Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A few thoughts on winter gear

I've been riding with these shoes for the past few days and I am pretty happy so far. The temps haven't been out of control cold, but I do have one ride that was into the upper 20's with a good deal of wind and a bit of water and snow spray coming up from the road. I'm wearing just a thin wool cycling sock (PI Tour Socks) and I think I can go up to a slightly thicker sock and stay comfortable down to 20 degrees, beyond that I think I'll have to through booties on over the shoe- and then they should be super warm. I did make one modification, I put in a piece of plastic between the cleat and the bottom of the shoe to completely cover the holes in the sole for the cleat plate. I'm sure that area is sealed, but water and cold always seem to find ways to get in so why give them easy access?

Now that is keeping my feet warm, I'm also trying to keep the rest of me a bit cleaner, dryer and ultimately warmer. So introduce my newest front fender (I don't know where all the old ones go?), this one is from a large plastic kitty litter container. It works well!

Why a fender? Cuz I don't want all this up in my teeth:

Here is my poor bike in all its dirty splendor. I might try to sneak out on the cross bike for my next ride since I'm mainly on roads and maybe I'll get my average speed up over 10mph!

For night riding I've found that the Knog Frog can attach right to your helmet. These are crazy bright for their size.

That's it from here, tomorrow is a new year- and I'm pretty psyched with that idea! Happy and Safe New Year to everyone and ride on.

late edit: cool idea here

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

yup I'm hooked

ok, it's like crack, use it once and want to use it more.

Rode again today.


PS- did get out to ski today as well, so I do know it's winter!

New Toys and Soon a New Year

My wife led the charge in hooking me up with a new toy for Christmas, a toy I've quitely coveted for a few years now. I think I'm glad that a bit of time had passed as the latest version is just ridiculous in terms of features. What is the new toy? Not this:
That is Dennis's new toy- and yes I now have car envy- but back to me, my new toy- a Garmin Edge 705

This is the craziest piece of electronics I've ever owned. And I've been owning electronics for a day or two. This is on par with when I bought my Commedore 64 back in the early 80's. So needless to say it's cycling season again in my world!

Got out for a ride with Dennis on Sunday, a short gravel grinder. He had a few drive train issues that kept us from climbing too much (see what happens when you grab a geared bike!). This was D before the trouble came:
You will notice he is wearing knickers and not going for the full on winter tights, he's tough. I was in full on snivel gear, and happy I was.

Just to prove I too was on the ride:

Now that you know that we actually rode I can give you the cool map and player that shows where we went, how fast, what the elevation was, how long it took, yada yada yada- this stuff is crazy! Here is the link- when you get to the page you can select the map view (I like the satellite view), and then you can click on the play button to make it all work.

That was my first ride, but I wasn't done. It might be ski season and Shawnee Peak might be tempting me with their lights for night skiing, but I chose instead to go for a night ride. Here was the loop. I will say you may need a bit of patience as the pages can be a bit slow to load.

In other news I also got my first two rides in the new Pearl Izumi winter shoe, so far so good- but I do see myself needing to wear booties in real cold temps. Last night was down to 35 and my feet were fine for out over an hour, but I would guess that at that temp I would start feeling a bit cold at two hours- but we will see.

That's it for now. Home with the kids today and thinking of sneaking out for some turns over at Shawnee Peak.

Ride safe.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter is almost here

Sunday is the Winter Solstice, that will be the "start of winter" but more importantly it will be the shortest day and hence the turning point when days FINALLY start getting longer. That is one tough part of living in a northern clim, the days can get really short. By 4 pm this time of year it is already getting pretty dark. And as I write this at 7:05am the sun is just coming up. It makes for a tough go at staying active when you leave the house in the dark and return in the dark. That being said we are almost at the turning point, can you tell I'm ready for that?

The holidays are almost here, so I'm getting excited for a bit of down time and the chance to get out on the hill with the girls.

The bike- haven't ridden it since that warm night. We're full on back in cold and snow, so soon we'll be heading out for night skiing instead of thinking of the bikes. Of course I'm thinking a great deal about what frames will be on the order form from Salsa. They have a new scandium 29er SS that looks pretty sweet- basically the Mamasita with an EBB. Then there is also the Chilli Con cross bike that is priority one. Time will tell!

Ok enough out of me, I need coffee.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A night ride

Temps crept up into the 50's yesterday rendering my dreams of getting out for some high speed crust cruising null and void, so I chose instead to grab the bike and lights and headed out for a little over an hour. The funny part was riding around in December, checking out all the holiday lights and being HOT. I didn't think I was over dressed, (on top- long sleeve craft baselayer, craft fleece jersey, sugoi shell) but it wasn't long before the jacket and fleece were unzipped well past the 3/4 mark.

It was a great ride, with only a few surprises. A couple times I found snow and ice in the road when I wasn't quite ready for it- but just as the bike was starting to get away from me I'd end up on clean pavement and it would all come back together.

I'm wondering if that will be the last "warm" ride. Usually this time of year a ride can only last as long as my hands and feet will stay warm- nothing over two hours. We shall see!

I hope everyone is having a good build up to the holidays. I know I need to get shopping here pretty soon!



Monday, December 15, 2008

Does a bike get lonely?

My bikes are spending their first winter in a space that is unheated. I wonder if they get lonely? They are dry and out of the weather, but have no heat to keep them warm. Do they care? Time will tell.

I have not been on my bike in over a week. That sort of scares me, I need to get out on a ride or set up the trainer. I want to make sure my legs and namely my ass don't forget what riding a bike is all about. Time will tell.

It's warm out right now- hmmm maybe an outdoor ride?


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Its a comin.....






Monday, December 08, 2008

Grinder Bust

Saturday morning at 7am, it was cold and lonely. In fact it was so lonely that I opted to get back into bed (where it wasn't so lonely).

Later as the sun came up and the temps reached a balmy 26 degrees I went out for a ride. The gravel was nice, slick in places, but firm and fast (and I was slow and fat). So not much in the way of a group ride, but that will come.

That's about it. Ready to ski. Missed the sprints up at Great Glen- looked like a good turn out.

Time to think skiing!



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gravel Grinder is coming

Saturday, December 6th the Gravel Grinder will take place. The weather looks good- high temp of 35, sun, and a cold night leading into the day means the gravel will be firm and fast (and I'll be slow and fat).

We may negotiate the start time to an 8am start just to better deal with the temps- but we'll see.

Looking forward to this!



Monday, December 01, 2008

December 1st

The first day of the last month of 2008. Hmmm, can't say I'll be upset when 2008 is behind me! That being said I had a great couple of days as K and I headed over to see PowderJew in Vermont. We hit up Killington for our first turns of the season while PJ hucked steel for a few hours. We then just chilled out in the hot tub and watched HUNDREDS of canadian geese come in and land on the river behind PJ's house. Add to that great food for both dinner and breakfast and it was a good weekend over in the green mountain state.

As far as riding my bike- nothing to speak of since Thanksgiving. It snowed last night, followed by rain so the roads suck at the moment- may be time for the studded tires.

That being said I'm starting to get ready for ski season (after we do the TWAF Holiday Gravel Grinder this weekend)- still looking to be skiing over at Shawnee Peak this winter, so that will be cool to be back at the hill I grew up on. My parents ski there as well (my Dad is there every day, all day) so it will be fun to connect with them on a regular basis.

That's about it at the moment, waiting for my new winter riding shoes to show up- tracking them now- should be here tomorrow. Then at least I'll have toasty feet!

Ok enough out of me- get out and get some fresh air.



Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Ride

I'm listening to Alices Restaurant as I missed it yesterday and the day just didn't feel complete. That being said we did start a new Thanksgiving Day tradition as my brother in law Frank and I got out for a good spin down at Fort Rock in Exeter. Now I have a special relationship with Fort Rock, as I left a great deal of my shin down on some rocks at Fort Rock, and that was in the back of my minds when we got down there. With that said the wreck had to do with a bridge, so I just made sure I walked the bridges- and that served me well.

We lucked out with the weather, it was about 40 degrees, no wind, and it was dry. I had brought down the Mamasita for the day, which meant I had brought gears and suspension- which quickly revealed itself as a good decision.

We spent a good hour out cruising around and found some great sections of trail that I would like to get back and ride again. Especially one section that reminds me a great deal of some of the trails over at Kingdom, fast, swooping (sort of like Old Web), and fairly smooth. We also rode some trails that had more roots and rocks than any one trail should have. The type of trail that you can clean if you go balls out on it, but if you check up and loose your momentum you end up stopping dead.

By the end we knew we had to start heading home as there was some juicy Turkey waiting. So we loaded up and headed back for a fantastic Thanksgiving Day dinner.

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving!

Ride on.


Friday, November 21, 2008

How Many Layers

Riding your bike in November in northern New England can be a bit of an exercise in how much you can wear and how many lights can you put on your bike. The reason being rather simple, it's dark by 4:10pm and the air temps are in the 20's with wind chill taking things down into the single digits.

But with it not quite ski season yet (Shawnee Peak is slated to open in mid December)and knowing the holidays (read wayyyyyy to much food and beer) right around the corner it's important to try and stay moving and try to keep the belt creep from going much beyond one notch.

This all brings me to last night. I thought I had another rider to go with me, but he bailed out about a half hour before we were to head out so it was me and the iPod. As I was getting ready I began to find it humorous how much crap went into a hour or so ride. Here is what I was wearing: long sleep t-neck base from Craft, my winter full zip jersey from Bikeman, a second heavy full zip "jersey" from Craft (more like a 200 weight fleece), a wind/rain shell from Sugoi, thermal knickers from Pearl, thermal wind front tights from Craft, heavy wool socks, heavy shoes, Pearl AmFib covers, fleece balaclava, Smartwool spring weight ski gloves, helmet (with light) and clear glasses. Then on the bike:2 knog flashers, one big flasher, a bar light set on flash mode, and the L&M Arc on the head. All this crap to go for a ride. It takes me about 15 minutes to get it all on and situated and another 10 to take it all off- for a ride that last night went for 70 minutes. The comical part- I have to trainers that I could have set up in the room and just donned shorts and shoes and been good to go!

Of course that would defeat the purpose. There is something very satisfying about riding in cold, dark, even wet conditions. It you've got the right snivel gear you can really be comfortable, and for what ever reason you feel tough (and in my case it makes up for my obvious lack of fitness!).

TWAF Holiday Gravel Grinder Part Deux Update

Here are the excuses or comments thus far:

A1: "Two weeks to get in shape, two weeks to get in shape, two weeks to get in shape..............shit"

JJ: "at least there are no food gorging type holidays before then"

Someone who claims to be my mother: "Very funny! Should I warn everyone that after many many many many
many ...... years of experience following the author's father that a time frame is an absolute JOKE as are any attempts at saying where you will go, end up or otherwise travel?! I hope the snow isn't too bad! I might be tempted to join you if I knew there were other 60 year old women in the crowd~ M"

Howie: "Oh, sure…..schedule it on the day of the Atomic Sprints…..nice. Now I’ll have to make up some excuse as to why I’m not at the Sprints…."

Fletcher: "This is awesome--here's the rub; it falls on the big SAT test date, so I won't be able to make it... Great invite, though!"

My boss: "Hi Captain of TWAF and Minister of Propaganda,

I am in, but I am hoping that I can't go. If my beloved UNH Wildcats win 2 more games (Sat vs Maine and 2 days after Thanksgiving in the NCAA Playoffs), I hope to be on a road trip to watch them.

Also, I need to be at Gordon College by 7pm that evening to listen to an angel (I mean my son!) sing. Maybe we can just ride back roads all the way down to Cape Ann?

By the way, don't you know that it is ski season, it's cold, I haven't been on my bike since July, and What are you thinking, anyway?

The Chief Head Knocker"

JJ again: "ran the TWAF GG part deux by the boss, was informed that D3 and I will be in Boston the night before at Celtics game returning very late/early. Also on the 6th, I have to attend a parade that D3 is in for school that I was informed would not be wise to miss. I'm old, lazy and out of shape. The moon is in the wrong phase. My biorhythms will be off that day. I might have gout or some other aliment by then. I might not come back from Jamaica. The ride won't be challenging enough.
How's that? Trying to cover myself with ample excuses."

And we also have one t-shirt going out to Brian Roche, "I'll bite...gotta tune up my MTB trannie though..."

So there you have it. I'll keep you updated as we get closer.

later and ride save,


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TWAF Holiday Gravel Grinder


Got in an hour on the road last night, and in some ways I'm still thawing out. Pretty soon I'll be spending more time at Shawnee Peak, getting in turns instead of riding, but right now the bike remains the priority.

It felt good to get out, it's amazing how the thought of riding in the dark with temps in the upper 20's and a ripping wind can almost cause you to grab a beer and hit the couch. But once you are out there it's not bad (provided you have the appropriate snivel gear!).

I've got a good loop for this type of ride where I'm never more than 3 miles from the house, that way if anything goes south on me I can either get home quick or K can come to my rescue in a short bit of time.

That's it at the moment.

Ride safe.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Final Race of 2008

Last race of the Great Glen CX series, and I have to say it was good that it was the last race! I had fun, but I was slow and just didn't have any snap. In some ways I'm very ready to put the 2008 season behind me and get down to doing the work needed for 2009.

Today the wind was a big issue as well as a good amount of mud. In fact I crashed on my first lap when my front wheel found the edge of a ditch and the wet earth just gave way- it was sort of funny but I was third wheel when it happened and by the time I picked up my butt off the ground I was DFL. From there I fought back to the pack and then blew up. So for about two laps I held tough, then I hung back for the final four laps. I beat on other dude who looked to be struggling sort of like I was.

The other issue was the temp dropped by over 15 degrees in less then 30 minutes- so a race where you were very comfortable in shorts and a summer weight LS jersey quickly became a very cold race with winds up over 40 mph and temps dropping into the 30's.

I am looking forward to building my base for 2009 and seeing how I can vastly improve upon this season. It shouldn't be hard, but I will have to put in the work and make sure I remain consistant. Time will tell!

Now it's time to start dreaming of snow storms and great days out on the trails (XC) and out on the hill for some lift serve.

Ride safe!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Wet and dark ride

This whole daylight savings thing messes with my chi (whatever that is) and has caused me to not ride my bike. With it being Thursday (yesterday, not today) and with the past weekends efforts still making me walk funny and the upcoming weekends efforts in front of me I decided it was time to ride my bike. Of course when it's 7:30pm, raining/sleeting and is 34 degrees out you have to dig around for snivel gear and lights.

I was half hoping to not find what I was looking for and say I had put in the effort, but much to my surprise everything sort of found me (or was that my kids and wife wanting me to get the hell out of the house and stop complaining about not riding, so they brought me a big pile of snivel gear and lights?)

I suited up in my kermit the frog ninja suit (mash these two up),
found the booties, grabbed the ipod, grabbd lights and headed out the door. I got outside and thought to myself, "self, this is stupid. It's cold. It's wet. It's dark. You have two perfectly good trainers you could mount up and watch Smallville while you twiddle away on the bike."

While that was a good thought I also realized I was all dressed up so I might as well get out for a spin. I grabbed the cross bike, hit play and out I went. It wasn't long before I was actually enjoying myself and thinking about what people must think as they drove by. My version goes like this: "wow, look at that dedicated and rugged cyclist who is out in this crazy weather. If only I could find a poster of him I'd hang it on my wall and build a shrine to his greatness."

Of course here is the likely reality, "Really Buffy I just can't figure out this housing crisis, OH JESUS i just about ran over some fool on a bike, he must be riding to the night shift at the Big Apple, Stupid bastard- next time get a designated driver! Sorry about that Buffy, what was I saying- oh wait I've got another call coming in- it's my shrink."

Anyway the ride went well and I got in after about an hour. The best part is stripping down, I always feel like I'm pulling off a wet suit, reminds me of when I used to windsurf in the fall and you had this massive pile of wet clothign that was supposed to keep you warm.

So that's my story, not much of one, but I do feel better today and my legs were happy to get out and spin- now I just need to do this everyday and then I too can mount a comeback.

ride safe,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DEA making it bigtime.

Check out the photo.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Porky Gulch Classic

I'll write up the report later, but here are some pics from the PGC- and here is a link to videos from each segment. I should point out the photo credits go to: Ryan Triffitt (HC+SL), Karen Cole(SL), and Boogie Cole(RR).

Toughest Two

Racing at StoryLand

RockPile Rampage

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A day of racing

This past weekend I managed to get my bike all the way to the race site without it falling out of the truck and going boom. I still haven't figured out how the bike fell out last week, but it is now behind me and the bike now has shiny new parts from World Bikeman HQ so all is good in the world.

The day was a perfect blue bird day, but cold. The warm-up laps were done in full snivel gear, winter tights, winter jacket, mittens, etc. It may have been overkill, but I wanted to be warm during my warm up! Eli had put together a good course, a few small tweaks from last year, but for those who have raced up at Great Glen in the past couple years the course was pretty similar.

During my warm-ups I was feeling pretty good on my remounts, but I wasn't able to hold any speed on the fast dismount/run-up. I couldn't figure out what was going on, especially since last year that was my fastest section of the course. I guessed I'd have plenty of chance to figure that out during the race so I headed back to the base lodge to get into dry clothes and get ready for the race. K and the girls were inside and helped me get my number pinned on and find my knee warmers. I lobbied to have a lemans start from inside the building so we didn't have to go outside before we were going hard and staying warm- my idea fell on deaf ears.

We lined up for the start and I found a place near the back. I'm just not that comfortable in a cross start. I need to find a way to work on that, but I get a bit sketched out in certain starts, especially the first corner or in the this case the first hard transition between hill and pavement. I also find that my legs take a few minutes to get up to race speed- so I tend to work my way up from the back (or that is the theory).

The start saw me stay in the back, per normal, but within the first lap I did start to see opportunity to start to move up. I figured the high speed dismount run up would be the place where I could pick up a place or two- but in the first lap I actually lost a place on that portion of the course. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, so I spent the next lap watching the rider ahead and I realized I was trying to ride too far up the hill instead of pushing hard and coasting, with my leg already up and over as I rolled in- once I did that I was going fast on that part again. I find it amazing how much fun that can be- rolling along at a speed much faster than I can run- but still being able to hit the ground at full speed and carry that momentum over the barriers and then to blend right back onto the bike- such a cool feeling.

Anyway I worked my way up through the field and chased hard a couple of guys in all yellow that were about 25 meters ahead of me for a couple of laps. I slowly made progress, but could never make the connection. With two to go I did make the catch and pass, only to be passed back half a lap later. I descided I had the kick so sitting back wouldn't be a bad way to go. As we passed through the start finish Eli yelled two to go, but less the ten seconds later the leader came through for the bell lap- so I knew there was a good chance we'd get caught- and that we were likely on our bell lap as well.

I tried to stick to his wheel- and was able to for sections but as we climbed I lost a bit of contact- then the leader caught us and I knew I had to go. I chased and finally caught back on just as we hit the tunnel, I waited to pass until we were on the grass sidehill and then just went- I got the pass but I think it was more due to surprising the rider and not giving him time to respond, but I was glad to get the pass.

I finished third for the day in the intermediates. So I was good with that.

After K and I took the girls out to lunch and I ate the largest omlette I've ever seen. I'll be carryign that pile of eggs for weeks!

Next up- Porky Gulch.

Ride on.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Bike Fall Down Go Boom

Short post (for now) I'll expand upon it with photos later. But yesterday we loaded up the truck to head up to Great Glen Trails to race their cross series. All was good. Nice morning (well it was raining, but it was supposed to turn nice and it did), on time (almost I was running a bit late, but it's me and I'm always late), out with the family (well the dogs were left at the house)- but anyway- driving on route 302 and low and behold my cross bike and rack go flying out of the back of my truck. Yup, flying, like they sprouted wings. Don't know why. Not sure how. I've driven thousands of miles with bikes in the back, never an issue. But on this day it was an issue.
Busted lever
Amazingly the damage isn't tooooo bad. I'm placing an order with Bikeman this morning and it will be a manageable amount. Need a new brake lever (the Dura-Ace STI survived it was the Cane Creek that took the pounding), a new bar, new tape, new seat- and I think that may be it. Everything else looks ok but the true test will be the no-handed test once it's rideable again.
When you can't race- eating is the next best option!

Not all was lost, got in a great road ride with K. She was in a hammering mood- so I got in a great workout and enjoyed some nice views. I'll show those to you once I find a flash drive that isn't being so temperamental! (late edit- flash drive still tempermental but got it to take a few pics so here they are)
K getting ready to go up the hill at the end of the ride
K showing the TWAF colors

later and ride safe.


Friday, October 24, 2008

A ride with K

For those who have followed Team Weak and Feeble you know that this "team" was built around the Jay Challenge, a race (that no longer exists) that was the first true test of our endurance as riders. It was a race that scared us into actually getting into shape, and brought us together as a group of friends who spent a lot of time out riding in the woods.

Prior to the Jay Challenge I had a different memory of Jay. When I was in college over at St. Mikes in the early 90's Jay Peak had started letting people ride the tram to the top and ride their mountain bikes down the mountain. No real trails, just ride down however you want. It seemed like a good idea so a bunch of us went. At the time we were all on fully rigid bikes and the idea of quality braking was still a few years down the road. Needless to say there was much carnage on that trip. My friend Kevin Queenan took off right out of the blocks and disappeared as the horizon line dropped away. We caught up to him as an unconscious mess with his bike a good twenty yards away from him. We were so pissed that after we got him off the mountain we made him sit in the base lodge while we took more runs (we'd check on him to make sure he wasn't sleeping). It was fun.

A couple years later I met this hot skier chick who was into the outdoors and knew her way around a mountain. I was working at a bike shop at the time so I got her a deal on a sweet Specialized Rockhopper, it was a good bike, steel, rigid, and ready for anything Vermont could through at it. I was riding a first generation Specialized M2, rigid, and loved that bike. After we explored the single track around Burlington and Winooski I talked this girl into going up to Jay for a day of lift serve riding. We had a good time, my roommate went with us and we spent the morning bombing down the mountain. We were making our last run (it's always the last run when these things happen) and the girl of the story comes hammering down a steep section of trail that has a center section made up of large rocks that form of sort of nasty cobble. As I watch I think to myself, "Wow, she's going fast, too fast, she's in trouble, oh this is going to hurt!"

Moments later the girl of the story tries to walk off the back of the bike at a high rate of speed. You can imagine the carnage that followed. My roommate ran up to her immediately, I had to compose myself as I knew she was hurt and I wanted to go into a first responder mode as opposed to a boyfriend mode.

I ran up and she was using interesting language to describe the pain she was feeling, and rightfully so. Her knee was hammered as were other parts of her legs, hands and other body parts. We cleaned her up as best we could and then rigged up her bike to reduce the braking she would need to do to get down and we began a slow crawl off the mountain. It was one of the hardest wrecks I've seen on a bike, and one that likely would have had many say this sport is stupid. She was out of commission for a few weeks, but she bounced back and we spent many an afternoon riding around Vermont, then for a few years around NH.

The girl of the story is my wife, and we stopped riding together after we had our first child. For her cycling became more about watching the riders of the spring classics and the Tour. She was always a big fan of Jan, of Boonen, of Basso, and others. She would explain to me what happened in a race that I didn't see, the attacks, who did the work, who sat on, what worked what didn't. She has loved the sport for a long time, but just wasn't able to participate that much anymore. She got into running (went back to Vermont to run the VCM a few years ago)but cycling took too much time and it was hard for her to ride with me unless the kids were someplace else.

The kids are older now. The grand parents are across the street, and we know have more time. We've snuck out for a few road rides from time to time, but I had yet to get her into the woods. Heading out
Part of the issue is her Specialized S-Works M2 from 1995 had been retroed for our oldest- super short stem, flats, different gearing, etc- but last night we got it set up for K and we got out on the trails for the first time in years. It was a short ride, mellow (and cold!). K in the woods
K didn't have the same handling skills she used to, but those will come back (I used to marvel at her ability to pick a line- all that ski racing I guess!). But the important part for me was we were out riding together.

Riding side by each
I had a blast, and now we'll just have to see if she gets bit by the bug again. Here's to keeping my fingers crossed!

Cruising the jeep road.



Downeast Cyclocross Race

I got my first cross race of the season underway this past weekend over at the Downeast Cyclocross Race in New Gloucester, ME. This used to be a venue the was home to a Verge series weekend, and I remember seeing the big boys race on this course and it was what really got me stoked on the concept of cross racing. I've raced at this venue several times now, and I really like it- the big issue for me is to now put some effort into coming to the race to do well.

This year was about having some fun, shake the cobwebs out and just see how it went. During warm-ups I realized that not having worked on dismounts, remounts, off camber, etc was going to be an issue. I worked really hard on those elements last year and it paid off- so this year was more of a fake it till you make it.
The girls all went with me to the race and K was shooting pics while the girls drank hot cider and cheered. It was cool to see them during my warm up laps and during the race. I raced as a 4 so that we could head to Freeport after the race and still have most of the day, that meant a 9am start on a frosted course. It also meant a 30 minute race, which I assumed would be a 35 to maybe 40 minute actual race. That wasn't quite the case.

We got cued in the start area, I saw Marc from the Maine Cycling Club, who I've been racing cross with since I was doing my race promotion work with the original Rockpile Rampage (now a part of Porky Gulch Classic). I also met Ethan "Buzz" Magoon, a fellow Bikeman team rider.
A Group of 4's about to create chaos

The race began, we were expecting it to be four laps, and I immediately was reminded how squirly a cat 4 race can be. This isn't to say I'm the worlds best bike handler, cuz I ain't, but I do understand the etiquette and how to race aggressively without putting everyone else in danger of going into the ground. Needless to say my lack of initial desire to be at the front bit me in the butt, and I held back to let things string out a bit before trying to pick up the pace.Holding back, wishing I hadn't
Soon I found that Marc and Buzz were right near me, and for some reason that made me feel more comfortable- Marc is a solid rider and Buzz seemed to be so I was not as nervous having them either on my wheel or being on their wheel. We made our way around, the course had only one dismount, and two other spots where some chose to run. I was feeling ok and was able to ride the two other spots each lap (well that's not entirely true- on the first lap I did have to scooter the first little run up as a guy slid out in front of me and I dabbed to keep from running him over). The girls were moving all over the course so I got to see them several times and that was cool (and the photo credits go to my wife- nice work K!)
On the flat section topside

By the end of the second lap I was feeling ok and wanted to start moving up, we rolled through and they called out last lap. What? This is going to be a three lap race? That doesn't even make sense! (should have raced at 10 for the Master 3/4)- I put my head down and so did Buzz and Marc and we moved up a bit through the field. Buzz was ahead of me on the climb and I yelled to both he and Marc that they had to clean the piece that others were running- telling them it was the small victories that count. We then made it to the top of the course and I accelerated and passed Buzz and then rolled in for an 8th place.
In the final set of corners.I would have liked that last lap to see if I could have made top five as I was really starting to feel strong, but that's how racing works- everyone has a Monday Morning QB story!
Post race.My girls after the race.
So that's the story.

Roll on.