Monday, April 28, 2008

Silver and Gold....

No, it's not Christmas...but I'll get that.

Yesterday was the Greenbrier Challenge (my one and only shot to qualify for Nationals in July) and to put things mildly I was a little nervous. Not knowing the course was one thing (going in I heard everything from it's no big deal to watch out for everything from Lions Tigers and Bears) but the bigger question was the competition. Who's going to show up, how am I going to fit in and on and on....

The day started EARLY with the wife and I rolling out of the house just after five for the three hour drive down to MD. Luckily we only had one stop on the I said I was nervous.

After watching the start of wifey's race we snuck out to pre ride the course, and let's just say time was on my side. We rolled back in as they were lining up for my race...five minutes later and things would have been over before they started. But it was worth it, I learned a lot about the course in that one lap.

The race started fast, but I entered the single track first. A little over a mile in I came up to Matt on the side of the trail (his group started a minute ahead of mine) and he'd broke off his rear derailleur, day I thought. He ran back out of the trail, changed out the derailleur and restarted the race 45 minutes after he first started. Now boys and girls that's a man, anybody else would have called it a day. Huge props dude, huge.

I lost the lead at the end of the first lap (three laps total) but my goal was just to keep the guy in site...which was tough, dude was smoking it. After getting slowed by traffic on one of the climbs I lost contact mid way thru the second lap, game over I thought.

Starting my final lap I saw the leader 150 meters ahead heading into the woods. I pushed as hard as I could and closed the gap to less then 10 meters, but once we hit the same climb as the earlier lap two things happened. One he started the climb just after passing three slower riders (I got stuck behind them) and two he looked back and saw me. That was it, game over. In that 30-45 seconds I was delayed in traffic he was gone.

So a second place it was, which I'm happy with....but it's still a second and therefore we got work to do.

Was a little muddy out there....

Make sure you get behind those ears too....

So the Silver and Gold you ask?

Wifey won, and therefore pulled in two gold medals (one for wining the race itself and one for being Maryland state champ.) Not sure how we get state champ medals for MD when we don't live there, but I don't make the rules. And with our placing we both qualify for Nat's.

So how does it feel to bring home a couple silver medals? I'll put it this was, as I'm smiling to myself checking out my new hardware the wife walks by and throws out "I can show you what a gold one looks like if you want."

And with that alone I have work to do.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Brown boxes of love...

I'll get to the lovin in a minute....(I'm guessing that's the first time I've every said that.)

I meet up with Bikewrench and Pam on Tuesday for a road ride up into Green Lane, pretty much following the Cyclosportif race course. Around the mid ride point we head up Eichele (a half mile climb at hits a grade of 22-23% at the top) and BW and I work each other over a little before turning back home.

It was a great 45 mile ride with a lot of hills....but things got even better when I came home to this spread of Hammer goodness...

It's like a little sample pack of love.

So that's "brown box" of love part one......part two came yesterday. Let's just say it made my day/week/month.....ok, you get the point. Now onto the box...

So what's in the box you ask......well don't you?
My new I9 wheels for the 29er....and yes, I played with them until the wife came home. Then she made me put my toys away, but only till after dinner.

So tomorrow the "chunky girl" goes to the Bikewrench to complete her weight loss program...and a little tune up before Greenbrier on Sunday. Of which I'm already starting to get butterflies in my stomach (they'll grow into condors) and the race is three days away.

Three days.......three days!!!!! Crap.....I have to go ride my bike.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Prime....what prime?

This morning was a slow morning. After meeting Bud for a lap of Wissa on Friday afternoon then doing the Rally in the Valley with some fellow members of the Guys team Saturday the body was not wanting to work very well....and today being my first road race of the year....great.

After looking for (begging for actually) a reason not to do the race (over sleeping wife, no... rain, no...earthquake, again no) I was told "let's go, we're leaving."

Thirty minutes later same said person is pinning on my race number and giving me the pep/be safe talk. After a little warm up with the team we head to the line for the start of the mens Cat 4 race. So what does someone who knows they're about to have their ass handed to them look like...

The race (20 laps, each lap being a mile) started out fast (again great...I knew I should have stayed in bed) but I just sat on to see how things were going to play out. On the seventh lap a pair of riders went off the front and were sitting about 100 meters out, like a carrot out in front of a donkey....or in my case a pair of gummy bears sitting out there.
Not sure why, or where it came from but I went out after them. Someone jumped on my wheel and I pulled the two of us up to my "gummies." After a lap one of the gummies was done, so it was down to the three of us coming across the start/finish with nothing but sounds of cowbells ringing....
....but in this case more cowbell was not a good thing.

For those of you that don't know they ring a bell at different points in a crit for "primes" (pronounced preem) ...prizes, money, small children, etc....but people also ring them just to keep the racers pumped up, it's one of the only things you can hear clearly when you're riding by at 30 mph.

So what happens when you don't know it's a prime lap...
...someone bridging out of the pack, pulls thru "wins" the prime then pulls off the course in the next turn....race over (WTF!) The three of us have no idea what the hell just happened (we never heard the bell for the prime lap) so we pull up and start looking around....end of breakaway.

After a few laps of sitting in a rider again goes off the big deal, somebody else will bring him back in.....wrong.

After watching him sit 100 plus meters off the front for over a lap, then seeing he had teammates at the front of our group blocking I went "gummy" huntin again....this time alone. It took me nearly a lap to get his wheel...but I got it. Once he saw me on his wheel he gave in and I came around him....but I was cooked....a broken man.

He was not willing to work (and with a lap and a half to go) I sat up and let the field bring us back in.

So a lot of work for a pack finish....but in all a good race. I learned what I'm good at in a crit/road race...chasing down breaks and maybe even been apart of a small long as it works together.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Is the party over?

Nope, not yet....... Still got one more day.

With the wife off from work all week we've spent a lot of time "enjoying" each other.......get your minds out of the gutter. I mean normally she works long hours (part of the reason for the job change) and we just don't get to spend much time being a couple. I don't call meeting for/making dinner, us hanging out for a hour or two then going to bed enjoying each other.

Few people know it but I've got a kick ass wife....(trying to keep that on the down low) and I got enjoy that again this week. Other then a Phillies game lastnight (they lost...SWEET, go Braves) we've just hung out doing stuff around the casa. And it's been one of the best weeks in a` long time.

Now before I get myself sick with the love, flowers and God knows what back to the ridin.....

It's been a pretty laid back week. The shoulder/upper back took a little more damage in the crash then I first I've been resting that a little. Geoffrey did his magic Tuesday and I felt like Superman......

...on my little 30 mile spin yesterday...just minus the pink (that's the wife area...I know my role, and pink's not it.) But tomorrow we start ramping things up for Greenbrier next weekend, I've got one shot at Nationals and I'm making it....end of story.

Tonight Tequila, tomorrow WE RIDE!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The day after...

Well it's the day after the day after really......what?'s Tuesday, let's move on.

Yesterday was pretty much a day of the wife and I being vegetables (she's off work all week) here at the house. I did get out on the road for a 25 mile recovery ride and let's just say I felt good. More then a couple times I had to back myself off, the legs/body just wanted to go....but that's not what I was out there for.

Other then a little running around, grabbing some half ass Mexican grub (our normal place is closed on Monday's) and swinging by casa Bikewrench for a little work that was the day....pretty lame I know. But the important thing was I felt great, not sore...just a little tightness in the upper back.

That story changed this morning....I feel like I've been hit by a truck.

I did not go into it yesterday but I went down once in the first lap of the race, and "went down once" I mean I hit the ground like a ton of bricks. No damage to bike or rider, but I got the same kind of crash last year I broke my collarbone and did other soft tissue damage.
Luckily all I'm feeling is a lot of muscle soreness/tightness in my neck, shoulders and back...I hope. But I go see my boy Geoffrey today and he'll get me all back in order.

A couple shots from the race I pulled from Dennis' site.
The race had a HUGE turn out (650 racers total,) this is a shot of the Sport rider registration. Even with this, the Bikeline group did a great job getting riders in/out as fast as possible.
It's a ways away (front three riders) but this may have been where I won the race. This is where "dude" had his miss shift and I pulled around to enter the woods in first.

You can see Dennis' photos from the race here.

Lots more photos here, from Delmarva mug.

Now I'm off to go think about those 45 and 90 seconds I talked about yesterday.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fair Hill XC

Yesterday was the first XC race of the MASS season and to till you the truth I'm glad it's over with. I've not written about it at all, but I've had a lot of questions about the season running thru my head the past few weeks. Everything from is my new 29er the right bike for this type of race, to should I even jump back into XC racing (I've been doing only endurance events the past couple years) to the obvious "am I gonna suck?" Not knowing my competition at all this was my biggest fear/question.

I changed to the endurance events in the first place because I found out they're more what I'm built for. I'm good (or at least better) at getting to my 85-90% level and just staying there for it four, six or twelve. What I was never good at is the quick 60-90 minute all out sprints where if you're not pushing 110% you're done before you hit turn one.

That may have changed.....

I spent a few minutes figuring out the gearing I wanted at the starting line before lining up with the other 40 riders in my class (Vet 1 35-39.) All the Sport classes had very large turn outs, most "waves" had 35 plus racers....and the last thing I wanted to do was get stuck behind slower riders. I have another ways to lose a race myself, I don't want to add one more to I've never been good at working my way thru slower traffic.

Again, that may have changed.....

As I pushed off when the horn for my wave sounds what happens....I roll about an inch. The tacky mud I was standing in was not greatest place to start (note to self...check out the start line conditions too....not just gearing....jackass.)

Even with my "stellar" start I was only sitting in 7-8th place. The first half mile plus was on a gravel/dirt road that was meant to space riders out before entering the single track. Knowing this from my pre ride I wanted to enter the trail where I planned on finishing the race, (hopeful not last) I pushed myself a little harder then I wanted to at first and made my way to the front.

I was sitting in second as I had a mental debate with myself (that's a lose/lose battle) over how hard I wanted to push. Should I sit on this guys wheel and just pace myself or should I keep pushing myself and get around him before we enter the woods? Dude has a miss shift.......question answered, I pull around and enter the trail in first.

We very quickly start catching the Senior 2's that started one minute ahead of us and to my surprise I start making my way thru them very well. I even get a little gap on the others in my group as they get slowed by the traffic. This goes on for 5-10 minutes till I see one of my teammates (with a similar built in front of me) and I have a thought (rare...very rare) that if the riders chasing me did not get a good look at me they may think this guy is/was me and stop pushing if and or when they caught him. So again I make the pass and just keep pushing myself to keep things going.

The second half of the lap things stayed the same, catch someone make the pass, repeat. As I came in after the first lap I knew I had a 30-45 seconds gap on the second place rider....and also knowing I did not want to lose the gap I keep pushing myself to keep a nice steady pace.
On round two of the gravel/dirt road I see Matt (one of Senior 2's) a hundred meters ahead of me just before we enter the trail head again. Knowing he's one of the faster riders in his group I wanted to sit on his wheel and just pace myself on him....but what I did not know (till later) he was fighting a chest cold (still finished very well...huge props dude.) After Matt called me around I just keep the same thing going....catch, pass repeat. I did slow my pace a little because I did not want to blow up, but I keep getting egged on by things.

At the one "technical climb" (if you even want to call it that, just a short/steep climb with a couple roots in it and a ninety degree turn at the top) I took a inside line and passed two riders. As I by I hear one of the spectator yell out "now that's how you f*cking do it right there, f*ck yeah." How can you not get a little pumped after hearing things like that?

Then a minute later I made a pass on a guy that asked "you're a Senior 2 right?" I reply "no Vet 1"....he yells back "Holy F*ck, where'd the Hell did you come from?" Behind you dude, behind you.

I rolled into the finish knowing I'd won....even thou I was shocked I was pretty damn happy. But I was still asking myself why dude was so pumped up about seeing a Vet 1?
After seeing the results posted I think I figured it out. I passed all 32 Senior 2 that started a minute ahead of me and 29 of the Senior 1's that started two minutes ahead of me. That made me feel good too, but I also saw a couple things that scared me.
One I only won by 45 seconds over second place and two the guy that placed third had a second lap time that was over ninety second fast then mine. NINETY seconds me that's a reason to worry.
And even thou I got this....
That ninety seconds is a reason to go get on my bike.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Crits, and date night...

The training crit Thursday night went more as planned. It was a good fast race as always, and I just sat in and got some speed work. In another week or two and I'll start "playing" a little more...but for right now I'm using it as a training tool for the first couple XC races.

Even thou it's just 30 miles (48 km for those in the land of OZ) long it's a great workout. Looking back at the numbers my average HR was 177 for the hour...and yes, it was tuff but I was not dying either. More so just a good fast push the whole I say now. During and just after that would not have been my feedback.

Yesterday was a short easy spin on the road just to keep the legs loose for Sunday, followed up by a little house hunting...long story.

But lastnights Mexican "date night" with the wife was better then normal (get your minds out of the gutter) because it was her last day at work. Just a job change, we did not win the lottery or anything....yet. She's heading to a job she'll "enjoy" much more.....and that makes things happier for all.

Looks like the weather they were calling for us to get went......who the hell knows where. It's not gonna rain so game on for the XC race Sunday, and that's all I really care about. Looks like it's going to be a large race too, I've got 27 in my class right now and more will join the day of I'm sure. Going thru the names that have signed up so far and looking at last years results it looks like I may have a fight on my hands.

T minus 26 hours till XC race number one of the season......think I'll sleep much tonight?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Are Triathletes the anti-Christ? Yeah, after may ride today I think they may be.

I went out for a short 25 mile spin on the road bike this afternoon (just keeping loose for tomorrow) on some of my normal routes. A couple miles out I saw a rider down in their aerobars coming at me. So I do what I always do....throw up a little wave....the return? Nothing, nip, zero....kind of a prick move, but I'll live. I know triathletes are.......different people, "riders" sure....but different.

Less then five minutes later I see a second "rider" coming at me.....again laid out in their aerobars. Once again I throw a little wave out (thinking to myself it can't happen again) and once again....prickness in return. What the Hell.....we both like the same thing (well, "they" like it in a little more of a twisted and demented way...swim, run and then bike....sick I tell you) so why be a pick to other cyclist?

As I started heading back home I see "prick" number one turn off a side street a 100 meters ahead....and better yet, he's heading the same direction I am. I make it my mission to pass the tri freak. After getting hung up by a car cutting me off at a stop sign "tri freak" had 200 meters on me, but my luck was about to change. As I turned to follow him down this sweet mile long sweeping downhill a school bus cruise by.....and I jump in it's draft. With a couple of the kids yelling "go Kermit go" out the windows, I sucked up to my giant yellow lead out man smoking down the hill at 40 mph.

Within what felt like seconds we flew by "tri freak" like he was standing still.....go Kermit go.

Looks like weather could play a part in the first XC race this Sunday.....keeping my fingers crossed for no rain. Either way tomorrow is round two of the T-town training crit's....what happened last week is not gonna happen again.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Relay's, Birthday's and Friends.....

Both new and old on the friend front............. and I'm sorry, this will be a long post. Today was the first MASS event, being a four person team relay over in Marysville, PA.

The course was a nice little 16-18 minute loop thru the Mike Kuhn in-law (Oesterling's) family farm (thank you very much once again.) Where we had a birthday..... KIM!!!!!!

we also saw a couple old friends........with a daughter thrown in too..
and even a teammate...

well, there was about twenty teammates....but the computer is not working right now to upload more camera photos (maybe it's the operator and his........nevermind how many beers right now, sorry tequila) I'll work on more pictures tomorrow.

I also put a face with a new friend (sorry Matt I did not have the camera around.....and I could not really talk normal....... between just finishing a lap, getting cold and just overall being a retard.)

But today was great. The bike was sweet, the riders times were FAST and all seems ready for the first XC race next Sunday.

....and with that being said go ride your bike....because I am, and you better be ready.

...more pictures tomorrow..............drink up Team Utah....

Friday, April 4, 2008

The day after.....

After not sleeping much lastnight (thinking about my.....well, you know) and my "recovery" ride today, I thought about a few things. To cut to the long and short I'm ready.....lastnight was lastnight and today is today. The guys in the race lastnight are not my competition...well one is in the endurance races....but again , is not my competition.

I'm ready for a competition........I'm pist about lastnight (even thou I have no reason to be) but I what to stay that way.

In nine days I'm gonna drop the fucking hammer.......if you're in my class be ready, Nuff say.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The speed of failure?

So what's the speed of failure you ask? -------- 23.5 mph

Yeah, 23.5 mph average....that was the "failure" speed of the day. Today was the first weekly "training" crit up in Lehigh. If you've read the book Ten Points you know a little about this event. To put it short it's a weekly training crit that on an given Thursday has 5-6 pro racers, 12-18 ex pros and even a National champ or two thrown in here and there just to piss me off......then there's the other 40-50 fat, out of shape want to be racers that just want to hold on for dear life......that's where I come in.

Long story short I lasted 17 laps, 17 F*CKING LAPS (each lap being a mile) of the 25 mile race. I did out lasted half the field (75 riders started) but that's all I had. Even thou I only had the goal of sitting in the whole race.......mission failed.

Pist, annoyed, disappointed, pist and more pist.....that's where I sit typing this. I knew I was gonna get my ass handed to me.....but I thought I finish the f*cking race.

Time to stop the fucking season started three hours ago....and I was not ready!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Unicons and Rainbows.....

Well not really....on both counts. Besides, why would I write about either one? I mean do I wear colorful skin tight clothing and.........I'll stop now, I see I'm going to lose this fight.

On the "unicorn"front. Our year old Shepard had a lump cut off his melon yesterday that we've been joking calling his unicorn (I more so think it was just one of his Devil horns coming out to play.) The little lad came home pretty much out of it between being knocked out and the pain pills.

Sounds like he'll live......but he's gonna have a kick ass scar to sport for the chicks.......

Gonna need to think up a good story for the little dude. The only thing chicks dig more then the scars is hearing a good reason for getting it.

And the rainbows.....nope, none of those either. Just two days full of rain/wind and dreary gray skies here in the Philly area. The temperature is heading north again thou, so I'd have no problem riding in it normally. But with the racing season kicking off in just over a week the last thing I want to do is go out and get sick. So in the house I will be...staying warm and dry.

What are you looking at......go ride your bike.