Monday, May 31, 2010
Nearing the end of my loop, I decide to do the last log walk; you know the one at the end of the powerlines where there are 2 big log laying in line with 3 or 4 small ones standing on end connecting them.
The whole ride I was thinking about how much my front tire sucked, and couldn't wait to change it when I get back to work on Tuesday.
I can't say I blame the tire, as the logs were dry. The small vertical logs are getting a little worn down. Transitioning from the small logs to the last long log, all of a sudden my bike is sliding out from under, twisting perpendicular to the log and crashing down.
I scraped up my left leg, and banged my back. When I got my breath back and began to ride out, there was a sharp pain when I would grip the bars, and on rough ground.
Ah, but it is merely a flesh wound, I'll just "walk it off" I thought.
When I got home Kim thought I looked pale.
I took it easy the rest of the day; went for a walk with the kids. If I didn't try and pick up anything my thumb felt ok.
This morning I couldn't hold my toothbrush, or press the "on" button on it.
Since oral hygiene is kind of important to me, and I can't do as good a job with my left hand, I decided to go to the ER.
Signing in they asked me if I wanted to delcare a religion, to which I replied I hoped there wouldn't be a need for last rights.
Second in line, this won't be to bad I thought. Except they put me in an examination room next to a faker moaning for sympathy, praying and talking to herself whenever a Dr. was in ear shot. Whenever a Doctor or nurse was near her, she'd always ask "you are going to give me something for the pain, right?!"
On initial inspection the Dr. thought it was a common case of Skiers Thumb, were one hyper extends the thumb, and stretches or tears one of the ligaments in the thumb.
X-rays revealed a chunk of bone chipped off my thumb.
"But I don't break bones" I told her.
"I'll let your thumb know that" she replied.
Now she thinks I might need surgery, but we won't know until I contact the Orthopedic surgeon tomorrow.
So I guess Domnarski Farm is out (which I already pre-registered for), and I guess I'm going to have to re-evaluate the "challenges" I'm willing to do riding offroad.
Anyone looking for an internship in the cast polymer industry?
Thursday, May 27, 2010
All bets are off.
You think I'm going to chance one of you idiots scraping your knee and trying to sue me for The Fun Machine?
No freaking way.
What I am going to do is go for a bike ride.
I usually ride the ridge out to the chimney in Tarrifville on Father's Day. Usually James joins me...and usually it rains.
But Since there a road race in CT, and a mtb race in NY on Father's Day, I decided the Father's Day ride is now June 13th.
That weekend is Celebrate (the fleecing) of West Hartford too. So after the ride we can go down and eat lots of salty, fatty, but oh so delicious food, and ride the rides until we puke. Or just go to Mo's for some SW style.
One idea I had was to have a meet at Mo's time, say like 3:00 PM. You can start the ride when ever you want and do as much of it as you like, and don't have to worry about what pace you need to ride, just be back at Mo's at the designated time for the face stuffing.
If you are not familiar with the route, I can get you a GPS, and a cue sheet.
Thoughts and a show of hands would be appreciated.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
They'd call my name and something cool like this would start cranking over the PA.
Actually, maybe this would be more appropriate.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday was Winsted Woods and my day was not starting well.
I left my pre & post race sandwiches on the counter, only filled my energy drinks half full, got caught behind every Sunday driver in CT after getting a late start due to getting sucked into a History Channel show, and to top it off there was no TP in the Porto-lets!
Lining up we had 7 riders in the Cat1 SS class. Not the record setting class sizes we had the beginning of the year, but considering there were competing races in both MA, and NY, a decent showing.
The whistle blows and after a little clickity clackity trying to get clipped into my pedals, I'm off. I usually have a pretty good start, and with this one being up hill, it played to my strengths and I got to the front.
I lead the first climb, but Kerry Robair passed me in the singletrack before the first gravel descent. Winsted Woods essentially climbs for 26 minutes, and descends for 2 (at least on the first two laps). In the climbing part there are downhill sections, and flatter parts, but essentially they lead you to the top of the hill to a Sound of Music like field with views of a lake in the valley below. Buena vista indeed. Then there is a fast descent to the Start / Finish area.
In the winding up the hill, before the second major climb, I felt I could ride a little faster pace than Kerry was setting so I went to the front.
In years past, there used to be a long, rocky fireroad climb about half way through the lap. This year they cut a singletrack parallel to the bottom half of the fireroad, cutting back to it on a flatter section before the steep "rock" near it's summit. If the singletrack was clear it was rideable, but if there was traffic, you'd be running the end of it (there was a large log to hop, and a rocky section near the end of it that was getting pretty greasy). First lap, with Kerry on my wheel I ran the log, and rode the top as to not take a chance at getting hung up and passed.
I'm hearing Kerry behind me the whole climb, but after we summit, and pass the water station, I chance a glance and see I have a little gap. With twists and turns of the singletrack, if I can stretch that, I'll be out of sight, taking away the carrot for Kerry to chase. So I put my head down and try and push it through the remaining singletrack to the final descent.
Into the second lap, I'm starting to catch the 30-39 year olds. After the first gravel descent I catch Alex. He's been watching me coming, and give me an easy pass (thanks buddy!).
There is traffic in the new singletrack on this and the following laps so I have to run the log and the top before exiting to the fireroad.
Once I get to the singletrack after the summit, 40-49 y/o leader Brian Cantele catches and passes me. I ask him how far back Kerry is, and he says "not very". Great. Right before Brian passed me another rider passed me who I thought was the leader of the 40-49 class. As he's dueling with the rider, he's yelling back encouragement to me, which seems odd that he'd be wasting the energy in such a hotly contested battle. It turns out it was a 30-39 rider I had passed passing me back. On the last climb I passed him back.
The last two laps were a lot of the same. Realing in 30-39 y/0's and 19-29 y/o's, not looking behind me in fear of seeing Kerry closing the gap. I also had to run the "rock" at the end of the fireroad climb on the last two laps. My right knee was hurting for this, probably due to riding my geared road bike Saturday (I gots the Giro Fever).
When I get to the final climb of the day, and I dare to take a peak back. Just the last 30-39 y/o I passed.
It's just 2 minutes down the hill and I've won. I let the 30-39 y/o pass me on the descent, and roll in for the victory.
Kerry rolls in about 2 minute back. Followed by Andy Caputo.
If I had raced my age group like I did last year, I would have finished second to Brian (I was the fifth fastest Cat1), about 5:45 back. I gave him crap for not even beating me by 6 minutes.
In the shameless plug department, after the race there were a lot of complaints about how the course beat up riders (to be clear no one was complaining about the course). Some from guys riding rigids, some hardtails, and even full suspension. I felt tired, but my arms, back, and hands were fine. There is always the temptation to swap my Swift's steel fork out for a lighter carbon fork, but the way it handle the descents, why mess with a good thing? Last year I'd need to take the day after a race off, but today I feel great, and will be hitting the trails.
Shout out to my peeps:
503 Cyclworx kicked some ass with Brian Cantele scorching the Cat1 40-49 class for the win and the second fastest Cat1 time, Alex Combes getting 4th in only his second Cat1 race in the 30-39 class (after I passed him he didn't let the lap grow to more than a minute as he found his groove and started climbing through the field). Finally in the Pro/Open class James Harmon claimed 4th in a hugely competitive field, with Josh Wilcox holding on for a very respectable 7th after damaging his rear derailleur housing and having ghost-shifting issues for most of the race (maybe time to succumb to the allure of the singlespeed?).
Friday, May 21, 2010
I've been racing sober for the past 5 years.
Sobriety is considered doping in singlespeed circles, but now is the time for me to admit this cowardly act.
Sam and Marty had no previous knowledge to this breech of conduct.
But much like Floyd, I ain't going down alone, Harmon "claims" to be allergic to beer.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Which brings me back to last Saturday.
In my hurry to get out of work extra early last Friday, I left my phone at work. Since I was racing out of state on Sunday, I figured it would be a good idea to have my phone.
I wanted to get in some riding, but being the day before a race, didn't want to beat myself up too much. Riding down to work to get my phone would be about the perfect day before a race ride.
Kim had a class at 9:00 AM, so I didn't have unlimited time to accomplish this. So I chose a pretty typical route; fastest way in and as long a ride as I had time for on the way home.
The fastest way in is also the busiest roads, but since I start work at 7:00 AM, there usually isn't too much traffic to deal with. It being Saturday, I figured traffic would still be light.
Well anyways, when I get to the busiest section of my ride, a 4 lane, that runs under I-84 in Crazytown, with right turn only lanes, a couple of cyclist pull out on to Queen St from a side road.
They see me, but are riding side by side taking up the whole right lane. As I pull up on them I say hello, and wait for them to pull over so I can pass.
They continue on side by side, so I pull around them in the left lane, and continue on my way back in the right lane.
I get to a red light and stop.
They blow through it.
I yell "It's a red light!".
They yell back "SO?!".
The light changes and I catch them at the next light, where there is too much traffic for them to run it.
I again tell them "That was a red light, you have to stop for it".
They reply "yeah, but its a shopping plaza, you don't have to stop, who cares?".
"Yes, you do" I retort "You run a red light in front of trucks and cars and they say there's another douche bag cyclist running red lights!".
"But they think that anyways" they reply.
The light changes and I get as far away from them as possible.
These two probably have a Saturday routine where they ride down to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and a little treat for all the calories they must have burned off riding 2 miles at 10 mph.
But I've got to deal with this traffic daily. The last thing I need is weekend warriors running red lights pissing off the motorist on my commute.
I can't claim to be a saint; I've rolled my share of stop signs, and if there isn't a car in sight at 6:00 AM, I'll proceed at a light (which is actually legal if you can't trigger it to change because you're on a bike, it should be treated as a stop sign), but not in front of an audience.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
So I'm just riding along and I pass a guy. I say hello and go on my merry way (it's Friday and I'm riding my bike so yes, I'm merry).
I stop for some reason, and he passes me, I catch back up to him and we split off at a fork. The trail I take loops back to the trail he's on. We meet again like a couple of Zax.
We get to talking, first about bikes, and getting rides in when you can, and then he tells me he flips houses (he was going to paint, but it was raining in the morning, so he was free to ride).
Houses have bathrooms, and bathrooms have vanities, and vanities have vanity tops. Hey that's what I make for a living!
I extol the virtues of my product to him and he seems quite interested.
He takes my number and we discuss riding together sometime.
Well, he actually called and we set up a ride.
Brought him some information on my stuff, went for a ride, and talked a little more about it.
I can save him money, while making money, and his product will be that much nicer for prospective buyers.
Win Win Win.
My kind of business meeting. You hear about guy meeting on the golf course for business, but I don't golf, and whenever I see a golf course, all I can think is I bet you could make some great mountain bike trails on that land.
So if your a builder, remodeler, or cabinet maker and like riding bikes, this might be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Why you ask?
Because I feel freakin' great today!
My Garmin says the race was less than 13 miles, whereas as EFTA advertised it as 18. I'm sure it was more than 13, but doubt it was 18.
Usually after a race I have a bad night's sleep, indigestion, and I'm completely useless the next day.
Slept great last night, innards weren't twisted in knots, and I went riding tonight.
I had put on a spinny gear in anticipation of beatness, and to get used to it for Winsted, and I felt nothing but fresh. Was way too spinny.
Might have to rethink my gearing for Sunday.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I just got home from the race and nobody is home, so I figured I get right to it and post up a race report.
I don't usually do the EFTA races, but this one was close and I wanted to "tune-up" for Winsted Woods.
I'll serve this up bullet point style.
- Beautiful weather.
- Nearly zero elevation gain.
- Pre-riding it seemed as if everything would be rideable. The course was fairly technical with muddy rock gardens, but nothing crazy. I think the lack of elevation took the crazy down a notch.
- During the actual race everything was not rideable. I'd say only 50% of the rock gardens were cleaned. Stupid mtb'er pride bite me in the ass by trying to ride everything, making it 3/4th through and getting hung up on a rock and having to run. Yeah, I was that guy.
- Too much running.
- How the fook did RI get so muddy, when 50 miles away in W. Hartford it's bone dry? Actually most of the course was dry, but the rock gardens turned into a quagmire of ankle deep sludge in less than a lap.
- I don't like them starting the Sport riders at the same time as us. I'm sure it didn't effect the standings, but having to pass lapped Sport riders is a little annoying. Their skill level can lead to them freaking out and forgetting their left from their right. I can see how it makes sense logistically for the promoter, but I need to bitch about something. Sorry for being an elitist douche.
- Too much running.
- I was following Brian McGinnis, giving him crap about his bike creaking and him owning a bike shop, so he promptly showed me what a technical maestro he is and dropped me. Serves me right.
- On the ride home I started to have cravings for pizza, pumpkin pie and chili. I'm going to go find some when I'm done with this.
- Rick James is awesome; how can you not love a song with a bridge that goes "do me, do me, do me, dooo meee, do me, do me!
- There was too much running in that race.
I though my time would have given me the win in the Singlespeed Open class when I was looking at the raw data, but Carl Kresser absolutely smoked the field with a time of 1:28:20, beating 2nd place by over 7 minutes. Wow.
I was pretty happy with loosing less than 2 minutes to John Mosher, but then he told me he's been sick. But he's thinking about racing his singlespeed, so that would be really cool.
Now was this an effective "tune up"? Will my results improve now that we are getting to some races with some elevation change? Will I get some chili and pumpkin pie?
I guess you'll have to stay tuned to find out...
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I swore to myself I wasn't going to second guess myself on this; Conti Race Kings are great tires. Roll super fast, tough, good on rocks, decent in the wet. Loose and loamy, not so much.
Well I guess I pushed the limits of their longevity.
Just riding along and my front end washes out in soft but close to perfect conditions.
Okay, I'll just take is easy. Only problem with that is Race Kings work best when going fast. Within 3/4th of a mile I'm laying next to my bike on the side of the trail. This would be fine if we were having a romantic picnic, but I forgot to pack a basket and blanket.
So I have no choice but to swap tires.
Ignitors, Crossmarks, or a comb pack?
Question is what class should I race?
Perusing the start list showed me two names that beat me at the EFTA King of Burlingame TT. But they are signed up in two different classes. Alec Petro who thrashed me soundly is racing the the Expert Vet II, and Bo Fuller who beat me by one spot is racing the Singlespeed Open.
I've been racing the Root 66 CAT1 Singlespeed Open and it's been great. Tight competitions, and good field sizes; some of the largest fields of all the categories. But it's CAT1. Is the EFTA SS Open really open? Will I be racing against Novice and Sport riders as well as Experts? If so that doesn't sound too cool.
I can go back to what I did last year and race SS against the geared riders my own age.
Looking at last year's results, I recognize some of the guys I was racing against last year.
The SS Open Winner would have been competitive in the Vet classes, but there is quite a spread time-wise in the class, but that can happen in any class for all sorts of reasons.
I guess will know on Sunday, Sunday, Sunday....
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I posted up about it on the MTBR CT& RI board to let people know building such is ill advised.
Well, I guess it was an appropriate time to put on my trail advocacy hat in light of this:
MDC Ordered To Pay $2.9 Million To Injured Bicyclist
A Superior Court jury in Hartford has awarded a former children's book illustrator $2.9 million for injuries suffered years ago in a bicycle accident on land owned by the Metropolitan District Commission.
The six-person jury awarded the money Friday to Maribeth Blonski of Rocky Hill after finding that the regional water and sewer authority improperly placed a steel gate across a path within the Talcott Mountain Recreation Area, said Blonski's lawyer, Michael A. Stratton.
On May 16, 2002, Blonski, now 43, was biking on a trail in the area, also known as the West Hartford Reservoir, when she struck the gate, breaking four vertebrae in her neck, Stratton said.
The MDC had installed the gate to block motor vehicle access to the water, he said.
R. Bartley Halloran, the MDC's chief in-house lawyer, said Sunday through a spokeswoman that the MDC was surprised by the verdict and intends to appeal.
When the accident happened, Blonski was host of a local-access television program about mountain biking, Stratton said. Blonski now works at the front desk of a health club, he said. She previously worked as an illustrator of children's books.
It took eight years to resolve the case because of a dispute about whether the MDC was immune from responsibility, Stratton said. After a four-day trial before Judge Edward Domnarski, the jury decided the authority was not immune in this instance, and also found that Blonski was partially responsible.
Stratton said Blonski had offered to settle the case for less than the amount awarded by the jury, but MDC refused.
The MDC is now looking at shutting access to its popular reservoir trails to cyclists thanks to Maribeth Blonski of Rocky Hill, who sued after she crashed into a gate in 2002. The controversial verdict came after rulings that the MDC -- a nonprofit municipal corporation -- was not immune to lawsuits, in this case from a cyclist who wasn't paying enough attention as she rode the well-marked trails.
The issue will likely come up at tonight's MDC meeting of the personel, pension and insurance committee.
It sickens me that the influence other peoples irresponsibility's have over my health and enjoyment. I don't know what I can do to prevent closure, but I can tell you this I will do everything humanly possible.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Do you shave your legs?
Should you shave your legs?
I started shaving my legs back in 1998. We had just bought our house, and I realized between family, buying the house, Cycle Therapy (my old bicycle repair business), and Marble Design, I had hardly spent any time on the bike for the five months of the year.
I shaved my legs as a way of shaming myself onto the bike.
What kind of moron would shave his legs if he wasn't riding a lot?
It worked. I started riding more.
A lot more.
Someone once asked why I shaved my legs and my wife rolled her eyes, and snarkily replied to show of how beautiful they are, pointing out the scars, scrapes and bruises. But my real reasons were clouded.
Yes, I liked the way they looked. I liked the extra 5 minutes in the shower a couple times a week, but was there really a reason other than vanity, and hot water?
This week I was riding at Case. For those who haven't ridden there it is rocks on top of rocks next to rocks around some rocks. There are some trees there too.
While riding some of those rocks I must have brushed my arm against one of the trees and scraped it. Didn't really notice it until I got back to the truck and saw a bloody mess on my fore arm.
A dread lock of arm hair, dried blood, and skin had formed.
I dried washing it out in the shower, but the organic matrix was pretty tough. Finally had to cut it off.
What a messy PITA.
Maybe because they are closer to the ground, my legs seem to take more abuse than my arms. They are in a constant state of abrasion. But they are wash and go. No hair makes keeping them clean easy.
So now I have a reason.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Also in honor of the Giro starting in Amsterdam, the weather was all kinds of crazy. It was raining on and off all morning. When it finally cleared the heat rose, and the humidity shot through the roof. Then the wind started. It was one of those day when you don't feel like you have a tail wind on the way out, but you know it's going to be worse on the way home.
The gears were good, but I have a hard time utilizing them to their fullest though. I get stuck between wanting to stand on every climb, like on the fixed gear, or the singlespeed, and feeling like I'm going nowhere spinning like an idiot.
Guess I should ride gears more than 7 times a year. Or not.
But anyways, on the way home the wind was getting stronger, and more and more against me. The gears let me stay low and in the drops, and not loose too much time on the way home. I only had to stand on some of the steeper rollers on Duncaster and Mountain road. The rest I was able to ride like a rouleur.
Here's my little ride.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Today was my first commute (by bike) to work in over a month.
I commuted in January, February, and March. Donning layers, and charging batteries. The weather was pretty mild this Winter, but there where a couple of mornings that earned me some points.
I took the fenders off my bike last night too. It really is sort of pointless to put them on every Winter and remove them in the Spring; it's not like there is a huge difference between how a 24.5 lbs and 23.5 lbs bike ride. Just one less thing to rattle, and sometimes my foot hits the front fender at traffic lights. I like the way it looks w/o fenders too.
I love this bike.
In the quest for the lighter, stiffer, fast, next year's model the big bike companies got off the path of just truly great riding bike.
It doesn't have to be too fancy, or stretch the limits of materials and weights, it just needs to ride nice.
Sure lighter is nice, but personally I don't notice a lot of difference between a 16 lb bike and a 20 lb one.
Last year I rode my Univega and Cannondale a combine total of 7 times; I can't count how many times I rode this 32 year old fixed gear touring bike (well, I actually could count it, because I write down all that stuff, but I'm not going to).
I enjoy the Cannondale just fine. It's quite a nice ride when you combine traditional box section tubulars with the over-sized aluminum. I have no doubt it would not be holding me back if I ever entered a road race. But it just doesn't offer the same satisfaction as the Fun Machine.
I'm not going to get all fixed gear zealot here, because I've had that old Trek set up with gears, and it was a great ride. Hell, I've had it set up with cross tires and it's been a great ride.
Problem with bike companies selling such great bikes is if you sell something so great that the buyer might never want another bike, they miss out on return business.
Anywho...I'm really glad I lived next to Helen when she was cleaning out her basement and wanted to get rid of her daughter's old bike.
Monday, May 3, 2010
In the name of reliability my Swift has put on a little weight. About .6 lbs.
But now I know my brakes will work, and my feet will stay clipped into my pedals.
I can trim a few grams with lighter tires, but the Conti Race Kings roll so nice, unless it's real sloppy, I think they're staying (Possibly give Crossmark f&r a try).
Oh, yeah, so anyways my bike has gained less than a pound, but I've lost 3 lbs and now down in the "race weight zone". I wonder what would happen if I actually thought about lowering my caloric intake, to I don't know, below 3000 calories? Oh yeah, and from now until August the races get hillier and hillier.
I can't wait for Winsted!
You can tell from the fooked up old man feet that no stunt double has been weighed
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I always figured GPS must be pretty accurate. No more wheel calculations, wires, magnets, easy transfers from one bike to the other.
Well Doug and Mookie shattered my impressions with stories of Garmins inaccuracies in both mileage and elevation gain.
So since I have two units now I decided to do a little test. I used them both simultaneously. I had the 500 on my stem and the 305 in my jersey pocket.
The 305 recorded a further distance, but less elevation gain and a crazy high calorie burned.
You would think the unit on the stem would have the higher mileage count? Or that two units would somewhat closer on elevation? Or what kind of whacked out algorithm are the using to calculate calories, and why the 1300 C difference?
They keep pretty good time though.