Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Some Days

Procrastinating.
Let's see, I can fold laundry, there are a couple dishes that need washing, maybe organize my sock drawer...anything but get ready for work.
Well, not exactly ready for work, but ready to ride to work.

It's a beautiful morning,but I just wasn't into it. Maybe it was Steve's fault for getting me thinking about killer B Audis

Whatever the case, it was a morning where I didn't want to set  a good example, be green, save money and commute by bicycle.

But any day I can, I have to.

Why?

See above.
I feel as the co-creator of 3 human beings I have certain ecological responsibility.  Part of that responsibility is not using a car for trips I can make under my own power.  I also need to show them how to live a healthy lifestyle for their own well being as well as the planet.

Oh, yeah kids eat a lot of food, which they aren't just giving away, so every little bit helps.

Begrudgingly I suited up.  All that procrastinating meant now I'd have to pedal harder than I really wanted to get to work on time.

sigh...

Work was good, but guess what?  There was a bike ride waiting for me at the end of the day.  At one point someone joked a customer wanted to take me home with her, "good" I said "I don't feel like riding".

But the evening was nice, the wind was warm, and the lights were kind.

Ready to do it another day.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Put Your Fucking Phone The Fuck Away!

On the ride to work yesterday, I was sort of perplexed with how hard it seemed for a car to pass me on Middle Rd.  It's a wide, clean road with a good shoulder.  But it got passed me without incident, so no harm no foul, right?

Then it came to a complete stop, 30' from the stop sign splitting the right and left turn lanes.  I need to get to work, so I pull around the car on the left side (I was turning left).  The woman is holding her phone out in front of her face.

You can guess what I shouted at her.

She looked back at me like a defiant child.

Everyone says they are in favor of tougher distracted driving laws, but the consequence of such doesn't seem to be having the right effect.  Informally I'd say 1/3 of the drivers I see are on the phone.  Are you?

Since it seems unlikely that you'll actually be punished for breaking the law, consider this:

IF YOU KILL SOMEONE THEY DON'T COME BACK.  THEIR FAMILY IS LEFT WITHOUT A SON, A DAUGHTER, SISTER, BROTHER, MOTHER OR FATHER.  YOU MIGHT BE PUNISHED BUT THEY WILL BE DEAD.

HUMAN LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR FUCKING PHONE CALL!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Pathlete

Twice this past week our paths have crossed.  First time you were headed towards me, as I said hello on the busy rail trail you spit across my lane of travel.

Second time as you pulled along side me, I nodded and said hello.  You kept your steely gaze straight forward as you powered down the bike path in your aerobars.

As you weaved through walkers, joggers, mom's pushing strollers, etc, my  curiosity was peeked.  I wanted to see why such as serious athlete was using this multi-purpose trail for such an intense workout.  I raised my cadence a bit, but alas, you turned down 177 before I could close the gap completely.

The thing is my friend, you weren't putting your money where your mouth was so to speak.  You looked all serious in you matching kit, but you weren't really putting out the watts, but if you could really lay down some power you'd know better than doing so on a busy Saturday morning on a popular rail trail.

You did look cool though; I'm sure everyone you passed was very impressed.
Especially the moms with strollers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tymor Park Challenge


Without taking an extended road trip or a boat, the last mtb race of the season was the Tymor Park Challenge, finale of the Campmor H2H race series.  I had considered doing the Freetown 50 as after the Hampshire 100 I'm really digging longer distances, but speaking of longer distances, it would be about 100 miles more in the car, so the Tymor Challenge became much more attractive.

After a pre-ride lap I did something I rarely do; I put on a bigger cog.  Tymor has over 900' of climbing in each 5.33 mile lap; about 50% more than I was expecting.  That's Vermont-y.

The only name I recognized of the pre-registered riders was Brian Kelley.  I don't believe we had ever actually raced, but I had seen his name in the results of some New England races and knew he was no joke.

Talking with Thierry, I missed the pre-race meeting.  No big deal, it's a Cat1 XC race; ride 4 laps as fast as you can.  Right?

They are smart and start the singlespeed riders after the Pros; no slower riders to get stuck behind on climbs.

The Pros go off and our 2 minutes is counted down, whistle blows and we are off.  It not a big field of racers, but as the trail narrows for a bridge, things are getting tight, elbows knocked, and I back off a bit.

There is about a quarter mile more before we bang a left into the woods and head up the first climb.  I spin it up, and get there first, taking the A line on the climb.  Brian grabs the B line and passes me...strongly.  Another rider is dicing with me as we come to the convergence of the A and B line.  I push hard and get there first.

Brian is super smooth in the singletrack.  Conditions are perfect, but this part of the course has slick, black hard pack that take skill and confidence to ride fast.  I'm hold Brian to about 10 meters (eurotrash for 35'), but not closing at all.

Then there is an awful metallic crunch and Brian pulls over.

I'm really bummed, as I'm thinking a horrendous mechanical has taken him out.

But no sooner than I think this He's back on my wheel.

Showing the Broseph nature of the SS, he calls out turns I might has missed do to my unfamiliarity with the course.

When we get to the last third of the lap we are still right together.  But the last 1/3 has some of the most significant climbs.  Slowly I'm able to grow a gap, and by the time we get back to the grass, it's  almost 30".

Now things get lonely.  The next 2 laps I ride completely alone.   Trying to stay on top of things and not get complacent.

It's not until the last 1/3 of the 3rd lap that Matt Boobar, XTerra pro racing the 40-49 class catches me and gives me a little company before he powers away.

I'm really starting to feel it in my legs at the end of the lap, but need to keep on top of it for just one more.  Hopefully I can ride all the climbs one last time.  As I sprint through the start finish I see some Pros hanging around.  "Wow" I think "they finished 4 laps faster than I finished 3".  As I hammer down the fireroad, about to turn into the woods up the hill, I hear someone shouting "3 laps, buddy it's only 3 laps!"

It's my pal Neal from the Errace Power by Central Wheel team and winner of the Pro race letting me know I was done and won.  I guess the Pros would have had to pass me to do a 4th lap huh?  Maybe those pre-race meetings are of a little more importance too?

1st place Singlespeed second fastest Cat1.

About a minute later Brian comes down the road; I'm relived that his only mechanical was just a stick, and his bike was good the rest of the race.

Glad I had the bigger cog, wouldn't have minded one tooth bigger either.




Just when things get rolling the season is coming to an end...

On an equipment note, I rode Blü.2, my Singular Swift. The last race I won was on my this bike.  It was a climby VT race.  I've had decent result on other bikes, but my Swift, even with a couple extra pounds is the bike I've the greatest accomplishments on.  Always reliable.  I haven't officially been a Singular team member since 2010, but if it ain't broke...


Monday, September 9, 2013

Landmine 2013

Things were going well in the lead up to Landmine.

Then they weren't


Time for the commuter mtb time trial test.

I tried putting the carbon fork back on Aspasia (my dirt little whore).

Tried Blü.2

I even tried a big boy gear.

Riding a singlespeed mountain bike to work,  you have a lot of time to think when you get to the road sections.  You start playing games with math and names (well I do).  The bike  (Blü.2) + the gear (17t) = B-17.

When I saw Mike had signed up for the race I decided to have a little fun with him.  I gave one of my rides a cryptic name on Strava making reference to the B-17 and Mike.

Posted a picture of a B-17 on his facebook page.

On the starting line I even pointed out his front tire was on backwards.

Nothing.  The man is unflappable.

Making a special guest appearance in the SS Open class was none other than former Demi-Pro and Dirtwire.TV head honcho Thom P.

The whistle blows and for one glorious moment I'm leading MKRThom, and the rest of the hearty SS field.
As we turn into the woods, the dream ends and Mike takes the lead.  I'm waiting for him to power away from me, but I'm able to hang.

Mike picks really good lines too, so he's making riding 2nd wheel really easy.

I know there is one sort of climb coming up followed by a pretty technical (for me) descent.  It would be good to be at the front for this to A. maybe get a gap on the climb and B.prevent Mike and Thom from running away from me on the descent (Thom is attached tenaciously to us).

Make a cheeky pass on MKR and plans are going as planned.

There is some place swapping here and there, but we're all hanging.

One thing about the SS class is it's like a Brodown-Showdown; you want to do well and go fast, but you also want to have fun riding with your friends.  As such, Mike is calling out turns when he's leading, and we're talking about this and that when we have the breath.

Mike and I start stretching a little gap on Thom.  We even get out of sight of him...until I lead us off course (Doh!  Turn left, not tight left!).  Thom catches us and asks if we're looking for the A line.

Mike gets back on course first and starts to build momentum.

I'm holding a gap over Thom until he gets crafty and latches on to the leaders of the Master's 50+.  He uses them to get back to me, and then the rocks and roots of the course to get away.

The third quarter of the race was a dark place for me.  Thom is out of sight and I really don't know how I'm doing.  Pushing a bigger gear than I normally would I'm having a hard time judging my exertion.  That being said, I'm still catching riders from the groups that started ahead of us.  I try to reassure myself that this is a good sign of a consistent effort.

Popping out on to one of the road sections in the final quarter of the race I see a splendid vision.  Thom.
He's within sight and I have a bigger gear.

I try and leave it all out there as we weave through traffic, Thom going in and out of my line of sight as we wind through to the finish.  As we're about to come out into the field and take the big bermed turn to the finish line I'm right on him.

Why isn't he sprinting?

Because he finished 30 seconds earlier and this is one of his geared teammates.

Mike takes the W, Thom gets 2nd and I close out the podium all within one minute.
Mike and Thom kept the pace up high enough that we caught and passed most of the 19-29 and 30-39 podiums.

Now that's racing!

Thom missed the podium doing the dirty work for Dirtwire.tv.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hampshire 100

Hi blog, how's it going?  Been a long time...oh yeah, I did a race over the weekend.

This past Sunday 8/18/2013, I did my first NUE 100, the Hampshire 100.  A number of people asked for details so I thought this might be a good place to talk about it.

My personal life and responsibilities have been kinda crazy so I thought it would be prudent to throw all my eggs in one basket and have one big goal.  I've been coaching Jocelyn who specializes in 100s for almost 2 years, and while I've been super impressed with her progress, it was time to put my money where my mouth is and show I knew what the fück I was talking about.

Commuting to work by bicycle, I get a lot of miles in.  Most days this is just about getting to and from work, but there was some specificity thrown in there too.  Some days I would ride my mtb (The Sauser method) hitting whatever singletrack I could patch in to my route.  There was some intensity in there too (40/20s; Jocelyn's favorite).  I rode my mtb on my days off.  I did not do a ride over 5 hours this year prior to the H100.  I followed a pretty standard 2 or 3 weeks on 1 week recovery training schedule.

The week before the race I watched my nutrition closely.  Didn't give up donuts entirely, but I did make sure I was eating well balanced and not just filling up on carbs and simple sugars.  The real Charlie Beal has got me on a "Would you like some oatmeal with your bowl of fruit" breakfast regiment (that would be my Dad and first breakfast).  Thursday night I made pasta with summer squash, tomato, capers, garlic and Parmesan accompanied by a truly kickass salad.  I made a large enough portion to bring leftovers to work on Saturday.

The drive up to Keene after work went like clockwork.  Dropped my stuff off at the motel, and went out seeking some dinner.  Found some and then spent the next hour driving around lost trying to get back to the motel before I could eat it.  Quickly stuffed my face, set the alarm for 4:00 AM and went to sleep.

4:00 AM.
Thankfully Jocelyn brought Starbucks.

I don't mean to brag but then I pooped...twice.

Drive over to the venue, and check in goes smoothly. Pre-race meeting is somewhat redundant, so I skip out to go back to the car to get my backup race food in case I don't like what the aid stations have available.   Can't find it (it was right where it was supposed to be), and make my way back over to the start.  As they announce 30 seconds to go, I realizes my bottles are empty.

Where's the water?

I just get a bottle full before the start.


(@ :50 I'm tied for DFL)

The first 20 miles are fast.  Really fast.  I'm being passed by the 100k elites, then veterans, and masters.  When I stop to fill my bottles and grab some food, the 100k sport riders catch and pass me.  I'm wishing I had the 18t cog I had at Hodges.

Then things tilt up.
Some good climbs to get back into the hunt.  Then some brutal hike-a-bikes to make me curse the man who came up with the idea of carbon soled mtb shoes.

At about mile 45 I'm starting to have some doubts.  Will I regret the 100 miles and dropout at 100k?

Knowing the first 20 miles of the second lap are the same as the first, I try convincing myself that the last 38 miles will be easier.

At mile 54 I realize I'm more than half way done which gives me a little boost (or maybe it was the Coke?).

The race organizers are pretty tricky in that they put the sweetest singletrack in the miles before the start / finish 100k lap.  Makes you forget about the suckiness of the flat miles and two hike-a-bikes yet to come in the final 38 miles.  When I cross the lap mark, I'm not ready to stop riding.

Looping through the venue, catch up to masters racer John Mosher who is suffering some awful cramps.  This makes it possible to keep up with him on the fast stuff, and get away from him and a couple of other masters when we get to the climbs.

Coming into water station 2 (where the sport 100k riders caught me on lap 1) I see Thierry rounding the ball field.

Thierry's a good carrot to chase...but it's pancake flat and he dangles 200 meters in front of me...for a long time.

Finally we get to some climbs and I catch him.  I think he lets me get away so he doesn't have to listen to my creaking bottom bracket.

Suffer the final hike-a-bikes and on to the final pass of the roller coaster singletrack.  Carving through the dark loamy ribbons of awesomeness I come up on a couple 100k riders.
One of them asks in exasperation "is it much longer"?
 I console him with "not much further; you're almost there".
"Is it hard"
"It's wicked fun" is my final reply as I push on.

As I cross the line a robot voice says "Number 1000, 4th in class, 23rd overall".

Say what?!


Turns out podium goes 5 deep too.

Way better than I expected.  I was in this to finish it and have a good time riding my bike, both of which I accomplished, no way was I expecting anymore.  Such a surprise I didn't even get all gussied up in my Createx / Benidorm garb before they were calling us up.

check out more cycling coverage, videos, and photos @ dirtwire.tv

Now that I've done a 100 miler, I want to do more.  So much fun.  Like going on a really long group ride that's catered.  Probably can go a little faster now that I know what to expect, and by streamlining my time at the aid stations.   I can't wait for the next one!

Next time you see me ask me to tell you my bike racing / sex analogy.

Hey!  We made the International Cycling news at Cyclingnews.com too!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

“It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.”
― George Harrison

“There is no future, there is no past. I live this moment as my last.  ― Jonathan Larson



What's all this metaphysical hippy mumbo jumbo?


It's about riding a bicycle.

It doesn't matter what you just rode, or what you will have to ride, but what you are riding RIGHT NOW!

You'll get to the top soon enough, thinking about how long and hard it's going to be won't change anything.

Just pedal.
Around and around and around.