Monday, July 31, 2006

Bradbury quick recap.

Uber quick post time.

The field was stacked for yesterday’s race at Bradbury.  EFTA doesn’t have a pro category so I’d be duking it out with the pros.  There were three in my age group and 3 or 4 others in other groups, plus a shit load of fast Southern New Englanders from the main EFTA series.

The race was supposed to be 30 miles but ended up only being 24.5.  I got a bad start but worked my way up through the field, in the end passing all but one expert and the pile of pros.  Finished 4th in my age group behind the likes of Ben Moody, some McKeefe dude and my nemesis Matt Boobar.  I felt strong all race long so I don’t feel bad losing to 3 super fast pros.

My finish time was 2:41 and change.  Not exactly an enduro but maybe they’ll have more miles next year.  If I had known the race would finish so quickly I probably would have tried for a better start.  Oh well, at least the legs felt good and to be honest, I had nothing for the guys in front of my anyway.  Probably could have caught the other expert ahead of me though.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Poo Finger

Over on DAMNelsons I have started a weekly column called “Ricky’s Knee” where I will give all sorts of advise on being a father, husband, annoying etc. If you’re wondering how you’re going to handle being a dad it would be good to check out. If you’re having trouble satisfying your wife, future articles might be worth checking out. If you want to read about baby poop, you most certainly want to check it out. So, in short, check it out. It may not be all that useful but hopefully it will be funny in a sort of “I can’t believe I just wasted five minutes of my life reading this” kind of way.

Back to riding. Yesterday, I met up with my bud Kevin to ride some of this weekend’s race course down at Bradbury State Park. Neither of us had a bike computer so I’m not sure how much distance we actually covered but I’m guessing we hit about ½ of the course’s 30 miles in about two hours. Factor in an increased race pace and I’m guessing we’re looking at about a 3 ½ hour race. Its really hard to say for sure but that’s my guess. One thing is for certain, most of the trails are going to be slower than usual because smack dab in the middle of really fun, fast sections they have added new trails (to lengthen the course) and thereby totally screwing your speed and momentum. Thankfully most of the new trail that I saw seemed to be fairly rideable but some of it will be downright brutal come race day. It also looks like they are saving all of the climbing and super technical trails for the last ½ of the course. Thanks a pantload for that one. It will be sweet to hit all of the brutal climbs and scary descents when I’ve already been at redline for over two hours. It should be mucho fun. Bitching aside, I think it is going to be a sweet race and should actually be really fun assuming I make it through in one piece.

After the ride we ran into Leslie and Olivia. Les is a good friend of Marcy’s and a former Bikeman teammate and Olivia is a current teammate and the dutchess of dirt from two years ago. When I saw them standing at Les’ car, I cruised up and tried to do a rear wheel skid but f’ed it up and almost face planted right in the middle of the parking lot. Leave it to me to screw up a move that any self respecting 5 year old has mastered. Damn, my tech skills are lame!

This morning I woke up with a somewhat gimpy right knee. It must have been the 2 ½ hours of single speed gear mashing that did it since before this week, I hadn’t ridden that small wheeler in almost three months. So its vitamin I time for me so I can get rid of the soreness before this weekend. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Spreading the love

I’m sorry and you’re welcome for the infrequency of posts recently. I’ve been up to my short and curlies with work and other duties recently and have had little time to post.

I’ve been thinking recently (never a good sign) about the various posting methods of which two are most relevant to me. The first is the blogger who posts something each day regardless of quality just to keep things rolling and keep people checking back everyday. The second is the blogger who posts every few days when he/she actually has something informative and useful to say so although the volume of posts is relatively low, the quality is high. I fall into category 3, infrequent, low quality posts. Best of both worlds if you ask me! Others, like Mr. J.M. fall into another category altogether, frequent posts of good to excellent quality. I don’t like J.M., he makes me feel inadequate.

Ok, back to the task at hand. Sunday was a rocking day on the bike. It started off with an easy spin with my father and bro up at Rancho-de-Nelson. The cool thing about that ride was that it was actually initiated by my dad. When he found out I was coming up, he actually asked to go for a ride. I was amazed because he rides about four times a year. Apparently he really enjoys it but can’t get motivated to go unless I’m around. Of course, I’m more than happy to help when I’m up. My brother, on the other hand, needs to be dragged out kicking and screaming. He seems to have a good time once he’s out there but he’d never go on his own.

After the mountain bike ride, the plan was to ride my bike into the office where I had left my car on Friday. Its about a 50 mile trip on some pretty nice roads so I had been looking forward to it until it was time to go. Some background here. My parents always have a healthy supply of cookie dough ice cream and mountain dew on hand so whenever we’re up there, my inner glutton kicks in and eats and drinks itself silly. Sunday was no different, within an hour of being there I had a can of dew and some ice cream. Needless to say, my gut wasn’t feeling so great. Add to that, I was leaving at 5 pm and didn’t have any real food to eat so I grabbed a handful of Chewey Chips Ahoy (of which there are always plenty on hand) and hit the road. The first 15 minutes were sheer torture and I was just counting the minutes until Marcy drove by so she could pick me up and take my sorry ass home. Soon though, I was feeling better and really cranking along. Enough so that when Marcy did catch me I sent her on home and finished my ride. 2.5 hours and 49 miles later I was at the car feeling surprisingly good.

Tonight I meet up with my buddy Kevin at Bradbury State Park to do a bit of course recon for this weekends enduro race. The course is close to 30 miles so we won’t hit it all but I hope to hit a bunch and get back into the mtb groove for the weekend. The Dos is still at the doctor's office so I'll be rolling on the Moto Rapido SS. Its really weird to be rolling little wheels again. It should be fun regardless because Bradbury has some really sweet, buff, rolling trails.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Finally, some good press.

I had this article in the Portland Press Herald pointed out to me by Kevin today. Its about time land managers realize that having mountain bikes on your property can actually be profitable. The rangers at the park work year round on new trails and improving existing trails and now on any given day there seems to be more mountain bikers on the trails than hikers. Here is the article.

Bradbury welcomes mountain bikers, so they help the park

WHAT: Bradbury Mountain Enduro
WHEN: July 30
WHERE: Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal
COST: $35 for the race; $20 for the touring class
MORE: Race or tour around a single 30-mile loop. All proceeds go to Bradbury Mountain State Park and local bicycle charities. Call 773-1700 for details.

Bradbury Mountain State Park is between Portland and Lewiston. But despite the nearby urban locations, for many years it didn't draw as many visitors as coastal parks such as Camden Hills or Reid State Park in Georgetown, locals say.
"Bradbury Mountain did pretty well during the fall. Other than that, it was one of the state parks that was kind of dead. Now, it is a Maine mountain-biking mecca," said Jamie Wright, owner of Gorham Bike and Ski in Portland. "The park works really hard to make these trails so mountain bikers can come feed off each other."
The park now attracts 30,000 visitors a year, many of them mountain bikers, said park manager Mick Rogers. That number has doubled in the last eight years, since the cyclists were welcomed in, said Rogers.
"It gives the park good exposure," he said.
It helps the park in other ways as well.
Gorham Bike and Ski sponsors an annual mountain-bike race at the park that donates proceeds to help the park accomplish different goals. For example, the Portland bike shop paid the Pownal Land Trust's legal fees when it wanted to donate land to the state park.
Next weekend, the eighth annual mountain-bike race,the longest yet, will take place at the park. The Bradbury Mountain Enduro race will cover a 30-mile loop.
The race, along with the park, has grown.
In the past eight years, the race has gone from an 8-miler to the more than 20, and now 30. In that time, the park has grown from 600 acres to 1,000.
There is a direct relationship between the two, Rogers said.
The park has allowed mountain bikers to use its trails since 1997, Rogers said. At first, bikers came to the park without going through the gate, and they didn't pay the $3 fee.
"There were hundreds of them that did that," Rogers said. "Now, it doesn't happen much. They really support the park. They do damage on rainy days, they come back (to fix it). We'll get 100 mountain-bike volunteers."
The relationship between the park and its biking patrons is productive for both.
The bikers are happy to help develop a place they can ride, Wright said.
"The problem with the state, there are very few legal places to ride," Wright said. "A lot of (trails) are considered poached. Bradbury is nice. It's legal. It's one of the few."
The riders' interest in the mountain park also makes it unique, Rogers said.
"There are not many that allow mountain bikes. Mount Blue and Camden. But Mount Blue has nowhere near (the number of riders)," Rogers said.
It was Rogers who approached Tim Corcoran, the manager at Gorham Bike and Ski, to suggest the mountain-bike race eight years ago. Since then, the Portland bike shop has worked to change the race each year and make it more appealing.
This year, the race not only will feature a single loop, it will offer a "touring" class, for those who are not riding for time or place but want to cover the long woodland route.
With the help of park rangers, local riders have crafted a course that is one large loop over single and double track.
This race is about stump jumping, holding tight, leaning back and maybe falling off.
Outdoor types who enjoy extreme activities where adrenaline mixes with fresh air crave this type of backwoods fun, where winning is second to the thrill.
"Mountain-bike racing numbers have been down for a number of years. But numbers are up for more adventurous types of racing, such as triathlon," Wright said.
The race is modeled after the Vermont 50 in Brownsville, Vt., that is capped at 650 mountain bikers each fall and has to turn many away.
But, the scenic Vermont race is through farmland, and at least a portion of it is over logging roads.
Wright wanted Maine's enduro race to be a true rugged mountain-bike experience.
Early last week, there were about 100 preregistered for the Bradbury Mountain Enduro, and, most were from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, Wright said.
The hope is to add a 50-mile loop next year, Corcoran said.
But even if the enduro race's growth slows, the mountain-biking scene at Bradbury is certain to climb, bikers say.
"Before, you'd see the occasional person. Now, you go up there any evening, the parking lot is busy. It's good," Corcoran said.
Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

Friday, July 21, 2006

First flat

Mother nature gave me the ole high hard one this morning.  I had planned to take Brynna in the trailer behind my bike to daycare today.  Unfortunately, when I got up this a.m. it was overcast and drizzly and by the time I got into the office it was an f’in downpour.  Damn-it.  I thought it would be a fun way to get B-Girl to daycare, take the load off of Marcy for the day and get a bit of riding in to boot.  Alas, no such luck.  Maybe I’ll try again on Monday.

On Wednesday, I got up at 4:15 to get in a couple of quality hours on the road before heading to the plant.  It was a beautiful morning and the fist this year that I didn’t need to ride most of with my jacket on.  I’m really looking forward to the days when I can get up, throw on my kit and head out the door instead of spending precious minutes in an internal debate with myself on whether or not to wear the jacket or arm warmers and knee warmers, one or the other….?  I guess that is one of the problems with riding so early.  65 degrees at 4 am feels totally different than at 10 am.  I probably wouldn’t consider a jacket if its 65 at 10 but almost always do if its 65 at 4, the air just seems a bit cooler despite the temps.  Anyway, the a.m. ride went smoothly and was uneventful.  I threw in a bunch of intervals as well as some hill work and was feeling great by the time I got to the office.  The way home, on the other hand, was another story.  My legs felt like lead for the first ½ hr which, to be honest, isn’t unexpected after a longish morning ride.  When the legs finally opened up I started to push the pace a bit more and that’s when things got really shitty.  While crossing a bridge on rt 1, I was forced by traffic to stay on the shoulder which is where the dreaded drainage grates are.  I don’t know who designed them or who specified that this type should be used in an area that sees a lot of loaded touring traffic, but they totally suck.  I hit the first one pretty hard and knew that if I did the same with the rest (probably another 10-12) that I was sure to get a pinch flat on the rear so I started to bunny hop each one.  Unfortunately for me, they were so closely spaced that at 20 mph it was hard to time the jumps perfectly and I ended up nailing a couple of them resulting in my first flat of the year on my road bike since installing the Panaracer Extreme Duro’s.  I’ve gotta say, these tires have been great, shrugging off just about everything I throw at them.  Surprisingly, when I got home and checked the tire and tube it turns out it wasn’t even a typical pinch or puncture that caused the flat, it was a sharp edge on one of the grates that managed to cut a small slice in the side wall of the tire.  Its not enough of a cut to warrant replacing the tire but just enough that the tube got a tiny pin prick hole.  You really can’t blame the tire for that one and at about 1000 miles only having one flat is pretty sweet.  

This weekend, we’re heading down to B-Town to visit my brother and his wife.  Hopefully we’ll be able to get a nice ride in at the Fells.  Hopefully we do because I haven’t been there in quite some time.  And Rus, if you’re reading this, TiVo the TT on Saturday so we can watch it Sat p.m. will ya?  I’m jonesin to see some tour coverage beyond the 2 secs they show each morning on SportsCenter.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Soul searching

Well, after having a few days to relive the happenings in Sunday’s race, I’ve decided to not be such a crybaby and instead learn a few things from the experience.  For starters, I think I handled the initial mechanical fairly well, I took my time to properly pound on the wheel to straighten it out instead of hurrying which is important.  Whenever I hurry trying to do something during a race I always screw it up so patience is key.  Second, while the wheel debacle was obviously an issue it really shouldn’t have taken me out of the race the way it did.  Unfortunately, by the time I finished my first lap I had mentally checked out and was only really concerned with finishing and therefore didn’t push myself hard enough.  I think now that if I had pushed just a bit harder I may have been able to pick up second place.  Who knows really, all that I do know is that I didn’t leave it all out on the trail and that pisses me off.  Thirdly, I know now (but had suspected) that my climbing isn’t where it usually is for this time of year.  Climbing has always been my strong suit but this years it’s a bit sub-par.  For the next few weeks, I’m going to try to focus a bit more on my climbing.  Fourthly (I think I just made that up), I had a pant-load of asparagus last night and now my pee smells funny.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Weebles wobble

Here is a pic of me coming through in the feed zone going into my second lap. If you open the pic you can easily notice the f'ed up front wheel. A couple of minutes of pounding on the ground and it still slightly rubbed the fork in one spot. Fun stuff. Posted by Picasa

Thanks Marcy for the pic. I'm not exactly sure how she took this pic and then gave me a bottle seconds later. Her multi-tasking skills have improved since having the baby I guess. There is something about holding the baby while folding laundry while cooking dinner while vacuuming that seems to hone those multi-tasking skills.

race recap, abbreviated version

Quick race recap here, more to follow this evening.

Race started off well, for about 5 minutes that is, then someone endoed onto my front wheel and tacoed it. After a couple of minutes of beating it on the ground I got it round enough to ride. Wheel was sketchy on the downhills so I took it easy, not pushing too hard. Wanted to quit the race many times but I need the points for the series so soldiered on. Suprisingly, rolled across 3rd in expert senior II but 7th or 8th overall. Not as good as I hoped but good enough considering. The bike will be in the shop this week for a wheel rebuild and a front derailleur installation (more on that later). Gotta run.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Another view from the top of the mountain. Its pretty nice actually assuming you can still see straight when you get up there. Posted by Picasa

yet another camden pre-ride

The build up for the Camden race this weekend continued last night. After a 12 1/2 hour work day that included over 4 hours of standing around outside in the sun talking about this and that, I headed over to Camden to get in a couple of laps on the race course. I had confirmed from the race promoter that the course was finally finished and marked so I was looking forward to seeing what the rest of the climb was going to be like and how the ensuing downhill would treat me. Unfortunately, because of the long work day I was unable to ride with Mr. Wheels as we had planned. Hopefully he was still able to get a couple of laps in.

My ride turned out pretty well. The very first part of the course is the climb that takes you to the top of the mountain before rewarding you with any and I do mean any downhill. 25 minutes (20 min at race pace) of suffering. Its still a tough climb but now that people are coming out the ride it some its at least getting packed down a bit. Hopefully more people will check it out over the next couple of days so we'll be in good shape come Sunday. On thing is for certain, after Sunday it will be primo. From the top of the mountain (where you have views out over lakes and Penobscot Bay) there are some very nice single track descents criss-crossing the ski trails as you make your way down. About half way down though the descent turns into a severe ass pucker section. There are a couple of spots that I'm not sure I'll ride during the race. I'll probably still be cross eyed from the climb at this point so I suspect running it will be safer and faster in the long run especially because I think the race will be won or lost on the climb of the last lap. From there, the trail dumps out onto the old course (shortened somewhat since the climb has been added in) where I'm much more comfortable because of the dozens upon dozens of times I've ridden there.

I ended up getting in two laps in about 1:40 which means that four laps on race day could easily take 2.5-3 hours, factor in the near 90 deg heat and it should be tough, fun and painful. I'm betting on a war of attrition so my goal will be to take it somewhat easy for the first couple of laps and see how it goes from there. When I won here two years ago I was sitting in 7th or 8th after the first lap or two and came on strong at the end so hopefully that tactic will work this weekend. We'll see.

I saw today that Skip Brown is doing a 100 miler this weekend so won't be here to contest this which is sort of a bummer. I really wanted to see how he did with his 36x16 gearing on the climb. I'm sure he'd still be able to ride all of it. Dirty bastard.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tried to post this the other day but blogger was being a beeyatch. This was the pick of bike, trailer and Brynna after our ride on Saturday. I'm hoping to make this a weekly thing for us.
 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Good Morning

This morning got off to a good start. I rolled out of bed at 3:45, threw on my kit, grabbed the light and the dog and headed out for some early morning single track action. Recently I have begun occasionally taking the pooch with me riding again and he has been doing surprisingly well considering how much of a dud he’d been earlier in the year. Yesterday I ran out of time to do a post about how great he’s been riding recently and I’m glad I did because this morning he went back to his old ways, immediately taking off within the first few minutes. Instead of sticking around and trying to find him I decided to go on with my ride and he’d either catch up or meet me back at the car afterwards. (He ended up catching me soon after I turned around to head back to the car)

The ride turned out to be a bit sub-par from a lack of energy. Apparently it wasn’t a good idea to head out with no food in my stomach. Go figure. Next time I’ll at least have a bottle of Heed with me instead of plain water. Regardless, it was nice to finally get out in the morning again and get the ole metabolism fired up before sitting my ass in an office chair and slinging design all day. I hope to do the same tomorrow only on the road so that I can get in a more consistent workout since the trails behind my house are just not ridden enough right now to keep the weeds beat back so you can keep a good pace. Earlier in the year before everything started to grow it was pretty good but not so much now. Its still nice to have them back there though so I’m not complaining. OK, maybe a little bit.

A view from the top of the Bowl.

Thursday I’ll be hitting up the Camden Snow Bowl trails again with this guy. Hopefully they’ll have the course marked out so that we can get a good feel for it. If not, I’ll make my best guess and do a few laps just to get re-acquainted with my old turf. As of now, this weekend is looking like its going to be a muggy mess so getting up that climb will be key. If you mess up on one of the switchbacks you may end up walking for a while so I want to have those dialed.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Catching up.

Sorry I’ve been getting behind in posts lately but considering nobody really cares if I post or not, I figure it really doesn’t matter anyway. Still, I keep plugging away. Maybe one of these days I’ll be discovered and I’ll have one of them there blog thingies that people actually read and stuff. Yeah, probably not but here goes anyway.

The past week I’ve been trying to focus my energy on getting ready for the upcoming race at the Camden Snow Bowl coming up this Sunday. This year’s course is a bit different from years past because historically a good portion of the race course was on trails that local riders built without permission so this year, the organizers (Mad Mike) decided to keep the race solely on town property until an agreement can be worked out with the land trust that now owns most of the other land surrounding the mountain. As a result of the lost land, the course is now forced to go all the way to the top of the mountain (really just a good sized hill but very steep in areas) and then basically come screaming down to start over again. From what I can tell (the course is not marked yet but I know which trails are on town property) there are going to be essentially no flat areas on the course aside from a couple of traverses across the mountain. It should be a pretty tough race. The opening climb which will most likely take between 20-30 minutes is a total nut buster with about a bizzillion switchbacks. The bleeding from the ears climb will be quickly followed by an ass-behind-the-seat descent that truly scared the crap out of me. Its always nice to be seeing cross eyed when you start a scary descent. From there I believe the course dumps back onto some well used trails from the previous course. It should be a good time and guys who like Mt. Snow (ahem-matt) should check it out. Much nicer trails than Mt. Snow.

Whoo, I digressed a bit there. Long story short, I’m trying to ride at the Snow Bowl at least once a week so that I’ll have the course dialed in.

Saturday A.M. I loaded B-Girl into the Chariot trailer and did a nice and easy road ride. She played happily for a bit and then drifted off to sleep. I rolled into the driveway after an hour and was pretty psyched to finally had a successful trailer ride. This opens up all sorts of possibilities now family rides, long slow grinders, kick ass seated hill workouts etc.

Friday, July 07, 2006

checking in

Phew, sorry for the delay, this past week has been a real nutbuster with work, house and family stuff but things are sort of starting to clear up. Over the long holiday weekend (I took Monday off to make it four days) I finally got my arse in gear and started crackin on the bathroom remodel. For some reason Marcy was getting a bit torqued off since its been happening off and on for (she says) nine months. Women, they're never happy! Kidding babe, kidding. Anyway, I got my ass in gear and busted out some serious work on the bathroom, staining and installing the concrete countertop, installing a bunch of trim, pulled out the old counter and sink and did some plumbing (egad!) work. Lots more to do but at least things are rolling now. Hopefully I’ll get another chunk done this weekend, maybe the tile work and the rest of the trim. On a riding note, Marcy was so happy to see me slaving away for hours on end that she practically kicked me out the door a few times over the weekend to get a ride in. If I had known that pulling my weight around here would actually lead to more riding time I would have stepped up a long time ago! ;)

Concrete counter.

One of my rides from this past weekend involved riding from Marcy’s parent’s place on a lake inland to our place. I’ve done the ride tons of times before and wanted to try a new route so I had the gazetteer (maine atlas) spread out on the blanket where I was watching B-Girl during a brief stint out of the water. Apparently Brynna didn’t care for my route choice because she crawled onto the map and proceeded to take a piss all over the page. Thanks sweetie, I love you too. Despite the setback, it turned out to be a great ride with some very nice climbs on some really hot roads. One thing that I was not considering with my training this year is that I do almost no mid-day rides anymore, which means that my body doesn’t seem ready for the heat yet. As a result, I have decided to try to get some more in so that the first hot race doesn’t kick me in the junk. Never want that.

More later because this is seriously cutting into my porn surfing time.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

work smurk

This damn work thing is getting in the way of my blogging yet again! Damn them all to hell. I promise that my post tomorrow will be so insightful and hilarious that I’ll never need to post again.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

quick post

Time is short and I have a client coming in a few hours so I leave you with this. Is it supposed to be fireworks or a penis. You be the judge! Posted by Picasa