Monday, November 30, 2009

Calling it a Season

The finish came quicker than I thought so I just coasted across the line.
I had every intention of closing out the CX season by attending the final 2 doubles. But the real world got the better of me and I finally put the priority list in proper order:
1. Family

2. Work

All season #1 and 3 were inverted. It was time to do the right thing by being a dad and husband and spend the weekend with the family at a hockey tournament instead.

It was close though! I actually had the bikes loaded on Tuesday as the plan was to have Thanksgiving on the Cape then Friday and Saturday nights at a hotel in Exeter, NH a mere 90 minutes away from Sterling.
My dad was slated to come up and take the fam to the Saturday games while I raced. Then we would all go to the Sunday event hoping the team didn't make the finals. That was just stupid thinking!

Instead, I hung the bikes for the winter, ate and drank like a starving cyclist all weekend and had a blast! Of course I missed the opportunity to race. But my biggest regret was not actually the riding the bike thing, but missing out on earning points for the overall series. More stupid thinking! Big picture reality is no one really cares where I end up so where's the motivation?
It was fun while it lasted though and I'll be watching the results for all the cool guys still racing out the season.

Looks like a major restructuring of my goals and race plans for next season is in order.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holy Hockey Weekend!

If this past weekend is any indication , the finish to my cycling season is a sprint away.
I spent more hours in a rink with my boys this weekend than I did on the bike all week.
Friday: Drake's game
Saturday: KHS exhibition game sadnwiched between a Fenix double header plus the UMaine vs BC game in Orono!

Sunday: Drake's game
Add the fact I worked at the rink half-day Saturday and all day Sunday, I am semi-frozen.
Hopefully I can get to Sterling this weekend but it conflicts with, what else, a hockey tourney in NH.
The season, she is a changing!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

KHS Bike Polo 2009

What do you do with a mountain bike team when the season is over and it's snowing? Play bike polo of course! 1 kid actually broke his leg later. This ain't no Sunday group ride!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sunday's Epic Cycle-Smart Cyclocross 2009 Pro Men Crash

Here is the wreck I avoided. It's a blink of the eye after I pass with the Boo guy and it's a crash fest! I can't imagine the impact some of those guys had to endure. It ends with poor Adam Craig looking slightly out of sorts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Verge NECCS #10 Cycle-Smart International Race Report

Saturday 20th/52

So what was left today? After a night spent in Cambridge where I reloaded calories and took an ice bath, it was back to the scene of the crime. It’s hard to say whether I was actually fatigued or whether I was just trying to convince myself I was; a perfect alibi for a lackluster performance. Fact is I was not superpsyched to race. But the weather was phenomenal and course conditions were as pristine as the day before so at the very least, I told myself it’s a great day for a ride!
I spun a few laps again. The course had a similar feel but the sand trap and off-camber climb were significant fixtures this time. We rode the entire length of the sand and it was difficult not to get bogged down by the end. The climb was totally rideable. But a cleverly placed s-turn just ahead of it limited your ability to get good speed heading into it. I planned to drop to the middle ring. The legs felt OK, but my warmup was lackadaisical aiding me in my plan to use fatigue as an excuse.
The big question was, what was the start going to be like? To my surprise, it was set up exactly the same as yesterday. I joked with Adam Craig at the line (he was a row behind me, again!) how he missed the previous day’s wreck. He said he wanted to talk with everyone before the start and stress to chill out. Well, before he really got the chance, an announcement was made there was a $200 preme for the first lap leader! So much for rational thinking. Throw money at some starving pros and it’s a dog eat dog world. Thankfully I was not wearing my milkbone kit!
Sure enough, the whistle blew and it was a gongshow. I was 2nd row in the middle with my hands in the drops ready for powerful braking. I had some room and just worked my way through the gears. I heard some commotion but never laid eyes on what occurred. Colin has the video from the crash. Everything must have went down right behind me because as I rounded the first turn desperately trying to hold on the Sexual Camel’s wheel, there weren’t too many blokes behind me. I couldn’t believe my fortune! In fact, I was so elated I forgot there was a race going on and I was missing out on the train ahead of me. Crap those guys are fast! I was quickly the caboose and gaps formed out of every turn. Whether it was lack of legs, cardio, or bike handling, I was going nowhere but backwards. I think I was actually telling myself to go into conservative mode rather than capitalize on my start and bury myself for a few laps.
Either way, despite the encouragement from Nathaniel Ward to “close that gap,” I was soon in no-man’s land for the first couple of complete laps. At some point I connected with Wayne Bray and I rode behind him but never close enough to benefit from a draft. This was really dumb riding on my part. Then I started noticing a colorful trio in the turns. John Burns (unlucky DNF the day before : read fresh legs!), Dave Wilcox and Colin were working to reel us in. apparently we all ride the same speed because the names were all the usual suspects from the day before! I checked their time gap for a couple of laps and realized they were closing. Wayne must have sensed this before I as he virtually sat up and let me by. At this point I made a commitment to go hard and see if I could at least maintain my distance solo. At my time check in the upper section they were even closer so I knew the gig was up. I wouldn’t say I let them bridge up, but I will say I couldn’t go any faster. So I hopped on the train. Burns did his share of work but it looked like Wayne was really the strongest of the group. After the climb with a few to go, Burns Wayne and I put a bit of distance on Colin and Dave somehow. I spurred the boys on but it was not meant to be. Colin and Dave were right back on. We rode around as a pretty fluid unit for the remaining laps and minds started shifting to how the final lap would play out. I felt pretty confident I would have something if it came down to a sprint finish as the group riding was a bit easier than my solo efforts. The monkey wrench in my plans was the sand pit. I lost touch with the guys every lap. I consistently entered it way too slowly and exited barely turning the pedals over. Colin I knew was killing it! My only hope for earning a gap to the finish was for some kind of entanglement to occur that didn’t include me. Thus, my plan was to run the pit the final time. I dismounted right at the entrance and to my delight watched Wayne go head over heels! He righted himself quickly and was still out of the pit ahead of me, but had bike issues and I got by. Unfortunately, my plan was slow and the trio got ahead of me eliminating me from a sprint possibility. Colin capitalized on his advantage out of the sand and went on to finish first in our group followed by Wilcox who rode Burns’ wheel until the last second. I was content to have won my “sprint” out of the sand by beating Wayne by one spot for the 2nd day in a row.
I was thrilled to have made the top-20. I felt a little regret for not having delivered a better finish to coincide with a good start. But once the results are in, who knows how it came about and who cares?! I’ll take the points and $ and run, err, ride!
Got a couple of weeks off, then I hope I can squeeze the Sterling races in around Drake’s hockey tournament. Until then, I’m enjoying the nice fall riding, but really starting to hate the training!

Verge NECCS #9 Cycle-Smart International Race Report

Saturday 25th/53

Whew. That weekend took a lot out of me! It has been a challenge getting back into the work and ride routine. Spending time blogging was bottom of the priority barrel. After a day off and 2 recovery rides, the motivation is returning and I’m beginning to feel whole again. Best part is I didn’t have to dedicate any time to cleaning the bikes. Weather and course conditions were that pristine!
So the racing was both memorable and forgettable. Start line crashes are certainly at the front of the memory bank as well as the course in general. But a lot of the actual middle part of the racing was not dramatic enough to highlight. In fact, I am having a hard time remembering much about day 1. Really makes you want to read on, eh? Well, here goes.
I drove down solo per usual straight to the gorgeous venue that is Look Memorial Park in Northampton, MA. Sun and dry temps in the 50’s made for primo conditions. I got a few recon laps in on the course. It dizzyingly wound its way on the lower flat grass section where fast cornering was the norm, then after a loose dirt run up, looped about a wooded section where avoiding the roots was the focus. Fun bonus sections included jumping over train tracks a few times. The start section was what warranted the closest scrutiny. It began as a 10-wide road section with metal barriers on either side. The barriers eventually tunneled to like 5-wide in an attempt to get us over a curb at 90 degrees and onto the grass. The assumption was racers would realize this was a hazardous section and hopefully chill a bit as the race would most certainly not be won here but easily lost. The carnage that was the first lap of the 2nd Downeast race should have clued people in! Well that assumption made an ass out of whoever thought it.
I had a sweet 2nd row call up. I’d been practicing my starts and was pretty confident I’d get through in good position. The rest of the course had me a bit concerned as there were a lot of power opportunities and I wasn’t too sure where I stacked up there. Fortunately, there were no super long stretches and I was optimistic I could escape with a top-25 if paired with a good start. Of note, Adam Craig lined up behind me. Apparently his UCI points had not been tabulated yet. I really wanted to just get out of his way! We took off and I was in the swarm of killer bikers. From what I remember, we made it to the grass but that’s where bikes and bodies started flying. Apparently front rower Josh Dillon’s chain broke on the pavement and that started some of the calamity. I managed to get to the grass but was brought to an abrupt halt as Michael Broderick turned into a barrier in front of me. I managed to hop off the bike in constant fear of getting run over from behind by the likes of Craig. Somehow my handlebar was caught in
Here's a video of the calamity. I'm all the way across along the course tape in white.
Broderick’s front wheel holding me up further, but I got it untangled and got underway again.
Funny thing was before the race Broderick was joking how it takes a bit of magic to have a good race. Looks like he got tapped by the black magic wand. There were a few others guys around me but we were way back. We hit the sand and encountered another traffic jam. I hopped off and ran then totally botched the remount relegating me to absolute DFL. I immediately went into decision-mode: pull-out and save some strength for tomorrow or push on and take what I can get. I gave myself a lap to decide. I got into a decent rhythm, was picking off riders and was pretty much having fun and enjoying the course despite the major effort I was putting out. So the remainder of the race was using riders ahead of me as goals to pass. It seemed to work pretty well. If I remember correctly, with a few laps to go I encountered folks like Colin Reuter, Christian Favata, Wayne Bray, and Dave Wilcox. The way I remember it is Wilcox was on a late-race resurgent ride and drove the pace. I got into the middle of the group and was trying to stay on Favata’s wheel who would kill it on the flats but slooow in the turns. I found myself leading after the upper section but didn’t want to pull everyone on the flats since I had worked hard enough alone coming up through the field. I slowed before the barriers and let folks pass (pro logic). I ended up botching the remount and they all got a gap (amateur execution). So instead of working within the group, I now had to bury myself again just to catch it. Thankfully I made it back. From there I really don’t remember what happened. The pace was spicy thanks to Wilcox as he sensed the urgency of not getting lapped and I lost contact with him and Favata after the final sand pit. Colin had dropped off after he and Favata tangled on a turn. Wayne was upping the ante behind me forcing me to give ‘er to hold whatever my position was. Glad I did, because I nipped the final points and $ place. I would have been pretty bent if I expelled all that energy and had nothing to show for it.
In summary, I survived a major wreck and for once was able to salvage a decent finish despite the adversity. The big question was, what did I have left for tomorrow?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

NoHo: Run over Broderick in crash @ start. Eat grass after sand pit remounting. DFL. Ride rear wheel after barriers. Don't get lapped by Powers. Finish in $$!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


This past Saturday was the championship race for the Maine High School Mountain Bike Series.
I wish we went! The H1N1 virus arrived on the Kents Hill School campus last week and the athletic department decided to cancel all contests in an effort to minimize the spread to others.
This was a fitting cap to a wacky season that saw 2 races washed out. Pretty much sums up the whole XC race scene this summer. Oh well, good thing 'cross stops for nothing or no swine!