Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Rode My Bike!

For the first time in a week and a half and only the third time in the last month, I actually rode my bike.  It was only a 25 minute commute but I'll take it.  The good news is that the leg felt fine and I can shake the junk out of the legs before this weekend's 100 mile charity ride in the Dempsey Challenge (yes, I linked you to my fund raising page.  I'd be eternally grateful if you found it within yourself ((and wallet)) to make a contribution.  Especially Thom since I gave you money for your stupid Clamato challenge and you didn't follow through.  Pay up suckah!).  I haven't done a 100 mile ride in I don't know how long.  It's been well over a year but earlier in the season I did have a few 70 milers.  Fak it.  It's only a ride, not a race, so I'll be fine

And, for your viewing pleasure, I give you a video showing exactly what I look like when I think that I'm taking a self pic when I'm actually taking video.  Quick glances to see why the flash isn't going off, trying to keep my mouth shut (no luck there) and generally looking like an idiot in front of passing traffic (none in video but I had cars approaching me from both directions).  Be thrilled.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

As Promised Yesterday

As I promised yesterday, you get to see some stair photos today.  Over the weekend I busted some serious balls to get the stairs ready to be installed working from 7 am to near 11 pm each day frantically trying to get everything to come together in time for my parents and brother coming down late Sunday afternoon for the actual install.  The steel frame for the stair weighed in in the 400 lb range so having lots of hands on errr hand would be key.  Highlights of the ordeal were me scrambling to paint the frame with cans (stupid!) then running out to buy a power sprayer only to forget to pick up the lag bolts needed to hold the stair in place and then, once that fact was realized, find out that the close store was now closed so I'd have to drive to the Home Cheapo 45 minutes away instead and then, THEN, having it start raining on my freshly painted stair (even though no rain was in the forecast).  Then getting the stair home and freaking out because I didn't think we'd physically be able to get the stair in place because of angles and restrictions and what not.

Thankfully, I was able to enlist a couple more friends (one of whom is used to bringing huge cabinetry into houses) to help and the install went fairly smoothly.

Then, last night I began installing the treads.  Oak treads that I worked up myself from a pile of nearly rotten oak planks from a friend's yard.  Somehow I've managed to learn how to use a large percentage of the tools in the company's cabinet shop.  Know how to use them well?  No.  Know how to use them?  Yes.

First tread.

 Treads in.  Railings still to come.

And, just in case you forgot that I have a family.  Here are a couple pictures of Marcy and B.

The chickens are getting bigger and Marcy and B are becoming chicken whisperers.
Of course, these golden comets are the most social walking chicken sandwiches ever.

if you want to have healthy chickens you need to check down the ole poop shoot.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Come and Go

Another race season has come and gone. This weekend was supposed to be the VT50 but I had to bail for a couple of reasons. Number one, our steel stair stringers were finally going to be done so that meant that I could get a shite load of work done on the house over the weekend and two, my left leg was still hurting on Saturday (especially while sleeping) so the prospect of driving 4+ hours to sleep on the ground and race for 5-ish hours on Sunday a week after my ass had last been in the saddle didn't make me feel all rosey. So, in the end, I ate the $125 registration fee and stayed home to get some shit done. At this point, if I don't get the house completely done the 2011 season will be messed up too so why not eat shit for one race (that I wasn't likely to do well in anyway) this year to help pull next year together?

Assload of work to do so that's all for now. Pics of the stairs tomorrow if you're interested!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Guest Blog

I am right jacked up with work (and hobbling around like an invalid) these days so I asked my buddy Mike to give a race recap from the Bradbury 12.

12 Hours of Bradbury

This is my first guest appearance on the Racin’ Rick blog site and I have been looking forward to writing about this since Rick asked me Monday to recap Bradbury from my perspective. I was trying to figure out if he asked me to do the blog because I am a friend of his or that it is because I brought him to Connecticut to meet my parents (alright, not what you think – we raced in Rutland, MA and used my parents house as a base for the weekend). Anyway, let’s get to the race.

So, one year ago (just after competing in the 12 Hours of Bradbury on a three person team – winning our division and coming in third overall) I decided to train my ass of for a year to do this race solo. I lost about 20 lbs and have gotten myself into the best shape of my life – it only took me 39 years to do so! I spent hours on my road bike this summer and competed in a handful of mountain bike races. I worked out a couple of times a week on strength training (once a week with a trainer – thank you Allyson). My wife Jill and two beautiful girls, Avery and Eliza were so patient with me this past year knowing that I had a goal – The 12 Hours of Bradbury. When I traveled with Rick to the Rutland, MA race a month and a half ago I asked him 100 questions about doing this race solo as he has had the experience and also captured the top podium spot multiple times. I also picked the brains of a few other friends who have competed in the race solo (thanks Mike and Morgan) and I am grateful for all of the information because I felt well prepared for race day.

Race Day – it came really fast but everything was fallen into place. It rained Thursday night but by Friday mid day when I arrived at my campsite things were drying out and shaping up to be a fine weekend. I set up camp and then headed out for a practice lap to see what the 8 plus mile loop had in store for me. It was wet in some areas but come race day things would dry up just fine. My two good friends Gabe and Stephen arrived that afternoon at my campsite and we kicked back and had a great dinner and a lot of laughs around the campfire. Stephen was set to race in the single speed expert category, I was signed up for the solo expert category and Gabe was there for team support as he was still nursing a broken collarbone from the Snowbowl race in Camden this past summer.

After a good nights sleep (or a good as it could be in a tent) it was time to get serious as the race was about to start in 2 hours. Check the bike, check the gear, check the food, check the drinks, check the bike – you get the picture! I have been consistent on my pre-race food intake all year and after 3 fried eggs and Canadian bacon I was ready to go. Rick arrived and parked at our campsite and gave us more valuable advice on where to stage our food station area and it proved to be the perfect spot. Gabe would end up working harder than all of us during the day as he became the main support for a half dozen solo riders, got interviewed by channel 6 news and never ate lunch until 5pm – thanks again Gabe!

ambitious staging for your first solo event.  me, on the other hand, not so much.
Starting Line – ok, here is where I chose to not listen to the advice I had been receiving from various folks over the last few months. They had been telling me – DO NOT START OFF FAST OR YOU WILL PAY THE PRICE LATER! What part of this did I not get – don’t know because I found myself in the front row ready to shoot off the line for a hole shot – not a bright thing to do with 12 hours of racing in front of me but there I am ready set go. Off on my most challenging event ever in my life and I am not really holding back (there is something that makes me want to run up front for as long as in can – it must be from my BMX days). I enter the woods in about 6th place – not sure how many solo riders in all but there looked like a lot of them on the line. 

zoomin off the front.

I settle into a nice pace, letting folks pass and trying to restrain myself from pushing it too hard. I get a fair way through the first lap and who has caught up with me – Racin’ Rick! Thank goodness for that as I was feeling better about my pace knowing he would not blow himself up on the first lap. We then hooked back up on the second lap and things were going well until I heard and then saw Rick crash behind me on the bridge – I yelled back asking if he was alright and he said yes but I knew it was a hard hit and hoped he would be able to continue. Laps 3, 4 and 5 went well and I was right on pace for the 12 laps I had set my goal on – then there was lap 6! Halfway on lap 6 my bike started shifting funny and my rear derailleur started doing some funny things – I thought just nurse it back to the start - finish line and a little mechanical work would straighten things out –then SNAP – there goes the derailleur breaking right off the bike and my chance to tweak things was not going to happen – 15 years of serious mountain biking and I have never snapped a derailleur off my bike, what a bummer and such a bad time to experience this kind of mechanical. Well, what to do when you are 2.5 miles from the start – finish line – run, run, run. While running back with my broken bike I thought of what my options were. I did not have a spare derailleur hanger (now I will always have an extra one)  and looking over the derailleur itself it was not in pretty shape. 

Gabe mentioned that Rick has stopped racing due to his crash and we went looking for him with the off chance he would let me ride the Salsa. Rick very generously loaned me his bike, we put my pedals on and adjusted the seat and off I went. So I may have been the only racer there on Saturday that completed 6 laps with a full suspension mountain bike and rode the remaining laps with a single speed 29’r. I lost about 45 minutes with this transition which would eventually cost me my goal of 12 laps. I turned 5 more laps on the 29’r and loved every minute of it.

So one will go through many different feelings when on a mountain bike for 12 hours straight, most of mine were positive until lap 9. Lap 8 was pretty good as I was getting use to the 29’r but the fatigue was setting in. My family stopped by to catch a lap which happened to be between laps 8 and 9. I had a chance to talk with them for a couple of minutes but did not eat enough and then set back out on the course. Lap 9 was pure hell, I could not get into a rhythm and it seemed like forever to get around the course. I started to think about bailing after this lap and my mind and body was just saying stop! When I finally reached my fuel station back at the start - finish line I was definitely drained and exhausted – Gabe stepped in and opened up a Pepsi for me – I have not had soda in a year and was not about to start now. We argued for a while and then I gave in and drank it along with eating a full rack of shot blocks. Along with that I had a few salt and vinegar chips, cashews and at hard boiled egg (sounds appetizing doesn’t it). Back on the 29’r and thankful for Gabe forcing me to eat a lot of junk food because I had one of my best laps all day! I was also jamming out listening to an iPod and the 10th lap just flew by. Now, here is where I was a bit bummed – it was 6:30pm when I arrived back from my 10th lap and I knew there was not a chance in hell that I could get in before 7pm for my 12th lap so I headed back out on the course, head lamp on and iPod blasting and enjoyed the 11th and final lap of my day as darkness set in. It was so cool to see all the lights from the other mountain bikers in the woods – what a fantastic light show!

All in all it was a fantastic experience and one I am not only glad I did but proud to have raced a mountain bike for 11 and a half hours straight. I finished in 6th place in my division and next year I will be even more prepared to race – and yes, I am either purchasing an extra derailleur hanger or putting the Turner aside and buying myself a single speed 29’r. Congrats to all who participated and big shout out to my mountain biking buddies – Stephen, Jason and Blaine for taking the podium on Saturday night, great job! A big thank you to Rick for the opportunity to tell my Bradbury story and also for the use of the 29’r!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Bradbury 12

Where to begin? I knew going into the race this year that winning for the third time in a row would be tough, especially given the competition that was toeing the line for the fourth installment of the Bradbury 12. What I didn't expect was for the race to go as poorly as it did.

My game plan for the race this year was to start off a bit easier than years past so that I could finish stronger at the end of the race. With that in mind, I lined up 3 or four rows back in the solo field for the start. Bad idea. While I wanted to start slow, this was much slower than I anticipated and spent a good deal of time on the first lap trying to get around folks on a 99% single track course. Not easy.

The first lap was mostly uneventful (other than some well hidden fits of rage) other than the bridges (of which there are many) and roots being extremely slick with morning dew. There was lots of sliding out, fishtailing and all out headers being taken by folks in the corners. I was being cautious while trying to maintain a semi fast pace. Near the close of lap one, I caught up to my buddy Mike who was in the solo expert class and we settled into a pretty nice pace.

Near the beginning of lap two, while still riding with Mike, I slid out on one of the many bridges. I don't know how it happened because it all took place so fast but all I know is that I was still holding onto the bars as I was sliding (quite quickly) off of the side of the bridge towards a pile of rocks. Thankfully, I stopped at the edge of the bridge and only my bike hit the rocks but when I got up to ride, I realized that my left leg was in a world of hurt and totally unable to push a pedal. I decided to take a minute to compose myself (and change my gearing to a more maintainable 34x20) and headed out again when the pain had somewhat subsided.

Lap three was painful with a throbbing leg, but it was my fastest of the race. I was feeling decent, I had picked up another buddy to ride with (the eventual ss winner) and we were able to ride together for the next three laps.

Unfortunately, during that third lap I noticed that my neck and back had taken a hit from my fall and it was causing a nasty headache. I tried riding with it for a lap or two hoping that it would go away but after 5 laps it was clear that it wasn't going anywhere. I have a bad history with pain meds during races so I wasn't going to go that route so, instead, I tried hitting some caffeine to see if it would help.

I headed out for my sixth lap with a raging headache and no will to race anymore. The caffeine did nothing and I felt like a danger to myself on the course so I pulled the plug after about 5 hours of racing.

I thought I'd be more bummed than I was after the race but I guess I realized that things were going to get better so why not bail while I still had a chance of salvaging the rest of the day.

There's lots more to talk about but I'm out of time.  More tomorrow.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bradbury 12. F'in FAIL!

I wish I was reporting better news this morning but I can't. The race started to deadish legs. I crashed early and hard. Raced for a few more hours and then pulled the plug.

One exciting thing to note is that while I didn't finish the race myself, my bike did (under another rider) putting in 11 hard fought laps and my dos niner frame, headset, seatpost and crank took second in the 2 man sport division.  Congrats to my bikes!

Also, two of my peeps made it on the local news.  Sure, the reporter got the age of the race wrong (4 years old, not two) and called the course a "track" but I'll try not to hold it against him.  video HERE.

Better update tomorrow.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why Not?

I haven't posted any self pics recently so I figured, why not devote a whole blog posts to just that?  Vain?  Maybe.  Desperate for blog material?  Absolutely!

In the above pic you see me in my full on civilian/cyborg (right down to the helmet mounted laser beams) kit.  It took hours to pair up my white north face ($10 10 years ago, got my money's worth there) thermal top with my white sunglasses with the clear lenses.  I almost had to wake Marcy at 5am to make sure I wasn't all clashy clashy but the prospect of those brilliantly white glasses being firmly (and authoritatively) shoved up my ass made me reconsider.

After that pic was taken, I tried doing a full body shot but my arms are only long enough to get my torso.  What to do?  What to do?  In the end I decided to use my computer's panoramic stitch program to see if I could assemble three seperate shots.

First try.  I've always had long legs when compared to my body but this is just ridiculous:

The second try wasn't much better but the third semi-worked but it made me look to be about 6'-8" tall.

And then, of course, I was off for my mountain bike commute turning my typical 25 minute bike commute into roughly 1:15 today and what commute would be complete without a kneecap to junk shot?
Final prep for the bb12 should be happening tonight.  Everything seems to be in working order (although that damn creek is still happening in the front end) and I'm made most of my nutritional purchases so there isn't much left to do but wait and worry.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Shit Together

Last night, after a day full of off and on rain, I just couldn't bring myself to get out for a ride.  The thought of either wet, gritty roads or slimy trails just didn't seem all that appealing for some reason.  So, instead, I decided to start prepping for the race this weekend to TRY to avoid any last minute forgetfulness (is that possible for me?  doubtful).  The bike was thoroughly cleaned and lubed, stans was added to both tires (I remembered, I remembered!), the toolbox was organized, spare wheels were prepped and nutrition was gathered. Shit, I even made a list of all of the additional items I needed to get together. This planning ahead thing is very foreign for me. So, even though I didn't get to ride I'm still feeling a bit better about this weekend.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Suck It

All you Racin Rick haters out there can officially suck it!  I continue to catch flack for my quote in the Bridgton News after the off road tri.  I'm probably catching said flack because people notice that it's starting to bother me but I'm going to snap at their bait and piss and moan again.  As I tried to explain to the Bathers on Thursday, 99% of people who race enter each race to win.  They may not truly believe that they can win but that is their HOPE.  I know a few people who truly enter races ONLY to have fun but that is only because they've found after years of racing that a top podium spot just isn't in the cards (right Jason???).  Now, don't take that the wrong way.  I totally respect folks who race just for shits and giggles or for the feeling of accomplishment.  In fact, I actually hope that when the day comes when I'm sucking a turd race wise that I'll be man enough to keep going out there and racing but part of me suspects that when that day comes I'll probably move on to something else (golf???) that I can spend way too much time and money on.  There is one woman in the EFTA series who is at almost every race who is very much overweight but she is out there every race day giving it her all with a smile on her face.  The front runners may think that they're tough but it takes a whole lot more mental fortitude to do what she does and I commend her for that. 

Edit: I should also mention that I realize that I'm a medium fish swimming in a small pond.  If I were to take my so called skillz to Colorado or the west coast I'd get my ass handed to me on a daily basis (much like I was at the beginning of the season).  Also, for the record, I'm just fu*king around with all of this.  I actually had a good conversation with the bathers about this and the only folks who are really being dicks are my brothers but that is how we always act towards each other so no harm, no foul.

Ok, enough of this B.S. (for now at least, I've got to learn to not say EVERYTHING that is on my mind.  now that would take mental fortitude!).  Bike prep is happening for the BB12.  This morning, at 5 am,  I awoke to thunder and lighting so instead of commuting in, I brewed a pot of coffee and started to wrench on the bike.  The front end and seat creaks  have been driving me absolutely batty so I took them apart, cleaned everything and put it back together in the desperate hope that the constant chirping will cease thus saving myself from circling the drain of mental stability for 12 hours this coming Saturday.  It's hard enough getting through one of those races as it is.  I also must remember to add more Stans to my tires.  I'm sure they're due.  The question is, should I pull the rear tire off so that I can remove the rock that somehow found it's way into the tire when I was pre-riding for the Treasure Valley Ralley.  After I removed the rock from between the tire sidewall and rim I mentioned to Mike that it was a good thing one didn't get into the tire but, sure enough, when I was checking the true the other day I heard a rock knocking around in there.  Part of me wants to remove the rock but part of me doesn't want to deal with the hassle of resealing the tire when the rock doesn't seem to be doing any harm.  Will laziness or pragmatism prevail?  Only time will tell.

Monday, September 13, 2010

T-Minus 120

It's 5 days before the start of my final serious race of the season, the Bradbury 12.  The race sold out a couple of weeks ago so, for the first time in it's young life, the BB12 will be hosting 300 adventurous souls this Saturday. 

A couple weeks ago I decided that I needed to up my hours to prepare for the race but after two whopping 2.25 hour rides in the last week and a half (plus one commute I think) I've decided to throw in the towel and just do what I've been doing all season.  Going in unprepared and flying by the seat of my pants.  It's worked so far this season so why mess with a winning strategy???

There are 17 dudes pre-reg'd in the solo ss class so things will be a bit tough this year.  I don't know a bunch of the names but there are a few that may be serious problems.  First Chris Gendron, last year's second place finisher is back.  He was either riding with me or ahead of me for the first half of last year's race so he'll certainly be a force to be reckoned with.  Also there are Dan Ward and Ryan Littlefield, two dudes who have and can (in Ryan's case quite often) beat me in xc races.  Then there is Steve Wagner who, if he doesn't beat me on the bike can crush my skull between his biceps and forarms so I'll definitely be treating him nice... And finally, there's Kaj Huld the 2010 EFTA ss champion.  I have no idea of his endurance abilities but I'm sure he's coming ready to rock.

See you all Saturday!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Still Nothin

But I'll take a minute to thank my two most favorite floating heads in the world.  Thanks for not divorcing me this summer babe.  Remember, only two races to go! :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I Wish I Had Time

This week is already a killer so I'm just going to get it right out there that I don't expect much for blogging this week.  Between working on the house, helping my little B monster adjust to kindergarten and trying to get some multi hour rides in before the BB12, I don't see much time for bloggage.  Check back next week when I'll hopefully have more time and energy.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Treasure Valley Rally

I'm running out of week here so I'm going to go ahead and do a race report this morning despite only having 1/2 hour to do so.

As I mentioned before, last week's race, the off road tri, left my legs completely shot.  It wasn't until Friday (6 days after the race) that I was able to walk without much of a limp and my two rides were VERY short totalling a massive 1:30.  Because of that, I had no idea how the legs were going to feel come race day.  The 1:16 pre-ride helped a bit but come race time, the legs still felt super sluggish.  Mike, on the other hand, said that his legs felt great and was easily either staying with me during our pre-ride or riding away from me.  My game plan for the race was to let a few folks get out in front and I would settle into a pace I knew I could sustain and hope the legs came around.

When the gun went off, I entered the woods around 5th or 6th place.  On the very first turn I witnessed some dude make a stupid inside pass right in front of me only to overcook the hairpin turn onto a gravel road and eat shit right in front of everybody.  Good stuff.

Mike had a good start and was riding just ahead in 2nd and looking strong.  My goal was to keep them in sight but try not to close the gap just yet but also keep folks at bay behind me.  I knew that Aaron Millett (2nd place in overall points) was close behind and Bob Carney was right behind me.  Before long, I had moved into 3rd place but Mike and the first place rider was slowly pulling away.  Somewhere maybe 15-20 minutes into the lap, Bob passed me.  I wasn't too concerned because we hadn't yet gotten to the real technical stuff and, from previous races, I thought that Bob didn't handle tech stuff all that well so I'd be able to get around in the second half of the course. 

Unfortunately, it became apparent pretty quickly that bob was hitting the tech stuff just fine.  In fact, he seemed to be cleaning the sections much better than I was and, before long the top three riders were pulling away.

Lap two was when things finally started to come together.  Looking at my splits from the race, I was a bit faster on lap one but I slowed down much less than everyone else on lap two and I quickly started to pick off positions.  I think I got Mike first (who was riding with only the big and little rings after the hammer of truth was unable to fix his middle ring problems, swallowed a hug bug, got dirt in his eyes and delivered a premature baby during the race), then it was Bob who I caught about mid lap during a climb and then I only had Andreas ahead.  When I finally passed him (can't remember where it happened) I went about trying to catch any of the expert senior 1 & 2 racers who went off 2 minutes before us.  I had no idea how many were ahead so, whenever I saw someone ahead, I dug in and tried to pass.

The rest of the lap was pretty uneventful except for a missed turn about 10 minutes from the finish.  I have no idea how I missed it since I had made the turn three times before but I did, losing a minute or two in the process.

When I finally crossed the line, I had closed the gap to the only expert ahead of me, John Kinnee, to about 20 seconds giving me the overall victory for the day and cementing my series points lead.  Yay!

More thoughts to come.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Check This
I had this doozy of a commercial by Bikeman back in the 80's brought to my attention today.  I think I'm in love...
First Things First

Before I get to today's post, I'd like to clear things up.  Last week, when I posted the article about the off road tri, I did so without thinking about how it might come across.  Until last night, when my brother text'd me "what a pompous ass!".  I didn't know what he meant, so I gave him a call and he informed me that the whole "My main goal coming into the race was to have fun in a race format I’ve never competed in. I mainly race mountain bikes so, on paper at least, it looked like a race I could do well in,” Nelson said. “I go into any race I compete in with the goal of winning no matter how silly or impossible it may seem. I didn’t really expect to win, but I sure was shooting for it and was lucky enough that everything (except for the kayak) fell into place so that I could.”

What they failed to include in the article is that one of the reporter's questions was "what were your goals for the race?".  Instead, they posted the quote somewhat out of context and I come off looking like a pompous ass when the reality is that I'm a self depricating pompous ass.  Two TOTALLY DIFFERENT things.  I swear.  If you ever meet me and are lucky enough to really get to know me, you'll find out that I talk shit all of the time.  But (and that's a big butt), I bash myself just as much as I toot my own horn.  If I had a dollar for every time I've called myself a total douche at work I'd have at least enough money to buy a couple of douches (they cost a lot of money right???) and the reality is that I actually doubt my racing ability on a daily basis.  Yes, I know that I'm a decent cyclist when things fall into place but I've got lots of chinks in my armor.  Lots.  So, when I say that I go into every race to win it is simply a form of positive speach setting myself up for a good finish as opposed to a doomsday approach.

Wait!  You say?  I always say that I question my fitness before races?  It's true.  I do.  Especially this year but I still go into races believing that even if I'm not the most fit rider out there, if things fall together it might just be ok.

Woops.  Look at that, no time for more post.