Wednesday, October 31, 2007

dork trio...

Presenting the Thomas Brothas:

Left to Right: Eric, yours truly, and Nick.

Eric will be here this weekend. Rock.

not dead yet...

despite my bitching and moaning, and the lack of any material added to this site, I am still alive.

Last week was a series of parties, new friends, old friends, bike rides, sleeping in late, and no cyclocross.

Sunday I left for Camp Verde Arizona for a two day immersion in a machine shop, working on prototypes. I even got in a nice 3 hour ride up a canyon. 7 miles of climbing at 5-7% gradient, fucking fun descent let me tell you...

Tonight Halloween X-practice. Then El Jefe.
Then I go to Chicago tomorrow.

Then one of the bros shows up for the weekend. Fair Hill will be raced. Beer will be consumed. Love, fun, peace, happiness, life, and maybe some halloween zombies.

That is all. I am boring. Live with it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

sore...

My body is feeling worked today. Really thrashed. So much lactic acid that my legs and shoulders hurt to the touch. Wissahickon was a mess. OK start, then I dropped my chain and lost my cool. Two crashes later and I just stood there for 45 seconds saying "Fuck this." and let half the field ride by.

Flower power. (photo courtesy of Fxdwhl).

I refused to not finish the race, and I guess I got 2 pretty good days of workout, but god, it was not fun. Not fun at all - the racing that is. I love the shit talk, I love the community, and it still beats playing Nintendo all day and rotting before I'm in the ground. I just need to get out of my head - like a wise friend has told me. Plus it could always be worse.

Sorry Ethan. Rebroken collarbone in his second cross race ever. Welcome to Granogue. (photo courtesy of DennisBike)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Material Issues...

No excuses, but the blog has been a little sidelined due to my insane work / cross schedule. Also, my desktop shit the bed, so I essentially have no personal PC right now. The photos are collecting with no place to go right now. I hope for a photo journey at some point.

Rolled up to Gloucester last weekend for some classic New England cross racing. Tom and I split the drive in his new toy work utility vehicle - zee Sprinter. That thing is pimp. On the way home we filled it with 3 racers, 7 bikes, a cooler and a Ozone depleting cloud of Danny Summerhill's farts. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Awesome to be in New England. I forgot how much I love and miss my original home. The Gloucester race course was among the most fun I have ever raced, and it felt fucking good to sandbag the Cat 4 field for some stellar results. But the talent is deep up there, and I did have to race for 4th on Saturday.

Even better was seeing my mom, brother Nick, surrogate mom Sherryl, and Rosie. The fam drove from Maine, and Rosie from Boston to see me race so I wanted to go hard. Hole shot on day one, held it for a lap. Finished 4th. It was fun. Rosie took lots of pictures. It was awesome to see my family and Rosie. Simply awesome.

Today I rode in circles around the Granogue estates. All the dirty rotten crossers will have stories I'm sure. My race was crap. My legs felt awesome, but somehow it took me 3 laps to realize my rear brakes were dragging against my completely warped rim. Bike change helped, but the damage was done. The highlight of the day was taking a beer feed from Buddy and promptly stacking it up on the roots by the barriers as I was finishing the beer. I looked at this little girl as I collected myself: "Don't drink and drive kids."

I'm feeling spanked right now. Work + cross + work + travel = tired. At least Taiwan is off.

Other awesome people I met this weekend: Suki (for the 2nd time), MegA, Kerry C (ok, also the 2nd time), and Mark from Rutgers.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

thank you Jan!

for pointing out that I may have missed my true calling.
and thanks Kevin Dillard for this photo!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

acceptance...

I have accepted that this year's cross season will not be about results. I won't even be able to make good on my goal of top 20 finishes in every B race (I think I finished 22nd yesterday in the Breast Cancer Awareness Cyclocross Challenge).

But more importantly than meeting arbitrary goals, yesterday I was having fun riding my bike.

After last Sunday's shitty performance at Lilypons, I kind of beat myself up this week on the bike. I knew it yesterday when the gun went off - tired, flat legs. Usually my start is my only redeeming move in the B race, but even that was lackluster.

Then the fun began.

A lap into the race my rear tire flats. I don't know what I hit, but it not only put a small tear in my tread, but it dimpled my rim pretty damn good. I shoulder the bike and start the run to the pit, which is at least half a lap away. Almost the entire field has passed me when I hear Fatmarc and Tom yelling from a second pit unknown to me: "What's wrong?!" I yell out about the rear flat and they are ready and waiting with Tom's bike in the pit: "Take my bike, we'll do a wheel change and meet you at the other pit!!" Sweet.

I am focused, making the final turn towards the pit. Eyes unblinking, head trained on my target. With 25 meters to go, I see a look somewhere between confusion and amusement on the faces of my teammates in the pit.

Nanoseconds later, I'm a tangled mess on the ground, my right leg is through the spokes of someone else's front wheel, and Tom and Faticus are laughing their asses off.

I gather my wits and realize I'm tangled up with none other than Soupie, the clown college graduate that tried to get his jollies last week by looking like Marc. After the race I get the slow-motion replay of events from Marc and Tom: As I'm running for the pit, Soupie reaches out with his left hand to cop a feel on my perfectly sculpted ass as he rides by - shenanigans of which I'd generally approve. He tries to scrub some speed with the right brake lever, and because he's not used to a cross bike's reversed brake setup, he locks up the front wheel and sends himself careening into the back of me.

It takes a solid 15-20 seconds to unwrap Soupie's bike from my legs, and after a bike change I'm off again, passing Soupie almost instantly... "DUDE, I'm SO SO sorry!! I'm so sorry!!" It's ok Soupie. I get my wheel change in pit #2, and realized that my rear brake is too tight on the new wheel. Fuck. I stop again on course to open the cantis - guess I'll finish this race with just the front brake. Soupie passes me again: "Really dude, SO SO sorry!!!"

"It's OK man, relax, no worries."

I'm rolling again, but at this point I've given up on any real result, the field is loooong gone with E-town and Jebbagger driving the pace to a 1 - 3 finish. So I spend the last 5 laps goofing around on the bike, getting in some good hard efforts, pimping 3 or 4 other riders in the corners for good measure. Soupie once again: "So SO SO sorry man!!" No worries.

With the pressure off my back that has been smothering me like a wet blanket since returning to Vegas, I had fun again. This is why I ride bikes. This is why I get up at 5 AM on a Saturday to drive five hours round-trip. This is why I have no social life from September to December (aside from a pleasant come-on from a hairy kid from Pittsburgh). It's fun.

This is my new goal. Maybe I underestimated the B field; maybe I overestimated. I have no idea. I guess getting smacked around in the Bs is better than winning the Cs. That's like getting straight As in the special ed classroom. But if I can keep it fun, the results will come. I'll get faster, more confident in the argy bargy, more experience in metering my efforts in a stacked field. Maybe next year I'll be a contender.

Now I'm off to ride my Spot Brand 29er with Monkey. I've been salivating over the thought of mountain biking ever since the first leave turned brown.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

cyclingnews.com again!

Red square added for dramatic effect, but that's me - drunk - living vicariously through Treefarm's win at Cross Vegas [ link ].

Monday, October 01, 2007

a day late...

The legs come around.

I went for a "recovery ride" today after yesterday's abysmal effort at Lilypons (Ed Sanders Memorial Cross). Of course yesterday's "mystery legs" which left me clawing for a top 20 finish came around in time for me to ride my road bike after work. Sad when your previous week's race acts as your openers for the next week's training.


Thanks to dennisbike.com for the photo.

[ PS - Does anyone else take it for granted that we have 2 pro-level photographers shooting every race? I'm just glad I don't race with them anymore so I can get some ego boosters like this. ]

I will say this. Faticus, Jan, E-town, Zaynus Insanus: All on fire. Riding so well. If they are pissing excellence, well boy, I think I need a golden shower. Blair Blair too. Monkey and Fitzy making strides. God. Everyone is riding so well. I need some of that mojo.

Probably shouldn't have gone so hard today, but I was kind of pissed off at myself and I wanted the legs to hurt. Payback for their insolence. And the new carbon dubs are hard to ride slow. They just leave you wanting to hear that carbon roar on the pavement. And they are so stiff when you want to lay down a hard acceleration.

Another day, another dollar...