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)...