Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene gave me the opportunity to set up BlüSteel as a 1x8.
Irene also knocked down a lot of branches.

Damn you Irene!!!

Guess I should stick to what I know.

It was fun while it lasted (it always is for a month or so, and then I get bored).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Race Report: Norcross Scurry!

As expected much ado about nothing.

I totally understand the decision; racer and volunteer safety in a worse case senario, liability, not having a crystal ball, and all.
But having raced through Tropical Depression Danny at Norcross two years ago, I was ready.  I knew what gear and tires to run.

I wanted that maple syrup!

At least I won't be replacing brake pads this week.

*Monday Morning Quarterback*
700,000 CT residents  are still without power, and there were a lot of downed branches on the road on the ride in.  There was considerable flooding, most of the smaller tributaries have receded but there was water over the roads.  The Connecticut River is still rising, flights are grounded at Bradley International Airport, and Metro North trains are not running (NYC MTA isn't running trains either).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Single or 1x9?

I will be doing limited CX racing this year.  Last year all but one of the CX races I did was SS.  In fact my best result came riding my SS MTB.
on this hurricane cursed weekend, when I finally get up the gumption to clean up my workshop, do I set the CX bike up single:

or 1x9?

Either way, I've got some bitchin' pink bar tape!

I need to decided before I wrap the bars.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

3 mountain bike races on the same weekend!?
Not to mention the CX  and road races this weekend.

Promoters, are there really that many riders to go around?
Can't we all just get along?  Or maybe just communicate and be a little flexible?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The morning started with a left hook in Farmington.  Expletives were thrown, birds were flipped.  At least I wasn't in Team Colors.  The most infuriating thing, other than almost being hit by some lady in a Saab, was there wasn't anyone behind me.  It wasn't a matter of go quick or have to wait a long time, she just couldn't wait a second for me to clear the intersection.  Oh, and she saw me, and made that choice.

Then waiting for the light at 177 in Plainville near GE, the crosswalk lights up and all 4 lanes of traffic in all 4 directions come to a halt.  I look around, where's the walker?  There isn't one.  It's an adult in his twenties riding his bike on the sidewalk crossing the street tying up traffic.  At least he didn't press the button and just go without waiting for it.

So when I hear a guy start to shout out his window at me the first thing that comes to my mind is "Now what!"
What did he yell?

"Nice track-stand!"

Why thank you.
Have a nice day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rogue Blogger spotted!

In the wilds of Burlington:

On closer inspection it seems he has gone back to his roots:

Last time we saw this enigma wrapped in a gluten free riddle he was "rockin" a geared HT.

Is a return to rigid in his future?

Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's Not A Race! Racing is Never the Answer!...

...was Quinny's proclamation as Lillian drifted "off the front"

his tune quickly changed once he caught her and dropped the hammer.

Lillian has been reveling in the splendor which is the "Star Spangler".

People used to knock Huffy all the time, but any company that can come up with the awesomeness that is the 'Spangler is alright by me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Went out to Nassahegan today.
Thought I had found a forgotten gem.

I rode through this:

over this:

around this:
up this:

and ended up in some dude's backyard!

Oh Brother!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

...and another thing about riding in the rain, it's therapeutic. 
Here's my thinking on that.  The rain cools your muscles so unless you are really going apeshit will keep you from over asserting yourself.
I have a problem with riding too hard all the time; fast is fun.  I know I should take it easy sometimes, but I just can't.  Riding in the rain makes that happen.
Not being able to see my computer helps too; if I can't see the metrics, I won't try and break any route records or have any expectations of how far or fast I should be.
Chicks pay top dollar for this kind of 411 in NY.

Does using "411" horribly date me?  Should I change the name of this blog to Chester rides a Velocipede?

I took this crappy, blurry picture on the ride home from work last night.  I thought it looked kinda badass having my computer obscured by rain drops.
But then I got to thinking.

Riding in light to moderate rain when it's in the upper 70's on my commuter bike with fenders and lights wearing Sweden's finest technical rain gear.

What about the immigrant who has to ride his crappy department store bike, dressed in whatever he can afford no matter what the weather to one of his jobs.
He's badass.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Race Report: Hodges Village Dam / Mass State Championships

Ahh, mountain bike racing in New England...it just wouldn't be right if weather didn't factor in some how.

I left the house feeling surprisingly tranquillo despite the rain and the promise of strong competition.  This was going to be one of the first weekends of the season where there wasn't a competing mountain bike race dividing talent based on series allegiance or location.

Get to the venue, park next to Gerry, Michelle and their awesomely dry EZ-up.  I saw Gerry was registered in the Singlespeed class, and was wondering if it was a mistake, but no, he had in fact tasted the Koolaid and was joining the fun.

I ride up and down the course just enough to get filthy, and it's time to go.
In my head the two men to watch were Scooter (Scott Levreault) who was dominating the Cat1 SS until he decided to try the Pro/Open for a while, and Dan Barry, King Of Burlingame record holder and EFTA strong man.

The whistle blows and its  Holeshot Baby!...for about 100 meters until Dan and Scooter smoothly glide past me.  Scooter gets to the single track first, and Dan has about a 25 meter gap on me.  
As things twist and  turn I'm slowly loosing sight of him.  I can't see the pack behind me, or the two in front.

Great.  I'm riding alone.

But as I get near the back of the course I'm beginning to catch back up to Dan.  The technical nature of this part of the course is playing to my strengths (I guess?).  Right before we get out to the fireroad I get in front of him.

But just as on the opening fireroad Dan easily spins past me once we're out of the woods.


He gets a gap and stretches it to the start / finish.
As he turns into the singletrack he has about 200 meters on me.

Again near the back of the course I catch him, and again when we get back to the fireroad he gets me back.
Hmmm, lets use some strategy... think, think, think...if I can get in front of him earlier in the third or forth lap, maybe I can get out of sight before he can pass me on the fireroad...

The third lap there is a lot of 30-39 y/o traffic.  I'm pushing pretty hard through the rough stuff to try and reel Dan in earlier.  Hodges doesn't really have any significant climbs but lots of little power climbs.  On one of these I hear a crack and this happened:

My bar breaks at the grip / brake lever.  My brake lever is just hanging by the housing.

I pull off the trail and put the lever back on the broken side, sliding it over enough that I have something to grab onto, yet still have a little leverage.

The leaders of the 40-49 y/o pass me.

Now I've switched to damage control.  As long as I can keep on riding I'm going to.  Riding with a short, sharp bar is somewhat uncomfortable, and quite awkward.   I clumsily make my way past some more 30-39s and try and stay focused on laying down power whenever I can.
Climbing is a joke.  With what the rain and traffic has done to the course, even the slightest rise is a running affair with my plastic shard of death.

But no one is catching me?

On my last lap I pass the women's field.  Other than running hills, there are no unplanned dismounts.  As I'm making my way up the last stretch to the finish I see a rider coming up fast.  After a lap and a half of riding with a broken handlebar I'm not taking any chances and I sprint for it with everything I've got beating him to the line.

He had gears.

I  held on for third.

Which was especially important because it was my buddy Cam's birthday and I told him I'd try and win him a medal.

I also won a t-shirt and a stick of stuff to rub on my junk to prevent chaffing.  Since I'm Charlie the "Taint of Steel", I have no use for such nonsense.
So I got myself a different reward:
  Sugar, caffine and salt yum!  umm, kingsized...

Looking at my lap times, I was about 3 minutes slower on lap 3 and 4 than 2 (2 was 2.5 minutes slower than 1, but the conditions deteriorated considerably between the first two laps; there were puddles well above your axles on lap 2).  In light of this...I'm not going to get all woulda, shoulda, coulda; That's racing!

I've heard chicks dig scars, does this count?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Family Affair

I have 3 kids and I've ridden bikes with all of them.  One thing they all have in common is they don't shift gears (at least not before it's too late). 
Since Quinny isn't going to use 'em why have 'em?

We're both running a 20s in the back right now

So close to a "magic gear"!  Yeah, yeah, yeah, push up mode is better, yadda, yadda, yadda...F/U!  I ain't gots no push up spring.

When we first rolled down the road I had to actually work to catch up to him!  SS suits the boy well.