Monday, August 31, 2009

No Write-Up

I got in too late today so I didn't have time to do my race write-up before work so I'll give you this instead to hold you over. Brynna won the kids race. I didn't win mine but I had a good race and felt great the whole time.

B ripping it up.

Crossing the line, winning by a bike length. So proud of her, when the 2nd place finisher started to close in, B screamed and dug in to not be beat!
Shiney metal.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Cold As Ballz

This a.m.'s commute was frickin cold as hell. It's still August and it was frickin 43 degrees. What the hell? In a few months 43 degrees will probably be a welcome change but right now, with 80+ degree days only a few days back, that temp hit me hard. Hopefully we've got plenty more warm days on the horizon.

Got out last night for a few laps on this weekend's race course. I felt pretty good and my gearing seems spot on but I have to admit, that damn climb is going to kill me. Thankfully, I ran into Mike, the race promoter, last night and he reminded me that we only do the full climb on the first two laps and then an abbreviated climb for the next too. I'm so happy that I think I'm getting a case of the vapors...

I also got to put some time in on the new lights on proper trails and once again they didn't disappoint. I've still got some fiddling to do with the mounts and aim of the bar light but other than that I think I'm pretty happy. One of the best things about the system is the new litium-ion batteries which are ridiculously light. The two cell battery that runs the 400l for 2.5 hours at full power easily mounts on the helmet so I don't have to deal with cords or a pack. Frickin sweet. The four cell battery for the bar light mounts easily at the junction of the top and down tube. Again, no long cords to deal with. Wait, I think I'm getting another case of the vapors... Much more to come I'm sure.

Finally, I think a plan has been hatched for my two brothers, father and ever supportive (in a jockstrap sort of way) wife to race a 4 person team in the upcoming Bradbury 12. That would be some pretty cool shit. In fact, I'm thinking about registering them now so that they can't back out...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shake Down

Tuesday night I was able to get out for a quick ride to give the Dinotte lights their first shake down (I was too excited to wait another night to try them out). I was nervous about the ride because I had such high hopes for the lights that I was certain that with such high expectations that I'd be let down. Thankfully, I can report that these lights are, indeed, pretty frickin sweet.

Out of the box, I could tell that I was going to love the lights. The 400L lighthead was super small and the battery weight was non-existent so mounting both on my helmet wasn't an issue.

The 800L lighthead is somewhat on the chunky side but felt solid and, for it's size, is pretty light as well. I mounted that on the bar.

Overall, I was very happy with the lights for my 1 hour ride but, to be honest, my local trails are the best place for a thorough review so I'm going to wait til tonights single track fun fest at the Camden Snow Bowl before doing a real review of the lights.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Introducing Dinotte

Almost two years ago I became clued into a small lighting company in New Hampster called Dinotte. They exclusively offered led bike lights at a time when the whole led thing was still pretty new and most people were using HID or halogen lights. I immediately started lusting for one of their lights (and even did a post about my lustful state both here and on the bikeman website) but couldn't get myself to pull the trigger since I already had two functioning halogen systems that were working fine. I wasn't crazy about how they worked or how much they weighed but they worked and I couldn't rationalize buying new lights at the time.

Fortunately, (for me at least) during our multiple moves this winter I seem to have misplaced my newest Marwi light. The one I rely on for most rides since it is my brighest and longest running. I've turned the place inside out to no avail. With the Bradbury 12 approaching in less than a month I started to panic since I figured I'd have found the light by now. I had hatched a plan to borrow my brother's Nite Rider HID for the race but that would still leave me light-less after the race was over (my old light is a 10w halogen and is about to go toes up) so I started to look around to see what was out there.

Initially, I thought about getting the Light and Motion Seca since a couple of my buddies have them and love them but in my searching I started to check out the new Dinotte offerings and was smitten once again and it wasn't long before I found the package that I wanted, an 800 lumen bar light and a 400 lumen helmet light or, roughly, 5 times the light of my 15w halogen. Thankfully for me, Rob at Dinotte was willing to give me a sweet deal on the set up so I'll be riding my final two laps of the Bradbury 12 in near daylight.

Much more to come when I get them in the mail.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

This Just In

Ok, this actually happened over a month ago, but I just found this pic of B on my phone of her trying to take a jump while we were at the Fat Tire Festival in Presque Isle. After looking at the picture I'm begining to question whether she's my kid or not since I'm 34 and I still wouldn't take the jump!

Also of note, I've picked up a kinda-sorta sponsor the the upcoming Bradbury 12. It's not exactly the most lucrative deal on the planet but lets just say it'll keep me in lights and batteries for the time being without breaking the bank. More to come.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day Job

Did you ever wonder what I do during the day when I'm not being the world's most fabulously underacheiving mountain bike racer? Well, I design places like this little gem.

This'll consume roughly three years of my life with other small projects thrown in just to keep me sane... Ever tried to keep 50 guys busy for three years straight? Taint easy and it might, just might explain all of the stress drinking lately.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009


Last week I mentioned that I was heading over to the Camcen Snow Bowl for some course recon for next weekends race. I already know the trails well but I wanted to see if there would be any new sections and, more importantly, I wanted to figure out the right gearing for riding that bitch on a single speed. The 20 minute opening climb makes it impossible (or at least stupid) to run a high gear considering how much time you'll lose while needing to walk some sections. So, for the day, I started to roll out with a 32/19 half expecting to need to change to 32/20 before I finished the climb and sure enough, but after a short warm-up I decided to make the change before the climb and I'm glad I did. At 32/20 the hill was just climbable for my sorry ass this year and I was able to clean 99% of it which is roughly what I can do on a geared bike because there are a couple of steep, tricky sections that you have to really be on top of to clean.

Once to the top, I got to business enjoying the ripping downhill. They've done a good job cleaning up some of the scary steep sections and build some sweet bridges over swampy areas.

Good stuff. About 2 minutes from the bottom of the downhill, while dropping into a wooded section after crossing a ski trail something happened and before I knew it I was launched over the bars and hurling towards a nice rock pile. Initially I stuck my right arm out but, thankfully, pulled it back just in time to do a semi textbook shoulder roll. It probably would have been text book if my feet weren't tangled up in my bike causing my both legs to take direct hits for the rocky terrain.

Initially I thought that I was pretty damn lucky to not have hurt myself but as I laid there I began to realize that I hurt really freakin bad. Maybe bad enough that I might not be able to get back up. It kind of freaked me out since this is the same place that Marcy totally blew out her ankle about 5 years ago but I didn't have the benefit of a riding partner with me to help me out so I struggled to stand and gradually was able to right myself. Both legs hurt like a son of a bitch but at least everything seemed to be working. So after waiting a couple of minutes for the pain to subside a bit I got back on the trail and did one more lap just to make sure the trail knew who was boss...

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't You Hate It

Recently, because XM online now charges to listen even if you have an XM account, I've been forced to listen to Pandora while at work. I shouldn't say forced really because Pandora is pretty sweet but you can only listen 40 hours a month without paying and when you work over 40hrs/week it becomes a juggling act to get listening in without squandering your precious time. Anyway, I've been listening to my brother's "station" named Puscifer which has a bunch of melodic metal (I guess that's what you'd call it) that my bro programmed in. But how Pandora works is that you name some of your favorite groups and then they add in some stuff that they think you might like. Usually they do a pretty good job but the other day while I was working (not really listening to the music) it occured to me that something was amiss. I wasn't sure what was wrong at first but I knew something must be up because my testes were quietly packing up their bag to leave. Obviously, I didn't want it to be a ghost town down in Taintville so I frantically tried to find out what the problem was. Soon, I realized that the problem was coming from Pandora. I recognized the tune that was playing but couldn't quite place it but I KNEW that it was the root of my problem. So I pulled Pandora up and sure enough, right there, staring me in the face and invading my brain was none other than The Backstreet Boys! Arggggghhhhhhhh! I don't know what the wackjobs at Pandora were thinking because I had to immediately turn it off and I haven't been back in a few days for fear of what I might be subjected to.

This was the long way of telling you that on today's mountain bike commute a song slipped into my head. Not really an entire song, but a snippet, maybe a quarter of one verse. I didn't really notice the song at first because songs have a way of entering my subconscious without me initially realizing it but at some point I'll realize that I've had 5 words to a song running through my head for a while. Today, that lovely song that entered my brain was the same Backstreet Boys song. Don't ask me the name of the song or even the words because it was just the rhythm and sounds of one verse that were STUCK there. No matter what I tried to think of, I couldn't get that asshat song out of my head. Pandora, you can suck it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No Post Tuesday

OK, so this technically isn't a "no post" but it'll be close. I had a good one in mind that was all full of blood and gore from last week's lil' ride at the Camden Snow Bowl but, unfortunately, I keep forgetting my camera and the post cannot be done without the pics so it'll have to wait one more day. Truthfully though, I'm too run down to do much today anyway. The whole DAMfam is under the weather today so energy levels are low. Not to mention it's about 1000 degrees outside so motivation is exponentially lower as well. So, instead of an inspired post (like you came here expecting that anyway) I'm going to finish my work day and then head over to the unairconditioned workshop and plan some stair treads for the house and THEN crawl my ass home on the road bike.


Monday, August 17, 2009


Last weekend was the Rangeley XC race up in beautiful Rangeley Maine. I've generally liked this race course in the past but coming one week after the glorious trails up in Presque Isle you would have been hard pressed to find a more unhappy camper after that race was over. Similar to PI, the Rangeley course is located in a xc ski resort but unlike PI, Rangeley used a good deal of the ski trails for the race course. Some of the ski trails were decent but enough of them are old log strewn crappy. And to top things off, the promoter added a couple bits of single track to the finishing loop that were about as un-fun as trails can get. Ugh. Presque Isle really spoiled me. I'm sure when I go back next year (I have to miss the second race of the season there this year) that my perspective will have changed a bit but what would a Racin Rick post be without a bit of whining?

Anyway, onto the race.

After racing the hilly PI race in a 32/18 gear I figured a 32/17 would work better for the Rangeley race since it had much less climbing and a long (1 mile-ish) opening, slightly downhill dirt road section. When I pre-rode the course on the morning of in the 32/17 I was pretty sure it would be good. I was able to ride 99% of the trail at that point and I figured that since I wasn't even warmed up yet that when I blasted through in the race all would be good but just in case, I left the 32/18 on so that I could make a quick, mid-race, change if necessary.

Race time rolled around and we took off. I got the whole shot out of the field and onto the road which was exactly where I wanted to be. If I could keep the gearies with me for a bit, I figured I'd still have them in sight when we got to the woods. Unfortunately, I was soon completely spun out and totally maxing my heart rate so there was nothing I could do as Wheels and KillBill cruised on by me with their silly big rings spinning smoothly. Only one other would pass me before we entered the woods.

Once into the woods I was still feeling good and still have Wheels and KillBill in sight (about 20 seconds up) but once we got out onto the first crappy ski trail section I started to question my gearing choice. I was working way too hard and going nowhere fast. Before long, another single speeder on a much more sensible 32x18 came by me so I grabbed his wheel and hopped for the best.

After ploddingly following Ryan for 1/2 a lap and realizing that not only was I working too hard but I was in no way enjoying myself, I decided to change my gearing. Sure, it would cost me a couple of minutes now but it would save me 2 hours of agony so I figured it was worth it.

After a couple minutes of fiddling and being passed by a few experts I was back in the game and feeling much better. Like the previous week, once I was going again I felt pretty good and fairly quickly picked up all of the places that I lost. Unfortunately, I was still hating the course and soon found my will to ride fast being depleted and I began dreading catching sight of Ryan up ahead because, if I did, I'd never forgive myself for not giving chase. Thankfully for me, I was riding slow so that never happened so I was able to finish alone in a wallow of self pity in 4th place overall.

On a good note, next weekend's race is at the Camden Snow Bowl which, as I've mentioned, is one of my favorite places to ride and while it's not at all single speed friendly with it's merciless 20 minute opening climb it's still a super fun place to ride so I'm looking forward to the beating!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Not much to report today (shocking!) other than I'm heading to the Camden Snow Bowl after work today to do my first recon for the race there in another two weeks. I can't believe we're halfway through August and this is the first time I've headed that way this summer. Freakin' sad. The Snow Bowl used to be my usual haunt when I worked in Camden and I would typically ride there at least once a week and sometimes two. The trails there are sweet, technical and there is lots of climbing so if you rode it regularly and hit it hard, it was perfect prep for just about any mountain bike race you might be getting ready for. It's probably no surprise that I was fastest when I was riding there. Of course, when I rode there regularly I didn't have a mini-me running around either so training time was relatively abundant and I could fairly regularly get in 10-15 hour weeks. Compare that to my 4-6 hours these days and I guess I should be thankful that I'm able to race slightly faster than a steaming pile of poo.

Anyway, I've gotten off topic. I'm psyched to be heading there this afternoon and hopefully I'll be able to rip out 2-3 laps on the race course and be able to dial my gearing in since each lap opens with a 20 minute climb, switchbacking up to the top of the mountain. I can't remember if I've ever done it on a single speed before but I'm sure it'll hurt.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting Some Love

On the Bradbury 12 website. HERE
Things Change

Man, with the weather finally getting nice here, it feels like summer has finally begun and I was starting to feel good about the prospects of the rest of the summer until it sort of dawned on my that we're nearly halfway through August! How in the world did this happen and why wasn't I notified!?!? Seriously, all of my early season goals have gone out the window and I've had to reassess my goals for the rest of the race season. In the winter I had made this weekend's Hampshire 100 one of my major goals. I've won my age class both years and really wanted to vie for the overall this year but given current conditioning and the fact that we still don't have heat or siding on our house yet, I've decided to bag it for this year. One more weekend away from home all to get schooled on a non-single speed friendly course just didn't seem to make sense. Oh well, there is always next year.

I've also been forced to shelve my GRRRRR plans as well. I had planned on hosting the event sometime late next month but, again, with how things are rolling this year I just don't see it happening. Instead, I'm going to focus on getting it set up for next season which will mean a better organized/more fun event. Our house will be done (honest!) so there will be plenty of place to party/crash and I'll have more time to dial in the loops and do any needed trail work. AND it takes some pressure off of me for this year and since I was planning this as a fun event for me that makes all the sense in the world.

On another topic, if any of you locals (wheels) is interested, I'm hitting up the Camden race course after work tomorrow (Friday) so if you're interested in the tour, give me a shout.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Because I'm Too Lazy to Post

I especially like the 12 year old "$5000" bike.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Presque Isle

I'm way late with getting this post out but time continues to have it's way with me this summer and every time I turn around another week is gone, I haven't blogged enough and the house still isn't frickin done. Waaaaaaa!

Anyway, I had hoped to give the Presque Isle race a proper write-up but it appears, that aint happening. so here's a quick recap.

Race day came and my legs were feeling surprisingly good. I went out for a pre-ride/warm-up with Kevin and was absolutely amazed with the condition, flow and sheer funnery of the race course. For the most part it was very tame as far as technical skills needed for the course but the layout and trail construction were so spot on that the lack of dump truck loads of rocks and roots didn't deter from the fun. I might even go so far as say that it was much more funner than rocky, rooty courses. In fact, I'll go out on a limb here and say that it was the bestest, most funnest trail system out there. Ever. In the history of mankind. Ok, that might be a bit of a stretch but it was the best race course I've ever been on. Bar none.

Because of the long drive to the venue (5 hours for us) the turnout was small but at the start I found myself next to a few known riders (who most years I can best) and one unknown, fast looking mother f'er from the great white north.

The gun went off and I did my mad dash blender routine as I tried to stay in the top three over the opening 1/2 mile of fast paved cart path and hit the first climb 3rd wheel. I didn't know how the legs would be yet and I didn't want to blow it on the first climb so I settled in behind two knowns and let the canadian cruise past us. I briefly thought about chasing him but we were two minutes into the race and I was sitting on the wheel of the guy who beat me by one spot in the last race so I figured I'd be smart.

Most of the first lap was uneventful. For the start I felt our pace was pretty good but by the time we got through the first half of the lap I felt I needed to push the pace a bit. My HR was in the low 160's (my usual race average is mid 170's) so I looked for a good spot to pass. Unfortunately, on the fast switchback descents I made a little bobble and briefly lost contact and since I was all spun out in my 32/18 I bided (is that a word?) my time, caught them before the end of the lap and made my pass going up the initial climb on lap two.

end of lap one, finally caught back on.

From here I drilled it. Drilled it good. My legs were feeling awesome so I decided to try to reel in the Canadian up ahead. I didn't know the time gap but I figured he had a solid five minute lead. I blasted through the opening sections at what felt like double the first lap speed only to puncture my front tire on a punji stick in a dry stream crossing. No problem, I thought, since I have stans in the tire but after a couple of minutes of fiddling with it I realized it wasn't going to seal so I set about changing the tube. By this time (I'm guessing two minutes since I was totally knackered and race delirium) all the experts I had passed were coming back by me. After what seemed like forever, I finally got a tube in and inflated. Threw the wheel on the bike and started to run to remount only to have my bike endo on me. Huh? So I tried again and it endo'd again. What the frick? So I look down and see that I've put the wheel in backwards and the brake caliper was jammed in the spokes. WHAT-A-DOUCHE! Anyway, after mentally kicking myself in the nuts, I fixed the wheel and got back on the bike feeling sorry for myself and wanting to quit since 90% of the expert field had just passed me.

After I was back on the bike I realized that the legs were still there so I decided to drill it again, even harder this time, and see if I could catch all the guys who passed me. So I took off and marveled at how good the legs felt considering my even less than lack luster training and racing so far this year. I soon began to pick people off which only motivated me to push harder. I figured I'd give it everything I had and if I totally imploded half way through the last lap than so be it.

near the end of lap two

I entered the third and final lap back into fourth place still feeling strong. Somewhere in that lap I picked up one more spot and knew that second place was just up ahead, had to be less than a minute up. So I dug a bit deeper and started to hear the tell tale tinkle of chain slap just ahead of me in the switch back sections. Then, on the final bit of down hill, I caught my first glimpse of second place, maybe 20 seconds ahead so I gave it one final burst to try to close the gap. Unfortunately, the race was about 1 mile too short because as we popped out of the final short climb I saw Greg cross the line about 10 seconds up and 5:21 down on the winner. Hmm, maybe if I hadn't fiddled with the tire for so long I could have given him a run for his money. On the other hand, the winner could have been coasting since he had noone on his tail and might have taken off when I caught him anyway. Oh well, that's racing!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


I'm not sure if I'll get to my xc race report today (maybe I'll sneak in some lunchy munchy blogging?) so here's a little pic to hold you over and show you once again how frickin brilliant I am

hole in rim tape, meet mister Bikeman.

I had intended this to just be a temporary fix to get me home that one day last week but because it has worked so well (and I'm super lazy) it's still in there four rides later.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Biathlon

So, day one of the festival included two races, the mountain bike biathlon and a downhill (mountain cross) event. I wanted to do both but because I was already taking up a bunch of the weekend for my junk I decided to give the biathlon a try. As I mentioned yesterday, my shooting skillz suck donkey d but how often do you get the chance to ride your bike AND shoot guns? Unless you live in New York City, LA or Texas it probably doesn't happen all that often. In order to prep for the race, we all did a bit of shooting practice. Like I said yesterday, I sucked it big time in practice but I'm all about making a fool of myself so I decided to do the race anyway figuring, at the bare minimum, it would be a good way to open the legs for the next days xc race.

me getting some pointers
me giving b some pointers. she'll never shoot right now.

Marcy thoroughly kicking my ass.

The field was small so at the start I marked who I thought would be my main competitors. My buddy Kevin who is a good rider and did much better in practice than me, a couple of locals who looked young and fast and a new to me expert racer, John. At the start of the first mtb lap I sprinted to the front so that I could enter the single track first and set my own pace. This wasn't easy since the opener was a 150 yd paved road section but I got my blender on in my 32/18 and dove into the single track first.

I rode pretty solid through the single but failed to shed my main rivals and hit the last descent with only a few second gap over the next three riders. One quick uphill and I was at the shooting range. I ditched my bike, ran over, got into position and hoped to pull one out of my ass. Once I was in position and trying to sight the targets (1.8" at 160 ft) I realized how hard this was going to be since I was breathing hard from my 7 minute mtb sprint. Somehow I managed to slow my breathing a bit and hit my first five targets with no issues. I was so amazed that I wanted to revel in the moment but I had more racing to do so I sprinted back to my bike and headed back out for mtb #2.

zero targets missed baby!

By now, I was by myself (I suspect that everyone else must have had to do at least one penalty lap around the lodge for missing a target) so I cranked out another quick lap, occasionally glancing over my shoulder to look for hard chargers and pulled into the shooting area for my second and final shooting round. This time my breathing was all out of sorts and after spending a few seconds trying to sight my first target, I had to pull my head away and take a few breaths to steady myself. After that I did my best to sight all the targets but to be honest I didn't expect to hit any of them but somehow I managed to nail each one. I was on a roll.

So, I'm back up and heading out for my final mtb session. I had no idea how much of a lead I had at this point so I pinned the final section just to be sure and rolled across the line in first.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Now That was Fun

Over the weekend, the whole fam packed up and headed to Near Canadia (aka Presque Isle) for a weekend of camping, bike riding and racing and I'm happy to report that we were successful on all of those fronts. The drive to the venue took us about 5 hours, or roughly how long it would take to drive to Connecticut. And, just as a reminder, we never left the state of Maine.

the thousand mile stare after 4 hours of driving in the rain...
The town is so close to Canada that it even has a Canadian name. Anyway, we got there Friday evening and set up camp in the rain. Thankfully, the camping gods have a sense of humor because literally as we were just finishing with the tent the rain stopped but at least it never returned for the rest of the weekend.

yay for sun!

The race venue was having a fat tire festival all weekend and involved the xc race sunday, kids races, bike demo's, a downhill (more like mountain cross) race and a mtb biathalon. My interest was piqued when I saw folks practicing shooting in the hours leading up to the event. Back in my young'un days I used to hunt deer and shot a fair amount but I was never what you would consider a marksman and preferred to make up for my lack of skill with sheer volumes of lead. It worked for me at the time but did nothing to prepare me for the accuracy required to shoot a 1.8" black target at 160 ft. Of my ten practice shots I only hit four targets. That didn't bode well for the race since each missed target meant an extra lap around the lodge. By comparison, Marcy and my buddy Kevin each shot as well and Marcy easily beat me by hitting (I think) 8 out of 10 and Kevin roughly the same. Thankfully, as you have all likely figured out by now since you read this blog, I have no problem making an ass of myself for blog fodder or to just pass time so I was still game for the three lap, two shooting stage event.

Unfortunately, I forgot the camera today so you'll have to wait til tomorrow to see how we did.