Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mud Dog

The past week or so has been nothing but on and off rain and back and forth warm and cold weather. It really makes for some frustrating times trying to schedule training and balance the road with the trails. I was fortunate enough to get a ride in last Thursday at Patapsco, being sure to stay off of the horse farm loop as it is surely a swampy mess. The trails were either bone dry or a bit tacky, especially on the ridge slopes by the river.

With no chance of hitting the trails over the weekend, I broke out the fixie to get some good spinning work in. After riding around for a few hours on Sunday with Nystrom and Sean P, Gina and I took advantage of the beautiful day and took the dogs over to Patapsco for a hike. Boulder was more than ready, I told him earlier in the day he was getting a surprise and when we got in the car he knew it was something good.

It had rained the past three days so I was expecting the trails to be trashed. Some spots weren't too bad but what I was especially pissed about was the obvious trail widening going on because people were either trying to avoid wet spots or to inept to ride the section of trail so they felt they were entitled to making a new trail around those sections. It's so bad that what used to be tight single track 10-12 years ago is now an 8ft wide highway. Unfortunately this is a pervasive problem everywhere there is public access trail systems.
Boulder says "This is bullshit man, people shouldn't be riding through here, this mud is ankle deep."

After the walk, both Boulder and Riley were toast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dirty Girl Scouts

So it's that time of year again, the time when all of my planning and preparation goes out the window for one simple reason, Girl Scout cookies. I have to say that I can't remember crossing a cookie I didn't like. This is the joy of having 4 nieces, and every year we get the phone call to order cookies. Fortunately only one of them is in at a time, but that doesn't stop Gina from buying everything and I mean everything, we have them all, Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, you name it. And I love cookies, especially the Samoas.

Looks like extra time on the bike for me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Status Quo

Hmm, two weeks have gone by with no posts but for the most part things have been pretty uneventful around here. Riley is doing just fine, her tail has healed but she still has bandage to keep the scab from opening up since she manages to smack everything in sight with it.

Riding has been good, getting in alot of time on the bike after almost 3 weeks off with the sickness. Last week I made my way out to Poolesville to ride on BB's new home ground. We made our way out to the Poolesville RR course and rode the loop, even the mile and a 1/4 of gravel riddled with potholes. Riding indoors to avoid the cold and wind on the new E-motion rollers has been a pleasant change of pace from the rigidity of the trainer. It's almost like riding on the road.

Yesterday was Davidsonville, I probably would have skipped this for a solo ride around HC but the new kits are in so I had to go pick up the new duds and they look f'ing awesome, thanks to alot of hard work from Stearns who also found the time to get the new website up and running and looking kick ass as well. It's not quite ready for prime time but look for it in the next few weeks at www.abrtcycling.com

Today the Elite team got together for a training ride out in Virginia, I tagged along with Chris Larsen, Mike Stearns and BB to get in a long ride and gauge my own fitness to see if I'll be of any help to these guys this season. My legs still searing from yesterdays ride when we left from the WO&D trail head in Sterling and headed west to Leesburg. It's good to get out and bond with the guys you're going to race with, it's even better when everyone has the same goal in mind when out riding, especially long 4 hour rides in the blustery wind. We put in some hard efforts, but it wasn't a pissing contest. Apparently unbeknownst to BB and I there were about a 100 KOM and city sprints along the way, even the all to allusive "top of the random overpass" sprint finish.

About 2 hours into the ride we stopped at some little country store for some refreshments and ran into another group of cyclists out battling the wind. There's a saying "there's no such thing as a stupid question, just a stupid answer". Today I formally challenge that saying. I've always tried not to carry the stigma of a typical road cyclist with an elitist attitude and I'm too good to acknowledge you response while interacting with other random cyclists. But I bet today I broke that rule somewhat. I can be pretty sarcastic at times and so can Mike, and these guys got some of best. All four of us were donning our new kits, flying the same blue and green colors of Snow Valley but with a new title sponsor. The first question one guy asks is, "do you guys ride for a team?" "No, we just all happened to buy the same jersey off of ebay" was the general response. Not being very perceptive, the guy asks his second question, seeing that we were all riding with power meters he asks, "so, what kind of numbers are you putting out today?". You might as well ask us what the length of our schlongs are. We pretty much collectively ignored the question, although I quoted Mike from earlier in the ride when he said "I'm spending an uncomfortable amount of time above 300 watts". But it didn't stop there, obviously sizing us up sitting atop his uber-expensive carbon Look with his carbon FSA SRM power meter, he proceeds to ask what category we race. That got the most response, like "old, fat and slow", or the slowest class they allow me too". I think he got the point.

Unfortunately they took off in the same direction we were headed and of course after a few miles we caught up to them. At this point two things can happen, we can sit in on their group and probably not get our workout in hoping we split off somewhere, or we can pass them, at which point several of them will try and tag on and really try to measure us up. After riding behind them for a half mile or so we waited for a wide stretch of road where we could easily pass them without forming a paceline and looking like we were trying to act all Euro bad ass. Of course what happens, we cruise past them at a steady pace (read as non-inciting) trading hellos and hit the first of a series of long rollers which we had been riding at a somewhat hard pace all day. I pull off the front after the first one and realize atleast one of them had decided to come and play. After the third little climb we had shed the intruder, didn't even get a chance to let him come around for a pull before dropping him. Now at this point you're thinking, typical elitist asshole roadies. Well, not to say we weren't trying to pinch the guy since he obviously wouldn't have latched on if he wasn't trying to size us up, but really, what was he thinking? If we wanted to ride with you we wouldn't have passed you. We intentionally passed them not trying to spark a pissing contest so why jump on our wheels? Oh, well. Mike called it before we even rolled out of the store. Maybe he just liked the kits.

All in all a good ride, good times as well since I'd never ridden with Chris or Mike. I'm sitting here totally fried and wind burned but having enjoyed one of the hardest rides I've been on in a while.