Saturday, December 30, 2006

Der Schmerz

Well, the new year has come and gone without much notice really. It's not like you could tell from the weather it's January anyway. We haven't really been up to much, although I did log a pretty big week as far a miles.

Let's see, highlights of the past week:

1. The Riley's were in town, got to hangout and have dinner with them, unfortunately didn't get to ride. John even brought out some sweet new rides fresh from the Trek factory.

2. Survived Christmas at the in-laws

3. Got in my first fixed gear ride, 3 hours. Legs are still screaming.

4. Hung out at the Nystroms for an early New Years dinner along with Sean, Cynthia, Bernie and Tina.

5. Went to a New Year's party which saw the entire Mt. Hebron fire department show up at 11:30 for what turned out to be a melting roll of electrical tape left in a sconce by the previous owner of our friends new house.

6. Realized I can no longer stay up past 11pm without severely hampering my ability to sleep.

As for New Years resolutions, I don't believe in them. I quit making them a long time ago. You feel better about yourself at the end of the year that way.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Boulder was up early, he knows it's Christmas and he was crying for me to get out of bed so he could have his present. Shortly after removing the squeeker and some stuffing from both his and Riley's toy, the boy was wore out...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Belgian Santa

I was in the liquor store and just had to pick this up for the holidays. If this is what Santa brings you in Belgium then we're moving.
Update: This is not a Santa or and elf, it's a Gnome. After a visit to the brewery's website it made more sense. Thought the Belgian's just had a twisted sense of Christmas, oh well.


It's been a while since I made the Saturday D-ville ride, it's probably been just as long since I did a 3+ hr ride. I think this ride may have also marked the first time the entire team Board was together at one time.

I rode the 'cross bike as I just wasn't ready for the fixie in a group. The gearing was perfect though for spinning, but I did get pinched at the end when Ace wound it up on Harwood and I just ran out of gears to hang on.
Here's Dana in his Velo Bella wind vest, and he wonders why we pick on him? As if the pink bar tape and the teddy bear pictures weren't enough.

The casual pace at the start made it easier to take pictures. Later on it wasn't so easy. Make me respect those photographers riding on the back of motos alot more.

Stop to fuel up before heading down to North Beach.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Truth Is, I'm Not Natural

Yes, I know with all of the scandals plaguing the sport, why would one more person come out? Well, I'm here to say that yes, my cycling perfomance is not natural. I wasn't born with some incredible Vo2 to LT ratio or an incredibly high power to weight ratio or whatever other ratio makes guys like Trebon and Nys wicked fast on a bike.

I have to work for every watt my scrawny ass can put to the pedals. So, unlike last year when I took a few weeks off, got fat and slow before starting what was to be a severely inadequate off-season preparation and base program, I decided to hit the gym today. I like the gym, I just hate the first workout, to be more exact, the after affects of the first workout. I lifted legs as my shoulder still can't bear weight. On the first rep of my first set of squats I realized why my season sucked.

Where had all of my strength gone? I've never come back into the gym this weak.

Makes me glad I started today.

Gina asked me what I was going to post about now that 'cross was over.

Just random shit like this I guess.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

CX Nats Race Report

The Experience

There's nothing much I can say that will fully convey the experience of CX Nationals to anyone who wasn't there. It's just one of those "you had to be there" kinda things. But it was just a bike race you say. Well no, not exactly. Yes, first and foremost we're there to race, but there's so much more. That's why it's taken a few days to let it all soak in and begin to organize itself into a cohesive memory. It was also difficult since it marks the end of the season, one that went by way too fast and won't be here soon enough next year.
After a crappy stay at the Super 8 in Stamford, CT Wednesday night, Gina I made it to Roger Williams Park around noon and meet up with the DCCoD crew to help setup the "MAC Althletes Village". This was a super pimp setup brought together by the organizational mastermind of Tom MacDaniel. What do you expect, he promotes Granouge and make awesome race faces
Once erected, the tents housed a fully stocked food area and a rider lounge fully heated with plenty of seating. Trainers were setup outside the tent and a pit area for storing the bikes, and the trailer was used for changing (also heated), someone likened us to a religeous cult compound.

Everyone kitted up and got ready to hit the course for a few practice laps. This was one of the best experiences of the weekend, probably 30+ Mid-Atlantic 'crossers taking to the course at once. This reminded me of the Thanksgiving day mountain bike ride at Avalon. Everyone just soaking in the course and the company of fellow 'crossers. We rode like we owned the place, and by the end of the weekend, some did.

The Racing

Persoanlly, this weekend was not what I had expected. Warming up on the course Friday just a couple hours before my Masters race I took a hard spill. I went over the handlebars and landed upsidedown square on my right shoulder. As I hit the ground I heard a crack and in that split second thought to myself, "did I drive 400 miles to have my season end like this?" As I lie on the ground in a heap, I got that nausious feeling when I've really hurt myself and I realized I could barely feel my right hand. As I sat up I knew it wasn't my collarbone, but something wasn't right. BB came by and helped me back to the compound where the ice and advil started.

By the time my race came around, I was sore and stiff. My back fared worse than my shoulder and dismounting/remounting was difficult. My front row start kept me in the chase until the first time up the run-up where I dropped my chain and had to stop to get it back on. From then on my race was survival mode. 53rd.

fatmarc scaring children and small animals with the Trucker 'stache

BB smoking it in the 30-34

Saturday was a rest day but we got up early to go watch Morgan in the Junior 15-16 race.

Face it, the kid's got more skills than you. I managed to do a few laps to try and stretch out my back and see how the shoulder would hold up. Bike control was sketchy as best and I couldn't stand and pedal. Things weren't looking good.

Bad Andy taking Dan Coady to the woodshed
on the turn at the base of the run-up in the
Elite Champs.

Sunday came and so did more pain. The weather was chilly and the stiffness was even more set in. We got on the course for the morning warmup session, a little damp but nothing to worry about right? Hell no. I already posted the carnage of my lap two in the B- race. Worst part was I knew to be careful as I watched E-town dump it on the first lap on the same section. Ethan went on to have an awesome ride along with alot of MAC guys, Ferrari, Ellicott, Spanky, Linder and Lindstrom we out there killing it.

I can't say I happy with my riding but I wouldn't have traded the experience of this years nationals for anything. Thanks to everyone who made this happen the list is long but at the top are Tom and Suzy, THANKS!

Monday, December 18, 2006

'Cross nats - The Pile Up

Thanks BB for capturing my lowest point of the 'cross season on video. Sitting in the top 15 I got a bit cocky going through this section on lap 2 taking too high of a line and paid the price. It wasn't so bad that I dumped it, but somehow my chain dropped and got stuck under the chainguard, then to spite me it wrapped around itself several times for good measure. I ran to the pit as most of the field passes me.

The rest is just what the carnage of 140 or so guys trying to ride the course looks like

More to come...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Last Minute

I know with a whole two and a half days left before rolling up to Providence I will forget something. I just hope it's not my shoes.

Yesterday Gina and I hit Sunny's Surplus to pick up a rubber rain suite and some nice waterproof boots. Last year I ran around in sneakers all weekend, not a good choice.

Later, Nystrom and I headed out to Rockburn for a short spin on the pit bikes to make sure they were dialed in. Of course, I can't seem to get the headset and fork tight enough so the whole front end was rattling and braking was horrible. We decide to venture over to the Patapsco side where Chris flats so I did my best impression of an ITT and rode back to his house for a tube and a CO2. I get back, Chris replaces the tube and goes to pump it up and of course the CO2 is spent. Fortunately we're near the trail entrance so I take his wheel down and borrow a hand pump from some guy riding a fully rigid cro-moly Trek 820 circa 1994, decked out in full downhill gear, okay, whatever. We decide to cut our loses and take it easy on the way back.

The rest of the day was spent watching football and decorating the Christmas tree. I'll be surprised if this thing is still standing by the time we get back. Boulder loves Christmas ornaments.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Because This Is What We Do

The final countdown to nats, days and hours, not months and weeks or even weeks and days. Right now if you ain't got it, you're not going to get it.

For that reason I made the journey to the 1st state to hang out and practice with the DCCoD instead of doing some local training on the road out in the cold, alone. That's for after 'cross. The DCCoD has a nice course setup at a middle school around Newark. I was up at 6:15, I don't get up that earlt to go to work! On the road by 7:15, get gas and coffee (but coffee shop not open, apparently never there that early either), and with a slight detour and a call to my GPS Gina Gina for some navigational assistance, I made it.

fatMarc, E-town, Tom, Paul and the rest of the DCCoD were out in full force for the last practice of the season. Auer showed up with a bunch of C3'ers to round out a good little mix of Mid-Atlantic 'crossers. With the freezing temps overnight, it felt like we were riding on the road, the ground was frozen and fast. After some hot laps and some barrier work, we all headed off to a local restaurant for some pizza and make predictions about nationals and how pimp the DCCoD setup will be.

After practice I anxiously drove home to see if the shifter I bought was in the mail. The mail hadn't come by the time I got home so all I could do was hope. The mail finally came and there was a little box, sweet, the missing link to completing my pit bike, well almost.

I love riding bikes, but almost as much as I like riding them, I lke working on them, sometimes. Tonight started out as one of those times, but quickly turned sour when I realized I bought two sets of brake cables, one Dura Ace and once XTR, the XTR was suppose to be shifter cable and housing. Shit, trip to the Bike Shop. That's ok as I still needed bar tape.

Finally get home, shift cable, housing and bar tape in hand I go back to work. I decided to work in the laundry/dog room as the garage is a bit chilly right now, the dogs were so confused. Everything was going along fine until I ran the front brake cable and realized the housing was too short, F@$%! Redo the housing, fumble with stupid cable noodle, spend next hour dialing in front brakes, again. I love Empella brakes but man they can be finickey. Bar tape, no one had white bar tape, so I went with blue, but it was Bontrager. I love Bontrager components, but some things they just shouldn't make, tires and bar tape are at the top of that list.

3 hours later, pit bike complete. Why build a pit bike now you ask? Because this is what we do, and if for no other reason, why would I travel 600 miles with only one bike? I could have spent the season with Frankenbike in the pits, but I decided Frankenbike and I just needed to part ways, a clean break, it was better that way, for both of us.
So a chance listing on eBay a few weeks back led me to purchase another Ridley Supercross. I'm really happy with this bike, so much so I'm probably going to ride it on the road this winter. Plus, it was a good deal and now I have a pit bike for next season, kill two birds with one stone.

Number 2, ready for nats

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What Not to Do

There are some simple rules in life you learn such as

1. Don't piss into the wind,
2. Don't tug on Superman's cape,
(Ok, those two were from Jim Croce)
3. Don't eat the yellow snow
4. Always check the beans and frank before zipping up

To name a few. Well, I'm adding to my list:

Don't watch horror flicks while riding the trainer in the house alone while it's dark out.

I'm usually not freaked out by horror flicks, I'm usually laughing at the rediculous plot or the idiot character who didn't pick up the dead cops gun. But for some reason while watching Silent Hill last night I was just freaked out. Doesn't make 15 minute LT intervals any easier I can tell you that.

I'll go back to watching action flicks from now on.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

MAC Verge Series Part 6: The End, Well Almost

Sunday was the final MAC race of the season. This course would have suited me a month ago, but after HPCX and the PA weekend my fitness went downhill for a bit and I fell off the training wagon so this course hurt a bit when it shouldn't have. Although it was fun, I don't think 4 days for a total of about 7+ hrs on the singlespeed mountain bike was adequate training last week.

The race start was a Cluster-F, thanks to fatmarc's storytelling and an officical that decided to NOT give us a 1 minute count down. Nothing like standing straight legged with two feet on the ground when the whistle is blown. Most of us stood around like lost tourists staring at each other.

For the most part a rode a technically solid race, the only blip was on the first lap getting caught behind some guys who couldn't make the short, rooty hill on the backside and a gap opened.

Game Over

That's ok, it was still fun and I rode that course better than I did 2 years ago.
I rode this uphill with the logs in warm-up but found it was just faster to run, granted I could get unclipped. For some reason my pedals just didn't feel right, really loose. When I wanted out I couldn't and when I didn't want out I was fighting to get clipped back in.

The high speed decent kept you on your toes.

I think I ended up 18th in the MAC series. Not what I had hoped for but then again the competition was top notch. We may be the Killer B's but damn we have fun.

I'd post more pics but Nystrom beat me to it and snagged the good ones. I'll remember not to share them until after I post! I get first dibs on nats pics.

Awesome season to everyone, can't believe it will be over in two weeks. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Back to Back Wins

I scored my first two wins of the season today. Well, they actually came back in October but the results weren't official until today. Both wins came at the Cyclocross Nationals Registration held online in October at

Overcoming fierce competition from a 175 entries in the B field and 105 in the Masters, my superior Internet connection and almost flawless information entry process allowed me to open up the winning gap in the entry process in the B Men's Under 35 and Masters 30-34 categories. The two wins should secure me a front row start at each race where I can make a complete ass out of myself by not being able to get clipped in at the start and being passed by the field.

"I was worried there for a second as the website flashed an unfamiliar screen asking me if I thought there was any reason I deserved a callup for the Masters race. After composing myself, I checked No and continued on. Apparently it didn't affect the outcome of the race, however, others I talked to were completely baffeled and their hesitation may have cost them some spots." - Chris Harshman

Atleast being front row Dennis Smith will actually have to take a picture of me, you would think.