Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sometimes you shoot and miss

I'm in the midst of trying out new saddles because I've become sort of disenchanted with my San Marco Aspide Arrowhead that I've had for I think ~4 years. The cover is in reasonable shape, but either the padding is starting to break down or my aging ass is becoming more sensitive, but I'm having some issues. I got 3 samples from the greatest LBS in the world to try out and I put 2 hours a piece on 2 different ones this weekend. Yesterday's was ok, but not great. Probably nothing I'd go with, but I wasn't miserable. Today's on the other hand was just a miserable experience. I could tell about 30 minutes in it was going to be a long ride, but I was committed at that point so I wasn't going home to change it out. It was just awful in every way you don't want a saddle to be awful. Oh well... I made it home and I'll recover. One more to try out, but I've got low expectations for this one. Maybe I'll start out with a trainer trial or just pedal a little 5 mile loop around home to start with. This is tricky business because you really can't tell until you hit the road and in my opinion you need to do several things to be sure: 1) ride at least 2 hours on it if not more, 2) ride a good chunk of time on it really really easy, 3) ride some time on it really hard. I'm finding that my whole body position varies depending on the effort I'm putting in and it has a big effect on my saddle comfort. To make it more fun, recommendations don't really do much since beauty is in the ass of the beholder when it comes to these things. Ah well, I'll find one I'm sure.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A reasonably good couple of days

I'll go with today being an above average day. This morning my son had a football game. Last Sunday I missed his game due to the race at the Blunt. That meant I missed his 2 touchdowns and key block that basically allowed the third for his team to happen. All week I got to hear about how great he played and what a shame it was I missed it. Well today he continued on his streak for me to witness. 1 touchdown, 2 fumble recoveries, umpteen tackles, many yards rushing. He broke at least 6 tackles for his touchdown too so it was hard earned. Very cool to watch. Then I got out for a ride. The weather was nice, the ride was good, the traffic was light... what more can one ask? Dinner was a little nuts with the boys, but it always is. And I got to drink beers from Harvard's with dinner so that dulled the chaos a little.

Yesterday was a super fantastic day... but I'm gonna make y'all wait several weeks for the story on that one...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two Fitty

How fitting that post number Deuce Fitty is a race report from the Blunt. I'm a little short on time so this will be the slightly condensed version.

The Course:
Riders ready... TWEET! About 300 yards down the pavement into a 180 left that narrowed to about 4 feet, watch the trees in the middle of the course, turny stuff, right into the woods, log dismount (unless you are Coley), bunny hop the big stick/small log, left turn, right turn, dismount for off-angle log followed by large roots, high speed single track to high speed dismount over log (again unless you were really good), out of the woods, little left hook into the woods just to turn sharp right and ride over another small log, narrow stuff on the grass, watch the chicane around the two trees, dismount for a railing (yes that's #4), turny stuff, dismount for the 4 pack of barriers, 180, cross the pavement, more turny stuff, off camber right turn "uphill", 180, down, left, 180 right, huge log dismount, back onto start finish stretch, ~25 yards to finish line. Phew. And yes, that was 6 dismounts.

Cat 4 race:
Got the primo lineup and Brad captured what may have been my finest start ever. Dude on the right of that pic proceeded to ride away and win clearly. Me, Noreast dude in second wheel center, and some Colavita guy who came back from the cheap seats eventually ended up in a 3 way battle for the 2-4 spots. Noreast guy was technically superior. Colavita guy was no slouch. To get to a point, I got gapped just after the barriers on the final lap and there was nowhere to really close it down or pass. Came home 4th, in the money and finally scoring some points. Pleased overall with the effort considering I still suck at technical stuff, but the fun wasn't over yet.

Cat 3/4 race:
Mediocre lineup and equally mediocre start. Pre-reg list featured several MRC guys as well as some speedsters like Marro (BOB), Yash (HUP?), and Bailey (BRC) (sorry for no links). Fought the crowd for lap one and got warmed up again and came through to see we were doing 8 laps this time (as opposed to the 6 in the previous race). This equaled lots of time to just reel guys in which I proceeded to do. I held my own (mostly) in the woods and tried to minimize gaps. Every time I hit the pavement I drilled it and made up or created huge gaps. The highlight was finally catching Brad with 2 or 3 to go after his top 10 start. Shortly after I looked up and noticed that I was actually within sight of Marro. Probably no chance of catching him, but just being able to see him there was an accomplishment. By now I had moved to the top 20 and was starting to reel in a couple more guys. Sadly, somewhere in the woods, my suckitude or an ornery root got the best of me and I had the unmistakeable feeling of a squishy rear (and not the kind from too much ice-cream). Rode it as long as I could keep it upright, then shouldered it for a quick run to the pits. Reasonably quick change, but I lost at least 5 or 6 spots and it was too late to take them back. Rolled home as a contributor to the prize purse.

So to my earlier report of numbers... at 6 dismounts per lap, plus one extra when my tire was flat, for 16 laps of the course I did 85 dismounts and remounts. Not exactly the forum I wanted for that much practice, but it'll serve me later I hope.

OK, overused my free time so I gotta run. An aspiring rock star has guitar lessons...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Score Card

2.5 hours of driving
2 starts
89 minutes of racing
1759 calories
2 Clif Bars
1 pacakge Shot Blocks
1 flat tubular
~84 dismounts and remounts
4 upgrade points

Long version later. I'm cooked.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Few quick ones

1. Here's your TTBR: Rogue Dead Guy Ale. It's brewed in Oregon. The Oregon cross scene rocks. And it's hoppy like those really good riders who bunny hop barriers. And there's a skeleton on the bottle that kinda reminds you how you feel after a good hard race. How bad can this stuff be? Let me tell you... total absence of any hint of bad. Drink it.

2. PSA: YOU DO NOT OWN THE BIKE PATH! Yes, that is meant for you. I don't care if you're Mr. 4% body fat on his $5000 bike or the old dude with the shitzu on an extenda-lease or the daycare lady pushing the 2 wide by 4 deep stroller or the ignorant Harvard student who thinks they can go for a 3 wide stroll down the middle of the path with their ignorant friends. Don't be stupid people. Can't we just all share?

3. I'm training a lot. And THE season starts Sunday. Training + cross = fun. Fun is good. Good is what we want.

4. Dan was right... Chamois Butter Euro-style is great. Who doesn't want some soothing cooling action while they lube their saddle region? Use it.

Need food. See item 3 (and 1).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I've sort of gone dark lately and it might continue a little. I am racing Sunday so that will be plenty of fodder for the blogosphere. Between work, youth football, training, and day-to-day life time is short these days. Hopefully I free up or just say eff it to check in here more...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Finally getting a chance to give my recap of this past weekend. A lot of the details have been or will be covered here,
here, here, and of course here so I won't rehash all that. I will say that I'm pleased that my reverse psychology trick on mother nature worked and she pulled a "I'll show you" by providing picture perfect weather for the duration of the race. Everything leading up to the race however was what made the event most interesting.

Sort of going with the punch-line first approach, I'm really damn pleased with how I rode. I got in 7 laps. I rode nearly all of the deep mud sections on 6 of the 7 laps. My 4 laps in the light were I think all sub 50 or right at it and my 3 at night were all in the 54-55 range. 5 minutes seems like a predictable level of slow down when you can't see a whole lot, you're tired, and they gave you a warning about black bears during the rider meeting. Speaking of tired, I am almost certain I did not sleep at all from about 6 a.m. Saturday when the sun came up until 8 p.m. Sunday when I packed it in. I had a longish break Saturday from about 10ish to 2ish, but that was largely taken up with eating, cleaning, lubing, and trying to figure out what Art was going to do after breaking both of his bikes. That was a funny exchange at about 1 in the morning:

Art (outside my tent): Rich, we have a problem. I broke my other bike.
Me (trying to sleep and failing): What?! What happened?
Art: I snapped the seat post collar (he may have said seatpost bolt).
Me: Go get one from the Red Jersey tent
Art: Tried, they don't have one.
Me: Well you've only done 3 laps and we need to get your ass around the course somehow. Go get Brad's backup bike off the car.
(It must be noted here that Brad's backup bike is a 10-12 year old Kona that was too small for Brad and Brad is smaller than Art. It was also brought only with the intention of stealing parts off it if needed.)
Art: What? What kind of pedals does he have on it.
Me: It doesn't matter, I have a pedal wrench out there.

So to sum up, Art came back in a pinch looking for someone to ride for him and I basically told him to get his ass on the crappy bike and like it. Fortunately he only had to do one lap on it and later used Scott's bike and all was well.

Other incidents/observations/moments worth mentioning:
- My bike kicked ass. Hardtail 29er was perfect for that course and the thing was solid. Every time I was churning through the foot of peanut buttery mud I was praying that nothing snapped, but she held up. A nice coat of Pedro's Syn-Lube before each lap and I was rocking. 1 dropped chain and zero mechanicals for me... I'll take it.

- G's Dad was a cool guy. Seemed to be a man of few words. Apparently he and G balance each other out :)

- I'm running on leg one and I come up next to Colin. He first asks me why I'm behind him if I'm the runner. He then informs me that he thinks he's bonking already.

- Mechanical failure of the race goes to the guy who's front wheel completely failed on the steep part of the plunge at 3 a.m. I had moved aside to let him fly through and the thing just went with a huge bang. I look over to see his wheel folded in half with him supermaning into the woods. I checked if he was ok and then headed down the rest of the hill. At the bottom some guy who had walked down says to me "Man, you just had to pass him, you didn't have to shoot him". I almost wet myself laughing.

- The bag-piper at sunrise was cool shit. I was getting onto the last section of single-track when I first heard it. I was already in a better mood because I could see the trail again mostly and then I got to listen to him the rest of the way down.

- The team was awesome. We were in a tight race for the 6-9 spots in 4-man sport for the whole event. We finally settled in 8th with 26 laps of not the fastest course in the world. Can't complain.

Ok, so I could go on forever with tidbits from the weekend, but let's just say it again that it was crazy damn fun. Now on to cross season...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Apology to 24 HOGG riders

To all 24 Hours of Great Glen Riders,

In advance of the aniticipated weather and course conditions at this years race, I would like to apologize for inflicting this punishment on you. You see I have a long and storied history of epic race conditions. My palmares in this arena range from multiple editions of RTB in a hurricane, to some of the worst conditions ever for the Mt. Washington hillclimb. The reason I own a 10x10 canopy was the acceptance of the fact that the epic conditions follow me, particularly when I plan on event well in advance. Keep your chins up... maybe I'll let you cut me in line at the bike wash as retribution.

The guy who wishes he practiced more at a nice indoor sport like basketball

Friday, August 01, 2008

Solving your problems

So if you're here, there's an above average chance that you own a bike. If you're like about every biker I've met, you own multiple bikes. If you're one of the cool kids, one of those bikes is a mountain bike. Now if you own a mountain bike, there's a well above average chance that at least once in your illustrious career, you've crashed your wheel into a rock/tree/wall/root way harder than you wanted to. Maybe at the time you had your nice wheels on so that made you mad. Maybe you didn't have your nice wheels on, but you were still pretty mad anyways. Maybe this incident left you wishing you had a good sturdy set of wheels to use as spares or to replace the one you just busted. Well here's where I come dancing into your life with the solution . You're welcome. I take cash, checks, or paypal.