Friday, April 30, 2010


Yesterday was slated as Marcy's day to commute home from work and then back in this morning. Unfortunately, the winds were so strong around here that she didn't want to test fate (and drunken fisherman yahoos) and opted out by mid afternoon and gave me the green light to hit up the Bath group ride.

It was cold as hell when I showed up to ride and everyone's get-ups showed it. There was barely any skin visible but about 1/2 hour in, the wind died down and layers started to come off. We had a good crew for the night, nine peeps total. Lets see if I can remember everyone. If I write their names down now I'm much more likely to remember them in the future so bear with me. KillBill, Channing, Forrest, Ken, Brian, Amanda, Kat, Gary and myself. There, I did it. Now I won't forget their names, at least until the next time I see them.

The bath trails are a total rip right now. There were two sections that were muddy but they always are and always will be until either bridges or go arounds are made so no complaints in that department. Just lots of flowy singletrack interspersed with rocky/rooty sections. Good stuff.

I'm pretty sure Brian said "fuck you!" when he realized I snapped a pic of him walking a totally rideable bridge. Sorry Brian.
Brian and Forrest.
Brian didn't bring a light so I loaned him my 800L. Unfortunately, his bar was too thin so we had to find some "shims". Worked pretty well.
about 5 seconds after forrest announced a 6-second sprint.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How a Week Slips By

Man, it sure is easy for a week to slip away with nary a ride. Between two client meetings, a couple of 11+ hour days at work, a bit of rain, a little apathy and at least attempting to be a good father and husband a week's ride opportunities simply vanish. Oh well, I'll just call this a rest week and be good.

Thankfully, the next few days are looking better weather wise so a few rides for the end of the week may be on tap and hopefully a crit on Sunday (with a pre-ride at bradbury with my budy Kev maybe?) and Ricky will be a happy boy.

On the home front, we finally got our certificate of occupancy for the house. Good news! We can now officially move into the house we've been living in for about 9 months now. Maybe next I should get a drivers license considering I've been driving since I was 15 or maybe I'll get an architectural license since I've been working as one for 12 years (holy shit! I've been out of college for 12 freakin years. what an old fart).

Speaking of being an old fart. I'm officially moved up to the Vet. 1 category this season. 36 years young as witty folks like to say. Ever since I've started racing mountain bikes, remembering my age has been an issue. If somebody asks my age I instinctively blurt out my racing age, not my real age (35 right now but 36 before the end of the year) and then I have to do all sorts of confusing math type stuff in my bulbous melon in order to remember my actual age. I think there are some algorithms and possibly a theorem or two in there to make the complicated calculation.

Time to have some metamucil and a nice, mushy BM and yell at whipper snappers from my front porch.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Had a big decision today. Ride to work in the rain, wear my crummy at work clothes for a meeting with a client who is building an 8 figure home I designed and risk having to run back home in a borrowed car to meet with the code enforcement officer at our house at some point today (so we can get a $6500 tax rebate when we get our certificate of occupancy)? Or, drive to work in my pimpy "meeting clothes" and have a nice, dry mode of transport back and forth to the house if necessary. Some times you need to come up with total bullshit rationalizations to not ride in the rain. Today? I had a rock solid excuse. Thank you very much.

Last week's post on shoenanigans (get it?!?!) I mentioned being in the market for a new pair of mtb shoes. My lakes are totally shot. Pretty much unusable now. I was hemming and hawing between Shimano's M230 and Pearl Izumi's Elite MTBII. KillBill told me that that PI sucks it. Sucks it big time. So I've pulled the trigger on the M230's. Hopefully, with their heat moldable soles I'll finally have a shoe that I love and can live with.

If not? Meh, mtb shoes only last a year or two tops (in good condition at least) anyway so I'll be back in the market next year.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Ok, this week is already shaping up to be a ball buster so it's speed blog time. Crit yesterday. Me? Cat 5 that begged and pleaded with USA Cycling to be upgraded to Cat 4 just so that I could do the A race in this crit series. Everybody else? Cat 4's, cat 3's and some freaking-a fast cat 2's. Tried a couple of efforts during the race including two semi contested sprints and one bridge up to a breakaway. The rest of the race was me sitting in and marveling at how hard it was to just be in the field. You get a pretty strong draft from a 50+ man (and four freaking fast women) field and I was still working hard. My top end fitness isn't where it needs to be but a few weeks of this and the tuesday night Brunswick ride and I should be in a better place.

all photos courtesy of Don McEwen

Notice anything from these last two photos? Yeah, there are dozens of pics of me with my mouth agape and this is just sitting in the pack.

In this pic I'm back on the left. If you look close you can see me making an ooooooooo face. Pack riding can lead to many pucker inducing moments. Usually it's just my butt that puckers but in this case, my lips followed suit.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh Just Shoe Me Already

2010 will go down as the year of the shoe. Shoe disintegration that is. First, my mountain bike shoes have totally shit the bed. All of the seams are giving out and 1/2 of the rubber on the soles has peeled off. Have you ever tried to walk in shoes that have 1/2" of rubber on one side of the shoe and nothing on the other? Makes walking in a straight line a bit difficult. What? I shouldn't be walking in my riding shoes, I should be riding? Well, f you! My single speeding ass still isn't in good enough shape to get up most hills. Soon, maybe. Now, no.

With said disintegration, I've been in the market for new mountain bike shoes. Unfortunately, I have weird feet and most shoes don't fit me right so I need to try shoes on before buying but no shops near me carry enough of a variety so I'm left guessing yet again. My last guess, Lake, was wrong. My previous guess, Sidi, was wrong as well, although their narrow shoes might have worked. My current guess is either Shimano m230's or Pearl Izumi's Elite MTBII's. The shimano's have a heat moldable insert that would help the fit but my bro, who has similar feet, says his PI's fit like a glove. What to do,what to do. The PI's might be the ticket. My guess? Next year, I'll be searching yet again.

Then to add to the shoe drama, a few weeks ago the carbon soles on my road shoes started to pull apart from the rest of the shoe. Observe:

Fack! Thankfully, my sawdust breathing, paint booth huffin, wood shop dwelling co-workers have plenty of two part epoxy handy so an easy fix is within even my only mildly handyman competent reach.

Mix, mix, mix. Butter it in.
Clampy clamp and we're done.

Speaking of road shoes. Tuesday, KillBill and I hit up a group road ride in Brunswick that heads out from Center Street Cycles KB had told me that it was painful and reminded me of the fact about thirty times as we waited a few minutes to roll out (the most efficient roll-out time I've ever witnessed btw. no waiting around for late shows. me likey). I've been on many fast road group rides in the past, dabbled in some road racing where I was up again some cat 2's and 3's and generally consider myself at least mildly competent on the road but boy was I in for a world of hurt. The first 5 minutes of the ride were tame enough but I guess that was only because we were maneuvering through the "city" streets because as soon as we left town, a cat 2 PVC dude started to push the pace a bit and a pace line was formed. I'm not sure what was happening but it was the ugliest pace line I've ever seen. After taking a pull, I'd drift to the side only to have no one pull through until the cat 2 or a Bowdoin College kid came up so I'd drop back in two back and take another turn shortly after. I thought the whole ordeal was because these guys didn't know how to do a pace line. It just turns out that they were smart.

Before long, cat 2 dude opened a short gap and the guy in front of me gave up the chase so me being me, sprinted to catch cat 2 pulling KB and Bowdoin dude with me and before you know it we had a smooth 4 person paceline going. Now, pacelines are never easy but usually you can catch your breath when you're in the middle. No such luck for me on this day. Even in the draft I was solidly in my red zone. About 15 minutes of that (only 21:50 into the ride) I lost contact and drifted back to the second group who then (briefly) dropped me in short order. Maybe that effort so early in the ride was too much??? F it. That's why I go to these rides. To suffer. Not to conserve myself to finish happy and strong.

Eventually, I worked my way back to the group (which now also included KB) just in time for a much needed re-group. Cat 2 dude had shed everyone and just ridden off into the sunset so, the rest of the ride was painful but enjoyable and I finished up totally depleted and unable to contest the sprint. If you're looking for a good mid-week kick in the junk road ride in the mid-coast area, look no further.
Gotta Find A Way

Saturday, in the desperate attempt at getting a ride in, I decided to ride to a party we were heading to despite the 40 degree temps and drizzling rain. I had hopes that the 30 ish mile ride would be enjoyable and would provide me with close to 2 hours of ride time (what can I say, I'm not all that fast right now). Once on the road I, again, thought it was going to be a good time. That is until about 10 minutes in when my right foot shoe cover soaked through and my toechies started to get cold. Oopsie. Within 45 minutes both feet and my hands were useless, stiff meat hooks. But, I'm a studly stud type and soldiered on at an amazingly fast 12 mph. Yep, I was tearing things up.
When I rolled into Gardiner, about 5 miles from the Inn that we were staying at, I stopped at a cafe to buy some food and grab some beer for a little pre-game before the party. I was able to fit two 22 oz beers from Oak Pond Brewery in my Ergon BD2's convenient side pockets. I'm not sure if that was the intended use of those pockets but it was a fit made in heaven.

Yes, I put the beer bottles back for the pic after I drank them.

When I left the shop, my feet and hands were feeling much better and the rain had stopped so things were looking up. Unfortunately, when I hastily looked the joint up online before leaving, I didn't write all of the directions down, just a couple of key turns figuring how hard can it be to find? Turns out it was pretty hard. After riding around for close to an hour all in my little ring (the front shifter had gone toes up from all of the sandy road spray) riding this way and that, I finally got some solid intel and made it to the inn.

bonked and cold, these miscues weren't all that welcome

Of course, once I got to the inn, had a beer, some food and a shower I was raring to go and get my dance and drink on.

er, lets pretend none of us saw this pic

Oh, and as of this morning, I'm only 5 lbs away from my goal weight for the season. I've dropped from hovering around 201-202 lbs a couple of months ago to, as of this morning, 190 lbs. Not too bad. Those first 7 or so pounds came off quick but that last few have been slow in coming. It could be that since we started working on the house I eat and drink to cope with the stress. I've slowly been able to cut back on the booze but couldn't shake the snack munchies I get during the day at work. One or two stops to the candy bin for some chocolate goodness is a daily thing. Once again I need to blame Marcy for this. Before we were together I could care less for chocolate but she slowly brought me over to her side and in my typical overly competitive behavior, I have surpassed her cravings tenfold. Take that Marcy, I win. Kind of.

In reality, 190 lbs was my real goal for the season but I set 185 as my wish goal so that I'd have something to shoot for. Maybe, with the intensity of my rides increasing, I'll actually stand a chance of hitting 185. (pudgy) fingers crossed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Damn Him

I made it out for what was supposed to be a killer road ride with KillBill last week. The first hour of the ride was fairly uneventful except for KB ripping my legs out of their sockets. According to him, his legs weren't "on". According to me, his legs were so "on" that I considered asking him to swap for a bit. I'm not sure what that dude has been doing but he is one fricking fast mo-fo. Just a few years back I could school him any day of the week. Now, he can blow my doors off at any time he pleases (except for really long races thankfully). It's a bit of a blow to the ego but I know that riding with him will only make me stronger so bring on the pain.

My ride was cut short when I felt a rhythmic thumping coming from my rear end. Of the bike. I hopped off the bike to inspect and found this:

Woops. Apparently my lack of maintenance is finally catching up to me. So I had to abort the ride boot the tire and head home. At least the pain was cut short.

KB was sporting a new set of wheels on the ride, Dura Ace tubeless to be exact and, I have to admit, it got me lusting.

A bit o research and I find that they are 500 grams lighter than my Bontragers or 1.1 lbs! Holy crap. One pound of rotational weight would make a huge difference in the snappiness of the ride. Not to mention, ditching tubes would be a great thing. I never want to have to run tubes again on my mountain bikes (although I do have a couple of training wheelsets that require tubes) so why not go away from them on the road too?

So I'll put those right here in my lust locker right next to the snow bike, cx bike, endless cogs and I9 wheels. Oh to have money to spend again...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

If You Love Something Set It Free

As the old saying goes, "if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was meant to be. If it doesn't come back, it was an ungrateful piece of shit and deserves to die". Well, me being the magnanimous person that I am, I decided to allow my blinkie light end cap to go on a solo adventure. I figured the best way to do so was to let it lose during a ride that way I wouldn't be able to retrieve it in a moment of weakness. Well, mission accomplished. About two weeks ago, the cap was jettisoned and the waiting period commenced.

So sad and lonely.
After close to two weeks, there was no news so I was ready to write my beloved blinkie end cap off but on Monday's commute I saw this:

That's right ladies and gentlemen, my beloved has returned! After much rejoicing the end cap was reintroduced to the rest of the blinkie.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nothing To See Here

Not much to bloggy about today so I'll keep it quick. Monday, on my mountain bike commute home I hit up the Schmid Preserve with the semi though out plan of checking out what areas need the most work. I'm now on the trails committee for the preserve (although I've only talked to one person and have yet to go to a meeting) so I feel it's my duty to ride there a bunch and make all sorts of grand plans for improvement that I'll never have time to complete. I'm a civic minded kind of fellow. I actually have been planning on building a bridge or two over some watery type areas so you can imagine my surprise when I came upon this:

That's right, an almost complete bridge over the largest stream in the preserve. I'm concerned though because this is much nicer looking than anything I had planned on building.

I also saw a bunch more of this:
New posts and signage. This trail is legit and stuff.

And then, later in the ride I came upon this beaut. An oldy time well cover. These things are worth quite a bit of money these days on the open market. Hopefully no redneck with a pick-up truck and a come-along have seen this. They could easily fetch 2 fitty for it.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How the Big Dogs Roll

We've all known for years how bad ass I am. There's really no room for debate on that one. But until today, I've always had to rely on the popular vote. The feeling from the masses. But now, now I have it in writing from the great and all knowing USCF that I am, indeed, the shit.

Dear Rick Nelson,

The following request to change your USCF category has been approved and processed by USA Cycling:
chiddong - 2010-04-12 8:03
Member: Rick Nelson
License: Road Racer
Request to change category from Cat 5 to Cat 4
That's right ladies and gentlemen! It is official. I've been promoted from the lowly ranks of mountain bike shoe wearing, underwear under chamois sporting, can't ride in a straight line cat 5 racers all the way up to the glamorous ranks of the still mountain bike shoe wearing but no underwear wearing of the cat 4's. Can they ride in a straight line? Well, I'm noW a cat 4 and I really can't so I'm guessing no, no they can't ride in a straight line.

Lucky for me, the USCF didn't require me to provide a race resume for the upgrade like they typically do. Instead I basically said "yeah, I've done a bunch of races in the past. I can't remember exactly what they were but I feel like I should be in the cat 4's so that I can race the SIP crit series in the A race instead of the lowly B race. Please help." No shitting, that is basically what I wrote (with a little of the kissy, kissy stuff left out) and they accepted it. Obviously they had heard about what hot shit I am as well.

So now, I'm free and clear to race in the A race at the Scarborough training crits. The same races I've been competing in on and off for three years in the A class. Oh well, it was a lot of work for probably only three races that I'll be able to make but how cool am I to be able to say I'm cat 4 now? Yeah, super cool.

Oh yeah, and lets just ignore the fact that the request was processed by "chiddong". That's a WHOLE other story.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Paris Roubaix Not Race Report Race Report

Is the title a bit confusing? It should be. Basically, there is a ride in these parts that takes place the same day as Paris Roubaix each year. It consists of a bunch of reasonable pavement, some crappy pavement and a bunch of dirt roads. Kinda sorta like Paris Roubaix just without the french accents and high Vo2 max's. It's really just a group ride with a bunch of regroups but the last 1/3 of the route (once we're at a point where noone will get lost) is GAME ON! with attacks galore as we run along Appleton Ridge and back into Searsmont. Most years I'm an idiot and push the pace early in the ride and then totally implode in those last 7-8 miles. It never helped that I usually rode to the ride start. It's about 42 miles there and, that early in my season, leaves me dragging towards the end of the ride. This year, for a number of reasons (mostly because I'm not in good enough shape)I drove to the ride. Good plan.

We rolled out with 18 guys on all manner of bikes. Most folks were on either cross bikes or road bikes. There were a couple of guys on single speed flat bar road bikes and one dude who was on a mountain bike. Mountain bike dude, we'll call him "Bill" since that's his name, also forgot his cycling shoes so was riding in sneakers with clipless pedals. Probably one of the worst experiences ever. Right up there with riding a recumbant in a crit. Honestly, I probably would have packed my stuff back up and driven home. I guess I'm a quitter.

Early ride, everyone is still together except for the three ant size riders way in the distance.

Anyway, the first part of the ride was uneventful. No flat tires, nobody flew off the road on the washboardy dirt roads and most importantly, I didn't do anything really stupid. Sure, I attacked a couple of times and instigated a fast paceline with a few others that left the rest of the group in the dust (remember, it's ok to do that on this ride since we regroup often) but overall I kept everything in check.

One item of note is that I actually met a Racin Rick "fan". OK, he didn't actually say he was a fan, more that he reads the blog, but this is my blog and I can say what I want. Hmmm, in that case, this "fan" was a totally hot babe who totally wanted me.

That's my hot "fan" ther in the yellow helmet. We'll call her Trevina. Sexy name there chica.
Mid ride regroup. Only a few more miles before things start to hurt.

After the mid-point stop we started onto Appleton Ridge Rd., the painful part of the ride. It's all dirt and crappy pavment and has a bunch of punchy climbs. As soon as we hit the ridge I had to really fight the urge to do stupid stuff like lead all of the climbs (which is something I ALWAYS feel compelled to do even though it leaves me shelled). I did work really hard so that I could take some pictures though so that was smart. At least I didn't just take my camera for a ride yet again.

That's "Bill" in the yellow sleeves. He stayed in the front group the whole time despite the sneakers.

Shortly after this pic was taken the final selection was made. I made a tiny little dig, followed by Trevina pushing the pace for a couple of minutes as well as a guy I'll call BBB (he had a back bay bikes jersey on) and Boulder Boy (a guy originally from boulder co and sporting a boulder sports kit) and of course sneakers Bill. We were now down to five.

BBB was the first to take a flyer. I'm not sure if it was a planned attack but he accelerated and was off the front for about five minutes. Once again, I fought my natural tendancy to sprint to his wheel (and bring the rest of the group with me) and instead we slowly realed him in. Maturity is the shit!

That's BBB up ahead there.


Boulder Boy

Once back together again the group slowed down a bit and we just lazily cruised along. That is until I noticed a small group trying to bridge up. No way was that going to happen. I made mention to everyone who would listen that they were bridging up hoping that someone else would take the initiative (and save me the tiring, tiring trouble) to pick up the pace. No one seemed game so, just as we crested a hill and Boulder Boy was at the front (he was my biggest mark), I dug in and shot off the front. It wasn't really an attack (I kind of thought Trevina was coming with me), but it was a pretty decent acceleration and before I knew it I had a sizeable gap and dreams of my first not race victory of the season.

From that point, I went into TT mode and drove and drove. On the last climb of the day I looked back to see BBB closing in on me. I though the jig was up but figured I might as well finish the climb before I cashed it in. Apparently BBB must have cracked though because by the time I was over the hill I had opened the gap back up and had a few hundred yard lead for the final 2-3 mile drive into town.

I had things in the bag right up until about 100 yards from the finish when I hit some bridge construction with a stop light. So just like that my lead evaporated. While sitting there "Bill" and BBB caught up and we not so patiently waited for the light. When it turned "Bill" and I practically ran over the car in front of us and I was able to edge him at the finish.

Good times.

Hey Trevina (aka "My Biggest Fan") if you know folks names (BBB, Boulder Boy etc) shoot me a comment.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Like the First Day of School

You know how goofy parents get when their kids head off to school for the first day each year? Lining them up to take pictures, waving goodbye as the board the bus, a tear in the corner of their eye as the bus pulls away? Well, I get that same feeling each spring when Marcy does her first bike commute of the year. I'm like a proud papa, snapping pics, waving, saying good-bye, throwing kisses...

Pic one. She didn't know I was going to take this.

Caught her pretending to be a boy. Looks a bit small to me...

this was the exasperated "daaaaaaaaaadddddddd, stop taking my picture!" moment.

and off she goes.

Marcy finished the ride in roughly 48 minutes. 12 hilly miles with a loaded pack in 48 minutes. Not bad. At the end of the day I did the exact same route except in reverse and turned myself inside out to do it as fast as possible and only pulled off 41 minutes with no pack. Get this girl a racing bib.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Mountain Bike Commute

On Monday I busted out my first fo rizzle mountain bike commute, hitting two areas that I had avoided so far this spring because I suspected they'd be wet and nasty but by Monday, they were in pretty good shape. More importantly, I was able to scope out the trails that allow me to ride the schmid preserve in a loop of sorts and avoid doing the lollipop (in and out on the same trails). Me thinks it's time for a group ride in the Schmid.

Hey look! It's a bird that you can barely make out! How exciting. You should have seen this photo before I touched it up, just looked like a pile of leaves and branches. What? That's what it still looks like? Like I said the other day, why do I bother even taking pictures?
This below was my one real mistake of the ride. I knew this bridge was out (has been for years) yet I still took the route that forces me to cross here. During the high summer, some of those timbers are exposed and I can cross and stay dry. On this day I was mid calf in some purty cold water.

The other bonus of the ride was that, for the first time ever, I met other riders in the Preserve. I've seen tracks before but I had never laid my peepers on the authors. Of course, they were wearing jeans, t-shirts, no-helmets and were riding 90's vintage Trek Y-bikes (or at least one was and I was so distracted by it I didn't get a good view of the other). They were motoring along though and seemed to be having a good time so I was happy. Later in my ride I saw a Toyota pulling out that had a titus (I believe) in the back. I tried to flag them down and gave chase but almost had an aneurysm spinning at about 150rpm chasing them down the road.

Why do I care so much about a couple of riders? Well, the trails in the preserve are pretty good but the one thing that will make them better is more traffic since the newer trails, even though they are a few years old, are still pretty soft. Get some more tires in there and it will be better for everyone. That and I'm desperate for new friends...