Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Driving Lessons

I had a gigantic rant being scripted in my head on the drive in today, but I think I've calmed down a little. Lets keep it short and say that I am convinced that passive and uncomfortable drivers have got to be the source of the vast majority of traffic problems. If the big wide road with all those fast moving cars scares you, stay off of it. If you think you're proving something by using it despite your white-knuckled ineptitude, at least have some courtesy and stay in the right lane.

Oh, and I could no longer ignore the feeling that I was missing out on some worldwide party that all my friends were at so I got on Facebook this week. Feel free to find me there and say hi, but my guess is that after the initial fascination period, I'll update that about as often as I update this.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

All the best to everyone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Season of Suck is Over

I pulled the plug weeks (months even) ago so attending the Ice Weasels race was purely about Colin and Thom being good guys and all the nonsense that ensues on Nationals weekend at non-Nationals races. Enter the ridiculous outfit displayed in Saturday's post. The schedule only allowed for me to take a beating in the 1/2/3 race so I figured I'd at least try to make Colin laugh so hard that he ate it on a snowy corner while he lapped me. Oh, and did I mention I had a playing card taped to my fork so I had motor noises? Appropriately, my highlights from the race were not so much about racing: 2 cupcake feeds, some girl at the top of the runup saying "Oh, here comes Speedo", Bauer stuffing a dollar bill in the back of my shorts... you know... the good stuff. I put in a token effort each time down the start straight and even bothered to pass a guy on the final lap along there. I had enough fun that it didn't feel like it was even close to an hour. Thanks to the IBC crew for putting this one on.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ice Weasels

As expected, the 1/2/3 field at Ice Weasels had a party at the back... full report tomorrow:

photo courtesy of Doublehop

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Here's hoping

I just watched the video of the Nats course preview over at CX Mag. All I can say is that I hope the course sucks way way less than it looks from the video. I can't wait for the hard hitting review from Solo and G. Don't have to worry about either of them holding back if it's a piece of crap.

Father knows best?

I've been trying to coach my oldest a bit to improve his hitting for baseball. He's a good hitter at the level he's playing at, but he's just got too much going on in his swing for it to work against good pitching. He basically looks like Gary Sheffield at the plate right now. I've been trying to get him to quiet everything down and only make the motions he needs to. Every time I give him advice, I get the classic eye roll and associated "Dad you're a pain in the ass" look.

Last night at the baseball clinic one of the coaches was working with him on his swing while hitting off a tee. Afterwards I asked him if the coach told him anything helpful. He proceeded to demonstrate how the guy taught him to just slide his foot rather than pick it up and take a big step so that he stayed on balance and what to do with his head and shoulders to keep them on the ball. Sure sounded an awful lot like what I had been telling him... I guess coach isn't a pain in the ass. Then again coach isn't going to tell him to pick up his laundry and brush his teeth.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Credit for the Good Guys

Forgot to post up my justification why the Crank Brothers folks deserve some of your hard earned cycling dollars... well some of us earn it... others just sell t-shirts.

I've been an Eggbeaters guy for a few years now. I never could get Shimano pedals to a tension I liked. I was either stuck in them or popping out. Not a good recipe when you're a hack mountain biker and supposed cross racer. So I tried Eggbeaters... and I was hooked. Fast forward 2.5 cross seasons, 2 editions of 24 Hours of Great Glen (one in a major mud slog), and 3 full seasons of mountain biking. Sadly my precious pedals had loosened up to the point that I was popping out of them a lot. I figured there was no way they were still warranteed, but figured maybe the CB dudes would want to see how they wore out... so I dropped them a line. I got the pretty standard "Send them in and we'll evaluate." Maybe 2 weeks later I get an email saying they had checked them out and they need new springs and a rebuild kit for the seals and bearings. Cost to me: $20. For both I asked? Yes, for both. So about 10 days later I got back a like-new set of pedals with new springs, bearings, seals, grease, and nice and shiny for $20. Those parts wearing out: unfortunate. Crank Bros hooking me up: frickin awesome.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hello, INS... there's this Candian kid I'd like you to look into

Declaring myself healed from my recent calf woes, I decided it was ok to hit the double at Sterling this weekend. I'll cut to the chase and say that the head start they gave this kid was just enough to allow him to (barely) lap me both days thus ending my race (probably mercifully) a lap early. Overall I felt like I rode my bike well, but maybe that's because it's easier to corner at low speeds. I simply just have no power or fitness right now and that's a bad combination. I've also discovered (or more like it was pointed out to me) that I need to take a couple links out of my chain to keep it from bouncing off the way it seems to every race. Ah well... both courses were super fun and you can't beat the Sterling venue. To add to the glory of the weekend, my oldest made a full lap of the course with me in between races. It's fun to see youthful recklessness on display even in a kid who's pretty conservative. He never thought twice about ripping down the off-camber into the stairs full gas with no brakes. His racing age is 10 next year... maybe there's a cub juniors race upcoming...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Long freaking day

Oldest was picked up from school yesterday with a fever of 103.5. Today he got to the point that he was crying from the pain in his right side. After 5 hours in the ER tonight, diagnosis: pneumonia. Let's hope the script we got does quick work on this bugger...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Knock on something...

I'm on day 5 of the comeback plan and all signs are good. Today was the real test since I went for a short run which was the source of the problem originally. The 3 hours of mountain biking over the weekend were a good test too. If I can prevent myself from doing anything stupid, Sterling should be a go. Yay. Oh, and if I'm about to get lapped by anyone, throw some tacks in front of me so I can claim mechanical...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sports Parenting

Since I don't ride my bike right now, but parenting never takes a break, lets visit that topic for a second. More and more all the time I'm finding out how hard it is to strike a balance on how hard to push the boys on certain things. Most of our kids activities are sports-related so let's go with that. On the one hand, I refuse to be the beauty pagent mom. I said this to my wife the other day and she got it immediately. There's some useless TV show on MTV or some other crap channel about people dressing their 3 year olds up like little toy dolls and parading them around the country to beauty pagents. These people are dumping 10's of thousands of dollars on coaches and outfits and makeup and all this other bullshit for a 3 year old who is crying that they don't want to do it and doesn't have 2 minutes to sit and play with a ball. If I ever become that parent, shoot me. On the other end of the spectrum you've got the "obesity epidemic" and the generation of professional video game players. Now I remember being a Super Mario shark at one point in my life, but it was typically to unwind from the 3 hours of pond skating. If I ever give in to my boys' preference for watching TV and playing Wii, shoot me for that too. But in between those two is a pretty big frickin range. Do I bring my kid to the AAU tryout because he's got genuine talent even though he says he's not sure if he wants to? Do I let them hone their NHL 2K10 skills for a couple months since they just came off 3 months of football? I'm not sure that I have or will ever have the perfect answer. Maybe I hire the professional beauty coach and tell them they're fired the first time my kid cries. Who knows... it's as much about creating opportunities and preventing the "Man, I wish I had..." as it is letting them be kids and just grow up when it's time to grow up and not when I say they should. Remind me why I signed up for this gig?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

CX Nats Bike Transport

If you're heading to Nationals this year and want to take advantage of a sweet hookup on getting your bike there, go to this link. I don't know what airline fees are these days, but what I do know is that Ron's not going to unpack your bike to make sure it's not a bomb, slam everything back into the case wrong, and then jump on the box to close it. Having your bike show up at the race venue and then back near your house afterwards is pro. And you want to be pro like this guy. Admit it... you do.

If you don't know how to get in touch with Ron let me know and I can hook you up with the digits...

Friday, November 06, 2009

When Cross Seasons Go Bad

I went into this cross season with high expectations. Really high. Maybe too high. I had been pretty focused for over a year and had seen reasonable results last season. I did the 4 a.m.'s that I had to do while I finished up school just to get any training in. I did some races on the roads and did ok... even brought home a few bucks and a beer t-shirt in primes. I hit it HARD at Great Glen and that went far better than ok. I took a break to recover and then started to ramp it up again. And then it was time to race. My master plan was working beautifully. And then it wasn't...

First I sucked, but I figured I was still a little dead from GG.
Then I sucked again, but I was doing it on 3 hours sleep so it was my own fault.
Then it started to get hard to get in workouts.
Then I drove really far to suck. And crash. And suck again (fortunately no link to that DNF).
Then it was still hard to do workouts and my motivation to get up at 4 a.m. had been used up.
Then I finally thought I had my shit together and my bike decided it didn't.
And then I basically said eff it and gave up the ghost on attempting to train.
So then I went and played in the mud and didn't care how it went.
And then I hurt myself.
And here we are.

Back in the beginning I cared a lot and I was really irritated that it wasn't going well. I think the most irritating part was that after the first two races, I didn't have a traceable reason for why it was quite as bad as it was. Guys I've competed with in the past, even this year, were kicking the crap out of me. My workouts were off, but not that far off. Unfortunately I also started to notice the motivation to train going downhill. Most times I should have gotten up early to ride, I just opted for the snooze. Hit the trainer late after football practice... no thanks. So by the time Providence rolled around, I really had it in my head that that would be the last straw. I'd either kill it and get my arse in gear or it would suck and I'd just pull the plug to avoid making me hate my bike. We know by now what the outcome was.

So am I bitter/disappointed/angry/happy? I dunno. Call it accepting. I chose to just give it up for this season rather than fight a battle the whole time with wanting to do well, but not getting there for a lot of reasons. I could have chosen to get up at 4 every day... it just wasn't in me. I'm still registered for Sterling and I'll still go even if it's just to shoot the shit on the line and tell jokes at the back of the pack. This of course assumes I get my calf figured out which isn't proving to be so easy. I may also hit up a small race or two if I've got nothing going on and it's not a miserable day. As far as working for results though, I think I'll just save that for spring.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Things I shouldn't have done

Rewind to last Sunday... I went out for what was supposed to be an hour run with my neighbor. In a random coincidence, the guy who moved in next to me about 6 years ago also went to a division 3 college, ran track and cross country, did most of the same track events as me, and had similar PR's to mine. It works out great when the two of us decide not to be fat and lazy and go out for a run. Anywho... we head out and after about 10 minutes my left calf starts to feel kinda tight for no reason. A few mintes later I stopped to stretch it. A few minutes after that, it's getting so tight that I have to stop. I had to turn around and walk back to the car the way we came, sort of limping the whole way. The next couple days were miserable. My left calf was really tight and I could feel an area that felt like it was all twisted up. I took it easy all week and got well hydrated. Friday it felt good enough to try and play hockey. Skating isn't really calf intensive, but I was able to go full speed and forget all about it. I declared myself healed.

Yesterday, the running club put on a great little event called Busa's Bushwhack. It's a "tribute" event to a guy in our club who's famous, at least in the odd circle of trail running. He turned 80 on Saturday. He still does random insane crap like 50 mile trail races. He's a machine and super nice guy. I volunteered to help out and, since I had declared myself healed, I figured I could run the short version of the race. I spent 90 minutes on parking duty beforehand which was insanity because we had a record crowd that strained the school we were at. As I was flying around trying to find places to put cars, I could feel that the calf maybe wasn't better after all and I was questioning whether I should run. But I've been running for like 22 years or something... this is second nature to me... what could possibly go wrong? Now if you jumped ahead and looked at the results back when you clicked that linky thing, you may have noticed that I finished 4th. What? Go wrong you say? Well did you ever hear the term "Winning ugly"? Yah, it was kinda like that. Within the 1st quarter mile I was sure I should stop because my calf told me to. But who am I to listen to one lowly muscle even if it is a sort of important one? I kept going and there was something about the uneven nature of the trails that seemed to take the strain off a little. Once I got really warm, it sort of felt mostly good so of course that meant I could speed up. Because if the pain goes away once you warm up that means it's fine right? Well, skipping the blow-by-blow, I pulled of a big negative split (first mile was 7:30, pace for race was 7:02) and finished very respectably. And then I started to cool down. And then my calf got back at me for not listening. By last night, I was limping heavily. My left calf is so tight and inflamed that if you try to poke it with your finger, it feels like poking a very firm grapefruit. And from a distance, it looks like someone implanted said grapefruit into my leg giving the impression that I'm quite jacked which isn't a bad thing except for the excruciating pain that seems to be going along with it.

So I'm a moron. I feel like a weekend warrior which I hate because it implies that I suck and I just convince myself once a week that I don't before remembering the next day that I do. Not quite sure how long this gift is going to keep on giving, but there's a pretty good chance I won't be doing anything next weekend. Unless of course I convince myself that I can.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Anyone out there ever use a Thudbuster seatpost? Gimmic product or as good as claimed? There's loads of reviews on MTBR, but ones like the guy who claims he trashed his knees using this concern me. Didn't have my finger on the order button or anything, but looks intriguing enough to collect info.


I guess you could say I'm on a bike racing diet these days as in I do way less of it. Football and other factors have rendered training effectively non-existent and life in general means I'll be at least 3 weeks race free. I did go see the Leadville movie which convinced me that my name will be in the bucket when they do the lottery for next year. I left thinking "Now that's my kind of stupid." We'll see how that pans out.

Honestly, there's not a hell of a lot else going on. Wow I become a (more) boring person when I'm not active...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grand Master

Yes, I know, blatant ripoff of a post-style used by the one-geared-wonder, but whatever.

So on top of all the random crap I have listed over there -------------------------->, I've been known to play some cards. No, not like cleaning up on the WPT or anything. Actually it's mostly old-folks games like rummy and cribbage... Hey, I learned from my Gram... what's it to you? She'll gladly take your money if you want to challenge her. Anywho, every year we have a charity cribbage tournament at work. Buy in is $10 and all the money goes to charity. Winner gets nothing more than bragging rights and a big frickin target on them for next year. Well I'm proud to say I'm the new wearer of the target. That's right, I'm the cribbage grand master (like how I finally tied that back in?). At least I podiumed at something this fall...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yah, I "raced"

After an early morning youth football game/mudfest yesterday, I had to fly down to the MRC cross race since I had promised to be there to help however I could. Foolishly, I put a bike in the truck figuring that I'd jump in a race if I got there in time. Wouldn't you know it I was just in time to jump in the Master's race. Summary: Start which reflected my level of preparation for the race, had fun dodging the flying mud balls, won a couple races within the race, needed just one more lap to catch the fast-fading Gewilli, but ran out of runway. He was saved by the fact that I spotted him almost literally a half lap while I was napping early on. Best race within the race win: Guy I've been battling with lets me by on the downhill in the field so he can tuck in on the long straight into the wind. I tuck way down and drill it, peek back at the log and I've got 5 seconds. How's that draft treating you now buddy? Anywho... I was filthy when I finished and kept it upright the whole way... t'was a good day.

Saturday my best bud got married. He's a little OCD and his head didn't explode... t'was also a good day. That'll about do it for now. More riveting commentary later.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The yard sale continues

1+ year old Surly Cross-Check, 62cm. Many upgrades. $600 obo. If there's interest I can provide full details.

Hope to see lots of folks at Wrentham this week.

Monday, October 12, 2009


This site was long overdue for a redesign so here you have it. Links had to be updated/added/deleted and I needed to spice things up. Who better to go to for some spice than the fine folks over at Double Hop. Anyone who can make me almost look like a qualified bike racer twice in one season has clearly got some talent. Give them a visit and look for your own talent to shine through. More updates are pending so hopefully I'll get to them soon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

And that was my pit bike

Yesterday's picture was of the rear wheel from my pit bike, but more on that in a bit...

Despite nailing the registration hole shot, my sucktastic season to date and the inability to go to Glawstah meant that I was first guy called to the 4th row Saturday in Providence. I hit the start hard and got what I'll call an acceptable start especially for me. First lap was great... racing angry, banging elbows, blowing by 6 guys going up the stairs, fighting for every spot. I finally felt like I was in the race. Lap 2, more of the same... gauging where I was to the leaders, seeing that I was reeling in teammates, starting to settle in a bit. I figure I had moved up to about 30th or so and was still going in the right direction and then...

For anyone who knows what seems to be the typical Providence course, you ride a short section of pavement down by a pond, then take a right turn onto the grass/dirt to go up a short little hill and around a tree. As I hit the dirt and went to hit it up the hill, I was peddling air... dammit, chain off. But wait, I've got a chain guard and a third eye that's literally about 2mm away from the chain ring... how the falafel is my chain now under the third eye and sitting on the bottom bracket? Now before you jump to the obvious that the thing is at the wrong height, a number of bad experiences last year and some quality time with a mechanic have me 99.9% sure that it's in a safe spot to do what it does. Somehow though, I pulled a Houdini and dropped it down there. Of course that also means that I now have to kill the paint job on my frame while I twist the thing back out of the way to get the chain out. About 20-25 lost spots later, I have it back on, but now I'm basically asking to drop it again.

Coming up the road to see 3 to go, I had to decide if I wanted to roll the dice or grab the Surly out of the pits. The ANT is sooooooooooooo much better that I rolled right by pit 1 and tried to get some fire back. Of course this meant that about a minute later I dropped my chain again. Ok, to the pits it is. Not being pro, I'm in there fumbling bikes on and off the rack myself and dropping further back, basically putting myself out of any respectable contention and losing interest fast. But I soldiered on because it was a nice day and a nice course and maybe I could get a beer handup. About half a lap later on one of the many short steep uphills, I felt an unmistakeable pop from the rear end and looked down to see the rear wheel wobbling like parade watcher in Southie on St. Patty's day. Later I discovered that what I figured was an ordinary broken spoke was a broken hub (see yesterday's picture). Nice, my massive watts had pulled the damn thing apart. Did I mention I was about 30 seconds past pit 1 when this happened? Ok... any sense of motivation pretty much gone now... but hey, it will be fun to try and not get lapped.

I hacked around half a lap on wobble wheel and picked up the ANT again, figuring a chance of chain drops was at least less dangerous than a wheel which was coming apart. My lone goal now was to not get lapped (and maybe find that beer), but I was honestly hoping I didn't have to work too hard for it. Fast forward to the bell and they don't whistle me off so now it's just a parade. I made sure to wrap up DFL on the lead lap and then as I came onto the pavement I dropped down 2 or 3 gears and put in a all out sprint up the road like I was going for the win which garnered some sympathy cheers from the crowd at least. Did I mention I did have another chain drop in there somewhere? Yah, it was pretty much irrelevant and not unexpected.

So let's review... 3 dropped chains, one destroyed hub, 2 bike changes, zero beers. Yah, it was about as fun as it sounds. Got to hang for a while afterwards, chill with the guys, and heckle the fast people. It was a nice enough day to salvage some sense of fun...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

Drink the Kool-Aid

If you race cross, you must have tubulars. Don't ask questions, just believe it. Fortunately for you, I can help you out. You're welcome.

Sorry folks... should have drank it quicker.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Too many thoughts, too little time

Too much going on in my head right now to get it all down without taking a Gewilli-esque blog dump all over this place. Disney was awesome. Work is a mess. I'll skip that bike racer thing. Updates pending on my very stale other site that will involve terms like structural engineer and architect. I'll link up vaca pics when they are available. Back to the mess...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Remember that softball thing?

Last night we capped off what has to be the longest softball season ever conceived. We are now the B-division champs. Yay. Yours truly was 3 for 3 last night with one RBI (I think it was only 1). I still am not a softball/bat sports player, but it was pretty fun. It also gave me more motivation to work on that upper body strength thing I threw out a while back there. We'll just skip the status on how that's going...

And now that we're the champions, I'm going to Disney World! No really... in a comical bit of convenient timing, we're leaving later today for Disney. The kids have no idea they're going. We're even sending them to school for the morning to keep the secret rolling. Stay tuned to You Tube for surprised child reaction video...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Taking the suck show on the road

Yesterday I was in Vermont to race. I signed up for both the 1/2/3 Masters and the 3' figuring if I was going to drive 7 hours round trip I'd make it worthwhile. In the masters I didn't technically get lapped because I was never passed, but I did get whistled off with 1 to go because they didn't want to wait around for me and the leaders were only about 20-30 seconds back. Pretty lame that that counts as lapped. I made sure I'd suck real bad by going down on a pile of sharp rocks on a hard left-hander at the bottom of a high-speed hill. I now have a hole in my hip. I lined up for the 3's immediately after the masters debacle. I'll sum it up by saying I took the gentelman's DNF by riding into the pits with 2 to go and getting out of the way of the guys who hadn't lost the desire to race.

Right now, I am simply just not good.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In case you were wondering

You cannot miss most of your intense workouts over the course of the past month and actually do well in a cross race. Lets hope a couple days of opening things up this week make this Saturday suck less... I'm somewhat doubtful.

Monday, September 21, 2009

For the sake of posting

Not a whole lot going on, but I figured I'd keep you all from thinking/hoping I'd given up on this. Didn't race this weekend... too many conflicts. Boys won by a ton on Sunday and the oldest had another 50 yard TD run. Left side of the line was like a brick wall with his brother over there :) Didn't get to ride Sunday because I was rebuilding the drivetrain on my road bike... somehow managed to shred/bend 3 teeth on the 53 on Sunday. Must be the massive wattage... yah, that's it. Vermont this coming weekend. Can't wait!!! I'll put some more rambling up here if I think of any before the weekend. Bet you're glad you stopped by.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The balance between aggressive and reckless

DNF'ing yesterday doesn't really bother me so much because I asked for it. What is grating on me a little though is the guy who yelled at me for being (what I thought was) aggressive. After a terrible start and a guy laying down in front of me, I was way back in the crowd and trying to fight forward. We hit the barriers on lap 1 in heavy traffic and the expected happened... there was a bottleneck. The way it was set up, it was a slow approach to the barriers, then 10 feet after there was a u-turn, then a very short flat before you had to go up a steep-ish little hill in the woods that was pretty loose and chewed up. It was the type of setup that made you think... do I do a quick remount and get going before the hill? Do I just run the whole thing? How does it change in traffic? A teammate had mentioned to me before the race that he just ran it in traffic because it was faster so that was my plan. So we get to the hill and I'm running and, predictably, someone who had tried to ride it failed and it caused a pileup.

When pileups like this happen, especially early in a race, I'll admit to being the jerk who tries to squeeze around the side, push by people, or just generally do whatever short of whacking someone with my bike to move forward and not just stand there waiting for people to get out of the way. If I bobbled in the middle of a hill or turn and 3 guys ran me over, I expect it and my fault for sucking. So when our well intentioned or poor planning racers stacked it up on the hill and I was already in full run, I first yelled "C'mon move!", then tried to squeeze around the left side and I'm sure I bumped at least one person. At this point some guy yells at me "Easy big man, you're going to kill someone!" And this is what's bugging me. IMHO, I wasn't throwing elbows or making lots of contact, but I was definitely being aggressive and, last time I checked, this was a race where the goal was to finish quickly and ahead of other people.

So who was right and who was wrong? There's probably no way to find out and maybe it doesn't matter. It still has me wondering though where the balance is... When you squeeze your way onto the front row between two guys who barely left enough space, you get a little heckling, but you're positioning yourself well. When you squeeze a guy in a corner with your elbows out you're racing Euro-style and protecting your position. So when you try to bull rush around the side of a pileup have you crossed the line and now you're a toolbag? Maybe it's a circumstance of the fact that when I do it, there's a whole shitload of arms, legs, and bike pushing through there. Sorry folks, can't apologize for the genetics. I dunno... maybe I did cross the line and bumped the guy with my bike. Seems to be price of admission to me seeing that I remember tire burn in some weird places from shouldered bikes being carried by the guys near me. I'm actually surprised at this point if I don't come home from a race with a reminder that I was there.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shouldn't have bothered

You can't go out for your best friend's bachelor party until 2:45 a.m., then get up at 6:15 to go coach youth football, and legitimately expect a bike race later in the day to go well. Terrible godawful start which just put me in a position for all sorts of BS starting with the guy who laid his bike down in front of me in turn 1. Rode off the course after 2.5 laps and went home where I probably should have been in the first place.

Maybe I'll get my shit together before driving 4 hours to Vermont.

Oh, and nice work by RMM who killed it and took home second.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Todd is a Sadist

Todd: Ok guys and gals, we're going to do a 2 lap race.
note that a 2 lap race is short enough that you'll ride so hard you want to throw up

after 5 minute or so break

Todd: Ok, 2.5 lap race now kids

yes, 2.5 laps is still short enough to enter the self-hatred zone

after 5 minute or so break

Todd: Ok, 1 lap race now... 1 lap folks

Yah, I'm sure I can hang with Manny Goguen... that's a good plan... oh wait, I don't feel so good

after 5 minute or so break

Todd: Ok, 2 laps everybody...

You get the picture...

And yes, it was really damn fun.

Monday, September 07, 2009

He could... Go... All... The... Way...

My boys make me proud. Saturday's opener was a good solid beating put on by the Hudson Junior Mitey Mites Team 1 (yes, we have almost 40 7 and 8 year olds who play). Here's a link to some vids including my oldest breaking one for 40+ yards. I'll tell ya though, being on the sidelines is stressful... going to have to work on that.

And yes, I'm filling the racing void with kid stories right now. Starting Wednesday with the MRC Training Series it's on. Can't wait! See you there.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Oh yah, it's football season

With apologies for crappy cell phone pic...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Talent Skips a Generation

Alternate title: To Be Young and Fearless

Friday, August 28, 2009

Someone is getting old

And it's not just me. Today my middle boy turns 7. At some point it appears that I became a full-fledged grownup with an 8, 7, and 4 year old. The time has truly flown by. Birthday boy really does make me proud (as they all do)... kid has a heart of gold and is a total prankster all at the same time. He's also about the most photogenic person I've ever met... period. Our prediction is that he'll be that guy who somehow convinces the ladies to ask him out before they know what hit them. The other day he told me he's going to Boston College some day to play basketball... I told him I'd be deliriously happy if he did and make sure to get me tickets. Happy birthday kid!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Insert Cross Race Report Here

I think I was supposed to have contributed to the blogosphere overload last night as the cross season got up and running again. Unfortunately the efforts of that first race coupled with lots and lots of time spent wrangling some energetic children this weekend meant I was good for nothing other than watching the track and field worlds and drinking a glass of wine.

So the ultra-short review: Eh. I expected and hoped for more and I've found myself trying to decide how much of my disappointment to tone down with the reality that this is not a good course for me and I've done next to nothing in terms of riding in 2 weeks. I think it's that I've reached the point where I've worked hard enough that I just expect more. Got a horrendously non-aggressive start so I was in the hole from the first turn. I ended up beating all but two of the guys I could see, but there were too many that were way out of sight by the end of lap 1. Pretty sure the paper results said I was down 3 minutes to the winner in 11th (out of 25ish). The low point was planting myself into the ground about 45 seconds before the finish because I basically pulled my front wheel out from under myself. Figures I landed right on the elbow and it swelled back up like crazy. Just a new bruise on some not-quite-healed tissue, but enough to be uncomfortable. Still waiting for the full results and the full on Reuter analysis before I make a final judgement, but even without that I can't say I'm thrilled. Oh well, at least I know where I am and how far that puts me from where I want to be.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Proper GG Report

This won't be the ultra long version because if I got going on the what did I wear and when did I take a dump version of the report, we'd be here all day. Instead you get the mid length and fragmented version of the report. Obviously, it's taken me almost two weeks to do this so the super long one never even would have been done. Saddle up...

The race sort of snuck up on both of us. 10 days out I realized it was close. Monday of that week when I emailed Brad about meeting at my house, he said "That's this week?!" or something to that effect. Fortunately we both got our heads in the game, loaded up the truckster, and headed up North. Two funny things from the way up: 1) We saw the biggest moose I've seen in person up along route 16. You knew there was something because there were random cars stopped randomly at random spot on the side of the road. After that, every time we saw a parked car one of us mumbled "Moose" under our breath. Hey, it was funny then. 2) We hit a bit of rain on the last 10 miles into Great Glen and there was a motorcycle in front of us. At first we're like "Sucks to be them." Then when it started to pour we're like "Really sucks to be them, man that chick on the back looks miserable". Then when they got behind a dump truck and had the pouring rain plus the truck spray we just laughed at them. Hey, I find humor in my own misery too.

So when we arrived, Senor Bauer and Pre had scoped out the primo camping spot and we got about setting up the MRC city for the weekend. Grabbed some grub and more firewood in town, drank beers by the fire, called Colin to find out he was thrilled to be in traffic, and then hit the sleeping bags for that last dose of sleep.

Race Day(s):
Race morning was a trip to DnD, scarfing down loads of fat-laden food, riders meeting, and nerves. Did I bring everything? Too late if I didn't. Am I going to self destruct? Hope not. Is Brad going to self destruct and I'll be doing the last 6 hours solo? Man I really hope not. Will I get lucky and have zero mechanicals for the second straight year? That would be super, but I won't hold my breath.

The plan going in was we'd do doubles till the real dark hours, bang out a three pack each so we could sleep for a few minutes, then switch to singles when we were good and wasted at the end. I got the run leg (of course) and set out to be as chill as I could for the first two. Chill+Adreneline of course equals sub 50's (I'll spoil the surprise, I wasn't dropping sub 40's like some guys) and the race was on. I didn't even bother checking the real time results (way cool timing system for bike nerds by the way) for a while because too many things were going to happen, but I was very aware of the fact that through the first 6 or 8 laps we were in a near dead heat with the MRC 4-man team. I thought to myself at one point "If this lasts until midnight or so, we're in trouble because then we're going to start thinking WE MUST BEAT THEM." Fortunately, the boys were riding strong enough that they slowly began to gap us just in time to save us from ourselves.

I checked the results several hours in and found that we were in a fairly tight battle for the podium... sweet! There was even a rumor that we had snuck into first at one point, but it must have been brief because I never saw it. Somehow by the next time I checked after dark the teams in the top 3 had gotten all twisted around, but we were still one of them. The ultimate winners of the 2 man seemingly came out of nowhere, but the results show them as just being consistent the whole time and slowing down very little to not at all at night. By the middle of the night we seemed to be locked in a battle with the Springs for #2 and with the arrival of morning, we seemed to be pulling away... or so we thought. Fast forward to the end of lap 24. Going into it our lead had shrunk to 7 minutes. Brad then proceeded to break his chain and he came into the tent with one of his slower laps asking me "Where are they?" I look up and they are standing right behind him doing the handoff thing... oh crap... gotta go. So now I'm on course for lucky number 13, in a dead tie, and needing to do something special... oh goody. The other variable is that I knew I was riding against "Junior", but I had failed to check whether it was Junior or Senior that had been turning the faster of the laps for them. Heading up through the blueberry patch I started to open a gap and then by the turnaround at the very top by the house, I had maybe 10-15 seconds and the kid was suffering. I kept hammering and looking back regularly waiting to see if I was going to get smoked on the technical stuff, but I never saw him again. Turns out he had been flying early in the race, but the distance took its toll on him. I was ultimately able to send Brad out with a 7 minute gap and crossed my fingers that his Macivered chain held (it did). I got some time to chat with the Springs near the end there and they were really good people. The kid is only 16 so he's going to be one to watch out for in the coming years.

The aftermath:
We had the sweet hookup of a cabin to crash at Sunday night so we broke camp, grabbed some food, got a hot shower, and were in bed by 7. We slept for 13 hours and then got to enjoy a late Monday morning drive home rather than fighting the traffic Sunday while falling asleep.

Other thoughts:
Things went way better than all logic would tell you they should have. We only had one of the top 20 fastest laps in the 2 man division, yet finished second. Brad's average lap time was 58:19 with a low of 46:59 and a high of 1:16. My average was 53:20 with a low of 48:04 and a high of 1:03. Hooray for consistency.

With all due respect to those who put on this unbelievable event, the prize structure is a joke. First place in the 2-man got $250. For second place we each got a medal and the team got one trophy. We had to flip a damn coin to decide who kept the trophy. Clearly I'm not in this for the money or I'd be a poor man. The all-or-nothing payouts though are a bit overboard. Someone was even saying to me, if nothing else, take some of the 50 pairs of socks they raffled off and give them to the 2nd and 3rd place teams. I go through lots of socks... anyways, now I sound like I'm bitching...

Would I do GG again... definitely. Would I do 2-man again... maybe. I say maybe partially because it was just hard, plain and simple. I also say it because there's no way we get that lucky/coordinated again so who even knows what could go wrong. I also told several people during this year's glorious weather that if it ever was going to rain for the duration at GG, I'd just let them keep my entry fee and stay home. That would suck mightily if it rained even a large portion of the time.

Ok... this is probably making you very happy I didn't try for the longer version. I'll stop now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The hookup, take 3

First off: I have a proper GG report in draft right now, but the general level of mayhem has kept me from finishing yet. Maybe tonight...

We had a momentus day at the Tall Guy household yesterday as the youngest (4) buzzed the neighborhood on 2 wheels solo with Dad just standing back and watching. I think the key ingredient was the knee pads I finally found for him to wear... nothing like a little plastic confidence. Being a bright kid and remembering the deal all the boys got from their overly generous dad, he made sure he got his:

Fortunately, I have made it clear that the first one is on me and future bikes will be at least half their own problem. And the half is only if I haven't already spent that money on a bike for myself :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

24 HOGG Report

If drinking 4 gallons of liquid, using half a jar of Eurostyle, and sleeping 1 hour out of 36 is your idea of fun then you may have been at the 24 Hours of Great Glen. Really short race report: 26 laps total, second place men's pair for me and Bad Brad. Except for a broken chain that he fixed in record time, basically everything went right. With 2 laps to go we were in a dead tie with the third place team and managed to ride a strong final 2 to bring it home. We each slept about 12 hours last night. One of the best lines said during the race: "I just rode the plunge like it was my job."

More later...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Adding to my list of never-have-I-evers and being a tough guy vicariously through my kids, I've gotten pulled in to help coach 7&8 year old football. I 58 sweep on 2... ready... break!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vacation report

It's a pretty successful vacation when you can bring both your road and mountain bikes and log a combined 5 hours on them in 3 days all while entertaining the kiddies and not using up too many marital points. In case anyone's wondering, the hills in the greater Conway area aren't getting any smaller. The whole thing was nearly a bust when the rain started to fall Sunday morning while I was getting dressed, but I successfully threw myself out into the raindrops for 3 hours of road-grit covered fun.

Tuesday I found myself at Great Glen Trails with a permission slip to jump into the Tuesday night series that they put on. Pretty sweet deal if you're ever in the area. 5 miles TT style for $12, just show and go. Course is typical Great Glen... 75% twisty and hilly fire roads interspersed with legit single-track. Perfect for big ringing around to the point of wanting to vomit and then having to handle your bike while cross eyed... woo hoo. I didn't have time to pre-ride the loop so I just went in blind and only lightly warmed up and I'm sure that cost me a small amount of time. Still managed second place for sport last night and second fastest sport time of the series this year. No reason to complain at all. Oh, and to the dirt crowd, keep an eye on the name Sam Anderson... according to results the kid is 18 and put 4 minutes into me last night. Now I know I'm nothing special as far as benchmarks go, but I also have a good sense of where one could have gained time on that course and 4 minutes is beyond my comprehension.

Next up... the big one

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is gonna hurt

What better way to train for my aspirations to race 1 hour CX races than to do back to back 45 minute CX races. This could leave a mark...

The bad news is that I've discovered I have to miss Gloucester this year...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Elbow update

This is giving more signs of being a bit of a slow recovery, but there's a chance that it may be the type of thing that just feels better one morning. I rode yesterday for the first time and any jarring from the road isn't feeling that good. Check in with the doctor tomorrow to make sure there's no signs of infection and then that worry should be over with. The fork isn't fixed yet which is no worry since I'll probably be at least another week before I can get back on the trails. I'm definitely going to be at a bike handling disadvantage going into GG, but that course isn't that technical anyways so it's all good.

In other news I'm very proud of the boys these days... they're all proving that true talent skips a generation. The oldest was named co-MVP of his baseball team and he was by far the youngest on the team. The middle one got his first chance to pitch in a game this week and lit it up with 2 K's and no runs allowed (at 6 years old). The youngest amazed family and neighbors by passing the official family "lose the training wheels test" at just over 4 years old. I'm already asking him if he's in for CX season. Yes I'm bragging... deal with it :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sometimes the luck runs out

Update: After being yelled at by one friend already, I'm adding a warning that there's a semi-gross picture further down this post. Maybe not mealtime reading...

I've noticed, and some guys I ride with have said the same thing, that there are an amazing number of times when a MTB crash results in nothing more than a funny story and some dirt to wash off. You can take a flaming endo down a hill into a rock garden and somehow land in between all the sharp ones. You can even launch yourself into the woods and have the trees cushion your fall instead of impaling you. As it turns out though, it is apparently just luck and sometimes that runs out. Before getting to the gory details, let's first visit the happier days of Domnarski Farm...

Looking at the pre-reg list on Friday I discovered that Mr. RMM who had bested me by one spot at Sterling CX last year had signed up for the cat 2 race... bonus, this could be as good a time as any to test my fitness and try for some revenge. He had been riding pretty well lately too so it was a good goal. At the same time, I needed to start packing in some mileage for Pats Peak and Great Glen so I made the decision to go early and ride the whole course before the race. When I got there, I found Matt (farm owner and race host/promoter) and asked him if the whole thing was marked because I wanted to pre-ride. He looked at me kinda funny and said "The big loop? You're going to be pretty tired." Hmmmm, was this the best plan? Shunning his warnings, I headed out which turned out to be a great decision. I discovered a few things: 1) The hole shot was basically irrelevant because the climbs were going to sort this mess out regardless, 2) There was going to be a complete cluster f about 400m in, 3) There were some swamps and mud pits late in the race that would probably come into play in a close race. I finished up the very casual ride-around in about 1:20 and the posted GPS map of the course said 1:11 so I figured I was doing ok. Off to sit around for about 90 minutes before race time.

Sitting around almost turned out to be my downfall. When I went to saddle back up and warm up my legs were like "Um, dude, we already worked today... F U". Fortunately 20 minutes or so of negotiating with them and we had an agreement to go again. Armed with my course knowledge I nailed the reverse hole shot and walked up the first kicker with everyone else, then got on to the climby climby thing. RMM took the opposite approach and got an ok start and then was a bit up the trail early on, but I caught back on with him on the single-track as we both hacked our way through it. Somewhere along the way he opened a sizeable gap and now I was just waiting for the late hills to bring back as many guys as I could. Out on the brutal climbs up the power lines I picked off several more by riding the first section and then quickly trudging the second and caught a brief glimpse of RMM coming back a little. I knew that once you got to the top of the power lines it was pretty much downhill and mud pits from there so I totally went for it and caught back on with him just after the giant swamp. Despite a good long stretch of the no brakes game on the fast fire-roads and some single-track, he was still there so this was going to come down to the finish. He edged in front somewhere in the mud puts and then I was sure we were winding up for the final downhill into the finish. I knew I could take that hill faster than he seemed willing to so I had clicked up to a big gear to get ready. Unfortunately, I forgot about that last mud pit... I rode into this giant mess horribly over-geared and he was able to ride right through so I was in chase mode again with little time left. We hit the top of the final descent and I got right back on, then tried to bomb around to the left. We were side by side when I realized that there was a giant wheel crushing rock on the far left side so I had to do a brief check-up just as he opened the sprint. Fresh off his Exeter finish, the sprint turned into no contest and I rolled in about 3 seconds back. Turned out we were 2 and 3 in the 30-39 cat 2 and that got me $25 cash money... yay.

Now in contrast to that bit of fun and success, Pats Peak was just plain old bad from start to finish. I targeted getting there around 10 for a noon start and ended up stuck behind some blue hairs so I got there at 10:15, 10 minutes before the riders meeting. They then announced that they didn't want us setting up bottles or feeds near the finish tent unless we had paid for a tech site (WTF?). Fortunately, mountain bikers are good people and I got 3 offers to bum some tent space from those who had paid. I even tried to pay the people I hooked up with and just got "No worries, it's all good." This would be the end of goodness for the day.

Pats Peak is another course where how you handle the climbs 4 or 5 hours into the race matters a hell of a lot more than being out in front for lap one so I put in a nice little jog to the bike and just was ready for some bottleneck induced hike-a-bike on the first lap. Not unexpectedly, sections of the course were pretty damn wet and the let-me-make-this-trail-wider-to-find-a-dry-line game had already started on lap one. Fortunately, the really hard parts of the climbs were bone dry so that was not a forced hike last last year's GG. I was riding pretty well up through the first summit and as I started the downhill I could tell something wasn't right. Every time I hit a rock/bump/ditch something would just clunk and bang and I almost immediately figured out it was the fork. I had ridden the day before and had a little tiny bit of this, but I thought I was just running the tires too low and was clanging the rims on the roots. Now it was obvious that suspension fork was not suspending. This made the single-track descent much more hair-raising and after coming through in about 35 minutes for lap one I had to run over to check fork air pressure. Negative pressure was down to like 50 so I pumped that back up and headed out again, hoping for the best. Being admitedly ignorant still on all the innards of suspension forks, I was guessing. Well it became quickly obvious that I was still hosed so I again set about picking my way through anything that was seven semi-technical. Down through the single-track downhill again and I knew I'd be visiting the mechanic and possibly going home. At one spot there was a decent sized hole with a hump after it and I totally botched it with my now effectively rigid fork. Over the bars I go and don't I find the sharp rock in the middle of the trail with my elbow. Hmmm, um, OUCH!!! Blood check... yup, we've got lots. Well folks, it's been fun. Rode it down and headed for the mechanic and first-aid. I think some small fragment of my brain was thinking of going back out if I could which is why I bothered with the mechanic.

The first-aid folks did a bit of cleanup, but were pretty certain stitches were in order and there was a concerning looking bubble in the middle of the bigger cut. Time to pack up and drive home to the hospital. Once I finally got through the totally back-asswards reg process in the ER I got to see the doctor. She checks out the damage and I tell her that the little bubble thing is a little concerning and she says "Oh, that's just a piece of your muscle... we'll put that back in where it belongs." She later recanted and said it was actually some of the fatty tissue that protects your elbow, but regardless, inside stuff was no longer inside. And you know what that means... picture time:

As it turns out, I upped the ante more by chipping the bone in my elbow which then pushed this injury into the category of "open fracture". About a liter and a half of saline to clean the mountain out of it, some IV antibiotics to deal with my insides being outside, and 7 stitches later I was sent on my way to drown my sorrows in beer and pizza. I think I'll be shopping for an elbow pad for Great Glen... maybe I'll hire my own medical crew too.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pats Peak Race Report

Pats Peak 6-hour by the numbers:

3+ hours of driving
Roughly 1:15 of "racing"
1 Reba fork in need of overhaul
7 stitches

Full report (as well as less suck-filled Domnarski Farm report tomorrow)

Monday, June 29, 2009


And BTW... if someone feels ambitious they can try and explain the concept of the All-Mountain mountain bike to me. As I browse the web dreaming of full-suspension goodness (maybe for X-mas dear if you're wondering), I find these peculiar creatures of the bike world. In an attempt to make a bike that's good for everything off-road, I can't help but wonder if what they've done is created a bike that's not particularly good at anything off-road. A bit too heavy for XC race and a bit too whimpy to be seriously dropped, maybe it's only intended for the not quite so daring weekend warrior who will never race. I guess that's _A_ market, still just seems a bit odd...

My body hates me

When you're in generally good overall shape, you feel like you can jump into any activity and be pretty much fine. When you're young, you can typically even get away with this. Well I think I must have somehow reached the age where this isn't possible because I feel like crap today. Saturday I participated in my yearly what-the-hell-I-shouldn't-be-able-to-do-this running event and tore it up with a 4:54 1600m on the track. I also drove about 210 miles on Saturday between that race and going down to work the club crit at the speedway. Sunday morning I rode about 2.5 hours in Nam with people better than me (oh wait, that's about everybody who owns a mountain bike). I then went home and spent way too long mowing my overly watered and healthy lawn. Sunday evening I had a softball game during which I had a picturesque slide into home while scoring from second and successfully tearing up most of my right shin and knee. This morning my shin stings, my wrist is very angry with me, and I generally feel like I let the kids beat me with hockey sticks (which they would enjoy greatly). I'm sure it will all wear off by lunchtime once I've been mentally flogged at work for a few hours...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tour de Mediocrity

I continued my campaign of non-descript road racing on Saturday at the Mystic Velo Crit down at Ninigret. The report will be about as exciting as my performance:

- That was the sketchiest field I have ever ridden a crit with. I had to yell out loud at one point "Smooth line through the turns guys... Jesus Christ!" It is mind-boggling that there wasn't a crash.

- They rang a $10 prime with 6 to go. With my history of results and the fact that we were bound to go down in a pile at any second I went for it and took it relatively easily.

- I went from having a good position for a finish sprint to having a terrible position in about 1 second. Such is racing I guess... especially when I'm doing it.

So on to guys who do not suck at racing their bikes, both Coach Guy and Nega-Coach Guy scored nice results. Yay for the guys who don't suck.

I'm making a semi-official almost-complete cutover to mountain biking from here out through December with a minor detour for some runnin'. Insert exploding hamstring here...

Friday, June 12, 2009


It's no secret that cyclists and runners are close descendants of the T-Rex in that they're all badass until someone asks them to do something strenuous with their arms at which point people might as well just start pointing and laughing. The newest roadie has referred to this in the past so yes, I'm just repeating/stealing a point. But that's not really the end of my point (is it ever?)... you see in the land of the stick armed wonders, I certainly rank well down the list. I'm not sure I've ever done more than 25 consecutive pushups. I know for a fact that I have never done 10 straight unassisted pullups. I'm 99% certain that I've never benchpressed my body weight (there may have been one day back when HGH was still cool). Well I think I've decided to try and at least move myself up the list of those with useless arms (c'mon, your armwarmers can only slide right off by thesemlves so many times before you get the hint). I have a new goal of being able to do twice my age in pushups and at least 20 pullups by 1 year from today. And yes sir, I realize this will be useful for little else other than being able to do pushups and pullups real well. Wish me luck...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Hey look, it's Frank

As I improve my fitness and racing skills, I find myself shoulder to shoulder with more guys I knew I couldn't hang with for even a lap a few years ago. It's pretty cool, but I sometimes catch myself having a very brief moment of WTF/star-struck/intimidation. Then I usually get over it and launch some foolish and poorly timed attack that's destined for failure :) Sunday I got to have a couple of those moments courtesy of Wells Ave where posers like me have the opportunity to give it their best against the guys who are actually good.

A relatively quiet Sunday on the home front meant that I could saddle up around 8 and ride on down to Newton for some good ole training race action. It's only about 1:15 to get there and that's if you're just sort of cruising along. I knew I'd be early, but I also knew I was starving so I'd need time to eat again (and again) when I got there. I couldn't tell during the ride down or the warmup how the race would feel... it alternated back and forth between thinking/hoping a brake was rubbing and feeling just fine. So we get to the line and Bill tries to explain to everyone that we're doing a points race instead just for kicks. He tries to explain the format about 4 times, but guys are still confused (even though it was pretty basic: 1 point for each lap's leader, 3 and 2 points every 5 laps, double points at half-way and the finish, most points wins) so we joke up front that once Spinelli rides off and laps us we'll figure it all out. We roll off and apparently guys got the point that it was ON basically for every lap because two Pedro's guys take off and we're doing about mach 2 after them (with your's truly valiantly leading the charge until I felt like throwing up). We made it maybe 5 laps into the race and I think we had already had a couple near car incidents and I was just begging for someone to sit up and slow down just a hair. Then maybe 6 or so in we come around the big sweeping turn to the home stretch and all hell breaks loose. There are two cars STOPPED in the middle of the road so the entire field scatters. Somehow everyone stays upright, we ride around the cars and find that there is an enormous farking turtle in the middle of the road. I think it was the next time through that they called off the points race and just made it a straight crit.

So after my lap 1 pull I just went to hide for a while and didn't do a hell of a lot. I actually felt like crap for about 18 laps and decided I needed to try a gel to see if that helped. Well I almost managed to get myself dropped by drifting back to eat it. I did latch back on and very shortly after started to feel ok (plus I think the pace had slowed a little) so then me and another guy did a little work to try and tow someone up to the front for a prime. It was a pretty half-hearted effort, but it was work and I was still feeling better. Fast forward to 13 to go and I decided I had been hanging dangerously close to the back for too long so I should move up. Along the backside I was just finding guys going forward and latching on, picking up a few spots at a time. We got to the finish stretch and there were two guys sort of just dangling out front trying to make up their minds. I had been following a couple wheels up the left side when they both tucked in and I figured F it, those guys could use some company. They clearly weren't very far up because I bridged in about half a lap and shortly after a couple more guys came up too. We never really did get organized and I never really did recover from the bridge so maybe 2/3 of a lap later the front guy pulls off, peeks back and sits up. I peek back too and there's the train with Spinelli right at the front... Wait a minute, what am I doing in front of him... ever... at all... unless he's lapping me. Oh wait, cool, I got a little itty bitty gap on a field with Justin in it... Sweet! So retreat the to pack, try to recover, and see what's left. Now I can't remember if it was around now or just before the ill-fated attack that I noticed one of the Fuji guys, I rode up next to him, and noticed it was Frankie Mac (unless Mark was in Maine AND at Wells or someone else looks quite a bit like Mark)... Yes this was my other holy crap moment... brief moment of "I'm clearly in the wrong race" followed up "Well, that's pretty cool". Anywho... 3 to go and our guy wants to get near the front again so he's calling out to us to get him there. We did what we could, but the pack wasn't exactly taking it easy so he had a little to do when we had to pull off (we being me, a cat 4, and a guy who's 50+ and has barely ridden in a month). Well I drifted back into the pack again and realized I had probably quit on him too early because I wasn't totally blown so I tried to start moving up again a little, but you know how well that works when you're right on the edge of done and there's 2 to go. The good news is I didn't go cross-eyed and crash myself or anyone else. The better news is I was able to get out of the saddle and weave through a few guys on my way forward in the finale. The mediocre news is I was going hard for maybe 20th place.

Computer thingy told me we were a spirited 27.5 mph for this little affair. Maxed out at 34 and change when I made my blistering move to close a whole 6 second gap ;) Really not a whole lot I can complain about. Oh... and I got to ride with some guys who are pretty good...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

You wanna play, you gotta pay

Spent the weekend in Toronto watching the Red Sox play 2 days worth of bad baseball and one day of good baseball. Sadly I got there Friday to discover that there was a downtown crit up the road that I could neither participate in nor spectate. Overall the weekend was fantastic and I'd gladly head back up there anytime... gotta bring the boys though if for no other reason than the visit mecca.

Unfortunately, since I spent the weekend goofing off and came home very late Sunday, I am now receiving a thorough all-around beating. Work, laundry, lawn care, bills... you name it, it's in my lap now. And this all leads to no training of any sort since Saturday with the outlook looking grim... may have to go back to the 4:30's (shudder)...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Can I get a WTF?

I got the rare chance to do a long-ish ride after work today. I headed out wearing a winter weight jersey, bib shorts, leg warmers, wool socks, full finger gloves, and a light winter hat to cover my ears. I probably should have also had a vest and shoe covers. Any yes, Monday is June 1.

The only consolation is that it was a pretty awesome ride despite the numbness...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's the O stand for? Oh my God it's early.

A combination of weather and little league schedules showed me that my only opportunity to ride today was on the gerbil wheel in the garage at 4:30 a.m. It sucked less than I feared, but I don't want to make a habit of it. The kicker will be when tonight's game is rained out. Ah well, that'd give me the chance to get my arse kicked in some video games by the little Wii hustlers that live with me. That's ok... I won't be traumatized by losing to them until it happens in a bike race/running race/basketball game/etc... hopefully I have a few more years before that happens.

Monday, May 25, 2009

If Rich doesn't blog, does anyone even notice?

Wow, how'd I go so long without posting... completely lost track. This odd thing called free time sort of snuck up on me and revealed all these wonderful things I can do like sleeping, playing with those short people who live in my house, and bringing my yard back up to acceptable community standards. It's actually been an awesomely productive and relaxing weekend (sort of). Kicked it off with the ride to and from work Friday, nice little early morning beat-down ride Saturday followed by a very full day of yard work, more yard work and some more riding Sunday, 9 holes of golf early today followed by a 2 hour + MTB ride and the cookout and beers start soon. You probably agree that it sounds awesome... go ahead, be jealous... it's ok ;) Hopefully everyone else is enjoying the hell out of themselves too.

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't send a giant thanks to all the vets and current service men and women. I could never do what they have done and words can't possibly say thank you properly, but I'll send it out anyways...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt

First off I want to issue a gigantic CONGRATULATIONS to my lovely wife who has completed her master's degree with her sanity (mostly) intact. In the past 5 years she gave birth (again), got three hyperactive little boys pointed in what seems like a good direction in life, worked full time, had fairly major knee surgery, kicked some pretty serious butt on the soccer field, completed a master's degree, and, amazingly, put up with me. I may even give her a break and not heckle her about watching reality TV for a while ;)

Now some of you (all 3 of you) may have noticed that I was strangely quiet about having completed grad school myself. I wouldn't say I'm superstitious per-se, but I definitely do try to follow a bit of the "don't count your chickens before they're hatched" mindset. One of my two professors literally waited until the very last second to turn in our grades to the registrar so I was left hanging for an extra 6 days to find out how I did in my final class. To be honest I was a tiny bit concerned because I hadn't done stellar on the midterm and the final just simply sucked... like 2.5 hours of pure suck. Turns out taking the day off from work to study must have paid off because it seems I did genuinely ok. So now, finally, as of 5 a.m. today I can breathe the big sigh of relief and say "I'M DONE!" Why don't we throw in a "WOO-HOO!" and a "YAH-BABY!" just for good measure. Calendar time, I was at this for 9.5 years. That included a 4 year hiatus and a couple of skipped semesters when we were elbows deep in newborn diapers. It's an incredible relief to be finished... and now I can wear the t-shirt :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sterling Stories

I've gone back and forth with myself repeatedly about how much of a writeup to do on my race and I finally decided the short version was for the best all around. We had a strong squad of 6 in the race, but there was some apparent mis-communication with regard to some plans that had been discussed for the race. The end result was me completely burying myself on lap 3, trying to sit in and recover on lap 4, trying an attack approaching the end of lap 4 and completely exploding, and ultimately coming in about a minute back of the pack. I've managed to continue my poor history at Sterling and I have to say that road racing so far this year has been very un-fun. But enough of that...

I got back to the school and changed up right away. I was already booked to drive follow for the 3/4's at 1:whenever, but then a driver no-showed so I got asked to do the 4/5 <35 also. It was a short race and the official was my best friend who randomly decided to become an official this year so it was all good. Two interesting stories from this race: 1) There were guys who literally had their numbers written down as being dropped before we even got up the hill to the official start of the race. I think that qualifies as a bad day. 2) We had fallen behind a little while working our way around dropped riders and came upon a crash out on the back streets. There were only 2 guys down I think, but one of them was laying in the gutter with a pile of shredded carbon next to him. He somehow had snapped his frame at the head tube on the top tube and on the downtube just up from the bottom bracket. And this was on a slight uphill. I have no freaking clue how.

Then it's on to 3/4 follow duties and I found out that I'd be driving around the same official who had earlier had to speak to be about a bit of a yellow-line infraction. It was a marginal situation where I had carried too much momentum into the section of rte 12 where the dotted white line (virtual yellow) shows up and comes into play and I passed a couple guys before squeezing in. He pulled up and reminded me and I apologized like a good cooperative racer. We had a laugh later and he told me he just wanted everyone to know he was paying attention. So remember, be kind to the officials because you may spend 2 hours in the car with them some day (or that same day). Ok, where was I... Oh yah... so the Pro's go off first, then the 3/4's, then the pro ladies. So we cruise around for a while and then we hear some radio chatter about the Pro's catching the women... they apparently make the pass ok and then we hear an update that there's a couple women up the road, then a small chase group, then the rest of the women are everywhere. So we go a bit more and see that we're going to catch the women's chase group, but there's a problem. By now, the women's chase is about 1:30 down to the break. We also have a group of about 10 up the road by about 1:30. So neutralizing either field basically decides that race for them. So the finger crossing begins that everyone will meet up on route 12 where there's tons of room to make a pass. Of course it doesn't happen that way. Thinking back now, the details are a little fuzzy, but I believe we managed to pass the chase group rather cleanly on the hill, but now the women's lead is in play. Sure enough, we start to catch them before we get to 12. We have also switched to leading the break because the gap was still growing. I still don't know how exactly it happened, but coming up the last narrow hill before you go down to 12, we catch the SRAM car that had been trailing the women's lead and some random car that had gotten on the course AND THEY STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! So we've got a charging pack behind my truck and we have to come to a dead stop. You can imagine the chaos that ensued, but fortunately I don't think anyone went down. At the same time, as much as it was an out of control situation, the racers didn't exactly handle it well either because 1) as the official reminded me, you are NEVER supposed to pass your lead vehicle unless told to, and 2) there were all kinds of obscenities flying from behind us from people evidently forgetting that the official for their race was sitting in the car. So the pack goes around us and the other cars, we get on the radio to give a big WTF to everyone who can hear, and we proceed on our way. But wait... it gets better. So now we hit 12 and the group has caught the two lead women. We are not yet back ahead of the group and are trailing them. So they take it upon themselves to swarm around the two women and their lead car, but just as their about the complete the pass they basically sit up. Now, the women's lead car is having to honk at them and basically let the ladies draft off the car. We go to the front and basically tell the guys that they're going to have to drive the pace for a while to get the hell out of the way or we're going to have to just simply pull them over and wait. FINALLY, the whole thing managed to sort itself out going up the hills the next time, but we had basically a full lap of total chaos until it did. It's hard to say that much could have been done differently other than just recognizing earlier that we were going to catch the support car when we did and just neutralizing the men until we hit a more open area. The break was teetering right on the edge of being out of reach so it was a tough call and they wouldn't have been happy, but they weren't happy riding into the back of my truck either so it was a no win. Regardless, I still contend that every racer should try driving for a road race some day. You learn and see a lot that I think makes you appreciate both the official's job and the race as a whole more.

Despite the chaos, I hope all who were there enjoyed. Don't know when I'm racing again... my training the past 3 weeks has been suspect with all the school stuff I had so I should probably get that back on track. I also need to cutover to the dirt at some point to get ready for Pat's Peak, Great Glen, and CX. We'll see...

Friday, May 08, 2009

Is it too early to start a CX discussion?


Now I'm not sure how many people out there have a first-hand perspective on this, but there's gotta be a few... Typically, which is the faster field: A-Masters or the Killer B's (2/3)? My gut feel is that the standard podium crew is faster in the Masters field than the 2/3 field, but the average pace of the field as a whole may be higher in the B's. I could be way off on this, it's always seemed however like Mark and crew have a legit shot at the front end of a pro race where I'm not so confident about Colin and friends (no offense intended man... I still can't carry your water bottles for you).


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Who knew spare time would be bad?

I'm sitting her in the library at school (hopefully) 3.5 hours away from the conclusion of my graduate academic career... and that's the problem. The way my final night lined up was that I had to give a presentation for my 5 p.m. class and then I have a final in my 7:30 class. This final is nearly guaranteed to be a beatdown to the point that I took today off from work to study. So by the time I got here for the presentation, I was at mental saturation anyways and I just wanted this night to be over. Well there were only 2 groups due to give 15-20 minute presentations in the early class so we finished before 6. That gave me another 1.5 hours I hadn't planned on having to stew about this final. And you know how it goes when you've crammed for something... there's a breaking point where you start confusing yourself or questioning what you know, but regardless, you're not gaining anything. And just throwing in the towel, closing the books, and going to the library to blog doesn't make the final start (or end) any sooner...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Blue Hills Race Report

This is about all I've got for you kids (scale of plot withheld to protect the untalented). Prizes for anyone who can do a witty job of captioning/adding commentary.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bell Lap

One week to go in my academic career... but who's counting?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Totally the right decision

Having 3 hours done before your race would have even started = good
Already being home when that 3 hours is over = better
Making it to the baseball field to see your son's game = best

Friday, April 24, 2009

Knowing your limits

When your a motivated and slightly neurotic type-A person, the hardest thing in the world to do is knowing when to say when. You go go go go go go go and everything goes well enough that it doesn't all fall apart, but the trick is to recognize that the next go could force it to do so. That happened tonight. I've truly hit the perfect storm of commitments right now and it dawned on me that going to Turtle Pond tomorrow would have been the last straw. After 9 years I really don't need to jeopardize the last 2 weeks of grad school and/or blow the first really big opportunity I've gotten at work. I also don't need to fall asleep and drive myself into a guardrail on the way home from Loudon. I'll hit the early Saturday morning beatdown ride instead. It'll be more miles, more fun, and I can ride there in 20 minutes... call it a belated earth day contribution. Even though I'm out $30 or whatever it was and I'm skipping what was supposed to be a target race, it's amazing how much better I feel. Have a good weekend all. Wear sunscreen... what's the current over-under on how many of your coworkers will have hideously painful looking sunburns on Monday? :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


About the only major sport that I have never played in an organized fashion is baseball. I grew up in a soccer town... if you did any sports it was soccer. I know they had little league at some point because my cousin played, but I honestly don't know a single kid who played when I was little. I'm counting my distinguished career in neighborhood pond hockey and men's pickup leagues as "organized" because there were uniforms involved and we kept track of who won. The extent of my "bat sports" experience however has been limited to wiffle ball and that typically involved holding beer and/or food while batting. Oh and don't forget all those fundamentals I've picked up from watching T-ball. So when my buddy called me up and asked me if I was interested in joining a softball league what else would I say but "Sure!" This could be comical...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunshine and Kittens (or puppies if that's your thing)

After the recent insinuation that all I do is bitch and whine, I'll keep this upbeat... which will also mean short... oh wait... I think that's the lead in to more bitching and whining... anywho... Really very little other than status quo going on. Wednesday marks t-minus 4 classes. I had a killer ride Saturday in the 2 hour window where it didn't rain. I ran today for the first time in literally months and running is still pretty relaxing. Looking like I'll race Saturday with the other 5 people not going to Battenkill down at Ninigret.

Yup... told you it'd be short...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My Son the Trooper

And no I don't mean law officer although if that happened some day I'd sure be proud of him... Our middle son has come down with mono. He looks and sounds about as miserable as one can be. Just picture the worst sinus congestion you can imagine and then swell up most everything else in your head and neck for good measure. Then punch yourself in the spleen and just simply be worn out for no good reason. Sounds fun huh? Not only has he not really complained to speak of, but he got up this morning and grabbed the mountain of homework that was sent home to start working on it without us saying a word. He's cozied up in bed now with the pile next to him and he works on it every so often when the mood strikes him. I asked him if he needed something and other than some crackers and water (all he feels like eating) he was like "Nah, I'm good". We still don't know how long he's out of school for so we'll see how long it takes the stir-crazies to set in :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Am I the only one that does this?

Somehow, I have an amazing ability to procrastinate even when I am overwhelmed by how much I have to do. Maybe it's a subconscious effort to avoid reaching total burnout. Maybe it's a sign that I need to calm the hell down and realize that I probably don't have quite as much to do as I think if I can procrastinate and still get it done. Maybe I'm simple sitting here defining procrastination. Maybe it's all just the Delirium Tremens talking.

BTW, Intermediate Statistics is probably going to turn out to be the class I both loved and hated the most in my entire academic career. Data that tells a story is cool...


Just a few days ago I was flying high when I realized that I have only 6 weeks of school left (ever!). Now I've been hit with the fear that there's no way to get it all done in 6 weeks. It's partially the volume of work there is to do with school, partially work picking up at the same time, and partially the realization that I may finally have to push riding into the background. Going into this semester I had said that training/racing would have to be a secondary priority to school. Up until now I've managed to do both successfully enough. I'm not sure it's going to be possible to continue it. I'll see what I can do, but the fact that I didn't even bother considering when I would ride today when I should have been heading out for a few hours is not a good sign. Oh well... gotta keep things in perspective...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I still just don't know if I get it...

I had started this post a different way, but then walked away and lost motivation to go on being all philosophical about road racing. The short story: I went to the Charge Pond race today expecting to do very well and didn't. I had to do the B-race in the interest of getting home early and it was, unfortunately, every bit the sketch fest that I feared. Several times during the race I went to the front and pulled everyone around for a lap or so simply to get the pace up and to stay away from people. With 6 to go on the downhill left-hander some guy on the inside of me must have panicked or something because he locked it up, fishtailed, and then when I tried to get around him he came close to completely t-boning me. Fortunately he sort of just grazed me and my bike handling skills are about a billion times better than a few years ago so I was able to ride out of it, but by then I was chasing big time since the pace picked up right at the same time as this incident. It took the better part of two laps to completely latch back on and by then it was getting pretty late in the affair and the general bike handling of the pack was not improving at all making moving up through it difficult. I thought I finally had an opening up the last rise, but then all but the first 8 or so almost seemed like they sat up cresting the hill so that was that. Disappointing to say the least. I got a good workout in so that's worth something, but I still find it hard to count a race as good if I wasn't where I had to be when it mattered. Then again I could always just stick to the dirt...

Monday, March 23, 2009

A: Oh Kiss My Ass!

Q: What did Rich say, out loud to nobody, when he got caught in a blinding snow squal while out riding yesterday?

We having fun yet kids?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All's well that ends well

So despite the warnings I was being given by some people about attending opening day at Wells today, I gave in to the peer pressure and my burning desire to find out whether there had been any value in all the 4:30 a.m. sessions on the trainer to date. I may have just done a hard cut over to ice cream and Wachusett if it had gone badly. The original plan was to go all in and ride down from home (about 90 minutes) and then have the family drive me home. Unfortunately I woke up wearing a skirt and decided it was too cold at 8:30 to ride down so instead I rode to CCB wonder-stud (and eventual winner today) Ciaran Mangan's house in Natick and left from there around 9:30. It's only about a 30 minute jaunt over there from his house so there was plenty of time to sign in and get ready for the A race.

Now I must pause here and point out a couple things: 1) I'm licensed as a cat 4. It's a combination of not racing much and not having any results on the road save my $5 prime last season. 2) I've never done above an A/B combined race at Wells. 3) There were those warnings I was given about the crashtastic nature of March racing at Wells. 4) I knew there would be a big field because there are a lot of people who ignore those warnings and it was beautiful today. What all this meant was that my heart-rate was 102 standing at the line waiting to start.

Now I could go all G on you and give you the pedal-stroke by pedal-stroke recap of the hour 15 of racing, but I'll go with the more efficient short list of highlights instead:

- There were crashes. Two that I know of, but I didn't know about one until after the race so it must have happened at the back when I wasn't there (for a change). I was not in either.

- I made 3 or 4 legitimate efforts to get into a break. 2 never really materialized because we never got a gap. The last one was a group that went away with 11 to go including some big horses and I tried to go across but blew up about 5 bike lengths away. That effort got me a 60 second avg power of 544W and jack shit to show for it. Fortunately, they came back anyways.

- The big efforts hurt... a lot.

- My positioning in the pack sucks, but no longer in the sucky way that gets you in crashes. Now it's in the sucky way that has you burning energy to get near the front or missing breaks because you're not there.

- After one last-ditch try with 1 to go to get near the front I called it a day and rolled in rubber side down

So let's call it a good opener. I think the test of fitness was successful, but there's a ways to go. I protected the body and equipment so that's never bad. I got almost 3 hours of riding in once you add in the ride back to the car in beautiful weather so how can you go wrong? And then I got to come home and study for an accounting midterm... damn you grad school... damn you straight to hell...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Has blogging become un-cool?

Is it just me, or does the blog-o-sphere seem more quiet these days? Maybe it's because bike racing hasn't started. Maybe it's because I've been more absent than not. It seems like it's partly related to everyone spending their time Facebooking, twitting, blipping, or whatever else it is they're doing. I've pretty adamantly resisted Facebook for a ton of reasons, not the least of which is that I have no time and it seems like the type of thing that's not even worth the effort to set up unless you can instantly turn into a crack-addict-like user. As I've told people, the few people from high school that I care about how they're doing I either talk to a few times a week already or I get the occasional update from my friends who did cave to the peer pressure. Ah well... not intending to turn this into a rant... more an observation.

I may just do something stupid and show up for the big kids race on Sunday... we'll see...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Colin save me

When your evening involves the computer command CHKDSK C: /R there's a good chance you're having a bad day. If you're computer illiterate, just trust me... it's all kinds of bad.

Reuter, I pay in whatever malted currency you prefer...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Burning it at both ends

I'm still running ragged full time. Work is a beatdown, still training fairly well, grad school, kids, wife, the occasional load of laundry, etc. Tonight I get home and I'm just a zombie. Wife tells me "You really should go pick up a belgian and plan to sit on your ass tonight" Um, ok... twist my arm. Sadly I'll probably still sit here and do various forms of work :( Go ride this weekend... bring the fenders.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Daze

All who have had enough of this unrideable weather raise their hands...

Well with the entire state going into lockdown last night by 10 with the impending doom that was a whole 10 inches or so of snow, I lost the 3 out of 5 game of rock paper scissors and here I sit with 3 stir crazy little boys. I actually give them credit... they've been ok (let the bloody wrestling match ensue now that I have jinxed it). I'm trying to get little bits of homework and real work done here and there and being moderately successful.

Unfortunately the little weather preview we got yesterday coupled with me being slave to the MBA program meant I spoiled 2 very good weeks of training by doing nothing yesterday. I hate missing good training days, but at the same time I just remind myself that one day means very little other than me feeling like garbage the next day.

Ok, having trouble stringing coherent thoughts together so I'm done. Lets hope we can see the pavement again any time soon. Wells in 2 weeks? We'll see...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thanks for nothing

To the a-hole who somehow got their scumbag hands on my credit card number: like I needed to deal with cleaning up after you. Sadly for you, it turns out that those monitoring companies are good at what they do. Nice try. Now get a life.

And sorry for the negative post folks... some people just flat out suck.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mmmmmm, outside

Things that are good:
- Going from weeks (if not months) of riding inside to getting 5 hours in outside
- My Seven. Thing is farking awesome even if G does hate me.
- Doing some really big big ringing. I'd throw out all kinds of power meter nonsense, but you really don't care anyways.
- Duvel

Things that are bad**:
- Logistic Regression
- Activity Based Costing
** By bad I of course do not mean without merit because I am quiet enjoying both in a bizarre "trying to be positive and find the good in this situation" sort of way, but bad in that I am sitting here pondering both at great depths rather than simply enjoying the 4th good.

Let the "good" weather continue...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weird things your body does

Monday morning at around 5 a.m. I weighed 201.5.
This morning around 5 a.m. I weighed 195.

As much as I wish it was this easy, 45 minutes on the trainer Monday and 55 minutes on Tuesday did not cause me to loose 6.5 pounds. Especially with the donut I was eating last night at about 10 o'clock. Mmmmm, forbidden donut...