Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MMBA Awards Ceremony

At the risk of being called out for the shameless self-promotion that this is, I just have to post these pics taken at the MMBA Awards Ceremony. I got this nifty poster board with a reasonable likeness of me! Drake is showing the number plate I'll be sporting next season. Does anyone need more incentive to earn this distinguished title?!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Maranacook Monster Mile

Took the weekend off from my racing to finish up the Maine High School Series with the championship yesterday. Also cheered my boys on in this fun mile run and had a little party for Babs' birthday.

Now preparing for the Northampton double next weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hutchinson Bulldog CX Tires

Here is the tubeless-ready tire/tubeless wheelset combo I liked/hated @ Gloucester:

The system is currently 2 for 3 at races. I rode it all day yesterday @ Bradbury without any issues.

The deal with these tires is in order to set them up tubeless, you need to add a sealant. When I first seated them on the rim, I tried to inflate with just a pump. The bead seated, but the tires lost pressure quickly. So, I went with the manufacturer's recommendation of the Hutchinson FastAir that combines air and sealant. Right away, I could see the sealant spreading leaving a white tint all along the sidewalls meaning they are thin and where most of the air would undoubtedly escape.

On Saturday @ Gloucester, I felt like I ran a little too much pressure @ 40psi and wanted the luxury of a bit smoother ride on Sunday. I went down to 38. My pre-race was similar to the day before, so I don't believe I lost any any prior to the start. However, in the last techy section on an off-camber turn, the front rolled off the rim no doubt due to too little air pressure.

I ran the pair again @ Pinelands last weekend @ 40psi and had no problems. I think that's the key. I wish I could run lower pressure for improved handling and comfort. But I would prefer to finish a race a bit slower possibly then to not finish at all. We'll see how it goes from there. Just wanted to relay my experience. Keep the rubber side down!

Monday, October 20, 2008

How lucky am I?

I got to spend 2 hours @ Bradbury today riding with Catherine, Meg and Babs!

Downeast Cyclocross Race Report 10/18

Elite Masters 35+
Tied for 1st

Fantastic photos again courtesy of Dana!

I know you're saying: Huh? Tied? That can't be. In short, Kurt Perham and I called a truce and decided to cross the line together. Since he's my coach, I threatened to demand a refund if he beat me because he must be training me to go slowly. In response, he said he would fire me if I didn't win. Thus, a tie and we both come out OK!
In brief, I hit the Masters' race because I had a high school series race to host back at KHS later that afternoon. John Grenier at the line summed it up best, this was for Maine bragging rights amongst us oldies!
Onto the action. The smallish field lined up on a slight paved incline that then threw us down the road onto grass a 90 degree left and there were the barriers. The remainder of the course was fairly punishing. There was lots of elevation changes and you were on the gas quite a bit. They flattened out a traditionally challenging off-camber section and the run-up ended up being rideable, although it was a thigh buster to maintain traction and a stiff open climb followed shortly thereafter. I was solid in the techy stuff, but redlined the entire race.
I was basically the lettuce in a BIKEMAN sammich from the gun. Ryan Rumsey was the rabbit at the start and led the 1st lap. Then KP took control and was solo about 20-50 yards ahead of me

and Big Al was gnawing at my rear tire offerring no help at all to catch Kurt.

Eventually, Kurt slowed with 4 to go and allowed Al and I to gain contact. KP was chillin' for the finish I knew so I just let the race play out. Al led for a spell than had a random stick in the derailleur distract him. Kurt attacked, I responded, Al was dropped, and Kurt and I played it out to the end.
It was fun to race with those guys. They are MAD fast! I think it must be the 45 minutes, they are all out the whole time. Not to mention, they're some talented!

Babs really helped make the race possible as she shuffled from parent conferences to soccer and back. The winnings will be spent on her, I promise. Just not more boots!

Next up is Noho in a couple weeks.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gloucester Pics

Thanks to fellow PVC CX racer Paul Weiss for these fantastic shots!

This alternative line allowed me to have exit speed out of the turn.
It proved my undoing on Sunday as it was the spot where I rolled my tire.
I love using the shorty brake levers in turns. Definitely a comfort zone stemming from years of mountain bike riding.
I always have this painful look on my face!

I got to ride the sand later in the race when traffic thinned out

Dragging wheel-suckers to the finish

Gloucester Kids' Race Report

Always a well-attended and hotly contested event! Drake is a past winner of the 5-6 year-old class. This year he stepped up to the 7-8's.

The start was fast, Drake overcooked the first corner and had to play catch-up for 2 laps:


He falls just short of a podium finish, rolling across 4th.


...was the theme for the Gloucester weekend. Both coming, going, and within the race.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gran Prix of Gloucester #2 Report (Wicked brief)


Rolled my front tire off the rim 100 yards after the pit on the first lap.
Race over. Whatevs. I'm over it. Had some fun. Cheered my boy on in the 7-8 year-old race. Hung out with my dad. Weather was crazy nice. The crowds were epic and I loved hearing folks cheering for me.
I officially hate Gloucester.
Looking forward to racing locally at Pinelands next weekend!
Pics and stuff may be forthcoming.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gran Prix of Gloucester #1 Race Report (brief)


"The New England Worlds!" The biggest CX races in the region are half over. This course has not been too kind to me over the years and today did not dissappoint.
I had a 4th row spot at the start, not too shabby. But, I was involved with a rider at the start who seemed like stuck his foot in his front spokes and was riding a nose wheelie on the top tube right into my line. We made side contact, but I stayed upright and watched at least 85% of the field ride ahead without me.
Awesome photos stolen from Dana
I gathered my strength and rode hard for the 1st lap making some passes here and there. On lap 2 I found myself at the tail end of a large group. Burnsy was up towards the front and I was hanging around with Tom Gosselin. I made a move on the climb from the baseball field up to the gazebo and bided my time behind another guy as we made the final turn before spilling onto the baseball diamond and towards the start/finish. This card ends up lassoing his handlebars around the stake and I T-bone him and snap the stake with my chest. A small group passes and I gather myself back up and proceed only to discover I have to steer way left to go straight. My handlebars were tweaked in the wreck! So, I stop to straighten them and another 6 riders blaze away. It felt like quitting time, but I had such great legs I decided to stick it out and see where I would end up.

Photo courtesy of fellow PVC racer Deke Andrew

My goal for the day was top 50% and my hope was top 25. I was painfully close to accomplishing them both! Oh well. No crying here. Just saying what coulda/shoulda. I was happy with my performance despite the incidents and am looking forward to tomorrow, hoping I have some legs to accomplish those goals. The boys and Papa and Auntie Kat will be there to cheer me on so I'm willing to dig DEEP!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Training Race Report 10/5

Sunday provided me with an opportunity to train at a higher level than normal. A Portland crew had collaborated to organize an underground training race at the Eastern Prom. Since my last CX race was 2 weeks back, I was jonesing for some competition to prepare for this weekend's New England Worlds. Making it work was a little tricky. You see, we were celebrating Fenix's birthday today and I had a short to-do list to complete before festivities started @ 9am. Fortunately, the race was slated to go off @ 8am so I reported with confidence to Babs I'll easily be home by 10:30am and get to work. She was skeptical and said I'd be lucky if I were home by 11am. I thought that was absurd, so she bet me: if I weren't back by 11am, I would have to buy her a $300 pair of boots for her birthday. I took the bet. I'm an idiot.
I made arrangements with JB to meet at the 497 and pedal from there. It was a nice brisk warmup along the Maine Marathon route into the big city. Upon arrival, we found some likely suspects in the likes of Marianne Stover, Chris LaFlamme, Ryan Littlefield and others. Things got started slowly. We did a couple of pre-ride laps to get a feel for the course. In true fashion, LaFlamme attempted to bunny hop the barriers on our practice lap, crashed, and rendered his rear wheel warped (on a mtb no less!). The course was a nice mix of a long uphill to push out watts, short straights with 90 degree turns mixed in, some off-camber riding, a double and single barrier, speedy descents, a run up that could be ridden but I wanted practice running, tall grass that needed a beat down, and of course some mud and water. We finally got organized and started at 8:30am. Was time a factor? Nah.
JB and I were pushed to the front and led the charge. Littlefield hung on for a few laps riding a singlespeed with cow horn bars! Soon, it was just Burnsy and I. We swapped off a bit. Our riding styles are definitely different. JB powers through sections than recovers in others. I like to stay steady and ride consistently. 3 laps in I let John lead the way and he created a gap. If not for the turns and techy stuff, he would have stayed away.
We raced for about 45 minutes and I made a point to stay in front of JB heading into the run up which after 3 previous attempts, I committed to riding on the final lap and it worked. We spun back towards the parking lot and it was then that I started doing the time math in my head. It was 9:23 and we had at least a 30min ride back to the 497. So we made haste and rode home. We had to choose an alternate route in order to avoid the now full-on marathon. At some point JB lost pressure in his rear tire and had to change it out. I continued on, becoming worried I wasn't going to make it. I got back to the car shortly after 10am, chitchatted a bit with French Freye and Hattie and began to realize I really wasn't going to make it. I motored home trying to make up time without doing any crazy speeding and pulled in at 11:03:30! That's a steep fine: $100/minute! So Babs gets her boots, I got a proper ride/race in, Fenix had a great party (thanks to Babs), and I got a cold! Gotta take the good with the bad!
Next up is the biggest CX race of the year for me.

Funny CX Racing Perspective From Wicks