Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good Bye Old Friend

Well, Stumpy we've had a lot of good times, but I can't stand to see you just hanging on a hook anymore. It's with great trepidation that I pass you along. I only hope you'll be appreciated half as much as I feel you are due.

I remember when you were proudly displayed in Southington Bike; the last of the rigid steel Stumpjumpers. I'd go into the shop and gaze at you endlessly, but I resisted, until finally Dave lowered to price to a end of the season blowout (little did he know, I would have paid full price once I had the cash).

So many first for you and I.
First time I cleaned the gasline climb was on our first ride at the reservoir.
First time on the podium was a 5th at WT in 1998 in the Sport 30-39. Probably won my best piece of schwag at that race; a Trek backpack I still use.

First two wins were on you in the singlespeed open. Back before those two victories, I deemed you too heavy to race and bought the Salsa. It was only a tad lighter, and never rode as nice, had a crappy paint job and finally broke.

The day long journeys along the Metacomet ridge, or exploring the hidden gems of MV, it's been quite a trip my friend...

From rigid to hardtail, to rigid again, you were always great.

So good bye old friend, I hope you find the respect and care you deserve in you new home.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Legs: Whoa, what are you doing? We just raced yesterday, why are we riding home from work?

Brain: Well, the truck is in the shop and it's a beautiful day.

Arms: Legs, what are you complaining about, we feel way worse than you. Why are we sore after a bike race?

L: Beautiful day my ass, if memory serves there were 3 national champion jerseys in your race.

A: Awh fook! Another hill. Why couldn't you ride one of the perfectly good geared bikes you own?

B: Come on now we're already on the road, lets just get on w/ it. I haven't had time to change the handlebars on the other road bikes and those bars are too narrow.

A: Haven't had time? Is that because you've been busy beating up on us?

L: Tomorrow better be a day off!

A: How do you think we're getting back to work? He's too Irish to have Kim waste gas driving him in.

Guy on a shiny new bike all kitted out passes me at a red light and waits in the crosswalk, under the light, primping and preening...

B: What's this guy doing?

Light changes and kitted out guy fumbles with his pedals

L: Grow up! Just wait for him to clip in and ride off.

B: But you know he's all show and no go, come on guys TT the last 4 miles home.

A. I don't care. It's flat to downhill the rest of the way so I get a free ride; watch the bumps!

L: You effin' pricks! Now we've got to spin @ 150 rpms for 2.5 miles!

B: We're home, now that wasn't so bad.

The next day:

B: Alright, come on, it's time to go.

L: I hope you're not in a hurry, cause we're phoning it in.

A: What they said!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Today I finished 6th in the Cat 1 40-49 at The WT Fat tire Classic.. That's in the points baby!
That was my short term goal; top ten. Points!

Start was fast and dusty...and HOT!
Pre-riding yesterday I knew the heat was going to be a factor, so I really tried to ride my own race.

After almost crashing on the first big drop, being splayed out spread eagle on my top tube, my adrenalin was spiking and I was going a little harder than I planned trying to gain back the spots I had lost.
I passed Kerry R. and he stuck to my wheel like glue for a lap. Earlier in the week he joked that the only one he was concerned about beating was me, and it seemed his plan was to ride my wheel for 4 laps and beat me in the final sprint. I finally got a gap and it stuck. I believe he DNF'd, but I don't know if it was a mechanical, or the heat.

Speaking of DNF's about 1/4 of the field dropped out. One guy who wouldn't give up was the guy who finished 5th. He had 4 mechanicals, and still beat me by a minute! Good on him.

After I lost Kerry, I really kept the effort in check. I was going for it, but felt if I tried to go any harder, the forth lap might be ugly.

The fast guy with the mechanicals (I'll look up his name when they post the results) rode behind me for most of the third lap. He made a pass on the flats but couldn't make it stick, I passed him back on a hill. He held my wheel until about where I first passed him fixing his tire, he said "I think that guy is in my class" referring to the guy we had caught, so I informed him I was in his class, "But you're on a singlespeed; you have your own class". I replied "can't let you guys have all the fun" to which he put the hammer down, and dropped me. I caught him at his next mechanical, only to get caught by him again. One more mechanical for him and I would have a

Another bonus for me was Kim, Lillian, and Quinn came out. Lillian found babies, Quinn found dirt, and Kim earned her wings by handing me a fresh bottle on the second lap. They all seamed to have a good time, and Lillian is hoping to do the kids race at Winsted Woods.

Looking at the results, I would have won the Cat 1 singlespeed by about 5 minutes. That makes me even more satisfied with my result, and more excited about the class I've chosen to race.

Next stop, podium!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

RT 66 Hopbrook Dam Race

First race of the season has come and gone. Great turnout for such a crappy day, but the weather just added to the challenge. Each lap it just got greasier and greasier. I stayed upright, but had some exciting fishtail monments to keep me on my toes.

I chose to race my age group instead of CAT 1 SS, figuring all the guy racing that class last year were moving up to Pro/Open. 4 people did end up racing that class, but I had already made my choice, so I stuck with it.

This video is the first singletrack of the race. After a drag race across wet grass, we crossed a road and entered single file. I was stuck back in 21st. I did manage to pass one guy in the singletrack, when he dabbed, but all and all the singletrack conga line is very frustrating. Once things opened up a bit, and we got to some climbing, I was able to claw some ground back to eventually finish 13th. As frustrating as it was being stuck behind guys sitting and spinning, I doubt it would have effected the eventual outcome.

Major props to James for racing the Pro / Open class. He finished arouund 12th or 13th if I remember correctly racing against national pros, and only a couple minutes down on Thom Parsons, our Semi-Pro series champ last year (and also another SS rider).

I would have finished 2nd in the CAT 1 SS class (third if James had raced it), but I think I'm going to stick with the age group for a while. I like the challenge.

Some courses might be more favorable to geared riders (like ones with long flat grassy sections), but others, like Winsted Woods, and Winding Trails, I believe, are perfect for the SS.

Friday, April 10, 2009


4:00 Am the day before a race and I'm awake?
Guess I'll give a quick run down of James and my pre-ride.

Hopbrook is a lot rockier than I remembered, and the technical sections are, well technical. You have the choice of navigating over the rocks or hitting a tree. Some of the descents are pretty tricky too. One I recall is an off-camber gravel drop, another has a steep drop at the edge of the singletrack.

I broke a spoke nipple on my front wheel; I doubt the rockiness is the cause, if anything maybe it accelerated it's demise. I've had a preference for brass nipples lately, they are easier to bring to tension, and this just enforces that.

Then as I was investigating the rattling sound (of a spoke free of the rim due to a broken nipple), I broke my front skewer.

Instead of messing with repairing my race wheel, I'm just going to run my back up front wheel, which has a Nevegal mounted on it. This works out well, because I was seriously questioning my tire choice!

On one of the descents I semi-flatted my rear tire. The Stan's prevented a complete loss, but I think extra is called for.
Shots of Stan's...for all my friends!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

It has been decided...

So it shall be written, that on this the Lord's day April Sixth Two Thousand and Nine, that I shall race the rigid Soma Juice Singlespeed at Hopbrook April Eleventh.

I took it out Saturday and really enjoyed it, felt a little beat up, but never the less.
So Sunday I put a carbon fiber handle bar on for some vibration damping, and the "wheels of Doom" to lighten it up a bit.

Took her for a spin, and although fatigued from the effort on Saturday, put in a pretty decent lap, and actually felt fresher and less beat-up than Saturday.
Pouring over old journal entries trying to find a similar ride in similar conditions, netted me the fact that I was going as good as I ever go with this set up.

I was surprised at this, as I had changed to a 49" gear (from a 52") and felt slow.

So all you CAT 1 40-49 spies reading this top-secret confidential blog, now have the low down of what you're up against.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Decisions Decisions

I've been back on the mtb this week.
While this is fun, not being able to commute by bike is kind of a bummer.
I suppose this would be called "training" since I'm riding the mtb to get ready for Hopbrook.

Tuesday I rode the Soma Fixed, because Mary Jane's front brake was kind of funky.
Wednesday I rode Mary Jane, but after foolishly taking some internet advise on fixing my brake, I was riding essentially with just the rear.
So my weekly "training" had not started off ideally to say the least.

Thursday everything was sorted out and I got a good ride in on Mary Jane.

Friday I had the bright idea of converting the Soma back to a freewheeling bike, which went fine, but Saturday I did a good effort on it and now I don't know which bike to race.

Theoretically Mary Jane would be the choice. Lighter, even with a front shock, but I really liked how riding rigid felt again. I'd been riding the Soma all Winter Fixed and rigid, but with snow and cold I doubt I was beating myself up too much. Today I tried to really go as close to race pace as I can without having anyone to race, and the Soma just felt right.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This Just In

Don't use internet repair advise on you brakes...unless you want to ride w/o a front brake in the rain.