Saturday, April 29, 2006
Earth, Wind and Fire
The Earth, from a Friday afternoon ride.
I'm really liking the way the Tri-Cross rides. Even in sandy single track
The Wind, as I was finishing the first 20 miles of a Thursday morning ride, getting ready to meet the 8:00 group.
I was snapping the this picture my cell phone rings. I get a frantic message from the office - "You better get here quick, the adjacent building is on fire and the flames are blowing our way. "
The Fire - or at least what is left after it was put out.
Luckily no damage to our building, just a lot of soot/debris on the roof. Yeeesh
Fast forward to today, and the Tar Wheel Century down in Elizabeth City NC. A big showing this year with no rain in the forecast. Many that weren't in north western Va racing the Ed Elliot Omnium (<--pdf) came to throw down at the century. There was no rain, but the wind DID show. Steady 21 mph with many gusts at 30+. ECity is wicked flat with miles and miles of wide open farmlands. Windstops were all but non-existent. At least this wasn't a point to point ride like last weekend's TourdeCure which was into a strong wind the whole way.
At the second train track crossing, maybe 15 miles into the ride, the main group was all together, and hammering at 27+. Yep, we had a side wind. As we rattle across the tracks water bottles start flying out and bouncing around. NOOOOOOOOO - I flashback to last week. I could hear Yogi Berra mumbling :
BIG difference was the experience of the group. No one did anything stupid and all was well. Many stopped to help fix punctures. I later heard four people flatted there.
I really just had one goal - ride as long and hard as I could, and keep stops to a minimum.There was some serious power in this group. People I couldn't hang with for very long even if
I was on my best form. I rode on as the dust settled from the train tracks. The lead pack flew by me at about 2 hours. I'd get a string of JB....JB....JB...hey JB, then they'd be gone. They were flat out crankin'. BillG, TimS, el Presidente, JDiesel, the Genes, and a few others I didn't know. They'd stop at the rest stops. I wouldn't. This led to the same getting passed scenario 3 more times. I last saw 'em somewhere around the 77 mile mark as I was pulling in for my one refueling stop. I really wanted to get a good photo of the group, but they were just going too fast. By the time I'd get my camera out and turned on, they were speeding little dots in the distance.
Ended up riding ~83 of the 103 miles solo, and finishing in 5:26. One 4.5 minute break. a few loooong red lights and one turn around to get a bottle cage that had dropped off. Note to self - locktite that dam thing. 5:16 riding time. Not a wicked fast time for 103 miles, but I'm happy. It was freaky windy out there.
There was a time not too long ago that a 5-6 hour bike ride was just a good warm up. Not now. But this was a good step in the right direction. I can't say I felt great, but I didn't feel too bad. Still able to stand an sprint at the end, but my legs are wicked sore right now.
The whole ride I was thinkin' of my brothers in Trans-Iowa. It helped me keep pushing on. Now home I hear they called the race at Algona, not even half way because constant rains turned the gravel roads to mush, and the "B" roads were totally unrideable. It looks like the first rider will get to the end (at ~154 miles) in 14 or 15 hours. Good on all of you. I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad that I missed it.......................
Monday, April 24, 2006
Good and Bad
We had a nice dinner party Friday to celebrate KDog and Fast Lisa getting upgraded to Cat 3.
Lisa got enough upgrade points in a record 3 races, then went on to win her first C123 Crit yesterday.
Someone was also having a birthday. Much thanks to all for coming and sharing some good food with good friends. The dinner was great and the homemade dessert was too.
The party was organized and the dessert catered by GwG - Girls with Guns.
Thanks again. You two rock my world!
Michellie couldn't make it, but sent her regards.
The Bad :
I sadly had to pull the plug on Trans-Iowa. I'm not going to go through all the details because I don't like dwelling on the bad stuff. As difficult as it was to make the call, I know it was the correct decision. There is always next year. My bike and gear are already set up and poised to go. I will wait with baited breath to hear the reports. My gut feeling prediction - the conditions will be tough but tolerable. At least twice as many more people will finish than last year.
The thing I will miss the most is getting to meet and ride with all the folks that I've been getting to know through the internet. You all are what really makes these events special. Best of luck to everyone.
To make a long story short:
The Doc told me on Friday that the surgery was more involved than he expected. He had to remove a large amout of muscle tissue from my throat to get the whole lump. This explains why I was still getting run down and feverish after any rides. Biopsy results were negative for the C word.
At the century on Sunday I got taken out by a squirrelly rider in the very first mile. Went down hard. Got up and rode well for 40+ more miles. Actually was feelin' quite good on the the bike until the adrenalin from the accident wore off and I started to feel what was really hurt. I had all the typical scrapes and bumps you get when this happens - knee, elbow, and hip. In addition to all that I somehow bruised my, ummmm, junk, if you know what I mean. Was impossible to even sit on the saddle and peddle after 35 miles or so. I rode much of the next 5 standing and pulled out at a rest stop. My friend Andy was able to finish his first century and has a more detailed report here.
Oh yeah - I rode with the Wingnut Adventure pack loaded up for the first time. It worked wonderfully. I'll have a review up later this week.
Time to sit back, heal and regroup. My cycling season, which only a month ago seemed to be getting off to a great start, has to be total rethought.
When it comes down to it the three most valuable things in this life are :
Your friends, and
So be sure to do your best to hang on to all of 'em. Then get out there and get your
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
The Bike is Ready..............
Have to choose the CX bike just 'cause I'm more comfortable on it than the others. The build details are back here.
Have 3 choices of tires, will decide once conditions are more clear. Right now have the Bonty 1.8 on the rear and Ritchy Excavader (35mm) on the front. Also have skinnier faster rolling Ritchey Speedmax Comp (30 mm) to use if needed.
Missing from this setup are clip on aero bars which will greatly increase comfort. The more contact points the better. At the end of a ride like this contact points will be the focus of most of the discomfort. The clip ons also make for a nice cockpit to hold route sheet and mount lights.
The Handy Dandy JanDDy frame bag and stem bag will be key to keep fuel close at hand.
The frame bag will also hold reserve batteries for nightrider HID at night.
Initial impressions of the Cane Creek Thudbuster are.................
Felt really freaky at first but really smoothed out the bumps. The S-Works frame lacks the comfortable compliance of steel. The Thudbuster makes it almost as comfy as the living room sofa. It's set up with the softest "shocks" right now. I'll be putting in some stiffer ones.
Gel, Gel, everywhere :
A layer of Fi'zi:k BAR:GEL covered by "dark pink" gel tape. Nice fat thick squishy bars for long term gripping comfort.
Gel elbow pads on the aerobars
Specialized butt measured gel saddle.
A huge Wingnut Adventure pack with (2) 3 liter bladders will keep me going for a long time with more than enough room to carry everything on the list and then some.
Many will choose to ride lighter and stop more often. I've ridden over 24 hours starting with 6 liters of fluid on my back and it doesn't bother me. Once I get going, I like to keep going. Keeps stops at a minimum. It's just the way I roll.
So the bike and gear are ready............................
Good question. One month ago, before surgery, things couldn't have been going better. The best early season training and riding I've ever done. Now? Far from recovered yet, but getting better daily. Doctors appointment today, and a little point to point 100 miler into a 20mph headwind tomorrow will tell the tale.
Andy put a map of tomorrow's Tour de Cure Century on his site. This'll be my fourth year doing it. A great ride for a great cause. Everyone that rides should do a few charity rides a year. Ride for something/someone other than yourself. ALWAYS a headwind on this one that gets more and more intense the closer you get to the end. Last year the winds were 30mph STEADY with gusts to 50. They deemed it not safe to cross the long (2-3 mile) bridges in that crosswind, and made it an out and back ride. I'll know after that ride whats going on.
RideOn. and RideSafe
PS - Good luck to Jason, Jeff W, Andy and all others racing this weekend.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The Lost Boy of O-Hill
"WHAT?" says I, "How do you lose a child?"
He said the lady told her son to follow the trail back to the parking lot........when she got there, little 8 year old Randy was no where to be found. Hmmmmm. This guy wondered if I'd mind riding the course to see if I could find him. I took off from the start line and proceded to ride the first half of the course, up to (but not including) the powerline climb. No lost boy was seen. After the 2 laps I'd done in the morning, this last 1/2 lap with no more fluids was taking me to the brink. I went back to the start line, to see if he had turned up. Word was out that the young guy was still not found, and the police had arrived. Don't know what they planned on doing, but they were there.
Then Crazy comes across the finish line, dry as a whistle. He bums some water and hear's the rumbling in the crowd about the kid. Turns out he saw the little guy on the back 1/2 of the course. Young Randy had picked up a walking stick and was following the trail. Mike said the kid wasn't panicked, just a little concerned that he didn't know the correct way back. He gave the tyke directions, then sent a trail runner down to escort the kid in. Turns out lil' 8 year old Randy took the LONG way back to the parking lot, and ended up walking the entire 7 mile trail. WTG kid. Not the WTG Mom. WTF were you thinking?
Side note - Last week I got a package in the mail that included the last few things needed for TI:
Enough drink mix for 72 hours, some 9er tubes and a sweet Cane Creek Thudbuster which I already have on the steed. Why? Cause I'd rather bust thud than bust my (_!_) .
I didn't spring for the limited edition HeadBuster :
It's a little too avante' garde for my taste.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
When Shooting Something Just Isn't Enough
Saw this sign somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains a while back. Wonder if they give free instructions on how to field dress?
Seems like I'm at a 2 day lag on posting. Went for a nice Easter Sunday group ride with some folks. Justin was in town from DC and brought at least one hammer with him. He dropped it on us with a vicious pull into the head wind on the way home. Was the first time I rode 2 days in a row since surgery. Felt fine on the bike, but for the next 2 days am feeling totally spent.
4 minutes 5 seconds
How long it took me (from getting off the bike to getting back on) to fix the rear flat I got during the ride. Officially witnessed and verified by the group which was kind enough to stop wait and hold the stopwatch.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
The Hell of O-Hill
To make the decision tougher star triathlete and Olympic siver medalist Michellie Jones was in town, fresh after her victory at the Arizona Ironman, and was planning on doing our 8:30 Saturday group ride with us.
She also gave a talk at the shop
Not only a gifted athlete, but well spoken and easy to listen to. OK, not bad to look at either. :-)
I was in need of a dirt fix so the decision was made to head up to C-Ville and Meltdown. Turned out to be a good move, as it was storming bad when I left at the crack of dawn on Saturday. Finally found the edge of the front somewhere past Richmond.
Still recovering from the surgery I wasn't going to race, just ride the O-Hill trails before all the action started.
Got 2 laps in and finished up while the beginner class was racing. Some REALLY sweet single track up there. The course was 7 miles long and I'd guess 700+ feet of climbing. Actually it felt more like 1200 feet to me, but who knows. Lots of logs to hop, hills to climb (or walk), and rocks to bounce over. The race started at the bottom of a fairly steep road climb before diving into the single track. I didn't feel too too bad, but wasn't really pushing the pace much. Was great just getting out to ride. I was told the temps got up to 80 that day.
Got to watch the sport, SS and Expert/Pro. Was a really great venue, and a low key race. $15 entree fee. Definitely on the schedule for next year. Rode around the course handing up bottles and taking photos/video that I'll have up later. The only down side was that the course was very poorly marked. I missed a few turns (some twice) out in the early pre-ride. The leaders in the Expert/Pro went off course also. The race was tarnished by some allegations of course cutting, but in the end the cream always tends to rise to the top.
Speaking of well done, I have to give credit where it's due. I only saw maybe 10 riders able to clean the entire powerline uphill - the hill pictured in the earlier post. BIG kudos. If I missed your picture, sorry. I went into oxygen debt just looking at it on my first lap.
After my pre-rides I told the boys that if anyone rode the last uphill rock garden (-->) I'd buy 'em a new bike. Dam good thing Paul Buschi didn't hear me 'cause JB says he did it. Man I'd of liked to have seen that.
PS - I look like such a dork.
Friday, April 14, 2006
They went and took the powerline downhill and made it an uphill.
Think it looks tough?
Maybe we need a little perspective :
Much more later, gotta rest
Thursday, April 13, 2006
I'm Back........I think
All in all it was a good day. Something about rollin' on 2 wheels just makes me smile. The hum of the pavement (or dirt) beneath the wheels, heart racing (then pounding), wind in the face. It was a beautiful thing that I'd been missing terribly. Legs didn't feel too bad, but recovery from any effort was slow. Felt like crap the rest of the day also. Oh well. No one said this would be easy.
Race news -
Jeff had a great ride at Sea Otter, and so the other JB, and Martini. When Nick caught Adam Craig he had a few choice words, you have to read his classic response. Someday I'll catch somebody and they'll say that.
The Heart of the South was done a few weeks back, but results aren't up yet. They took a while last year also. 500+ miles, eternal headwinds. and 30,000 feet of climbing. What more could you ask for? Tinker won, and missed CMacs record by a scant 10 minutes. There's that much time in dreadlock wind resistance. Fantastic ride by Mr. Juarez, it'll be great "watching" RAAM this year. Why hasn't Jure's name shown up on the roster yet?
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
CONTE's Cycling Classic
The conditions started out cold. rainy and windy, with slick wet roads. The technical course is almost a mile long with a section of cobbles, and 5 turns including a tight 180. It dried up and got warmer after the Juniors and Seniors, but the 25+ mph winds stayed the whole day. Here's a quick recap of some of the races.
After a few early 3 man breaks were reeled in, Roger Friend with the Monticello Velo Club from Charlottesville got away and stayed away. WAY away. Impressive effort. There was plenty of strong legs in the group, but Roger had the mojo, and had it workin' today. Mark King (Charlotteville Racing Club) took 2nd.
More photos of the Seniors are here.
Women's Pro 1234
Pro Women's Team Lipton had two of their Cat 1 racers down and pretty much led from the gun. These ladies were so smooth and in sync that from a distance it looked they were on a tandem. This left the rest of the group to fight for 3rd.
The TriPower ladies, captioned by Carol, led the charge for the rest of the field. After picking up a prime Super Sally went on a solo chase and got a huge gap before being reeled in by Biker BJ and Julie K (Team Siegler Imports/CVCC). This group of three worked well together to establish and keep a gap on the remaining field. Julie won the sprint for 3rd place. Laura, overcoming a fever and the flu, put in a strong ride to round out the top 6.
The rest of the Women's photos here.
Cat 4 Men
The Cat 4 guys had a huge field of close to 100. The first turn is a tight 180 that strung them out into a pace line that was over 1/4 mile long.
After the first few laps TriPower racers Kevin and Art were up front driving the pace. This led to a text book setup for a break by teammate Matt Chrabot . He got away just before the left hand turn up Commercial Drive. The only rider that had the legs, position, and attention to mark this move was Terry Huss (Raleigh Allstars).
Together they worked a break that lasted the rest of the 60 minute race, with Terry winning the sprint. Kevin took second in the field sprint, while Art took a prime and a ninth overall, to give us 3 riders in the top ten of a 100 person field. WTG team.
More photos of Cat 4 here.
My camera battery was spent after 400+ photos so I have none to share on the other 2 races.
Cat 3 men saw a 5 person break get away and last to the end with locals Mike Hosang (TriPower) and Bryan Sorrell (Atlantic Velo) putting in great rides. Mason Haymes (Team Seigler Imports/CVCC) took the sprint for the line. Marc "I don't do time trials" Greco (TriPower) took home a prime and a top ten finish.
The break (photo credit H. Ward -->)
Pro 12 men had a strong 2 man break by Scottie Weiss (Hincapie/Bianchi/Dasani) and Ward Solar ( Natures Path presented by Fuji Pro/Am Cycling Team). Scottie was wearing the Stars and Stripes jersey of the National Crit Champion, and representing it well. They rode away from the field that eventually broke into 2 groups. Ward won the sprint. The first chase group was powered by Team Snow Valley. Great showing by recently upgraded Cat2 Michael Stoop who took home a prime and a fifth place.
Complete results can be found here.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Links to the WassUp
The next two weeks are gonna be some awfully painful training. If I can get back what I lost in the last 10 days I'll be happy, but it aint gonna be easy. All you can do is all you can do, so that's what I'll do. Good to see some other folks out gettin their RideOn:
Paul is out doing 2-a-days and reconning some "B" roads like we'll be riding at TI! Thanks for the info.
Jason is soiling his chamois on his the new 29er. How sweet would this be for a geared niner?
Andy is watching the birth of his new steed from the metal up,
While Jeff is on the left coast getting a fix at the Sea Otter.
Many on the race team are 3 hours away in the mountains training for this or racing in this this weekend. While the rest are TTing today, and racing/organizing for our Crit tomorrow.
Liz and Super Sally are going to be out at Sherando for a mid week spring break bikathon. There will have to be more of those this summer.
I'm jealous of you all! But I'm back. Plans are still on for TI. They were never off. I won't be where I coulda been, but I still be happy to be there, and even happier to finish. I plan on some easy 2 a days for early next week, then a long ride or 2 before the event to finish some gear/setup tests.
Tommorow I'll be out course marshalling and helping out at the Crit.
Good to be back
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Movies to Recover By
Still recovering from surgery, but hopefully am almost out of the woods. Don't ever really want to go through this again, but ya gotta do what ya gots ta do.
A highlight of all the movies is the new RAAM release.
Incredible footage, editing and production. It includes private footage from indivual teams and solos from the 2004 race. If you've read the article about Jure' going crazy and would like to see the madness, get the DVD.
It's available through the RAAM site and there's a discount to UMCA members.
If you liked Off Road to Athens, or have ANY interest in ultra cycling events this is a MUST SEE. It's better than any other RAAM movie (I have them all). Jim Lampley, (of boxing announcing fame) produced it and narrarates it. When Lampley first covered RAAM back in the 80's he was so moved by the event, he personally purchased the production rights for all future RAAM's. GET IT!
"Anyone who knows me well knows about my love affair with RAAM," Lampley says of the world's toughest ultra-endurance event. "When we first arrived in Santa Monica in 1981 to meet John Marino and the three other men who would start out with him, we had no idea what we were about to see and I'mnot sure they did either. But from the wee hours of that first night, chasing Lon Haldeman into Death Valley, I've always felt this is the ultimate American trip. Now we have a great opportunity to share it with millions of Americans who have never really seen it, Pacific to Atlantic across the broad backs of three thousand miles of roads, from the insideout, the way we see it on RAAM. The name alone still give me chills, has for twenty-five years: The Race Across America. There's only one."
I heard from reliable sources that 2005 footage will NOT be shown, at least in the near future, because of the tragedy involving Dr. Breedlove's death.
Heart of the South was last weekend. Still haven't seen or heard results. Tinker was entered and I'm interested to see how he did time wise against the record set by Chris McDonald last year. The HOS is 500+ miles from southern Alabama, up to northern Georgia, through the same mountains used in Tour de Georgia, then back to Alabama. Last year race was characterized by long hard arduous miles into a headwind. How hard? : 25-35mph. How long : The first 200 miles. Try that sometime! Yeeesh.