Friday, December 18, 2009

The Monkey, The Wookie and Life in the Minority

Yeah, where have I been? It's almost the end of the year, heck, the decade for that matter. My last post was almost two months ago I could say a lot has happened or not much has happened. I guess it just depends on your perspective.

We'll get the mundane out for the way. A week or so after my last post I got sick, I felt it coming on, slowly, most of 'cross season with this weird back and forth weather we get in the fall. I was run down and had a really bad night then decided to race that following Saturday. That was it, the nail in the coffin. I had to pull out of the race halfway through I couldn't breath. By mid week I was at the Dr., bronchitis. Not bad, a quick 5 day Z-pack some rest and I would be back to racing. Well, then something big happened. Leah, a.k.a The Wookie, decided to come a week early and my bronchitis turned to pneumonia, game over.

So anyway, now on to the exciting stuff, Leah. Early the morning of Nov. 12th Gina tells me she thinks her water broke, "ugh, WHAT, really? No seriously, really?" What does she know, she was induced when Maddy was born. We really had no clue what to do. Maddy doesn't go to daycare on Thursdays and our plan was to leave her with my parents since Gina was also to be induced with Leah. We called and called and no one we called answered. As the three of us were leaving the house around 7:30am our daycare person calls back and says we can bring Maddy. Phew! One less thing to worry about. Drop off Maddy and head to the hospital where we hurry up and wait. I thought once things were this far it would go pretty quickly. Nope. Leah finally came at 1:45am Friday morning, the 13th.
We call her Wookie because she sounds like Chewbacca. We've never heard a baby make sounds like this girl makes. Don't let that cute, innocent face fool you, she can raise the roof. I guess I've been spoiled and have a short memory but I don't remember Maddy being this, should I say, difficult? Gina tells me Maddy was worse, I guess I'm just getting old.

Maddy is, well, Maddy. Still a free spirit but digging being a big sister. Maybe a bit too much sometimes. Shortly before Leah was born we moved her into a regular bed and fortunately she took right to it as there is only one crib. Maddy is free to get in and out and for the first couple of weeks she stayed in bed at night and would get up around 7:30 or so, walk into our room and over to the bassinet and promptly scream "Leah, Leah, what Leah doin'". Ugh, trying to sleep, like the rest of us thank you.

This past Monday was Maddy's 2nd birthday, already. We took her out to Frisco Grille for her favorite meal, guacamole. When we got home we ate cake and ice cream and opened presents. Her butterfly cake had some issues but nothing a few princess' couldn't fix.
She got the hang of opening presents pretty quickly.I guess 2 is not too early to start praticing for a career in roller derby.And apparently toddlers at daycare sleep in sleeping bags. I'm sure one day we'll catch her running away from home with it.So other than trying to figure out life with two girls, we recently went through a minor disaster. Last Wednesday morning I'm laying in bed half asleep and Gina says to me, "I hear elephants downstairs" What? What are you talking about. So finally I hear some weird sounds and decide to go inspect thinking somehow one of the dogs got out an is playing with Maddy's toys. As I step off of the last step I feel the rug waiver under my feet followed by a rush of cold water into my nice warm slippers. I flip on the light and realize our basement is now a swimming pool with about 3in. of water filling the entire downstairs, family room, office and laundry.

The next 6hrs were spent moving our belongings around, mostly outside on the patio under an Ez-Up tent and helping the Service Master guys rip up the wood floor I put down in the family room and office. So now we're living in half a house with a stripped out lower level waiting for the contractors to come put it all back together. With a Noreaster coming in I had to get everything that was outside inside last night. So far we've been dumped on to the tune of at least 2ft of snow today, shoveled the driveway twice.

BTW, I wrote most of this last night around midnite with one hand holding Leah.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The 'Lil Belgian and When 1+1 Equals 0

Apparently Maddy has grown like weed over the summer. When Nanny bought her this bike at the beginning of June, she could just reach the pedals. This weekend I had to adjust the thing her legs are so long.
She still needs helps pedaling and steering but I'm pretty sure by next year she'll be ready for the 'Lil Belgians races. Other than that she's grooming herself to be class clown for the class of 2025.
Not quite sure what she'll want to be when she grows up. She has a lot of energy and like flinging herself around the house and having me throw her in the air, drop her from my shoulders, spin her around or pretty much anything that would make a normal kid want to throw up, coupled with her love of airplanes I'm thinking a skydiver/stunt girl.

Next few weeks before the baby comes should be interesting. Fortunately our daycare provider has bee watching her granddaughter for the past couple of months so Maddy is getting acclimated to having a baby around, just not in her own house. We also need to move her from the crib to a regular bed, not sure how this will work out as she can get wound up a bit in her crib and likes to bounce. What's that kids song about some monkey's, a bed and the Dr.? I think this will be her, on more than one occasion.

Last week we took her to Ellioak Farm again to pick out her pumpkin. After a pony ride and chasing chickens and baby goats around, she finally found a pumpkin.
'Cross season has been moving along pretty quickly, hard to believe it's the end of October already. The weather going into last weekend was just plain nasty for Granogue and Wissahickon and I was run down on the verge of a cold all week. A NorEaster blew in with temps in the 40s and lots of rain, can't believe everyone didn't get sick. Wish I were, would have had a nice excuse for some shitty riding, of course throwing my back out Saturday 6:30 morning loading the EZ-Up into the back of Nystrom's car certainly didn't help. By the time we got to the race I couldn't stand up straight and walked like I had a hunched back.

'Cross is just not one of those disciplines you can jump back into and pick right back up with, especially riding the mud.
Granogue was more of a running race while Wiss was more pedaling but a tentative pedaling where the slightest extra power put you on your ass. I didn't fair well on either course, the amount of runnig at Granogue was not helping my back situation then with less than a lap and a half to go, I had my rear derailleur sheared off way too far from the pit to make it worth the run.

Wiss I just didn't have the skills in the mud and floundered around like a donkey on ice skates even after recovering from a lap 1 crash when some guy takes out my front wheel dumping me in the largest puddle of freezing water in the corral. Notice you can't see my shoes.
I went down with both hands in the drink and for the next lap and a half I could barely shift or brake they were so cold. Fared much better the rest of the race through that turn but by then I was so far back it was pointless, ended up getting pulled as the race for the win was going to end in a two up sprint behind me. I think Wiss my rank as the worse race I think I've ever had.
This past weekend was the DCCX race at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in DC. I didn't do this race last year but I remembered liking the venue and course for the most part. They made some nice changes to it so it flowed better and had a good mix of fast open sections and short technical power sections. Still a very roadie friendly course with only one set of barriers on a short incline to force the dismount. I was registered for the 3/4 and the Master's A race but with my upgrade to a 2 and still not feeling 100% I bagged the 3/4. The Master's race started of like the C men's with a crash right off the line. For once I wasn't behind it or near it enough to affect my start and I settled into the top 15. The front group of 5 or 6 split on the out and back into the wind and it was simply a matter of riding smooth and moving up in the group to gain position for the later laps when legs tire and the driving gets sloppy. Going into the fast decent and turn before the barriers on the third lap I have the now all too familiar feel of my back end going out on me and some one says "you rolled a tire". Fantastic. The one thing I now dislike most about the DCCX course is the very uneven distribution of the pit. Basically, if you have a mechanical soon after passing the pit on the second pass, you have a long way to go, like all but 400m of the 3km or so course. Seeing that I was never going to run that far I pulled the plug. This really pissed me off because I was having a good race despite feeling sick all week and still training with the intent of maybe not racing at all. Looking at the result I could have been close or even in the top 10 based on the guys I was with.
I was getting ready to pack it up and go home when I thought about racing the Elite race, what the heck? I checked with registration and they were willing to transfer my 3/4 entry. I found a ride home so Gina and Maddy could leave, can't let that girl skip nap time, Maddy either. Race started out fast but avoided an early bottle neck coming off of the pavement and found myself top 15 again and again the race blew apart on the out and back road section into the wind. I settled in and found myself riding mostly alone this time. Legs were tired and sore and the back was starting to give in to the bumpy terrain a bit. I passed a few guys including Chris Schmidt who's a freaking beast on the road so that gave me motivation to keep pushing. A few more laps of just riding a steady pace picking clean line and BAM, around a tree headed to the start/finish my rear tire hooks up on some tacky ground and rips my rear tire from the rim. Two rolled tires in one day in two separate races, I had some bad mojo working against me. Oh well, I put in a solid effort and was thoroughly whipped.

Two races with zero results, at least it was a fun course.

Monday, October 05, 2009

What We Don't Want We Need the Most

For the most part, I think humans are pretty stupid when compared to most species of animals roaming this planet. I think it's the fact that we are capable of higher levels of thought (or at least think we are) that makes us this way. We tend to ignore common sense, which is nothing more than instinct really. All species through evolution have developed a specific set of instincts that have allowed them to survive, those species that have been around the longest are also the ones that rarely if ever go against their instincts. So why do we humans ignore our instincts? Probably because we think we're smarter than a few million years of evolution.

Athletes are probably some of the worst offenders among us. We're so intent on pushing ourselves to improve that we forget to stop for a second and take a break. I for one am a habitual offender of my own instincts and my body's signals to stop and take a rest. A few weeks ago I had a pretty decent crash on a training ride, removed some skin sliding on the pavement and twisted my right knee as I went down. Get up, ride home, throw some neosporin and gauze on my wounds and move on. Following week I throw down a few hard training days capped off on Thursday with a spin on the SS mtn bike. Wake up Friday and my knee is killing me, can't bear weight without shooting pains down my leg. Ok, maybe I need to rest it so I take Friday off even though I'm racing Saturday. I usually ride the day before a race to open the legs up but I listened to my body and used some common sense and stayed off of the knee. I wasn't concerned about Saturday as it wasn't a priority event anyway.

Saturday morning I wake up and the knee is still sore but it's race day so I pack up my bikes and meet up with Mike to head up to Hagerstown for the BCA 'cross race. I skipped this race the last two years but heard that they had made some improvements in the course. Warming up I realized I was still really tired from the week but that my knee didn't seem to hurt on the bike. My warm-up was less than sufficient and the start was fast with some long open grass sections between turns that required a lot of gas to stay on the wheel in front. Unfortunately, I slotted in behind some Coppi guy who I knew from the week before as having very poor technical skills. I desperately wanted to pass him but before I could get around him it was too late, he lays it down in a turn and I'm going too fast to cut inside to avoid him and endo on top of him and his bike. By the time we get untangled the field has almost completely gone by. I start to chase and get in with a group but starting the second lap my chain drops into my wheel twice, both times requiring me to get off and remove it. By that time I'm almost DFL and there's still 7 laps to go, the doubt begins to creep in for the first time this season, should I just bail, is it worth it to keep going? The thoughts went through my mind several times. This wasn't a priority race, I was already tired and injured and my bike sounded like a hanging muffler being scrapped along the road.

I pushed on catching guys one by one until I was at least back in the top 20 with a shot at some series points. Then, just before the start of the last lap I make a turn to drop down a small hill when I feel my bike's backend go out and a weird feeling of something holding me back. I look down and my rear tire had rolled off of the rim, fantastic. I'm a good 500 yards or so from the pit so I begin to run, on a bad knee which was screaming at me to stop while everyone I spent the last 6 laps chasing down ride past me.
As I run through the start finish my plan was to just stop but Gina was there yelling at me to get to the pit, so I trudged on. My teammate Stephen found my bike and helped me get going again. Managed to not finish DFL but also didn't make up any of the spots I lost.

Maybe this was a sign that I should have sat this race out, maybe I shouldn't have and it was a "character building" experience. All I know is that the knee is not happy but I want to go ride and I'm doing everything I can to keep myself from throwing a kit on and heading out the door, namely writing this post.

A few things I realized:

- No matter who you are or how you are doing, people cheer for you at a cross race like you're winning the thing
- Gina is a great supporter and I thank her for putting up with this sport, that is cycling in general, not 'cross specifically
- I love getting off of the bike after a hard race and seeing Maddy
- Sometimes we're to stupid or ignorant or arrogant to keep from being our own worst enemy

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back At It - Making the Hurt Feel Good

This weekend kicked off the start of the '09 'cross season in the mid-atlantic with the first two races of the MAC series. For me, it was my re-introduction to 'cross after a short hiatus and my first double 'cross weekend in almost two years. This will also be my first year racing the Elite Master's field.

Saturday Mike Birner and I made the 2 1/2hr trip up to Trexlertown for the Nittany Lion race held at the Velodrome. After the first couple of warm-up laps my legs felt better than they had during the week, but I was afraid of this course as the long flat stretches never seemed to suite me, that and my back never holds up. Starting the season with no points from last year is a huge disadvantage, especially in a stacked field like the elite masters. I staged somewhere in the 5/6th row and the start prologue was short and fast with little time or room to move up. Lap one through the rooty section on the top of the course my chain bounced off and was sitting in the wasteland between my chainring and chain guard. Of course, the moment I decide to move out of the one good line to stop and fix it it pops back on leaving me to try and get up to speed again through the worst of the roots.
Photo courtesy of Dennis Smith

This photo is a perfect example of the importance of a good start in a 'cross race. On the right is Blair who finished 3rd. On the left, just in front of the guy in red is me. This is the start of lap 1, maybe 90s into the race and I'm already 35-40s off of the front group. I settled into a good rhythm sticking with groups and making moves to bridge up to the next group. I found this style course actually suited me more than it had in the past. Finished 33rd out of 73 so being in the top half was an accomplishment and I was within a few seconds of my marked riders and my time would have actually put me top 10 in the B field.

Sunday, Charm City, the biggest show in town as it pulls riders from all over the mid-atlantic. Lots of fresh legs in the 84 rider field to make the race harder on a slightly tougher course than the day before. Legs were heavy so I tried a longer warm up but felt I was just dehydrating myself sitting on the rollers. A few warm up laps and I felt pretty good about the course but the longer inclines and rough, choppy sections were certainly felt in the legs and back as well as the earthen stairs on the backside of the course. Another start at the back coupled with a fast, tight prologue and I was stuck chasing from the gun. The accelerations hurt and I found myself closing a lot of gaps early to keep from getting stuck in no man's land between groups. Last two laps hurt, my teammate Chip bridged up to a small group I was in and went to the front after the steps and helped us get clear. We picked off a few more spots on the way to the finish. Finished a disappointing 40th, with some 45+ mixed in ahead so still in the 30's for the 35+ field.

Need to work on the 2 day race fitness but definitely glad to be racing 'cross, relatively pain free.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Keeping Pace

Not much new, lately it's just trying to keep up with Maddy who has one speed, full throttle. Last couple of weeks has focused on getting ready for 'cross. Unfortunately I've only been on the 'cross bike once in those 3 weeks. I did however finally dig the mountain bike out of the back of the garage and had a few great rides at Patapsco.

The past couple of weeks I've been on the Paleo diet. If you you're not familiar with it it's basically the South Beach diet on a diet and is less of a diet and more of just a way of eating for better health. The premise is we as humans can subsist on the same foods that our Paleolithic ancestors ate, lean meats, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. That's it. No dairy, no sugar, no grains, no legumes and certainly no processed foods. For the general population the primary goal of the diet is simple, control the body's insulin response to high blood sugar ans reverse our body's increasing resistance to insulin, commonly referred to as Syndrom X. While it has long been accepted that high fat and cholestrol diets attribute to coronary heart disease and artherosclerosis, new research has been shown that in fact high levels of glycogen in the blood stream may play a larger role in this than fat and cholesterol and is the catalyst for these conditions more commonly associated with poor health. What's the difference? Well, not all carbohydrates are the same, especially when comparing fruits and vegetable to grains. In the end it comes down to the glycemic index and glycemic load of a specific food to reduce insulin. It's interesting to compare different fruits and vegetable to grain based food products. While GI may be similar, the GL for grains is far more disproportional. GL more accurately measures a food's long term effect on blood sugar while GI is more immediate.

Going cold turkey on a lot of foods I'm used to having and the constant hunger were the hardest parts, drinking my coffee black almost made me stop drinking coffee. For the first week I had a dull headache and needed to eat every two hours or so. If I wasn't at home I found myself looking for salad bars to get some fresh fruit to snack on. I finally found mixed nuts with some dried fruit like raisins was satisfying for longer periods. Eventually the constant hunger and headache subsided and it was easier to go between meals with less snacking, however I made the mistake of missing a meal a couple of times and this caused a complete crash. Since it's hard to eat enough fruits and vegetables for carbo loading and recovery eating, I did allow myself to eat potatoes and sometimes rice. The past couple of days I've fallen off of the wagon a bit, it takes a lot of preparation to have foods readily avilable so you aren't tempted by readily available processed and high carb foods sitting around in the pantry.

Last weekend I decided to get a hard race in my legs so I figured why not some long, hilly road race in PA? So Sunday I drove up to Reading for the PA St. RR Champs. Race was advertised as 75min on a 13.3mi figure 8 course. The math on the laps didn't add up and come to find out the race was actually 80mi. What's another 5 miles? Well, since I can't remember the last time I rode 75 let alone 80mi, I might as well have been 20 more. I was also a bit worried about bonking as I hadn't done any longer rides since starting the Paleo. For breakfast I has a grilled steak and two baked potatoes and on the drive up a couple of bananas. After adelayed start we finally go out on the road. The race started out slow and on the first long climb some kid goes off the front. Everyone sat around and laughed saying if he stays away 6mi into an 80mi race then he deserves to win. Well, after about 8 other riders managed to bridge up to him after the course of the next 60mi he still won. For me this was just training and I was just looking to finish and get in a good workout. From the start the rough PA roads started taking their toll on my lower back. Halfway though the back pain went away but my quads started cramping. By the last lap the cramping had given way to muscle spasms. I survived the two hard climbs and stayed field. Took about a top 15 in the field sprint but didn't realize there were close to 10 guys up the road so ended up 25th which was fine by me considering I haven't ridden that distance in months let alone race it. I also never felt hungry or had the feeling of bonking which was a good sign.

This weekend is a pair of crits to hopefully put some final hard, fast miles in the legs before 'cross satrts next weekend. Maybe this week I'll get the 'cross bike out and dust off the skills a bit. Don't want to be the guy smashing into the barriers and taking out the course tape!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vacation

Spent a few days at the beach, free place to stay in Rehoboth but ended up going to Lewes as it's much less crowded and being on the bay, the water is much calmer. Took the road bike with the intent of riding but only made one short trip on it to pick up lunch. Rented a beach cruiser to tow the Burley instead. The plan was to ride to the beach each day from the house but I didn't feel comfortable pulling Maddy down Rt.1 even with the bike/bus lane so we drove across to a parking area along the Junction and Breakwater Rail Trail and rode that into Lewes.

Maddy was a bit leery of the water at first, she didn't get the water flowing on and off the beach and why her feet got buried in the sand. She also wasn't much for being buried in the sand either.
I had to carry her in but she was fine once we were in the water.


Friday night we went to Dogfish Head for dinner then to the boardwalk in Rehoboth. We took Maddy to Funland to ride some rides, the Merry Go Round seemed to be her favorite.

Afterwards we got ice cream, she finally got the hang of it and managed to get less ice cream on herself than Gina.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Prometheus Bound

July is finally over but I still feel chained to work like Prometheus to the Caucasus Mountains and like the eagle that would come each day to eat away at his liver so is the gnawing feeling of my fitness fading away. Enter busy season, the time when the various agencies and departments of the federal government try to unload all of your hard earned tax dollars in the span of about 6 weeks in a frenzied "use it or lose it" spending spree. Quite honestly, this is the first year the government is taking a good hard look at how they spend your tax dollars. Unlike years past the new administration has brought a greater sense of scrutiny and accountability to how your money is being spent but it doesn't make busy season any easier. Actually, it will probably be worse than years prior since everyone seems to be waiting until the last minute to unleash so all of the orders and requests for quotes will come in at once.

On the home front Maddy is still crazy. She can count to 10, although she seems to leave out 7 and 8. She's also getting better at stringing words together and making sentences. She says "I dropped it" or I throwed it" a lot, especially at the dinner table. Last week she ran down the hallway yelling "I'm running" and proceeded to throw herself onto the large dog pillow which she has claimed as her reading seat. I guess Boulder doesn't get a new pillow. Speaking of Boulder, he's finally done with the antibiotic from his MRSA infection. I'm sure he so happy as that medicince must have tasted like ass because he would well up a mouth full of slobber to wash it down with try and spit it out if I could force him to swallow.

in bigger news, Gina and I are trying to figure out if it's time to move. We were already a bit tight on space in this house but now we're packed in like sardines with all of our stuff and with Maddy getting new toys and clothes almost weekly (thanks Nanny) and saving things for the Deuce not knowing if we need girl's clothes or not, we are out of room. Frederick is looking better and better, just need my FIOS, I can't go back to Comcast. I would be nice to be out away from HoCo and the Choose Civility idiots, definitely have some free daycare being closer to my parents, not to mention access to much better riding, both road and mountain. Maybe I would get my mtb together if I lived near the Shed.

With work last month I think I rode only 6 or 7 times, I lost count at one point the days between rides. I think the longest break was 2 weeks. I didn't even take that much time off when my sinus infections were at their worst. At the last minute I decided to register for the Tour of Lancaster this past weekend, basically this was the old Tour of Christiana just with a new crit course on the grounds of the New Holland tractor factory. My earlier training efforts of the week left me feeling like I hadn't lost all of my fitness, well, better than expected for having not ridden most of July. Saturday's road race was a familiar one with one tough climb coming at about the hallway point of a 10mi loop. Of course, we were late leaving and got caught in beltway traffic due to a car-b-que so I get to the race late and get no warm up in. The race starts off and we were almost falling over we were going so slow. Some kid rolls off the front early not even trying then as I pull through I gap the field just soft pedaling. Around a few turns I look back and don't see the pack. A few more turns I look back and see a guy bridging up to me. I remembered him from the Millersville RR at the end of June, he and I were off the front at the end of lap one on the climb to the S/F, when I motioned to have him pull through his response was "I'm trying, you gotta slow up a bit". We caught the kid in front of us and started drilling it. We passed the turn to what was the climb, apparently they changed the course this year. When we did make it to the new climb, disaster struck. Not even as steep as the old climb, my climbing legs were just not there. I looked back and saw Tom Draffen from WWVC and Lance Anderson from Bike Rack coming so I jumped on their wheels. Both are strong riders so I figured that was added firepower but I was sure we would get caught as the pack was just seconds behind so as we crested the climb I waited for the inevitable. After going back to the pack to take a breather a few more guys bridged up, looking at my power profile I basically did a threshold effort for the first 20 minutes with no warmup. At one point they were not more than 10-15s in front of us but next thing we knew they put two minutes into the field in the last 4mi of the first lap. Not that I would have made it to the end, but it just sucks to start a break and not be able to stay in it. Who would have thought a first lap break would actually succeed, hadn't all year. With only two other guys we pulled in vein with the field content to do nothing and about half way through the second lap I had this awful wave of nausea come over me and I was done, end of threshold effort #2. I had to pull off before I passed out while still on the bike, I guess I wasn't as ready to race in the heat and humidity as I thought.

Saturday night we all went out for some ice cream at Oregon Dairy. This is a nice little Amish run grocery store in Lancaster and they have an ice cream shop on the side with a playground and some deer all next to the dairy with cows. Maddy had a blast, she's not much for ice cream yet, unlike her mother. She was more interested in the playground. She loves the slide and climbing on things. We started out on the small one but then she went for the big spiral slide.
Unfortunately she took the hard was off the end of spiral slide and face planted in the mulch. She took it like a champ and didn't cry. Good thing because Gina was in tears from laughing before she even hit the ground.Sunday morning I woke up around 6:30 to the sound of pouring rain. Weather forecast called for afternoon thunderstorms which was going to make for a sketchy crit but I guess the storms came early. I had a 9:08 start time so I rolled out leaving Maddy and Gina to sleep. As soon as I got to the race it went from raining to pouring buckets. It did manage to clear up for the hour it took me to warmup and race the 10mi TT before the rain came harder than it had all morning. The fire station started blaring an alarm that I thought for sure was a tornado warming. My TT time was horrible so there was no way I was getting back in the GC without points from the road race.

After drying out from the TT and getting some coffee and food I rode the 10 miles out to the crit course in New Holland. I didn't do the crit here last year but on paper it looked technical. The course was fast and very technical with turns coming every couple hundred meters and some very tight turns before the s/f. Overall a really fast, fun course that required you to be at the front to keep from having to work to hard as the back from the accordion effect. My legs finally came around and stayed on the front, Lance showed up and was putting the hammer down but nothing was getting away. I was really looking for a split to form but it kept coming back as no one was willing to work. Finally, a group countered after Lance took a hard pull and half the field was gassed and sat up. The group contained my prediction for the GC, this kid Filip. I told Tom Draffen that was the move but he seemed to think he had a lock the GC so I went to the front and pulled it back to within a couple of seconds but Tom nor anyone else pulled through to close the gap and it went back out and stayed away to the end. Filip ended up nipping Tom by 1 point, oh well, I warned him and tried to help him. In the field sprint I was on Tom's wheel when some Spinner's guy got tangled with Greg Faber from NCVC and they both went down, Greg landing hard on his head and getting pretty banged up. Ended up finishing 12th in the crit.
Marking Filip, 19 year old kid who has now won this race twice, that I know of. He won the crit and took the overall in the process. I remember when he was 15 doing this race. Damn I'm getting old. A few more random shots.

Friday, July 03, 2009

San Fran

An industry conference put on by Cisco this week put me in San Francisco for most of the week.

The top of Nob Hill where my hotel (last building on left) was located...
Looking down towards downtown where the conference was held...
The customer appreciation event was a montage of 80's bands. Tone Loc, Flock of Seagulls, Tears for Fears, Sugarhill Gang, The Bangles, Devo and the B-52s. Oh, and all the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale you could drink!

So of course the hat for this year's conference was...
It was like an ubergeek Shriner's convention

The B52's capped off the evening

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Wish...

I was as flexible as Maddy

I had her energy

I were always as happy as she is

she could always remember all of the fun we have

she wouldn't grow up

I could protect her from everything that's bad in this world

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Check Your Head

Ever since I watched this video a few months back, I've been into Band of Horses. Their music isn't my typical flavor but something about their mix of styles and Ben Bridwell's vocals make them hard to resist. They're playing Ram's Head Live this Friday so maybe Gina and I can sneak out for a date night.

In other news, we decided to get Maddy a playmate so sometime around the end of November it should arrive. Not sure if it will be a boy or girl and apparently we're not going to find out, again. That was ok the first time, but I think I would like to be a bit more prepared although, Gina it pretty sure it's a boy.

Yesterday I decided to make the trip to Lancaster for the Race Ave. crit. I'm glad I did, word from last year was that the Ride Sally Ride course was pretty lame, a 3 corner industrial park crit, wow how creative. Race Ave. is apparently a resurrected course once used for the National Crit championships. A classic 4 corner crit run in a neighborhood next to F&M college. Nice wide streets, fast corners and a slightly uphill finish. Short story, raced aggressive and at the front the entire race. Race pretty much stayed together except for 1 guy who appreantly slipped off the front on the last lap. Not looking to mix it up in a field sprint, I attacked into the final two turns. Got a gap and gave everything I had. With about 100m to go a guy comes up on my right and with about 50m to go I was completely swarmed, ended up 15th.

Long story. Not too much different, just still wondering why two teams (Spinner's Cycling and Mason/Dixon) with at least 6 guys each did nothing but attack over and over all race but with no desire to drive a split or create a break. At one point a group of 5 or 6 of us had a nice gap going into the fast backside stretch so I said to one of the Spinner's guys let's work and he said no way. Nice to see Spinner's only had one guy in the top 20 and Mason Dixon only had two. Most of the race I found myself on the front and burning a lot of matches chasing attacks hoping something would stick. At one point bridging up to a group though the uphill S/F some guy sucking my wheel almost takes me down when he overlaps my rear wheel. Rest of race pretty much the same but hoping the field was tired of chasing I made my suicide move a few meters before the 2nd to last turn. A slight lull in the field made it east to ride right off the front, unfortunately I only had about a 350m sprint in my legs for a 400m finish. Still happy with my effort seeing that crits haven't been going so great for me lately.
One of the many laps leading the pack up the hill through the start/finish. Greg Faber from NCVC on my wheel. He did make it into a two man break that stayed away for a few laps. Just before he went, I wanted to see if he was interested in a break but when he rode by I didn't notice until it was too late. Seems he was also thinking it was time to try to make something stick.
Getting swarmed in the last few meters. Guy in blue won on a solo effort somewhere at the start of the last lap.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another Couple of Weeks

It's the end of May already, damn where did the month go?

Quick recap, lot's of racing, not very noteworthy though but worth a recap.

Smoketown Crit - my teammate Kyle and I got shut out of Wilmington so we headed to Lancaster to race around an airport tarmac. actually not as bad as it sounds. helped drive a early split in the field then had to take a lap for a mechanical but not before being sucked up and spit out the back of the second group so I had to restart with them. Kyle made the split so I didn't try to bring it back, a few attempts to bridge across with some other riders never worked out.

Bike Jam - A.K.A "the ghetto race". don't know why I keep going back. course sucks, the racing sucks and this year I met the biggest douchebag on two wheels. dude rolls into me and another rider trying to get through the fence to stage, he insists on riding and can't get clipped in. rolls up next to me at the first staging point and proceeds to fall all over himself again trying to get clipped in as we roll up to the start line. I ask him if could try no taking me down before the race. douchebag wants to meet in the parking lot afterwards, I ask him if it's so I can teach how to clip into his pedals. third time's a charm. as the whistle blows he can't clip in again, then out of no where he comes jamming up the road not paying attention to the right turn into the round about and almost takes out the two riders infront of me. rest of race spent wondering why guys spread out across the course but don't move up. sit about 20th the entire race wondering why I'm even out there then sit up for the sprint since the race was over before I even make it out of the chicane.

Dan Spencer RR in Bloomsburg - HEF2, Kyle and myself make a last minute decision to travel almost 3hrs to Bloomsburg, PA after Murad is postponed. Race profile has one significant hill which we preview in the car when we get there, doesn't look that bad. don't see the ball buster on the backside of the course. HEF2 a.k.a the Cannibal, kills me with his get there an hour before the race. to make things worse, we're getting seriously pissed on by the only storm cloud for 300 miles. soaking wet and getting cold the race starts, Kyle gets bored rides 50m off the front for 10min or so, gets reabsorbed. Make our way to the backside, some guy goes off and gets a 20sec gap. After ball buster climb I work with 3 other guys to help close the gap. get to the big hill and realize I'm really not that warmed up, rear wheel slipping on the wet road then I make a stupid Cat 5 mistake and let a small gap open up figuring I'll close it going over the top. legs start feeling even worse, gap gets bigger, realize I'm popped. TT the next half a lap before Kyle bridges up to me with another dropped rider. we drill it for the rest of the lap with Kyle and I doing the bulk of the work. up the big hill, lose Kyle and the dead weight, TT for another almost half lap before Kyle bridges up again, this time solo. he asks if I was trying to keep him from bridging and I tell him yes if he was planning on bringing the dead weight with him again. we drill the rest of the lap together and he punks me on the line, hopefully the other guy finished so I wasn't DFL.

Legs are getting better. Had the opportunity to put in some longer road rides and the fitness is defintely coming up. Crits are ok, but they don't do shit for your road racing form. Made a second trip in a week out to Frederick today with HEF. Today was much better than last week and yesterday's ride was much harder than the ride I did last week before heading up there. Couple more weeks to hone the form for Tour of Washington County. Need to break out the TT bike though and get that dialed in.

On the home front Maddy is growing so fast, not just physically. She pretty damn smart for a 17 month old and saying and doing things I would have never expected. She really taken to climbing. She can climb up into her high chair so we have to leave the tray on so she can't when we're not watching her. She also know how to stack things to make it easier to climb up onto something, the does this with the couch. She uses the Ottoman to get onto the couch. The other day she pulled a painting down on top of herself while on the couch then Tuesday at daycare she apparently fell off the couch and put a nice shiner on her forehead. We need to get this girl a helmet.

I just had a sudden craving for spaghetti and meatballs, is that becasue I'm watching the Giro d'Italia?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Are You Feeling It, Evil?

Daddy's don't let your daughter's grow up to be stunt girls. This isn't even the half of it.
video

Monday, May 11, 2009

7lbs

Last week started out ok, Maddy was still feeling the effects of her little stomach bug from Saturday night and wasn't quite feeling 100% and not eating a lot. By Monday she was still not eating but seemed normal but I ended up taking her to the Dr. anyways since she needed a check up for her ears. Dr said she was fine and to just give her juice instead of milk as the milk could still be irritating her stomach. Tuesday morning the alarm goes off and as I'm laying in bed I realize I don't feel right, couldn't quite place my finger on it but just knew. A few minutes later I decide I'd better cancel my 9am meeting in Arlington, good thing I did or the fireworks would have gone off while I was sitting on the beltway. Let's just say the rest of my day was spent between the bed and the bathroom. 9 hours and 7lbs later it was over, my body had purged whatever intestinal intruder Maddy had passed me.

I spent the better part of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday recovering. It's not easy replacing 7lbs of fluids, and having no appetite I was really dragging ass from not eating anything since Monday. By Wednesday I was able to each a decent lunch, of all the things I could have had an appetite for, it was sushi so I went and busted up the buffet at Nikko. Thursday I hit Frisco when my buddy Jeff for lunch and was able to put down a few chicken tacos. Two meals in 3 days. All week I was wondering if I would be able to race on Saturday. I really didn't want to go to get shelled in the first couple of laps.

By Saturday morning I was able to eat some pancakes for breakfast but was still feeling very lethargic from not eating most of the week and still dehydrated regardless of how much water and Gatorade I drank. In the morning we went to Frederick for a dedication ceremony at the National Guard Armory where my grandfather served. They were re-dedicating a garden in honor of a former General and as a memorial to those who had served in the 29th/115th. After that we made our way up to Ft. Ritchie for the race.

No boring details, just another day of racing, at least this wasn't a boring course. Warming up the legs felt like rubber bands and as we lined up, I was already spitting cotton balls I was so thirsty. Race went off fast with multiple attacks from my teammates. I was following HEF for a bit figuring he would get something started but it was Stephen who slipped off the front with 3 others. A few laps later I was about 5th wheel with HEF on the front going though the last turn and avoided a pile up when HEF got T-boned by someone not following their line. HEF's bike was trashed so he was out, that left Kyle, Lance and myself to cover the field for the next 25 laps or so. The team rode hard, countered moves, prevented any real chase from forming and Stephen stayed away but unfortunately didn't get the win. Last lap I was sitting on the wheel of Coppi's Jason Hall since he's usually a pretty good sprinter but following him into the last turn he over cooks it and goes down, sliding right in my line. I have to swing wide but then see Steve Fife slam into and endo over Jason forcing me to keep riding right off the course into the grass. To sum it up as Steve put it, "I raced around for an hour to be crashed out in the last 5 seconds". At least this week I didn't go down or ruin a tubular trying to avoid going down.

A few pics from the race