Thursday, May 28, 2009

retired

my blogging is retired. see ya'll out on the trails!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Danny MacAskill

ever enough?

got a liter of coffee by my side,
this day is cruisin' by quicker than i can get stuff done.
as usual, time is at a premium, but longer days are delivering more of it.
trails are drying, but leaves and blow-downs thick, days and weeks of raking are needed.
a 2hr mtb ride on sat turned into a 4hr bushwack;
should have brought a rake and hiking boots,
should know this stuff by now!

been taking seneca to school in the Chariot,
ditching it there and riding to work.
it's almost 60mins total ride time each way,
not very exciting ride time, but any ride time away from the indoor is good ride time!
hours are shorter this yr, will they be "enough?"
enough to defend a win i never thought possible?

the weather refuses to break into spring,
then again, 50's and misty is spring in VT.
we'll go from winter to summer in a blink,
the leaves will pop and it'll be on,
and i'll lament (again) how i should have ridden more in march and april.
but, (there's always a "but!") when the sun does shine, the snowpack beckons;
the spring boarding has been fantastic;
hard to spin when the lines are still so good!

burn-out struck hard this yr.
big rides in late feb and march wore me out,
a chest infection took hold on a cold 6hr ride and wouldn't let go.
it's been a month and just now feeling fine.
the legs are a' firing, the body willing.

will this be a good yr!?

of course.

but will it be a good yr on the bike?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

battenkill

no time for the blog, barely time to ride. been a touch burned-out the past cpl wks, riding in the cold just isn't doing it for me these days. i worked winter over pretty good, came into spring ready to ride, but just ain't into it right now and when i am, it ain't worth bragging about.

battenkill is next sat, pretty stoked about that. hoping 3wks of riding for half as much as planned has me "rested." course sounds awesome, i'll let the offical posting speak for itself. for now i'm hoping the battenkill breaks me out of this ride depression i got going-on. a cpl wks of sun and temps above 50 would help too!

Battenkill: 2009
By Anthony Mitchell
OK, so there is 1800 feet missing this time around. It has gone from 4500 in 2008 to 2700 feet of total
climbing in 2009. Guess what – It ain’t no easier. The added miles and the extra dirt changes the nature
of the course and you will probably be GLAD those 1800 feet are gone. Not as much climbing, but more
areas where the pitch goes into the double digits and more dirt to rob your momentum.
The first 10 miles are uneventful and with continuous but slight uphill pressure (maybe 1-2% average)
with an abrupt end to pleasantness with the mini-monster (400 meters, 18%) of Juniper Swamp
slamming you about mile 10. The race will viciously split at this point. Juniper Swamp is and always will
be a hallmark of the Battenkill. It can really knock you off your bike. Even if you have the legs to climb,
watch out – this hill has teeth and just might find another way to take you out of the saddle.
After the top of Juniper Swamp, the race really begins to sort itself out. There is 5 mile rolling down-hill
terrain that will keep working you hard on so as to not lose contact or even harder to catch on.
Everybody will be desperately trying to catch a wheel or maintain an advantage. Few large groups will
be coming off the crest and individuals will be strung out. Some will get back together, but this is a GC
influencing area of the course. Afterward, a steady and shallow 4-mile ascent sets you up for a lightning
fast downhill with a moderately severe s-turn in the middle. The pitch of this hill is enough to get you
over 50mph. Next to come is a 5-mile flat section that passes through the village of Salem where riders
can regroup and recover a bit. The road is flat enough to allow a small group to swallow up solo riders
unless they have a big advantage. DON’T BE A HERO HERE. Joe Bean Road is coming and you do not
want to be tired.
Mile 25 is marked by the curvy stair step 2.5-mile Joe Bean Road. This is a tough, tricky climb that can
easily deceive you into believing you are going to get a wee bit of rest when you see what appears to be
a break in the pitch only to realize you hit a false peak and the hill keeps pushing skyward. Many short
sections of between 12 and 15% grade can be found on this hill, each one taunting and insulting you. At
the top, you get a descent that is good pavement for a mile, then changes to dirt for the remaining two
[Ferguson Road]. History indicates that this road is a bit sandy and treacherous despite being relatively
straight. Potholes and loose gravel are waiting there just for you. From there, you are greeted by 10
miles of rolling downhill road into the village of Greenwich. Draft and recover. Let the heroes do the
work. It is easy to go fast here and everyone likely will be.
The village of Greenwich will be a short visit, with two left hand turns fairly close to each other. They
are both downhill, 90-degree turns. Opposing traffic is a huge concern here. Enjoy the spectators. They
seem to enjoy having the racers pass through.
We are now approaching the part that will challenge the weak minded rider’s mettle. It is going to hurt.
It is going to hurt a lot. You had better have had enough water and food by now, because it is officially
too late to do anything if you are in bad shape. You have just over a mile left before the pain begins.
Trust me, there is no guessing, you will know when it starts.
At about mile 40, you are taken behind Willard Mountain, where you are treated to shallow uphill
sections with steep risers every quarter to half mile. For a brief moment there is pavement but when it
switches back to dirt on Mountain road, even the downhill portions are work – they are technically
demanding and can ruin the day of an inexperienced or tired rider. Stay focused. Taking a corner going
downhill on dirt can get a bit nasty. The entire portion at this part of the race demands every bit of
focus you can muster.
Mile 50 by the topography seems to get easy - - Not So Fast! There are a few difficult spots to navigate
that will test your nerve and your skill. Speed on a descent can easily be lost when you slam into a tree.
Sharp technical drops and corners keep it tense. Don’t even think you are getting a break when the road
turns downward. There will be a two miles of easy stuff in a bit, but be afraid, be very afraid. What is
next is not too much by itself, but after what you have been through, it is enough to have a rider seeing
stars.
The final climb at Stage road (55 miles in) starts with a very rude reminder that you are racing the
Battenkill. The beautiful image of the covered bridge you just passed is ruined by an instant 15% grade
up a dirt hill. This is Stage Road. Stage Road follows the format of uphill pressure (3-6% average)
littered with 50 meter of 10-15 %+ grade. There are six or seven repeats of this before getting to the
top. Where the road isn’t dirt, it is rough. You are always working. The weak will perish here. Do not
be surprised to pass racers who took off earlier and bonked. This final hill is going to make big changes
in the GC.
The final descent is consistent, non-technical and on good pavement. It is fast and straight. If you have
energy left, meter it closely, and hold the best speed you can. There are 5 miles left. Time Trial if solo or
hold a wheel if not. One small rise will greet you at the bottom, but that is it. It is time to go for it.
Finish strong and try to look good. Win or not, you accomplished something just by finishing strong.
The one thing that can be said about this course, it definitely is worthy of the reputation the Tour of the
Battenkill has developed over the past few years. Those wanting an early season challenge will not be
left cold. Come prepared and pour your heart out. The challenge, the character and even the cruelty
are definitely, definitely worth the effort.

Monday, March 23, 2009

first day of spring


winter rides are all about making sure i'm ready come spring - and this yr it worked-out great - sat was mar 21st, spring came rolling-in at 744a and i was ready for a big one. had to carry some extra supplies - a small backpack (empty camelback) for extra clothes and tools, a 6hr ride across roads w/infrequent cell coverage and limited traffic isn't the smartest idea.

sat was a perfect bluebird day, 14 degrees at 7a, but worked its way over freezing by noon. i waited on it to warm-up a bit, got a late start, found myself pushing the early climbs hard, by mile 40-50 was headed into a deep bonk, but sunny skies kept me from completely hating my bike (or myself) once the pain set in. i certainly spent a lot of time thinking about why i do this stupid stuff, why i put myself out in the cold on a beautiful early spring day. i could be soaking-up the sun w/jenn and seneca, instead i was out pushing endless climbs to what end, for what goal?, then i remembered the goal... the feeling of accomplishment that courses through racers not like a drug, but as a drug - earning the right to stand on the top step. hopefully. maybe. if i train hard enough, if the bike holds together, if the body holds together... but i'm getting ahead of myself, it's only the first day of spring!

this ride kicks off w/a slight uphill grade on a mix of dirt and pavement from my house to the bottom of roxbury gap. the gap wasn't bad, i know it so well that it passes quickly, but the slick-as shit dirt descent intermixed w/massive heaves and frozen ruts was gnarly. i'd already taken a spill a few miles back, was tense and tight on the descent, when pavement finally rolled under the tires i raised my arms, pumped the fists and shouted-out like i'd just won the Giro, Jimi (Hendrix) blaring away in the headphones.

got a few mile reprieve up rt 12 before heading-up another nasty climb on rt 64. it seems to go on and on before heading-down into williamstown for a cpl mile break before another 1000ft climb over to chelsea and rt 110 which runs along the scenic First Branch of the White River before i started climbing again up rt 113 towards west fairlee on broken pavement, skipping and hopping across it on 110-115psi tires, not the most comfy way to ride, but better than stopping every hr to fix a flat. i entered a dark place here, so many miles from the end, so many behind, the body hurting, doubts and worries flooding the head so loudly that music became useless and i turned it off, instead focusing on the positive, searching the landscape for interesting farmhouses and views, letting the mind wander and play in an effort to forget the now.

by the time i hit rt 244 around fairlee lake, i was wicked glad to be done w/those 3 monster climbs, but my water was gone and all i could think about was reaching the vt/nh border for a rest stop and big ass sandwhich. 10m later i crawled into Oxford and found myself w/a hankering for egg salad, an unusual choice to say the least, but i've learned that it's best to listen to the body, feed it what it wants and see what happens (this approach is successful about half the time!). the first 60miles had taken 4hrs, but i had a promise to keep that i'd arrive by 4'ish, so it was definitely time to suck it up and hammer this beeyatch out!

got back on the road w/a full stomach, but ready to puke-out eggs, mayo, and potato chips, and way cold from the 15min stop and chomp. time for a safety break. the entire ride had been about sweat management, taking layers on and off, off and on. the body warmed-up quick, but the desire to puke stuck w/me until the power returned on 25A up and around the incredibly scenic Mt Cube on pavement so riddled w/frost heaves that it was no wonder that i saw zero cars along this entire stretch, my neck and arms were beginning to talk to me - but luckily when the power returned on the climb it came-on gangbusters - going up the slight grade was almost effortless - the power of egg salad is not to be underestimated!!! the last 40m flew-by, with at least 20m of it running down along Pond Brook and Baker River into Plymouth towards the ragin' Pemigewasset. i pushed-on up rt 3, bonking hard as i reached my sister-in-law's house (on-time!), happy to set-up a chair next to the fridge, pulling anything even slightly resembling food into my mouth, chasing it down w/giant gulps of beer, some of it slopping and dripping down the corners of my mouth, going totally animal on it.

one monster ride down, only about 30 to go. they only get better from here, can't wait for the next one. have to put-out a big thanks to my LBS FitWerx for setting me up w/a new-to-me (free) front derailluer that got my falling apart road bike rolling again - and for a comfy and power-maximizing fit on my rig, their fit services are the best upgrade i ever invested in - check 'em out in peabody ma or waitsfield vt.
..

Friday, March 20, 2009

1-0-0 . 1

the day before a big ride, especially early in the season, is always exciting. after a winter of indoor trainer and studded tire, freeze-my-feet off rides followed by a few wks of mild temps (and longer spins), the fitness seems to be returning. constant soreness is a good indicator that i'm doing all i can (or that i'm getting old and not stretching). that aside, it's time to turn up the volume, it's time to get this party started w/a solid century. tomorrow's route is a favorite, the 100.1m backroad trek from waitsfield, vt to campton, nh. 3 big ass climbs to get out of vermont, then tired legs pushing hard across 50-60m of rolling terrain. early morning temps barely above 10 certainly aren't optimal, but at least the dirt gaps will be nice and hard vs a soft mucky mess - and by the time it warms above freezing i should be crossing onto the smooth roads of NH... i love the day-before feeling before a big ride - on a day you know will be sunny and bright - on a route you love - for the first time (or anytime) of the year... the season is on!

Monday, March 16, 2009

sun!

"Democrat Elijah Cummings on AIG announcing $160 million in bonuses for top execs after receiving $180 BILLION in bailout money:

"It's like, OK, you got to help me screw you. And by the way I'm going to take your money and I'm going to slap you with it." "

"There are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last 18 months, but what's happened at AIG is the most outrageous", said Mr Summers.

crazy stuff. almost as crazy as this break in the weather! sun, sun, sun. no time to write, just time to ride, work, hang w/the fam, and of course, drink beers.
beginning to feel fit, can't wait for this season to kick-off at the battenkill road race on april 18th...

Monday, February 23, 2009

pow!

my ride streak ended at 10 or 11, but was replaced w/an unbelievable 4 day powder streak. we've gotten 6' of snow in the last 4-5 days; in unfrequently traveled glades it is bottomless, elsewhere just epic. where are we again!? talked daren into driving over from the north conway area to enjoy today's pow-pow feast only to have both mtns shut-down for wind. we rose above, strapped on packs and got-in some amazing tracks. unfortunately, life calls and my powder streak will end at 4 days... might as well start-up that riding streak again, battenkill will be here before i'm ready...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

9 days in a row!

no complaints today!
it was the 5th consecutive day i rode outside and the 9th day i'd ridden in a row!
warm temps melted-off a lot of our valley snowpack, but left us with amazing dirt road and snowmobile trail riding (below 1500 feet).
feeling like a bike racer again, at least a mtnbike racer, not sure what it takes to feel like a roadie.
but, talking 'bout being a roadie, just got into the Battenkill masters 30+.
that should thoroughly kick my ass.


my road bike (lemond carbon/steel) group is shot, drivetrain shot, 5+yrs of hard use. can't decide between shimano and sram... any inputs from cyberspace?

i leave my office driveway, head west and within a mile am climbing roxbury gap:

riding at dusk can get a bit brisk, but great views help the chill.
these days, 20 degrees feels balmy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

compressed

regular trainer time at 8,9,10p is never fun.
it's desperation.
must stay in shape.
must wind down.

as usual, been multi-tasking on the indoor,
lots of studying, some work,
too much to do right now,
gotta make sure i really enjoy those down days,
sometimes it can be hard to let go, to relax.
when's spring!?

but not complaining, at least not trying to.
there are a few, if not a dozen powder days left,
then tuckerman's.
can't wait for that one.
old school crew. new school. who the f knows what school. crazy mother effers mixed all in.


and the rescue heli at the ready for the boneheads.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

time

it's crazy.
the older i get, the better it gets.
time can be tight,
but so much more is accomplished.
the problem is, time is rarely not present...

among other things, bike riding removes time - once the route is known.
set paths deliver us in a timely fashion to our destination, the mind is left to wander and graze.
this morning's ride was a reminder of how much i miss losing time;
losing myself, and in so doing, being refreshed.

winter is the toughest season.
time shrinks with the sun,
rides are buried under drifts of snow.
stresses build like faults.

amazing off-piste ski/snowboard runs certainly help, last wknd's run was incredible.
it's only tuesday and i'm already daydreaming of the next journey into the steep basin that lies on the eastern flanks of our ridge...
but, the outdoor rides must increase - and a commitment to xc skiing fully explored.
gliding across fields, churning-up hills, and holding-on for life on descents could be just the ticket for losing some time...

Friday, January 30, 2009

snow

since it's not (bike) riding season, i haven't felt compelled to write in the blog, but the jonsing has begun - the need for ribbons of dirt, long climbs, and technical descents has set into my thoughts, except when out on the snow - it can temporarily quench the need to pedal. luckily, deep (for us east coasters!) untracked lines are plentiful outside the resort boundry if you know where to look - or are willing to explore. i rarely take my hands out of the gloves to snap a shot in the stuff and when a mature grove of trees opens up a few dozen perfect turns, stopping to take a photo is the last thing i'm thinking about! here's a crazy bear-den "breathing hole" mikey-j pointed-out on last wk's woods-woods run:

our main ski bowl is protected black bear habitat, pretty wild to bump into one hibernating... mike's a great companion for these off-piste adventures, always willing to go deeper, and in the scrub pines at elevation, break trail on his tele's for my snowboard; the board's not the best tool for the job in that stuff, but it sure is fun when things open up. we stumbled into a river bed shortly after the below shot, a magical natural halfpipe - the best 2-3 dozen turns i may lay-down all season - or at least until tomorrow morning when we head-out looking for new lines.

and then there are my snow rippin' neighbors! - a bunch of guys of similar age who love to ski/ride - it is sweet having so many passionate outdoorsfolk right out the door!

snow aside, bike time has been decent (barely acceptable) for this time of yr. i ride to work once or twice a week, temperature rarely matters, -10 is about my limit, and after getting-out for a cpl ass-freezing rides like that, 20 degree temps are downright balmy! it's all about the gear. if you can ski/board, you can ride yer bike. indoor trainer time has been in effect, maybe 4-5hrs/wk, just enough spinning to keep the legs going, the muscle memory there. time is tight and by the time i get onto the indoor at 8 or 9p, i just spin easy, watch a movie, try to unwind from the day... saturdays are my "big" ride days - my usual 10, 12, or 15m massive vertical dirt (ice and snow) ride w/the studded tires. around here riding in the winter is a trip, you yearn for the 45+min warming climbs and dread the freezing 5-10min descents. the other day i got home, pulled-off my shell and the entire inside was coated w/a layer of ice. those thin wicking layers really work!

my winter riding gear:
smartwool socks (medium weight).
winter bike shoes - or shoes with good covers.
toe warmers if below zero.
craft or ibex winter riding pants.
a pair of chamois.
one silkweight long sleeve capilene shirt.
one silkweight long-sleeve zip-neck wool shirt.
one long sleeve winter jersey (good wicking one).
single layer shell w/pit zips.
craft head/face cover.
fleece hat.
helmet.
mittens - not gloves - gloves if it's 20-25 or above.

and you're ready for temps down to -10 or so for at least 90mins... riding in the winter is ... better than not riding at all! it's all about the gear. i don't think i bought a single item mentioned above - over the yrs, at xmas, b-day, etc, this stuff has slowly built-up. thanks dad, thanks jenn, i'm finally able to ride in the winter in total comfort. i'm hanging w/seneca this morning while jenn rips-up the powder, but already day-dreaming of this afternoon's snow-ride, but first, i think seneca and i will head-out for some sledding. "weeee daddy!"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bushism

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." - George W. Bush, Washington DC, 12 May, 2008

Thanks Bubba. Truly inspirational.

Monday, January 05, 2009

'08, over and done

it's over. 2008. my nearly 3 month break is over. time to get pedaling for '09; back to cramming it all in. work. school. training. family. sleep. and some partying. after the break riding is fun again, sometimes even on the trainer. but not tonight. my legs are hurting, hard to ignore the pain w/typing or youtube, had to grab a beer. it works for me.

'08 was a weird ass yr on the bike.
late start to training,
poor results all season,
but riding more than ever, probably too much for racing.
eased-up in mid august and was flying after that.

got to ride for 7-8 days on the colorado trail w/andy, tim and glen.
wicked!
andy's a good bro, the best, and getting to know tim and glen on the trail was great.
go team.
we found our weaknesses, or at least i did.
the high mtns were, for me, insanely beautiful while wildly overwhelming.
cloud banks had me spooked, thunder uneasy.
but the views.
and the climbs.
and the hour long descents were incredible.
couldn't have asked for better company or weather.
we just didn't know shit.
and it was a blast.
need to write that story-up one of these days.
a cpl of andy and tim's pics:




was out for at least 90mins sunday w shawn p,
perfect weather for it, dirt roads nice and firm.
but 16 degrees takes a lot out of you.
i needed a long nap by the fire to get me going again after that one.

this yr's plan isn't much different that last yrs, but need a new goal. ideas are appreciated! maybe work on my road license a bit, defend the 50, maybe a cpl local xterra's, or back into the NUE 100 mile series? it is the perfect distance... but after colorado, i'm looking for longer days in the saddle. glen mentioned kokapelli, sounds good to me, but early for me... babble, babble, babble. time to get to bed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

winter break

i've had indoor trainer writer's-block and more notably, indoor trainer rider's block. since almost all my posts, no matter the season, take place on the trainer, this blog has been sidelined.

school is over until jan 12, i was totally burned-out by the end. a lot on the plate for next semester, but 4 wks off should be enough time to get psyched-up for it. been recovering with snowboarding, learning to xc/skate ski, and whining about my steadily declining bike fitness.

three months have past since the great swell of the season's peak crested. i'm in the trough of it now. luckily i haven't hit shore yet, the ride hopefully has one more crest, even though i complain to anyone who'll listen that i'm a donut. jenn's been patient with it so far, but it's only december and the swell is a long ways off and this is her 7th or 8th "wave." it's almost time to start kicking into the next one, a 10p sat night ride in my boxers kicking things off t-nite. definitely weird.

early season on south didn't dissapoint once, crazy stuff considering the crazy weather. i hear some mid-week days got firm, but i was on edgable, riping, fun stuff since turkeyDay, cpl powder days, some man-made powder days:

mellow woods lines opened-up early, haven't been in much since. 2nd day out down lew's line had me bugged-out a bit; next time around was laughing and letting-out spontaneous yee-Haws!

have been keeping-up with the sunday (8a) morning snowboard runs, cpl other days in-between. solid day w/chris (loomis) last sat, crazy conditions, perfect for a snowboard. the ice storm that crushed lower ne mostly spared us, a fine freezing mist formed a crumbly crust over 8" of powder. we'd lean way bag, legs burning and shatter through it, ripping almost anyline we wanted w/the reistance of the ice crackling under and behind us, perfect day for a snowboard, skis more difficult to keep up, so it was practically all ours - on chris's birthday nonetheless.

it's wild that just about everyone in the neighborhood skis/rides, all rip, most with a unique style. my style has changed a lot, smoothed-out from neighbor's tips and teniques, i've picked-up a lot from bill's flowing, movement orientented surf-style, he's gliding, it's sounds easier than it is. the word "gliding" almost presupposes that the task is easy, when instead it is a fluid flowing balancing act of muscle reflex action and reaction. this year i've been trying to go a bit bigger and have found that it takes fresh legs for landing; unfortunately, tired legs are capable of take-off. it's been fun trying, the rush is there in the air.

why rip your knees off or cross decks when you can dangle in comfort? ingenous!

andy took a much needed vacation day for mt ellen's opener.

a crushed blood vessel in his leg was a pissa! crazy injury, out for the day 3 runs into it.

andy's sent some photos since, a foot swollen-up like a salami. before this wknd i was 0-3 on wknds destroyed due to injury when traveling w/andy, i'm still in the red on that debt. hope you heal-up quick and glad you made it out in one piece! it was good to get together.

dec 25th update:
i've been meaning to finish this post for days. currently squeezing-in some indoor time while seneca naps, xmas day or not, a little exercise hits the spot - and the mtn is looking cold and firm today... after 4 days of fantastic powder! it's been a good last few days. merry christmas, happy holidays and may the new year kick some serious ass.

Monday, November 24, 2008

powder day!?

magic snow. on friday you could see the cloud line hanging across the much higher western ridge, moisture getting run-out of the air and stretching for only a mile or two as a wall of cloud before dissipating into rolling squalls, blue sky in spots above our house on the eastern slopes only a few miles from a solid dump in the mtns. saturday it clouded up and snowed in earnest up high, then on sunday blue skis greeted us in the morning. i was all smiles knowing a patch of powder may still be left for those desperate enough - and a minivan packed full of fanatics would be by shortly to take me to it. with only a few runs open the lower groomed slopes were crowded, but one moguled black was ready; the organgrinder was sweet! snow guns were going full bore, making the snow thick; get too far forward on the board and it'd take you down in a spiraling cartwheel, too far back and you're flying full-out, legs not quite ready this early in the season to get on the brakes. 2hrs was enough for my first day...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

stick season

things have been hectic, not a lot of riding, it's weird without it, without the quiet time, the efforts, the need to eat everything, but it's coming back around. i started working here


and steady cx bike rides of early fall disappeared under a sea of chores, school, work, and plenty of solid socializing to make the previously mentioned flow great; but once again, come fall, i couldn't find time to race cx; seems like a waste of fitness, a whole season's worth of rides turned to potatoes in a month.


but, life is re-sorted and it's nice to be riding more than before; the commute doesn't suck one bit. a few miles of dirt rd to a few miles of winding back road pavement, open views of the mtns the whole way. while i was away from riding the past month, leaves were exchanged for bare branches; stick season is on.

waiting on the snow now. more anxious than i can remember. and i'm psyched to be psyched for it; it's fun, like a kid waiting on xmas.


hunting season is on, trails closed. dirt routes that were warm-ups in summer are full work-outs now. rollers have become climbs... and so it goes full circle once again. soon, i'll be really out of shape and dreaming of ramping it back up. maybe i am already. it always seems to happen naturally. ride when i can. ride more. then some more. then even more. race here. race there. enjoy big fitness. life catches up. no time to ride. then it starts all over...

Monday, October 13, 2008

sanctum


last week, on a quick mid-day ride on singletrack that's quickly disappearing under a layer of orange, red, brown and yellow leaves, I stopped to find my way, the path hard to discern through the stand of mature maples and beech - and found myself entranced by a sound rarely heard - the quiet rustling of leaves as they fell in a steady shower from the branches, 30, 40, 50 feet up. all around me they fell, a steady shower of color, backlight by another bluebird day, shining and fluttering to the ground. in these moments, a little bit of peace is found, a sanctum from the daily grind. my church and my god. the camera, at home as usual, wouldn't have captured the moment as it was as much inside as out. instead, the moment sits in my mind, to be dwelled upon as the stresses of the week mount - and w/everything to be done, the calm of that moment will be called upon a lot this week.

a long fall walk w/jenn and seneca yesterday morning, then a cpl hr bike ride together in the afternoon, seneca in the chariot, smiling and laughing, pushing me to sprint the hills, "faster daddy, faster!" "WHHEEEEEE!" we took the adventurous route, just the 3 of us on one-lane class 4 roads, the leaves bursting w/color. what a great day. another moment to put away and dwell upon during the stresses of the week.



Sunday, October 05, 2008

a(nother) BIG Kahuna!

my head is still clearing, my legs still aching. 103 riders set-out to conquer the fabled trails of boston's north shore; crippler, ancient line, g-spot (to name a few). beverly to gloucester all on singletrack, not a lot of miles, but this isn't ordinary singletrack. the night before andy, thom, daren, brad, ken and i decided emptying andy's fridge of beer, including the hard lemonades that have been sitting waaaay in the back since '89, was a great idea - and it was - until 7a the next morning - after hitting the sheets at 4. but we were all smiles on this one. even when running into the woods to rid ourselves of the poison or managing bonks that became frequent and harsh come afternoon. these are the trails - and the guys - i learned to ride a bike with. insanely technical rock gardens that resemble bouldering fields more than mtnbike trails, mingled w/flowing ribbons of dirt punctuated by steep climbs and brown-eyed brake descents. if your stomach isn't against the back of your seat, you're not far enough back. awesome stuff. we had all sorts of bikes out there - from fully rigid ss, to 6" travel, we "rocked" the kahuna, arriving nearly last to lobsta'land for the haddock we'd been dreaming about since 7a... good times. thanks for another great ride! and thanks to andy (and his neighbor's patience) for the pre-kahuna party! can't wait for next yr.

6hrs of windshield time was well worth it.

9a head count. montserrat train station. beverly.
daren. all smiles, to the end.

brad survived the biggest, baddest bonk ever conceived, but he found the power to sprint when he saw the lobsta'land sign!
thom. ss. rigid. root66 series champ. dreamy.

red rocks, great view.

lobsta' land!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The VT 50! race report

i won the fifty!!
i'm in bike racer la-la land.
i should be reading Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground for my 230p class,
but i simply cannot concentrate.
memories of the fifty keep floating to the surface.
it doesn't seem real.
the fifty has been the goal all season,
for a cpl seasons.
i told jenn that if i won the fifty, i could "retire" from bike racing.
of course, when i said that, i didn't really think i'd do it.
i'd have to ride so far above my ability,
it was too much of a reach,
too many things would have to go right...

8500 ft of climbing over 50miles, this course never lets-up!

the wk leading-up to the race i slept a ton, rode for maybe 5hrs, tried to eat right, tried not to split too much wood, and tried not to geek-out about my bike, which is almost impossible when you're a bike freak. when it became clear a tropical
storm was gonna dump its load on the event, i headed to bike29 in waterbury to talk tires w/a true tire guru, george (the owner). we talked rubba for almost an hour - and in the end i went with his suggested combo - a wtb prowler sl 2.1 in rear and a bontrater jones xc in front. to make this tire combo really rock, i paired 'em up w/a new set of stans 355's w/american classic hubs, shaving at least 8 ounces of rotational weight from the bike. i felt this change immediately, the bike was livelier and simply easier to pedal. i had a bit of an issue getting the prowler to seal-up on the rim and was kinda freakin' about it, even hopping-off to check the pressure twice during the race, but it held-up great, rolled fast, and stuck to the wet roots like crazy - maybe the best wet / mud tire i've ever ridden, thanks george!

camped-out w/andy (sanidas), (christopher) igleheart, tim (cook), and matt. matt earned rock-star status for tossing-down a lot of beers, then killin' it on his ss sunday. good folks to chill w/before a race, no talk of the race, just shooting the shit.

i woke-up at 1a, ready to go. 3hrs later i hopped out of bed (ie, the back of my car) and knew the legs were there, they felt springy, i was alert (even w/o java!). it was gonna be a good day. the 6 bagels i forced myself to eat over the previous 2 days (on top of my normal pre-race eating regimine) had the fuel tanks maxed. added to that were 3 Airborne tablets per day (all wk) to fight-off a cold i had tingling my throat all wk, i was energized. a cup of dank, dark coffee and a bunch of oatmeal later, we were in the parking lot of the fifty, gearing-up in balmy 55-60 temps, the heavy rains had held-off, a mist sat in the valleys and on top of the ridges, the air was thick with moisture.

615, the sun hadn't risen yet, 600+ riders were staged for the start. from the gun will latendre took off. fast. (EDIT: i've been told it wasn't Will, but john foley who was the early rocket, couldn't tell w/the black windjacket on), john foley, greg montello, kurt schmid, chris gagnon, thom parsons, kristopher dennan, myself, maybe a cpl others made chase. i can't remember a fifty ever starting this fast. when we hit the first hill, Will attacked it like he was shot-out of a cannon - my legs were there, already burning, but i figured, if i'm gonna go for it, i gotta stay w/the 2 time defending champ - within minutes it was down to kristopher, will and i, the sound of our breathing and creaking gear changes mixing w/the mellow tones of dew dripping from the trees above and the crunching of wet leaves under the tires.

for the first 25 miles Will crushed the climbs, and i would reel him back in on the descents, sometimes dennan
(EDIT: i thought i'd ridden those early miles w/Will and Tyler, it was kristopher dennan not tyler) would go w/him on his attacks. but dennan had forgetton his water btls and by mile 30 was zonked - we had skipped every aid station but one, and dennan had subsisted on a tiny cup of water every 5-7 miles. it was not enough. he'd rally after getting btl feeds at mile 31. he was riding incredibly strong and may have been there at the end if he'd remembered those btls. i was worried about that guy for those first 30m; i guessed his approach was similar to mine, a vermont mtn goat "hiding-out" in his training cave all season, not all burned-out on racing like most folks this time of year.

when we hit the singletrack at mile 30, which dominates the race until the end, Will graciously let me take the lead, his skills on the technical damn fine, but i was a touch quicker on the corners and the descents. he was strong enough to have gotten in front, forced his pace, but not his style, instead he chased. i'd open a small gap, only to have him right back on me. i don't think we were ever more than 100 feet apart the entire race. it was wicked intense. attack after attack. and in the back of my mind i knew there was a possee of strong dudes behind us, waiting for us to slow, to see us in the distance, so Will and I kept the pressure up from the gun to the finish; we never once sat-up on a fireroad to eat a bar and chat, it was more of a hurried grab into a pocket, the other person would push and it was back to business - and it showed in our finishing time, how much of a gap we created on the rest of the field.

the wet dirt roads, muddy double track, and slick singletrack roots were eating away at our strength - this wasn't an buffed-out uber-dry gonna-set-the-record fifty course. with 4m to go, after the last aid station i rubbed wheels w/Will and went-down, he attacked (or maybe not, by now every acceleration felt like an attack), which makes sense, we'd both "attacked" about 100 times by now, we both wanted it. i quickly closed the gap and made my own attack. we must have changed the lead 10 times in those final 4 miles up and across mt ascutney. our attacks were growing shorter and feebler, the final miles were a wicked climb, legs toasted, it was becoming clear this was gonna come-down to the final descent. will grabbed the lead at the 1m to go sign, i clung-on, reminding myself again and again that he'd won this thing twice in a row, it was "my turn", i wanted it more. i buried myself. the pain had been there all race, rarely let-up, but it never was a bother, the desire to win was greater than i can ever remember, surpassing everything else my body was saying. with 1/2m to go we shot-out onto the ski slope and both flew-off the mowed course and down the slope, totally out of control. we cranked back up insanely fast, my head was spinning, sooo shot, and into the trees one last time, i right behind, waiting for the last stretch of ski slope that leads into the finishing descent to make my final attack. as we hit the grass for the last time i swung around w/everything i've ever put into the bike, the 44x11 churning away, the rigid fork flexing like crazy through the water bars, hit the final bridge before the 100m straight-away descent to the finish and found myself flying through the air sideways, hitting the grass, sliding for what seemed like an endless distance, screaming "NOOOOO" in my head, thinking i'd lost the race. i was up in a flash and alone - will had taken his own monster wipe-out on the previous corner, allowing me to speed down the straight away, arms raised, fists pumping, finishing first! in 4:30, 12 minutes faster than my personal best, and in a lot worse conditions. i simply rode outside of myself, beyond my ability - it was crazy!


and that's my story. it was awesome. epic. amazing. Will was a great guy to race against, all class, incredibly tough. thom took 5th overall on his ss! greg in the top 10, andy not far outside that on his ss. thom and andy would have both taken podium honors for ss if they had signed-up as ss, but w/ss starting in the 3rd wave, behind 200 people, it makes for a lot less fun... thanks to miriam (and amy) for being out there, cheering me on - and to jenn for putting-up w/me all yr w/this insane bike racing addiction i got going... to IF for the Ti 29'er Deluxe, and to Igle for the rigid fork, that thing rocks!

50k and 50m runners are mixed w/the bikers in the results, so it's kinda confusing...


will letandre and family:


pics lifted from vermont50.com linked sites.

Friday, September 26, 2008

mmracing team launch - Wheelworks, Belmont MA

check it out all you bostonians:

"There are big changes afoot for team Matt and Mo. Please come celebrate the kick off of the cyclocross season with a team launch party at Wheelworks in Belmont on Friday October 3rd from 7-10 pm.

We've got an incredible new sponsor to announce and raffle prizes from our dedicated sponsors. There will be beer from Harpoon and prizes from Embrocation Magazine, Chinook, Michelin, Mad Alchemy Embrocations,
Pedros, Bowchies, the Atomic Cafe and a rapidly growing list.

Can't make the event? You can still buy raffle tickets through BikeReg

For more info, email me or go to www.mmracing.org."

Monday, September 22, 2008

fall

fired-up the woodstove this morning,
leaves are turning,
ribbons of singletrack are sprinkled w/color.
summer goes fast in vermont,
not complaining,
but not ready to get the board waxed.

hunting season heralds the official end of mtnbiking for me.
at least until i own a bright orange bike.
but, still have 6 weeks of dirt,
no reason to dwell on the end.
this is the best riding of the season.
full of fitness,
the skills fresh,
it comes easy,
the flow tapped into w/o thought.

been thinking about the great rides of fall.
the vermont 50 is this wknd, by far my favorite event of the year.
then the Kahuna, maybe the greatest group ride ever conceived.
wonder if brad and daren will make it down.

decided to go into a massive 2 week taper,
maybe a bit too much beer drinking,
like to think of it as glycogen loading.
figure the season is just about over,
might as well go into the 50 way rested.
and w/a cpl lbs of extra power.
as an old friend who sold weight-loss pills told his extra-sized customers,
"think of all that fat as a giant battery,
we gotta tap into your power!"

enough blabbering,
time to go split and stack wood before class.
splitting wood is great in that you get heat from it a cpl-few times -
in the cutting, splitting, stacking - and burning of it.
or at least that's what i've been told.
i like the positive slant on it.
but, i won't be doing much of it 2nd half of the wk.
the vt50 taper includes the arms.
the rigid gauntlet has been thrown!
(by thom and andy).
as i said to them,
"aahhhh shit,
gotta step up!"
but to the ss?

Monday, September 15, 2008

new mtb cats announced by usa cycling

most of you have probably already seen this. those on high in colorado springs have decided there will be no more beginner, sport, expert, semi and pro, now it's 3,2,1,pro. makes sense. bigger fields at national events, more chaos for national caliber pros and up-and-comers. why not? my only comment is that they should just force all semi-pros to become pros (to get the field sizes up) instead of giving us a choice between 1 (age class splits) and pro. or at least added a "NO SANDBAGGIN!" comment or something. maybe something like, "if you sandbag, we will be forced to tattoo the letter L (for 'loser') to your forehead for the rest of the calendar yr."

instead they said:
“We want bigger pro fields in the National Calendar events so our racers can better prepare for international competition like World Cups and World Championships,” said Fisher. “Our pro fields are tiny compared to our European counterparts. We have the numbers in terms of ridership, but we’ve been referring to them as Semi-Pros.”

so be it. i don't care if i'm labeled a pro, a semi-pro, or a bowl of jello, i'm gonna race the same. the only difference will be at the occasional NMBS race i do, where i'll be riding my ass off to not get lapped. kinda like getting chased by a grizzly bear. well, not really. bad analogy. too much homework to do right now to think of a good one!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

groovy-uvy?

veiw from my art class

i'm told uvm, where i'm going back to school, unfortunately not rodney dangerfield style, is not the pot smoking mushroom eating college mecca that it once was, aka, Groovy-uvy. personally, i'd rather compete for grades w/folks who are stoned, but word on the cobbles is that uvm has made some big improvements. new facilities, building updates, smaller classes, a focus on diversity, excellent online tools; overall, a well-balanced education comparable to that of a smaller liberal arts college. at 33, i'm a bit past joining a frat and instead have found myself in the sweet spot for getting my learn on; have been savoring the experience, and have found the other students accepting of my presence - and their perspective(s) on topics fresh. so far, due to entrance requirements, i've taken (or am taking) psychology, philosophy/religion, art, geology, english (sci-fi and fantasy!), and finally Java programming, my first computer science class (my major) - and i'm only in my 2nd semester. this mix has (and is) truly richening my perspective and been incredibly interesting. of course, front-loading all my electives is going to make future semesters extra challenging, but so be it, them's the rules for sneaking-in the back door. if only i could get in the way-way-back machine, 15 years worth, and smack some sense into the teenage me, life would be a whole lot easier right now - and my career a few yrs ahead. some things you (I!) can only learn the hard way.

on a sidenote, tim cook, one of the fellas i rode across colorado with, is now an assistant professor at uvm, a strange coincidence. yesterday i was chatting w/a classmate and she mentioned her geology prof was a younger guy. of course, it turned-out to be tim, who she said was kickin' some geo butt, keeping it interesting. sweet! i can't imagine teaching a 200 person lecture class (and making it interesting) is an easy task. i suppose, if you can ride the colorado trail smiling the whole time, you can tackle a lecture hall!

tim and andy kickin' it at 12,000 ft colorado style.

enough about getting my learn on, today i need to get my interval on. in boston, when bike commuting, intervals were commonplace, it was called "trying not to get killed." in rural vt, i actually need to plan workouts sometimes. as anyone who trains understands, intervals are no fun, made worse by afflicting them upon yourself by yourself. i'm not into hrm's, so i just do them until i want to puke. kinda like splitting and stacking wood which i do until i want to poke my eyes out.

enough of this ramblin', time to get to work!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Millstone Grind race report

the millstone grind course was superb; classic new england singletrack, rooty, rocky stuff. great fun, test of skills, hard to ride on "the limit", had to be in control, cheating corners usually had me dabbing or on the ground, baby-heads would jump-up and grab a pedal, but mostly i was loving the ride - the rigid fork was great, really fun in the rollers, pump-track riding. worries evaporated and my only regret was forgetting my gloves at home. a last minute 2nd wrap of gel tape on the bars was great, almost completely eliminated the usual vibrations and subsequent hand numbness. the lack of long, rocky descents helped a lot too as those are usually the downfall of the rigid fork. on friday's pre-ride, the course was crazy-dry. rain showers sat changed things-up a bit, bridges got slick, as did roots and goat climbs. skid turns and rear root-slides were in order, this was old-school ne singletrack at its best.

i took the lead into the singletrack from the gun. as i pushed the pace, i'd make mistakes, wasn't riding very cleanly when nearing the limit. my rear tire wasn,t hooking-up at all, so stopped on a dab to let-out at least 5lbs of air - and begin the chase. with the tire hooking-up i was crusing, having a great ride. by the middle of the 2nd lap it was apparent my max speed was slower than ethan and peter's. brook had missed the start, but found us somewhere on the 2nd lap as we wrapped back and forth. those 3 slipped away, leaving me in no-man's-land for the next 20+ miles.

i
tried to keep the pace high. heavy traffic into the 3rd lap had me anxious, trying to move-up, stay steady and smooth, keeping the power down, hoping to see brook, ethan or peter in the distance, but folks were everywhere on the narrow singletrack. late in the 3rd lap, on an attempt to pass a slower rider, i managerd knock the guy off the trail. i slowed and apologized - and realized i needed to take it easy, that the guys in front were dealing w/the same situation, ride hard when appropriate. from then on, when the trail was clear i'd hit the gas, work hard, then take rest when gearing-up for a pass. the system worked well, but made for a slightly casual race at times, then i'd snap out of it and push hard until the next pass or technical pick-the-clean-line-or-crash horribly section. the junior field was huge, really great to see so many "new" riders out there crushing it. in the end, i couldn't bring anyone back and finished-up in 3rd, 6mins back from ethan in 1st. it would have been 4th if brook had checked the website and seen the start time change, instead he was out there killing it unofficial-like.

thanks guys (andy, et all) for putting-on such a great race! i heard efta will be picking the event up next yr, congrats on a job well done. and congrats to my buddy shawn who took 3rd in vet expert. this being his 2nd yr racing, that guy is on a mission to get fast fast.

results


video from pre-race news clip.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

rigid

the Millstone Grind is tomorrow - 34m of good 'ole fashion technical, swooping, twisty-turny vermont singletrack. pre-rode the course last night w/shawn and can sum-up the 8.4m loop up in one work - AWESOME! maybe two words - FRIGGIN' AWESOME!

i am kinda freaked about racing rigid, have never raced rigid - and a 34m "marathon" event is an ... interesting way to try it out! but, figure if i can ride smooth and strong for 34m of true vt singletrack, then i can ride rigid (and be competitive) at the vt 50. trail riding rigid is one thing - and i love it, feel truly connected to the terrain - but racing is a whole 'nother thing - the speed and effort produced, riding at your limit, totally changes how you (and the bike) react...

the ti deluxe 29'er definitely takes the edge off the bumps, with a nice soft tire up front (maxxis ignitor 2.1), it feels nice, like i have a whole 10mm of travel! kinda like bringing a spoon to a knife fight. but hey, if you know how to wield that spoon.. and igleheart's rigid fork bends and absorbs best when at high speed - it takes putting a lot of force into the fork to get a lot of it. faster is better. am nervous, but totally stoked to try this set-up out for realzy.

time to go sharpen my spoon.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Green Mtn Stage Race Report : Going to School :

when a big 'ole bike race comes to town (GMSR), and you like racing bikes, it makes sense to race yer bike! but, i needed proof i knew how (to race road); at least a cat 4 license. i asked my regional usa cycling rep for a cat 3. denied. asked for a 4. approved. since i don't have any real road racing experience, figured the 4 made sense... and was hoping to really crush it! i won't lie, i wanted to win this freakin' race.

to help me out, my dad let me ride his BRAND new IF SSR road bike (he got to ride it for a most excellent century ride we did together the wknd before). the SSR is an amazing ride. the stainless steel is crazy light, insanely strong, is moderately priced, and looks crazy cool to boot. it readily absorbs road (and dirt road) vibration while staying stiff and snappy. one sweet ass ride! i got it fit by FitWerx and immediately felt like this bike had been made for me to reveal in and on.

prologue: ITT, warren, vt, 5.7m.
kinda nervous, been sick a bunch, haven't raced much or well past cpl months, wasn't sure if my legs even still functioned, it'd been sooo long since i'd had proof of fitness. but, the sweet mix of climbing and rollers route was on MY roads, a definite advantage. i think. warmed-up for an hour, then 15:30 secs later grinded across the finish, the final steep climb churning my breaths into deep ragged gasps, the taste of blood in my throat, it was all i had - and good enough for 6th overall, 30sec back from 1st. relief. not in 1st, but not too far back either...

stage 1: circuit race, hinesburg vt, 64m.
cloudy, 70, light wind, perfect for racin' bikes. my first true road stage, definitely needed to learn the ropes. quick. was loving it from the gun. started way in the back due to a last minute leak, but quickly moved fwd and went for first break of the day. it failed quick. i played around a bit, riding close to the front, pushing the climb. the sound of the wheels whizzing, the closeness of the riders was wicked, a lot different than a 100m mtnbike race! full of energy and excitement, the SSR whispering in my ears, i went for the sprint line at 500m (first lap) and was denied w/100m to go. little too far out to rock it alone. felt like i went to school on this stage, learned how it worked, how the field flowed around you, surging fwd early in the race, then stable as legs grew weary. w/5k to go, on a false-flat downhill road section the crashes began in earnest. cpl guys clipped wheels right in front of me at 25-30, not sure how i escaped the mayhem, but i did w/a skid and a hop. after that i stayed to the right and moved fwd, after which there were 3 more crashes. so, this is road racing, eh? guys simply weren't riding straight lines anymore. tired, figgity, nervous, anxious, all it takes is a few folks feeling this way to cause trouble. finished w/the group and up a place or two in the GC, buzzed i'd survived my first real race! it cost me $56 for a new tire, but it's better than a trip to the ER which a cpl guys got to enjoy.

stage 2: mad river road race, warren, vt, 75m.
a perfect sunny day, light breeze, hardly a cloud. i'd been looking fwd to riding this stage since moving to the valley. we kept the pace civilized throughout the day, a little push on Brandon Gap, but a mellow recovery allowed (most?) everyone to catch back on. at mile 35-40'ish i moved to the front to help "chase"-down a break, i don't know much about pacelines and a cpl guys got me squared away on what to do. 20m later when we hit the dirt of bristol notch i jumped back out front, wanting to stay safe, see the holes. then we waited for App Gap, riding at 16mph for a while, chatting a bit. everyone was nervous about the climb, a cpl guys went off the front, but i wasn't going to chase 'em down, knew the climb would take care of things. one dilhole went around the double yellow and when called-out on it, gave the group the middle finger. nice. he would finish way back. LAME!! finally, w/5k to go, it was on. Dan Chabanov was the first to ride off, followed by 5-6 others, including Matt Buckley in yellow, i right behind, focusing on riding at the same tempo all the way up the climb vs hitting it hard early then dieing-off. there was no game plan but steady, full-on effort. unfortunately, it wasn't enough to catch Dan, i needed about 500ft more of vert to do that as i was slowly grinding up to him over the last kilometer. honestly, i wanted to win this stage, but was happy to settle for a spot on the podium, albeit on the 2nd step, and into 3rd on the GC... but was certainly jealous not to be in yellow!

stage 3: burlington crit, 34 1k laps.
another amazing, perfect sunny day. the route was a 1k technical 6 corner course in downtown burlington , full of cracked blacktop and sewer covers, w/lake champlain as a backdrop. i got a call-up and used it to stay up front until the GC time bonus sprint on lap 25. my efforts earned me 4secs, needed 40 to take 1st GC, 20 for 2nd. within a lap or two i slammed a pothole and my rear wheel moved out of the drops a tad, my rear brake jammed-up a bit, but not enough to stop progress, just drag. i wasn't sure if i should stop at tech support and try to use the "free lap" rule or ride it out. i tried messing w/my brake at 25-30mph, not a good idea for keeping fingers, or not killing your competitors - and soon was at the back of the field, w/20 to go. this wasn't good, not good at all. the guy in 4th GC was way up the road and a minor crash could take me off the podium. i focused on ignoring the brake, riding smooth, and used the mtnbike/cx skills to wiggle my way up the field on the tighter corners, then hammered w/the dragging brake up the straight, frequently outside the slipstream, just powering through the race, looking for #711, making sure he was within sight. before i knew it the race was over and i finished within the pack, moving into 2nd for GC due to a flat tire for matt. not a very exciting way to take 2nd, but that's bike racing, sometimes you're on the receiving end of shit luck, but sometimes not!

kevin, bruno, tom, and thomas rockin' the cat 1-2 race for IF.

bruno and kevin entertained seneca every afternoon:

also want to thank jenn's sister carole for driving 2hrs to help us out w/seneca on sat, and to my dad for all his hard work taking care of things. jenn had an enormous project to work-on over Labor Day, late nights, early mornings (to let me sleep), so things were a bit chaotic in the house during the race - and we needed all the help we got.

and so, now i have enough points for cat 3, looking fwd to doing my 2nd career road race next labor day. maybe next time on my own SSR...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

dad's killin' it

my dad's been hanging in VT, destroying projects for us, getting his spin on. i had a great ride w/him for the mad river century. perfect day, 75, sunny, nice breeze at our backs for the home stretch. then instead of relaxing at the house, going for rides, he's been crushing projects. i can't be slacking in front of j sr, been doing my best to keep up.

have been in a weird place since the hampshire 100k. been taking it easy, not rest weeks, not riding a ton, but not much rest either, too much to be done; keeping-up w/dad, wood splittin', winter looms kinda stuff. and there's this race i'd like to crush. or 2. so, been trying to ride smart, rest-up, sleep as much as seneca will let us.

my results this season have been sporadic, few and poor. sept opens-up a whole new season of racing, looking fwd to going into it feeling good, fresh. this wknd's GMSR, never done a stage race, rarely a road race, could be just what i need to mix it up. then next wk is millstone grind mtb, my first rigid ss race, just another way to mix it up, who knows, maybe i'll like it.

what i am liking is the bike fitting i got from fit werx in waitsfield, smooth things out, get more power.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hampshire 100k

yesterday may be one of the most horrible experiences i've had on a bicycle. harry went for it from the gun, winning in strong fashion in 6hrs and 10mins later - sweet!

my race started w/an upset stomach, seneca had the flu last wknd, i've been feeling low all wk but figured it'd pass by sunday. minutes into the race i was nauseous, but figured it was due to a late breakfast and fast initial pace. the legs felt pretty good, but having Harry (Precourt) and Chris (Gagnon) doing most of the early work helped the legs feel good. I was able to drink some fluids early-on, but the stomach was in rough shape. at mile 15-20 i decided i had to eat, just couldn't wait any longer, bonking was in sight. within 15mins of chowing i was all done. by mile 25 i was really cooked. everything just fell apart - power was gone and nausea gave way to full-on yaking. i crawled along for another 20miles hoping things would turn around and they never did. my saving grace was ginger ale at the aid stations, it was the only thing i could keep down, including water. i'd take a sip of water and get sick - i'd have to swirl it around in my mouth to wet the pallet then spit it back out. Ugly day for me. BUT, on a good note, it was a great day in the saddle for Harry - he won in convincing fashion, doing the early work, then pulling away for the win, including patching a flat or two.

the course was a bit rough, not much flow, a lot of fresh cut. i can handle sandy rail-trails if i know i'm gonna get a big singletrack buffet later, but it just wasn't so. maybe i've just been spoiled by the singletrack up here in central/northern vermont... on a good note, the race was very well run, the folks friendly, the camping perfect (and free), and the route marked superbly.

the IF road squad made an appearance w/5 members entering the race. good guys, hadn't met any of them (besides bruno and montello) before... it was their 4th race of the wk - a training ride. i gots respect for those guys.

i need to rest it appears. my body is simply shutting-down when the heart rate gets above resting rate. i'm not sure if it's the flu-bug from seneca or just too much riding and no rest the past few months... my dad is coming-up for a century ride this wknd, then the GMSR the wknd after, my first evah big road race. i hate rest, it feels like i'm getting fat and slow... but should have rested the wk i got back from canada, but like a fool, i rode in the rain everyday - usually for nearly 3hrs - on some pretty tough rolling terrain. fool. a little rest then would probably have been just the thing i needed...

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Monday, August 11, 2008

low pressure

the low pressure systems just won't budge, the rains have been persistent, following us up into new brunswick then back home again. a bunch of old friends were up this wknd, good times were had and the sun finally broke free for saturday afternoon (on my riding day off of course). I'm not complaining one bit, was stoked for some sun, it just figures that as dr mike and his lady rolled out mid-day sunday that sky was boiling once again and thunder rumbling all about. riding inside just wasn't gonna happen, not again, too much of that crap the past 10 days. of course, i could take all this rain as a sign and just work on the house, but the racer in me is desperate to turn the "base miles" of the co trail into power and speed. if i thought for one moment this season that i wasn't a real racer anymore, those thoughts are gone, replaced by a desire to do intervals and hill repeats on a quite dirt slope where haggard breathing and blood pounding in my ears is almost like music, a pain symphony. the season is already coming to a close, but there are a cpl more months of good racing to be had and a desire to crank-up the speed is unquenchable. this happens every year at different times. duration gets cut back by 25-50% and it feels really great to open it up.

time to go for the daily spin. of course it's raining again. at least there's a race on the horizon to begin tapering down for - the hampshire 100k this sunday.

it feels like this was soooo long ago, but it's only been 2wks:

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Blueberry Ride

Colorado feels like a million miles and a thousand days away as I sit on an old dock jutting into Cassidy Lake, New Brunswick Canada. Its planks, white paint flecked and peeling, sit atop ancient rusting steel dollys, possibly previously used to cart massive trays of food to inmates in some mental institution. It would seem fitting. Now retired and rusting their days away in a small spring fed lake near the Bay of Fundy, serving one last function. Eventually the flecking paint and rust particles will make their way down the 30 miles of creeks and streams into the Bay, exit into the deep ocean, dillute into particles and molecules and possibly someday make their way back onto dry ground as rain drops, maybe even falling on the head of some intrepid traveler on the CO Trail who is probably just a little bit nuts for making the journey.

It's been 3 full days since arriving back from Colorado, our trail experience a tale for another day, when better internet connection allows for pics... the climbs were enormous, the air thin, the weather impeccable, the company most excellent. I learned many things about myself, including a deep fear of high mtn lightning and an unquenchable desire to never eat an odwalla bar again. There are a hearty few out racing the Colorado Trail as I write this, some have even completed their journey, others nearing the end. I cannot follow their progress nor properly post my own experiences due to 1999 internet connection speeds here in the woods of the Atlantic Provinces, but I really don't feel ready to do so. I'm thoroughly enjoying this short vacation from my vacation. My old mtnbike sits alongside the rustic cabin, to be taken for a spin or left to sit in the rain if I wish.

The hills here don't rise tall, but they never stop rolling, rarely a flat. With legs born of a 50+hr wk of Colorado riding I decided to sprint the 65-70k of dirt and highway down to the Bay of Fundy and back. With little food or water on board, I was damn hungry by hour 2, then I saw them. Blueberry bushes. Everywhere. I stopped and chomped like a bear fattening-up for winter. I couldn't get enough until my stomach told my legs to back away from the berries. 2 berry stops later and I was back on Cassidy Lake sipping a cold Labatts and wondering how long the magic legs will last. Maybe until the 50 (the vermont 50 that is); it'd sure be fun to really crush that one. It's been a dream for a log time; but nothing like the feeling of an early morning dream, when wakefullness mixes with sleep, that the CO Trail has left in my being. The high mtn passes, the endless descents, the long sleepless nights of a day's adrenaline mixing w/longing. I plot my return in silent moments, my thoughts returning to the highs, ignorning the lows. I wonder what Andy's doing?