Thursday, July 30, 2009

Failure and Redemption

Tuesday saw me get out for a road ride on a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l, sunny afternoon. I was all giddy for the ride since the sun was shining, the road bike was ready to go and I was ready to pound the meat sticks into oblivion. Well, things didn't quite go as planned. For starters, just as I was getting ready to roll out the door one of my tires blew as I was topping it off. at first I thought I had busted the valve since the air rushed out so quickly but after a bit of 'vestigatin I found out that the problem was when I mounted the new wheel I didn't have any rim tape around so I used some of the stans rim tape instead. For those of you who aren't familiar, the stans tape is essentially skinny packing tape that does well to seal spoke holes but apparently it isn't strong enough to withstand the force of a road tube pushing 110psi. Anyway, I was at the office and severely short on options to fix the problem. Thankfully, I found a bikeman sticker that I was able to used to cover the offending hole and some more plastic tape to line the rim one more time for good measure. With that figured out, I went to patch my tube (so that I'd still have a spare for the ride) and what do you know, the brand new (well, unopened at least) tube of glue had somehow dried out and gone completely to shit. Frig. Given the half assed rim tape job there was no way I was getting out into the middle of nowhere without any way to change a flat so I beat feet home, grabbed three tubes (just in case) and headed out.

Unfortunately, by that time my head was out of the game and I soon found out that because of the previous five days off the bike that my legs were out of the game as well. Short of one sweet draft/sprint behind an ambulance the ride was a total bust and I was lucky that about fifteen minutes from home Marcy drove by and offered me a ride because she could see the thousands deaths painted across my face.

Speaking of the ambulance draft, that was potentially the best draft I've ever felt. The boxy nature and height of the vehicle created enough suction that I was able to hang back a good 20 ft (trying not to be a totally inconsiderate a-hole) and still get sucked along nicely.

With Tuesday's tail tucking incident fresh in my mind I wasn't sure if I'd take Marcy up on her offer to pick up B after work on Wednesday so that I could ride home. In the end, I decided to do the mountain bike commute home and I'm glad that I did because the trails were sweet (for this area at least) and my legs were feeling good again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nota Much

I wish I had some really cool riding story to enthral all of my avid -nay- fanatical readers with but that is not the case. After last weeks colon explosion I was immediately sucked back into the house construction. Most of the weekend's weather sucked donkey d anyway so it wasn't quite so bad plus, we got a bunch of our first floor concrete floors stained (only the kitchen and entry to go). If you're at all interested in such nonsense head on over to DamNelsons for a little show and tell.

Today we finally have a beautiful day on tap and thankfully it coincides with my commute/ride day. To save my energy for a thorough flogging this afternoon I rode a nice conservative pace in this morning and just enjoyed being back on the road bike after being rear wheel-less for so long. (I can't remember if I filled everyone in but Bontrager backed up their product and sent me a new Bonty Race wheel lickity split. Thanks again to Bontrager and my friends at Bikeman.com for making it happen). Not having a road bike in the quiver for so long was a real bummer since I only have single speed mountain bikes now, all those rainy days that didn't allow for trail rides pretty much vanished from my training "plan" since I can only handle so much 180 rpm spinning on an undergeared bike and I'm to damn lazy to up gear it right now.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, tonight's ride should be sweet with temps expected to be in the 70's at ride time it should be a blast. Too bad I forgot my sunscreen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Phew



Man am I glad those couple of days are over. On Wednesday, being the classy blogger that I am, I posted about eating too much fiber and expecting to spend the rest of the day on the can. Well, even considering my many talents (far to many to list really) I did realize that I was also psychic. You see, while my fiber intake (I almost wrote output there by mistake, foreshadow, foreshadow) was high that day, it was not too much higher than I would typically consume but considering what happened that evening you'd think that I ingested the equivalent of 100 cans of refried beans. I won't go into details here but things were so exciting down below that, for a while at least, I considered fashioning a seat belt for the toilet to keep me from being forcefully ejected. I'm still not sure what was going on but, just to be safe, I'm sending that 5 gallons of Mexican "cleansing" back for sure.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lets See Here

So far today (it's only 11:45) for food I've had: 1 pb and honey on whole wheat, 1 apple, two plumbs, one good size salad, a bowl of grapes and a couple handfuls of prunes (great for snacking). It's looking like I may need to run into town to pick up some adult diapers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mr. Scabby Ass


There is a point in everyone's early season that they finally feel like they're getting enough riding in. Each person's sign is different. Some people finally feel the fitness coming on, others relish the feeling of legs that have been completely throttled and cannot handle another mile and others go by their comical tan lines. Me? All of these things can be good signals but my one true tell is the formation of the all important ass scab. And finally, for the first time this year, I'm sportin 'em for real. Both cheeks are thoroughly roughened, red and sore. Yesterday's 3 hours on the road bike set the stage and this mornings 1:15 mountain bike commute completed the scene. Sorry, no pictures. Yet.

Monday, July 20, 2009

These are the Days

No time for real bloggage today so here's a quick rundown of the weekends events. No ride on Friday but I did get Selma's fork back with the remote lockout valving installed. Rode with the pops and bro on the El Mariachi complete with full fenders, slick tires and a road-ish gear Saturday, it was muddy and I was totally overgeared but it was nice to get out. Sunday, Marcy and I went out for another ride at my parents since we had to pick up B anyway (wait a second, that was saturday night. huh, I don't remember doing a bunch of drinking this weekend...). This was Marcy's first ride (finally!) on her new to her dos and she was loving life after a few get-to-know-you moments with the shifting and suspension.

Marcy's so fast on the new bike that she's a blur. or maybe it's our new, stupidly crappy point and shoot that won't focus right.



I'm speachless for once.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Early Bird

A couple of days ago my new Bontrager road wheel finally showed up. My 5 year old wheel had developed some cracks at the eyelets so I had planned on buying a new one, the thought of warranteeing it never even crossed my mind until a couple of people mentioned it was possible so I gave it a whirl and whadayano, Bontrager stepped up and sent me a shiny new wheel which my buddy Jeff picked up from the shop for me the other night. That meant that finally I'd be able to ride something other than my single speed and it would make getting in a more structured workout more doable. The timing also works out well because I have to send Selma's fork to the shop to have the remote lock-out installed so this will give me a few days to get reaquainted with the road.

To that end, I got up early this morning (4:37, even before my alarm was set to go off!), kitted up and headed out for a nice road spin and a very good hill workout. Joy.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fast Ass Race Report


Time is tight so instead of putting off posting this yet another day I'm going to try to be concise and to the point and not blather on and on like my race reports usually do.

The morning of the race, team manager and still fast as shit racer, Al, and I headed out for a pre-ride/warm-up. I wasn't sure of the gearing to use so I figured this would be my best chance to figure it out. Plus, we had an hour before the race started so I had plenty of time to do a 1/2 hr warm-up and make any gearing changes I deemed necessary. Soon into the pre-ride I was sure that I was undergeared. I didn't have to work hard at all with my 32/18 gear and it was just the warm-up so I knew that I'd need at least a 32/17 or maybe even a 16. I decided that once we got back, I'd be safe and go with the 17 so I wouldn't spin quite as much on the cart path sections but I wouldn't die a thousand deaths on the super technical sections trying to push too hard of a gear. So, where is there a good turn around point on this course? Apparently nowhere because we couldn't find a single place to cut across to a later part of the course and quickly realized that we'd be getting back just in time for the start. Frig.

Five minutes before 10 we finally get back and I have just enough time to check my bottles, grab my gel and pop a couple of endurolytes. No gear changes for this kid. At least I was thoroughly warmed up. My average ride time this year is roughly 1:15 so a 55 minute warm-up seemed like it might have been a bit much.

Trying to look tough at the start line. Everyone in this pic (except one) would beat me on the day.


From the start, the race has about 1 mile of cart path type riding with a couple of quick tech sections to sort things out and it was here that I was immediately put into a world of hurt. My gear was way too low but I knew I had to stay in contact with the top 4 when we entered the woods or else all would be lost so I spun my meager little brains out and held on for the first 3/4's of a mile and then finally had to surrender and settle into a more reasonable pace. Once in the woods I did manage to regain contact in the super technical trails. Unfortunately, given my earlier crazy spinning, my lack of fitness, and the fact that this was my first ride on really technical trails of the season, I was unable to hold their wheels for long and watched as they slowly slipped away.

About 2/3's of the way into lap one I was essentially by myself in 6th or 7th place. Thankfully, despite not being able to contend with the leaders, I was feeling great and having a frickin blast. Towards the end of the first lap, on an amazingly long gravel road section that had my legs in a blur, I caught sight of a competitor in the distance so for the next lap I focused on slowly reeling him in.

By halfway into the second lap I had closed the gap to between 5-10 seconds to the next rider but was unable to close the final gap. The rider wore the jersey of the local team and from his riding, it was obvious that he had the super tech course dialed. Finally, when we reached the final long gravel road I was able to make contact and I drafted off the other rider for a minute or two while I rested (that's a relative term of course). Finally, I decided to up the pace and try to shed my compatriot (he was also on a single speed) and immediately opened a big gap to start the final lap.

one of the least technical section on the course


I continued grinding out the third lap but soon found the other rider back on my heels in the tech stuff. I soon bobbled (somewhat on purpose) and let him pass so that I wouldn't have the mental challenge of holding him off. I kept him in range through the rest of the lap and pulled up on his wheel, once again, on the final road section. Again, I drafted off him and planned my attack to happen just before we entered the final, short tech section.

Sensing my plan, the other rider slowed significantly so I pulled up beside him for a chat. We soon found out we weren't even direct competitors since he was in the single speed class and I was in the expert class. As a result, we decided to ride together for the last section and finish the race like gentlemen (I have to be one sometime).

I rolled across the line after 2:15 of racing with a 6th place finish (out of 14), cramps tingling in my legs and a smile on my face.

Boy do I love racing.
Ok, that wasn't really a quick race report. My apologies.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No Race Report Yet

I'm still not ready with my race report, maybe I'll squeeze it in sometime today. Who knows? For now, I'll leave you with some great stuff from race day. B riding her bike. For months now, B has had little interest in riding her two wheeler but when she heard about the race she immediately insisted on taking her bike. We kind of figured it would be for nothing but, being good parents, we dragged the bike along and hoped for the best. Funny enough, before I even had my bike out of the car, B was riding around with Mommy keeping herself busy taking pictures.

She especially likes the uphill sections. That's my girl. Nose to the stem!




This video is the best. How many 3 1/2 year olds do you know who ask for clipless pedals. I know what somebody's getting from Santa!
video

Monday, July 13, 2009

First Tracks
Well, it's official. My first moutain bike race of the season is in the books. I don't have time for a full report now but lets just say that I didn't come in first but I didn't come in last and I had a freakin blast. Man do I miss racing!

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Final Prep


That's a joke obviously. Yes, my first race of the season is this weekend but to call what I've been doing "prep" is simply ludicrous. What I've been doing is sanity recovery. I get out and ride when I can, try to push the pace if possible and blow all of the metal demons from my head, at least temporarily. I'm hoping that some of this sanity shit actually helps me not look like a total loser this weekend but we'll see. Speaking of idiots, who's idea was it anyway to switch to racing single speed this year? Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely loving the Selma but I'm no fool and me thinks just maybe I'd be better off on a geared bike at this point. Thankfully, all of my geared bits are on Marcy's bike these days so I don't have to hem and haw about which bike to race. Time to take a knife to a gun fight.

Speaking of final prep, I've got a special little surprise for folks on Sunday. Nothing fancy but good enough to put a smile on people's faces. It's going to be porntastic.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

'Bout Time

Here are the pics for yesterday's post. It seems I didn't have the right usb cord thingy to connect my camera thingy to my computer thingy yesterday.

Local trail art
Considering how many pics of myself I post, I've been toying with the idea of renting out ad space on my helmet or schnoz.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cherry Pepsi

Marcy was off from work yesterday because all state offices were shut down for the day (10 extra days of UNpaid vacation...) so I was able to snag a monday commute. I woke up way too early though and was unable to get back to sleep so, at 4:15 I got up and did what any normal red blooded american would do. I went out to do some trail work. I've recently started a bit of trail right out our screen porch door so I figured I'd hit that with the rake while I waited for it to get light out. A 1/2 hour later, things were starting to brighten up so I ran in, shoved a couple handfuls of cherries in my mouth and guzzled a diet pepsi and hit the trail. The trails were a bit soggy in places and all around slow because of the water content but otherwise most were in good shape. My commute was a shortish one at 1:15 but it felt good to get out and I thought I might be onto something with my pre-ride nutrition plan since I still felt really good considering how little I had eaten.

Fast forward a day and I'm once again able to commute, I followed the same basic routine (minus the trail prep) but this time headed out a bit earlier so that I could hit more trail. Just before heading out the door I shoved 2-3 hand fulls of cherries down my piehole, guzzled a diet pepsi and hit it. For a while I felt great and was having a good time until around 1:25 when I started to slllllooooooowwwwwww ddddooooowwwwwwnnnnn. Hmmm, maybe those 200 calories after 8 hours of no food isn't enough to fuel someone out on a 2 hour mountain bike ride. Who knew? Thankfully, I'm tougher than most and somehow found the mental fortitude to finish the ride. I'm an inspiration to all. Come to think of it, someone should make a sunday morning movie out of my experience. I hear Matt Damon likes to play cyclist roles. I'll have my peeps get in touch with his peeps asap.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Yay for freakin sun!!!

Holy hell has it been a rough spring/early summer. As most of you know (since you live here anyway) this year has been sucky weather wise at best. We had two stellar weeks of sun in the early spring but since then it has been a downright mess. Looking on the bright side though is that since I've had little time to ride anyway, I'm hoping that all this rain has kept some of my competitors off the trails as well so when I race this weekend (yep, just realized this morning that I have a frickin race this weekend. I can already taste the vomit.) hopefully I'll only be off the back and not WAY THE FRICK off the back of the group. The best news is that the race is the most technical of the season with no climbing to speak of so I actually stand a chance of not embarassing myself and my family. Fingers crossed...

All the whining aside, we finally did see some sun this weekend. Friday was pretty sweet for our ride to Boston to visit my bro and his almost 1 yr old son and our first ever visit to the world of Ikea and it's never ending labarynth of all that is holy. I have to admit, the thought of Ikea sort of makes my bowels tremble because being a behomoth of a place it sort of goes against most of what I believe in but I do like cool stuff that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Saturday started out decent as well and I had dreams of getting out for a ride but before that could happen the sky opened up and we got frickin dumped on yet again. Enough so that a lot of driveways and roads were washed out. Good thing the state has all sorts of extra funds kicking around to rebuild roads...

Sunday also started out well but since we have no tv or internet at the moment we had no idea if we'd have a replay of Saturday....zzzzzzzz

Holy crap on a cracker was all that boring. Time to sum it up:

family went kayaking
I got a life jacket sunburn
no riding was had but I did squeeze in 1/2 hour of trail work.

there now, wasn't that much easier and less painful?