Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolutions

DEA's post made me think some today about the past 10 years. New Years Eve of 1999 we were with some friends at their condo in Vermont Skiing and enjoying ourselves waiting for the end of the computer age.

We still lived in Ohio at that time and I was still an Assistant County Prosecutor. A year later we moved to New Hampshire. About 5 months after moving my wife went to a women's 5 mile running race and I went along with our young son. I was introduced to this very nice woman who had done the race as well and who has a daughter about the same age as our son who went to the same daycare.

Her husband was not there as he was some sort of cyclist/athlete type. Apparently there was some sort of bike race that same day where not so bright folks ride bikes uphill for 21 miles for the fun of it. I was thinking that this dude must be pretty hard corps and a little too much for me. He arrived a little while later and I was introduced to DEA for the first time.

Wow, how things have changed.

I don't think I would have been able to predict how the past 10 years would have gone and come even close to how they actually played out. Not sure there's much I would like to change, except maybe a few specific crashes and trips to the ER.

Looking forward to the next decade???? I imagine I would do just as poorly guessing where I'll be in 2019 so I think that I should focus on the short term instead. So maybe I need a New Years Resolution to sort of set the agenda and see how I do in keeping to that and being a way to control and decide how things go over at least the short term.

A friend of mine said if you publish your new years resolution that it might make you more apt to stick with it since everyone knows what it was and will guilt you into doing or not doing what you said you would. So with the threat of widespread public humiliation I was thinking of some really good ones, but they were either too hard or too easy or unrealistic or just stupid.

So I am left with the resolution to just be better.

Happy New years

JJ

Getting Ready for 2010

Wow, 10 years ago we were all madly planning for the digital world as we knew it to end. So much for that! 1999 ended smoothly and 2000 rolled in and our computers with their MASSIVE 500 megabyte hard drives survived.

At the time I was still in the ski and bike industry and was thinking that I would end up being either a ski or bike rep. At the time I had been talking with Cannondale (they were just getting into the motorcycle and four wheeler business) and had also talked to this place called Seven down in MA. I couldn't be farther from where I thought (well I could but it sounds better to say that I couldn't be) but have ended up right back to where I grew up.

Ten years ago my fleet of personally owned bikes and skis was very small, due to the fact I had a fleet of demo bikes and skis at by beck and call. I do miss that! I also miss weighing 180 lbs without trying. Oh well.

As we shifted from 1999 to 2000 K and I had a 9 month old baby girl and that had meant that the days of K being my daily riding partner had ended.

I'm realizing that in those ten years a lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same. I'm still a bit of a cycling fanatic. I still go into way too much detail when I try to explain how road cycling is a team sport. I still get all wide eyed when new bike parts end up in my possession. I still love the sensation of riding a bike, and in some ways I think I enjoy it even more as those hours on the trail or road are even more valuable to me.

Now when I go to races I have a three person pit crew. I now go to some races and help my oldest get ready to race. I have also settled into the reality that my "fast" days are behind me- now the battle begins to not get any slower!

Here is to what is ahead in 2010 and to all that has happened in this past decade. What a crazy time it has been.

DEA

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Post TWAFHGGPT Blahhhhhs

The ride came and it went. I had a blast and I think those who went had a great time as well. But now that it is over I've had a bit of a cycling hangover and haven't touched my bike in almost two weeks. That is a long time for me, especially since ski season hasn't started yet (at least for me).

Part of it is that I've been a bit sick for the last week, but I think not being on the bike has contributed to the icky sickys sticking around longer than usual. It's also the end of the semester at work and things have been busy so I guess there are plenty of excuses for not getting out on two wheels.

Ok enough bitching. The 2010 season is only a couple weeks away from starting. All the big teams are rolling out their new kits and bikes and I'm sitting here with a bag full of TWAF t-shirts from 2006 that are still in their "new" condition. So here is my big idea- I really don't need all these t-shirts, but the inner capitalist in me has a hard time just giving them away. So let's make a deal. Offer up a trade, what you've got and how many TWAF t-shirts you want for it. This will either be very interesting or I'll hear crickets. Time will tell.

I other news Lance isn't building RadioShack around him. Riiiiiighhht, and he was happy riding second fiddle to Alberto last summer, leaving and vowing to come back and go for the win. I miss the days when he just put it out there he was going to France to win, granted that was a a decade ago- but this is Lance we are talking about- the Dick Clark of cycling.

Ok enough out of me, ride on and get your holiday shopping done would'da.

DEA

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Great letter on Velonews.com

(ripped without permission from velonews.com)

How ‘bout we all ride without brakes?

Dear Editors,
My pickup has a standard transmission, and with careful anticipation and shifting technique, I have found that I really don’t need brakes, so I ditched them. I have really good night vision, too, so I don’t turn my headlights on at night. I also note that both my creativity and my driving get better after 2 or 10 beers.

While “The Man” smothers my hipness by trying to criminalize my expressions of individuality, the true surprise stems from the “holier-than-thou” indignation of the other drivers on the road. It’s as if their lack of exemplary shifting skills and uncanny night vision gives them some sense of entitlement to dictate how I drive! What a downer!

Individuality should be valued and we should all have a choice regarding what kind of bikes we ride, but we have a responsibility to minimize risks when that choice has the potential to impact others. Riding in city traffic can be dangerous, and while I concede that most bike-on-car crash scenarios will turn out badly only for the cyclist, it’s not hard to imagine other cars or pedestrians becoming involved just because the cyclist couldn't stop three feet shorter.

I am sure that many riders could ride a fixie safely in traffic, just as I’m sure that many car drivers can drive safely at 180mph, but that said, who would want the speed limit raised to 180mph on the roads of their favorite weekend ride?

Victor Becker
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Great TWAFHGGPT

A great day spent out on the gravel of Western Maine. JJ took some photos that either he or I will get posted soon.

The final roll call:

JJ
A1
DEA
NK
Chris Ames
Mike the Weeble (it just may stick)
Brian Roache aka Ginger Dirty Hippie Boy (not sure that this one will stick)

Mike the Weeble took out the top points for signs and KOM's, however that being said he was on a cross bike racing against SS guys, so on town lines he should have cleaned everyone's clocks- however A1 took a VERY impressive town line win at the end of the ride. Anyone who witnesses the sheer speed at which his legs were turning over in those lime green wind pants must have not known what to think. All I could think was a French Canadian that was OD'ing on amphetamines.

I think we all got at least one sign so nobody got skunked. NK had an "issue" which made it a typical TWAF type of ride. He had to bow out early, something about a Pats game (which we made it back for kick off), I think NK just needs to put in some time on the bike, which he will next summer- as he lives 300 yards away, he'll have no choice.

All in all a great time. Look for video from Mike the Weeble. Of if you are me, hope that you don't!

That's it from here.

DEA

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's the Final Countdown.....



The TWAFHGGPT is set for this Sunday. The weather looks to be cooperating and the grinding will take place.

Questions that have been coming my way:

Road/Cross/Mountain bike? Mountain or cross will work Road- only if you are Michelin Mike, and even that might be dangerous.

Is this a race? No, it's a ride. Nobody will be left to die. It's a fun laid back ride. The weather is looking good so hopefully the pace won't be dictated by a need to stay warm.

Will I get wet? Maybe, but if you are careful and it isn't raining or snowing you should be able to stay dry.

Should I bring a tube? Yes, preferably one that fits you wheel.

What should I bring for afterwards? Whatever you'd like. We'll the the grill ready to roll and there will be SOME beverages of various types- so bring what you'd like.

Is there a sagwagon? Sort of. JJ will ride at the back and push anyone along who doesn't feel like riding.

How long? About 20 miles, about two hours. Or it could be something entirely different.

What should I wear? Clothing. If temps are in the 40's- you'll want warmer gloves and shoe covers of some sort- an old pair of wool socks works well- but they will be sacrificed for the cause. A light wind jacket. A beanie under your helmet. A vest in your pack just in case. Tights.

Do I get a nick name? Oh you very well may.

That's it for now.

DEA

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Ride With K

The weather had me wondering if it really was November. Blue sky, mild temps, dry ground. Hmmmm, maybe there is something to this global climate change that has an upside (until it stops snowing, grumble, grumble).

I guilted my wife into going for a ride. At first she was enthused, then not so much. Then she was enthused, until I said we'd be out for over an hour. But she rallied and we headed out the door. The temps were comfortable, but she doesn't ride very often so she wasn't sure what to wear- it took a bit but soon we were moving and she was comfortable with the hat and glove selection and we began to pick of the kilometers.

This was her maiden voyage on the cross bike I had built up for her. Big Al and World Bikeman.com HQ had pointed me to a screaming deal on a KHS cross frame and an Origin 8 Carbon fork. I looked at it as a deal I couldn't pass up and used it as a good way to hang an older Dura Ace kit on a bike, and not have it be my bike- everyone wins!


Here is bike post ride (K manages to stay much cleaner than I do on a ride- how does she do that?)

Anyway we headed out on part of the TWAFHGGPT route and soon found an old car. Here Karen is checking it out, thinking it just needs a bit of work.



We tooled along enjoying the gravel and great weather, and I kept pointing up to where we were heading. K wasn't so sure and I kept expecting her to be way behind me and walking, but instead she was glued to my rear wheel and forced me to ride harder than I had planned- oh well.

We eventually got to the top and enjoyed some great views (unfortunatly the 15 day forecast says on TWAFHGGPT that we will have snow and clouds so maybe no view).

We ran into a group of four wheelers, and much to my surprise it was a group of women. Not sure why that surprised me, but it did- good to see them out having fun.

We tooled on down to Vacationland Campground and followed a snowmobile trail to another road that took us down the western side of Crystal lake. At first K thought for sure I was going to get us lost, so I asked her, "do I ever take you on routes where I'm not sure where I am going?" Her answer was just a look. Ok so maybe she has a point. But in this case I knew where we were.

We cruised it home and spent the rest of the day watching football, running around outside with the dogs and kids on the athletic fields that are empty right now as the kids are all home for Thanksgiving break, and then I found some Geary's Winter and the Pat's game and went into full on American Male mode.

It was great to get out with K and I think she'll do it again, as long as I promise to know where I'm going.

Ride On. DEA

State Lines



Getting the state line is not near as much fun when you are riding by yourself. Regardless Sunday afternoon was like a carbon copy of Saturday. Did another hour and twenty in the woods. Almost 1k of climbing over 10 miles.

JJ

Saturday, November 21, 2009

DEA making me feel guilty

I was sitting on my couch watching the Ohio State/Michigan game when I saw the DEA had put up a post mentioning he was going for a ride. It was a beautiful Fall afternoon, unseasonably warm in fact. I hemmed and hawed about going so I txt'd A1 to see if he wanted to go. I figured that if he was in I would go. He was not. He had kid duty. I was on my own. It was about 3 and I thought I had about an hour and a half before sunset.


One goal of the ride was to avoid having to cross any significant water. I got the SS and started out. It was really a nice day. Hard to believe it was late November. I wore my blaze orange shirt over my jersey as it is full on deer season here in New Hampshire and I didn't want to end up on the hood of some pickup truck being mistaken for a trophy buck.

It was pretty quiet in the woods. Did not see any hunters but did see a couple pickups parked with no one inside so I knew there were some armed fellas in the woods with me. Always seems that my head is on a swivel when I know this.




The ride was good. A touch over 10 miles of riding in an hour and 17 minutes of riding with 935 feet of climbing. Even better, Ohio State beat Michigan and I didn't get my feet wet.

Hoping to get out tomorrow with A1, we shall see. Have to make a run to Sunday River to take my oldest there for a 3 day ski racing camp. Just doesn't seem like we should be skiing yet.

JJ

Thinking riding, writing skiing

It's that time of year when I need to transition into a ski writer for my weekly ski columns in the Mountain Ear (they usually end up over here a couple weeks later). Of course right now I am getting ready to head out for a ride while writing about skiing- it's sort of messing with my head. See I have a last minute goal to put in another 300 outdoor miles in before 2009 goes the way of fiscal respnosibility in Washington. This week looks to be in my favor as it'll be warm and skiing will be on hold, but I'm not planning on piling in 300 miles in a week. Once we get to cold temps and snow on the ground my two wheel desire will transition to a two plank desire and I'll be all about skiing for awhile (except for the Gravel Grind of course!)

With that said- today it's about the bike. So time to kit up and head out the door. I'm hoping I may get in some time on the trails tomorrow with JJ- time will tell, I'll just need to convince him that it isn't ski season just yet first!

DEA

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gravel Grind promo

Ok so I shot some video with my cell phone that will likely make you sick trying to watch, but figured I'd post it (unedited.

However- some great views and good gravel- keep the 6th open!

TWAF Holiday Gravel Grinder

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Timing

Some might think I am accident prone, I like to think of it as giving 110% all the time and suffering the consequences. As a result of this, I have had much more than my share of injuries. From dislocated ankles, a couple knee surgeries, to multiple dislocations of both elbows and one elbow surgery, broken bone in my left elbow, an avulsion fracture in my left shoulder, 3rd degree AC joint separation, and 4 (maybe more, lost count) shoulder dislocations. Gravity hates me. Luckily for me I have gone a year or so now without another major crash (knock on wood) that has resulted in hospitalization. Problem is my left shoulder is such a mess at this point that it has trouble functioning properly. It looks funny as my collarbone doesn't connect to the shoulder anymore. It makes terrible noise when I use it. It is generally weaker than my right shoulder and structurally is unsound. So much so that I have actually dislocated my shoulder rolling over in bed and reaching for my alarm clock. Not a great way to wake ones self up in the morning.

Where this leaves me is deciding what to do about the shoulder. I spent some time last weekend talking with my orthopedic surgeon about options. See I don't even really have a primary care MD. I have a surgeon cause that's who I see most often. I don't get sick, I break myself instead.

So the Dr. tells me that with the mess I have for a shoulder that I can expect arthritis to start by the time I am 45. With my limited math skills, that is only a few years off. The second issue is that unless I resign myself to new sports like couch surfing I am going to continue to dislocate the shoulder and continue to make it worse. So I think I have reached the conclusion that I need to go under the knife, again. The surgery on the shoulder unfortunately has a 3 month recovery time.

3 months is a long time to be out of action. Particularly when your activities are dictated by the calendar and the weather. Warm dry weather is riding season, cold and snow is ski season. That leaves me mud season & black fly season as the most probable time to get cut. Last ski weekend of the year will most likely by March 27 & 28 at Sugarloaf. That would mean April, May & June would be rehab and I could be back at 100% or so in mid summer. Other options are to get it done now and miss this ski season or try to hold out and get it done at the end of next summer and then rehab in the fall and be ready for winder 2011. Wow that seems like a long ways off.

I sure hope we have a good winter.

JJ

And So Begins the Slide...

Actually the slide began about 17 years ago when I came to grips with the idea that I would never make the big time in either Nordic skiing or bike racing. Ever since then I've struggled with my inner American and justified those "Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun" by getting out for a good ride or ski (depending on the Earth's current position relevant to the sun). As I got older and metabolism continued to find it's inner tortoise and my "means" gave me the opportunity to enjoy darker beers, I found that I needed things to scare me a bit to stay somewhat fit.

For a long time it was simply being at the beach without a shirt on, my how fat of 10 years ago would seem so ripped now! When that motivation gave way I found ski or bike races were good motivation. 50km ski races worked for a bit, until I theorized that since I've done them a few times in the past that I'm sure I can make it regardless of training. 24 hour bike racing worked for a bit, until I found that beer makes for great carbo loading and that the podium is overrated anyway.

Then I found the one thing that did sort of keep me on track- cyclocross. Despite the short nature of the races, the sheer volume of pain and the needed speed- I found there was no way to fake my way through them. Based on the my previous comment that the podium is overrated, I have relegated myself to being a mid to back of the pack racer, however you still need to bust ass just to make it around the course and to try to either not get lapped or at least not get lapped until the very end. Racing with your heart rate at 180 bpm for 45 minutes caused you to think that a bit of training is a good thing so that your wife doesn't have to find out that you might have forgotten to mail in that life insurance policy payment (don't worry honey, I did pay it- honest!)

This brings me to my point. My cross racing season has ended. Since then I've been conducting a scientific taste test between the various 12 pack samplers put out by Smutty Nose, Shipyard, and Long Trail (results forthcoming). My lights have been charged and my cold weather night riding kit sits at the ready- but the motivation has gone the way of fiscal responsibility in Washington. And so the slide begins.

Meaning I'm looking for a winter event, something to get me fired up. The Canadian Ski Marathon is one, as is the crazy ass Coureur de Bois 90km race that Dave Mark (original owner of the Red Jersey) is involved with out in Colorado. Or maybe it's finding an off-road stage race like the Trans-Sylvania Epic that takes place in the spring could do the trick. Who knows but I need to find something to get me fired up, especially since I've found I can doctor photos of myself in photoshop and past them to Facebook and help make myself look all fit- a great way to keep those high school and college buddies thinking that you're still getting it done in the gym.

In other news- working on the TWAF Holiday Gravel Grinder. I'm sure A1 and JJ will be in attendance. Doc Leband is hoping to make it as will Chris Ames and Brian Roche (I hope that by putting their names out on the interwebs they'll feel shamed into riding). I'm hoping to either Sunday Dec 6th or Sunday Dec 13th work- but we'll keep you posted.

Until then keep the rubber side down and ride safe.

DEA

Monday, November 09, 2009

Porky Gulch Classic

I showed up. I raced. I raced again. I showed up late. I raced with the big boys. I am now very tired.

More on that later.

DEA

Photos shot by world class photographer Ryan Triffitt.





Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunday Epic

I had big plans of riding Sunday with DEA over near his place in Maine. Unfortunately that didn't work out due to his work schedule. Luckily for me Chris was looking to do a ride this weekend so we made plans to ride from his house on Birch Hill. We each sent out invites to a bunch of folks, but as we got ready to roll out this morning, only Eric joined our trek. I had checked all my gear the night before and made sure I had my Garmin GPS packed as we planned to ride some stuff I have never been on before. I had my bike all ready and put the GPS into the mount on the bars and turned it on. It chirped and gave me a message, "Battery Low" was being shown on the screen. I said some choice words and took it off my bike and tossed it into my car. Its amazing how tech reliant I have become over the past 3 years riding with the GPS. I am always looking at it for distance traveled, elevation gained, speed and heart rate data. Without it I feel quite lost (not that I ever use it for directions), but it isn't always a bad thing.



Chris has a trail right from his front door that connects him to the Cedar Creek trail network. It was really windy last night and as a result most of the leaves that were on the trees were now on the ground. There were sections where it was actually hard to follow the trail. After a little over a mile into the ride Chris came upon a large pine that had blown down across the trail and tried to ride around it through a bunch of smaller downed branches. He made it almost the entire way around it and then he went down in one of those slow motion crashes that seem to happen and there's nothing you can do to stop it. He hit the ground pretty good and wacked a tree or branch or something like that as he impacted the ground. It left a pretty nasty mark on his lower leg just above his ankle. Luckily the damage all appeared to be internal. Either way it hurt a bunch. He walked it aff for a couple minutes and then we got going again.



After a good couple of loops in Cedar Creek we started the long climb up one of the National Forest fire roads to High Street which is not much more of a road than the WMNF fire road. This climb is a few miles of continuous gravel grind. Once you hit the gate at the end of the fire road and turn right onto High Street you have another mile plus of climbing up the end of the road and the beginning of the trail head to the Mineral Site Trail.

The trail had sections where it was deep with leaves and other areas where it was mostly pines and there were very few leaves on the ground which was a nice change. We had almost reached the trail known as Sherwood Forest when Chris caught a slick root beneath the leaves funny and went down. This time it seemed pretty clean and he had no further injuries from the crash. We got moving and started the fast entrance to Sherwood Forest. All three of us were flying along pretty well and then all of the sudden the trail was covered in a very deep blanket of leaves. The leaves made steering your bike much like steering a boat. Control was somewhat lacking. This trail is all downhill and has some really fun sections.

Eric and Chris, both better downhillers than I, which I attribute to my numerous ER visits, pulled ahead of me a bit. I then came into a switchback section and there was Chris, stopped in the middle of the trail. As I rolled up he flipped his bike over and showed my his rear wheel, it was flat, not low but completely flat. Eric was ahead of us and didn't hear us yell that we were stopped to change the flat tire. Once the tube was out we could see the slice in the tube that looked like it might have happened when he caught the root minutes before.



Chris pulled out his spare tube and pulled the wheel off and started to change the tube out. He started to re-inflate the tube once it was swapped and it just didn't seem to want to hold any air. He pulled the tube out of the tire and we examined it and found that alos had a hole in it. What we didn't know was if it had a hole in it before Chris put it into the tire or if it got the hole during the installation, either way it wouldn't hold air. Neither of us had a patch kit either.

Eric now came riding up as he realized that we were delayed due to something. We now had a problem, we had no more 26" tubes. Eric runs a 29er as do I and he runs a tubeless setup. I had a spare 29er tube and I pulled it out and tossed it to Chris as I figured it was better than walking. Unfortunately once Chris had it in place and started to inflate it he had the same issue with it as he did with his tube. We were now thinking he was going to be walking back home. Luckily for us two other riders came up the trail and were a great help and gave us a tube to use. This one held air. Yahoo. Unfortunate thing was that now we had no spare between the three of us.



Once we finished Sherwood Forest we had another fire road climb. A little less than a mile but by this point we were all feeling our legs a bit. The next trail section I think is called the Carol Reed Trail. It has a nice water crossing over a 2x10 that was a little sketchy. We all just went for it and made it without issue. I had not ridden this trail before so this was nice to ride. It was a twisty rocky rooty trail that had a gradual climb in elevation. We came to a junction of the Stoney Ridge Trail. We went to the left onto the Upper Stoney Ridge Trail This trail was nasty. It goes up and up and just when you think you are done, it turns and goes up some more.



I was very glad that Chris had said I would want a bike with gears today instead of my singlespeed. I was in full on granny gear mode and happy to have it. After a good bit of pretty slow climbing and a little hike-a-bike we came to some slick-rock.



This section I was told is known as the Whitehorse Ledge Trail. The slickrock was pretty cool and very steep. We climbed across it and then dipped back into the woods. I though we had seen what we were going to see. The climbing unfortunately was not over and we worked our way towards the southern end of Whitehorse Ledge.



I was riding the trail and it looked like it just went into the blue. As I approached the clearing Chris yelled out to make sure to turn and its a long way down if you go straight. I was going nice and slow and made my left turn to follow the top edge of the ledge.

This is what Whitehorse Ledge Looks like in a few weeks with a dusting of snow.



As you can see in the above shot there is some significant exposure up on top. It is pretty cool being up there. Here's a few Shots from the top with a view back to the East and North with Echo Lake below, and North Conway to the East.





Riding slickrock is not all that common around our area as it seems it is much more common in places like Moab. It was a lot of fun to ride across, something new for me for sure. I had a 3 hour time window when we left Chris' house and it was about 11AM when we hit the top of Whitehorse Ledge. We decided it was time for us to start back so I could make my 12PM appointment. No more than a half a mile into the ride, while on the Stoney Ridge Lollypop trail section it was my turn for some bad luck. I was descending with Chris behind me and I was off my saddle and was just beginning to get seated again and as my weight hit the seat it gave way.

I have been on a few rides where this has happened to other folks, DEA and NK for a couple, but it has never happened to me before today. One difference for me than what happened to DEA and NK was that I didn't break the seat post bolt that holds the saddle onto the top of the seatpost. I stopped and got off my bike and looked down. My saddle was sort of sitting on top of my rear tire askew. I picked it up and saw that it had broken clean off at the top of the carbon fiber seatpost.




The aluminum insert into the post that attaches to the saddle had snapped. We were still quite a few miles from Chris' house and I was looking at my watch knowing I had about 40 minutes to make it to his house and then to pick up my kid from lacrosse practice at noon.

I put the seatpost into my pack and bunjied the saddle to the back of my pack. I tried to ride as well as I could but you never realize how much you use the saddle of a bike when you ride, even when standing. Without it I was really struggling on the rocky rooty trails. The trail came to a clearing and I decided that if I was to head into the clearing I would be able to find pavement and then ride roads back to Chris' house. I left Chris and Eric and made my way towards the roads.

I got into my big ring so that I could peddle and have enough resistance to keep moving. After about 20 minutes of riding this way I was completely spent. I made the turn onto Birch Hill Road to Chris' place. It is all up hill to his house and I was suffering. I looked at my watch and saw that I had 15 minutes left. I figured I could walk the last steep section of the road and have about 8 minutes to make it.

As I walked I decided I should call my wife and tell her I was probably going to be a few minutes late due to all of our issues of the day. As I grabbed my phone I saw I had a text message which told me that I didn't have to pick up my kid. It was a huge relief. I walked the last couple hundred yards to the top and then got onto the peddles and coasted into Chris' driveway. As I rolled in I could see that Chris and Eric had beaten me back.

It was a long and very tough ride that was filled with a few unfortunate and unexpected things, but overall it was a lot of fun. Chris had his GPS and it said we had done about 15 miles and over 2,330 feet of climbing.

Now that its been a few hours since the ride, I am wicked tired, a good night for the hot tub me thinks.

JJ

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sunday Ride

Planning a Sunday morning ride over in the Cedar Creek area. What I'm told is there is a trail that goes across White Horse Ledge and has some nice exposure. We'll have to see. Heading out around 8:30 AM which is like 9:30 with the time change. Anyone who's interested, let me know by sending me a txt to 6036628768 and I'll give you directions on the meet up.

JJ

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Porky Gulch Classic

For Immediate Release: October 29, 2009

Contact: Ryan Triffitt
Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center
Office: 603.466.2333 x 177 / Cell: 207.837.5045
ryan@mt-washington.com

Porky Gulch Classic: The Most Unique Cycling Race in New England

Pinkham Notch, NH—The best all-around cyclist in New England will be crowned on Saturday & Sunday, November 7 & 8 at Great Glen Trails during the Porky Gulch Classic. Three stages over two days, the Porky Gulch Classic combines a hillclimb, criterium and cyclocross to make the most unique cycling race in New England.

On Saturday, the Porky Gulch Classic begins with the Toughest Two, a two-mile hillclimb up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, home of the toughest hillclimbs in the world. In the afternoon, the competition shifts to Story Land in Glen for the Story Land Criterium as cyclists race through the famous amusement park—it’s a wild ride. Sunday morning, the action heads back to Great Glen Trails for the cyclocross portion, the Rockpile Rampage. Cyclocross is a fall and early winter form of bike racing that combines elements of mountain biking, road cycling and cross country running—with some steeplechase mixed in for good measure.

Points are awarded based on finish order in each event. The cyclist with the most combined points after the three events is declared the champion. The race features categories for riders of all skill levels from experts to beginners, and prizes are awarded in each category.

Porky Gulch Classic Schedule:
Saturday, 11/7:
Toughest Two: 9:30 am All Categories
Story Land Criterium: 12:00pm Beginners, 1:00pm Intermediate and 2:00 pm Elite

Sunday, 11/8:
Rockpile Rampage: 9:30am Beginners, 10:30am Intermediate and 11:30 am Elite

Complete information and registration is available at www.PorkyGulchClassic.com.

For those looking to get a sneak peek at the cyclocross course, the ‘Cross in the Glen Cyclocross Series continues on Sunday, November 1 at Great Glen Trails. More information is available at www.GreatGlenTrails.com.


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mud and Sun

Saturday I headed over to New Gloucester, ME, to take part in day one of the Downeast Cyclocross race. I needed to go over and face a demon from last year, but as I rolled onto the Pineland campus I was directed to a totally different part of the facility, so while it was still Pineland it wasn't the same spot as previous years- oh well.

I should mention the temp when I arrived was 38 degrees and it was pouring. Good times. The course this year included much more cow shit and a ride through a barn, which was nice as you got at least a little bit of warmth and dryness for about 4 seconds per lap.

I tried to warm up, but the weather was such that I really just wanted to sit in the van and wait for the start. I rode a lap and a half and decided that hot coffee and some Black Eyed Peas in the van was a much better option. I headed back, cleaned up the bike a bit, stripped off my muddy over pants and jacket so I didn't totally trash my car, and kicked back for about 20 minutes while I waited for the clock to approach 9:30am. Usually before a race I feel like time is flying and I don't have time to get everything done, this go around the clock just seemed to not move, which was bad as I was cooling down and loosing motivation to go out and race.

Just then the rain stopped and the clock had gotten close enough to 9:30 that I grabbed my helmet and gloves, slugged down the last of the coffee and headed over to the start. The lack of rain was short lived, but now the excitement of the race was taking over.

I got into the staging area, near the back and found Marc D'Amour who rides for the hosting club, Downeast. Marc and I have been riding "against" each other for a few years and it's always good to see him at a race. We took our place near the back and began the typical "anti-smack" talk, who was going to be the slowest, how many laps until we got lapped, etc. Nothing like lowering expectations before a race! We (35+ Cat 4's) were set to go about a minute after the Senior 4's, so there would be plenty of rabbits to chase.

The whistle was blown and we were off. Surprisingly Marc and I both moved up through the field pretty quick on the start, which caught me off guard. This isn't to say I saw the front of the race, more like I saw what the back of the pack looked like from inside the pack instead of taking up the caboose position. The course had plenty of passing spots so I felt better letting the race come to me instead of blowing up right out of the blocks.

The course was wet, muddy, slippery, muddy, and rutty. It was one of those races where there was ZERO rest, as even on the flats you were going hard just to keep moving. If I was a runner I would have jumped off and run on the flats and likely been passing people in the process. Instead I sat and ground away at the gears trying to find a line that enabled me to feel like I was moving.

I started to get my heart back down into my chest a bit the legs began to remember what it was like to pedal hard. We came into the first set of barriers and somehow the connection between my brain and the rest of my body took a short break and I'm not sure how to explain what I tried to do (I can tell you it didn't work). Basically I unclipped my right foot, started to swing it around the back of the bike, at the same time I took my right hand and reached down to grab the top tube- while my right leg was still coming around the back, all the while my weight was shifting to my left and the barrier was coming up fast. At that point I woke up and actually said something out loud about my apparent attempt at combining modern dance with cross racing, I said this just as my front wheel plowed into the barrier and by some stupid luck I came out of my left pedal and managed to get that foot over the barrier on the ground safely while the bike launched up and over the barrier with a little bit of guidance from my hands. Somehow I stayed upright and got over the second barrier and back on my bike thanking my lucky stars and feeling much more awake!

The rest of the race was a test of lines and an effort to keep momentum on my side. I was pleased with my bike handling, as I took efforts to really find my limits on some of the corners. I spent a good amount of time sliding through turns, barely hanging on, but keeping the Chilli Con upright. It gave me confidence as the race went on and I got faster each lap through some of the trickier turns.

With a lap to go I got a Cat 4 rider in my sites and planned to catch and pass him on the final climb. I had been cleaning that climb each lap and passing riders who where trying to run (unfortunately many of them would then pass me back on the following mud bog), I was sure I could make the catch on that spot and then hold him off to the line. However I struggled on the climb and lost traction and momentum about half way up and watched him pull away. I assumed I wouldn't be able to catch him at that point but as we came into the finish S turns I found myself on his wheel and I put in the effort to go by. I'm sure he was wondering why I was trying to pass him for such a low placing, but I had two good reasons- one it was a race, and two- I was really racing him to the bike wash so I could then get changed and warm!

It was a good ride and it gave me a bit more confidence in my bike handling. It also gave me a pile of nasty laundry and a fair amount of bike cleaning to do. It took me a good couple of hours to feel warm and comfy again, but by Saturday afternoon I was feeling human again and looking forward to racing at Great Glen on Sunday.

Sunday morning rolled around and this time the entire family was going to head to the race as the weather was looking much nicer.

We rolled out, a touch behind schedule, and I had promised the girls a "treat", which translated into a stop at Burger King for some breakfast. I chose to pass on the BK feast (which was hard to do!)

We made it to GGTOC and I was met with a bit of grief as registration had closed already (oops), but it turned out to be just a bit of grief as they took good care of me and I got a chance to race. I did a very short warm up and then lined up for the Elite/Intermediate race. This is a course I know pretty well having raced there for about five years. At the start I took my familiar place near the back and again had an interesting go at the first set of barriers. Looks like that is something I'll need to work on. Soon it was a bit of a battle for the back of the pack with Michelin Mike and a guy racing on a SS and yours truly took turns riding at the back. The course was pretty fast and (for the most part) dry.

There was a fair amount of wind (surprise, surprise- wind in Pinkham Notch)and for the most part I rode either alone or did short stints with MM and the SS guy. My wife and kids where on the hill above the tunnel and K was doing a good job of not letting me slack off to much. I was feeling a bit fatigued and couldn't really get my heart rate up into the numbers I usually see when racing, but as the laps ticked off I did manage to pull away from MM and SS guy.

The course was fun and the weather was great. This is the first of three races up at GGTOC. I'll likely miss this weekend, but will then be ready for Porky Gulch Classic the following weekend, looking forward to that!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ready to Get Wet

The game plan is to race tomorrow at Pinelands (in cold, pouring rain)in the Downeast Cyclocross Race and then head up to Great Glen on Sunday for the kick off race for their series. This will be a good warm up for Porky Gulch, perhaps one of my favorite races of the year (despite never riding real well).

Looks like the weather will be good on Sunday, but tomorrow may be a sufferfest of cold and wet- should be fun!

Gotta get back to building K's new cross bike- I'll uploads pics soon.

DEA

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Casco Bay Cross

I headed to Portland this past weekend to take part in the 1st Annual Casco Bay Cross presented by Bikeman.com. What a fantastic venue, right on the Eastern Prom with Casco Bay as a backdrop, a playground in the middle of the set up and a kick ass course.

My family made the trip with me and while getting ready my wife asked if she could do anything to help. I asked her to take my spare wheels to the pit for me, she looked at me and laughed- the sort of “my husband is being a poseur” laugh that only a wife can provide. In a way I agreed. I had succumbed to the “buy my way to fast” adage that I hated 20 years ago when I first started racing. When the older guys would show up with the most zooted out stuff but a lack of race fitness. Well guess what- I’m thumbing my nose at my 16 year old self ‘cuz I like all my cycling toys, especially my Salsa Chilli Con Crosso- even if I am slow these days.

Anyway I was darn glad I had brought that extra set of wheels- more on that in a moment. I warmed up on the trainer and tried to figure out what to wear- shorts or knickers, light long sleeve jersey or the heavy one. I went with knickers and the heavy jersey. I was plenty warm, but not overly, so I was happy with my decision.
The course started with a mild climb on pavement then jumped onto grass for a few 180 type turns, then a fast (or it was fast for some) stretch down to the first of many off camber turns. It was here that the Pit was located, which was good to know because I was soon going to need it. I was near the back of the back at the start but felt I’d get a chance to move up once I had a lap into my legs.

Little did I know that ¼ of the way through the first lap I was going to tear out the sidewall to my rear tire, and while it didn’t flat, it did urge me to ride very gently back to the pit as I wasn’t sure when it was going to blow as the tube was making its way out of the casing, I’m assuming to enjoy the fresh ocean air. The tire was thub dubbing inside the frame and driving me nuts, but I nursed it back to the backside entrance to the pit- where Craig Harrison was yelling at me to go faster on the descent, which I was riding very slow trying not to blow the wheel out completely.

I got to the top of the run up and yelled to see if I could Pit from that side (the sign said yes- but I was a bit cross-eyed from the run up- about the only place I’d been able to go all out). Big Al jumped over to help me take out the rear wheel- I think I tried to make a joke about Cadel Evans and his wheel change at the Vuelta- or maybe I made that joke in my head to myself- not sure. But soon I was off- after a bit of wrestling with the straddle cable.




I was in last place- but plenty of people to chase! So off I went. Soon I’d caught one rider and was moving up on another- the main pack was well up the course- so I was in a bit of a TT, but that was ok as the course was so much fun the ride. I took lap 2 and 3 fairly clean and felt I was gaining on a few riders who were now in striking distance.

On a remount I felt the front wheel slide as I came down on the bike, and a second latter the thub dub again, this time my front wheel (which was good as I didn’t have a third rear wheel)- argh! I nursed the bike back around the course- losing ground and again taking up last place. Another wheel change, and then a big effort as I headed out for my bell lap.

I had one guy in my sites, fellow Bikeman.com rider Herb Keller, and I gave it all I had to catch him- after all I had paid my race fee- so I was supposed to race right? I felt pretty good, but realized I really didn’t have any top end speed at all (maybe I should work on that).

I finished up and the girls wanted to know why I kept “popping” tires. K laughed and said that it was a good thing I had brought extra wheels. I looked at the wheels and thought- maybe I should have ridden with more air (check that- I know I should have ridden with more air) and need to look at the where the brake pads engage the rim. Then I looked up and took in the view. Casco Bay at our feet, cross racing at our backs- it doesn’t get much better.

Kudos to everyone who worked on the race- job well done. I’m sure we’ll see it again next year. Thanks to Big Al for helping me in the Pit and thanks to my wife and kids for coming out and cheering. Can’t wait for the next race!

Ride on,

DEA

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back to the races.

I get back to racing tomorrow. It'll be good to go out and ride hard, although I know it's going to hurt- a lot. It's that reality check that I sometimes think I crave. To know that you're not quite as fit as you might think you are, and to give you a reason to go out and ride more. That, and of course the sheer grin factor of racing your bike as fast as you can. I can't fly- so racing my bike is as close as I'll ever get (I won't be a birdman- although it does look cool).

I'm wondering if my wife will get a bit of an itch to race tomorrow. If she doesn't I'm sure my oldest will. With that in mind I ordered up a cross bike that the two of them can fight over. Bikeman.com had a screaming deal on a KHS frame and a full carbon Origin 8 fork, so I took the plunge and will build it up with a Dura-Ace kit I've gut literally lying around. It'll be a pretty nice set up, and if nothing else will give K an awesome gravel grinding rig.

Got in my first cold night ride of the year last night. Full snivel gear, and I was glad I had it all. I wore my winter Pearl Shoes, but no booties. My feet were ok but by the end (out for just over an hour) I was starting to loose feeling in my feet- but had I had on my booties they would have been fine. I still feel like a cold night ride should give you double fitness as it is "tough"- but alas you get the same workout as a daytime ride. Oh well.

So that's it at the moment- looking forward to giving a race report after this weekend. As well looking forward to building up K's new bike.

Ride on.

DEA

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Gravel Grind Type of Weekend

I got out for a couple of good rides this weekend,which was nice considering my ass was starting to forget what a bike seat felt like. On Saturday I grabbed the Chilli Con and headed out for a ride with no real idea about where I was going to go. I chose to hit up every gravel road I could find, and then veer off onto jeep roads if they looked passable. I "found" some great terrain that I hadn't ridden in probably 15 years or so and connected several dots in my memory, as I explored trails that I have been wondering about for the past couple years. Many of these were trails I'd roll by and tell myself that I thought I knew where it went, but wasn't quite sure- well now I'm sure. I ended up getting in about 20 miles on Saturday and was quite pleased with the adventure. The only guilt was that I didn't shoot the soccer game at work, oh well. (The team ended up winning handily, pretty much just playing keep away in the second half, this years soccer team is pretty much dominating the prep school schedule- ok enough about work).

Sunday I talked K into going out with me for a gravel grind on the mountain bikes. Per my usual MO I ended up tearing apart her bike and "fixing" things that didn't need to be fixed. It almost cost me my riding partner as by the time I went back in to see if she was ready she was almost asleep. She rallied and we headed out for about an hour of easy spinning through a fantastic fall day here in Maine. The leaves have really popped, in some cases have gone by- but it was a great day to be out on the trails.

K looked at it as a recon mission as she is looking for longer running routes that aren't just on pavement- we found her a great 8 mile loop (I won't be going with her, unless I ride while she runs- which is possible).

After that I headed out for about 30 minutes of work on the cross bike- plenty of barrier sessions and off camber corners. It felt good- but I also felt slow- oh well.

First cross race of the year next weekend- still trying to decide which one- but it looks like this one. A good chance to fly the Bikeman.com colors.

Ride on.

DEA

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A screaming season pass deal.

If you are like me and have this pesky thing called work chewing up the vast majority of your daylight hours, yet find that skiing just on the weekends isn't quite satisfying your skiing needs- then check this season pass deal out from Shawnee Peak.

Shawnee Peak has most of their mountain lit up, so you're not skiing on only a couple of trails. They do a nice job grooming in the later afternoon so the mountain is in good shape for night skiing. Plus they are only about an hour from Portland or 25 minutes from North Conway.

It's the mountain I grew up skiing at so I have a soft spot for it, but even it that weren't the case I'd still say it's a hill you don't want to miss.

I do think this pass deal does run out in about a week, so if you're interested don't delay!

Time to go clean my bike.

DEA

Friday, September 25, 2009

Trail Building

Since my move back to the land of vacations and taxes, otherwise known as Maine (of course when you live here you don't get to take vacations as you always have to work to pay the taxes), I've been lacking in quality trails right out the back door. I'll admit I was pretty spoiled over in Conway with Davis Hill out the back door and the great trails of Peaked, Sticks and Stones, and Cedar Creek all within riding distance of the house. Of course in Conway there is also a very large riding community, but over here in Bridgton there seems to be a large contingent of people working far too much just so they can pay their taxes.

What this has meant is that there are many trails that are overgrown or places where a trail should just appear. I keep thinking that will happen, but alas it has not.

That has meant a bit of picking away at some sections of trails that needed to be cleared and this week it has meant a bit more flagging, raking, cutting, and moving things like downed trees and rocks. I'm making a bit of progress and now have a couple of good loops (short, but fun), and am starting to enjoy the process of building. The best part- no damn bridges! Although there are a few sections that will require bridges, but they will be a good 36-48 inches wide with grip tape applied to the riding surface.

Last night I wanted to go check another stand of woods where there were some good trails about 10 years ago, but has since been logged. I was all of three minutes into the ride when I had a very quick and violent trip over the bars while I was not rolling very fast. I managed to not smash up my face, as the helmet took the hit, but it rattled my skull pretty good and I managed to mash my wrist and shin in the process. I kind of wish someone had a picture of my on the ground trying to untangle as it was one of the better scorpion poses I think I've ever had.

Of course being by myself, it being three minutes into the ride, and knowing I had a hall pass that lasted for at least another hour, I picked myself up checking to make sure that I wasn't about to be treated to that pain that takes a minute but when it hits it knocks you on your butt. But things seemed to be working. The blood coming out of my shin seemed to be only a trickle and the swelling was going to happen regardless of if I stood around or rode, so I remounted. I think I was trying to convince myself I hadn't thrashed myself so I took off and before I could realize that my vision was off a bit and my neck and arms weren't really communicating all that well I found myself flying through the air once again. This time the landing was fairly tame, however it really shook my confidence.

I choose to walk out of the woods and remount after I found a trail that I had already raked, and rode slowly to a place where I could at least make some trail improvements for my next ride. My neck and shoulders got pretty tight, but I was able to rake and clear debris for the next hour or so and almost go another loop completed (maybe tonight). Needless to say Advil has once again become a good friend of mine.

My hope is that I can find some other riders who live in the area. We have a few kids on campus who have said they'd like to get out and ride. One of whom I've gotten out with a couple of times. I've seen a vehicle rolling around with some nice shiny bikes on the roof, but have never seen the bikes actually being ridden- I'll have to work on that.

That's it for the moment.

DEA

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekend riding in VT and NH

Saturday morning I picked up Mike D, aka Outdoor Addict for a trip up to Kingdom Trails for a day of riding. We left about 7:30AM and arrived at the home base for the FODOFT a bit after 9. Apparently they stayed up too late the night before and were just getting around when
we pulled in. After everyone got their gear together and all lycra'd up we made our way to the Darling Hill section of Kingdom Trails.

Craig and his 80's era bike, nice green machine

The morning started out wicked chilly with temps around 40 degrees. I was riding my SS 29er and figured once we started to peddle that I would be plenty warm. A few guys were decked out in jackets and the like, only to begin the stripping process about 10 minutes later.

Our trek started on Loop and then onto a black diamond trail called Pound Cake. (Name makes me think of the Van Halen song of the same name) Its a nice bit of singletrack and a couple technical spots. A good place to get warmed up. After a trip around Fence Line and some other nearby trails we started our way towards Webs and Riverwalk. Some new bridging down by the river is nice.

Our group was about 10 strong and at about noon we arrived at Sidewinder, which for many folks is one of the main reasons they come to KT in the first place. This pic was taken at the end of Sidewinder, as you can see, plenty of smiles.


the FODOFT Crew

After 2 trips down sidewinder and back up we started our way back towards the parking lot. Once we crossed Darling Hill Rd. we made a quick left onto a double black diamond trail known as Jaw. I had ridden Jaw earlier in the summer, well actually walked a bunch of it cause it was a complete mess. I had heard that some new bridging had been done and that it was in nice shape. I was skeptical but figured that I would give it a shot. It was great. All of the really crappy sections were now passable by nice new bridges. Great work by the KT trail crews. After Jaw we made our way up Sugar Hill to Ridge and finally out to Heaven's Bench which has some of the best Vermont views there are.

SUrviving the climb to Heaven's Bench


View from Heaven's Bench


After our pit stop at Heaven's Bench we headed to Bill McGill and made our way back to the parking lot. All in all a great day of riding at Kingdom Trails.


Mike D, Team GT



Mike and I drove back to North Conway and I called DEA to see if he was up for a ride on Sunday as he wasn't able to make it to KT. He was in so we met up Sunday AM at Wal-Mart to ride, doesn't everyone meet at Wal-Mart to mountain bike ride?

DEA was accompanied by Chris, a student from BA, a lacrosse player I believe. We had a good ride of a couple hours. It was fun showing them around some new trails they had not been on before. Sort of being a tour guide. After about an hour and a half my legs were pretty spent. There wasn't a lot of life in them to begin with from the day of riding on Saturday at KT.

Sven and his love for walking bridges

Both days the riding was great. Cool temps, dry trails and great riding mates. What more can you ask for but more of the same. Who's up for a ride this weekend???

JJ

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kingdom Trails



This weekend is our annual trip to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont to the Mountain Biking Mecca of the East known as Kingdom Trails. The nice part is that it it less than 2 hours drive. Even better is the 100+ miles of singletrack riding.



Unfortunately DEA is not able to make the trip but Mike D is going for his first time. I think he'll be wicked pleased with the riding, except he's bringing a bike with gears. What's up with that??? Here's some video of KT Video. Some pretty cool stuff.


Hope to get some pics and maybe some video. Catch ya later on with a ride report.

JJ

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall Riding

Fall isn't here just yet, but it's feeling like it. Cool nights, damp mornings, in fact I've even seen trees starting to shake off their summer coats.

I dig fall riding, usually as the pace is mellow and the legs are good. The trails are usually pretty buff and the bugs had died in the last frost. With all that said I'm hoping I can get out and do some fall riding! Work has gotten busy and weekend hall passes are hard to come by. My wife would like me to get out and ride but it's the office that is keeping me tied down. I keep thinking it will even out, but so far it hasn't. Oh well.

October will be a bit better and there will be a couple of cross races to give me something to shoot for. The only weekend I'm keeping as sacred is Porky Gulch, I love that race.

Other than that not much to report. Ski season will be here soon and morning skin trips up my local hill will keep me entertained. Still working on passes for the winter, hopefully we'll have that dialed soon!

Until next time, ride safe.

DEA

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh my.

JJ found this, and I wanna play.



DEA

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Where Did My Bike Go?

It's been one week since I swung my leg over a bike. I guess that is what happens when school starts and you work 14 hour days every day! Life gets a bit more back to normal in a couple and I will likely try to start riding again. With that in mind I need to bring the Chilli Con back to life as it is still in pieces from Newton's Revenge back in July.

At some point I also need to come to grips with my cross season and figure out what races I can make a reality. I need to look and see if there are any weekly cross sessions down in the Portland area as that could be a good way to get in a bit of good training/racing.

That's it at the moment- a recap of the Summer Series coming soon.

DEA

Friday, August 21, 2009

24-14=10 Hours of Great Glen

My season started out with 2 major things on my calendar. One was the 24 Hours of Great Glen in early August. The other was a 2 week vacation at a villa on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. I was feeling pretty solid up through June and July. I was even beating DEA on occasion which is not the norm. I like to tell myself it was due to my superior fitness as opposed to his recovering from injury that was the reason.

Needless to say when July 17 came, we loaded up the car for phase on of our summer vacation which was with the whole family. We hit the Baseball Hall of Fame and then went to Niagara Falls and visited family. I saw almost no time on the bike that week. Then on July 24 we flew to St. Maarten where we spent the next 11 days eating very well (the same as too much) and staying well hydrated (lots of adult beverages) and very little physical activity. I was thinking of the three weeks from my last real ride to the 24 Hr race as a nice taper. Fool.

When the race began DEA, A1 and myself hung at the back of the pack to let the crazy fast people and just plane crazy or ignorant people lead off the front. We made our brisk walk for the Le Mans start and got to our bikes. I was running my Some Juice 29er as a 32x22 singlespeed. Basically the same gearing as was DEA but a bit tougher than the dinner-plate 24 I ran last year, but it was in the tool box in case I needed it. A1 was running his 32x20 since he's a tough guy.

The first lap was pretty smooth and I was trying to be smart about what to ride and what to walk of the course. The three of us stayed together for another lap until A1 decided to not pit at all between laps and just go. DEA and I pitted after each lap to reload our water, get a gel and take care of anything that needed attention.

We rode lap 3 together and as we headed out for the fourth lap I started cramping a bit. I felt like I was getting enough water and was taking the Endurolytes each pit but was not feeling good. It was warm but not hot by any means. About half way through lap 4 My back began to stiffen. It made pushing my bike difficult let alone riding. As we hit the pits after Lap 4 I decided that I needed to take a break. DEA figured that if he stopped as well he wouldn't go back out so he got some water and headed back out. I found a chair and his leg massager stick thingie and worked on my calves.

DEA's wife was in camp with mine and they got the grill fired up and put some burger and dogs on. A few minutes later the beers were out and I decided I enjoyed this more than riding at that moment. My day of riding was over. AS a result I ended up with a snail like 14 hour lap number 5 which I completed Sunday morning.

When I did go back out Sunday morning I had checked the standings. Regardless of how hard I pushed I was pretty much locked into the finish position I was in as long as I rode 3 laps in the final 4 hours. That was not a problem as unfortunately for me I felt much better Sunday morning than I did the day before.

I ended up with 7 laps and 6th place. DEA was 5th with 10 laps.

I had a good time with the whole weekend, but I definitely was very disappointed with how I rode Saturday. I will blame the excessive taper this time. Next year I will have a different excuse.

JJ

Friday, August 14, 2009

24 Hours of Great Glen- another one in the books

Not every race starts with cannon fire that causes you to just about jump out of your skin. You’d think I’d know better as I’ve raced the 24 Hours of Great Glen a total of 13 times, but that cannon fire still catches me off guard.

Once again I found myself racing in the solo SS category along with fellow Bikeman teammates, JJ and George Lapierre as well as TWAF teammate A1. JJ and I took up our usual spot walking the lap around the pond with the knowledge that you either have to run super fast to get out front early, or take your time and catch all those running fools on the blueberry field climb only minutes after you grab your bike. Experience does have its benefits!

I got to my bike and mounted up for lap #1 with JJ and A1. The weather had finally come around and we had enjoyed a few days of fairly dry weather leading up to the race. This meant the course was in pretty good shape, and for the most part the course was rideable if you have the legs to do it. That being said the legs I would have needed are still stuck in 2006 and despite my attempts to get to them with the flux capacitor, I was stuck riding with my legs of 2009. Either way I knew it was going to be fun, and my goal was to go and ride and enjoy the weekend.

Originally I had designs on riding 100 miles, meaning I was going to need to ride 13 or so laps. The course had been shortened a bit and was coming in at 7.7 miles and climbing was just under 1000 feet per lap. The riding was going well, having broken the cardinal rule of racing on gear that I had yet to actually give a legitimate shakedown on. I was running my Salsa Mamasita that had gone through a bit of a metamorphosis. Gone was the Reba fork, replaced with an Origins 8 rigid carbon fork. Gone was the SRAM x9 drive train, replaced with a White Industries Eno wheel with a White Industries freewheel. What was still there were the trusty Ergon grips and my 1995 Shimano XT crank. The bike was working and the 30x20t gear was turning over and when it wasn’t my granny gear (me walking) seemed to be working quite well.
The first two laps JJ, A1 and I rode together, laps three and four JJ and I rode together. We were out having fun and enjoying the course. The Hammer gels and Endurolytes were doing their trick keeping me moving (along with beef jerky) and the duct tape that I used to tape my heels with after the second lap were keeping my feet in ok shape.

After four laps my goal of riding the 100 miles began to wane a bit as the miles began to add up and the reality of not having put in the hard work this summer began to show. We rolled into camp after four laps and our families were there asking when we were going to break for dinner. Dennis was thinking he was done for a bit, and I knew that if I sat down I’d be done for awhile as well, so I grabbed a Hammer gel, a fresh bottle and headed out for lap five.

I felt pretty good. No cramping issues which had been plaguing me on rides over three hours for years. The bike was running well and the course was in pretty good shape. I cruised my fifth lap and pulled into camp with the idea that a beer and a burger would taste mighty good.

I got out of my wet and muddy kit and went to sit in the river for a minute to clean up. The water was shockingly cold and any lactic acid in my legs quickly jumped out the pores on the back of my neck and made its way to dry (and warmer) land. It was that type of cold that hurts so good. I walked back to camp feeling refreshed and sat down to a feast of burgers and beers- perfect!

Of course the comfort of camp made it difficult to get kitted back up, and the company at camp made it even more difficult. We ended up visiting with good friends and somehow beer kept showing up. I looked at my bike and said, “we’ll get back at it in the AM.”

This meant I would likely not hit my 100 miles, but I was ok with that. I climbed into my -20 bag and was soon glad I had brought it as the temps dropped. I slept well, awoke to the bagpiper and decided to go get in a lap before breakfast. The sun was up and the air was beginning to warm. The course had improved in some places and gotten a bit sloppy in others, but all in all it was in good shape. I loosened up and my legs began to get into the ride. I came in with an idea of breakfast, but decided to keep it rolling as Dennis was up and ready to go. We cranked out another two laps, stopping to get gel and fresh bottles each lap and then it was time to make the call- put the hammer down and get in two more or sit up and just ride the final lap needed to be at the finish for noon. If I got two it meant I’d get 10 laps, my fall back goal, so I bid Dennis adieu and hit the trail with purpose. The lap went well and I actually felt fast in a couple of spots. I came into the timing tent at 11:35 with a lot of cheers as the crowd likes it when solo’s are going out for that last lap (little did they know I had slept for 10 hours!)


I bottled and gel’d up one last time and put the hammer down. It felt good as I was in the fifth our of riding for the second time in a 24 hour period and I was pleased that my body was reacting well. My arms and neck actually were the sorest parts of me and I knew I only had about 50 minutes left of discomfort. I found I was catching a fair number of people and starting to feel a pretty good grove. I got caught by the two lead teams, and they were FLYING, it was an impressive display. Their speed motivated me a bit and picked up my pace, riding the climbs a bit harder (and longer) and letting it fly a bit more on the descents.

Coming into the Chute the cheers were loud and invigorating. I cleaned the last tricky section and just went hard for the finish. As I rolled in Dennis was there at the dismount point with a bottle of Tuckerman open and ready, I took the hand up and rolled into the tent- feeling pretty good and pumped with the event.

It was cool to see all the Bikeman jerseys at the race. Kudo’s to George, Jason, and Dennis who I got to ride with at various points during the race. Kudo’s to the Bikeman guys on the teams as well. We were all well represented.

For those who haven’t done the race- put it on your calendar for 2010- you’ll be stoked you did.