Sunday, December 28, 2008
On my ride yesterday, I found that I was facing a bit of a crisis towards the end. Before my bike trail incident, I started to feel a bit of a ticking in one of my pedals. Damn! The pedals are my next to last set of Sampson Stratic pedals from the 90s. These pedals are the absolute best pedals for cornering. Over the years, they have bought me an advantage in more than one race since you can pedal through even the tightest of turns without clipping them on the ground. I usually scare the hell out of someone following me through the turns when I do that since I can lean the bike over so far with them. Unfornately, you can only find them on ebay these days and that isn't very often anymore. I think there are 4 or 5 others in the country who bid on them and it has gotten competitive over the last couple years. They usually only last a couple years, but the amount of float and cornering clearance makes them so awesome. Now I find myself at the point of having to make a decision. Do I look for another pedal system or post out to the world to start sending me their old Sampsons and cleats so I can forever remain in the world of 1990s pedal systems. I've fought the conversion question for so long now it's almost like renouncing my religon. Do I remain a heathen or move on to the next great thing?
Friday, December 26, 2008
The team is forming up and everyone is getting pretty antsy about the new year. We had some very good results last year in the West Virginia series with Adam nearly taking the whole thing ahead of Gunnar. Staying out of the wind a bit more and learning to be a bit more wiley about tactics would have giving it to him but he did an awesome job. I'm considering doing some more of the 123 races to help him out this year as I'm really motivated to get back to the level I was at before the nasty wreck I had 4 years ago. The body has recovered, but I've had some problems with my ability to really make myself hurt isn't quite to where it once was. Still, I've won at least a couple races in the last 4 years with 2 years ago the number hitting 7. I'm looking to have another year where I've posted in the neighborhood of 10. I've done that a couple times and I liked it. I'm also looking to raise the game on the mountain bike this year as well. Last year the bike handling was noticeably better and in races, I was finding myself looking for where I was going to go rather than looking out for where not to go. I noticed my ability in this was really there at the Iron Cross this year. I'd gotten passed by a large number of riders on the long road climb before the fire road to the first big single track section. Of the large groups that passed me, I caught and passed back almost all of them and even left the group that I eventually wound up with in the end by almost a minute. (I dropped them in the end, thanks to the 50 tooth chainring and the big road descent). I was feeling the course and moving with it so I didn't have that 'beat up' feeling like I had the previous year. Even though I got stomped in most of the races this year, I think I'm finally ready to get the form back up to where it had been, shed the 10-15lbs I've been trying to get rid of for the past 10 years, and am finally feeling that aggresive streak that I had just a few years back when some of the bigger guns in the region were starting to notice from me. If all goes well, maybe we'll have a few more podium spots and wins for the team next year. Here's hoping.....nah forget about hoping, we're going to do it.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
They keep on coming and it's not long before you see the second one.
And then...well you get the idea... It goes on for around a dozen signs.
Finally, after getting all excited about arriving at the destination, you turn off the exit and here it is. It's a goofy little store and they do have a website too!
If you're into little novelty things from yesteryear, this is the place for you. I think they are able to capitalize on the fact that you've just been driving forever and are so excited about seeing something other than the occasion house or truck stop, that you'll buy lots of memorabilia that they have. It didn't seem to change any from last year but it's an odd little store to see. It did also break up the drive a bit and on the flip side of the highway, you have Ozarkland and a McStop. I didn't get a pic of the McStop but it was something different that we noticed on the way back. It's amazing how easily amused you are after 11+ hours in the car.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
On Friday, we got to the course and I was able to do 5 laps on the course and then got myself ready to pit for Betsy and Gunnar. We wound up not being busy at all since the course was drying out. So I did my part in being ready and cheering people I knew on during the race. Betsy had a decent ride and finished 10th and Gunnar at least made the race entertaining after the few riders up front had ridden off. After starting fairly far back and beating his way into the top ten, he started falling back but then made a race of it for the last podium spot. He fell short but it was still a really good ride.
My race on Saturday didn't go well from the start. I missed a pedal and lost around 30 spots right from the gun. I got back in and started weaving through riders as they slowed to come off the pavement and then gunned it through the first turn. I'd hit it just right and was flying up the stretch and straight into the wreck that happened just as I got there. The race ended right there. I was in a big gear with fallen riders all around me. Damn. I tried to get restarted, but the morale had just taken too big a dive. I rode it out with a few others and we had our own little race within the race. I was winning that fight til towards the top of the fourth hill, I snapped a chain. This was starting to piss me off. I trotted the bike over the top section but the couple guys I was racing with, passed me by. Through the run-up section at the top, I wound up catching and passing one of them and then actually out coasted him through the next long dip towards the descent back down. It took a few hundred yards for the rider to finally catch and pass me. When I'd slow down, I'd get off and run the bike up to speed and coast it til I needed to repeat the process. All the while, I was shouting 'I wouldn't say no to a push, people'. I made it to the pits and got the spare bike and was off for the little bit of race that was left to me. At the end, I'd gotten lapped and it was the end of a dismal day.
After a painful Saturday night of getting the backup bike set up as a single speed, we'd lined up for the 8AM start. I was in the third row and began behind a couple guys on mountain bikes. I weaved thru them and going past the start line, I was about 7th or 8th and not really thinking about the hole shot. Then all of a sudden I was in third and was punching up the little rise. The 2 others wanted it a bit more than I did and I came back into view in third place. We got past the pits for the first time and I got my moment to feel cool. Then it was a slow slipping back through the field as we climbed. It was a bit too much for me. If we'd had a course like last years, I would've faired much better, but it dragged on about a couple hundred yards too far for me and I really died going across the last little section at the top. I held my position going back down and even gained a few spots, but with as fast as the course was, I wasn't going to make back much on the descents. I had fun on the day though and luckily we finished early. When we left the course at 9:30, it was still nice and warm out. About 10, things started to get ugly as the cold rolled in and did it fast. I had a couple friends in the collegiate race who absolutely suffered. I was back in the pits after breakfast at the hotel and it was pretty cold. I wound up hanging onto 3 different bikes as people came in and out for different reasons but there wasn't a whole lot of need for us. Betsy had an awesome ride from the very back of the field to finish 35th. This was made more amazing as she'd finished 22nd in the single speed race in the morning.
After doing the party on Sunday and loading up the bus so we wouldn't have to do it in the morning, we zonked out for one last night in KC. Monday, we fueled up and began the drive. It wound up being a really long drive back to Mo'town and from there I had to drive another hour to get home. I made it in at 4AM and was then up at 7:30 to get ready for work. I made it to 2PM and fell completely on my flat and was out. Twice across the country in 2 weeks might not have been such a good idea after all.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
After finally being able to say I did a cyclocross race on the west coast when it wasn't raining(it was still muddy though), Sunday's race returned me to a more comfortable situation. It was pouring down rain, somehow for my race only though. I guess I'm one of those black cloud people. After not being able to hold anything the previous day, the bulldogs hooked up to the course as if there wasn't any mud at all. I again started at the back, but after the first section of the motocross section of the course, I was almost halfway thru the field. I was on a good one. On the second lap, I was still holding my ground, but got wrecked into on the loop de loops at the start of the lap. That set me back a few places, but I managed to get myself going. I even had a bit of a cheering section as I am finding quite a few people who've moved out there from Western PA. Others that I've met remember the ponytail and know it's me so that helps out more. I let myself get egged on and road the tough little off camber zigzag which then did a 180 at the bottom of the hill and went right back up. I was moving past others who were having alot of trouble with the course and I was starting to feel pretty cool. The third lap, I'd made the hill again but had to do a one step scoot as the mud was really getting wet with the rain. By the 4th lap, I was still in the mid upper 30s place, when coming over the top of the loop de loops, I pedaled to build up a big head of steam to go blowing through the mud and the rider who'd dropped over a few seconds before, suddenly panicked, hit his brakes, got sideways and then road straight into my path. It was at this moment, that I remembered Bill Cosby's line from one of his early stand-up acts. First you say it, then you do it. I broadsided him about 5 yards into the mud. If it had happened closer to the bottom of the hill, both of us probably would've been headed to the hospital. Luckily, the mud took some of the speed from me and it wasn't as bad as it could've been. We both still went ass over tin cups and both of us got a bit banged up and lost 30 seconds or more getting up. I'd also screwed up a wheel so I had to pit and get a spare. It was really nice to have the SRAM guys there with the spare Zipps but the tires they use suck in the mud. When I got to the off-camber section again, I figured my race was done, so let's entertain people. Well, entertain I did. I road strongly through the first section looking like I was Superman and then I hit the corner at the bottom with a bit too much speed. Well, from this part of the race, you'll see why the blog is named what it's named. I laid it down and really coated myself well with mud. It was fun though, but this lap had now cost me almost 3 minutes and it was still only half over and now I was feeling the day. I took it easy for the next half lap and then came through for the 5th lap. The following couple laps I road the first section but due to my lack of confidence in the front wheel,I opted to dismount and just run the last section of the zigzag. I was chasing a few of the other riders but just couldn't keep going like I was earlier. In the end, I road it in and called it a day well spent with the knowledge that I could go well and actually be competitive in the Master's elite field, but I just needed a bit more luck on my side and not the bad kind. I currently have a 3rd row start spot in the Natz 40-44 field. Barring a miracle, I'm not going to win the race but maybe I can pull off the hole shot. I've done that before at a MAC race in the Master's elite against some pretty fast guys. Maybe I can pull it off again.
In the end, I'd had a pretty good week. I got to finally meet my good friends Chuck's and Dawn's little baby girl, ridden a couple fun races, met some great people, had a good couple days of work, got a free round trip ticket to anywhere in the continental United States(I took the bump on the way out), got a couple test model Scott running shoes and will have a pair of Spira hiking boots sent to me, and came back to a work situation that was pretty stable and didn't resemble the aftermath of the London blitz. The guys at I-Generator are also looking to have me come out there 2 times next year so I'm feeling pretty stoked about everything.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
More people watching. The area where my flight is currently is waiting to board a flight for Vegas. There are some normal business travelers and also some people who'll look like they're taking a few days to go do the slots. I know you really can't judge people by their looks, but it does look like there is a few 'professional' women too. Judging by their attire, I don't think they're working a normal 9 to 5 office job. If they are and the attire is just their 'casual' cloths, where are the companies that have women like that located and are they hiring?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
NEWSFLASH NEWSFLASH NEWSFLASH
CAMPAIGN 2012 BEGINS IN TWO WEEKS......
c'mon, you know it's going to happen.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
*South Park, episode 119, Douche and Turd
Monday, October 27, 2008
After a bean&cheese burrito and a long drive back with Gunnar and Betsy's dog Jackie on my lap for a good portion of the way, I wound up having to go into work when I got home at around midnight and fix a net connection. Comcast definitely sucks in this department. Someone should put some code in the modem that as soon as net traffic goes down to reboot itself. These pieces of shit go down at the worst time(like today, when I'm 5 hours away from the damn thing). I guess this is why I get paid the big bucks. To go in at midnight and do stupid shit like this. Oh, well. It's a living. I just wish I could clone myself and then pay the clone minimum wage. I might get some training time in then.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Wissahickon was a bit different for me. This was a Murhpy's law day that was intent of giving me the full lesson. Starting at the back(again), A knot of riders got taken out almost immediately when one rider got a very bad start and crossed over several of our wheels. From there, I locked bars and it took a second to come undone. Charging back to the back of the group and burning a match even before I'd started racing, I ran into the cluster f*** at the first hairpin 180. Maybe I should've just gotten off the bike and thrown it over the tape and cut through the pack. I might've grabbed some spots there. It was at that point, the next thing went wrong. I wore my road kit since I hadn't gotten my new skinsuit. Pactimo is a company that really needs to get their shit together and quit being so freakin cheap on zippers. Now, granted, I'm a bit of a fat bastard being 20lbs over my race weight currently, but I never had a zipper blow out on any Voler, Verge or Descente skinsuits I've had over the past 10 years. I've gone through 5 Pactimo zippers in the past 2 years. So there I am, trying to ride and yanking the zipper back down so it doesn't look totally ridiculous. I got into a group at the back and was riding fairly well when the demon gods came again. This time, my front tire felt a bit off. Later when I looked at it, it was still ok but with everything that was going wrong to that point, it just seemed like one more thing hitting me. After nursing the bike around the looping turn above the sand tracks, I slapped the bike down and was hopping back on while the bike was still bouncing. My ass hit at the same time the bike hit the ground and I popped a sewup loose. Dammit, was I going to have to run again? NO! I stopped and forced the tire back on and nursed it to the pit. With a minute gap to the back markers, I at least could make a game of it. Powering the bike through the sand and keeping my pace on the back stretches, I closed steadily til we got to the runup with the barriers. The workouts I've been doing in this department are definitely showing for me now. I was able to come at the boards at a good speed and was off the bike and the momentum carried me up the hill. On the bike quickly and a couple hard pedal strokes and I felt smooth. I closed 5 to 10 seconds every lap on the rabbits I was chasing through this section. After a couple laps, I caught the first guy and sat on his wheel for a spell and then blasted past going into the spiral of death. I gapped him and was closing on the next guy who was a teammate of the rider I'd just passed. We regrouped for a few brief seconds and the next time up the runup, I'd dropped the first and put a small gap on the second rider. He closed it and I stayed with him through the next half lap. Going into the spiral again, I stayed close on his wheel til the final cut to the reverse part. I sliced in and got a jump coming out. I managed a good pace though I got caught again, but we were heading into my best part of the course, the runup. I got a few seconds as it was the last lap, but I didn't press it home hard enough and it turned out to be a sprint between us. We made it look pretty good as Ken Getchell announced us as 5th and 6th. We were a lap down but hey, you have to make it look good. I should've popped it into the big ring and wound up running out of gear so I got pipped at the line. I did manage to close a big gap on some riders though and again, I rode a clean race though my insistence on staying on the bike definitely cost me some time when I could've just run the little hill at the start of the lap, but I'm not at the point where I've been wanting to just quit the races as I had to do last year. At some point, luck might smile on me and I'll get that good start and keep the air in the tires. I've traditionally been a slow starter in cross and it's usually in early November when things pick up for me. We'll be doing Fairhill in the first week which has been one of my better courses. Over the years, I've placed high in the B class and one year I even road the Elite race and gave a nice schooling to a roadie who had way more power than I did but he couldn't figure out why I kept passing him when riding through the muddy tracks in the fields. I'm hoping that the upward trend starts soon. Next week is DCCX. I had a decent race there last year so I'm looking to show improvement in my placings.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Well, the big game is on tonite. It's the last debate(Thank God!) The politicians talk about term limits. I think they should have some limits on campaigns. It used to be that candidates tossed their hats in the ring the fall before the primaries. This campaign has been going 2+ years. Where do these people find time to actually do their freakin jobs? If I took that much time off mine, I'd have no clients. Hmmm, maybe I should get into that racket. I recycled this pic(from despair.com) from an earlier post, but it's a good one for tonite. Instead of debate, maybe it should be called a "Bullshitting" contest.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
For Sunday’s race, I knew my form wasn’t as good as last year as well as being 6 or 7 lbs heavier so I’d lowered the gun barrels a bit. As feared, my overall climbing was off and there were some really freakin long climbs. I slipped a couple groups and then got in with a few riders who all were in the same position as myself. We were just riding and having a good ol’ time. I was beginning to seriously cramp at miles 35-45 but had gotten some Hammer Electrolyte caplets at the 3rd check point. After they started to kick in I was feeling much better. I wish I’d taken them before the start as that might’ve saved me a good 10+ minutes. The single track sections were a total blast though. Last year, I’d gotten off the bike a few times since I wasn’t as confident on my abilities. This year, I had to get off the bike only for a few yards since I’d run into a knot of riders who didn’t understand what ‘GET OUT OF MY WAY, HOT SOUP COMING THRU’ meant. They just didn't scatter quite fast enough. After remounting, I continued to blast my way past riders who’d left me standing on the hill and put about a minute on them before we got back out onto the road. Later in the race, the same thing happened on the last two sections of rocky single track on I was going faster now. I’d gotten my second wind and was able to pass several riders and on the climb leading into the final walk up(no run ups here since they were usually several hundred yards at a minimum). I short stepped it and closed on them to the step in the middle of the walk up. The riders I was chasing must’ve been cooked since they walked the 100 yard step that was only just more than level trail. I road halfway up the final climb passing a one rider and coming up on the wheel of the second rider. Hopping off, I paced it up the hill just behind. At the top, there was a slight rise we had to remount. Once we were pedaling, the other rider left with me looked over and said ‘man, I am hurting bad’. That was all I needed to hear. I jumped on it(hey, we were racing for 125th or something like that) and pushed up over the little climb. Doing this race the year before, I knew if I could keep my speed over the top, it was followed by some fast rollers and then a big descent back out on real roadway. Hitting pavement, I dumped it into the 50x13 and really launched it. Knowing the guy chasing me was a roadie sprinter, I didn’t want to give him a chance to even come back to me. On a small climb, I could see him 30 to 40 seconds back. The final big descent, I did more of the same. I was using the whole road and hit the next to last turn at a really good clip. With two small pops leading into the finish, I kept my pace going without killing myself. The only real effort I was able to put in for the previous 10 miles was based on leg speed. I could see on the first pop which was the steeper of the two, the gap shrunk to 20 seconds. The good news was, that was his last gasp. Getting to the top of the final rise, I could see the gap yawned back to more than 30 seconds and by the finish, the gap was at least a minute. I wound up being about 3 or 4 minutes slower than last year, but all things considered, it wasn’t a bad ride.
One good thing about the weekend was I had a successful race day coaching debut. I rode Saturdays course with Terri Spanogle, an elite womens rider who is making some progress this year. She’s normally coached by Chris Mayhew who was in Cincy this past weekend. I showed her which lines to take and where and when to put the efforts in that matched her riding style. Up until the 3rd lap, she was all over Betsy Shogren and had even gotten excited enough to try and attack her. That move was a bit more than I wanted her to do, but she was feeling stoked. Unfortunately, on a remount, she knocked her saddle loose and lost about 15 seconds in the next lap. That was pretty much where it stopped. She figured how to compensate for it and was able to put the effort in to stay close. Terri didn't gain any time but she was able to prevent Betsy from coming in for her single speed, which I know she wanted to do. A second bike and no mishaps like the saddle and she might have been able to make a go for the win. It was only after her mishap that she started to forget the clean lines for a bit but all in all, she road a really good race. It’ll be interesting to see how she does at Granouge next weekend. A bit of confidence can go quite a long way.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
My week of training didn't finish quite as well as I would've liked. Work once again got in its way. I am having to put out a fire at a new client. Once again, I am cleaning up the mess of another company who apparently is in business because they know how to build a pc. The problem for people like this is the age old 'What happens when something goes wrong' concept. That is when these companies fold up tent and disappear into the night leaving people like myself to clean things up and talk people off the ledges when all their data for the past 6 years is now gone. It's good to know that people outside of my direct area of operation are hearing about me and that they're willing to pay me to come to them in situations like this. Maybe I can start cracking up my rates more. I'm actually a bit surprised some computer consultants don't wind up in ditches more often when this sort of shit happens. I don't know if I'll be able to magically fix everything for this customer, but I know at worst case, they'll have lost a couple weeks data. In the meantime, I'll have to make sure I leave the bike in the car if I want to get any riding in early next week. I'll be tired, but it'll be a well paid kind of tired.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I, like millions of other Americans (at least I hope it's that number) have been following the nasty financial bailout tif that is going on in this country right now. All of the politicians as well as financiers and media people are talking about how we have to do it, without mentioning one thing in the whole mess - Responsibility! At what point are people in this country accountable for their actions. It is pretty damn clear that there has been a lot of shenanigans going on over the past couple decades and people who tried blowing the whistle were shut up. If the average person tried this sort of thing, we'd be hauled before a court, tried in a reputation and career shattering fashion and locked up before we knew what hit us. At what point is there going to have to be a few leaders heads on pikes before a sense of proper conduct is brought back to the whole mess called Washington. I keep hearing people on the news say, 'Now is not the time to be pointing the finger. We have to come up with a plan and rescue the situation.' I agree with this to a certain extent. One we come up with a plan and enact it, then it MUST be time to be looking at what was done and then get the pikes out. Anyone who has been using the situation for political posturing should also get a whack on the head at the very least, though I'm being much too kind. Everyone on the House Finance committee should step down and charges should be looked into. If they are that incompetent then they're removal is justified. If they are competent, but chose to overlook the situation because they knew it could create a political gain situation, then off to jail with them. It's time people start taking these people to task and start demanding accountability and following through on it.
Monday, September 29, 2008
This race has been one of the MABRA's early season races for a while now. It's a tough little course since it's fairly marshy, especially if it's been raining. It's held at the Lilypon's Water Gardens. Did I mention it could get a bit marshy there. There are several ponds there that you have to ride between which if you're in a cluster of riders could spell disaster if you're on the wrong side of the collision. A few years ago, I nearly got knocked in. Last year, I was off form and hanging on at the back of the master's elite. Then I flatted. Then after nursing it in to the pits, I got the pit bike came back out and charging after the other back markers and within a half kilometer, I flatted again. It was that type of race. This year, I wasn't even sure if I was going to race. My lead up to the weekend was probably the worst kind you could have. Tuesday, the mailserver at one of my clients melted down. Gunnar and I left at almost 7am, Wednesday after we'd finished the restoration. This server handled all their web crap and it could've been backed up a bit better, but we messed around a bit too long trying to save the old one. I was back in at 9:00am to cover any of the problems that were sure to be noticed. I did manage to ride a bit that afternoon and then again the next day, but they only amounted to 15 miles on the trail that was more of a light maintenance ride than a good training ride. Friday and Saturday were complete blanks. I intended to ride but work got in the way Friday and when I did go to ride Saturday, it started raining. Not one of those light 'yeah, you're going to get wet rains'. It was more one of those 'drop the anchor, otherwise you'd get washed away' type rains. So I woke up at 5AM on Sunday and laid in bed for 30 minutes before deciding to go. I made the 3 hour drive to Maryland. I arrived with plenty of time to get ready and even got an ok warmup, though because of the registration people not really being ready and not having numbers there for us, we were stuck for 20 minutes scratching our butts before they even started on the first rider. Registering at the line pretty much screws you for the day and I started at the back of a field of 59 riders. The prologue lap starts wide open but after a couple hundred yards turns into single track with no opportuniy to pass until you get to the first barrier section. I got past about 15-20 guys on the first grass area at the start. The rider in front of me was a good roadie and I tried following him as I knew he could do well in crits but he left a bit to be desired on this start and I was going into the grass not even breathing hard. Once I hit the grass, I went wide and high and was able to gain some of the ground I was hoping but a bit faster on the road and I would've been 10-15 places further on. I caught up to one group and then was able to make the jump to the next and then that's where it pretty much finished. I got to no man's land and then for the rest of the race I caught people who were blowing up and also go passed by a couple who had a bit more in the tank that I did. I did ride a fairly good technical race in that I was able to pick my points of battle and road a clean race. We were just trying to get in and in the last tough section, I knew that I was having trouble staying in front of the riders on the hills before the drop to the finish. I let a couple riders go by and just maintained on the top. On the flat before the off camber drop towards the finish, I passed the first rider and then the second after taking a 2nd look back and thinking he'd gassed me, I punched it and used the mountain bike descending skills. When we hit the 1st of two mud puddles he heard me and was shocked to see me suddenly right back on his wheel. I waited til going around the building and hitting the finish stretch before finishing him off. It wasn't for a high placing, but I was still able to keep the wits about me for the whole race and still have a bit for a finishing punch. I just need to get myself ready for the quick punches out of the turns at the start of the race so I don't get put into a position of continually having to work back to the group. I think I'll pre-reg next time as well.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
These past couple weeks have been quite a change of pace. On top of the bike racing taking a turn for the better, I've wound up bumping into several old friends from years back. It was nice to see all of them and it brought back lots of good memories. I guess it's not unusual to suddenly catch up with people who you haven't seen in a very long time, but several of them in such a short time was a pleasant surprise. Each of them were an out of the blue occurrence as well and were completely unrelated. I'm not really sure if there is anything of significance in all this, but I just found it interesting in the timing.
The last time I'd had something that ranked in this category was on a day last year when I'd gotten a Chinese fortune cookie at the Super Panda restaurant that said 'You will soon receive an unusual gift'. Later that same day, I was at baseball practice for my youngest son and a lady came up to me and in a shy way asked, 'Do you mind if I ask you your name?' and then proceeded to tell me why. Almost 20 years ago, she'd lost a brother who like me rode his bike all around town just like I had. He had been killed in an accident and not long after that was when she had noticed me riding my bike around. She said she'd seen me all over the region including one time on top of the mountain near Seven Springs about 40 miles from home. What caught her eye was that both her brother and myself had longer blond hair, cut the same way, pretty much the same style rimless glasses and even looked close alike. She'd wanted to ask my name and find out who I was for a long time but never got the opportunity until just then. Several times she'd even turned her car around to try to catch me but by then I was gone. This was over a span of almost 20 years. She also said, the sight of seeing me brought back some good memories of her brother and was kind of comforting to her. She immediately followed this up by saying 'Please, never stop riding your bike'. It's amazing how sometimes you can touch a person without ever knowing or even speaking to them. Losing a sister in an accident myself many years ago, I know what people can go through and sometimes it's little things like this that help us get through the pain of having a loved one wrenched away from long before it was time. It was odd, but that was a fortune cookie message I'd kept even before I'd talked to this other lady about her brother. I didn't know why but maybe there was something telling me this was one to hang onto. I still do have it with me.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Anyway, back to the WVMBA champs. I got an ok start, but the long road section thru the town of Barboursville makes it tough on the single speeders. Once on to the trail, I was doing alot of barking at riders to give me the line. I even prompted a few of the expert riders that I'd caught to pass the riders they were sitting behind. The first section of the course was pretty much a BMX like course. Lots of quick twists and turns, some fast stretches but no big climbs. I was kicking myself for not using the 18 instead of the 20 tooth cog on the back. I really have to have more confidence in the fact I can push the bigger gears. Having even a 19 could have trimmed a couple minutes off my time, especially as there was several fire roads on the course and even noodling along I would've gone a fair amount faster. I road a fairly clean race though I did chicken out on doing the steps where Joey Riddle crashed hard last year and broke some ribs, arm, collarbone and maybe a bit of pride too. I've had a crash like that before so I felt his pain and did not want any of it directly. It only cost me a couple seconds but I was back on and catching some riders so I felt good about my day. I let one rider past a bit more than a mile from the finish and I followed him in. He was doing the descents fairly smooth and I didn't feel like fighting for position heading into the finish. We were closing to another rider just as we came down the descent for the finish. One thing I will say about the single speed is, if you are finishing the race on a hill, it really demoralizes the other riders when they see you stomping past them. It's basically the only option for us. Go hard because we can't down-shift. It wasn't quite enough though and I finished just 6 seconds out of 4th. If I'd used the 19 or even the 18, it could've been 3rd or possibly even 2nd. Even with that, I'd trimmed 8 minutes of last years time so I was quite happy. Now I just have to make the decision on whether to do the start of the PA cross series or the Big Bear Lake Ultra next week. On one hand, it's the start of the cross season. On the other, Big Bear would be a good effort, one that I need to do well in the Mountain State Classic. My mind might be made up by the fact that Big Bear Lake is only 1.5 hours away versus 4.5 hours. 6 less hours in the car might not be a bad thing. My brain hurts now trying to make a choice.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Past that little political rant, I had a fun race in the rain in Pittsburgh last night. A break got away and spent most of the race about a half lap up. Since no one was chasing seriously and I was not really there to win anything, I decided to make it a hard night of training. I did 3 massive pulls at the front. The first one closed it a bit, but no one followed thru. The second did the same. So I tried a third time and after getting a bit of a lead-up to my effort from another rider, I chopped the gap in half after a quarter mile pull that topped out about 35mph. I did succeed in stretching out the pack to the point where it was falling apart. Unfortunately, I got behind someone who was having some trouble following the counters after I'd pulled off. Dammit, I was off and gone. So my season ended pretty much how it started there. Doing massive pulls and blowing apart completely. It was good training for the weekend though where I hope to have a couple good races in Ohio.