Thursday, June 30, 2011

Let's Just Pretend That Didn't Happen

Last night I threw down with the Brunswick road group. Or, to be more accurate, the brunswick road group threw me down. Hoo boy did they! I think my first mistake was to eat roughly 1-1 1/2 # of delicious, pink in the middle, steak two hours before the ride. I suspected it would be a bad idea but I didn't want to waste the delicious goodness and I had two hours before the ride so I figured no big whup. Forty minutes into the ride I realized the big whup though in the form of debilitating stomach cramps. When the cramps subsided (and other things ensued if you catch my drift (which many people did)) the legs were gone. Eventually, I watched a group of riders who I usually drop drop me. Sad, sad days.

The good news is that I got two solid hours of riding before I totally imploded and one hour of what I like to consider mental toughening as I struggled back to the car.

Tonight is a mountain bike ride with some of the Bathers, this time on my turf followed by bbq'd meat, beer (not bbq'd) and my homemade quac.  Yummers.  Can't wait.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Today is Marcy's and my (is that right???) 9th anniversary.  Marcy doesn't know it yet, but she's in the middle of the longest, most soul crushing, ass cheek chaffing ordeal of her life.  Think of it like a 24 hour race.  You start off full of excitement, joy and wonder.  Half way through you are hating life and anything about it and by the end you're just happy to be done.  That's Marcy's experience in a nut shell.  She may have known what she was getting into but did she really KNOW what she was getting into?  Me thinks not.  If you think my writing style is annoying you should see what my living style is like. 

Hang in there babe.  Love you!

Phew, it's been over a week since my last real post.  I apologize to the handful of people who actually noticed and say "F-you!" to the folks who were happy for the break.  In case you were curious, the reason for the break wasn't that I was devastated by my not so stellar showing at the Pinnacle (more on that later) and had crawled into a hole somewhere to weep quietly to myself.  No, the real reason is that I have a fuck load of shit on my plate right now.  Not sure why this should surprise me but I think the tipping point was B starting summer camp last week meaning that on at least a couple of days a week I get to work 30-40 minutes later totally negating any opportunity to scrap together enough words and poorly placed punctuation to pass for a blog post.  Does it surprise you that I write all of my posts in less than 30 minutes each day (more like 15 minutes on most days...)?  If it does, you should probably retake your english as a second language course.

So what's up with the post title and the picture above?  Well, the picture is an easy one.  That right there is the stump that took me out of the Pinnacle.  I clipped that sucker with my right pedal while carving a corner on the first lap of the race and literally flew ass over teakettle.  By the time I was back on my bike and had the chain on, the leader train was long gone and a few slower folks from earlier starting classes had gotten by me.  End of game.

Last year, that wouldn't have been end of game.  I would have been pissed, made some dodgy passes and got my ass back to the front (or at least near it).  This year I seem to be content to follow people and wait for four lane highway type areas to pass.  That is where the 5% comes in.  I feel that I'm about 5% off physically from duking it out at the front right now.  That's not a whole lot to make up and should be easy to do with a little concentrated effort.  The tough part is knowing what is up with my mental game.  My family is known for being viscous (but polite) competitors so the mental game has always come easy to me.  I want, no, NEED to win.  Or at least I used to.  Now I seem to be happy to race and enjoy the scene.  There isn't even any pre-race dick-rick happening now.  While Marcy might appreciate that last change, the rest must go.  What's it going to take?  Who knows.  Maybe I need to sprinkle some sand and broken glass in my chamois?  Maybe tape a picture of  Hasselhoff to my stem?

All I know is that when you find yourself writing your race report in your head while you're actually still racing is a sure sign that your mind isn't truly in the game.

Time to go psychoanalyze myself and maybe talk about my feelings.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Give Up

A proper race report just aint happening this week. I'm ballz to the wallz in all directions right now so here's the abridged version.

The Pinnacle rocks. Got a good start with the lead group. Crashed hard on the first lap and never caught back onto the group. Had a blast though and came in 4th and I think 6th overall. Fitness is improving but still not quite there yet. Done.

Alby having a non-spectacular first elite race.  
I'm sure things will improve.

Me on the start before the fall.

Mike ripping the start.

andrew taking Marcy's jersey for a ride at the front of the elite field.

the plunge

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Raced This Weekend

But I don't have time to write.  Instead, I'll leave you with a couple of video's of Marcy and I RIPPING it on some of the freshly constructed berms at the race venue.  This place doesn't disappoint.
Wish I knew how to ride berms...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

(semi) Urban Assault

Last night I had the pleasure of riding what I think was a version of Portland's Urban Assault.  I've seen mention of it tons of times on a Portland e-mail list that I'm on but never knew what they were talking about.  To be honest, I'm not sure if the ride we did last night was the actual urban assault route but it involved (in addition to some sweet single track) some pavement, some river side walking paths, some shit ass industrial parks and a bit of broken glass so we couldn't have been far off.

It still amazes me how fast Sparky and KillBill can ride some of that shit but it feels like I'm getting closer to holding their wheels so that's a plus.  The bummer though was that there were portions where a full sus would have been a huge benefit but with no new bike in my near future I guess I'll have to rely on my charm and charisma to tame the roughest sections.  Bring the sizzle.

 Here is a vid of Seb LAUNCHING A HUGE GAPPER on the 
ride last night. It doesn't look all that special on the video 
but you won't be seeing this boy doing that anytime soon...

Tonight will be another attempt at riding the Snow Bowl.  Hopefully there isn't a repeat of last week's thunder storms because I feel like I used up 7 of my nine lives last week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Where the Rubbah Meets the Road

This weekend is the Pinnacle. A frickin-a fun race in the heart of nowheresville new hampster. Just a hop, skip and a jump from central bumble fuck.  It's the race that I started to kind of pull it together last year with a semi respectable finish (I think in the top 5 experts overall but I'm too lazy to look it up) and then continued to improve from there finishing off the season with an overall victory and getting the overall title by the skin of my teeth.  After the start of my season this year, I can only hope that this year follows suit.  To be honest, most of my "bad luck" in the last two races has been somewhat self inflicted (what luck isn't?) so I'm hoping I can bring my A game mentally and hope my physical game is at least in the ball park because this is the type of race course that, at least on paper, I should do well on.  A good amount of climbing, a little bit of tech and lots of swoopy corners (which I now think I'm proficient on).

To be safe, I've been trying to prep by going to the Camden Snow Bowl for my weekly mountain bike fix.  The Snow Bowl and Pinnacle are similar in many ways.  They both have a bunch of climbing and they both offer single track.  Ok, that's only two ways but it's the best I've got.  The climbing at the bowl is way harder, the trails are way more technical and you're much more likely to get struck by lightning (thought I was going to last week when I was caught in a fast moving storm while I was exposed near the summit) but it'll have to do.  Plus it's a fun place to ride so I'm not exactly suffering as a result.

Marcy and I have also booked a spa weekend at the (somewhat local to the race) Mountain Edge Resort.  So, two nights in a two bedroom suite (why the extra bedroom you ask?  maybe it's because I annoy the fuck out of Marcy but you'll never know...), a credit at the spa (maybe a ballzilian wax?) and the opportunity to pre-ride the course on Saturday is at least the recipe for a good showing.  We'll see if I add the ingredients in the proper order...

So, what of the winery photos?  Well, Marcy and I attended a swank-ish party at Cellardoor Winery this weekend and had the opportunity to get a tour of the inner workings.  Marcy got so excited when she saw the barrels of booze that she could help but run up and start licking them.  My woman is a class act all the way!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

 Big Ring Rumpus part deux

Ok, so where was I.  Oh yeah, we had just been swallowed up by the second group and I was starting to feel better again.  I hung towards the back of the group for the rest of that lap and then at the beginning of what must have been lap 5 the group slowed drastically.  I was still holding out hope that we’d catch the first group if we worked together so I moved to the front and mumbled something about us all working to pull them back.  Apparently, no one heard me because I went to the front to push the pace up a bit and no one followed and I opened up a bit of a gap.  At this point in the past I probably would have drilled it to get away and try to solo up to the lead group but since I’d been treating the draft like mama’s milk all day (I’d die without it) I didn’t think it would be wise to go it alone so I eased up a bit.  Thankfully, when the group caught me, two guys decided to really start pushing the pace and ended up doing 85% of the pulling for the next three laps.

At this point I was feeling well enough to do an occasional pull so I wisely stayed away from the back of the pack but was still desperately trying to conserve energy because the tanks were getting low.  On the last lap things got interesting.  The two guys doing all of the pulling put in monster pulls at the beginning of the lap, keeping the pace high and not requiring anyone else to work.  I was confused.  Did they not want to win the group sprint (which we’d surely end up having)?  Were they working for some mysterious teammate (not likely since they were on different teams)?  Or were they just good guys?

I found out with about 1/3 of a lap to go when the CCB rider pulled around and did a mini attack and one of the pullers said “you can’t be fucking serious.  You’re going to try to beat us?”  To which the CCB rider replied (among other things) “sorry, I thought we were in a race”.  Fair enough.  Sure these guys had done a majority of the work and they DESERVED the win but there is a difference between deserving the win and getting the win.  The Big Ring Rumpus is more road race than mountain bike race so road tactics come into play.  If you want to be wheel sucker #1 and pull around for the win in the end, more power to you.  Does it suck?  Yes, but that’s racing.

So anyway, the CCB rider pulled around and I jumped on his wheel and when I THOUGHT we had about a ¼ mile to go I launched myself and got a good gap.  Too bad we were still over a half mile out and I sputtered to a near standstill about 100 yards before entering the chicanes allowing the CCB rider (coincidentally the guy who took me out on the first lap) to get by and take my field spring glory.  Drats.

This is a race that shows exactly where you stand with your fitness.  There is no hiding.  Sadly, this race proved what I had been feeling all along.  My training isn’t quite there.  The good news is that I don’t think it’s that far off and if you throw some technical shit into the mix I’m even closer.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Big Ring Rumpus

You know what's pretty awesome?  Spending the weekend away with family, visiting, camping, riding and racing, getting home at 5:30 pm on Sunday, taking a quick shower and then going into the office until 11pm.  Yeah, fucking awesome.  At least the first part...

Wait, I forgot, I don't bitch on this blog. :)

Anywho, this weekend was the Big Ring Rumpus.  A true test of one's fitness.  With absolutely no singletrack and speeds hovering in the high teens, there is no hiding.  If your fitness sucks, you suck.  It's not exactly the most fun race out there but with the fitness test and the $2k in prize money (holy crap) available it's a good one to see where you stand.

It was also an opportunity for Marcy to toe the waters again in the novice class.  With our start times spread out per land owner's request it meant that we could both race and not freak out about who was watching the spud.  Marcy was just a touch nervous (like a hammer touches a nail) for the race but settled in nicely coming into the end of lap one with a small leaders group.  Unfortunately, there is a chicane section right before the start/finish line and the women in front of her layed it down and knocked Marcy off her bike and that was enough to form a gap between them and the first two riders. 

Just after the mishap, that's public enemy #1 in the 
orange and yellow picking her bike up.
Marcy rocked it pretty well from that point on, closing in on 2nd place going into her third lap (first place was waaaayyyyy out of sight and on her way to needing to move up to sport) but had a serious hip cramp for lap four and dropped two spots before the finish.  She finished strong and happy though so that's all that counts.  That and Brynna got to see that women can be tough.  Always a good lesson for a kid who cries at EVERYTHING.

exiting the chicanes



My race started much the same.  I knew I didn't have solo away to victory power on hand but I figured I could take minimal pulls, hide in the draft and pull out a respectable finish.  The expert vet 1 field quickly broke into two group.  The lead group of 5, including myself, and the rest.  I stayed comfortably in the group until the chicanes at the end of lap one when, wouldn't you know it, a CCB rider layed it down in the exact same corner as the woman did to Marcy in her race, forcing me off my bike.  That allowed a 5-10 second gap to form between me and the top three riders.  At first I thought I'd be able to reel them in but it soon became apparent that three motivated guys trading pulls were never going to be brought back by one moderately fitnessed schlub.  Eventually, after dieing a thousand deaths for a third of a lap, I was joined by one of the senior 1 men.  Nathaniel and I worked together for a bit but my earlier effort was taking it's toll on my not quite warmed up self and I ended up essentially sucking his wheel for 1 1/2 laps while I tried to recover.

Mercifully, in lap three or four, the second group caught us and it was go time.  I had finally recovered/warmed up and was ready to rumble.  It was a fairly motivated group (with 2 or 3 guys willing to work) so I hoped that we'd be able to gain time on the leaders.

Holy crap, I'm out of time.  Part 2 tomorrow.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Rick 1, KillBill 56

KillBill and I made it out for the Wednesday night CSC road beat down last night.  A luxurious affair that typically involves lots sweating, groaning, cramping and burning.  No, not sex and not the morning after a burrito fest either but, instead, a massive weekly eye opening session as to just how fast dudes can be on a road bike and how comparatively slow I am.

This week's turnout was somewhat low.  That's probably because there were severe thunderstorms all across the state and multiple reports of tornadoes.  Sissies.  I kept my eyes tuned to and when it came time to leave for the ride, the last cell was just passing north of Brunswick so I hightailed it out to get my hurt on.  I was running late (as usual) so I did the not even remotely smart changing in the car (how would you explain that to a cop if you got pulled over?  totally naked with spandex and a tub of white cream riding co-pilot?  still probably better than getting into an accident in those circumstances though.  HELLO NATIONAL SEX OFFENDER LIST!  HERE I COME!) while driving in nearly bumper to bumper traffic thing and got to the shop with negative minutes to spare.  It looked like KB had already left so I jumped on the bike and literally time trialed it to the CSC getting there with seconds to spare.  So much for an easy warm-up.

Anywho, we roll out with Jeff, KB and myself in the front a 4? others pulling up the rear.  It wasn't five minutes into the ride before we had lost the other 4? riders.  Did I mention this is a ruthless ride?  20 minutes later, with Jeff taking 33 mph pulls, I got shit out of the back at the crest of a climb.  It was much too early to lose them so I dug in (and they slowed a bit) and I caught them a few minutes later.  Ten minutes after that we came to the longest hill of the day and, long story short, I got shit out the back again.  This time because Jeff and KB were having a dick measuring contest in front of me, staring each other down and literally sprinting up the hill.  (for the record, I'm guessing I was sporting an innie at that point)  Game over.  I watched them slowly slip away.

I hoped that we'd regroup at the 1/2 way point as we usually do but as I pulled in I saw that KB and Jeff had kept going.  Drat.  I caught a glimpse of someone up the road and dug in to try to catch them before we turned into the massive headwind.  I ended up catching KB in short order.  A few days off the bike and starting off at the pace we did left him with dead legs.  I got on the front and tried to pull him along for a while but after a couple of minutes I looked back and he was 1/4 mile behind me.  THAT NEVER HAPPENS.  I don't often get the opportunity to beat KB these days so I took the opportunity seriously (even if he wasn't) and time trialed my ass straight into the headwind and finished the ride all by my lonesome.

Endomondo Cycling Workout: "was out cycling 54.74 miles in 3h:02m:51s using Endomondo."

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Ye Olde

I visited a couple of my old stomping grounds over the weekend.  Ride one was a visit to the "trails" in St. George State park up in my old hood.  The intertubes led me to believe that there were 3-5 miles of trail in addition to the multitude of four wheeler/snowmobile trails in the area.  I'd ridden the double track years ago a couple of times and had enjoyed myself so I figured that since I'm now armed with a gps, finding the single track was a doable option.  Sadly, the definition of single track in that area is a bit questionable (not surprising considering how few riders there are to use trails in those parts) but the fourwheeler trails were still pretty fun except for the constant wondering if the trail that I was on was ever going to turn in the direction I needed to go.  I desperately didn't want to do an out-and-back ride so I continued on and on and on for what felt like forever and finally, when I decided to go around one more corner before turning back, I came to a T in the trail that took me where I wanted to go.  Phew.  This may sound overly dramatic but you have to realize that there was a lake, my family and beer drinking waiting for me when I got back...

giant lollipop

Ride number two was one of my favorite old road loops.  A trek that takes me up and around Damariscotta lake, a hilly 50 mile loop.  Wish there was a clever anecdote for this one but there isn't.  Only a beautifully sunny day around 80 degrees.  Not much to say but YIPPEE!