Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nice Box

The 2009 Hei Hei Supreme has arrived. Time to get dirty!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quabbin Reservoir Road Race Report

Masters 35+

After an ice bath, a personal size pizza, meatball, chocolate milk, salad, mixed fruit, a gallon of water and a fitful night’s sleep in Cambridge, I awoke early @ 5:45am. First impressions of the morning were I would love to call it a trip and head to the comforts of home. I didn’t pre-reg for the race so the thought was even more appealing. However, I rallied and loaded up the Rav and headed west to Ware, MA. Where you ask? Ware. You know you’re pretty spent when you don’t have to take a crap first thing in the morning! Walking up stairs was a bit of a humbling experience as well, the legs were still smoldering. Today’s strategy was survival, pure and simple. My goal was to stay in the pack and see where I ended up at the finish.
The park was gorgeous. But, driving UP to the start/finish snapped me back to reality that this climb was going to be painful. The course already had ample elevation change. I was concerned how I could stay hidden in the pack since you still needed to put out to get up the climbs.
Anyway, I paid my $45(!) bucks, kitted up, and had the same wishes as Saturday: sunscreen, more hydration, 3 bottles. There was no need for warmup. It was friggin warm enough already @ 9am! I hopped in the pack with my fellow compatriots Fred and John and we gave each other that look of “Hmm, yeah, my legs are barking. Go for it if you want.” Fortunately, we had a few other guys with us in the mix so we were hoping 1 of them might be in a position to do something. I knew there was nothing I could do to help so I said nothing!
Our field was sizeable and powerful. There may have been a couple of break attempts, but I seriously couldn’t tell or care from my comfort position in the pack! There were several instances where I was sure I would get dropped while we were climbing. But, miraculously, the pace would ease and we were soon descending as a unit again and it was all good. I conserved fluids as best I could, ate a granola bar and drank a Boost and somehow found myself at the base of the climb with the main field roaring up the hill reeling in a 5-man break that included, who else, Fast Fred! John, who did more work than he should have, was near the front of our group and accelerated with the front runners. Soon, the break was caught and riders spread all across the road as the varying abilities to climb reared their ugly head. I was huffing and puffing and looking ahead saying over and over to myself “When is this going to end?!” I caught the wheel of a big guy as he was picking his way through and suddenly I found myself with the top-10 in sight. I dug deep and stood to the finish, narrowly nipping 10th. Fred won (again!) and John rolled in 8th to cap off an amazing day and weekend. The OA/CycleMania team had a banner day, also winning the 45+ and 55+ fields! This is what makes riding for a team fulfilling!
Looks like I’ll be laying low for the next couple of weeks. Next big event may be a mtb race!

Turtle Pond Circuit Race Report

Thanks to an amazing and understanding family, I got the green light to hit up a couple of road races this weekend. My OA/CycleMania team was out in force at the Turtle Pond Circuit Race in Loudon, NH and the Quabbin Reservoir Road Race on Sunday. I was eager to be a part of it.

Masters 35+
10th/22 finishers

I left Maine @ 8:45am wearing long pants and a sweatshirt. When I arrived at registration in Loudon at noon, I stepped out of the car into a sauna! It was all of 85 degrees and sun! On the one hand, it was a treat to be able to kit up in only a short sleeve and sorts. On the other hand, it was bloody fricken hot and I immediately wished I had sunscreen, had drunk more fluids pre-race, and had 3 water bottle cages!
(All photos courtesy of Dana and her husband found here)

Well, I lined up with teammates Fred Thomas, John Meerse, Paul Weiss, and others with what I brung. Pre-race strategy was to be sure one of us was in every break and then bring someone home to the finish. It didn’t take long for things to get going. I covered a couple of feeble early attempts. Then Fred went with a CCB guy and they quickly got a gap large enough to slip out of site, and this was lap 1! So John and I went on defense. It was really fun. He would go with any acceleration, while I sat in the pack. When we would catch them and someone else took off, I followed. There was work involved, as the accelerations were hard efforts. But in general, I wouldn’t have to work too hard in the break. At 1 point, 1 guy soloed away from us, but John and I let him go as we didn’t feel like he was a threat to Fred who was now doing his solo time-trial thing up ahead as he dropped his co-escapee.

This back and forth continued for 4 of the 5 laps. As we rounded the bend for the start of the final lap, I drank my last sip of liquid. Ruh, roh. I went into semi-conservation mode, knowing I had 63 hilly miles to race the next day. Another break formed halfway through and luckily it was John’s turn and he rode away with them. I ended up working with a CCB guy, some assclown who is sponsored by himself, and Greg “The Leg” Montello of IF bikes. I did my share of work to try to keep the breakaway in sight. But, as soon as we hit the short, but steep climb, Greg was dropped and the CCB guy took off up the hill. I was done, and left with Mr. Wheelsucker. I settled into a moderate tempo pace. The douche I was with was absolutely no help. When I pulled to the side to let him by he actually stood and coasted! I even asked if he was serious and he said he was done. So I said “You’re not going to finish ahead of me are you?” He shook his head no. So I resumed duty up front and pulled him in like a AAA tow truck. Guess what happened on the straight to the finish? He comes around me and says “Let’s sprint it out.” Are you f’in kidding me?!
I was so dumbfounded I said nothing and watched him speed across the line like he just won the Saturday morning club ride sprint. What a toolbox!
I was thrilled with the team effort as Fred got the win
and John managed to finish 7th in his mini group.

Monday, April 20, 2009

SIP Training Crit Race Report

Fellow KHS'r Matt Moore and I teamed up and made the commute down to Scarborough early Sunday morning to participate in race #3 of the training series put on by SMCC. This is a low-key, fun event on a great, safe course.

It was a chilly start to the day but things got heated up quickly once the race action got underway. Coach Kurt prescribed 1700kj on the day so I was looking to put in a pretty good effort. My strategy was to stay out front and be in any breaks.
The pace was high from the gun and the key players were checking out the competition. About 5 into the 20 total laps, former PVC Elite team member Morgan MacLeod and OA/CycleMania teammate John Meerse inched away.

Instead of trying to bridge up to them and risk bringing the field, I chose to play blocker and break-coverer for the rest of the way. It was pretty fun work and the effort was pretty solid. At one point Matt caught a ride to the front and passed by with a big "Hey Wheels!" Matt rode intelligently the whole race, keeping in contact with the fast main field right up to thefinal lap. You'll have to check his blog to read about his subsequent bonk and off-course detour!
At the end I was pretty spent and had nothing left for a sprint finish, letting the field swarm around me and I crossed the line unceremoniously, but happy knowing Meerse won the race.
Matt and I took a scenic cool down jaunt to Prout's Neck, even catching a glimpse of Mt. Washington.
It was a great way to spend the morning and I slightly exceeded my training goal for the day.
Next up are Turtle Pond and Quabbin road events this weekend.

Thanks to Dana for the race shots.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

No racing for me this weekend. Some suckas were lucky enough to hit the dirt (mud) this weekend at the Root 66 opener. Freye stole a win from Tim Johnson! You snooze you looze!
Here's a vid:
2009 Hopbrook Dam - Pro/ Cat 1 Race Root 66 Bunny Hopbrook Dam on CyclingDirt

I had the priviledge of riding the roads at home in dramatically different temperature conditions. This weather is really keeping my mind in check from thinking it's actually spring.

Conditions were great one day:

Then again, the grass is green year-round on the turf!

Not so much the next, back to booties and jacket:

Monday, April 06, 2009

Michael Schott Memorial CR Report

First group ride of the season, oh it was a race! Tough way to start the season, eh?!
KHS students finally returned to campus after their 5 week hiatus so it was a busy week of getting back into the routine and coaching the lacrosse team. Motivation and time to train took a bit of a hit as there was much to do. I even felt a bit uninterested in racing. If the weather was going to be poor I would have bagged it for sure.
Instead, I woke @ 5am on Sunday and headed south for Marblehead, MA to participate in the unofficial traditional kick-off to the road season in New England. The fact that 16 OA/CycleMania teammates were going to be there kind of made me go too!

This is a circuit race on a peninsula that has some rolling hills making for an entertaining and certainly scenic event. This was my 3rd year in a row participating. Last year was not too kind as I flatted after 2 laps and had to retire from the race. This year was a very different story as our new team was making a huge showing and our team director Neil Fitch had a race strategy and issued commands to each of us. Finally, I'm racing on a road team that actually has some organization and direction to capitalize on the team's strengths to lead to success! My role was to partner up with Fred Thomas, possibly the strongest rider I know and Maine's time-trial champ 2 years running, and get in an early break. This was very ambitious since I had no idea where my training was at. To complicate matters, I had no time to ride on Saturday so my expectations were pretty minimal. I got in about a 25 minute warmup and the legs felt pretty goo actually so I decided to just see what would happen. We all went around together the first couple of laps. The pace was pretty snappy from the gun with Fred and Mike Claus working up front. Last year, I remember my legs were not so responsive on the punchy climbs, but I was feeling good this time around. Then I noticed Fred went off the front with a CCB rider.
Luckily I was in good position to bridge up and did so, although I definitely burned a match doing so. We weren't together very long, maybe half a lap, before the pack came to us.
I'm guessing this was just to feel things out, to see what the pack was capable of. It also was a brief indication of whether I could fill my team role. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have been able to do a sustained effort to match Fred. I drifted back into the pack and recovered for the next few laps. From there, I watched things develop up front. There were a couple of larger breaks, but I knew nothing would stick. Fred continued to ride with his nose in the wind. Mike was still working now and again, and Stu Abramson showed his form as well. I stayed towards the front the 2nd half of the race, but not really working. With 2 to go, Fred was again up ahead with 1 other rider and Neil was controlling the pack up front. I had a perfect window to bridge up and quickly grabbed Fred and he and I set off alone on the backside of the course, hoping for a last lap escape. It was wishful thinking. I was in the red zone pretty quickly and Fred had to have been pretty maxed out as well. Nonetheless, we had quite a gap. But after the descent, we hit the wall of wind which just killed our momentum and the single-file front of the pack snaked by before we hit the turn and the hill. I managed to grab on but was mid-pack and had little left in the tank. Plus, it was time for the rest of the team's strategy to play out and the other riders began to help bring our sprinters to the front. On the back side there was a quick touch of the wheels in the pack in front of me, forcing me wide and almost to a dead stop. Meanwhile, the pack charged on ahead and I had no matched left to bridge back up and unceremoniously rode to the finish with the rest of the crash victims.
The good news is, teamate Ron Bourgoin won the sprint! The best laid plans sometimes do work!
I did my traditional post-race ride to Nahant where I spent some time as a kid visiting a relative and back. I was super-psyched for the team and it felt really good to be back in competition, justifying the time and energy spent on training. The motivation is rekindled! Now, I just need to find time to train!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bradbury Mountain Trail Days Announced

Get there when you can:

May 3
June 7
July 12
August 2
September 6
October 4
November 1