Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Test 

Marcy didn't initially tell me but she fully expects to use my GoPro while diving. To test things out, I video'd be swimming this afternoon. The underwater picture quality is pretty impressive!

Lets Try This Again 

Yesterday, blogger gave me the high hard one and lost my post. I was uploading a video at the time so I'm guessing it timed out or just plain shit the bed and the autosave no workey. Oh well.

The legs finally feel like they're starting to come around.  I still feel like I'm WAY behind the 8-ball fitness wise compared to most seasons but at least I'm feeling an improvement.  I have no way to gauge said improvement but I believe it's there so that's all that matters.

More importantly, I'm now looking forward to riding again.  For a while I began to wonder if I even enjoyed riding anymore since I was constantly bagging rides and not really enjoying the rides that I did do.  Thankfully, I'm now out of that funk (I think) and am feeling good enough to push again.  The hours on the bike aren't great but their improving as well with 6 hours of ride time last week and another 3+ of running and core work. 

One weird thing about this winter is that I have zero interest in the road bike.  I'm sure that will change at some point but I've just been enjoying the snow bike too much.  The trails are pretty much ideal right now.  They've been packed, had some rain and a few freeze thaw cycles so they're hard enough to really rip on.  You just need to be aware if ice.  Take this morning for example, yesterday we got about an inch of fluffy powder.  Beautiful stuff that didn't pose too much of an issue for most of this morning's commute except for where it was hiding ice.  The current trail consistency is what I call frozen styrofoam.  It's hard-ish but still has some give under the tires so you're hearing a constant soft crunching noise as you ride.  It's when the crunching stops that you have to worry because you've likely just ridden onto ice.  I like to handle ice by screaming "don't panic!, DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!" inside my head while I try to not panic.  Thankfully, today, I didn't.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Blogger Stinks

As you can imagine, I had a brilliant post ready to post today and was just waiting for the video to upload but stupid blogger lost everything.  Bastards.  Now you get nothing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Swore I'd Never Do It

There was a time way back when (I looked for an old post to link to but gave up my search.  I'm lazy) that I put in a fair amount of time on the indoor trainer in the winter.  That was before I discovered the joys of winter mountain biking.  Once I realized how freaking sweet snowmobile trails can be for riding, I swore that I'd never ride an indoor trainer aka "a bike lobotomy".  Why waste your time sweating away in your basement watching shitty videos and counting the minutes until your done when there is sooooo much white corduroy outside?

the mukluk after a slushy ride the other night.
bad conditions but at least I was outside.

Well, times change, schedules get tougher, bellies get bigger and you finally make the realization that the trainer is the ONLY WAY TO GET A "RIDE" IN SOME DAYS.  As a result, Marcy and I decided to pony up for a newer, less horrific trainer.  One that doesn't sound like a toaster making sweet love to a bench grinder.

enter the kurt kinetic
When we built the new house, Marcy told me that I'd never have a bike upstairs again.If you look closely in the pic above, you'll notice that we not one bike upstairs but two.  I plan to move my work bench up this weekend...

I wish such drastic measure weren't necessary but I've been struggling to get 2 rides a week in and have been off the back on all group rides I've been to so something had to happen.  Now it can and I'll hate every second of it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Bit Belated
This is kinda sorta oldish news at this point since Eric outed me on Facebook (although, I hardly every post to the book and nobody really pays attention anyway) (and I was supposed to unveil over two weeks ago) but I'm officially unveiling 2012's race steed, the Kona King Kahuna.  Go ahead, I'll give you a minute to click on the pic and link to marvel at it's purtyness.  It is quite fetching don't you think?  I especially like that the color scheme is almost identical to my beloved Salsa Selma.

Originally, I planned on swapping out a bunch or parts (or buying a raw frame to build up) but the economics of that just didn't make sense right now.  Heck, with the way things are these days, I consider myself damn lucky to even be buying a new bike.  So, I'll settle for the mid-range SRAM parts and replace/upgrade as things wear out.  The only big change I see making is instead of spending a ton of money to swap out the crank and brakes to shave a few grams and MAYBE see a performance increase, I'll instead spend the money on buying a chi-chi set of wheels for the season.  The jury is still out on what those wheels will be but rest assured, I've been burning up the internet looking at options and I'm guessing that if our team manager isn't sick of me e-mailing him yet, he soon will be.

 More about the wheels later (tomorrow if I actually remember).

Anybody who has ridden with me for the a while might note that I swore off carbon bikes years ago when I had my fully carbon Trek Fuel.  It was a sweet bike and I never actually had any issues with carbon breakage even though I had a massive ding on the downtube when I unceremoniously smashed it into a rather large boulder but I was constantly worrying about smashing it into things.  But time passes, technologies get better and I'm not a politician and am allowed to change my mind and soon will be rolling around on 1240 grams of crabon.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Ride

20 degrees, dark, windy and a snow storm on it's way.  Sound like ideal group mountain bike ride conditions?  Not necessarily, but it didn't stop 8 guys from showing up to ride in what we hoped would be primo snow/ice conditions.  I wish I had my camera with me because I sure would have loved to document everyone waiting around for me to get ready.  Seven guys standing around watching as I fumbled to get my stoooooopid bar mitts on the bike.  I was saved though when just after I finished up CDog noticed that his tire had gone flat so we ended up waiting for him.  Just like we always do.

And then, THEN, we rode our bikes for like 2 hours.  Got lost-ish, got less lost-ish, stared at Iphone compasses, figured out where we were and then got back to the cars unscathed and ready for beer. 

Great blog post huh?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Take Your Bike For a Walk Day 

With the unseasonably warm temps the last couple of days, I decided to try to lay down a ribbon of rideable snow bike tracks on my home trails.  They've recently done it in Bath and it was super fun to ride so I figured I'd give it a shot.  I got up at 4:20 this morning and headed out with the Mukluk and pooch in tow.  I expected to be doing some hoofing but I wasn't expecting 40 degree temps and super wet snow.  I ended up walking a good portion of the loop but I did get to ride some and still managed to lay down a nice track in most areas.  It wasn't all that fun but if I'm able to get out one more time before it freezes up again, the work will be repaid in luge like conditions.  Fingers crossed!

one more time through and this will be sweet.

and now some random pics from last season's finale that I just found on the intertubes.  Happier, warmer times...

and finally, the opening pic? That was a loop that I made from work to home last week. When I uploaded it, I noticed that it kinda looked like a face. I'm easily amused...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Things are still progressing here in Racin Rick land (that would be the most awesome adventure park ever with dirty chamois rides, saddle sore lancing, scab picking; basically all of the classics).  I haven't exactly started "training" but I have been able to up my riding a bit.  I still die after about 1.5 hours but I have to start somewhere and start I have.  All told, according to Endomondo, I had a total of 7.5 hours of active time (riding, running and core work) last week.  Not outstanding but a good start and something to build on.

I've also started to look at the 2012 schedule.  A tentative EFTA schedule has been posted:

20-May  NECS - Weeping Willow - MA
3-Jun  NECS - Big Ring Rumpus - NH
17-Jun  NECS - Pinnacle - NH
8-Jul  NECS - Moody Park - NH
15-Jul  NECS - Maine Sport Run-Off - ME
22-Jul  NECS - Harding Hill - NH
22-Jul  Carrabassett Back Country Challenge - ME
19-Aug  Hampshire 100 - NH
26-Aug  NECS - Treasure Valley Rally - MA
23-Sep  NECS- Rock the Ridge - CT

I plan on doing most of the series though I do expect to miss a couple of races as work and life come along.  One race of note this year that I used to love but haven't done in a while is the Hampshire 100.  It started out as a 100k cross country race but, for this year, they have been added to the National Ultra Endurance series and have upped the mileage to 100.  I'm sure I'll suffer like a dog as there will surely be some seriously heavy hitters from around the country there but it should be fun and with the 50-60 mile carrabassett 50 a month prior, I'll have a good primer for the event.


More obsessing to come.

Speaking of obsessing, I've finally started to re-build Marcy's wheels to make them tubeless.  She's been running my old Hope P2's with salsa rims.  I love the hubs but those first generation rims are noodly and refuse to be set up tubeless so I've decided to switch them out for some Stan's Crest rims.  Lighter, stiffer and tubeless, she should be happy.  Plus (and this is a big plus) it gives me a chance to practice my wheel building skills before I build up my new wheels for 2012.  The wheels that will be going on my here-to-fore unmentioned purchase.  A sexy new bit of carbon goodness is being added to the Nelson stable but you'll have to come back tomorrow to find out what it is.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Making Ground

Not wanting to let a good thing go to waste, we made sure that B got out again this past weekend to continue her bike riding practice (and to make sure she didn't forget how to do it come spring). Like a champ, she got on and was riding in no time and me being the blogging genius that I am (obviously), I thought to put my new camera on her handle bars to capture her expressions. To say that she seems happy to be riding would be a massive understatement. Even I don't smile that much while riding and Ricky just L-O-V-E-S riding.

Speaking of making ground, last week I made it out for a ride with the Bathers and just like my recent ride with CDog, I was not too impressed with my performance. Like, next to last in a pack of ten performance. Sad. Just as sad as my on the bike performance was the performance of the groups bikes. I can't remember the exact details but within the first two miles we had three broken chains, one broken derailleur and a flat tire. Two miles of riding in 40 minutes! Yikes.

two bikes being worked on at once

 well lookey here, yet another broken chain later in the ride...
The good news is that I made it out for three whole rides last week, commuted this morning, am mountain biking home tonight so things should turn around.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Some Pointers

To be a successful mountain bike racer, one needs to develop certain skills.  Endurance, power, coordination and if you watch the video below, humility.

 It also pays to have some mechanical aptitude.  For example, it's always a good idea to know how to install handle bars:

BTW, that's the new Park headset cap.  It makes on the fly headset adjustment and lung perforation a snap.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Starting 2012 off Right

The tail end of 2011 sucked mass quantities of monkey ballz in every ride department.  As a result, I'm trying to get a good start in 2012.  The unseasonably warm temps over the weekend meant that a trail ride wasn't a great idea (sunday at least) so, instead, B and I got to work building a bridge for an endo promoting quagmire near the house.  A perfect project for a guy and his best girl.

As usual, B had the perfect attire for the occasion.  
She makes safety glasses and ear muffs look good.

Part way done and ready to be hauled into the woods.  Notice Autumn 
being a big help by trying to steal the hammer...

  The angle allows for a "huck" from the rock on the right 
hand side, a massive 18" drop. 
Then on Monday (I had the day off mercifully) I headed out for a road ride to grab the company car where I had stashed it on Thursday (a colossal lack of planning required it to be left in the DEP parking lot in Augusta over the weekend).  I knew that I was in bad shape so I decided to take er easy and try to enjoy the 40+ degree day but I wasn't prepared for how badly out of shape I was truly in. The 30-ish mile ride turned into my own little torture chamber with me literally CRAWLING up all of the hills.  I hope this isn't a sign of things to come this year otherwise the back side of the elite fields is going to be even lonelier than initially anticipated.

Yeah!  The Augusta line, only about a mile to go!

That's Amhigh in the background (the state's old mental institute 
and now home of state employees.  hmmm, just about the same really) 
in the background.

That combined with a few trail runs and a massive mountain bike epic (read: 1/2 hour) to capture some video footage (to be released in a few days) and things are off to a start (not sure how great it is yet) for 2012.