Monday, April 28, 2008

I don't get it...

So despite a reasonable amount of experience in a few years and effectively no success to speak of in that time period, I clearly still don't get this whole road racing thing. There are a number of things that I just can't seem to get my head around:

1. The strongest and best trained rider has very little guarantee of winning. Maybe if you're Marky Mark you do, but I'm not, and neither are you.

2. You're at the liberty of the other 99 bozos in the race (completely accepting that I'm a bozo too). Past history tells me that the clowns are out to get me.

3. Everyone is just too freaking high strung. You so much as brush a guy's hand and it's like "Oh my God you touched me... hold your line asshole... I must swerve... ah a crash... OH THE HUMANITY!" Relax guys... ride rollers for a while, you'll learn how not to over-react. Better yet, have kids... you'll learn that overreacting makes things worse and just wastes your energy.

4. The amateur peloton is like the high school prom... look my bike is prettier than yours and I have the wheels you can't get. Kudos to the guy in Sunday's race who was riding a bike that was obviously not that new and not very shiny. And he was riding the crap out of that bad boy too.

5. The line between a good move and a bad move is so subtle and unpredictable. Maybe it's because I don't know enough or because everyone else doesn't either so we all just act like we know what we're doing.

6. There's too much thinking involved. I do this stuff to relax and not think. The simple fact that I've been thinking about yesterday's race enough that I bothered to write this proves that I'm not able to turn my brain off. Again, maybe it becomes easier/more relaxing when you know more and/or suck less.

7. My instinct is somewhere else. I'm more of a fastball throwing closer... I'm going to give you all I've got and you just try and beat me. Never was real good at strategy. I won most races in high school and college by just taking off and running away from everyone. Sit and kick... no thank you.

Anywho... ironic that Solo posted a comment about sucking others into the roadie scene. I think someone's going to have to try and keep me. Then again, it could just be the beer talking...

Palmer Report (or something)

If I had somehow managed to bring home the huge first W at Palmer yesterday you all would have gotten the gory blow-by-blow that would have dwarfed anything G would normally put up (ok, almost anything), but I'll spoil the ending and say I did not. Let's instead go with the Palmer edition of Good-Bad:

Bad: It started raining while I was out on my recon/warmup ride
Good: That was the end of the rain and the race weather was quite comfy (with long sleeves and knee warmers)

Good: I was moving forwards while most were moving backwards on the uphill sprint
Bad: I had a LONG way to go forwards because I was way far back coming around the last corner

Very bad: There's a lot of cat 4's out there who need some bandages and new wheels/bars/derailleurs today
Very good: I'm not one of them (for a change)

Almost Pro: We nailed back the break of the day with 800m to go
I feel cool: I feel like I definitely did my part to help bring it back
We still suck: Cat 4's apparently still can't sprint in a straight line (that much hasn't changed since last year)

Bad: There was a mini incident maybe 10 miles in due to general inattention and nonsense
Worse: There was a much bigger incident that took out maybe 6-10 guys (who can tell with that much flying carbon and aluminum) about 5 miles later.
Worser: There was carnage right in the middle of the road during the sprint
Worserer: To polish it off 2 or 3 more guys got together and went flying in the aftermath of the first mess
Awesome: The gods were smiling on me for a change and I was positioned away from said carnage

I get to try my luck again at Sterling for sure. Not sure if I'll get out again before then. Might try to sneak out west for some off-road fun on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Executive decision

I got home from class at 8 p.m. I was all pumped on the ride home to come home and head right out for a run... until the second I pulled in the driveway. I have no idea what flipped the switch, but it was gone. And at 8 p.m. when you haven't had dinner, you're exhausted, and you have s-loads of housework and homework to do, once it's gone, it's not coming back. I convinced myself that there was no fitness benefit to going out for a 3 mile run tonight anyways... some may call it rationalizing... I'm going to go with smart training decision. So rather than run I'm waiting for some tilapia to cook. Food over low-return activity that I don't have time for is a no brainer.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Confidence Builder

I rode to work today. I rode the fully pimped fast bike because my other bikes are in all sorts of disarray. The way in I averaged just a bit under 20 and didn't feel super for the first half of it. The way home I averaged 21.5. The ride home is a net positive elevation gain... and I was wearing a backpack with my work clothes in it... and I was dodging traffic... and pedestrians... and annoying little dogs on those frickin extenda-leash things. I had a killer ride just before Sturbridge last year and we know how that turned out so let's try to not relive that.

Oh, and the world is in balance in case you were wondering...
This morning, a friend of mine was riding to work on a not very busy street with plenty of room for him and the few cars. Two idiots in a crappy old Crown Vic drove up next to him and the passenger yelled out "Get a car."

Tonight, I was going through Watertown and there was a line of cars at a light that turned green. I was going up the side of the line (in a bike lane) and the guy just in front of me throws on his blinker to turn right. I had visions of bad things when suddenly he looked in the side mirror, saw me, and stopped to intentionally NOT cut me off. I very cheerfully thanked him through his open window and had faith in drivers again for a second... then I remembered that a friend's wife got tagged while riding this morning. She'll be ok, but is a little banged up. Keep your heads up kids...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A different kind of pain

While much of the NE biking world was torturing themselves at BKR today, I saved myself that pain and instead got a new tattoo. That's #5. They're addictive... I can't possibly try to explain it. I'll post pictures once it heals and looks more awesome than it already does.

Need sleep... maybe I'll dream about what kind of ride I want to do tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Off Day

Today was an off day (from athletics at least). I rode 187 from Sunday to Saturday last week. Between Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday of this week I did 150. I also did about a 3.5 mile run Monday. I needed an off day. Back at the commuting gig tomorrow. Friday may be another run. Weekend is up in the air. Next week will be easy-ish in prep for Palmer.

So in the rarely covered work topic here... do you work with that person who's the intimidator (thinks they can get things done just by intimidating people and throwing their weight around, a.k.a. the "don't you know who I am?" guy)? How about loophole guy... tries to find away around everything? I work with several of both, but one in particular IS both at the same time. He's a real treat. He visited me 2 minutes before I had to walk out for school today. Now the beauty is that I've only dealt with him twice so there's very little history to go on, I don't give an eff who he thinks he is, and I'm not easily intimidated. I know it drives him nuts to have to deal with me. I can only hope it drove him as nuts as he was making me. If I'm lucky, I'll get to drive him nuts again tomorrow.

Need sleep...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Math is cool

Especially when that math tells you that you rode 187 miles this week. 14 off-road Sunday (7 as fast as I could), 113 commuting, 60 today. Threw a 5k run in there for an added bonus. Looks like Wells tomorrow... should be interesting.

There you go CCC... even more to read.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Make up your damn mind

I had a very schizophrenic week... First I didn't think I'd be racing. Then I was trying to convince people to go to Turtle Pond. Then I was iffy about Turtle Pond because the weather looked sucky. Then I was re-looking at all the races this weekend. Then my wife suggested I go to Wells. Then I thought I decided I would go to Hop Brook tomorrow. Then I tried to get home in time Thursday to pre-reg for Hop Brook, but got home late, so I figured I'd just pay the extra 5 bucks. Then tonight I was 5 minutes away from packing the car for tomorrow and rechecked the directions. I discovered that Hop Brook Dam is 115 miles from here. Then I reconsidered. Now I'm not going to Hop Brook. As of now I'm riding with the team tomorrow and then racing Wells Sunday. That is until whatever happens next...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good and Bad

I felt good and I dropped Paul which made me feel bad that I dropped Paul... Ah well, he got dropped close to home :) I don't even have a link to the aforementioned Paul. Here's the closest I have... you'll have to settle for Mrs. Paul. So nice to ride in the warm weather. I didn't even mind the headwind (much).

Thursdays are typically my only night off of the week... I have class Monday and Wednesday which means I have homework Sunday through Tuesday. Wednesday is class, Thursday is nothing, Friday starts the weekend. So I try to cram everything into Thursday. Oh wait... that's right... I should be cramming.

Friday yet?

Maybe wishing for Friday isn't such a good idea right now since it's so damn nice out and I think Friday will be less so. Rode in today for the second time this week and didn't feel so awful this morning despite going for a spirited 5k run last night at around 8:15 and then hopping on the bike this morning at 5:45. It was bearably cool with just a double short-sleeve and arm warmers, but I get to leave all kinds of stuff here for the shorts and short sleeves ride home (woo hoo!). I couldn't buy a freaking green light this morning so lets hope for better luck.

I'm 95% sure I'm headed to way the eff out CT Saturday for the Root 66 mudfest. I was going to do Turle Pond, but 30's and wet at the start didn't sound so appealing. Chris Hinds will be a swim meet so that didn't sound fun either. Lets hope I got all the mud out of the gears from last weekend... I should probably check that before Saturday a.m.

I'm hoping this ride home wakes me up... sooooooooo sleepy.

Monday, April 07, 2008


This will be the short version of the KOB race report since 1) I should be working, 2) I already typed the long race report for the team so my fingers are tired, 3) I'm sleepy.

Overally a wicked fun day. Me and my bike came home functional and covered in mud so how bad could it have been. My goal was sub 40 minutes. I really strolled through a warmup ride of the whole course in 45 so I figured that was do-able. I know I told G that I'd upgrade to sport if I beat him and I could argue either way that I have to now. On one hand, he obviously left out his post about the secret training camp he attended and he smoked his time from last year by like 2 minutes (if I read the results scribbles correctly). On the other hand, I did come in at almost dead even with his time from last year. Who knows... I have to decide if I should keep sandbagging or jump up and take a beating from those who know how to ride a mountain bike.

The goods and bads:
Bad - The guy 30 seconds behind me was already in sight in the first technical section about 5 minutes in.
Good - I never let him go and ultimately finished maybe 10 seconds in front of him
Better - I think I passed 4 of the 5 guys who started ahead of me

Awesome - I somehow had a revelation and figured out my cross remounts yesterday. Many noticed last season that I had this awful clumsy stutter step thing going.
Not so awesome - I had to practice it way too many times since I sucked over some of the tricky stuff

Good - I took home a new Hutchinson tubeless tire as a prize
Less good - I just bought new tires last week
Still good - My new tires kick ass.

Ok... I'm over my goofing off quota for now. More later.

Friday, April 04, 2008


When you're married with kids and in grad school, you tend to plan things well in advance and put them on the calendar on the wall at home which makes them almost unchangeable. If you do not, there's a risk that these plans get trumped by something. Truth be told, even when they're written down, they could get trumped by something, especially when they are non-required activities like racing. Now the hardcore types will argue that I just committed blaspehmy by calling racing non-required, but the family guys will get it. In order to minimize my chances of getting trumped, I'm trying to put together a race schedule or something that looks like it. In short, it's hard. I think what's going to happen is that I'm going to put as few stakes in the ground as possible, but have a lengthy B list which will get used whenever the opportunity presents itself. As part of this plan, I've determined there's a non-zero chance I may go against everything I've said and do that big stage race thingy that's all the rage around here in July. We shall see...

And in non-bike racing notes (proud dad alert)... my kids are brilliant. Last night was this fair that the elementary school puts on to display their work. Each grade level covers some theme and the kids do a number of projects on that theme. I discovered that my first grader can write, read, and understand words like 'metamorphosis' and 'chrysalis' (yes, I had to check my own spelling on those) and my kindergartener can write complete sentences with near perfect spelling with no assistance (I knew about this one, but I got to see it displayed). At least I know the tuition payments are being put to good use :) Now if the two of them could just keep themselves out of trouble too... boys have a knack for creating ways to get in trouble.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April... first?

I was all ready at lunch time today to join in the web-wide April foolery, but I couldn't go through with what I thought of. I was going to post that all my bikes were for sale. I was going to dig up the old Xray of my busted hand and concoct some story about getting doored on the way to work or something and how I was giving up and getting out of the game. Then it occurred to me that I still had to ride home and I didn't need that sort of bad karma. Karma thanked me and I was rewarded with a killah ride home despite the wind. Wasn't all that super fast (partially due to the wind), but I just felt like the whole time I was able to put down some consistent power. My legs never really quit or screamed at me so things were good. The youngins tell me good is what we're after so I'll take it. Oh, and road crud on a wet day blows. My bike didn't even want to shift by about half way home. Time to do some cleaning.

Oh, and I scored some Sox tix for Patriots Day today. They're only bleachers, but the boys are thrilled. I always take that day off for the marathon anyways so now we'll just hopefully catch the finish instead of the middle.