Friday, November 30, 2007

Afternoon Ride

Just got in from an hour or so on the monocog. Rode down to Pine Tree did a lap and then out Mudget Road to the end spun around and got on the singletrack about halfway back that takes you back out to Runabout Bay. Someone has cleaned it recently and it was really nice. Tight widing through the pine trees, it was starting to get dark so I did one more loop in Pine Tree and headed back. Rode the loop aroung Singer Lane and then did a loop through North Pines road then out to Shady Lane and home. Perfect temp. out except I should have worn booties as the feet were getting chilled. Plan on getting out in the morning for a decent ride. Probably ride rec. trail north to the power lines to sticks and stones. Stop and get a coffee then turn around and head back. We'll see.

New bike may be on the way. Debating what I should get, I like my Redline so I may get the Flight 29er but I like the looks of the Soma Juice too. Time will tell.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Holiday Gut?

Ahh yes the holiday feasting. What DEA is really saying is that he bought a new 42 inch Plasma TV and can't help but watch Buffy reruns. I fired down the last piece of Pecan Pie that Nikki made for me last night. I ate every piece of that dang pie, the Nickelodean commercial says eating a Pecan Pie is equivelant to eating 17 cheeseburgers or something like that. Oh well.

I been lifting the last week or so and did legs on Friday which meant a very sore weekend. We took the kids to Santa's Village on Saturday night, very cold up in Jefferson, NH. That's where Santa's Village is, not the North Pole. I got out yesterday on the Monocog for about an 1 1/4 hours. Did some loops in Pine Tree and rode the lower section along the river that heads back towards the damn and then out at the other end of where we normally go in. Lots of rocks in the lower section, then headed over and rode on the dam side for a while before heading home. Today I decided to drive one of our trucks back to our garage to get it out of my driveway and brought my bike to ride home. It's about 20 miles and the weather held off long enough for me to make it. I was slightly overdressed but I guess that's better than the alternative. I rode through Silver Lake and Madison back. Not sure what the deal was but I think cars must not be expected someone to be biking this time of year, 3 times I was cutoff, with one guy pulling out in front of me and touching his bumper followed by me sending a "holiday greeting" his way. Dumbass.

Looks like tomorrow is going to be a wash which is OK since my legs weren't to snappy today and could use a rest.

No hot chocolate and banana bread tonight. Nikki just made some Oatmeal, white chocolate, pecan, etc. cookies. Fresh out of the oven, being washed down with a Tuckerman's Headwall Ale. Ahhh


Holiday Gut Begins

Thanksgiving has come and gone, hopefully everyone out there had a great holiday filled with good eats. My last ride or any form of exercise took place on Thanksgiving morning when I got out for about an hour spine on the cross bike.

Since then it's been a lot of eating followed by what I can only describe as a large parasite of some sort living in my gut. Of course that is completely made up, but it sounds much more interesting and creates a fairly vivid picture without me having to go into the gory details.

I'm getting back to a good place, might even try to ride the trainer tonight- but I thought it interesting that upon the start of the "Get Fat" season I would get struck by something that has kept me from exercising (but of course it has also kept me from eating so that's good).

The tough thing will be for the next five plus weeks trying to keep some sort of cardio work going and keep my eyes in line with the goal of not looking like LeMond once he hung up his cleats.

What else can I tell you? Not much. Astana will be riding with SRAM Red next year- hmmmm- if they end up on Trek frames does that mean Trek will speck their "team issue" with SRAM Red- I would guess so. Kinda cool.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A1's desire to race La Ruta

I just read Dicky's description of La Ruta- A1 says he wants to do that race- not for me boys and girls, that one is just over my head.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Snow Ride, Take It Easy

Sorry not sure where that came from. Maybe because I was listening to Rock 101 this morning. Drove up to Great Glen this morning to deliver tables, snowing pretty good up there and it was pretty slow going. It was all good though, I planned on a slow ride so I stopped and got a large coffee and bagel at Front Side Grind before heading up. It was snowing decent here and the ground was covered when I got home so I decided to head out for my first snowy ride of the season.

Went up Davis to Gulf, turned around at the top and headed down to Mill St. then up Baird Hill which dead ends a few miles up. It climbs pretty good and there are some really nice old farms at the top. I've never been up there so today was a good day to see it. Met a few people out walking who thought I was insane. Road back down Baird and rode in a few logging roads before heading out to Mill St. and home. We'll have to explore more of those trails in the spring, some bridges had been built on a few trails so it seems like someone has a secret stash of trails.

Rode up to North Conway on Thursday last week. It was too nice out to not go so I took the morning off for a ride. Glad I did, not sure how many sunny warm days we'll get for a while. Ran last night and then lifted. I picked up a heater the other day and realized how heavy it felt. I guess setting tents all summer took quite a bit out of me. Now that we're done for a few months it's time to get some strength back, so 3/4 days a week I'll be in the gym.

That's all I got, time for more hot chocolate and homemade banana bread.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Cold Commute

Not much to talk about right now other then the ride into work this morning was a bit chilly. The good news- no ice on the side of the road so regular tires are still working fine. I'm almost dreading putting my studded cross tires on as they are so heavy. That and it cracks me up that I mount them up on an old pair of spynergy rev-X wheelsnot mine- but like mine
I'm thinking about putting relective tape on one blade of each side of each wheel- I get that would look pretty crazy from the side at night.

Didn't touch my bikes this weekend- instead intalled cabnets and re-painted out kitchen- how Bob Villa of me.

Still haven't skied yet- but within the week I hope to have been on snow.

Ride on-


Monday, November 12, 2007

Let there be snow!

White Mountains

Sunday was the last race of the season form me, Week 5 of Cross in the Glen. I was not in the running for a podium spot, but I wanted to try to finish the season off on a good note.

As this was my first attempt at Cross racing I was happy to survice the initial go-round. It was much tougher than I thought. Maybe I was just much crappier than I thought I would be at it.

I think it is a great racing format. Much more fan friendly than any other racing I have done.

Sven and I had a blast racing this season. I am looking forward to next year. Each season ends and then you start thinking of what could have gone differnely and what you have for goals for the next year. I started the season out feeling really good and then there was that fateful day at Pats Peak which basically laid me up for 2 months. For all intents and purposes my "competetive" racing for the year was over. THe fitness I had was gone in a split second. Oh well, gravity happens.
Me & DEA

Now looking forward I have to say that more than ever my thoughts are oriented less competative riding and more and experiences. Not sure if that is good or bad or just a realization of reality on my part. Who knows, I could change my mind, again in a few days. Riding for was great. Its pretty cool feeling part of a team, not that TWAF isn't a team, its more like family.

What I do know is I have a new (to me) road bike frame in my basement that needs to get built up and I have some money burning a whole in my pocket that I cen't decide how to spend, Salsa Mamasita or full susp. 29er??? Completely different but what shall I do...may skis or a new board. I see snow in the mountains.

I figured it out, I'm getting a tricked out van like this, it'll go anywhere I bet.
My new ride?

Time to dig out the ski gear and get it tuned up. WOn't be putting the bikes away, but do need to tear the gears of the El Mariachi, just didn't look right with all them extra gears. Simple is good.


Racing season comes to a close

The final race of the 'Cross in the Glen took place yesterday and that wrapped up my 2007 racing season. It's fun to look back and realize it has been an interesting year and one that I hope I can build upon.

This season was my first year racing for, and it was fun to race for a good sized team again. I got to meet a few of the other team members and with any luck I'll be in the red, black and white again next year.

I finished up third in points at the Cross in the Glen series for the intermediates. It's funny how racing for points can get you thinking about the could'a should'a's. Last week at PGC I didn't ride so hot in the cross race and it cost me. Dan ended up beating me last week and because of that, and the fact I let a few other riders in between Dan and I he knocked me out of second in points. It was the only time Dan beat me this season, but because I missed week one to race in Gloucester I didn't have a score to drop- that's the way it works!

Going into yesterday I knew I still had a shot, but I had to win or get second and Dan had to faulter a little bit. We had a few new faces in the intermediate field and I was feeling hopeful that maybe I had a shot. From the gun I went hard, avoided a wreck in the turn going into the first barriers and was sitting in third for a little bit. That lasted about a lap and then Jason (who had fallen) and Steve P picked up the pace and dropped me back to fifth. Another lap later Craig Harrison caught me and I was then sitting sixth (2nd in Intermediate). For a couple laps I battled newcomer Stephen Day (who was racing in baggy shorts, a skater helmet, a mountain bike with skinny tires, flat pedals and indoor soccer shoes). This kid was strong but the whole jumping on and off was new to him and that was where I could either catch back on or put a bit of distance. With about three to go I had put a good gap on him and could see Marc and Dan fighting it out behind him- my hope was to try and catch Craig and Kyle who were about 45 seconds up on me at that point and go for the win in Intermediate and hope that Marc would put in a good effort and take Dan on. To make a long story short- neither of those two things happened but it was fun while it lasted. That being said I'm happy with the podium but would like to win the series next year so that I have reason to move up to elite the next year (at Cross in the Glen- NOT UCI elite!)

It was a great series and kudos to Eli, Mary, Amy, Pat and everyone else who put on the series. My next racing up at GGTOC should be the december Nordic Sprints- can't wait!

Time to start thinking about ski season, get a few more rides in, pull out all the snivel gear (I did ride in with booties and heavy long pants this morning) and dreaming of getting fast for 2008. Hmmm, have to start planning the Second Annual Christmas Eve Gravel Grinder......



Friday, November 09, 2007

No bike time this week

Yikes- it's Friday and I haven't ridden my bike since Sunday- ouch. I have logged a number of hours in the car this week but no saddle time. I might try to get on the trainer tonight just to feel like I did something before the weekend gets here.

This weekend marks the last race in the Cross in the Glen Series, I'm bummed it's ending, but I'm getting fired up to get out and ski. Driving through Crawford Notch yesterday it's been snowing and piling up on the upper elevations- so it won't be long.

That's it for the moment- ride safe.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My take on the Porky Gulch Classic

Saturday morning was the first stage of a three stage race known as the Porky Gulch Classic. The race, or stages of it have been going on for the past 5 years, but it seems that I have always had some scheduling conflict and have never partaken in it. This year was different; I had no excuse.

The first stage is the “Toughest Two.” This is a time trial up the first two miles of the infamous Mt. Washington Auto Road. The road is basically a relentless two miles of extremely steep climbing. A great way to start your day. To make it that much more fun, the race is in November on the side of the site of the World’s Worst Weather. Lucky for us it wasn’t that bad, a bit more than freezing and not crazy windy. It was chilly enough that it was difficult to stay warm while waiting to start. At about ten minutes after nine I was lined up and next to go.

We were starting in 30 second intervals and as the starter counted down, five, four, three, two and go, I was off. I made the hundred yard lead up to the climb without incident and very quickly was in my easiest gear. Maybe easiest isn’t the right word. It was the smallest gear. The 39x11-26 was fine for most riding, even some hills, but since I have not been able to train for any serious climbing due to injuries, it sucked for this climb. Within a few minutes of climbing it became very apparent that I was suffering. I was not able to keep my cadence up to a descent level and was caught by the rider that I had a 30 second lead on. That was disheartening, but the realization that I was in for a terrible two was upon me. For the next fifteen minutes I was working as hard as I could to keep moving up the mountain. I had not brought any water thinking it was going to be a pretty short ride but wished I had as my mouth and throat were wicked dry from me breathing so hard, or maybe weezing so much.
After The Terrible Two

I kept looking at my Garmin Edge to see how much further I had and the distance was not ticking off as fast as it was supposed to, but finally I came to a corner and there were people there saying the finish was just around the bend. I did not want to believe them only to be disappointed to find that I has another mile to go. Lucky for me they were not bs’ing me and the finish line was in sight. I was hurting and just wanted it over at this point. I rolled across the line. As I stood there holding onto my bike, I was contemplating tasting my breakfast again. Sven Cole came up to me and asked if I needed him to take my bike. I gave it to him and was not sure if the bike might have been holding me up.

After about ten or so minutes I regained some composure and we got ready to ride down the stupid road we just rode up. Since it was freezing out we layered up and began our descent. Since my crash at Pats Peak that resulted in my separated shoulder, dislocated elbow and fractured arm I have been suffering with reduced usage in my left arm, particularly strength. This made braking a chore riding down the mountain and made what should have been a much more pleasurable descent a bit scarey. I survived the ride up and down and found myself in seventeenth place. It could have been worse, at least I was not DFL. Next year I’ll hopefully be in better shape and have better gearing. Guess you ride & learn.

Start of Storyland Crit

Sven and I headed down to the Town of Jackson and grabbed some lunch as we waited for Stage 2, the Storyland Criterium. This stage was the real reason I wanted to ride the Porky Gulch Classic. I spent enough summer days walking around Storyland with my kids that I figured it was time for the adults to take over the place for our amusement. The Elite and Intermediate riders lined up for the Two PM start and the cannon fired signaling the start. The Elite riders were out of the box really fast. A second group of very fast guys formed and then a third which I found myself in. Within 200 yards someone hit a cone and it looked like there was going to be mass carnage. There was a lot of swerving and evasive action, but no blood was shed, yet.

Racing the Crit

On my second lap, the rider directly in from of me went down on a sharp turn that looked pretty painful. I’m guessing he had some pretty nice road rash on his tukkus. The racing was a blast but was very taxing on my left arm. Every seam in the pavement or transition on and off a bridge caused me more and more discomfort. By the time the race was coming to a close I could not brake anymore with my left hand and had a lot of trouble getting out of the saddle and using my arm for leverage. As I headed into the final lap I was glad to know that I was about done. I survived without crashing and had actually beaten a couple of other riders and placed 18th in my first crit.

Sunday morning was the third stage, the Rockpile Rampage Cyclocross race. The course is the same as the one I ride in the Fall cross series at Great Glen Trails so I was familiar with it. The real difference was the field was much larger. The weather was cooperating and pretty nice for early November on Mt. Washington. We were called to the line and the race was on. The main group crammed itself up the first little hill and around the first turn surprisingly well and without incident. After we all hit the first set of barriers the groups began to form and string out some.
Barrier Section

I felt descent on my first lap and had a descent split abut in my second lap I started feeling the lack of legs due to my overall softness and the prior day of racing. I continued on trying to maintain my pace and position and not give up any more places but the fast guys were really fast. Lucky for me, there were also some slow guys that I was able to keep ahead of who were feeling it like I was as well.

Trying to hang on

By my next to last lap I tried to bribe the race official to shorten the race and he said all I had to do was ride slower and it would be over faster. Not the strategy I had considered but.... Needless to say, my last lap was painful. My back was starting to seize on me and I think I could taste blood, again. As I rolled across the finish line, it was good to be done.

I had a great time doing my first Porky Gulch Classic. I complained, bitched, moaned and generally appeared unhappy, but I’ll be back next year. I finished 14th overall, probably as good as I could expect considering the way my season has gone. I’ve never done anything like it and am not sure there is much out there that is similar. It’s well worth the trip to New Hampshire for a weekend of pain, suffering and fun.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Paul Curley was a former...

Paul Curley was a former champion in cyclocross in 1985, he was the gentleman racing with the crazy disc wheels at Porky Gulch. I thought that was kinda cool. DEA. listen

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Porky Gulch Classic Stage Race

Year three of the PGC just wrapped up. What a great weekend or racing and hanging out with a bunch of good people.

This race has a special spot in my season as it is the culmination of a few years of ideas and events that I've had a chance to be a part of. I remember about five years ago when we did the very first Story Land Crit, which was put on by Jeremiah Beach and myself (I did the hype, Miah did the timing- so I got to race). That was the same year I put on the very first Rockpile Rampage Cyclocross race up at Great Glen. The course was stupid long and we had six sets of barriers- but it was fun. I think we had 15 people show up. We did Rockpile Rampage V2.0 the next year and after we met with Howie up at GGTOC to discuss the idea of the race being a part of a bigger weekend- and building a stage race- Porky Gulch Classic Stage Race was born.

From there I stepped out of the race director role and now just play the role of an advisor and focus more on the racing side. This year we saw over 40 riders show up, so it's getting a bit more traction and every year we see people showing up saying it's the coolest race of the year- and I can't disagree.

For those who don't know what the format is let me give you a recap- on Saturday the day starts with a TT up the bottem two miles of the Mount Washington Auto Road- in strange twist of fate this was the only bike race on the Auto Road this year- as the four other race dates in the summer had all been cancelled due to crazy weather. After the TT (which also has the racers ride down the road after the climb) we head down to Story Land for a crit that has over 30 corners per lap- and these corners are sharp and some off camber and all have crash zones that leave you realizing that crashing isn't a good option (is it ever?)

Then on Sunday it's cross racing time- with the Rockpile Rampage up at Great Glen.

This year JJ was racing the event for the first time and A1 was making a return trip after a year off. It was good to have all three of us up there and it made for good trash talk and pre event excuse making.

The weather was raw on Saturday as Noel was moving up the Atlantic Coast- but at least it was dry. Warming up was interesting and despite bringing my trainer up I didn't take advantage of that and instead road around wearing a big down parka- I didn't really want to take it off when Eli told me I had 30 seconds till the start.

I went hard from the gun and despite being right of the edge of blowing up felt like I was flying for the first mile of the 1.8 mile course. But once I passed the 1 mile mark I started to really suffer.In pain on the climb
With about a 1/4 mile to go I got caught by another racer and jumped on his wheel to try and find new motivation.
Caught and now chasing
All I can say is that climb hurts- and I was real happy I didn't have to actually go to the top. I did manage to outsprint the guy I was racing- of course it was only a moral victory as he had started a couple minutes behind me so he crushed me in real time.A moral victory?

We then cruised down the road (which is actually kinda freaky) and headed to a small sandwich shop in Jackson to re-load for the afternoon crit. Soon it was time to suit up again and go try and get the mornings junk out of the legs. JJ and I road a bunch of laps to get a feel for the course- which is just crazy technical- over 30 turns per lap. We then jumped in the truck to watch the beginner race. Keep this name in the back of your head- Sean Doherty- and in 5-7 years of so don't be surprised if you hear him tearing up the US or International sceene. He's 13 and just killing it on a bike- here's a shot of him showing the older guys how to go uphill during the crit: Sean Doherty

Sean lead most of the race, but was in the wind the entire time and ended up third in the sprint for the line- against adults. He's fun to watch and a great kid as well.

JJ and I were both glad we didn't have to race Sean, so we suited up and hit the start line. The cannon went off and we were at race pace in no time. A group went off the front pretty fast and I wasn't in that group, and I ended up putting my nose into the wind for a couple laps before finally trying to force someone else to take a pull. In doing that someone attacked out of the group and just made for chaos. That seemed to be the way it was going to be for the day as each time someone would be willing to take a turn in the wind they would do so by first attacking the group.
Sitting in the train

It made for intersting racing, that and the fact I was skipping pedals off the pavement at least once a lap- but none that put me down in the pavement.

With about four laps to go I lost power and my back started to lock up a bit, I dropped off the group and worked with a guy I've known through 24 hour racing- we chased but to no avail, then we saw the leaders coming up from behind and I was looking for a place to safely get the heck out of their way so they could battle it out- what I didn't know was they were on their bell lap- so was putting myself a lap down. In hindsight I should have hammered when I saw them and gotten through the start finish so I could have finished on the lead lap- not that it mattered for places- more of a pride thing. The funny part was I went through start finish still racing and didn't realize that they had finished until I started riding through the leaders who were sitting up- so I still raced my last lap- but it didn't count- oh well.

Sunday turned out to be a great day weather wise. We had an even bigger field because there were people from the weekly series that were lined up as well.The start
It was a cool start and I managed to tag onto the lead group for a minute even with a good bit of rubbing with Dan Doherty (Sean's dad) as we almost went down at the top of the first short climb out of the start and we banged bars pretty hard- but then I bobbled the turn into the first set of barriers and a gap opened. Sean's dad and I about to bang bars
Where the gap opened

I felt good for the first few laps and felt AWESOME going into the fast barriers- flying through that section and making up about 20 yards on people in that section each time. I think the work I've been doing on my dismount and running the left brake as the rear brake makes a major difference- to bad I didn't have legs for the rest of the course!
Where I was fast
With about three to go my back gave out a bit and I had to sit up, I watched Dan roll away and then Marc D'Amour catch and then leave me. I was a bit bummed as I can usually ride away from them, but not this time. It was still fun but this was also the first time in the cross races I've gotten caught by the leaders and finished a lap down- although the way my back felt I wasn't too bummed about not getting the full lap count.

In all an awsome weekend of racing, I ended up 7th overall in the Intermediates and have good room to move up. Add to that the Pats winning last night and it was a damn fine weekend.



Thursday, November 01, 2007

October Epic

A few weeks ago we made our first pilgramage to Kingdom Trails, and we had hoped to get in another ride at Kingdon Trails before the season ended. Me, Sven, Abe and Chris decided to play hookey and head over on Tuesday, but due to the weekends rains they were closed. We had to come up with plan B. Plan B turned out to be in our backyard. There is this loop that we'd been talking about attempting the past couple of years but never really tried or ended up completing.

We started out from my house at 9AM and rode at the trail netowrk called Davis HIll before crossing over into Maine and back in to New Hampshire and onto the NH snowmobile trail network. The first third of ther ide was a t a pretty good pace and we were all feeling pretty good. As the snowmobile trail headed North the climbing started. After 6 miles of pretty contant climbing we made it to the top of the Red Tail Trail. This took an agonizing hour and 45 minutes to complete with the riding and a couple of breaks along the way. We were all pretty relieved to arrive at the Red Tail Trail and begin the descent, but considereing three of us were on fully rigid bikes it was going to be a rough ride down. Red Tail is a great trail to descend so we let the lone rider with suspension go first and Chris was soon out of sight. Abe and I were also quickly off the back trying to deal with numb arms and cramping hands. I have to say it was the slowest ride down this trail I have ever done. I certainly did miss my Yeti 575.

By the time we hit the bottom we rode past Cranmore Mountain Resort and onto the final third of the ride to complete the loop. We rode the power lines over to Sticks & Stones and then began to head for home. All in all it was a great ride. It was a bluebird day with temps in the mid 50's. Perfect Fall riding. 30 miles with about 3200 feet of climbing and some tough descending.

Garmin Edge Summary Data
Total Time (h:m:s) 4:52:15 9:43 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s) 3:42:19 7:24 pace
Distance (mi ) 30.03
Moving Speed (mph) 8.1 avg. 25.0 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +3,268 / -3,270

Avg. Heart Rate 146 bpm Zone 3.7

Temperature (°F) 53.6°F avg. 55.4°F high
Wind Speed ( mph) SE 4.9 avg. SE 8.1 max.



A1 left me a message about Lance and one of the Olsen twins- I thought no way- I was wrong.....