their rocker, but I'm thinking that the locals would gladly exchange the worst of the spiritualists for the best of the Gernerts (naturally this would mean me).
Friday afternoon on the beach. This obviously is before Heidi and her Motley Crue arrives.

Dad and I hit the Lobster Pound for one last lunch, then mom served up clam chowder for dinner and I was on my way home. I stopped at LL Beans in Freeport, Maine and picked up a "stowable" backpack. Its not that I needed another backpack, I have probably 10 others, but this one had a pack within the pack. I'm hoping this will work well with the bike this fall and winter as I plan to do more of my daily activity via the bike. But that sounds like another blog in the making....
One last Maine Selfie (yes, I was stopped) before departing for points South

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Taking a break from biking.... but not completely.

The lumber is  paid for and delivered...now the sweat begins

This summer I decided to move forward with some home improvement projects that had been pushed aside for too long.  Tired of having rain, snow, and ice falling from the roof of the house onto the front steps and occasionally the backs of our necks as we try to get through the front door, I finally put priority on building some porches and finishing the house that we've lived in for over 2 years now.  Unfortunately, this would mean a little break from cycling.

Although I've had motivations in the past to tackle this project by myself in the past, I am by no means much of a skilled carpenter.  I feared having porches that were not level nor square.  So, I sought guidance from my uncle.  With a week and a half off from work, we began the project in mid June with the help from my dad, brother, and nephew.

I've worked labor jobs in the past...somewhere like 20yrs ago.  I had not realized how physically unfit I had become.  Digging post holes, lifting 16 foot long 6x6 posts, carrying 4x8ft sheets of OSB up ladders had given me a level of upper body and back soreness that I had not seen in a long time.  But, I have enjoyed every minute of it.  It was a break from my normal routine, the first summer vacation in 12 yrs, and an opportunity to spend time with family and friend that would show up to help.

Should have left these posts that long.
Would have been great deer stands

Although, I have gotten very little time on the bike in the past 6 wks as we continue to finish these projects, I have gotten to participate in events that I would normally miss due to my usual work schedule:

Watching my nephew Kyle with two solid hits to win a little league championship

Kyle smacking one to the outfield

Teaching nephews, Kyle and Darren, how to search for night crawlers and catch their first fish

Farm pond fishing
No better place to learn

Kyle's 1st fish

Darren's 1st fish

The porches have given me the opportunities to relax in the evenings and watch thunderstorms, wild life, morning sunrises, and evening sunsets.

Strong storms and Tornado warnings
(not sure if we had a funnel cloud starting)

Doe and her two fawns from the front porch during breakfast

Now, I didn't give up cycling completely during this time.   I managed to take on a few mountain bike races this summer to stay in shape.  And to my surprise, I even managed to take a step onto a few podiums at that.

The Big Bear 2x12:  1st Place Vets

Big Bear 2x12 start
(Surprised to be beside Gunnar...briefly.   The last that I would see of him) 

Big Bear 2x12 Podium
with Stew of CER

The Henry Clay 30K:  4th Place

Henry Clay 30k Podium
(was sure I didn't finish well enough for this podium and surprised to be called up)

Dobbin House Classic:  3rd Place

Dobbin House
very technical, rooty course

Dobbin House Podium

And, the White Park Throwdown:  Crash and Burn

White Park Whipty-do Endo

I haven't gotten the miles on the bike that I had hoped for this summer.  And, I continue to put in 12 hour days at work one day, then work on the porches until sunset the next.   (Almost done)

But, I've had a blast getting to try a new skill, spending time with family and friends, and relaxing on the new porches.  

Vacation Season

This summer was not exactly everything I had planned. But doing it all wouldn't have been exactly easy to do, and I promised myself I'd let this summer "be my last" as a kid. Besides, cycling in Wheeling has been awful this summer especially since they stopped their Wednesday night hammer ride because of one wreck that happened last year.  So I chose to let myself enjoy the ride and get back to cycling this fall, maybe even try cross.
One of the most important things I needed to do this summer was make some dough so I could remain going to school. It seems, however, this led to me using the money on summer vacationing. Whoops.  So it became working so that I could afford to play and relax.  That's what loans are for anyways right?
With that being said my July has been very fun. Earlier in the month I took a trip to Cedar Point and rode coasters on their fast pass until I was sick of it (which takes me a while). Then on July 16th the vacation of my life happened when my plane departed from the Pittsburgh airport for Aruba.
The night before my friend and I didn't get much sleep so we were exhausted by the time we arrived, so we ate and went to bed. However the next night we wanted to try a very much talked about bar on the island called Moomba's. When we got there the bartender, who we found out later was the manager, took a liking to us.
This led to an amazing Friday night which honestly felt like a movie. We went to Moomba's again and met a girl who was friends with more of the staff.  So, we naturally asked what they did after they closed at 1 and said we wanted to hang out with Roy the manager.  We went to a club called Gusta and waited on our new friends. Just when we thought they had lied and were no longer coming, five members of the Moomba's staff showed up, and soon even got us into the VIP section of this club. As I was talking to my friend and another guy who snuck in with us, a woman grab my hand wanting to dance. I had noticed a sash she was wearing and I asked about it. When she showed me it read "bachelorette," and I quickly realized I was in the middle of a Polish Bachelorette party!  Yikes!! Well the rest there is just history.
Aruba may have been one of the most beautiful places I've seen in my life.  The rest of the week my friend and I would go to the pool or beach and just relax for hours.  We also met a few new friends, a family from Pittsburgh, of whom the father knows of our very own Pat Claire.  We met another guy from Columbus who said he often comes to Morgantown to visit one of his friends there, so we're naturally going to hang out during the school year.  Coming home was very sad, and when I do get my big boy job I definitely will have to go back.
As I write, I am currently on my way to Top Sail beach with my girlfriend and her family for more vacation time! Hopefully this will be a much needed break and I can come back well rested and relaxed, especially before going to the real world. Then it'll be time to start hitting the books and getting on my bike (actually training).  But in the mean time I'm going to enjoy the time I have before the ominous senior year approaches.

Recipe for Success

We all have goals we set out to accomplish. The mountains aren't always so easy to climb though.

I began my journey to be come a CCRN nearly a year ago in Turkey. I spent hours listening to audio lecture while crossing the countryside. I guess that isn't the worst place to be while gaining some knowledge but I would have loved to explore more of the landscape and soak up a little bit more of the culture in those hours.

I did what I felt I should do to prepare myself for the exam I planned to take in February. An attention span of about 30 minutes didn't aid studying but I endured the hours (which were about 18 per week) by breaking study time into short blocks throughout the days. It worked out pretty well but meant it took nearly 10 hours to get 6 hours of focused study time. The days I was not at the hospital were basically spent as all day study sessions. I was eager to acquire the knowledge and focus on my goal but that was all. It took a big toll on my family and especially my wife who spent hours doing-you guessed it-everything. It was all means to an end that was close at hand. Right? Wrong...

A long, twisting and rough road

The road to success was not flat, straight or lined with flowers. I failed my first attempt at the exam. I missed it by 1 single question so it was back to the drawling board...

Preparation really began to wear on me over the next 2 months. I decided to reschedule another exam date that April but much to my dismay there was no test date available until the end of May. I realized at that point that I really needed to pass with this attempt as my job position required the certification by July. Apparently many certification exams are taken in the summer months so available testing space was nonexistent for me between May and July. This was a problem because my job was dependent upon this next test. I didn't need the extra stress. My stress was high and I was eating pounds of chocolate! I refocused my cycling to short intense training so I could shake off some of that stress and I pounded my head off the books again.

Hours at this desk
I spent many more hours at this desk studying my --- off day after day until test day #2. I was confident. The test seemed to be easier to me this time around! Oh- I guess I should mention that the test is never the same. There is a bank of thousands of questions from which the test is made. If it were the same test I would have passed it the second time. Yes-that's right. The proctor met me in the office and said "honey-I don't know what it is with you and 1 question." That moment was horrible. I thought so many things (many of which I can't include here.)  Was she joking? Am I on What Would You Do?  What are the chances of missing by 1 question 2 times? Can I test again before I lose my job?

I spent the next days trying to coordinate the earliest test date. Again, as my luck would have it, the next available date was the end of July. Unfortunately for me the job required the certification by July 1. I spent the next days in UPMC management offices explaining my situation. I did not want to lose my job. I happen to be one of the lucky few that love to do what they do. I could not give up. I pleaded my case. After all my information was presented it was decided that the next available date to retest was going to be my "pass by" date! I had one more chance.

Now the pressure was really on my shoulders. My wife had been dealing with everything and was going to have to continue. I was so stressed out I wanted to vomit everyday. I took a step back and asked myself, "what are you going to do?"  This is what I did...

More hours at this desk

I reminded myself of what a coach of mine once told me, "Sometimes you need to STEP UP and just LAY IT DOWN!" Yeah- it sounds kind of funny doesn't it. I love it though! The fact of the matter is that when your faced with a difficult situation you still have a choice to make. You can climb the mountain or you can crawl in a hole. I committed to pulling the remaining energy from myself and give it a go.

I knew I could not do it alone so I assembled my troops. I called the AACN and Board of Nursing for information. I utilized my mentors and supportive clinical leaders at the hospital. I picked the brains of the doctors until they just wanted me to shut up. I suggested so many therapies for my patients that some of the doctors started calling me Dr. Devin. I believe that they laughing at me more than anything but it didn't matter to me. I was thinking and that's what was important. It paid off in the end!

On July 30, 2014 I became Devin Corboy, CCRN. I still have a million things to learn but I am one of only 4,192 nurses nationwide to hold the certification of Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Specialist. It may have been easy for some but it was not easy for me. I could not have done it without my Army led by Captain Caito and the troops at the AACN & CHP. Thank you so much for your support. I want to thank everyone for putting up with the "Beyond Stressed Out" version of me. Just give me a few more days and I'll be back to my Fun Ol' Self.

Here's my Cookie!
I've endured this process and I've utilized my resources to make this change happen by thinking outside the box. The next question is - What will I do with it?

Rehab and Relaxing

As many of you know, my season has been none short of disappointing. I started seeing our good friend Rob Acciavatti over at Dynamic Physical Therapy in Westover, WV twice a week for medicine and stretching. Fortunately I was given great news that I may not have to come twice a week anymore which also means I can finally graduate from the rail trail. I need to send a huge thank you to both Rob for healing me all up and JR for riding at a 2 mph speed with me. The past few months have made me even more excited for February when Chas and I can tackle collegiate season with the WVU team and flow into the public season. Until then will be baby steps back into shape.

In the meantime, I have gotten the opportunity to travel to a few places. First was Italy with three days in Florence, 4 days in Sorento, and 3 days in Rome. I highly encourage everyone to visit Italy at least once in their life. I know I will be going back one day.

I come back to WV this weekend to jump head first into fieldwork, school, and the newly earned ability to start training again. But until Saturday I will ignore all of that from the North Carolina shore.

Thank you all for reading! See you soon, West Virginia! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vacay... Day 5

Cruising up Rt 1 with Dad... look at those 8' paved shoulders to ride on.
We were blessed with another beautiful day on the bay. Dad was up for another ride so we went out for a "quick" 20 which was really a slow 30. Dad's still experiencing the same shifting problems, so I guess we're back at the starting point with that issue. The rear cable was replaced last year (this bike is only ridden during the summer months while he is in Maine) and he put a new chain on last week and started having all these new problems. I'm thinking the shifter or derailleur is the culprit but don't know which way to go with the trouble shooting and since he is running Campy, I can't swap anything out of my spare parts to diagnose things through the process of elimination.

I had every intention of going out in the afternoon for another short ride of 25-30 miles, however, the fish were biting so I decided to keep trolling for mackerel in one of the kayaks. I caught nothing significant to speak up but I did catch a few mackerel although only 1 made it into the boat. And It was only a tinker and I would have thrown it back in to catch another day, however it hit the lure so hard that in the process of removing the hooks, I removed several important body parts for the fish. Sorry little guy but I guess you'll taste good with some barbecue sauce.

The Beach at Temple Heights.
Its supposed to be another nice day tomorrow so I want to get up early and get out on the bike so I can be back before the activities get rolling. Maybe I can get my 60 mile loop around Megunticook in or maybe I will be drawn north towards Castine.  Check back to see where I head to!