Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Elliot's Knob Sunday (was it really December?)

Sunday we met up with some old friends and some new ones for a nice long mountain bike ride in the beautiful mountains that surround us here in the valley. Since the last 10 weeks have been consumed by cross on the weekends, i was ready for a really long bike ride. My legs....not so much and my stomach even less. I did fine on all of the climbs, but let's just say it was quite a shock to the system to be turning the granny gear or close to it for the 4 mile fire road climb and then the grueling single track climbs up to knobs. I had the double whammy of not having ridden long climbs for a while and i had caught a stomach bug last week, so the GI system has been out of whack since. Now where did i put that children's tylenol???

Russell and i met up with Marshal, James, Sue, Jason, and Michele. I aparently didn't get the message because i brought a hardtail to a full suspension party. It wasn't that bad, i'm a big chicken on the super rocky stuff rear shock or not.

I brought along my camera and took a few shots of the group:

I told Jason to hop back on for the shot, he said "There is no shame in walking!!"

Gotta love the Valley

Monday, December 11, 2006

VACX Finals (Trial by Fire for the New Ride)

Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day and much better than the weatherman said too. Sara, Katie and I drove over the mountain for the last cyclocross race of the season, the VACX Finals at Darden Town park in c'ville.

We actually had call-ups at this race. I was sitting in first in the series and they called up second place James Revere. I had my worst start ever, i was second or third to last by the end of the first straightaway. I just couldn't seem to clip in. I worked my way through the pack and by the end of the first lap, things had broken up into groups. There was a 45+ rider way off the front, then Rob Cook and Chris Scott follow by James Revere and me. James and swapped spots several times throughout the race, I couldn't shake him. Every time i thought i had a little distance on him, i would see his front wheel pop up on the side. At the end of each lap there was a steep grass hill, some folks were chosing to ride up it, i picked the running option. (My legs didn't seem to have much pop, so it was best not to force them to ride up that thing) My worst fear came true when i realized that the finish was going to come down to who could run up the hill the fastest. James was right on my wheel when we pulled on the last stretch of pavement before the monster. When we hit the hill he was about half a step behind me. About 5 steps from the top, i dug deep and put in a little extra umpf, hit the flat top and kept on running across the finish line. My first bike race that finished on foot. It was a tough fight for third place. I wrapped up first place in the VACX series 35+, woo-hoo. All that and a state championship too. Where is my Wheaties BOX!!! (got a jersey tho)

We hung around to watch the boys race the A and B race. (I got to play photographer again with Kevin's d-fitty) The B race had the usual suspects up in front, for a minute there i thought that Bill from Tripower had been sandbagging all year and was going to take the win, it was either that or Kevin and Bill were working on some team tactics, you sneaks. The group stayed close together until two laps to go, Kyle broke off the front with one other guy, Mark Russell was all alone in third and kevin and bill were a little ways back in 4th and 5th. Kyle ended up sprinting up the hill to take the win. Russell took third and held on to take the VACX series B win. Way to go Russell. (two l's)

Yesterday was the second ride (first CX) on the new bike. Very nice. It seemed a little harsh, but i think it was because i was running too much pressure and the ground was frozen. My new wheels held up too. This was only the second set that i have built, but i learned how to do it from Les so how could i go wrong.
Thanks for the pics Kev. Good luck at Nats.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Yeah....That's what i'm talking about!

Many Many Thanks to Les for Staying late to put the bike together. I'm looking forward to racing it on sunday.

Ain't she a Beaut!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Take your toughguy attitude and DNF

So I decided to roll up to Reston for the Capital Cross Classic. I know, what was i thinking, 5 hours of driving for a 45 minute race...but its cyclocross...Hell yes it's worth the drive!!!! The course was a lot of fun, some fast flat stuff, nice run up and a couple of good climbs. The ground was a little soft so as the race progressed, the corners got slicker. Mark actually went down on one of the first laps. I caught up to Mark on the second lap, told him to hop on and i would try to pull the train for a while. We passed quite a few people, Mark passed me with 2 to go, i passed him back at the start of the last lap, he came around me on the steep off camber downhill, but i passed him again on the steep grass climb. I knew after i passed him i had to try and get some distance. I tried, but shortly after hitting the home stretch on the pavement, Mark flew around me for 24th place. (note: this was a very fast group racing since anyone that didn't have an UCI license couldn't race in the elite men's field)
The funny part of the race was our new friend Bernie, mr. toughguy hardass bike racer. As i was coming up behind Mark on the second lap, i saw a guy jumping back on his bike on the left side of the course. He was heading out on to the course right in front of Mark. Mark yelled to him that he was on his right. The guy started yelling at mark something sarcastic and not very nice. He came back around Mark, but on the short steep mud hill, he slipped, Mark passed on the right and i was stuck behind him. I followed Bernie on to the grass portion of the course and started to pass him on the outside of one of the turns.
***Remember, this is B, mid pack***
Being the nice guy that i am, i let him know i was on his outside so we wouldn't collide. I got up even with him after the left turn, but on the right turn he totally cut me off. Almost clipping my wheel. I yelled to him "Nice Cut!" I caught up to him on the tight uphill right hander before the hurdles. I was on the inside of the turn and i had to push a little wide to keep my momentum. That is when my new freind started banging his bars into mine. Granted...this is racing and does happen, but we were way back in the field, and B is usually a friendly bunch. I yelled at Bernie "what the F are you doing???" he passed Mark and me after the hurdle and we followed him across the bridge. Mark looked over his shoulder at me with a look that said "what the heck is up with this guy" We passed him after the run-up and didn't see him again. It looks like he DNF'd. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. The moral of the story: it's just a race and it is supposed to be fun. Be considerate of your fellow racers, we are all weekend warriors and need to be healthy to work the next day. Don't be like those morons when you are driving that are completely oblivious to everyone else.

Friday, December 1, 2006

It's soooo Pretty....Just like ME!!!

hmmm....I wonder what it is???

It's just what i've always wanted!!!

Thanks for taking the pic's Taz (I can't believe i forgot the camera on such an important day)
Building it up next week.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's Like Christmas 4 weeks Early

Got word today that the new frame shipped from IF. Should be in the shop by Friday. I'm hoping i can have it built up in time for the last race in C'ville.

Cyclocross'n at the Beach

So Sara and I made the trek down to VA Beach for the weekend to do a little walking on the beach, a little roller blading and a little cyclocross. (you know what the hardest thing about rollerblading is? Telling your parents that you're gay. I love that joke)The weather turned out beautiful, much warmer and clearer than it was in January.
Saturday night we met up with some of the Tripower folks for dinner. It was nice to get to hang out with some other racers away from the race.
Sunday was even better than Saturday, nice warm morning and not a cloud in the sky. I was racing the Masters 35+, the first race of the day which means the course wasn't chewed up yet. The course was mostly dry, which was a welcome change after two weeks of racing through some mud. The plan for the race was to hit the steps as close to the front as possible. I'm usally a little slow out of the gate so i made and extra effort to do a little sprinting at the start. SPrint what, huh, what's that? I was fifth going up the stairs and by the time we were leaving the spiral of doom, i was in first. I wanted to keep on the gas and put as much distance between myself and second place. The ONLY thing i like about the spiral of doom is that it gives you a real easy way to gauge your distance from the chase group. Lap two i was spiraling out when second place was just starting, lap 3 i was out of the spiral when second was just starting. Towards the end of the race, the leader of the 45+ came in to view behind me and i thought he was second place in my race gaining on me so i hammered to the finish. I felt really good on the course and i was really happy with the win. Thanks to all the folks cheering for me on the course.
We hung around for the A/B race. I was glad i didn't race again because i got to watch the exiting B race. There was a pack of 5 that switched places throughout the race and came down to a sprint finish. Great job Kyle, Kevin, and Russell (2 l's).

Next up Reston....Gonna give the killer B's a shot. (35+ B requires me to get up to early)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Suffering Fools

I know i am not the smartest person in the world and i know i do stupid things too. I at least am willing to admit when i do something dumb or fess up when i make a mistake. But when i encounter someone who consistently does dumb things and will never take responsibility for their mistakes i get very frustrated and upset. I know in this day and age of everyone not wanting to upset each other that it is not PC or socially accepted to point out others mistakes or call them dumb....But I just can't stop myself. I like to question the stupidity and ask the person why. And come on...arguing can be fun.
It seems that the powers that be either don't recognize the stupidity or just don't care. January can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Indoor Cycling

I think if there is one downside to cycling it would be training indoors. I would rather be outside on a zero degree day hanging on to that last bit of feeling in my toes, than inside on a trainer or a spin bike. But when the days get short and there isn't enough time to go outside, you gotta stay in shape somehow. When i have to ride inside, my first choice is Spin. I like the structure of the workout, and if the music it good the class can fly by. And sometimes there can be scenery indoors too.
I work as an instructor so i can control the music and make sure the workout is hard enough. I try my best to recreate riding outside on the bikes inside. I hang on to the crazy thought that the people taking the classes have goals of riding outside someday. It's nuts i know, but it could happen.
My other option in town is to hit the local shop on Tue/Thur for the trainer sessions. We circle around the TV in the bike shop, watch a movie and ride our trainers. At least it's something to take your mind off the fact that you are sitting still, sweating buckets with no end in sight.

The benefits of training indoors outweigh the negatives. But i think the key is keeping it a social event. There is nothing that will make you want to swallow a bullet more than spending an hour on a trainer by yourself in the basement.
I'm thinking i might hit the shop tonight for a ride...wonder what movie is playing???

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ciclismo Cross VACX round 3

So this is my first post on my new blog. Not sure if i have enough thoughts to support a blog, but what the heck. What few thoughts i have are bound to be the best thoughts ever!!!

Drove out to Richmond for the Cyclocross race this morning. I was pretty excited about this course, we raced it last January and it was fast and relatively flat. There is a nice stretch of single track (technically not allowed in cross...but whose keeping track) The course was similar to before, but with the rain during the week, parts of the single track were still really moist. (almost like there was an underground spring) The muddy parts weren't too bad during the first race, but by the end of the day, it was really nasty. I was originally planning on racing 35+ and Men's A, but being the wimp that i am, i ended up only racing 35+. I wasn't in the mood to run my bike through the mud for another hour and after last weekend in c'ville, i didn't want to spend the whole week working on my bike again.

My race went pretty well. I was off to a slow start (second to last hitting the grass) but i managed to work my way through the field and finished third. The first place guy was 2 minutes ahead of me, and Chris Scott finished second about a minute up on me.
The course was fun like i remember, no real hills, and lots of fun on the single track.

I hung around to watch the exciting B race. The pack was together for the first half, when Kevin Horvath put a little distance between Mark Russel, Kyle Murphy and a third guy. I was shooting pics with Kevin's camera, so it was pretty exciting to see him off the front. Kevin finished first with about 15 seconds on the chase group and Mark finished second in a sprint for the finish. Kyle came in 4th, apparently he lost his front brakes and failed to negotiate a curve. It would have been cool to see a 3 up sprint for 2nd.

A good time was had by all. Looking forward to the trip to VA Beach next weekend.