Monday, July 14, 2014

The Bahn Burnah! New England Regional Championships




My seasonal plans changed after not even completing 10% of the Bearscat 50 before crashing out.  Longer endurance events are great fun but the high entry fee is tough to swallow after an unfortunate mechanical (but that's racing).  Going back to my "home" series, The Root 66 series, seemed only prudent.

Just over a week after another unfortunate event I raced Bikes for Bovines and it was like a home coming.  I missed all my racing friends and it was great being back in the fold.  Being only the forth time I'd pinned on a number in 4 months and only the second time I had raced over 7 miles this year I was feeling a little rusty.  I was pleased to be back racing and impressed with Adin's performance (he won the Cat1 SS race with a time good enough to also win his 30-39 age group).

Doing the usual internet prerace stalking, the competition for the Barn Burner looked stiff.  There were the usual suspects, strongmen Shawn Mottram and Will Crissman, plus some local darkhorses, elite CX racers and youngsters.  Fortunately there was some day of signups, unfortunately it didn't have the draw of the inaugural event.

On to the good stuff shall we...

The whistle blows and we are off.  It's a long drag to the singletrack and after a wobbly start I'm able to slot into third position right as we turn into the skinny stuff.

Following Shawn and Will with the goal of keeping them in sight without blowing sky high I nail a rock with the distinctive metallic clang of rim v. immovable object.  Looking down I notice one of my bottles has jettisoned right as the Real Tim Johnson comments he just lost a bottle  too.

Shawn and Will are keeping a short gap on Tim and I which I'm pleased with.  We all make it through the first rock garden clean and up the first little grunt.  Other than dropping a bottle, everything is going as planned.  This is great, I'm racing my bike on a wicked fun course, staying in the mix...when I completely bone an easy corner washing out my front wheel giving Tim the opportunity to pass.

He's picking great lines and it is good to follow him.  But Will and Shawn are now disappearing around the twisting singletrack ahead.  Tim has me almost at my limit but if I get to the front maybe I have  little more.

When we get into a little more climby-ness I make a push and move back to 3rd position.

The leaders are nowhere to be seen.

Coming through the neutral feed, I go for some water maybe a little too hot only to have the miniature plastic cup explode in my face.

When I get back to the spot where a I nailed the rock I'm ecstatic to see my bottle lying on the side of the trail.  Perfect I think.  I'll pick it up on my third lap right when I need it!

I'm feeling good, picking off more of the the riders who started in the group before me.

I try going through the neutral feed a little slower this lap, netting an once or two of free water.

I get back to the spot where I'd last seen my bottle; it's gone!

FUDGE!!!!

It's hot and dusty, I'm only halfway through the race and out of water?

DOUBLE FUDGE!!!

Panic sets in.  How am I going to make it through?  Do I stop at neutral support going into lap 4 and fill my bottle?  Will I make it to lap 4?  I'm already fading!

Then I see someone else's bottle on the side of the trail.  Live off the land I think and pray it's not empty, gross, or has cooties.

3/4th full of a tepid fizzy drink.  I'll take it and after a few long pulls am feeling stronger.  I finish the bottle in short order and contemplating my hydration strategy for the remainder of the race.  As I'm about to exit the singletrack and enter the start/finish loop I see friend, teammate and all around great guy Fabian.  I ask him if he has a bottle, he replies and empty one.

That's okay.  I'm feeling stable.  I slow down almost to a stop and enjoy 4 ounces of neutral water.

Steady as she goes.  As long as I don't blow up I think I've got 3rd locked down; I haven't seen or dared to look too hard for Tim in awhile.

And halfway through the lap, teammate, friend and all around great guy Fabian has filled a bottle, figured out how to find me and is waiting with the hand up.

I start to get caught by the leaders of the 50+ (fast old fückers) and I'm seeing the leading Pro woman through the trees but I keep Tim at bay and finish up on the podium.


Third in the New England Regional Championships; Daddy has some pizza money!



Race Notes:

  • I've got to rethink my hydration plan
  • I'm really glad my new Singular frame didn't show up.  Sure it's a great ride and I'm anxiously anticipating it's arrival, but if it had shown up I would have run a bigger gear than I did which would have been really painful 
  • Moving time 5 minutes faster than last year
  • High attrition rate today.  Lots of flats and the wind masked how hot it really was.
  • Shawn thought it would be wise to race the fatbike race prior to The Cat1 SS 
  • Will thought it would be equally wise to ride the race and home
  • I've really got to rethink my hydration plan!
  • Bike racing; FüCK Yeah!!!





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Monday, June 30, 2014

Like Ghandi or Dr Frank N Furter?






Just over a year.  That's how long I made it without being hit by a car.  Friday night that all too short streak ended one block West on the same stretch of Boulevard.  

The similarities are remarkable.  Other than being only one block apart, in both cases it was a Friday night, and the driver rolled a stop sign.  

She rolled the stop sign at Riggs and Boulevard hitting the front end of my bike squarely sending me over her hood.

One difference is I didn't let the adrenaline get the best of me (I did yell at her just a little as she tried to back up dragging my bike hooked under her bumper).  Before I even had a chance to call the police multiple witnesses had already dialed 911.

Police, paramendics and EMTs seemed to arrive instantaneouslyThe endorphins masked the pain of the road rash on my knees, shoulder and swelling of my elbow, but I took the advice of the professionals and sat down.  

Initially I felt okay to go home but began feeling dizzy and my vision blurred a bit so I took a ride in the bus with the gumdrops on top.

After 4 hours, an x-ray and a CT Scan, I was deemed in one piece and sent home (the walk out of the ER revealed more minor injuries that weren't apparent lying on a gurney).

My bike wasn't as lucky.  At least my Mavic Ksyrium SL front wheel is destroy and my confidence in the rest of front end is compromised.

 

Saturday I rode to work.

"I can't believe you not only went to work but rode a bike there"  was my daughter's commentary.

I tried to explain how if I didn't ride "they" win ("they"? not quite sure who "they" are). That I want a world that is safe for people to ride bicycles and find other more environmentally friendly modes of transportation than relying on cars.  "I still can't believe you wouldn't at least take the day off or drive on the day after an accident!"  was her retort.

As we watched a movie about feminism Sunday Ghandi had my back.  The documentary ended with the quote "Be the change you want to see in the World".

or as Dr. Frank N Furter would say:

"Don't dream it, be it"

(and be careful!)

 
 
 

Monday, May 19, 2014

National Bike to Work Day


May 15th was National Bike to Work day...
 otherwise known as Friday.
There are 3 components to bicycle commuting:
  • Physical
  • Environmental
  • Economic
Physically it's a great way to get in a workout and relieve stress while minimizing impact on your time with family.  Usually a bicycle commute will only increase your travel time by minutes if you work locally (with in 15-20 miles) and the frustration level of traveling by car, being stuck at light after light, is nearly eliminated.

Environmentally you are not burning a bunch of dinosaurs getting from point a to b.  You are also more aware of the environment around you as you are in it; not tucked in a metal cocoon  that is increasing being designed to remove you from the world around.  Not only that but a bicycle is made of only 20 pounds or so of natural resources, not 4000.

Let's face it, driving a car costs money.  It might not seem like a lot when you look at it day to day, but when you add it up day after day operating and maintaining a car is expensive.  Gas, tires, oil changes and repairs, can easily add up to multiple thousands of dollars a year.  Shouldering this burden might not be an issue for some but for many it's a substantial difficulty.

Fortunately I have a workplace that encourages such behavior

even rewards it
(if only everyday...)

To paraphrase the immortal words of Sam I Am, try it try it you will see...
(if you haven't already)






Friday, May 16, 2014

JRA; it was a good run

Nearing the end of a 50 mile mtb commute, descending a gravel fireroad I heard a "tink".  Then I heard a lot of "tinks" and things got all loosey goosey.
I pulled over, checked the rear of my bike;all was fine.
Checked the front wheel; all good.
Checked the underside:





That's not good...

This is the second one that's broken in that region.





Maybe jolly Ol England ain't as wikid gnawly as New England?

Great riding frames, love the ebb, but maybe we just weren't "meant to be".

Which leads us to the obvious question; what bike's next?!

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.