Monday, August 31, 2009

NECS #7/MMBA #5 Maine Sport Run-off Race Report

3rd Overall

There is much to say about this race. But unstead of winding important things into long-winded paragraphs, I'm going to list them out.

-Mike Patrick made the trek up. He is battling brain cancer and is simply the most tenacious racer I know. We rode together for part of the 1st lap but he said he was having a moment and faded back. Apparently he made it through part of the 2nd lap but ended up having a seizure. Good people like Skip Brown came across him and helped out. He went to the hospital and I can only hope he has recovered. Nothing else really matters. Send him some positive vibes.

-Kilburn did not show up. Too bad.

-The midcoast received 4" of rain on Saturday. The course rode great 1st lap, but was super greasy for the next 3. I did a lot of running. I hate running and carrying a bike. Even in 'cross.

-I completed all my running training for 'cross season in 1 day.

-Although my placing looks great finishing behind only proper racers in the form of my Porky Gulch nemesis Pete Ostroski and former student/racer Andrew Freye, my time told the real story: just under 15 minutes off the lead, and under 10 to 2nd. I was semi-slow to say the least.

-I finished 3rd because Chris LaFlamme flatted out with less than 2 miles to go.

-I was semi-slow thanks to my left forearm and tricep seizing up solid on the last lap. I was like a walking mummy with my arm all out stiff. I had to hoof it down some of the tech descents because I couldn't steer my bike.

-Said cramping was no doubt due to the fact that I pumped up, deflated, installed Stan's, re-pumped up my mud tires the day before. Let's just say 1 tire didn't want to seat.

-How do you give your arms an ice bath?!
-Took a dip in the pond at the base of the hill. I'm thinking this trend that was started with Burns and Joos may be drawing to an end. There will be serious shrinkage come November!

-This was my last XC race of the season and the end of my 2 year Master of Mud reign. All good things must come to an end. The future remains uncertain.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

OA/CycleMania Team Brief TV Spot

This VIDEO Aired on Channel 8 a while back.

I currently fit into the 4th group of rider types: hangs out at the rear of the field!

Tuesday Night Smackdown!

Holy chowder did I get punched last night! Babs had some friends to meet in Portland and I wanted to hit up the PVC Tuesday Night Ride, so we combined forces and drove down.
I dropped her off at the marina, then popped into CycleMania to pick up some tubes and Stan's (first time I've ever had to buy the goop). I kitted up and joined the relatively small (20+) but strong group of riders, several of whom were my OA/CycleMania teammates.
The pace was torrid once we left the metro area and started climbing. I was redlined and just hanging on. At one point an elite group went off the front, but I maintained their pace off the front of the 2nd group. It was a constant hard effort, right up to the long stretch back into town where we maintained a 30 mph paceline to the final sprint.

This was a phenomenal workout and a reminder I still have some training to do!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bradbury, finally!

The elements finally cooperated and allowed the trails to dry. I brought mtb rookie Ty Conklin

down for 2.5 hours of fun, cuts, and bruises. Conditions were primo. The new bridges are fantastic. We finished without a spec of mud on the bikes. The day was capped with lunch @ Gritty's and an afternoon on the lake.

Now that's a perfect summer day!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

MMBA Saddleback Challenge Race Report Part Deux

2nd Overall

Well, I'm enjoying my piece of humble pie. Apparently I got nipped when I wasn't looking on the last lap. Hard to believe, but I somehow managed to coast through the last lap and lost 2 minutes. Guess I faded more than a rug in the sun.
Congrats to Kilburn.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Funny and making its way around. Has someone been following me around with a camera?!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MMBA Saddleback Challenge 1 Race Report

1st Overall

The decision to bag Mt. Snow was logical. Babs and the boys returned from 10 days in MN on Monday.
1. I was not going to be that guy who selfishly dragged them off for 4 days of big-race tension.
2. I saved a lot of $, without using Geico.
3. My experience @ Mt. Snow 2 weeks earlier was less than memorable and I was not optimistic about the course improving.
4. The thoughts of lining up with Trebon and Wicks then hope to finish top-40 lost its allure.
Once the decision was made, a revised activity plan was hatched. I got to spend time with the fam @ the lake, do some unstructured road riding with Ty Conklin, and oh, what's this, a Maine series race? Schwing!

The upcoming event was making use of Saddleback Mountain's nordic ski trails. I have always been a fan of these types of courses, with the benchmark being Sugarloaf's Outdoor Center in my opinion. I enjoy the punchy climbs, open straightaways to recover, and wide variety of singletrack offerings. I did this race last year and had a pretty good time of it so I was very excited to have a chance to hit it up again. Once again, however, I went solo since Drake had an LLBean casting and I let Babs handle that!
It was a gorgeous, if not brisk day. I hoped to arrive early enough for a pre-ride. But per usual of late, issues arose. This time my bike wasn't shifting for shit. Perhaps I'll remind myself to be sure to pre-ride the bike the day before to shake out the cobwebs and make adjustments. After maxing out the barrel adjuster, I went ahead and added tension to the cable at the derailleur and was good to go. With the little time I had, I just rode the first 1/2 mile of singletrack plus a new section they added and had to call it good. The legs had no shock to them and I hoped I would have the chance to open them up gradually starting with the pack.

Joining me on the line was singlespeedster Rick Nelson as well as series leader Steve Kilburn. The course layout is a lollipop in that we cruise a mile down a dirt road to the 5 mile race loop. We were slated to do 4 laps plus an additional 2 seperate singletrack sections as part of our finish lap heading back to the start area. Note to race promoters: STOP CREATING NEW TRAIL SECTIONS THE DAY BEFORE A RACE!
Although the new parts have potential, they were just not race-ready. They were loamy, muddy, moose tracky, and bitchy after riding 20 miles of fairly sweet stuff. Hopefully it'll be well broken in for the next race there.
So off the start, Racin' Rick had his big ring single gear going on and led the field through a short NASCAR loop and onto the long dirt road.

Unfortunately, this is where my big ring was bigger than his and I passed dragging Kilburn at least with me. I wanted to do some heavy damage here and drop some of the competition and at least be first into the singletrack. But alas, my legs and cardiovascular system were only set at 10. I wanted them to go to 11. So not really knowing who or how many were behind me, I put my head down and set off into the singletrack to ride at my pace. At the first clearing I looked back and it was only Kilburn in my mirror. But, he was dead on my heels either trying to pressure me to bobble, or strategizing to just sit in while I took the risks out front. Either way, we had a race on our hands and I was feeling the pressure to keep up the momentum. When we emerged for a long road climb, I noticed he was off my wheel. Not by much, but perhaps it was a chink in the armor. I pressed on and had the sense he was not as close in the next section. Then we hit the muddy area and I had deja vu of last year. 2008 was a carbon copy, but I was the guy tailing Andrew Freye. When we hit the mud last year, he rode it while I ran it and he created a gap that I could never relinquish. Today, the tables were turned and I rode it and it sounded like Steve had some trouble. I pushed it hard through the next singletrack and then came out alone at the feed zone. The race was over.
I settled into a more tolerable pace the next couple of laps, trying to be as smooth and efficient as possible. I had aspirations of playing the "big ring game" made infamous by Adam Craig and as Freye did to me last year here. But the course took its toll on me. I big ringed it where I could, but not everywhere. The legs were threatening to cramp and I had to save up for the final lap extensions so I was a bit more conservative to the end.

The finish line was after a short downhill, perfect for a "Superman" finish, a fitting cap to my first win of the season. I took a cool down spin and sent my legs into shock by hopping into a genuine cool mountain stream, a perfect post-race swim, natch. Wasn't sorry I was missing the goose poop retention pond @ Mt. Snow!

The best part of the day was the familiar faces and hearing people cheer your name. It was a Cheers moment for sure. Got a couple of weeks off after 7 races in 5 weeks. What will I do with my weekends?!

Skipped Mt. Snow

Kinda had a feeling.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Root 66 Hodges Dam Race Report


Careful planning and scheming enabled me to hit the Concord Criterium the day before on my way to my mom's on the Cape. Then day trip over here to Oxford, MA, back to the Cape, then pick up the fam @ Logan on Monday and head home. 1 more neo-pro bike racer weekend for me.
My hope was to arrive early enough to the race venue and get a recon. lap in. But, 1 thing lead to another and by the time I was kitted up and on the bike I had less than 1/2 hour. Rumor was there was some standing water around and talk of a "floating bridge" so it sounded like a pre-ride might do more damage than good. So I hopped on the bike after changing to a rear mud tire and set out to spin the legs around. I rode for like 10 minutes then started to feel the rear getting a bit too squishy. Sure enough, I was losing air in the tire. I run tubeless, but no Stan's, I'm a little crazy like that. So it was a bouncy pedal back to the truck to swop tires. Problem was, it's often a bitch seating the tire. As I was madly pumping, the announcer made the pro call-up. I wasn't panicking, but I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it. Fortunately it caught and I rolled up in the 2nd row and was ready to go. If my legs weren't warmed up, my arms sure were! A Hutchinson Python was my only other option and I was hoping it wouldn't be a liability out there for me.
The gun went off and we packed it down a fire road for like 1/2 mile. I was in the top 1/3 before the first 1 lane section. We hit some puddles along the way and I got thoroughly drenched by some nasty smelling water. Fortunately, I would get a total spray down several more times on each lap! Having scoped out a pro line on my pre-ride, I avoided a slight traffic jam, and made my way into the top-10 right away. But, the faster riders like Kevin Hines quickly put me back where I belonged hovering outside the top-10 and we all settled in to singletracking. The course was a lot of fun and reminded me of Otis. Rolling hardpack trail with some roots and baby-head rocks to swerve around. However, it was not all Oz.
The land must have been around like a reservoir and the dam controlled how much overflow water remained above it. Given the amount of rain we've had, the low lying areas had a lot of water. 1 section in the trail was so deep the wooden bridge that normally spans it was actually floating. If you came up to it, it was all good because it was on the top of the water. But if you were behind someone, they would submerge it and it was tougher to negotiate. This was clearly a run! There were massive puddles in an open road section that were hub deep as well as 1 long super muddy section. But this took the cake:

I ran it each time, but guys were saying they rode it. I don't know how @ race pace.
Anyway, in terms of the race, I made a couple passes myself on lap 1, then settled into a groove and ended up playing cat and mouse with a singlespeeder for 2 laps. He was quick and smooth in the singletrack, but my gears helped me bridge any gaps in the open sections. Eventually I got by him in the last 1/4 of the penultimate lap then I dug in and hammered the first 1/4 of the final lap and made the gap stick. I rode solo in from there for a top-10.
I was really glad to be riding the mountain bike and enjoyed the course as a whole. The water issues were nothing compared to the crap we've been riding through @ Mt. Snow, Pat's Peak, etc.
Joos and I took our traditional post-ride dip. This time the water looked dirty and there was a dead fish, but it really doesn't matter when you're covered in mud.

Good times.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Quick Race Weekend Wrapup

Concord Criterium
Masters 35+
Pack finish
Why did I bother to go?!

Root 66 Hodges Dam XC
Pro 10th
This was something of a triathlon with open roads, running, and virtual swimming. But the ripping singletrack was well worth the other course elements. I had a blast!