Thursday, October 29, 2009

Living Vicariously

For almost a week now, I've had a viscous head cold that's had me down and out for the most part. Usually, in years past, if I got something like this I'd just take a day off, get some good rest and be good to go a day later. This year, taking a day off isn't an option so instead of being over the cold quickly and getting back to normal, I'm left to suffer (mildly) for an extended period of time and watch as ride opportunities drift away. Thankfully, there has been enough race action recently in the form of cross races to help me cope. All sorts of people I know race cross so I get a chance to read a bunch of race reports that somehow, even though they're usually only competing for upper mid pack status, really get me amped up and wanting to race cross next year.

The other day a friend, who is a professional photographer, sent me a link to some shots he took of the first inaugural Casco Bay Cross. I'm bummed I wasn't able to make it but from the looks of the pics, a bunch of my Bikeman peeps did. Here are a few of my favorite shots.

Big (I'm not gay) Al and Ryan Rumsey grinding up one of the steep climbs. (note: almost all of the pics of Ryan have Al on his wheel)
wow, that was a quick foreshadow. there's al on ryan's wheel.
don't know who this is but I liked the shot.
Wheels winning the old fart elite class.

All of the cross action has definitely piqued my interest for next year and since I don't plan on making any changes to my mtb quiver for 2010 I'm hoping I'll be able to whore myself out enough to scrape the coin together for some sort of franken-cross bike so I can hit 4-ish races next year. Anybody know of a good but cheapish cross bike? I'm open for ideas!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Care Package

Got a soft bundle of love in the mail the other day. What could it be???

It was a couple of XXC t's from our favorite, overly visual social deviant Jason.

I'm not usually a black t kind of guy but was psyched with how they fit and that they are from one of my favorite t manufacturer, Gildan. I have a ton of race t's from Gildan and they are always one of the best fitting, comfy t's I have in my dresser. Good choice Jason.

Dead sexy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Upside of Insomnia

As I think I've mentioned here before, I've been suffering from insomnia recently. I can usually fall asleep fine but if I wake up during the night than games over. My mind turns on and I can't get myself back to sleep. There are multiple obvious problems with insomnia with being tired all the f'ing time being right up there at the top but there is also a nice little bonus to being up so damn early. It means more saddle time.

It's dark as hell at 4 am and cold as a witches teet as well but I've got a sweet lighting set up and I'm a total cold weather riding stud muffin (unlike others I know, pansies) so I've been using these early mornings as a way to squeeze a tiny bit of riding into my (somehow increasingly) crazy weeks.

This morning's lack of sleep meant that I was rolling by 4:15-ish and got a nice little mountain bike commute in while still being to the cubicle by 6, post written and working by 6:15 (so it's 6:57 now, I forgot to hit "publish", sue me).

Friday, October 23, 2009


Somehow Marcy and I managed to pull off a weeknight getaway from the spud in order to go see Race Across the Sky which was doing a one night showing last night. Gotta say, before I saw the trailer for this movie a few weeks ago, I never would have considered doing the Leadville 100. From what I'd heard, it was mostly on road and doubletrack and was an out and back style course. Three things that I tend to try to avoid when it comes to traveling 2/3's of the way across the country to do a race. BUT, after seeing the movie and realizing the pure beauty of the area, I'm definitely considering sending in a postcard to try to get in next year. What can it hurt right? Based on what I've seen and heard, technically the course isn't very tough (for an east coaster) but the altitude would be the sure killer. Guess it gives Marcy and I an excuse to head out west a month in advance to get some altitude training in!

The movie had a pretty good turnout, especially for a mostly non cycling oriented state and there was a large percentage of the employee crowd who managed to crawl out of their holes for the evening. Shit, I even ran into our favorite Tour Divide finisher Stephen Gleasner (and an article here).

Good times. If you missed the showing, go to the site and request that they do a second. If they get enough requests they'll put together another showing this winter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On the DL

As if you haven't already noticed. blog posts are getting even less frequent than usual recently. That is because of a number of things but mainly because when I don't have a race to whine about my fitness for I don't seem to have much else to write about. As a result, I'll temporarily be going to a 2-3 times a week post schedule. I'll see you back here with more frequent posts early next year.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frozen Digits

This morning's commute marked the first official frozen digits day on the bike. By the end of the day temps are supposed to climb into the mid 50's which will be pretty sweet but when I walked out the door at 5:15 this morning it was 30 degrees. Basically the worst possible temp out there. Do I wear the thick gloves and sweat my hands off or do I go with the thinner long fingers and potentially freeze the bejezus out of them? Same with the core. Wear the jacket or not wear the jacket? If the temps were 5 degrees either way than the decision would be easy but for some reason (maybe because I don't have gear for this temp) temps hovering around freezing always throw me for a loop.

Given my indecisiveness today I decided to start with my cool weather gloves and jacket and then I would shed them once I got warmed up. The plan worked well until shortly getting back on the road when my finners started to get a bit nippy. Oh well. The bod with adjust soon.

Other than that it was a typical commute. I hit up some trails on the way (these trails will be pretty sweet with a bit more traffic) and some road. I had to cut out the last few sections of single track since I was running slim on time. I can't wait til I figure out my insomnia thing. I've been sleeping (or to be more accurate, not sleeping) like crap recently so I've been reluctant, and sometimes without the required energy, to get up early to ride and with the work pressure being what it always is, I can't extend the rides much after dawn so I'll enjoy my 1:15 commutes for now and dream of when I can once again extend them to the 2-3 hour range.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The real world can bite me.

Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whoda Thunk It

Tuesday night I couldn't sleep and found myself awake for good at 1:15 am after only 2.5 hours of sleep. I tried in vain for several hours to get back to sleep but by 3:30 I threw in the towel and decided to do a blog post and hit the trail and go to work. I had plenty of time for a long trail ride but with so little sleep I didn't think I'd be really into the ride so I killed some time and then took a relatively quick route getting me to work in about 1.5 hours. Turns out I actually felt pretty good, surprisingly good actually, and I was bummed I didn't give myself more time.

Then the day came and I expected the worst but, somehow, I felt like a champ all day. Well, I figured, my ride home has to stink. Right? Wrong, my ride home was pretty sweet as well. I didn't have a ton of time but I was able to put the finishing touches on the loop for next weekends festivities. By the end of my ride, I had 2.5 hours of riding, exactly how much sleep I had gotten. Now if I could do that every day...

got to work early enough that I had to work in my kit until the apt. shower was available.

After my morning commute, I also got some good feedback on my lights from the last few miles of roadage to the office. It seems drivers were mighty impressed with the output my Dinotte lights crank out. In fact, here is an e-mail from one of Marcy's coworkers:

"Was that you or Rick riding a bike this morning where the Ponderosa Campground used to be? It was too dark for me to see a face but I had no problem seeing the rider…cool “headlights”!"

That right there is reason enough that, if you commute, you should pick yourself up a good set of lights. Nothing says "there's a rider ahead" than seared retinas...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tis the Season

With the racing season over and my so called fitness quickly slipping away and riding time still slim, I find myself searching for ways to keep in shape. Now that the pooch is gone, I can't seem to will myself out of bed in the morning for a quick jog on the road so until I decide to give trail running a go, that's out, I'm not in the mood (or finding the time) to get to the gym yet, (that'll probably happen when it's really cold out) and other outdoor activities like hiking are also out for now so I've had to look elsewhere for my exercise endorphins and to keep the gut at bay. As a result I've decided to re-focus on doing Pilates a few days a week to keep (get?) the bod limber and the core strong and I'll also be starting up my cyclo-core workouts again. Each year I start both of these in the fall in hopes of maintaining a strong core and limber body through the summer but one thing (excuse) always leads to another and by spring I end up pretty much ditching them both in favor of getting outside but then by summer's end my back is a wreck and I suffer like a dog in races like the Bradbury 12 where the rest of the body was strong but the core was weak. My back still hurts just thinking about that race.

Pilates isn't exactly the manliest of workout routines and buying something from Cyclo-Core is like signing a deal with an e-mail spam devil but they're about all I've got for now so I'll take it.

For quite some time I was questioning why I ever signed up to be on the cyclo-core e-mail list because the owner sends info-mercial type e-mails on a daily basis (sometimes even twice a day) but his persistence has finally paid off because I recently was convinced to click on over to one of his pod casts (about his vermont 50 experience) and I have to admit it was somewhat interesting. I'm not sure that I'll ever call on one of his pod casts when I have other distractions at my disposal but when I'm stuck at the computer at work doing something mundane, listening to a crackpot talk about his green bubble of protection can be somewhat interesting.

With that said, it's 4:15 am, I've been awake since 1 (must be spending too much time reading Thom's blog, stupid insomnia is contagious) and I think it's time to get my shit together and head out the door for a mountain bike commute. Just wish it wasn't 32 degrees out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Let's Take Two

Two days on the bike in a row after almost a whole week off and the legs are feeling it this morning. Yesterday, despite being a walking zombie for most of the afternoon, I forced myself out for a mountain bike ride while our house was being invaded by 3 girls under the age of 6. Add in one super excited B-girl and you're left with an ear splitting evening (forcing me to don a pair of ear muffs!) and a super tired spud.

Anyway, I got out for a ride in the Schmid Preserve on the El Mariachi, my first ride on the El in quite some time, and decided I'd try to put together a respectable loop so that KillBill and BlahBlahCalvin can come up sometime for a sampling of the local brew. I hadn't been on the trails much the last couple of months because of work/house schedules so I expected them to be in a pretty horrific state but I was pleasantly surprised to find them in fine order and that someone (probably a mountain biker) had done some trail work. Why do I suspect it was a mtb'er who did the work? Well, two stone ramps were constructed in areas (and ways) that would only help someone on a bike.

To get over a stone wall.
to get over a log. I didn't see this one in time but it looks a tad sketchy.
Despite nearly falling asleep at the bars during the beginning of the ride, the bod finally came around and I had a great ride. In fact, I actually found a couple new sections of sweet double track that I'll be able to use to make a pretty good loop in the 1:45 - 2:00 range without using the other trails in the area that involve a bit of pavement to get to. Of course, if they're feeling up to it, we might hit those as well. I'm thinking of trying to get it together for this Sunday afternoon around 4-ish so if anyone is interested (and has lights since we'll most likely be out until after dark) let me know. The more, the merrier.

This morning dawned (well actually I was up quite a bit before dawn) with our first near freezing morning. I had to drop the car at the garage and ride from there to work so I got suited up in my usual morning attire and headed out. On the drive to the garage, as I watched the console temp dip to 32 degrees, I realized that I might be just a tad under dressed for the ride. I had with me, an undershirt, jersey, arm warmers and a long sleeve (thin) shell for my upper body and just shorts and knee warmers for the legs. Hmmm. Oh, and a cap (without anything to keep the ears warm) and some long finger mechanic type gloves. Yeah, lets just say that even for me, it was a tad bit cold.

Almost runrise. Notice how red my ears are getting.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I Dreamed of Cross

Well, my grand plan of taking the cyclocross world by storm has been put in the shitter right quick. I figured the plan would go in the shitter AFTER a retched performance at the Casco Bay Cross race next weekend instead of before the race but that's how we roll on this side of the Racin Rick gutter. Everything went in the pooper when I found out our metal roof isn't going to show up this week like I had hoped which would have allowed us to install most of the roof over the weekend. Instead, it'll be here next week meaning a Saturday/Sunday install next weekend, right when the cross race is happening. Bummer.

Of course, I probably would have been schooled by 99.9% of the field anyway so this will be much less painful and embarrassing this way. Good luck to all my peeps entered, Wheels (if he isn't east coast trotting looking for that elusive uci point) and all of you other silly buggers out there doing tiny little not circles.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Yesterday I rode my mountain bike for the first time since the Bradbury 12 over two weeks ago. Be happy for me. Of course, I hadn't touched the bike since the race so it was having all sorts of little issues. The chain wasn't lubed, the ebb was creaking like a mofo and the handlebars were slightly off center from my head on collision with a tree in the race.

It was still a cool, chill ride on some sweet trails and I finally got a chance to compare my lights to KillBill's Light and Motion SECA 700. If you were to compare the 700 to the Dinotte 800 directly I'd probably have to give the nod to the SECA since it has more of a spot beam but with a good amount of flood for good peripherals while the 800 is more of a flood only so while it has more lumens it appears to have slightly less light because it's more spread out. BUT, when I set the 800 on the bar to the 400 lumen setting (also allowing for 5hr run time) and fired up my 400 on the helmet (which has a very good spot beam) we had a whole new ballgame. At the same lumen output of the 800 at full blast I was getting a far superior beam, lots of spread and more than enough light to ride as fast as I wanted. And as KillBill said as I was following him, that was the closest he's been to having his light totally washed out by another light.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Garmin Connect can BITE ME!

I know that I haven't done it much this summer since I haven't ridden in that many interesting places but typically, after going for a cool ride, I'd upload my gps info to motion based and then export that to google earth so that I could post a pic showing my route with roads, topo (not much of that on coastal maine though) etc all showing up. Well, the geniuses at Garmin have decided to ditch motion based and came up with this fantastic new site, Garmin Connect. Not only is it new but it's also useless and a total chore to work with. On Motion Based, I could easily click on the ride I wanted to upload and I'd be on my way. Stupid f'ing Garmin Connect makes me "un-click" all the rides I DON'T want to upload before proceeding and since I've had my Garmin Edge for a few years now, that's hundreds of f'ing un-clicks. Douche bags! Of course that is only a problem if Garmin Connect doesn't freeze up before I even get to start the un-clicking. Totally frickin useless.

Thankfully, the Training Center software I have allows me to upload directly to Google Earth but the line comes up fat and nasty because it shows every single piece of gps data collected. That is totally sweet when I want to see what my heartrate was at a specific point in a ride (which I do check out quite frequently) but a total suckfest image wise. Oh well. One of these days I'll figure it out.

Anyway, now that my real racing season is over and training doesn't really matter I was finally able to make it out yesterday for a sweet and quite physically challenging 3 1/2 hour road ride. Where was that sum-bitch earlier in the summer? Basically, with us having to put Chance down on Friday I found myself in a world of hurt (much more so than expected) and needed to get out of the house Sunday so with an afternoon of football and prime rib planned at a friends house I decided to hit the road in the morning and meet Marcy and B there. Being the good cyclist that I am, I couldn't take the shortest route, instead I decided to hit some roads I was unfamiliar with and take the more scenic route.

Overall it was a sweet ride and at one point I was, once again, reminded how much I enjoy riding in traffic (in town traffic at least) when I was heading through Brunswick with it's frequent stop lights. For me, there is no better interval workout than trying to hold a car's wheel between stops. My heart rate was through the roof. Of course, the intervals came in the early stages of the ride and left little in the tank for the remainder of the ride including a cruel 10-15% climb out of town in Hallowell. Of course, totally emptying the tank made me feel a bit less guilty when I downed 8-ish beers and about a pound of steak afterwards...

oh, and garmin connect can SUCK IT!
there, I feel better now.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I Dream of Cyclocross

I don't know why but just before I woke up this morning I had a dream that I was in a cyclocross race. I and all of the other riders were actually on mountain bikes but I knew it was a cyclocross race because of two reasons. 1. you know how sometimes in a dream you just know something? that was the case. 2. I kept passing the same point on the course every 38 seconds and the only bike racing format that considers a 3.2 minute lap to be perfect is cyclocross.

Since I bagged the last mountain bike race of the season I've been thinking of ways for redemption and the first way that I've though of is by doing the Casco Bay Cyclocross race in Portland this month. is the title sponsor, it's a first year event AND it's put on by the same folks who promote the Bradbury 12 so I know it will be a quality event. Shit, Casco Bay Sports also organizes a dodgeball league so who could even question them???

Anyway, I'm thinking of toeing the line but I'm not sure since I'd need to race my ss el mariachi with 2.1's which isn't exactly the recipe for cross success but then again I threw that recipe in the garbage ages ago.

By the way, I chose the pic that I did because, during my dream I was always running for some reason (and being passed by racers with flat front tires). I guess I don't expect to be too fast anyway.