Monday, April 30, 2007

First race in the can.

I competed in my first race of the season on Sunday, a training crit south of Portland. I'd only done a couple of crits before in my life so I was kind of unsure what to expect. Of course I've heard plenty of horror stories about gnarly crashes and loss of skin so I was a bit nervous heading out with Mad Mike Sunday morning during a steady rain. In my nightmares nervous crit + wet, greasy corners = sure death. Thankfully, by the time we got there the rain had stopped for the most part we we would only be dealing with damp pavement. Also, the biggest team that usually dominated the race had only a few riders there because of a race in Mass. So with a smaller, slightly less agressive field I figured I would come out ok.

Warm-up consisted of riding with the first race of the day, the B race. Mike and I stuck to the back of the pack and tried to keep from getting sprayed in the face from the riders in front. About 3/4 of the way through the B race, I began to worry that maybe I wouldn't have the legs today because I was having a hard time keeping up with some of the accelerations with the B's. Surely the A race would quickly shell me out the back.

About five minutes after the B race the A race started to immediate attacks. With a fairly small field I felt obligated on many occasions to reel the attacks in despite the fact that there were several obviously stronger riders there. I'll chalk it up to my inexperience and being a sucker. Live and learn. During the race there were three premes. The first would be for a cool SMCC hat (the sponsor team), the second $5 (not much but when the entry fee is only $10 its not so bad) and finally one series point. When we got the bell for the first preem (hat) I had no intention of going for it but coming down to the final 200m I found myself in perfect position so sprinted in for a fairly easy win. After that it was mostly paceline type stuff with a few attacks that would be quickly reeled in. Nothing too strenuous but still a pretty tough tempo, especially coming out of the corners.

When I heard the bell for preme no. 2 I didn't hear what it was for but was banking on the $5 so I immediately decided to go for it. Coming out of the final turn before the sprint I found myself in poor position leading everybody out (rookie mistake) so I soft pedaled for a bit to see what would happen. I started to hear things happening behind me so I kicked into gear and went as hard as I could. Quickly, though, I caught a glimpse of someone pulling up on my right hand side. I didn't think I had everything left in the tank but I dug a bit deeper and kicked it up a notch. Unfortunately, the guy on my right kept coming and I thought for sure I was going to lose to him. With 10 or so meters to go it became clear that we were going to cross neck and neck so I immediately started thinking about all of the sprint stages of the tour I've seen and how they always do the little bike shove as they cross the line to pick up the added few inches. I had never attempted this move before and really didn't know how to do it properly but at the last second performed it perfectly (in my mind at least, I'm sure it was ugly for the few spectators) and nabbed the second preme by 6".

Totally blown, I decided to play it safe for a while and try to recover. Thankfully for me, soon after that Mike made a move off of the front with 12 laps to go. Not wanting to help reel Mike in, I sat in as much as possible and soft pedaled when I was at the front trying to give both Mike and my legs a break. It ended up working with Mike coming in a solid minute ahead of the field. For the final sprint I once again found myself in good position right behind a strong cat 3 rider who started the sprint from about 200m. I pulled around him at about 100m and thought by god that I had a chance but with 15m to go two guys blew my doors off with perfectly timed sprints for the line. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Next time I'll wait a bit longer to go for it.

All in all I think it was a pretty successful day for a guy who doesn't consider himself a real sprinter. Of course we'll see what happens next time when the rest of the field is there! Back of the pack I'm guessing. Either way, it'll be fun.


As I mentioned last week, I picked up the El Mariachi. Of course, the trails are a water logged mess so it'll be a while before it sees any trail time. Thankfully, since its also going to be my commuter, I had picked up some Schwalbe Big Apples when I bought it so this weekend I mounted those fatties up so see how she rolled. I bought the El as a complete build and its almost identical in spec to how I spec'd out the Dos. Weird but handy if I ever need to swap parts plus if I buy extras for a bike, they'll work on the other as well.

First impression, the El fits me perfectly and feels well balanced. Its a bit portly compared to the Dos Niner but that is to be expected with a steel frame and ebb. Of course once the gears and other crap are pulled off it will lighten it up significantly.

The bike came with Ignitors which I love (and will use on the Dos) but for now the El will be rolling with the Apples and eventually, if the trails ever dry out, I'll mount up the Panaracer Rampages. The Big Apple tires are freakin huge! They are labeled as 2.35's and I'd guess they are all of that, talk about volume. One the winter worn roads around here the combination of 29'er wheels and big ole slick fatties did the trick to smooth things out. I could plow through just about any rutted section and not worry. These same sections on my road steed would have been downright terrifying. Suprisingly, despite the extra weight that the Big Apples carry, the bike seemed very efficient on the road. Usually I like riding my mountain bikes on the road about as much as I enjoy watching Dr. Phil but this combo seems really smooth, efficient and fun. You won't find me taking this to any agressive group road rides but it'll be perfect for winter commuting and urban type rides.

More info to come as I get more time on her. For now, I've got a big stupid grin on my face.
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Friday, April 27, 2007

long time no post

uber busy again so here is a quick rundown of the last week.

-broke my road saddle while riding the trainer. Weak.

-installed my trusty 'ole flite tt. Always thought tt stood for titanium but now realize it stands for "taint tormentor". Damn that thing tore the ass out of me. Wanted a new Fizik Arione but don't have the money for it so got a bonty to match the broken one but this time with steel rails.

-bled from every orifice on Wednesday's group road ride. 71 total miles, 4:15 and lots-o nasty climbs.

-got my shorts back from mi madre and stiched up and she did a fine job.

-got new race kit. its killer.

-picked up el mariachi, installed new saddle and peddals and did one spin around the yard.

-first race of the year (road) is sunday. weather looks nasty so we'll see what happens.

-I've now screwed off for 4 minutes. better get back at it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gone x2

Two bikes down, one to go. I sold the Fuel today and it will be shipping out to Cheese-consin tomorrow. Only have the Van Dessel to sell at this point but I'll need to wait a month to do that so that pay pal doesn't nail me again for interest. Who do they think they are expecting to get paid for providing services anyway??? Apparently you can only accept $500/month before they nail you. Dirty pinkos! :)

We've got a beautiful weekend on the way with temps approaching the 70's. At first I was pretty psyched but it seems that little B has given me her stomache virus. Thanks B! Instead of saddle time this weekend it looks like I'll be getting plenty of porcelain time.

Monday, April 16, 2007


The moto rapido now resides in the helpful hands of our friends at Bikeman awaiting shipment to merry ole Chicago. While I was there I got to see my future El Mariachi (as soon as I get the coin scrapped together that is). Beautiful curves and just waiting to be ridden hard.

Speaking of beautiful, I caught a look at the new bikeman winter jacket. Freakin sweet! Windblock outer and a soft fleecy liner. Super comfy and probably pretty warm too. This would make a great christmas present (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Ever wonder what pain looks like? Well here is what last Wednesday's group ride looked like. You can tell when I got to Camden and started the ride with others because my heartrate quickly rocketed up from the 130's-140's up to 160's-170's and cresting over 180 on a few occasions. Lovely.

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Its outa here!

Sorry (yet again) for the lack of posts recently, we've been busy building an arc to float on outa here when the rain is done. Gee-sus did it rain and blow the last couple of days. I'm not sure what that means about tomorrow's group ride of death, weather looks iffy, but hopefully it'll be nice enough that I can at least get outside. Last night saw me spinning to the Climb Right Carmichael video. Damn that was hard but if you've got less than an hour to ride and can't get outside it'll make the time worth it.

A couple of days ago I listed the Moto Rapido up on MTBR and as of this morning, it officially belongs to someone else. The cashola is in my pay pal account waiting for me. Now I just have to get to the shop and ship it out. I almost sold the fuel today as well but it looks like that one fell through for now. Now I just need to get the fuel and van dessel up on MTBR and I'll be in business. MTBR's classifieds kick ass by the way. It only costs $2 (with no commission) to list an item and you can post as ton of photos no problem and they don't seem to have the spam people trying to suck you of money. Use them. I'm now very close to ordering the El Mariachi (yay!)

Expecting the crappy weather to come, Marcy, Brynna and I went out for a ride on Saturday, soaking in the last of the sunny weather. B is really starting to like riding in her trailer and can now tolerate her helmet so things are looking good for some daddy/daughter spins this summer.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

its on

Yowzer, time to take the bandages off of my eyes and see if the bleeding has stopped. Yup, seem to be ok. For a while last night I wasn't so sure. After I had peeled off from the group ride to make the trek back to the car (another 18 ish miles away) I was so cooked that I had blurry vision. When I got home and tried to read the nutrition label on a carton or NuTrish milk I had to squint and close one eye in order to read it. Yeah, it was a good ride.

Some stats:

Overall time: only 3:20 but to be honest, that was all I could muster. Wednesday's will get longer.

Distance: 58 miles

Max heart rate observed: 183

Heart rate range during the endless 2 man pacelines: 170's

Suffering: as high as it gets

It was a sweet ass ride and hopefully I'll be doing them weekly through the summer (except for rest weeks of course). Rides like that remind me of why I love group riding so much. When you ride solo all of the time it can be tough to push yourself hard enough to really see improvement in anaerobic abilities but a couple hours of a spirited group road ride will force you to push harder than you think is possible. On many occasions I was begging for mercy but refused to let myself let up. Suffer now or suck in the races I guess.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I wield an amazing amount of power and respect around the office. So much so that my co-workers made this little gem which they then e-mailed to everyone and posted in our reception area. Nice.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The next phase

Easter Weekend marked the beginning of my next phase of training launching me into Build 2 leading up to my first race in May. After the rest week I find my legs feeling especially fresh which is a very good thing. Not only because race season starts soon but also because tomorrow is the first Road Ride From Hell (RRFH) of the summer consisting of the ride into Camden, the group ride and then the ride home. Hopefully the legs are ready for it.

Easter also marked some enthusiasm from B about riding her trike and her willingness to wear her helmet again. Thank god for that, its been a struggle getting her to accept it again but she seems to be there again and just in time for trailer season.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sorry mom

Woo-hooo, bring on the weekend! Talk about some sucky weather for riding. First the temps drop back into the 20’s and 30’s (30’s in February is sweet but sucks serious donkey ass in April) add in some light rain and then top it off with 1’+ of wet heavy snow and what do you get? That’s right, endless trainer hours. Thankfully for me, this crap just so happened to coincide with a rest week so it turned out to be ok. I’ve had some nice, easy trainer spins, a little cyclo-core work and some extra sleep. This should be just what the doctor ordered because at the beginning of the week, the thought of riding in the nasty weather had about as much appeal as running around with Jason’s chamois over my head for a day. I suspect that even if this hadn’t been scheduled as a rest week I would have made it one anyway because as Mr. Friel says, “Listen to your body”. My body wanted a rest apparently. This weekend, if the weather turns around, I’ll try to get some road mileage in.

Speaking of chamois’ I’ve got about five pair of shorts with the chamois falling out (I suspect the massive power I produce blew the stitches, or maybe it’s the massive gas, one or the other) and my mother has graciously agreed to fix them for me. I made sure she realized that she’d be working in an area that sees some serious cheek and scrote time. She seemed ok with it though as long as they were well washed but maybe I’ll throw in an exorcism too, just in case. In a couple of weeks I’ll be able to use all of my shorts again, hooray for me.

In more interesting, less disgusting news, I ordered my race wheels for the season the other day. It’s basically the same build as last year with Hope P2 hubs, db spokes and alloy nips but the rim choice has changed. I’ve decided to try out the Stans Arch rims. They’re about the same weight as last years Delgado Disc rims and the Bonty rims I was also considering but the big difference is that with their special bead hook, its much easier to run them tubeless without having the tire bead fail and you don’t need to use the conversion kits to get them to work, you just put in some Stans juice, pump it up and you’re ready to go. That’s the theory at least, we’ll see how well it works. If it doesn’t work, I’ll throw a tube in and I’ll be running the same wheels as everyone else, no harm done.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A little artistic shot by Marcy of the Moto Rapido as I get it ready to go on the auction block.
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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Be sure to watch.

I heard from fellow teammate Mary that a former competitor of mine (and many others in Maine) Daniel Vallaincourt will be racing in the US Open Cycling Championships this Saturday. In a bewildering move, NBC will actually be broadcasting two hours of it. Live even! With the stank-ass weather that we have coming for the next week, I'm sure I'll be hunkered down watching it. It'll be sweet to see a dude I've raced directly against many times duking it out with some of the country's best.

Also, in breaking news, I've reached my goal weight for the season! Since New Year's I've shed 12-ish pounds and am now back to the weight I was at in high school. Back when I was a scrawny bastard with a hella sweet bowl cut. This puts me a full 10 pounds lower than I was for most of last season and at least 5 lbs lighter than I've ever been since I started racing. It will be interesting to see how this translates in my riding. I would think that at a minimum, my climbing will improve since I won't be schlepping that extra weight over each climb.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Week in the can.

Yesterday finished off another pretty decent week saddle wise. Actually, considering the amount of time I spent working last week including a couple of 12+ hour days, it should be considered outstanding. To end the week right I planned a 60+ mile road ride up to my parents place while Marcy and B were at a baby shower (shudder). Off topic but have you ever been to one of those gems? I was forced to go to one a few years back and I don't think I've ever wanted to take my own life quite so strongly before. You can only oohh and aahh at cute little onsies for so long before you're looking for the gun cabinet or at least a bottle of clorox to chug.

Anyway, the plan was to hit up as many hills on the way up as possible. With this in mind I decided to do Climb-o-rama which would take me over some pretty nice stuff but it wasn't going to be quite long enough so I decided to tack on additional miles at the end to get me to my goal. It turned out to be a pretty sweet ride under beautiful, sunny skies and 50-ish degree temps. At the end I got in 3:40 saddle time and 62 miles. Damn good for me this time of year. Last year I was only able to pull off a couple of these rides and this year I already have several 50+ milers in. Hopefully this means I'm in for a good season.
First big climb of the day. Not sure what I was thinking by pulling a camera out while on a hill that touched 19%. Click on the pic and you'll see I was at 14% and a whopping 6.2 mph.
Hippee house at the top of the climb.

In the distance you can see the final climb of the day. My parents live at the top of it. Its a mile or so long with the first portion hovering in the 10% range than the final 1/2 mile easing out to about 5-6%. A real nasty way to end the ride. No cool down for me!