Monday, September 24, 2007


The first 'cross race of the season has come and gone. Unfortunately I was on the sidelines watching and shooting some photos. As much as I wanted to be out there I knew it would be futile, I'm still not a 100% and after a week of sitting in training out in San Jose the legs were two boat anchors. Congrats to the C3 team who came out and dominated their event in several categories.

Photos are up, you know where to go. Sorry, only caught the end of the Men's B and the Elite races.

Monday, September 17, 2007


What better way to close out the road season than to actually be able to finish a race! Saturday was the MABRA District Senior RR champs put on by All American out in Poolesville. This was the first time doing this race and wasn't sure how I would fare having not really raced since June and only lasting 2 laps at a race in early August.

The past six weeks I've been on a self prescribed program of nothing but active recovery/endurance pace riding with some tempo, and the last three I've been in physical therapy all in an effort to try and get my left leg/hip healthy. If you ever need PT, I highly recommend Life Fitness Physical Therapy. Dan, a college buddy of mine, has worked for them since graduating PT school running their Dundalk office and when I mentioned my issues to him back in June, he recommended Matt at their EC office. Armed with a script from Dr. Collins, meaning hopefully my insurance would cover it, I made my way there. Even though they didn't take my insurance, they only charged me a $25 co-pay and whatever my insurance would pay for out of network coverage, pretty cool. Anyway, PT has included a lot of stretching, some strengthening of the hip muscles and a technique called ASTYM to help break-up scar tissue in my hamstring and promote proper healing of the muscle fibers where I've been having problems.

Needless to say it has definitely worked so far. I can typically ride pain free now for almost 2 - 2 1/2 hrs at endurance pace but wasn't sure how it would hold up under race conditions so I tried it out Thursday night on the mountain bike pushing a 32 x 15 around Avalon for 2hrs on the SS with Mike C and it felt pretty good. So now about the race, a few bullet points will sum it up more concisely:
  • Warming up I didn't feel to confident based on the watts required to ride the course in the strong wind
  • First lap the pack seemed to be working well together (for once) with good rotating at the front, I found myself there for a pull then of course one guy pulls through then pulls off when no one else pulled through leaving me on the front again
  • Decided to stretch the legs on a short climb and realized I put 100m on the pack with an AABC rider on my wheel but decided it was way too early to try anything
  • Sat on the front the next few laps trying to get in a strong break, several times one would form on the road past the start/finish where the wind was breaking the race up but nothing organized so I decided to sit in the pack for a few laps and save some gas for what I figured would come down to a sprint finish
  • A 2 or 3 man break finally gets a minute or two but then swells to 10min when we're neutralized for the 1/2/3 field,we never see them again
  • The pack sprint is a mess and some guy next to me has his Zipp front wheel explode with about 500m to go causing me to hesitate and loose the wheel in front so I just sat up and rolled across
  • Rode almost pain free the entire race, hamstring started to tighten up a few times but nothing serious and I was able to spin with power with both legs, I was sooooo happy
The leg is obviously getting better, but unfortunately not in time for Charm City so I'll enjoy watching everyone break out the long sleeve skin suites for the first 'cross race in 80 degree weather and take some photos.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Still a Ways to Go...

So I can't say that I've been preparing at all for 'cross season. Why? Several reasons really, but primarily it's due to the inability to train with any intensity or run. I tried to gather some motivation a few weeks back by buying some new running shoes and getting the A bike ready but it has since sat in the garage and become a lingering representation of my 2007 'cross preparation, lots of potential if only some work were put into it.
Tonight I was thinking about when I first started racing 'cross. It was probably 7 or 8 years ago now. The pics below are circa '99 or 2000. I only know this for several reasons, the first is the bike I was riding. It was Trek's first year producing the X01 frameset. I was actually borrowing this bike from Race Pace's rental stock, I believe I was about the only person to ever use it and took partial ownership of it for a while. The second reason is that this race was held at Paterson Park in Baltimore either the same year or the year before 'cross nationals were there. Third, I believe I went to watch 'cross nationals with Gina and we didn't meet until 2001. I remember watching Jeremiah bunny hopping the barriers on a small uphill and watching all the top mtn bikers like Wells and Gully battle it out with the perennial 'cross champ Mark McCormick. Even Gunnar was there, when he was still racing for Diamondback, now it's cool to see him ripping up the 'cross circuit in the elite masters class.

I clearly remember this particular race too. There was a set of long riot steps that were a total shock to my system as I had never experienced running all out in between long anaerobic efforts on the bike. The second picture doesn't do the course justice. There were two consecutive sets of barriers on a fast sweeping downhill section, so fast that after dismounting for the first set, you were running so fast and trying to make the slight turn that it was pointless to remount before the second set and dismount again.

Looking at it, those aren't even regulation barriers and now I would prefer to just bunny hop something like that. I was also racing in so much clothing I could barely move, long sleeve jersey, wind jacket, leg warmers, heavy winter gloves and Lake winter mtn bike shoes that weigh about 5lbs! Now it's a skin suite and maybe a DeFeet undershirt at the most.

Maybe some Hooegarden will spark some motivation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Actually Gina did snap a few shots of the water during sunset

And Wendy wondering who's driving next to her during the TT


Friday night Gina and I packed up Special Sauce and rolled down to the double-wide at the beach. After a slight delay in getting on the road, we were wheels rolling at 8:30 and pulled into the park about 2hrs later. It used to be taking Rt.404 through Delaware was the back way to the beach, now it's being repaved and widened as everyone uses it instead of Rt.50. Time to find a new secret back way.

It was a typical weekend at the beach, the sunburn is finally subsiding. I took the bike with the intentions of riding both days but training was limited to 12oz curls of Dogfish Head Punkin ale and carbo loading at Cold Stone Creamery. We were even too lazy to take any pictures. Sunday did require an early morning trip to Cambridge to work the fall edition of the Church Creek Time Trial but we were done by lunch and back on the beach later that afternoon.

When we got home yesterday afternoon after sleeping in and doing a little shopping at the outlets, the dogs weren't even happy to see us. According to my mom, who watched them for the weekend, they missed us for about the time it took for the car to disappear out of the driveway Friday night.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Blog of the Month

Dave Moulton just posted an interesting commentary on commuter cycling. His inspiration was this blog:

Hey, I would commute by bike more, too.

I'd like to say it's possible, but you have to look at the reality of the American working society. Most people who work in cites do not live in them. Commutes into cities for work would be longer, and with our fast paced, workaholic lifestyles it would be near impossible to get a majority of the population to trade their car for a bike. I know people who live a couple of miles from their jobs and still use their car, maybe gas just isn't expensive enough yet. Compared to the US, Europe has a very laid back approach to work and life in general making bicycle commuting more "socially" acceptable and there are less suburban communities where the working folks live. Once you get out of the city, it's agricultural land.

Maybe when gas hits $6-7 a gallon here some people will change, but they need the support of the state and local governments to enable commuting by bicycle as a viable option. If I worked in Baltimore I would consider commuting by bike, but quite frankly I probably wouldn't because there is no real safe passage into the city, and I'm not referring to the roads.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

No Sympathy for the Stupid

Anyone who has known me long enough has probably figured out I'm not the most sympathetic or compassionate person to walk the earth. The word Dumbass springs from my lips far too often. I find it very hard to feel bad for someone who gets in trouble or gets hurt from doing something that is obviously stupid and ill contrived. I'll preface the rest of this post with the understanding that I love motorcycles, they're fast, they're cool but they are also not toys and like guns, are very dangerous in the hands of monkeys and children. I cannot ride motorcycles, I want to, but I know I cannot be trusted with them. Every experience I have ever had with them has not ended well, at least for the motorcycle (learning to crash is essential). Gina, who worked in Shock Trauma where they affectionately refer to them as Donor Cycles, would never permit me to own one anyway. I have friends who own and have owned them. The ones that still own them seldom ride them because it's just to dangerous with the way people drive around in their SUVs, talking on their cell phones sucking down 1200 calorie venti caramel machiattos from Starbucks to pay attention to the road long enough to see them. The ones who have sold them did so after one too many close calls and decided it just wasn't worth it.

I also believe in Darwin's theory of evolution and that only the strong will (should) survive in a normal, balanced ecosystem. Unfortunately, technology and a good health care system have derailed that theory over the last century to leave us with a not so deep gene pool. So here it is, like it or not, my story of a Dumbass who slipped through evloution's ever shrinking net.

Today was the Bay Country Century down in Owings, MD. Great day, great event everything went well and the club made some bank. On the way home coming up Rt. 97 from Annapolis, through two lanes of cars, three of Anne Arundle Co.'s finest brain donors on their crotch rockets go flying past the group of cars I was in weaving in and out of them at what was easily over 100 mph wearing nothing more than t-shirts, shorts and a helmet. Now, the act of riding a motorcycle in a law abiding fashion in and of itself is like playing Russian rulet with bullets in 5 0f the 6 chambers of the gun. Now add in the fact that they were going almost twice the speed limit weaving through traffic and you get this. Not five minutes after the trio flies past us I come upon stopped traffic where the road goes to three lanes and some exit/entrance lanes form on the right. Whatever it was it had just happened and all three lanes of 97 are stopped and traffic trying to merge on was backed up. People are pulled over on the shoulder getting out of their cars. I see one lady grabbing her medical bag from the trunk of her car. As we inch up a bit I see it, one of the donor boys laying in the middle of the right lane splayed out like a rag doll next to a mini-van with it's rear end smashed in.

Me, having absolutely no sympathy for the guy having watched him and his buddies only moments earlier, asked the guy next to me on his crotch rocket if that was his buddy they were about to scrape up off the pavement, and if so could help as traffic was starting to get really backed up. From his response it obviously wasn't his friend which was odd, because there were three of them and the other two were no where to be seen. They didn't even stop to help their friend, probably because they were to worried about the overwhelming number of traffic violations they would receive after hearing witness reports. But lucky for them, unless their buddy wakes up (if he survives) and recovers from this, they probably won't get caught. Lucky for them, eh? Sorry for no pictures, I would have taken a some shots but traffic started to move.