Wednesday, September 27, 2006

smells like off season

Not much to report on the riding front today.  Last night was a commute home on the dos hitting just enough trail to keep my sanity and I also started putting the cx stuff onto the Van Dessel.  The rear brakes went on fine but the front are being a bitch.  The brake posts are removable and the little doo-dad that applies spring tension to the brakes isn’t firmly attached and allows the new brakes to move.  Somehow the old brakes worked but the new ones don’t.  Dammit.  After about an hour of f’ing around with the front last night I decided to throw in the towel and hit it another night when I’m less tired.  My guess is that when I try it tonight it’ll work easy as pie.  If there is one thing I’ve learned since starting to wrench on my own bikes is that if something is frustrating me its best to step away and come back another time and it’ll probably work just fine.  It usually does work so I’m hoping that tonight will give me better results.  Wish me luck.

Oh yeah, my heart rate monitor shit the bed this weekend too.  Seems like everything is going to hell all at once here so not only do I not have use of my road and cx bikes but no heart rate monitor either.  Sweet.  That should make this winters trainer sessions super duper fun.  I have a hard enough time keeping the tempo up on those even with real h.r. numbers staring me in the face so when I can only go by perceived heart rate I’m sure the efforts will really suffer.  Woe is me.

9-27-06 Edit: I managed to get the rear brakes set up on the Van D. last night.  Yippee!!!  Ever since I started wrenching for myself I’ve found out that even though it takes me longer to do than at a shop, I know that when it’s done, it’ll be done kinda sorta right.  Actually, I’m giving myself too much credit here.  Let’s try this again.  When I wrench for myself I figure I have a 50/50 chance that it’ll work properly.  Canti brakes are one thing I should be able to handle though.  I think.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tektro, the anti bling

Yesterday I picked up the cyclocross bits I ordered from I love their in store pick-up option from their website. Its nice to be able to order something ahead of time, wait a few days, walk in, grab my stuff and walk out. Nice, quick and easy. So now I've got new brakes, bar and tape to get the Van Dessel suited up right. I'll hopefully also be picking up some used bar top brake levers from a friend this weekend that'll round out the project. I'm pretty psyched to get the V.D. suited up and riding again especially since my road shifter went to hell the other day.

Check out the sidewalls on my maxxis ignitors. Talk about wearing thin. They're getting so thin that I noticed a partial cut the other day. It wasn't quite deep enough to expose the tube but damn close. Of course I didn't want to spend the jing on a new tire so I busted out the J.B. Weld and glued the sucker back together. Its not the prettiest fix but it seems to be working well. Yesterday's ride on the super rocky trails at Reid proved that the fix will work for a short time at least. If it gets me through next weekend I'll be happy. Posted by Picasa

Mission accomplished

Job well done. Yesterday I went down to Reid State Park to hit up the race course for next Sunday and got 3 fast laps in. Ok, 2 fast laps and one monkey fucking a football lap, but close enough. I’ll probably go one more time next week and bust out 3-4 laps and then I should be good to go for the race.

The pipeline.

The course itself is a 29’ers wet dream. There is one section (actually about ½ of the course) called the pipeline that is nothing but big rocks and roots. It’s a total pain in the ass on a 26’er but somewhat more rideable on the Dos Niner. I’m hoping that if I can get the pipeline section dialed in I’ll be able to do some serious damage or at least make up time on some of the faster guys. We’ll see how it goes. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 21, 2006


While cruising the cyclocross board over at yesterday I stumbled across an old teammate of mine from the very first mountain bike team I belonged to, Brown Dog Bikes. It was a small shop in Camden Maine that (at least in my first year or two) managed to put together one of the top teams in the state and each year was duking it out with a few others to win the overall team points at the end of the season. The last year I raced for BDB, Josh moved out to California to get a bit more serious about his snowboarding and bike racing so I haven’t seen or heard from him in years. Anyway, I happened to see a post by Josh on the cx board and it looks like he’ll be making the journey cross country to do 6 weeks of elite cyclocross racing on the east coast including the two Verge Series races here in Maine. We’ve made tentative plans to do some riding while he’s here. The internet truly is an amazing thing. You can check out his blog HERE.

On to other news, I’m a bit bummed. On my commute home yesterday, the rear shifter on my road steed stopped working consistently. I don’t know what is wrong with it but the paddle to shift to higher gears doesn’t seem to catch anymore and is all floppy like. Total bummer. Hopefully it can be fixed without replacing the whole thing but I’m not getting my hopes up. I guess I’ll be strictly on the van dessel and dos for a while.

Speaking of the dos, we’ve got a date tonight to pre-ride next Sunday’s race course. I haven’t ridden there in a couple of months so I hope to get over a couple of times before the race. With my fitness being as low as it is right now I’m really going to have to rely on having the course dialed because there are some really long, technical sections where you can make up serious time if you ride them smoothly. Two or three laps tonight and next week should help.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

When it itches to pee

Poison ivy sucks donkey nuts!  I noticed a bit surrounding the race course this weekend but was careful not to touch any but guess what?  That’s right, for the last couple of days my legs and ankles have been sprouting itchy little bumps.  Excellent!  I swear, the next promoter who makes a course in the middle of a poison ivy patch is going to get a wad of it shoved up his cornhole.  Damn, I hate being allergic to this shit.  I think this is the fifth or sixth outbreak I’ve had just this summer.  Sure makes the days fly by.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


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Here is a quick rundown of the last day’s training.  Yesterday morning: jog with dog.  Yesterday afternoon: mow lawn with 30+ lb pack (baby stuffed inside).  This morning: 4am road ride, legs were dead so I took it pretty easy.  

Exciting stuff huh?

Here’s an interesting referral ( that I’ve been getting a few hits from.  Its from the Google Finance search engine.  If you scroll down, I’m the top blog referral for the day because of my “Short Track Beating” post.  Sorry suckers who link from there must be truly disappointed in what they find.  Its good to know that I can disappoint two demographic groups now.

Monday, September 18, 2006

More pics

Brynna pimping one of the sponsors with her Salsa tricycle t.

Candidate for manliest man of the year photo.

Pretty much my first farmers tan of the year was had yesterday.

The CTS dvd and coffee schwag. Posted by Picasa

All for now.

Short track beating

Yesterday was the Rotary Park Short Track race. The promoters were kind enough to have the expert and ss go off at diffent times so that people could double up if the mood struck. Well, the mood struck me so I did the ss race at 10:45 and the expert race at 12:00. The ss race was a total hoot. The promoters had set up an area with three consecutive 18" logs to hop/run over and I made a point of trying to ride them as smoothly as possible on each lap. By the end, I had really improved my form and now can easily hop consecutive logs without hitting my chainring. Bonus points to me and my sub par tech skills! The course also featured a couple of really tough, steep but short climbs. They were doable on an ss but very hard. Today though, my upper back is killing me from reefing on the handlebars so much while on those climbs. Shortly after the start, myself and three other ss'ers had passed the sport field and were settled into a nice battle. My goal was to stay with the first place guy until the last lap so that I could conserve energy for the expert race and then try to open a gap on the last lap. Things went perfectly with the four of us trading the top spot back and forth many times until the final climb before the last lap which was where I made my move. I quickly developed a gap and then settled in until the finish triumphantly in first. Soon after the finish I found out that I wasn't actually in first afterall. Apparently one sneaky ss'er had gotten ahead of the sport guys during the opening climb and was out of sight before I got to the front so I never saw him. Oh well, second place was good enough and I had a blast so all was good. As a prize, I got a CTS climbing video for this winter's trainer sessions. Bonus, since I really need to build up a supply of vids for the sufferfest that is indoor trainer season.A half hour after the ss race I lined up for the expert race. When the gun went off I was quickly passed by most of the field including some guys who never, ever beat me. I plugged away hoping that my legs would open back up after a lap or two (of 8-9) but unfortunately they never did so I ended up just cruising (but still suffering mightily) the rest of the race. Fortunately for me and my points for the season, only one other sucker showed up for my age group (pretty lame) and I actually managed to get the win. I was actually pretty embarassed to accept my prize but you've gotta take em when you get em.

The ss start. Rolling with the gearies.

Hopping the logs.

Mucho thanks to Marcy for taking the pics and entertaining Brynna while I rode in circles. B finally seems to be getting to the age that she actually enjoys (or at least tolerates) going to the races. She does seem to get a bit confused by all the skinny guys in lycra though. She's only used to seeing daddy looking like that.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cross progress

On Friday, KWood agreed to purchase some of my cast off parts from previous bikes. Not much but just enough that I had enough money to get most of the cross bits I needed for the Van Dessel. KWood bought $65 worth of stuff and my total for new parts came in at $64.95. Phew, that was close!

Here is a list of what I ordered today. Nothing fancy but they’ll get the job done.

Bar: Salsa Moto Ace Bell Lap

Brake levers: Tektro R200A Ergo

Bar tape: Salsa Goma

Cantis: Tektro Oryx, Front/Rear

Total: $64.95

Pack Mule

I managed to get in another somewhat suprise commute this morning. It was a kinda suprise because Marcy gave me the green light just before bed last night. Of course, since it was a suprise, I wasn't fully prepared with food etc at work so I was forced to pack it in with the Jandd Hurricane bag. The bag is pretty comfy overall but when you're used to riding without one, it can be a real drag. Its most noticeable on hills when the extra weight really slows you down. But of course, without one, I'd be without food today so I am very happy I have one. Plus, I use it on a daily basis as my giant lunch bag anyway so it sees lots of use.

Thankfully, this morning was close to 20 degrees warmer than yesterday, ringing in at 59 deg. Throw in a pre-ride jog with the dog and I had a pretty decent workout this morning.

Why do I always look like such a dope when I take the type of pics in the morning? Probably because I am a dope, taking silly pictures of myself.

Mouth agape.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Frozen nips

Last night as we were going to bed, Marcy reminded me that she was home today. Shit, I had forgotten and I usually like to ride to and from work on days that she’s home. Thankfully, I keep a stash of clothes at the office so I decided to do the jaunt in this a.m. assuming Brynna allowed us to sleep. Unfortunatley B didn’t allow a full night’s sleep and when we did finally get her back to sleep at 3, I laid there for at least another hour stressing about not sleeping. When I finally did get back to sleep I had a dream about not being able to sleep. How f’ed up is that? Anyway, when the alarm went off at 5 I briefly thought about resetting it to 6 but decided against it since I probably wouldn’t get back to sleep anyway. Upon reaching the living room and turning on the weather channel I thought again about going back to bed when I saw the temp was a balmy 40 degrees. Yikes! I had many reasons to go back to bed: 1. It was cold as hell. 2. I didn’t get enough sleep. 3. I’m just getting over that pesky flu thingy I had. 4. I was feeling like a big fat puss. Thankfully, I also has some good reasons to ride in: 1. If I went back to bed, I would end up waking Marcy two more times. Once getting back in and once again getting back out and if there is one thing that marriage has taught me its that the fewer times I can wake Marcy the better! 2. I have a race this weekend and really need to ride at least a little bit. 3. I didn’t want to be a puss.

So, in the end, I manned up and hit the road with more layers than I have worn since spring and I was still freakin cold. Downhills were brutal and the flats weren’t much better. It was one of those rides that you couldn’t wait for the climbs so that you could warm back up. Along the way I had one seriously sketchy moment. On a narrow road after having just been passed by a car, I drifted too close to the side and dropped off of the pavement onto a shoulder that was about 6” wide before dropping into a nice ditch. Usually, when I drift off the road I’ll simply slow down, ride it out and get back on the road when I’m under control again. On this occasion I knew that if I didn’t act fast, I’d be somersaulting into the ditch and the prospects of flying into a dark ditch with stumps, rocks and who knows what else just didn’t appeal to me. I also knew that if I tried to pull right back onto the road I risked eating it on the pavement because I had a good 2-3” lip to get over and with no time to bunny hop, I would be forced to try to turn back onto the road. Knowing how many layers I had on, I felt fairly confident that even if I did eat it, the road rash would be minimal. Thankfully, when I did correct my path the front wheel got up fairly easily with a slight lift, the rear slammed into the road edge, made some horrible rock to metal sounds and finally made it up on. Phew, unscathed except for maybe a couple of minor dings in the rim.

Afterwards, I started to wonder, how can a guy who has a hard time remembering his cell number run the above scenario through his head in about ¼ of a second?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Down for the count

So last week I got in a pretty decent amount of riding and cross training.  Probably more hours than I’ve managed to squeak in since early summer.  I was pretty pumped about that.  Until yesterday that is.  I got up at normal time, went for a run with the dog, got ready and headed in.  Was feeling pretty good until about 8am when the chills set in.  Damn!  Ended up toughing it out for a couple more hours then packed it in and went home to sleep it off.  Usually a good nights sleep will knock any illness out of me but I still feel like ass this morning.  A nicer ass, but an ass none the less.  Hopefully I can kick this thing quick because I’ve got the short track race this weekend when I hope to pull double duty racing both the single speed class and expert class.  I did the same last year and pulled a first in ss and second in expert so hopefully I can kick it up a notch this year.  We’ll see.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Man, what a sweet lunch break! I just got back from an hour lunchtime mtb ride. I still don’t know the trails behind my office very well so I have to be careful not to get totally lost (which is quite easy there) but I was able to put together one short loop and some out and back stuff but more importantly, I got to orient myself in a couple of places by coming out at houses and roads so that next time I’ll have a little better idea of where the f I am. Have you ever been on a trail that twisted and turned so much that you didn’t know which way is up? Well, this is one of those trails. At some point I’ll have to borrow a gps and map the trails well so that I can put together some cool loops. It also looks like I’ll be able to connect it together with the Zak preserve with just a bit of road riding and turn it into a 1-1 ¼ hr loop. Perfect for a long lunch.

Ok, back to the grind, gots me some stuff to get out in the mail this afternoon.

morning suprise

I had an interesting morning today. The alarm was set to go off at 5 (when I typically get up to jog with Chance) but somehow I had managed to re-set the clock so that it was an hour ahead so in reality it was 4 and not 5. Since I was up, I decided to get in a quick road ride. I quickly threw my stuff together and hoped on the the road stallion and headed out. I brought my camera so that I could get some cool coastal shots since I was heading down to Pemaquid and Bristol but unfortunately I wasted the batteries taking pictures of myself and a penis painted on a street sign so I have no lovely coastal shots for you but you do get to see some more pictures of me (yippee!) and some local Maine artwork.

the obligatory photo while riding shot.

Maine artwork at its best. The artist was obviously a bit confused when he/she put the stem looking thing just above the berries.

In the end, I rolled in with 1:20 and about 23 miles. I also have a lunch time mtb jaunt planned if all goes well. The weather is looking good so it should be a sweet ride.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sick day with B

I’m passing the time at home today. B-girl has been sick for the last couple of days. Marcy took the bullet and stayed home with her yesterday so I took today’s shift. Thankfully (for me), B was more sick yesterday and has been in pretty good shape today. Yesterday, I rode the road stallion home with the hopes that B would be feeling better by morning. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case so I had to get up at 4 after a night of little sleep and get into work to pick up my car so Marcy could get into work. Lazy s.o.b. needs to drive the work, the nerve! (just kidding baby!) Unfortunately, the early hour and lack of sleep made for a pretty sub-par ride. To top it off, I didn’t have the time or energy to make a pot of coffee before leaving so I grabbed my Hammer Gel flask (that was left over from the Sugarloaf race from 2 ½ weeks ago) and hit the road. About five minutes in I took a hit from the flask and immediately realized I had made a huge mistake! Apparently, mixed gel (espresso, vanilla and water) that has been sitting in the flask for almost 3 weeks is no longer consumable. It tasted like a mix of sour chocolate milk, bile and pond water. To be honest though, the bile was probably mine as I fought to keep from spewing whatever was left in my stomach from dinner the night before. Yummy.

I'm also running the potential changes that I'd like to make to the Van Dessel to make it a bit more commute friendly and somewhat cross ready. I had contemplated putting a set of old v's on for more stopping power but the more I think about that, if I go with drop bars they wouldn't work too well so I need to think of alternatives. Speaking to KWood on Tuesday, he told me he needs a new derailleur after he toasted his so I'm thinking that maybe I can sell him one of my various xtr's (3), maybe my xt shift/brake pods and avid v's so that he can make the jump to the world of 9 speed. In the process, I could scrape enough coin together to get some decent canti's and maybe some new bars for the VanD. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Soul searching

I’ve been doing some thinking since my “Stuff for sale” post last week.  We got the bill from the electricians who were camped at our place for a full day last Monday and am beginning to think that a new bike, no matter how cheap, isn’t in my near future.  With that thought in mind, I went out for a cross type ride yesterday on the Van Dessel to see what the potential is to use it for a cross race or two this year (if I decide to do any that is) and I think the potential is high.  I’ll definitely need to put some better brakes on.  Right now it has some really old and cheesy cantis from my brothers first mountain bike that only just barely work.  I have a set of avid single digits in my parts box at home that might do the trick to give me a bit more stopping power.  I’m not sure how they’ll work with road brake levers but they can’t be any worse than the cantis that are on there now so I’ll probably give them a try.  Secondly, I’ll probably pick up a set of uber cheap cross bars so that it’ll look like a respectable cross rig.  Even if I never use the drops, I should at least look like I do right?  Eventually, I’d like to build some better wheels for it as well but the current set-up works fine for now.

The bike is fun to ride so I’m actually excited to make these changes to breath some new life into the steed.  My next xc race is actually a short track in two weeks so I may actually spend a bit of time on the Van D. doing some cross style training and getting it dialed in.