Wednesday, May 30, 2012

 The Maine Mayhem!
Part 2

Ok, it's now obvious that a proper race report just isn't going to happen so it's abridged report time. When the bike portion of the race rolled around, I took an assessment of the folks at the line and decided that my teammate Anders, Steve and a couple of college age looking kids (see how old I am now? college KIDS???) were my most likely competition so the best strategy was to try to get out to an early lead and hold onto it. I THOUGHT I had only a 14 second deficit to Anders and roughly 2:00 to Steve so this shouldn't be too bad. Maybe, with luck on my side, I'll pull off the overall.

the annual berm shot
At the start I gunned it and took the holeshot going into the woods (usually very important here since the single track is so tight and it's hard to pass) and quickly took a 10-15 second lead. At that point I couldn't help but think that this was going to be easy. Those thoughts were erased when the lead feeling crept into my legs and Anders easily bridged up after passing one of the young-ins. Anders and I rode together for the first two laps and I got nervous because he didn't seem to be having any trouble staying on my wheel and his full suspension was definitely an advantage on the really rooty sections of the course.

my brother, out of retirement, on the berm

 my buddy Tim did his first ever race.  He won his age
 category but lost in the number attachment category.
Going into the third of four laps, I decided it was time to see if I could get away so as soon as we lapped through I drilled it for about 5 minutes and was awarded a 30-ish second lead over Anders. From there I just tried to keep the pace up and eventually finished around 1:30 up on Anders and 10 minutes on Steve (haven't seen the actual results posted yet) and thought I had the overall in the bag.

Unfortunately, as Anders and I were chatting we realized that we didn't know how they were tabulating the overall. I thought it was based on overall time, he thought it was based on finishing positions but, in reality, it was based on your run time + your average lap time from teh bike race! Some quick math in the head lead us to believe that the overall would be very close between the three of us. In the (anticlimactic here but very exciting there) I nabbed the overall by 1.5 seconds and scored myself all sorts of bragging rights and a sweet Columbia waterproof jacket valued (so the tag says) at $350. Not bad for a $16 entry fee!

Steve waiting for the final results.  
I offered to settle it with an arm wrestling competition.  
(glad he didn't take me up on it)

Anders being all stoicHe'd look even
more stoic in a nice new jacket...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Maine Mayhem! 
Part 1

The Maine Sport Maine Mayhem! was my first race of 2012. Usually, at this point, I've got at least a couple of races under my belt but that just wasn't in the cards this year.  Thankfully though, the Mayhem! is a perfect first race since it's a low key event that is close to home. This year, I decided to give the trail run/mountain bike race a try.  Last year a pair of running shoes was up for grabs for whoever had the fasted combined time of the two races.  I've been running a bit more this year so I figured I might as well give it a shot and because stupidity runs deep in my family, I was able to convince my brother to come up from Boston to take part as well. 

As soon as the 3-ish mile run started I knew I was going to be in for a hard race.  Initially, I was able to come close to the leaders pace but it was a pace I knew was unsustainable.  It was easily 1.5x my normal running pace and I didn't have the excuse of waiting for the dog to pee to explain stopping for a breather so I sucked it up as much as possible knowing that the race would likely be over in 20 minutes.  By about a mile in, most of the sorting had taken place with my brother and 6 others ahead of me on the trail.  This was also the point that I grabbed my GoPro camera from my mother and video'd the remainder of the race.  My vanity wouldn't allow me to wear the camera on the start line so, sadly, I missed most of the action at the beginning of the race but still captured most of the EXCITEMENT! of a trail running race.  Don't believe me?  See for yourself in Monday's post.

Rus coming in for second.

me trudging in for the finish with GoPro
dork band on my head.

By the halfway point of the race, it was way more than clear that I wasn't touching the front of the race.  My brother and Steve Wagner (the leader) were now out of site but I did have a couple of carrots in front of me; one of them being Ander Larson a bikeman teammate.  Try as I might, I just couldn't close the gap.  After one surge (which had me hitting a long time high of 181 bpm) I was able to close to within a couple of seconds of Anders but I just didn't have the legs for that final 10 feet.  I definitely need to work on my speed work with running because top end speed was nowhere in sight but at least I could maintain a pretty solid pace.

Finally, mercifully, I came into the final stretch and tried to give it a finishing kick and maybe finally close the gap to Anders but I had drained my ridiculously small storage of speed long before and ended up simply trudging across the line in 7th place instead just over 2 minutes down on Steve Wagner.  Steve is a strong rider but as I found out before the mountain bike race, he'd only been on his bike a few times this year so I figured that gap should be pretty easy to erase in the mountain bike race.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Joke's On You 

I know I promised a race report today but I decided to go on a 28 mile road ride this morning instead. Suck it!

Hopefully I'll get the report done tonight but I'm mountain biking tonight (hopefully) as well so that isn't likely either.  I'm just going to go ahead and tell you not to hold your breath.  It'll come soon and it'll be worth the wait.  Promise!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Maine Mayhem!

Yesterday was the annual Maine Mayhem! xc trail race.  Starting last year, they added a trail running race prior to the mountain bike race.  If one is so inclined, he/she could do one race or both.  Last year I chickened out on the running race since I was afraid it would completely blow my legs for the mtb.  This year I decided to throw caution to the wind and pull the double.  Partly because of the extra challenge (it's a small race with few expert/elite competitors in the mtb) and partly because there is extra schwag for the fastest run/mtb time.

I've run out of time for a full write-up today so I'll just drop a slightly edited video of the running portion of the race.  I didn't want to be the douche wearing a camera at the start so I grabbed it from my mom part way into the lap.

Full write-up tomorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Almost Race Time 

The first race in my MTB calendar is quickly approaching so I've been busy making final preps.  This race is generally super fun with tight, fast trails, lots of little technical sections, berms etc etc but if it's wet, all bets are off.  It's still fun but it is a total gear destroyer.  A few years back lots of folks found that out.  As a result, I've now prepped my single speed to be ready to race.  I haven't ridden this bike as a single (or any SS really) in well over a year so I'm taking a bit of a chance racing it on Sunday but I'd rather chance a lackluster race than chance doing hundreds of dollars of damage to my new bike.  That said, we've got three sunny and warm days before the race so things should be stellar but I know if I don't get the bike ready, I'll wish I had.

Step one: find box of ss shit and find enough spacers and gears to fill up the free hub.

I can't for the life of me remember what gearing I used to use so I threw
three cogs on so I can test them out tomorrow on my pre-ride.

Step two: I've grown very used to the W-I-D-E bars on the Kona so the skinnier
bars on the Salsa had to go.  In order to do that, I had to steal the bars from the Mukluk.
Sorry girl.

Skinnies be gone!

Poor, sad, decapitated Mukluk.
Don't worry, you'll ride again.

Tah dah!  Large and in charge. 
Now I just have to bring a hand saw with me for the pre-ride 
so I can chop down the one choker on course that these will
be too wide for.

Finished.  Now it's time to clean the basement from the looks of it.
Tool and shit EVERYWHERE!

Monday, May 14, 2012

This Ride Is For The Birds 

Saturday was beautiful and sunny. No, that doesn't express it well enough. Saturday was BEAUTIFUL AND SUNNY!!!!! What was even better was that I was given the green light for a nice road ride in the morning while Marcy and B heading to a fund raising yard sale at B's school.  Score!  That is, until I got on the road and realized I felt like a turn souffle that had been slightly overcooked (nobody likes an overcooked turn souffle).  I did a quick calculation and decided that trying to push through the ick would likely leave me in the hole while getting home early and getting shit on the Honey-Do list done would leave me sitty pretty with the spousal unit so I decided to bail on the ride and head home. 

but first, I snapped this lurvly picture (exactly 1 mile from my house...)

upon getting home, I was swarmed by my adoring fans

stupid chickens love to roost and shit on my bikes although,
to be honest, this bike deserves to be shat upon
This coming Sunday is my first race of the season, the Maine Sport Mayhem! It conflicts with Weeping Willow which is an awesome race, but I like to support the local events (and drive 4 less hours) so the Mayhem it is. 

The interesting thing about the Mayhem is that, in addition to the bike race, they also do a trail running race just prior to the XC with bragging rights and extra prizes (a pair or running shoes last year) to the person who has the fastest combined time.  I've decided to throw down this year.  The running race is only 5k so hopefully it won't tax me too much before the XC race but that's all part of the fun anyway.  There are at least 3 dudes who I expect to be there who can trounce me in a running race (I know, because they all did at the HVNC race last fall) but I SHOULD be able to nab them on the bike.  Question is, by how much and are there any ringers out there just waiting to make me miserable?  I guess we'll find out on Sunday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What A Difference A Day Makes

Yesterday I did something I never do - talk about how much I've been riding.  Well, today I wake up and feel like a lazy turd because I didn't do a lick of exercise yesterday and I likely won't today given that it's a Friday and there is beer to be drunk and guacamole to be eaten tonight.  I'm not sure when Friday night rides became verboten but they have in my mind so I'll live it up (as much as any middle aged husband and father can do) tonight and hope for some good rides this weekend so I can keep my slowly increasing fitness and ever so slowly decreasing weight in line.

I have news that would make most middle aged husbands/fathers foaming at the mouth.  There are now six chicks living with us.  No, I haven't become a Mormon, we've added some new chickens to our flock (currently down to two after weasel, fox and hawk predation).

We decided to change things up a bit this time and get four egg layers and two meat birds.

I'm not sure how keen I am on killing and plucking a chicken but I know that if I tap out, Marcy should be able to finish the job since, in the past, she's taken a dead, rotten seal and boiled and skinned it for soup - er - research. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012


You might want to sit down for a minute before I tell you what I'm about to tell you. 

Are you seated?  No?  Well, what are you waiting for?

All set?  OK.  Here comes the bombshell.  My legs are tired because I've actually been riding and running a lot (for me at least) for the last couple of weeks.  There are always curve balls thrown in the way on occasion but I think (I hope!) that I've finally found a way to make it work this summer.  Three days in a row of solid rides and runs have my legs more shot than they've been in a while.  Yay!  I'm still a bit concerned about my endurance but the speed is coming along nicely and I don't have any long races for a while anyway so color me happy.

On Tuesday night the legs were shot enough that I actually busted out the rollers to massage the muscles a bit so that I wouldn't be a lactic acid bloated turd on the Wednesday night Cyclemainia mountain bike ride.

To be even more readyer, I showed up to the ride location a half hour early to get a decent warm-up in before the suffering began.  Unfortunately, just as I was about to leave, instigator number one, Sebastian, showed up to warm up for his own ride.  As a result, my warm up ended up being a suffer up with me chasing him around but at least the legs were ready when the group showed up!

Thankfully, all of this worked (mostly) and I was almost able to hang with Sebastian on the hilly somewhat mud fest.  The dude used to race elite downhill and it shows.  The faster, nastier, more technical things get, the faster he gets.  I was downright scared TRYING to hold his wheel (which I never really did) on some of the downhills (and uphills and flataways for that matter).

Now I hurt and my bike is a wreck so it's time for a day or two off while I fix things up a bit and get ready for the stellar weekend ahead.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

We Have a Weiner! 

Right before the end of yesterday's polling of "what's new on my bike", Tim snuck in the winning answer and is now the proud new owner of absolutely nothing but a little more self respect (which he can use lots of) and pride in a job well done. Tim correctly guessed that I had new rims on the bike. More specifically, I have a whole new wheelset on the bike. Some fancy, schmancy Carver carbon rims mated to DT 240s hubs. My heart is all a twitter.

For their maiden voyage (and probably the first race next weekend) I mounted them up with a set of new Panaracer Rampages I had hanging in the bike closet. The rampages + some stans juice + bontrager rim strips = instant tubeless success. The tires/rims immediately held air and required the least amount of shaking/spinning to finish the job of any tubeless setup I've ever done. Four days and three hours of riding later and they don't seem to have lost any psi's. Golden.

Before getting the rims, I was afraid that I'd have constant concern about dinging the rims but I'm happy to say that not once while I was blasting through rock gardens yesterday was I even the least bit concerned and their stiffness, tubelessness and slight weight reduction from my other wheelset were welcome. It's too early to give a real report just yet but, so far, I'm happy.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Take A Guess 

Props to the first person who guesses what is new on my bike (there are actually a couple of things but I'm looking for one specific answer) as it rests against the chicken coop and the hastily built chicken run that I conceived and built yesterday so that we can stop keeping the local fox family so healthy.

And, also for your viewing pleasure is a second installment of Brynna singing. This is a shorter clip but she makes up for it with an extreme close up.
I wish I had more to write aboot (that's for my canadian fans) but things just aint too exciting these days. The quality of my training rides seems to be improving of late but weather  keeps giving me the high hard one.  After such a beautiful early spring, I guess we had this coming.  take this week for example, I had a hard morning road ride and an afternoon mountain bike ride planned for tomorrow so, of course, we're going to have 30's and rain all day. Joy! And then on Wednesday I planned to have another go at the uber fast Cape E. mountain bike ride I wrote and video'd about last week but that's looking like rain as well. I can be a tough guy and ride in the rain but rain + cold temps = sheer misery. Maybe I'll toughen up enough to do one of the rides.  Maybe.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

My Wife Is A Nag 

But, at least she isn't asking for a diamond necklace.  I also like that she clearly notes that it is for her so I don't accidentally think that I wrote it to myself.  Bottom bracket shopping I go!