Monday, October 31, 2005
Stick a Fork in Me......I'm a Tree Hugger
It was great to see master mechanic Roberio there to race. In a twisted role reversal he actually asked ME for a wrench on the way to the start. Yes he DID catch and pass me on the first of his 3 laps!
I guess I was the 3rd to pre-reg 'cause I got a call-up to the first row on the start. At first I said no way man I'm not going up there, but Steve was insistent, so I went. Then I decided WTF , I'm here, I may as well start a 6 hour ride with a 1/2 mile sprint. I was still in 3rd or 4th at the logs when a guy bobbled in front of me, I hit his wheel, had to put a foot down and twisted my ankle bad. I kept up with the first 5 or so up till the left hand uphill switch back but I couldn't click in my eff'd up ankle so I had to pull over and let the WHOLE group by. The ankle bothered me for the first lap or 2 'till the endorphins kicked in.
I saw Rob motor his Monkey by me at least once in the SS class. After 3 hours I took a break to reload the Camelback. Once back on the bike my forearms and hands were cramping and I was having trouble at times getting a good grip on the bars. There was a few rooted rutty downhills that would slam me around and remind me that my shock and fork were set at minimum sensitivity, so my bike was riding more like rigid than a FS. I'd tell myself to adjust it next time I'd stop, but when I did stop I was so blinded by lactate I'd forget. Somewhere after noon I got a treat and watch (<---) Chris Eatough cruise by me on a warmup lap. Man that guy never looks like he's even breathing hard. Most of the time his mouth is actually closed. I think his muscles get oxygen directly through the pores in his skin. Later Jeremiah Bishop glides by doing his warmup thing. I also saw KDog (--->) on a warmup lap as I was doing my thing for the Sierra club - he smiles more than both of those pros.
I anxiously watched my watch to try and figure when the Pro/Experts would be coming by. My first goal in these races is not to get hurt, the second is to stay out of the way of the faster riders. They don't get much faster than CEat and JBish.
The TriPower cheering squad got there sometime after noon and it was great to hear the yells and bells while going over the jumps. By then I was way to spent to air it out but Paul wasn't. When the TeamTrek guys passed me at the end of the first lap they'd already opened up nearly a minute gap in their field. Yes - it wasn't THAT hard to resist the fleeting urge to hop on their wheel! My last lap was pure survival mode - grunt up the hills, try to get my HR down, a little more tree love, then it's over. I'd never been THAT anaerobic for that long in my life. Better than a DNF last year and next year will be better still!
JB has a race report on his blog.
Kudos and much respect to all that raced. It was a great day on a fun tough course. Liz was all business and tough as nails. After breaking her finger she continued on, only to hurt her shoulder in another fall.
Many more photos here, and a TriPower gallery here.
We had a tasty team picnic at Pierce's BBQ before heading home.
The other (much slower and older) JB
Saturday, October 29, 2005
The course is 4-5 miles with all kinds of challenge. Steep ups/downs, roots, dives into creek gullies and across narrow bridges. To ride this fast you have to hold on tight and stay off the brakes on all the downhills, even then you'll have to grunt a bit to make the next peak. The course for me at best is seriously anaerobic. Areas to recover are virtually non existent aside from a 3/4 of a mile stretch after the finish line. The section around the finish line is wide and BMX style with 4 or 5 nice jumps. This makes it great for spectators. There was a nice new log obstacle that was easy today (much easier on the 29er), but I'm sure will be tough by the end of the day tomorrow.
Rode a lap on Salma, then a lap on Gabby. I didn't quite have the momentum/right gear on the 2 tough hills on the geared bike, but the SS just rolled right on up there. Was very happy just to clear the whole trail on the SS. I WAS gassed on some of the climbs and stopped twice to catch my breath, but I'm really getting to like the SS thing. If you ride off road and haven't tried it - you NEED to! Conversation after the ride:
Me: The nice thing about riding a single speed is you're never in the wrong gear.
Geared rider: Yea, but you're never in the right one either.
And therein lies the TRUTH!
Later in the evening we all went to a private slide show/presentation by Jonathan Devitch of Epic Images. He's a local guy who's been on the pro cycling tour traveling the world to get great shots. It was very interesting to hear about the trials and challenges of a world class photographer photographing world class cycling. His calendar would be a great Christmas gift for any cyclist you know!
Friday, October 28, 2005
Show ME the Money
Nevertheless - Do you think they'd just give me the cash to score the TT bike of my dreams?
Speaking of Sager - He was down in Austin for a race and LAF Ride for the Roses. So was this guy. You'll have to scroll down his site for his full description, but it looks like yet another hater has been converted :
"Saturday we all hung with Lance for a bit, private-like style. Take whatever opinion you have of Lance and toss it out the window.
This is what matters: Every time I see the impact LAF has on people and their individual lives, I feel like an ass. Here I am, an abled bodied guy, talking and walking and laughing with my peeps while taking pics with Armstrong - and thousands of survivors are standing in line outside waiting to meet Lance and tell him how his foundation and story have changed their lives. When you walk out of the meeting room after our chat with Armstrong, you have to parade past the line of patient supporters of the LAF. Every single of them has a story. Something made them get out of bed, leave home, and travel to Austin to stand in that line...a line I skipped straight to the front of without a thought or concern. That's something to chew on as you leave and they wait...
During the LAF ride on Sunday, I'd see riders with small signs on their backs that would say "Riding in memory of:" or "Riding in support of:"...and you'd see names like Uncle Charlie, Mom, My son......"ME". Mega. That's powerful & strong stuff and while I can't effect the fight against cancer to any extent personally, I'm glad I was able to participate in the weekend's event...at the very least you'll find me living life to the fullest and taking care to remember its fragility"
from J Sager emphasis added
If you MUST waste energy on hate don't hate the player........... hate the game.
BTW - Sager's blog is worth a bit more than $0!
Oh yea, don't forget to set your TIVO/DVR/VCR because Lance and Sheryl are on SNL this week.
<----Secret spy cam shot.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
The "Must Do" list and such....
18 Hours of Scouts Honor
and a bunch of VCA road races.
This calendar works great for organizing your race schedule:
You can get the template for MS Word here.
I REALLY want to try and make the Trans-Iowa. To me that's what cycling is all about. Get on your bike with a bunch of other crazies and just ride! 320 miles, self-supported, mostly flat but very windy (just like here!). As grass-roots as it gets. I likey. Just hope the scheduling and logistics work out.
Had a nice sunny brisk morning MTB ride this AM through the park. Looks like my rear derailer is a bit out of line and causing some chain suckage. I have a new replacement and was just waiting for a good reason to put it on. This one has probably been tweeked since 24 hrs of BigBear when a branch jumped up and snapped the hanger on the very first freakin' lap. Master mechanic and bike wizard Tom fixed it up back then with a bag of spare parts. He told me it should be replaced soon, so now its 5 months later and I'm getting to it. Tom is definitely the MacGyver of the bike world, what a great guy. I was going through some bunches of photos from the year and everyone of Tom has him fixing something :
JM in "full on" race mode getting wired for night. He's got the solo 24 hour all business gaze goin' on.
So here's to Tom! The man never stops moving, fixing, organizing, and otherwise helping anyone he can. If you're in a 24 hour race, in the middle of the dark woods at night, and think you hear some Bongo drums, you probably do! It's Tom spreading the rhythm and flow.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Its C-C-C-C-old Out
Finished the workout with a nice MTB(Salma) ride in the park. She wad a bit finicky this AM, with some chain suck and phantom shifting. The Crossmax is in the shop so I was out with a different rear wheel. Gotta get that sorted out before the weekend race. There was a fair bit of deadfall around from the winds, but not too much.
BJ and Bob had the Tuesday crew over to their beautiful house for a dinner party/club meeting. It was a blast. The wine flowed like water and the food was as good as it gets. Much thanks. We had a little "get to know each other" exercise in public speaking/slurring. Even with intense peer pressure, corona, and fine wine, Art remained a mystery shrouded enigma.
Mom had a hip replacement done today. Looks like all went well. Get Well Soon!
Bundle up and RideOn
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Salma and Gabby in the Woods
Legs were a bit heavy from yesterday's century for the first few miles, but they came around nicely. The trail was in GREAT shape. Kirk and the EVMA crew worked their trail building magic a few weeks back, installing 8-9 reroutes that actually improved the flow of and already great flowing layout. Some areas were leaf covered and slippery, but not too many. Riding through the woods without shifting is really a mind broadening experience. You actually do shift, but with your body position and muscle groups, not with a derailler and lever. I'm planning on spending a bunch more time on my SS next year, I need to get to know her better. She's tall, strong and athletic. She's simple, low maintainance and floats over the rough stuff really well. After the ride I decided to name her Gabby.
Then it was back to the lot to trade off and ride the full suspension Epic. In the short year we've been together we've shared many an adventure. I've spent a bunch of time this past week fixing up her tires and drivetrain, I replaced a broke spoke, trued up her wheels and was ready to have a nice fun frollick in the woods. She's shorter and softer than her counterpart, but every bit as fun, just a good bit more complex and definately higher maintenance. After a little more thought it seened like Salma was a fitting name.
The girls together:
Its nice to have choices.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
'Tween the Waters
This ride offers beautiful views, flat to slightly rolling terrain and and a long history of well marked roads and good support. The start/finish rotates each year, this year it would be in Nassawadox. I was happy to see a good group did brave the threat of bad weather to show up for the ride.
Now in my short apprenticeship as a group road rider I've learned a few things:
- The toughest position to hold in a paceline line is directly in front of a stronger ride. You pull hard, then roll off. The stronger rider has been very comfortably relaxing in your draft and because they ARE a stronger rider, the pace instantly increases as you try to slide back and grab last wheel. If you're not careful you miss that last wheel and fall OTB, hopelessly watching the paceline rocket away like you were dragging an anchor.
- The next toughest position to be in is BEHIND a stronger rider. You try to tuck in close to get a good draft as they pull, but because they ARE a stronger rider with a faster pace, you aren't quite as comfortable, then your pull begins and you feel like you should try to hold the same pace they were, which of course is futile and leads to desperate gasps for air, blurred vision and weak knees.
- Today I'd find that combining these two is the recipe for sure self destruction!
We rolled out in twos at a nice conversational pace, but it wasn't long before the speed increased enough to stop the talk. It was a pleasure talking to Harlan and I comfortably tucked in as he began his first long pull. My first pull felt fine and I tucked in to last position I noticing the pace had jumped. Hah! I thought Sally was behind me but nooooo. It was JDiesel - Puttin' the power down on his fixey! A real sweet looking ride. Jim said he "upped" his gearing a tooth so he wouldn't have to spin as hard. The bottom line - Here I was with a stronger rider (Haulin' Harlan) in front of me AND a stronger rider behind me. I was the cheese in a power sandwich. Three or four cycles through the line and the inevitable happened - I went OTB. This was just before our first stop at 27 miles. YIKES, this has the makings of a long day. I rolled out of the stop a bit earlier then the group just to keep my legs moving and blood flowing. As they motored by I jumped in. We'd picked up a few more and were now 10-12 strong. Well, maybe 9-11 strong and one weak (me). Pete took a good long pull, then me, then JDiesel, and once again - I was that group cycling species :
I try to find a steady state in these long rides, but it just wasn't happening. I got into a good groove on my own and rolled into the lunch stop at 52 miles a few minutes after the group. After a leisurely lunch I went out on my own and finished the last 50 or so miles solo with only a brief stop to refill water. The result - I did find my rhythm and finally felt strong after about 60 miles. The last 40 miles were a real joy as I gained strength and power. There were a few stretches into a slight breeze towards the end, but I finished feeling like I could go on further.
Cheers and congrats to all that rode. The group in the line - Pete, Sally, Haulin' Harlan, JimDiesel, Dag, a couple on a tandem, and a few others I don't know - great job. It was a sweeeet day to ride, and the threat of rain never materialized. I still have a lot of work to do to keep that pace. Once again I brought my camera, but left the memory chip home. JD took some photos and I'll put them up when I get 'em.
Jim, Dag, Sally and I had a wonderful dinner afterwards at Willis Wharf, one of the oldest running establishments on the Eastern Shore. We toasted another great ride (with soft drinks and water!) and enjoyed a great view as cyclists in the 20 and 40 mile rides pedalled by the screened in porch. We had some great discussions about cycling, training, and nutrition.
Why? Because it's natural and makes you toot!
I'm considering it, but I'd have to give up my cult membership.
THE 2006 VCA SCHEDULE IS UP!
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Fixing Dis n'At
- 2 Kenda Kharisma 1.95's, 1 front 1 rear (---->) .The rear is still mounted on my bike w/a tube in it.These are great fast rolling tires. The leaks typically start as slow ones but like leaks do, they get bigger. Many hours on these before they failed.
- 1 rear Panaracer Fireroad XC. A great knobbier tire for looser conditions. Many hours here to.
- 1 front Specialized Roll-x pro.
- 1 Hutchinson Python. I put this tire on while camping at Big Bear 2 days before the race to see how it would handle the looser conditions. It lasted 200 yards. On the way to the start of the course it punctured on some loose gravel. Needless to say I was pi$$ed.
So I've been accumulating tubeless patch kits with the thought that someday I'd have the time to patch all those tires and review the different methods. Today was the day I'd start.
The first tire up for repair was the Kenda K front. I thought it had 1 leak, but it actually had 2 :
Once you find the holes it's really easy. I prepped the holes , and the plugs were put in with some glue, now its ready to ride. I used a magnifier to be sure the plugs got through the holes.
The nice thing is not having to remove the tires from the rims.
Out on the trails tonight to see how it holds up. I'll review the kits and techniques later.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Cooooooool Morning. KOB for Once
Out at 6:40AM - Coooool and dark. The windjacket got it done in the cool breeze---->. NO 7:15 group today so I'm on my own. My headlight falls off 20 minutes into the ride - the screw seems to have vibrated out of the bracket. Pretty much light enough to see by then anyway. Coming back on Shore I feel a slow leak in my front tire - yeeeeesh what a way to start the day. Luckily only a few minutes from home so I just changed bikes and went down to meet the 8AMers.
Nice group, 7 or so to start and added a few at the regroup. In a red light shuffle Art got stuck with 2 pulls up Great Neck which set me up for a nice move up the Bridge. HAH, First time ever I was KOB! See we have no mountains, so KOM is out of the question. I eased up for a few pedal strokes after the crest letting JLaw and Art fly pass me and slam the downhill. Oh well, one step at a time. Now I guess I'll have to work on getting to the bottom faster. Then Dag and I worked a 2 man break till the now warmed up train reeled us in.
Preliminary reports on the Iron Cross:
Rob got it done on his SS KMonkey, that's sick!
There was an insane "run up" near the half way point. More like a crawl and climb up.
Been thinking a lot about next years race schedule, but can't commit till VAC gets their schedule out. I did pre-reg for the Tidewater Challenge - 6 hour enduro division.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Skorts and Nighties?
So Lance honored his home town of Austin Texas with a free concert by his fiance' Sheryl Crow. It seems like her old fashion sense is taking over :
But she did have a good drummer sit in for the ZZTop song, "Gimmee All Your Lovin". Yup that's Lance on the sticks.
Day off the bike.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I Was lost Then I Was Found.- #246 in Your Hymnal
The FFrogs ride is really a huge group, I'd say 40+ riders all with different ideas, plans and paces. Only my 2nd time down there for this, the first time I got separated from "my" group and rode mostly solo, which is fine, but wasn't the plan.
I followed the lead group thru detour signs to a closed road on the normal route, and once again was on the wrong side of the split. We had to shoulder our bikes around a bunch of road-blocking construction equipment. Then of course they took off like 15 people on a 20 mile team time trial, which I guess it was for some of them. I couldn't figure out if the rest of the group was in front of us or behind us, I couldn't see them either way, so at the first fork I sat up and waited, then turned around and rode back a bit, but no-one. Oh well, once again I go for a group ride with 40 people and am off solo. Now accepting my fate I RideOn alone and am surprised at how good I feel! I see ace master mechanic Roberio going back the other way and he says just keep going I'll find them. As time goes on I see more and more riders just doing the 20mile sprint loop on their way back. The weather is just AWESOME. Sunny, cool, not to windy (yet). Up over the Pungo Ferry Bridge (--->) and I'm seeing more and more folks and hook up with the group at the store over the small bridge.
We had a nice ride back to Frogs, then continued back north with Lance, JM, Bill, and Ashton. The wind was picking up now and strong out of the NW. I threw in one loop to make an even 100 miles or so.
Hope everyone got in some good time on the saddle.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Something for Everyone
Tinker posted a great report of the 508, his first ultra road race, on his site. It sounds like he's committed to RAAM in 2006. Solo RAAM next year promises to be the an incredible event. More on that later.
The UMCA published my report of the ADK 540 on their site. It will also appear in the newsletter. I don't like seeing my name in print that many times, but ultra cycling legend John Hughes insisted. I sent out a questionnaire to all 540 finishers and it was really interesting reading their responses. More on THAT later!
24 hours of Moab is going on as I write this. Nick's teammate Brian led the entire field (and that's a lot of folks) with the fastest first lap time. They're holding on to 1st in the pro duo class after 8 hours. Just a 2 minute lead.......... this WILL get intense 10 or 12 hours from now. Nat Ross is looking for a repeat in the solo field and has held the lead since the gun. Adam looks to be riding well and posting consistent times. There is MAJOR coin at stake in the solo field. At my estimate 4-5k for first. I guess that sounds stupid. That IS a bunch for a mountain bike race, but these guys are out bustin' their ASS for 24 straight hours and won't make a penny if they don't podium. On the other hand cry babies like TO want more millions just to be............. a cry-baby. Oh well.
The Saturday morning group rides were an absolute HOOT (if you're from the south - if not then then were just a whole lot of freakin' cycling fun!). The 15 mph winds made things exciting. The TriPower team was there in force, with KH and MH out jumpin' huge curbs on their cross bikes tuning up for tomorrow's IC. The new grey and black TriP skinsuits were in. JD was back with us sportin' his winter growth and Italian climbing legs. The Teams Blue were also there and for the second ride we even had a few wildmen on a tandem. Check out the nice water jug on the rear rack. These dudes were stylin' AND flyin'. That water ALMOST came in handy. My dehydrated self was dropping off the edge going down Shore Dr and the lead group was gapping me - I just couldn't bridge again. Then the tandem studs roll by like a freight train. Seeing the water jug I use my last watt of power to jump up and on to their wheel - all I wanted was some of that water, but somehow LC got position on me, blocked my jug access, and as a result I went thirsty and OTB. Heck, it woulda been hard filling my bottle(s) at somewhere near 30mph anyway. Yup , those Converse hightops got the Santana rollin' that fast.
At the end the halloween java flowed like wine at Starbucks as those wild and crazy tandem guys cruised the parking lot for chicks. Click on the photos to enlarge. More will be up soon.
Good luck to all at the Iron Cross.
Liz put a nice write up of the Seagull on her blog
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
A Tuesday Ride on Wednesday
The camera makes it look darker than it really is bit it is still pretty dark at 6:35 on Shore Dr. The temps in the mid to high 60s are perfect for short sleeve jersey riding. A little cool till you build up some heat, then perfect. A brisk 12-15 mph wind out of the NNE was gonna make the ride fun.
BJ, Art, Dag, and Laura too! I guess BJ didn't get everyone too liquered up last night. A good ride with good folks. Art dressed and rode like the cyclist he is and absolutely stomped the downwind leg on the second loop. Pulls were strong and short into the wind.
While chillin' in da 'hood we learned what was important to Dag in a relationship............... yup, you guessed it ----------- bike handling skills. HAH! ;-)
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I Want a Totem
Nevertheless its nice to see some crossover from MTB to road in these ultra endurance events. I can't help but think that Tinker would've made up those 14 minutes if he had aerobars and a haircut!
This year two entrants actually rode fixed gear bikes (they were turning 70 inch gears) which is TOTALLY beyond my comprehension. They both finished. 35,000 feet of climbing on a fixey? I thought I was nuts.
The rain/wet roads kept everyone in this AM for the 7:15 ride so I did it solo. 3 others turned out for the 8AM Contes ride. Art went retro in running shoes and old toeclips while shifting on the downtube. He still beat me up the bridge. :-(
Monday, October 10, 2005
Bike Skills Day
Got to work on no-hand riding:
Then some camera angles:
Got my daily dose of geographic envy at Adam's site. Man he rides some cool stuff, on and off road. He also got a better picture of Lance than I did:
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Tour de DC
The rain had stopped but the forecast was for more. I'd wanted to head up to Frederick to ride Gambrill, then possibly up to Gettysburg Pa to ride the IC3 course on Monday, but the weather changed my mind. I wasn't ready to sit in a hotel room while it rains again. So it was time to head back to the Beach. On the way I stopped at Prince William Forest Park, which is 90 seconds off of Rt.95 near Quantico. It has a road loop with some hills, and plenty of fireroads to MTB on. The hills aren't too tough but if you keep it on the big ring (on the road bike) and do some laps you can really get a good workout in. Then I got on my mountain bike spun around the fireroads for a good while. A nice convenient place to ride if you're ever passing through.
The early reports from the Seagull - The conditions were NASTY, with winds and rain, but century got done! Great job.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
It's A Wash
4AM wake up call and a 8 block ride (in the rain) to the Beacon to meet Steve and the other ToH alum. DC bike riding is a joy @ 4:45AM! No cars, wrong way up one way streets, you can make better time on 2 wheels than 4.
Bikes are loaded for an hour drive to the ride start at Howard College.
Some nice custom carbon ToH Treks, be careful not to strap across the Lance signature.
We arrive at the college to see crowds of onlookers getting in position to see the MAN. After parking and getting out we hear an announcement that the ride had been canceled! The roads are too wet, forecast is for even more rain, and the Ellipse has been declared a mud pit. We battle the disappointment, but it is the correct decision. I wouldn't of minded the rain, but 1500 riders together on those roads would've been dangerous. Yes Lance did show, he offered a few words to the wet crowds and we went back to DC. So it is. SO it will be. I actually had a fun ride back to my hotel, so much fun I kept going and got in 40 blocks or so. Then I realized urban riding like this WOULD be better on a fixey. Especially in the rain. A cool thing about DC is seeing all the bike messengers flying around on on their fixers.
I wonder how JK's doing in Japan?
I wonder how (or IF) the Seagull went?
Rain rain go away, so we can find somewhere to play.