Sunday, July 31, 2005


A Day of Thanks

A fitting end to a great week

Today was a day to finally get up to pre-ride the 18 hour course up in Goochland County. It's on private property and thus the times to ride are limited. The alarm went off and I was up, but one thing led to another and I got a late start. I made it through the bridge tunnel fine but ran into rain of truly biblical proportions on the other side.

I knew it was going to clear up before Richmond but it would have probably taken 4 hours to get there as the idiot drivers trying to go 65 in zero visability caused accidents that had traffic slowed to a stop before Newport News. So I turned around and went home. :-(O . It just wasn't meant to be.

The TriPower racing team was down at the TT in Chesapeake, hopefully the weather was holding out for them.

Sunday is a designated ride day so I moped around miffed that I didn't get to ride the MTB course. The two-wheeled monkey on my shoulder was getting hungry. So after screwing around with little stuff around the house I hatched a plan to feed him! Put a 13 tooth sprocket on the 29'er SS and ride down to the ocean front to grab a bite and a respite. Then rain was now pretty steady so it would be a good mud soaked passage through Sea Shore. I donned baggies to avoid the lycra-haters.

Watching the "tourons" at the ocean front really is fun - I forget after living here for a while that people actually save thier hard earned cash so they can journey to my hometown and spend it on vacation.

I had to hurry to get through the 64th St gate before dusk and couldn't resist going down to the boat ramp to check out the sunset. I got there just in time to get the above picture. It was a great week after all. One of the best on a bike in a long time.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Another Buck and Change

The rain that started yesterday was continuing today and I had heard that many of the locals were going to bail on the Toano Century due to the wet roads/driving distance/registration fees opting for the Sat AM group ride instead. But I was mentally committed (or maybe I should BE mentally committed?) so I threw the bikes on the roof and left the Beach for points west.

Six + 13 > 20!!

The sporadic rain all but stopped by the time I checked in and I readied my stead for the ride. I studied the cue sheet (all too) briefly and rolled out of the school parking lot in search of orange lollipops, and promptly missed the very first left hand turn. A u-turn and retracement got me back on track where I hooked upwith Bob from Richmond. We settled into a nice pace and gathered up Janice, a Tripower gal from the Beach. She was coming back from a dislocated shoulder and getting ready to ride cross country with her husband. Bob and I designated her navigator as we both have trouble with route sheets.

We rolled through 100 miles and a few thousand feet of climbing almost effortlessly. Aside for a few minutes of rain in the early miles it was a perfect day to ride. It was one of those magical days that happen WAY too infrequently. I had the right gear for every climb, my legs NEVER felt tired or cramped, and always had more power when I needed it. Thats the buck, now the change!

I had a quick pasta dinner and with BigD and his brother who I knew from the CCVA board, then rode my bike back to the car and drove to nearby York River State Park for a few mountain bike laps. The lot was crowded as I pulled in. Rain was threatening but nothing yet. At the start of lap 2 of the Ravine ominous thunder was heard and lightening seen. It got close but I finished just as the rain started. As I left there was no one else there. Of course I ran into a familiar sight on the way back:

Dam that dam tunnell! It was a great day nontheless.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


TT Training - Heat Index 120

Got a note from BJ that said some of the team were going to start at the Redmill Store
and practice on their TT bikes for this weekends TT. Heck I ride out there every Wednesday anyway, so I put the clipons on the Six13 and rode down there to meet 'em. I'm no time trialist but I need miles in that position for my next ultra races.

A group of 5 of us went out and did a nice 25-30 miles on the uncrowded roads of rural Pungo. During the 18 miles back the I really started to feel the heat, especially when stopped at red-lights. Turns out the heat index was the high of the year at 120. Got back home just in time to cool off and shower. 65-70 miles in before 11AM, it was a good day!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Group Riding is Fun

I rode down to Conte's for my first "official" Tuesday morning group ride. The whole way telling patient, be patient, don't blow up, this isn't a race, stick with the group, etc.etc.etc.

I got a better feel for the rhythm and dynamics of the ride this time around but still almost F'd it up. After the first regroup we rolled out onto Shore Dr. and someone was already way off the front. The group was getting going a bit slowly (groups are just that way) so I went to the front and said "Can we go out and catch that guy?" I got the reply "Go ahead if you want!" Woooops, put my foot in my mouth there. What was I to say then? "Nah, I'll just sit back here...".....Sooooo there I go again..... off the front on the path to sure self destruction, just WHAT was I thinking? I got within maybe 20-30 yards of the guy and was total redlined. I looked back and could barely see the group. I think I got a lucky redlight gap on 'em. SO now the goal was to just ease up enough to get it back and see how long I could stay away. Just before Atlantic the group came up and by me with a FULL head of steam (groups are just that way!) 24 mph felt like reverse. I did manage to grab the last wheel without too much of a problem this time and finished the ride comfortably.

Group riding is FUN!

Sunday, July 24, 2005


A Buck and some (small) Change

The Buck
I got up a bit late for the PowhatenTour de Vin Century and underestimated the time it took to get there from Chester. A few miles from the High School and I saw a large group of riders leaving on the 7:00 mass start.

The R3000 was the vehicle of choice today

After sign-up set-up etc. I rolled out at 7:35 or so. The legs were very lethargic from the last 2 days of hard riding, but after the first 20 miles they really livened up. I met up with Paulo (no not this Paulo - although they look like they could be related!) and his friend Dan who were both at the crit yesterday shortly after the 2o mile rest stop, seems they splept in a bit too, and we decided to ride together. It was MUCH cooler than Saturday - what a relief. Miles 30-80 were great then the heat kicked up and some hamstring cramps started, but I peddled through them and we made it in as a group. We had to battle some enraged bike hating motorists on the last 5 miles but aside from that the ride was great. Traffic at a minimum and some healthy hills to keep it interesting. My Polar was disfunctional but I'd guess about 3500 to 4000 feet of climbing. Our odometers came up 3 miles short of 100 so we went back out for a few more miles to hit triple digits officially.

The (small) Change

After a post ride sit down and chat with the boys as we watched the girls come in, I packed up and headed for Pochohontas State Park. I admit it I was whipped, but it was something I just had to do. I never made it to the Red Trails but the others were nice and a convienient call from by ol' pal Andy in Chesta' gave me a reason to rest my weary (no not this wherry) legs and have some lunch before the drive home.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Another hummer bites the dust Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


It was bound to happen and it finally did

One - I started a blog.

I've enjoyed reading many good bicycle blogs for a while now. Hopefully some of ya'll out there will enjoy this one a bit. Does the world lead another cycling blog? Probably not, but its here anyway. This blog will go BOTH ways (get your mind out of the gutter). I'll try and post the current as WELL as the past. Although I subscribe to too many, it seems Cycling magazines just dont have any thing worth reading these days. I find it FAR more enjoyable, refreshing and entertaining reading about the adventures, struggles, trials, tribulations and joy of cycling written by everyday riders like those in the blogs I've read almost daily for a while.

Two - I finally got in with the Tuesday morning group road ride.
Its lead by the local Team Tripower .

I've seen them spinnin' away for years around here, but never got the nerve to join up. This morning I saw the crew heading the other way, so I did a U'ey and sprinted back. Luckily we were in a residential neighborhood and I could catch them.

Jimmy from the LBS takes an impromtu self appointed yellow sign sprint complete with the no handed victory salute. I saw his inked up legs flynig by and thought I recognized him. Then he pulled back and said hi. He's rollin' on the new C'Dale team Lampre frame all Campied out. Man if you're gonna ride like that its time to shelf that Saeco kit and throw on the right colors

After a brief regroup as we started back. I'd ridden with allot of these folks at local centuries and recognized many faces. I'm sure I wouldn't know them if they were standing right next to me with their helmets off in street clothes. I tried to make a bunch of excuses as to why I've never made it to the Saturday group ride (its the long standing classic and almost a right of passsage for a Va Bch roadie), but the truth is I figured I was just too slow!
We pull out and somehow I get 2nd in line as Jim pulls us up Atlantic at a quick but comfortable pace. Sheeeeit, I'm next in line............... I didn't really want to show my a$$ on the very first ride with the group! I take the pull as we turn onto Shore Dr. and make a concerted effort to keep the same pace, no higher no lower, into a slight headwind. I felt great, but after a few miles I noticed one of the Tri-Power guys (complete of course, with tri-bars) pulling up along side on the left. Cool, I was ready to tuck in anyway. Umm....... how do I pull off with him there? I'll definately have to work on my group riding skills and etiquette. So he kicks it up a notch and rolls on by. I start to slide off the front but he's gapped us already. Stupid instincts took over (or maybe it was too much of leTour on TV?), and I jump hard to get back on his wheel. My computer says we're on the high side of a quarter........ I dont have too many matches to burn at this speed........uh-oh! .

Baaaaad move. I get there and last all of 30 seconds till I pop like a hot kernal of oiled corn. I roll off again, this time too blown to even grab last wheel! Grrrr----ate, first time in the ride and I'm OTB already! Live and learn.
I raised my hand up to signal for the team car but no one came. See ya'll next week, when I'll work from the back!

Monday, July 11, 2005


24 Hours of Saratoga

Or - 12 hours of rain and 12 hours of pain
The ride up to Saratoga was very comfortable and only about 10 hours. I stopped for a night in my home town of Schenectady to awaken some old memories, where I realized I'd left my box of bike tools and spare parts at home. Thats pretty typical. No problem, I remembered reading about a bike shop on State St. somewhere. I stumbled upon Plaine and Son with a sigh of relief. Note to self : Keep a list of the local bike stores when you're on a road trip. Now if I could only remember what was in that box. I got a good deal on some tubes and scored a nice pair of baggies 30% off. Another multi-tool to add to the 12 I have somewhere and I guess I'm set. I had the pleasure of meeting endurance cyclist extrordinaire Heather Mosely who works there. We BS'd about Big Bear and RAAM, and the issues of endurance cyclists.

Checked into a nice room at the Burgoyne by 3PM Friday. The small parking lot was already filling up with racked out vehicles. The pasta dinner was nice and John Ceceri explained the rules and the course. More than a few folks that were there I recognized from Sebring earlier this year. John said the 32 mile loop wasn't too hilly, but most of the climb was on one section called Bacon Hill, that had about a 12% grade (OK I exaggerated he said 10%, but 12 sounds so much better!). Now one thing I've learned is that when people say "not too hilly" you have to consider where they live. Not too hilly means one thing in Virginia Beach, and another thing when you live in the foothills of the Adirondack's. Not very hilly in Dang-yo! means probably only 6-7000 feet of climbing an hour. He did go on to say that after about the third time up the hill we would be liking it none too much.

I tuned up the bikes and tried to catch soom sleep, although I never seem to sleep well before these things. Up at 6AM to set up the pop-up in a steady drizzle, I figured it would provide a dry space to refuel and change.
Even though the hotel room was less than 100 yards away, I didn't want to be tempted to seek its comfort during the race. It had been raining steadily since last night, from a strong drizzle to a steady downpour. The plan was to refill 2 large water bottles every other lap with gatorade and ride as long as I could. That should be enough fuel when combined with a gel every 45 minutes. It was nice to run into John J. who I hadn't talked to in person since we ran track together in junior high school. He's here defending last years win in the 24 AND the JMC championship. I secretly hoped he wouldn't lap me until dark.

The 8:00 start came and went without a hitch. Bacon Hill was just after the 2 mile mark and split the field up. One of the reasons I like these events is the no-drafting rule. Just you and yourself. Finishing the first loop down Bacon (45-50 mph while on the brakes around a turn in the rain yeeeeeee-haaaaaaaaaaa), I saw the leaders starting the climb back up. I flew through the start/finish area with no stop only to flat about a mile down the road. Then I remembered what else was in the box I'd left home ---- CO2 cartridges!!!! I only had 1 in the seat bag. The nice thing was that tires are easy to change in a steady rain, they just slide off the rim. Everyone was real thoughtful as they sped past, asking if I needed anything or any help. Not yet I thought, but since this is my last cartridge, but I will if I puncture again!

3 laps, or about 96 miles in about 5:20, thats OK considering the rain and hills. The 4th time up Bacon Hill and it still wasn't too bad. But It was STILL raining. Once you're totally soaked you cant get any more wet. It was actually quite comfortable, aside from the constant squinting to see through the downpour. For the first time in one of these I'd effectively switched my mind into 24 hour mode. I was thinking about time on the bike without regard to the actual time of day, the race time was all that registered. On the 5th lap my pace was slowing and my legs were growing tired. This wasn't a bonk with its associated low blood sugar symptoms of lightheadedness and delerium, it was just my legs getting tired and powerless.

Lap 6 and it was STILL raining. Bacon Hill was a noticable struggle. I absolutely HAD to stand to stomp the 39/25. 5 miles before the end of lap 6 JohnJ passed me finishing his 7th lap. Well, I almost held him off till dark. 6 laps or 192 miles in 11 hours and change. Not bad I thought, I felt fine mentally but the hills had drained all the power out of my legs. I talked to John breifly in the pits, he was holding a 15-20 minute lead over 2nd place. Seemed to be a good time to try and get some solid food in, and drink some Endurox. A shower, change of clothes and bike change was in order too.

So they say 80% of muscle glycogen will be replaced within an hour after a workout with the correct protien/carb mix. Well I sure hoped so! I showered, drank 40 ounces of Endurox, ate some pasta and tried to relax and let my stomach digest. Initially I was a bit worried about getting too comfortable and not wanting to go back out, but that wasn't an issue. I wasn't here to win, just to try and push my endurance envelope a bit futher. This was the first time I'd ever ridden over 11 hours non-stop (well, one 10 minute puncture stop and two more refuel stops that took maybe 15 minutes total) so I was very happy.

I went out again after about an hour and 45 minutes to find the rained had stopped! I switched to my C'Dale Six13 which was setup with a compact crankset. I hoped this gearing would make Bacon hill a bit easier. The next 10 hours were a bit of a blur. I did 3 more laps or 96 miles. Climbing wasn't too bad except Bacon Hill and a short wall on the way back in. These two were just stand up and stomp. I reallt dont think having a 35 tooth small chainring made much of a difference, except that it actually took longer to get up the hills! Prolonged suffering. My speed dropped way off and I was struggling to get around in 2 hrs. I had trouble shifting onto the small ring and lost my chain 3 odr 4 times. Since this normally happened at the beginning up a significant hill (in the dark) it became VERY frustrating. I dawdled around in the "pits" after each lap far too long, my mind making up excuses to stay off the bike a bit longer.......
During what was to be my last lap(the ninth time up Bacon hill) I noticed pain in my right achilles tendon which increased throughout the lap. This was the "daybreak" lap with the sun trying to come up through the clouds. I just LOVE riding my bike during the dawn hours, I don't know why, its just an awesome experience. Be it on the MTB or road bike there's something thats almost mystical about it. I Rode next to another Jon (who it turns out is not just from the same state as me but from the same CITY!), for a while and we BS'd about stuff that I cant even remember. I pulled in from this lap at about 6:00AM, and as soon as I got off my bike my right achilles just tightened up like a guitar string ready to break. I tried to stretch it out and it just wouldn't, so I went to the scoring table and told them I was through.
I didn't have any specific number in mind when I started this (well thats BS I really did, but that number kept getting smaller and smaller as the time went on and my speed dropped). But in the end its better to stay healthy and ride another day.
Race director John C had us all over to his house for a cookout Sunday morning, and I had to use allot of restraint not to eat everything I saw. You could tell the guys who rode the whole 24 hours 'cause they just looked whipped. John J was nodding off, Russ has a blank stare at times, and we all needed rest and sleep. It was great sitting down and talking to the folks, and I look forward to doing it again.

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