Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's not that bad...

The ride home features reservoirs, orchards and McMansions.
I didn't think you needed pictures of big suburban houses with circular driveways, but here's a couple of the orchards. cider donuts...

Ride home is vertically more interesting too

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I thought I'd share the beauty and majesty of my commute with y'all.

At the GE factory.  "We bring good thing to life"
Last 1/10th of a mile on a bike path
Graffiti on a broken down building, Badass suburban gangstas; We're here! 
A little misty

Monday, April 25, 2011

Consolation Prize

I did not race this weekend.  It was outside "The Radius".
that freed me up to just ride.

Friday Doug asked me if I wanted to ride Pennwood.  Pennwood?  The Happiest Place on Earth?  Of course I did.
But being Doug, we weren't going to drive to the trailhead on the Simsbury / Bloomfield town line, we were going to ride to the trail head...mostly on trails...which equates riding Pennwood with a little 30 mile with +3000' of elevation gain jaunt.
Doug, Dave and I all found our way to Res 6 and headed North.
On the way back we picked up a rider.  A student studying for his PhD in Sports Physiology.
He was out riding without water.
He swore alot.
Then he broke his chain.  He swore some more.  Doug fixed it.  We were close enough to the trailhead that we stopped waiting for him.

Saturday, the day of The Massasoit Lung Opener, as a giant blob of precipitation settled over the Northeast.   Neal, another racer who stayed home, and I commiserated with one another by trying to find as many climbs as we could at the res in mid-forties temps and pouring rain.

Finally, before the holiday chaos kicks into high gear I enjoyed a mind clearing little spin on the Fun Machine to mentally prepare myself for the days events.

Not racing wasn't so bad after all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reason 2b why I heart singlespeeds


After 30 seconds with a hose:

All that's left is towel dry and lube the chain (if it's even necessary).

Went to Mrs. CB2's 97 y/o aunt's funeral today.  Wonderful woman who lit up any room she entered right up to the end.
I was brought up Catholic, and force my children to go to church (when there isn't a race or a really cool ride that weekend), but never really bought into the whole hocus pocus men with long white beards floating on clouds thing.
If there was such a place Mickey got to the gates at 5:42 PM

and was served her first Highball at 6:00 PM

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Official" Victory!

It seems the "official" results have me finishing over 2 minutes faster than Raineman.

Now I'm pretty sure I was riding my bicycle for an additional two minutes, but the 15 minute protest window is shut, so I'll just have to live with sweet "official" Victory!

Congratulations to Scott Levreault on his impressive legitimate victory.  He didn't pre-register, and to be honest if he had, he probably would have slipped under my stalker radar.
Chapeau my friend.
I hope the next time we meet I'm a more worthy adversary.
Dear Mr. Cranky Pants,
Maybe you were having a bad day, maybe you still had to finish your taxes, maybe you had to go poop really bad, but please try not to be cross with people when they pass you.  They can't help it if they're faster than you.  It's nothing personal.
One love Brother.

Your Pal,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday Morning Quarterback

The theme of the songs was mountain bike racing and the upcoming weekend.

I felt great today.
I should feel wrecked.
Was it the 45 minute spin home after the race?  Did I not go hard enough?  Did I get in touch with my feminine side in my gear selection?  Am I just behind on volume?

I tried to be scientific with my selections, but maybe I didn't take into account a few variables.
My first test at WT I rode rigid with a 34x18 gear.
My second test was the same gear, but with a suspension fork.
My third test was with the suspension fork, but a 33x18.

Second test was faster than first and third was faster than second.

The variables that I neglected to consider were the first test was after work on a Saturday (tired), trail conditions, and familiarity with the course.
I was quite surprised that the third test was faster than the second because it felt slow.  Maybe my lines were just getting dialed in and the trails were in that much better condition?

 I'm only behind last year by about 10% in volume but it feels like more.

Now if only they'd post the results so I can really get my OCD on.

Monday, April 18, 2011

WT Fat Tire Classic 2011

First off, did anyone figure out the theme of the songs?  Did anyone realize there was a theme to figure out?

I'm a stalker.  When I sign up for a race I check all my competition's resumes to see just what I'm up against.
Things looked bleak.
Daniel Barry, the winner of KoB was registered (didn't he get the memo the Cat1 SS is the other Cat1 40-49?).
Cyclocross badasses Chris Borrello, Todd Bowden,  and Jeff Molongoski were registered.
Triple gulp!
I love Winding Trails but it isn't one of my stronger races, with such stiff competition it was going to be hard and fast (that's what she said!).

Being so close to home, I decided to pack a back pack and ride over.  Good way to warm up, and I just thought it would be nifty to do; how often do you get the opportunity to ride to a race?
First Root 66 race of the year is like a family reunion.  All the people you raced with for 7 months and have had minimal contact with since all come together to share something they love.

We line up and I'm just freezing.  I'm wearing my super suit, which is long sleeved, but the wind is blowing and I can't wait for the whistle.  At the last minute they decide the singlespeeders should be lined up in front of the 19-29 y/os and 40-49 y/os, which puts me now in the second row (this blows, but over the course of 4 laps really has little effect).

The whistle blows and I'm off in like 8th or 9th wheel.  They added a new bit of singletrack  right in the beginning that slows things down.  I feel like I'm riding with a governor on.  Although at the moment this is frustrating, is probably for the better so I don't blow up.

We get to some double track and I pass Jake, and Emile as we turn back into the woods.  I'm behind Kerry and a guy on a Superfly.  Superfly Guy bobbles on a log and Kerry gets around him.  I pass him and Kerry on the climb to the bikepath, which puts Kerry in his favorite position; on my wheel waiting for me to make a mistake.

The cyclocross allstars are still insight, but unless they have a mechanical, or implode at the 1 hour mark, I doubt I can pull them back.
Kerry and I are starting to reel in riders from the group in front of us.  I call out on "on your left" to one fellow and he gets ticked off  shouting "I know!".  He gives Kerry the evil eye as he passes.

Then it gets quiet.  I look behind me.
No Kerry.
As I come back out to the road he's walking with the sidewall torn out of his front tire.

From there it's all over but the shouting.
As fast men from the 40-49 catch me I latch on as long as I can to try and keep my pace up, and use guys from the 30-39 group as carrots, but I don't see another rider in front or back from the SS class until the end.

My laps were pretty consistent.  Lap 1 was the fastest @ 23:23, lap 4 was the slowest @ 24:55.  2 and 3 were in between.  4 could have been faster, but I try to be polite when I begin lapping the women.  They start last, and as everyone else is finishing up they still have a lap to do.  No point in being a dick about passing when nothing is on the line.

My mom and sister came out to watch. Although I'm in my extra special skin suit, the only rider in one, that has Singular plastered all over it, my mother can't distinguish me from any other racer and assigned my sister the task of looking for my number.  We didn't stay for the awards (sorry!  I usually do stick around), because were having dinner at my house and they still had to drive back to the shore.
I did peek over Jill's shoulder to look at the "unofficial" results before I left.
If this was a UCI race that would be the last step of the podium.  Heck if it was just a few years ago Root 66 used to go 5 deep (you know, before the "recession").
I "think" I was the top rider from CT.
When results are posted I'll have to do some further stalking to confirm this.

I heart opening day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Radio Silence 2

I used to love these guys

Monday, April 11, 2011

Radio Silence

Sunday is the first race of the CT State Championship.  I'm going to do something uncharacteristic of myself and shut-up for the week.  I won't leave you in total silence, here's something to listen to.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Truth

The Niner Carbon fork.
I've heard, actually read mostly, people wax on about the magic damping (not dampening) qualities of this and virtually every other carbon fork.  How "plush" they are.  How compliant they are.  How they erase trail chatter.

Right here and now I'll calling bullshit.

The Niner fork is remarkable.  It is incredibly light, yet still durable.
In my particular case, I like what it has done to the geometry of my Swift.
Being 15mm shorter it not only lowers my bars, but ever so slightly steepens the head angle enough to subtly sharpen the handling.

Does it absorb rocks and roots better than the Singular steel fork?
On the contrary the Reynolds blades of the standard Swift fork do a better job of this.  Better in that they flex enough to take some of the edge off edges. That flex translates into some slow speed brake chatter, but not something that has ever had a negative effect.
So I guess the Niner gets the nod in the braking department.

Neither is a suspension fork (which IMO is good).

Knowing that the Niner fork doesn't possess all the magical properties purported would I buy it again?
It depends.
If I wasn't racing?
 Probably not.  It just doesn't offer anything extra to enhance regular trail riding for me (and it is all about me).
Racing though, I'm hoping to notice that 1.25 pounds it saves over the steel fork, although I think I'll mostly notice that when taking it out of the workstand or carrying it up the basement stairs.  For most race courses I think what it has done to the geometry will be advantageous, so I've got that going for me.
Which is nice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Letter of Intent

I'm excited, because much like Navin, I have a special purpose; Singlespeed Champion of Connecticut.

This season was lacking direction. My self-imposed regulations were precluding me from competing in any one series overall. But now with the announcement of a CT Championship Mini Series, I have found my special purpose.
Since I'm not competing for the overall in any particular series, I can  satisfy my masochistic side letting the fast old geezers beat me up, wrecking me for weeks at a time in the Cat1 40-49, but first see about doing well in a couple of  races in the Cat1 SS.

Some of you out of State mofos might be saying to yourselves Champion of CT, such a small State, big deal, who cares?
Small State indeed!

Monday, April 4, 2011

King of Burlingame 2011

First the good news; I beat my time from last year by 1:43!
Bad news; So did everyone else.

Dan Barry, was crowned King, setting a new course record at a hair over 28 minutes. Our Queen was Ellen Noble at only 16 years old!  Congratulations on fantastic performances!

Shake down ride the on Saturday, bad karma begets me as I flat my racer boy Kenda Karma.  Guess I'll have to live with the un-godly 1/4 lb extra a reliable tire is going to weigh.  Also the day before I try on my skinsuit to make sure I don't look like the Michelin Man; fortunately no muffin top.

Kerry and I had decided to do the sensible thing and drive down together.  Not knowing who would actually be driving I set about packing for the race.  Extra shoes, gloves, socks, hats, tools, tubes, shorts, jersey, arm warmers, knee warmers, coat, undershirt,water, food; I had all the bases covered.  It was a good thing because although it was quite mild in West Hartford when we left, the wind had picked up and it was pretty chilly in Charlestown.

Guess I won't be wearing the skinsuit I thought.  
I bundled up and went for a pre-ride.  In the trees it wasn't too bad.  I needed to add air to my tires, so maybe while I'm back at the truck I should slip into my sexy-supersuit after all?

Strip down naked (again) in a parking lot in RI, go to my bag, no skinsuit.  I packed everything except the one thing that I planned on bringing!

On to the race.
This year, unlike last, I decided to actually show up on time for my start, and everything goes off smoothly.
Then I get to the first rock garden (Welcome to Rock Island!).
I pretty much just stop.  As if I'm on a trail ride I carefully pick my way through.  I'm carrying no momentum whatsoever.  Not really how you want to approach things IN A RACE.

On the smoother sections I'm keeping a good cadence going and feeling pretty strong, but every rocky section it's like the first time I've every ridden a bike; I just don't know what to do.
I hear some one coming up behind me, but when ever I dare a peek I don't see anyone.

There are two road crossings that they make you dismount for.  The first one I take like a pro; hop off, run to the re-mount cone and do my best cyclocross mount.
The next one as I'm approaching it, getting ready to dismount, I crash into the left side of the trail and go down.  I'm tangled in my bike and see Al Raine,  the mysterious rider behind me finally (insert bad pun of how Al "Raine'd" on my parade here).  I get up and  start running off to the right side, but Al is concerned (and rightfully so) I'm going to do something stupid like step out in front of him.  He offers me his wheel as we head down the pavement back to the woods, but I just can't latch on.  He dangles in front of me on the long grind to the finish.

22nd overall.  I'm not sure where that puts me in my age group, but I'd bet about the same as last year, and I'm okay with that.  KoB doesn't really suit my strengths (or lack there of)  but it's a great way to kick off the season.  In light of my self imposed racing radius I better find a way to make flatter races become my bag.

Kerry and I were going to check out Arcadia after the awards, but then we decided grinders and donuts would be a much better idea.

I went with a smaller gear than last year, and I'm not sure if it was good or bad.  I went faster, but so did everyone else.  Bo Fuller won our age group riding the same gear I rode last year.  He beat me as well last year, but only by seconds.  Last year I remember feeling my gear was a little big on the climbs.  This year I didn't notice any climbs.

I was second guessing going rigid as well.  I felt over my head technically.  There were maybe only 4-6 really rocky spots, but I didn't handle them too well.

We'll see how things go at Winding Trails before I do any thing "rash".

Friday, April 1, 2011

In Case Anyone Missed It

I love this.  I want it to go viral.