Friday, August 29, 2008

What to do, what to do

It was Friday night, we had no plans and the weather was beautiful so we did what any "normal" (and by normal I mean completely abnormal by American standards) family would do. We hooked up the trailer and went for a ride into town, grabbed some mexican food at our local hole in the wall and then rode for some gelato and ice cream. Come to think of it, if you were to change the word ride into drive, it WOULD be a very American Friday evening. Either way, it was a very good way to finish off a work week and it's nice that B really enjoys going for rides in her trailer now.

getting ready to roll out.

B's fave, rice and beans and a bean taco.

nachos and dos Dos Equis'

I hate ice cream!

On the return trip home, Marcy made a comment on how slow I was riding the El Mariachi up the hills so I suggested she give pulling our 35 lb bundle of love up a hill on a singlespeed geared for road riding and see how it feels! She accepted the challenge (on a flat section of course!) so we made the switch; Marcy on a very big bike and me on a comically small bike (for me at least). Picture going to the circus and seeing a trained bear riding a bike. That was me.

She managed to pull B but couldn't sit because I have the seat so high plus, she wouldn't be able to reach the bars!

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Stolen from Craigslist

Manly Bike for Sale
Date: 2008-07-22, 10:18AM PDT

Bike for sale What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist. What I am though is a manly guy looking to sell his bike. This bike is made out of metal and kick ass spokes. The back reflector was taken off, but if you think that deters me from riding at night, you're way wrong. I practiced ninja training in Japan's mount Fuji for 5 years and the first rule they teach about ninja biking is that back reflectors let the enemy know where you are. Not having a rear reflector is like saying "FUCK YOU CAR, JUST TRY AND FIND ME".

The bike says Giant on the side because it's referring to my junk, but rest assured even if you have tiny junk that Giant advertisement is going to remain right where it is. I bought this bike for 300 dollars from a retired mercenary that fought in both World War 1 and World War 2 and had his right arm bitten off by a shark in the Phillipines while stationed there as a shark handler. When he sold it to me I had to arm wrestle him for the honor to buy it. I broke his arm in 7 places when I did. He was so impressed with me he offered me to be his son but I thought that was sissy shit so I said no way.

The bike has some rusted screws, but that just shows how much of a bad ass you are. Everyone knows rusted screws on a bike means that you probably drove it underwater and that's bad ass in itself. Those screws can be replaced with shiny new ones, but if you're going to go to that trouble why not just punch yourself in the balls since you're probably a dickless lizard who doesn't like to look intimidating.

The bike is for men because the seat is flat or some shit and not shaped like a dildo. If you like flat seated bikes you're going to love this thing because it doesn't try to penetrate your ass or anything. I've topped out at 75 miles per hour on this uphill but if you're just a regular man you'll probably top it out at 10 miles per hour. This thing is listed as a street bike which is man-code for bike tank.

The bike has 7 speeds in total:
Gear 1 - Sissy Gear
Gear 2 - Less Sissy Gear
Gear 3 - Least Sissy Gear
Gear 4 - Boy Gear
Gear 5 - Pre-teen Boy Gear
Gear 6 - Manly Gear
Gear 7 - Big Muscles Gear

I only like gear 6 and 7 to be honest.

Additionally, this tool of all immense men comes with a gigantic lock to keep it secure. The lock is the size of a bull's testicles and tells people you don't fuck around with locking up your bike tank. It tells would-be-thieves "Hey asshole, touch this bike and I'll appear from the bushes ready to club you with a two-by-four".

Bike is for 150 OBO (and don't give me no panzy prices)

On Wednesday, I finally got in my mountain bike reconnaisance ride from my office home and was able to duck into the two new bits of trail that I had noticed while driving past. One was a pretty decent loop of groomed doubletrack with a couple of brutally steep climbs. The trails also connects to some more preserve trails that I'll have to check out sometime when I have a chance. As an added bonus, I ran into the owners of the property while out there so I was able to ask about bikes on the trails since the sign at the road says "absolutely no vehicles". They said that bikes were more than welcome. Overall, it wasn't an exciting trail but it connects nicely with some other singletrack bits so it's a welcome addition.
the entry to the doubletrack

Once out of the doubletrack it was a couple miles of road and then my second exploration of the day, a trail owned and operated by the Damariscotta River Association. A lot of DRA's trails are off limits to bikes but I saw no sign stating such so I dove in. The first section of trail was pristine singletrack but it quickly turned into an overgrown mess. So much so that I got a bit lost, did a little stomping around in some bramble patches while looking for the continuation of the trail. Finally, I tucked my tail between my legs and turned around defeated. On a good note, on my way out I spotted a nice patch of blackberries that I quickly devoured. Four decent handfulls later and I was hitting the road.

mmmm, berries

Also of note (at least for me since I never, ever, see any other riders) is that while passing through the Schmidt Preserve I noticed some actual mtb tire tracks in the mud that didn't belong to me! Sure, they look like the original rubber from a 95 hardrock but it's still nice to see someone else is using the trails for riding.

If you look really closely and squint your eyes a bit, you'll see the track on the middle left. If you keep staring, you'll see Beyonce's badonkadonk.

Another interesting tidbit from yesterday is that I got the following e-mail from Marcy: "I think you should do the saddleback race Monday..." This just when I've come to terms with writing off the rest of the season. I gave going to the race some serious thought but decided against it for a number of reasons. 1. I'm still hella busy. 2. I should use the day for family stuff instead of Ricky stuff. 3. I really want to do the Bradbury 12 and the Grillz in a few weeks. 4. If I race this weekend, I'd still be in contention for the overall at the end of the season which would make me want to train lots and do all of the rest of the races which I know I can't easily do. So, in the end, I thanked Marcy and suggested we go to the beach instead...

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Marcy's a Trooper

Today was Marcy's day to commute to work by bike. Unfortunately, she's been struggling with a cold recently AND she's still got the "issues" I wrote about earlier so when it came time to ride in this morning she was hesitant. Eventually she manned (womaned) up, stole a bunch of my cool weather riding stuff and headed out. Like I said, she's a trooper.

Shortly after she left, B and I hit the road on our way to B'd pre-school. We caught up to Marcy after a bit. She wasn't as far along as I expected but looked to be doing ok.

Minutes after these pics were taken, on a short but very steep hill, Marcy had to pull over and blow chunks. Now here is the real trooper details. Instead of calling me to pick her up (as was the plan if she wasn't feeling well), she wiped her mouth (probably on my nice Castelli jersey) and pushed on.

Rating: 1 persistant squirrel who hopefully has a toothbrush and maybe a couple of mints.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No Go

Yesterday's ride didn't happen. Marcy had to go home early because she wasn't feeling well and despite her giving me the green light to ride, I just couldn't do it in good concience. The thought of me being on a 2 hour ride while she's ill AND watching the spud just seemed like a selfish thing to do. Instead, I drove (egad!) home, got some quality family time, worked on the chimney (almost done there thankfully), worked on the design of the new house, prepped for our "moving" yard sale this weekend until 10pm and then crawled into bed. Thankfully, we're in the middle of a very nice spell of weather so yesterday's ride will now happen this afternoon. 70 degrees, clear skies and no humidity. I can't wait!

I haven't posted many pics recently so here are a couple of sub-par shots from a commute last week:
Just going by a nice water crossing.
And this is our new driveway going in. Soon, this won't be the new driveway but "the" driveway. Fingers crossed.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Mathematically Speaking

The length of my leg hair is inversely proportionate to the amount of quality time I get with the spousal unit. I've noticed that ever since I stopped waxing, Marcy has stopped caring about my legs. Marcy readily admitted to me the other day that she much prefers when I wax/shave. I had given it up this summer because that was time that would be better spent riding. Or sleeping. I guess it's time to re-think the beauty regimen.

This afternoon is a planned mountain bike commute. I'm geeked for a couple of reasons. First, I haven't been on my Dos Niner since the Hampshire 100 almost a week and a half ago so hitting some dirt will be super duper. Second, I'm going to be checking out some new trails that are on my way. They may be sweet, they may suck donkey d. but at least they're new and I get to explore. As I was lubing the Dos up this morning, I noticed that it's Relish shock looks to be spewing oil. I noticed it develop a bit of a suck and squish noise during the Hampshire 100 so I guess it musta blown a seal (no, it's just tartar sauce) during the race so she'll be going in for service soon. I've got to say, 2 1/2 seasons and this is the first I've had to do to it short of adding air. That's pretty sweet. Super low maintenance.

Crits are Dangerous

As if crit style road races weren't dangerous enough, try having a high speed car chase speed through the course! Read it HERE.
Locked and Loaded, or Rested and Ready

I didn't do one little smidge of riding over the weekend. I did do lots of sleeping though. Apparently, my body was craving some rest because I slept a full 10 hours on both Friday and Saturday night. That is quite a jump from my typical 6-7 hours. Last week, I was a total wreak, feeling groggy and grumpy. I had assumed that the funk was because of the early demise of the race season for me but I guess the bod was just ready for a re-boot. It felt weird to sleep so much but boy did I need it. As a result of the extra sleep, I also find myself craving some serious saddle time. With our closing coming up in two weeks, big hours aren't likely but I do plan to hit up a couple of new trails I've scoped out in the area. If all goes well, these trails will become part of my semi-regular route.

Late edit: I just realized that I missed my first race of the season in the MMBA series this weekend with nary a quiver. In fact, I had forgotten about the race completely until this morning. See Marcy, racing isn't the only thing I think of. :)
Short and not so sweet. See ya.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hampshire 100
2 of 2

After swearing at my sheer stupidity and feeling sorry for myself for several minutes while I climbed back up the hill I didn't need to descend, I finally reached the crest and started to look for where I went wrong. The two single speed leaders had also missed the turn (but thanks to me, they didn't go down the hill) so we all headed back and finally found the missed corner. I had no idea how many people slipped by me in the 5-10 minutes that I was off course but my morale hit the low point for the day. Not only was I now not going to be able to bridge up to Alec, I had also let Tom slip away. For the next 15-20 minutes I was really battling my inner demons. A small part of me wanted to call it a day but the rest of me decided to not be a wuss and reminded me that I was really only in this race to have fun. So after a bit of self-pity I settled on a new plan(actually the original plan), I'd ride at a reasonable pace, have fun and if I was able to pull Tom and Alec back that would be a nice bonus.

After a while I finally started to pick guys off. I wasn't seeing anyone I had seen earlier so I figured a good part of the field had gotten by. This gave the "have fun" mantra even more importance. Despite that, each time I heard myself catching up to another rider I found myself hoping it would be the green and white jersey of IF ride Tom Gosselin. Eventually, as I approached an especially steep hike-a-bike I saw the jersey. Tom, who was already walking, glanced back as I dismounted. A second later, realization kicked in and his head snapped back again. His question, of course, was "how did you get behind me?"

Tom informed me that he was still the only expert behind Alec so my enthusiasm was given a boost and the "fun" mantra immediately changed to "win". With a new impetus, I kicked the boosters in and gave catching Alec a go.

Somewhere, sometime, along the way I started to pick of some of the elite riders who had started 5 minutes up on my group including my pre-race pick for the win, Jeff Wittingham. Apparently, Jeff was suffering for serious stomach issues and his body had shut down.

I continued to dig in, eat Shot Bloks and Sport Beans and drink Heed and Coke. Before long, I found myself in the final sections of single track and rounding the dirt oval to the finish line after 6:38 of racing. I never caught sight of Alec (he ended up finishing 18 minutes up on me) but I felt great after a near perfect race.

In the end, I finished up as the 2nd expert behind Alec and fifth overall (one place better than last year). Team and Salsa made a very good showing with Harry Precourt getting the overall win on his Mamasita and me at 5th on my Dos Niner. Apparently the Salsa 29'er goodness was just what that course called for.

After the race I was once again reminded just how much I love my Ergon grips as well. After last year's Hampshire 100 my hands were a sore, blistered mess. After this year's race, they were ready for another 6 hrs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hampshire 100
1 of 2

Before the season began, I tapped the Hampshire 100 as one of my races to focus on this season and shapped my second block of training to peak around it and the Camden Run Off. Because of work and personal issues, that peak wouldn't be quite what I hoped for but I can honestly say that I was as prepared as I could be for suffering to endure.

The course is not ideal by many people's standards with some dirt roads, pavement, lots of double track, some buff single track and some "frontier" single track as the promoters called it. Basically, the frontier single track was flagged and cleared of brush and that was it. It was tough to follow in cases but if you payed attention to the flagging you were ok, plus the trail boss led out the race on his dirt bike so you could also see his impression in the ground. The race traverses lots of private land where access is only granted for race day so this set-up is key to linking sections together without inviting people to tresspass later in the summer.

Despite what I just wrote, overall I love the course. That's probably mostly because it mimics a lot of the riding I do around my house which is mostly boney double track and some non-ideal single track.

The course starts with about 10 miles of dirt roads and very fast 4-wheeler type trails. Conditions that definitely allows for (and necessitates) drafting for the first 1 hr +. With that in mind, while sitting at the staging area, waiting for our group to head out, I started looking to see who would be a good drafting partner. Unfortunately, I knew noone in our wave (except a guy, Shawn, I met the night before who had just moved up to expert from sport) so I wasn't sure who I'd be working with. I did know of one guy, Alec Petro, who was starting in the wave behind me who is super fast in this type of race (and beat me here last year and at the Winter XC, and the Pats Peak 6-hr etc etc) so I figured he would catch us shortly and I could try to grab his shirttails.

Off the start I was sitting second wheel through the first dirt road section. The legs weren't awake yet but I felt comfortable. Before long I decided to take a quick pull at the front to up the pace a bit. As I passed the lead rider I noticed he was breathing hard already but figured he would latch onto the back of the group. Once at the front I set into a nice tempo for a few minutes before checking on the status of our group. To my suprise, of the 10-ish guys in the group, only Shawn was left and we already had a gap of a couple hundred feet. I hadn't planned this, and had actually wanted to stay as a group for a bit, but decided to go with it since I was still feeling comfortable with our speed.

Shawn and I worked together for several miles and quickly started catching the waves in front of us. This was when we caught Tom Gosselin, an Independent Fabricators rider and the leader of the Expert S1 group. He latched onto us making it a 3-man paceline for a bit. After a few more miles of this, Shawn told me he was red-lining and would be dropping off the pace. I felt bad that he had worked so hard to stay with us but was thankful for the help in the early stages of the race. Soon it was just Tom and I picking people off left and right.

Not long after that, Alec (who start 1 minute behind my group) caught us (the only person to catch us all day) and we were a three man group again. We worked well together for several more miles of fast road and double track sections.

Eventually, we hit the dreaded 3 mile stretch of straight, sandy double track. The sand during last years race was so dry and soft that riding it was very taxing both mentally and physically. This year, with a bit of rain leading up to the race, the sand was more packed down but still tough going. Somehow, on one of my pulls, I opened up a gap on Tom and Alec. I hadn't intended to attack since there was a bit more road to come so I soft pedaled and waited for them to catch me. Still soft pedaling, I made it out of the sand aloneand cruised on the following road section as I waited for the other two. They caught me on a super steep dirt road climb that I was forced to walk. Alec was able to grind the climb and opened a bit of gap on Tom and I. Soon, the climb turned into a super washed out road and by the time we got to the top, Alec had a solid 30 second gap and I was an additional 30 seconds up on Tom. The group was shot and I regretted soft pedaling to wait for them. Live and learn.

Once to the top, I put my head down and dug in, intent on catching Alec since I knew he was my main competition for the overall expert win. I hadn't raced against Tom much but had usually come out on top in the short events so I figured if I focused on Alec I would be ok. As I crested yet another dirt road climb I noticed a church I didn't remember from last year's race. I didn't think much of it though since the course had a couple of different sections this year. I immediately started a long and somewhat steep descent. About 30 seconds down the hill I started to worry since I hadn't seen any course markings since passing the church. I thought about turning around but figured I was still on course. Once to the bottom of the hill, though, I realized that I had made a HUGE mistake. I came to a 4-way intersection with no course markings. If I were on course there would have been something. I swore under my breath, turned around and headed back up the (at least) mile long hill I had just descended to get back on course.

2 of 2 tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not Yet

I was hoping to do a race report today but that taint happening. Much to much going on. Instead I'm going to bitch about the rain. It's raining today. It was supposed to be sunny. It sucks. Supposed to ride the road home tonight but don't feel like dealing with the rain. I'm a wimp plus my ass feels like I was sodomized by a 2x4 on Sunday so getting road grit blasted up my nether regions during the commute isn't all that appealing although loosening my legs up a bit would be nice. (man am I the king of run-on sentences!)

Yesterday, instead of easy riding to speed recovery, I mowed the lawn instead. Mowing your lawn with a push mower has got to be close to the perfect recovery activity for busy homeowner types. It gets the legs moving, is low impact (assuming you don't live on a mountain side) and it needs to be done anyway. It's no coincidence that most of my lawn mowing happens on Mondays.

Day's rating: 1 mold covered squirrels ass end.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Out With a Bang?

Sunday was a race day which meant I REALLY needed to get a quick spin in on Saturday to avoid dead leg syndrome. I learned the hard way last week that it does indeed work. Brynna had spent the night at the grandparents on Friday so that meant that Marcy and I could actually get out for a ride together for once. Marcy's mystery illness (turns out it is not Giardia) has kept her pretty much sidelined for a month so this was her first time out in quite a while. She started off a bit slow but soon warmed up and was doing a pretty good job for someone who has lost 10 lbs from being sick and can't eat much more than 5-600 calories a day. Hopefully she'll come around just in time for late summer/fall riding which is, as we all know, the primo time of year to be in the saddle.

We ended up with 1:20 of ride time, I was able to get in some short, quick bursts of intensity to open up the legs and most importantly, Marcy and I had fun together. I'd say that buys me at least another week before she gets too tired of me to go on.

It's been raining like crazy here lately and the trails showed it, they were mostly in good condition, with only standing water in the "road" sections but the amount of fungal growth was astounding. Below are two of the hundreds of mushrooms we rode by. Pretty amazing stuff. We have one mushroom in our yard that grows bigger than a softball every few days (after I pick it and huck it into the woods).

Oh yeah, and I had a bike race this weekend...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Almost Go Time

Eek, the Hampshire 100 is almost here and I'm a bit freaked. I haven't even thought about what will be in my drop bags, what I'll eat/drink, which pack I'll be using etc. Last year I didn't use a camelback and that really hurt me on a couple of occasions. If you remember, I was wheel sucking for a good part of the race last year and having to stop for drinks while the suckee didn't have to stop made things difficult so I've decided to try a pack this year so that I don't have to stop as often. The real question is do I use my standard small camal back type bag or go with the Ergon BD1? The BD1 is more comfy and can carry more stuff but taking the bag off during the race really isn't an option since that takes longer than grabbing stuff at the aid stations. Using a regular camel back will allow me to roll through the first two aid stations since I'll have plenty of fluid and food with me, I'd pitch the pack somewhere around mid-race and ride lighter for the second half. I think I just made my decision. Thanks for listening.

Tonight (or tomorrow) I also have to swap some tires around for the race. I sure hope that the Stans cooperates... and then make the trek over tomorrow afternoon. Once again, I'll be sleeping in the back of the Element for the night. It worked pretty sweet last year so I'm going for it again. Easy, breazy camp set up and break down for sure.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On a Positive Note

I realized the other day that most of my recent posts have had a negative slant. There are many possible reasons for this that I've probably bitched and moaned about them enough here already so I'll spare you. What I will tell you is that I promise to be more positive in my posts from now on. In order to do this my expectations will be changed drastically. For this weekend's race, the Hampshire 100, for example where I was going for the win last year (and did win my age group) I'll be going in with the only goals being to finish and have fun. Will I race hard? Of course, that would be like asking Chance if he wants to lick himself. Sure, he may not intend to but you know for sure he'll be slobbering all over himself before the day's over. It's part of what makes him a lovable mutt so why try to change him. I'm the same way, I may not intend to race but I know that before the day is over I'll throw down with whatever meager reserves I have and have a blast doing it. Afterwards, maybe I'll even try to lick myself. Again.

My weekly riding expectations will be changing as well. I'm setting my weekly goal

On to positive things.

Today, I commuted in. It was a short, easy ride but it felt awesome to be back on the bike after this weekend's race. There, that feels better.
Rating: 1 extremely satisfied squirrel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Maine Sport Run-Off

Saturday night I had a fitful sleep for a number of reasons probably. 1: I ate too much seafood at the company picnic and I was worried about how it would effect me in the race; 2: I didn't have time to open the legs up on Saturday so I was wondering how they would respond; 3: because of the stress in my life recently my training, diet and rest have suffered and I didn't know how that would effect me. In short, I was concerned with my fitness level.
Sunday morning I awoke to blessedly clear skies and the promise of sun as the hours wore on. This was a great relief because the Snow Bowl is a very hard course technically when it's dry and downright scary when it's wet.
Oops, gotta take a step back here. After having multiple tire issues in previous races - too little air, not enough sealant etc etc - on Saturday I made sure my tires were aired up properly AND I doubled the dosage of Stans sealant so that if I did get a cut, puncture or roll a tire I'd have plenty on extra sealant. See, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

This one is for the ladeez! Pre-race nipple slip.

Back to the race, before the race Sunday, I did one more partial lap to see what the conditions would be like for the race. It turned out that the trails were greasy but not really muddy but the rocks and roots were very slick. People would definitely need to be on their toes.
At the line we had a smallish expert field. It's my theory that the sheer brutality of the climb and fast technical nature of the course has scared a lot of people away. To try to combat that Mike had changed things up a bit and was only sending us to the top for two of the four laps and only part way up on the other two eliminating about 10-15 minutes of climb per lap and the nastiest downhill portions. Hopefully word will get out about the tamed down course for next year, we'll see.
At the gun I was fourth wheel behing Wheels, Chris Laflamme and a younger guy I didn't recognize and had Andrew right behind me. Immediately onto the climb I realized that the legs weren't happy about the lazy day the day before so instead of digging in and imploding I got into a comfortable pace and hoped to limit my losses and make up time on the descent. By the top of the climb I was down to 6th place but started picking up spots almost immediately and by the end of the lap Wheels, a Chris and I crossed the start/finish within seconds of each other.
At the start with Chris and Andrew.

I once again settled into a comfortable but quick pace up the climb and let Wheels and Chris ride away figuring I'd catch them again on the downhill and at that point, if I felt good, make a move. After the climb topped out, I let loose and blasted the descent and caught Chris. As I rode up to Chris, Andrew (who had a flat on the first lap) blasted by us on a technical uphill section literally throwing fist size rocks in the air. I guess racing at the World Cup level will do that to you!
So, at this point I was sitting in third place and feeling good about my chances of catching Wheels but by the end of the lap I still hadn't caught sight of him and was told he was about 1 minute up. Sometime during that lap I passed Andrew as he sat by the trailside with another rolled tire (four that day) and was up to second place.
On the third laps shortened climb I tried to dig in but it was clear I didn't have my climbing legs on. My real hopes for a victory were gone but I still held onto the chance I could reel Todd in. 3/4 of the way through lap three, Chris caught back up to me (apparently he was having pedal problems earlier) and passed me like I was sitting still. Dude had the legs. I wished him luck catching Wheels and kept my hopeful pace.
Wheels doing the master of mud plate justice.

Lap four was uneventful, I saw noone and passed noone (other than other classes that is) and I rolled across the line in 3rd place overall and 1st in my age group of a whopping two people. Chris ended up winning with Wheels in second.
Overall, I felt pretty good all things considered and I had a blast. Did I have the legs to win? No, but I had the legs to have fun and be somewhat competitive and that is what counts. It was also nice to race again after a month and a half.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What not to do the day before your biggest race of the year

The generally accepted day before race activities are rest, hydrate, eat well and get a quick hard effort in to open the legs up. I did none of those things Saturday, the eve of my favorite race (and possibly next to last race of the season). Instead, I went to my grandfathers funeral (no getting around that of course), ate about 14 ham salad sandwiches at the following get together, dropped the spud with the grandparents and then went to my company picnic/lobster bake where I proceeded to eat 2 whole lobsters, some steamed clams, a bowl of fish chowder and somewhere between 2 and 6 beers. After the feed it was badminton and rolling down a hill in a huge culvert. Good times.

the artistic badminton shot
going deep!
In the culvert

at the crest of the hill

Friday, August 08, 2008

Preparations Made

Well, it's almost go time for one of my favorite races of the season, the Maine Sport Run-Off and I'm as ready as I can get. I've made it to the venue a few times over the last two months to try to get the course dialed and I've followed my training plan as closely as possible given my current "life in crisis" mode I've been in for the last couple of months. Do I feel like I could win this weekend? Maybe, that depends a lot on who shows up, if Andrew or Mike show, I'm screwed for sure. I know Wheels will be there but with his tiny 26" wheels I feel I can give him a run for his money if the legs are feeling well. Who knows what will happen really but I'll be there with guns blazing.

Speaking of Wheels, over the past few weeks I've been kind enough to offer my local knowledge of the Camden trails to Wheels so that he has a chance of riding better than a 3rd grader at this weekend's race. We've ridden there once recently and had several other rides cancelled because of rain (or because he is the world's worst weatherman). In fact, I offered to go over the other day as well and this is the response I got:

Rick,I'm off to Popham with the fam today. This week is shot for me. I'll be flying blind Sunday.Hope you crash more!

How do you like them smack talk/mind game babble. He simultaneously makes out like he's going to be weak (rope a dope style) while subtly reminding me that I crashed twice there the other day. Nice try man but I rode there the other day and nailed those two sections so I'm faster than ever before through them. Suck it! Now there's some smack talk for ya.

Oh yeah, and remember the other day when I mentioned that Steve just completed the Tour Divide race? Well there is a write up on it HERE. Once again, congrats Steve.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

(note: I wrote this post last night but by the end I was too drunk to finish (celebrating I guess!) so here it is now in un-edited form)

Todays to do list:
1. have most stressful day ever. CHECK
2. finally come to terms with prospective buyers of our house. CHECK
3. don't ride. CHECK
4. fall further behind on project at work. CHECK

Today was a rollercoaster of emotions. I started low. Got to work. Got lower. Met with Marcy and realtor. Felt better.

It looks like the sale of our house will be going through based on today's meeting (and the subsequent meeting of our realtor with the buyers) which is pretty sweet. There are only two downsides (that I know of so far). 1. I'm not even close to having the new house design ready to start construction. 2. The reality of the situation is that after the next two races (this weekend's race cannot be missed and next week's race has already been pre-registered for at $100) the rest of the season is in limbo. I'll probably get another race or two in but I'll surely be at a below par physical state. It's all good though, this year's sacrifice is next year's gain.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Nota Much

Not much time today. Busy, busy.

Yesterday we (Marcy and I) snuck in a ride with my brother whilst mi madre watched the spud. It would have been really fun if it wasn't for the 150 water holes we had to pick our way around/through. This forced us to cut our ride short since what should have been a 15 minute section took almost 40 minutes and pretty much all the time we had allotted.

Oh well, it was Marcy's first ride back after a serious bout with Giardia so it was probably best that it was low key. I won't go into details, because she'd kill me, but lets just say she was sick for 6 weeks and the major symptom begins with "d" and ends with "iarrhea". On a good note, parasitic illnesses sure do help you meet your weight loss goals!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Is it here yet?

It seems like it's been ages since I've toed the line in a race. Sure I HAD a race two weeks ago but when you only hit squirrel for 15 minutes before DNF'ing it hardly tempers the desire to get out there and do battle. This coming Sunday is my favorite race of the year, the Maine Sport Run-Off at the Camden Snow Bowl. Wheels and I had planned to ride the bowl on Sunday but with threatening skies Wheels bailed fearing another rained out ride.
What's that blue stuff in the sky ahead???
Too bad for him because it turned out to be a pretty good day for a ride. Sure, the woods had womb like humidity and the rocks and roots (of which there are many!) were slick as snot but most importantly, it didn't rain on us and we actually saw a bit of sun towards the end of our ride.

In the end, Steve, Mike and I did two complete laps on this weekend's race course, I got to ride, re-ride and re-re-ride several tricky sections AND I ate shit hard on two greasy, rocky descents on the second lap. Effectively negating any gains I may have made because now, if it rains, I'm going to be completely sketched out. I guess I'd better get there again this week to reverse the effects.

After the ride, while enjoying a couple of post ride libations, Steve, fresh off his successful completion of the Tour Divide (you know, just in case the Great Divide Race isn't long enough for you) showed us a trick he learned while on the Tour. Somewhere along the way someone showed him that Shimano clipless pedals work perfectly as bottle openers, crappy pedals (I'm a Time guy) but great bottle openers. I didn't believe it would work so I took one for the team, chugged the remainder of my beer and pulled out a freshie to give it a try.

Sure enough, it worked like a charm.

Friday, August 01, 2008

No Opportunities Squandered

Continuing on my mission to not miss out on a single opportunity to ride given my current tight schedule, I was able to convince myself to commute in this morning despite a steady, light rain when I got up at 4:30. Thankfully, I had some work with me so I was able to work from home for an hour, wait out the rain (for the most part) and then head in under cloudy, damp skies. I have a couple of tentative mountain bike rides planned for this weekend but since we're supposed to get rain all weekend those rides are looking dicey so the damp road ride should help the weekly hours and my mental state.

If things do somehow dry up a bit for the weekend, Saturday may see me at Bradbury with Wheels for a couple of hours and then Sunday at the Camden Snow Bowl for a reconnaissance ride for next weekend's race. Camden is my old home turf so I always try to focus on good races there. If the current weather pattern holds I should have a bit of an advantage there next week because I seem to do well there when the going gets nasty.

In other, only mildly biking related, news the other day a co-worker asked me if I had something to put on a rash she had on her arm. I offered up my Bag Balm which she excitedly accepted but before she used it, my inner nice guy got the better of my inner "I want to see the expression on her face when I tell her that stuff goes on my ass" guy and I told her that I do, in fact double dip into that container so she might want to rethink using it but maybe she'd like to use some for her chapped lips instead... My moral compass needs an adjustment because much hilarity would have ensued if I had kept my mouth shut.