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July 19, 2006

more vacation photos

got back in last night. long flight. michelle and i weren't next to each other on the last flight (detroit to seattle) and the woman next to her on the isle wouldn't trade for my isle seat. what's up with that?

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July 16, 2006

pool party

had a pool party and a birthday party for one of our hosts. good times. for my part, i celebrated with a cigar and a number of cold beers.

we're here for two more days and then back to seattle on tuesday. what adventures await us is unknown now.

don't forget to vote in the seabass vs ditka poll. seabass is currently staying with our friends RC2K and phatduck. according to RC2K she has adjusted to being cat-sat by them.

at this moment she is sitting atop her scratching post like a lion. she doesn't go under the bed much now. she runs around the apt going crazy most of the time, knocking things over and chasing anything that moves.

July 12, 2006

cracked

michelle cracked today. new york burnout.

started out with a wicked croissant from a french bakery on our way to the subway. damned good croissant. perhaps my best yet. i love french bakeries.

went down to SOHO. cool neighborhood. fun to see all the shops. tough to justify shopping when you don't have a job. and the clothes at H&M were just kinda cheap.

we had lunch at a wicked cuban place down there.

continuing the cuban theme we went up to find this guy, selling cigars on the street. critchlow got some last year and they're a steal. he wasn't there though. called him later on, when i could get his phone number, and he doesn't sell on the street when it rains. damn.

and rain it did. michelle and i were on our way back from the sardine can of the subway when it started dumping. we made it to a cafe and had something to eat and drink while we waited (some 30-45 minutes) for the rain to stop. damn!

dinner tonight will be at the atlantic grill up here on upper east side.

July 10, 2006

it all comes back to pick-a-bagel

post elite nationals, michelle and i travelled to NYC.

we're staying with my cousin, anders. smart guy. really smart. got an undergrad degree from yale, the credits for half of which were based on a book he wrote. now he's working on a PhD at harvard. we had all sorts of fun conversations. see, i'm the type of guy, who does math calculations and what not when i'm bored during bike races. so theorizing is great fun for me. he made a great parallel between the brinksmanship of coldwar nuclear politics and some of the tactics of bicycle racing.

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July 8, 2006

elite roller-luge national championsihps

we got some tickets to do the roler-luge thing that they have at the resort. pretty fun stuff. morgan was smoked by a little girl. i came back from an early deficit to beat solomon in the first round. chad handily bested j-mo in the first round. in the second round i took an early lead over chad but then lost it when i got a little nervous in "the drop" but regained my composure late and passed him for the championship.

July 6, 2006

adventures in pennsylvania

chillin' in somerset, pa. not a whole heck of a lot to do. they have oln but no tour de france on this oln. damn!

so, on the fourth we flew into pittsburgh where we spent the night. the next morning we packed it back up and headed out to somerset.

yesterday we headed up to the resort where the week of nationals is based to get our packets and preview the time trial course for justin. the time trial course undulated and turned through the forest and farmlands. it was simply brutal. i can hardly imagine having to race that as a time trial.

today justin and chad got up early and went out to the time trial. justin rode to 18th place. our local competition, ian mckissick won and kenny williams was third. not bad.

this afternoon we went out to preview the course for saturday's road race. tough course. it is likely to be a rough race of attrition as the rolling terrain is relentless.

getting food in this town is a little rough. went to a diner last night where the only options were various fried or "grilled" meats with a potatoe. we did manage, however, to find a great little italian take out place that was inexpensive and good. penne with vegentables and chicken. not heavy at all!

in the process of getting our food we helped push a minivan out of the parking lot 'cause it was out of gas. adventures in pennsylvania.

June 17, 2006

goin' home

i'm heading home from minneapolis. after my bad luck in the second stage i decided to pack it in and head home rather than hang around for a couple more days.

the fhcrc folks that i interviewed with a bit ago called and need temporary help for two weeks, so getting home will help me with that. startin' on monday. i'll probably be doing a lot of office support and what not. they need help with a bunch of grant applications and i'm sure i'll be helping with the menial and grunt work. that's all fine though. it'll be a good opportunity to get inside the organization and make a little money at the same time.

balancing work, relationship and training will be interesting. haven't had to balance three. balanced work and training for a couple years, but a relationship was never a factor.

June 16, 2006

nature valley grand prix minneapolis criterium

it was insane! other worldly hail, rain, lightning and wind, all at the same time! the pro men raced for 20 minutes at which point the field was reduced to 50 or so and the race was finished early. both our guys finished in the main group.

the sheets of rain were unbelievable.

Nature Valley Grand Prix Stage Two

not a good day. the short of it is i've had a bug for a bit and it is preventing food from moving properly through my digestive system. as a result, i couldn't eat yesterday without feeling like i was going to throw up. so, i hit the race without a full tank. i tried to compensate by eating often and early but that made me want to throw up too.

i was riding well, in the main group until i finally just ran out of juice. i could ride at an endurance pace, where most of the energy is provided by fat stores. but as soon as i had to up the effort, i had no energy. in the end i came in a ways back. to add insult to injury i was placed in the wrong group and ended up being time cut from the race.

chad rode well and finished with the main group. owen would have but got crashed out and finished alone (and was also placed in the wrong group in the results). those two are the only ones left to race.

i still feel sick and can't eat, so i don't know what i'm going to do.

June 15, 2006

pleasurable time trialing

Photo ©: Frank Rowe

tough to stay in an aero position on a standard bike.

June 14, 2006

nature valley grand prix time trial

had the old nature valley grand prix time trial today. 4.5 miles along the mississippi river next to downtown st paul.

big fisch and i had a challenge. he had all the tt equipment and i had none. bets were placed on who would get the better time.

last year i went out too hard to start and really hit the wall on the way back. this time i decided to be a bit more conservative and moderate my efforts early to ride strong the whole way through. i think i did that successfully. i rode just below cracking for the bulk of the time. i probably could have pushed through it a bit more, but who knows. i'm learning what the well tuned time trial effort feels like.

anyway i improved on my time of 10:31, finishing 10:07. when i crossed the line however, i saw 9:39 on the clock next to my number, so i don't know. is it possible that they made a mistake? i am positive that is what i saw. ah well.

now big fisch, or the pale horse as we like to call him. he managed a 9:34, unofficially. so, he took me (and chad's $5) by a ways. what a shame.

early reports that chad and justin had busted into the top ten proved wrong. the announcers were just blowing smoke. we got all excited for nada.

June 13, 2006

nature valley grand prix

i'm chillin' at host housing here in wayzata, a suburb of minneapolis.

NVGP is a five day stage race, starting with a time trial tomorrow. there are two road races, thursday and saturday and two crits, friday and sunday. i typed up a run down on the plane but then my computer locked up and i lost it all.

we got in at about 300. i drove all around the airport trying to get back to the terminal where the guys were at. after two laps, i figured it out. confusing airport. got to the host housing by 500. made a trip to whole foods to get some good eats and then we went out for a nice ride. found some sweet riding out in the country side. ah yeah. i love getting into a new area and riding around the country side at dust. it's a sweet thing.

dinner was a chaotic affair with four guys trying to cook four pasta sauces. mine was the best.

May 23, 2006

take it easy, take it slow

i'm back home, sitting in my typical spot at the dining table, drinking some solid zoka coffee and listening to gregory isaacs and dennis brown.

Gonna take a little at a time
just enough now just enough
Gonna take a little at a time
just enough now just enough
No bother with your runnin up and down
Take it easy take it slow
No bother with your runnin up and down
Take it easy take it slow
This race is not for the swift now
But the ones who endure it yeah

we had a great day of travel yesterday. brilliant. since we'd been getting up at 600 for the races all weekend, it was nothing to do it for the travel. we were packed and ready to go a solid 30 minutes early. nice. got on the road for the 3 hour trek from russellville to tulsa. parked in front of a no parking sign and got broadmark junk-show going. owen got check in and off to his flight. we got checked in and off to chill 3 hours until our flight. sweet.

we found a sweet bakey for lunch. from there we made it over to an albertsons for a couple six packs of dos equis and got to a park that we saw when we were arriving. drinking beer in the park, taking it easy and taking it slow. ah yeah. beer was on sale too. pictures after the jump.

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May 21, 2006

tri-peaks stage three

third stage of the tri-peaks stage race. dubbed "cardiac arrest" it featured a brutal 2.5 mile climb up mt nebo, a looming hunk of a hill overlooking russellville and dardanelle.

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May 20, 2006

the good, the bad

second stage of the tri-peaks stage race. 92 mile road race with three climbs.

pace was rather brisk on the way out to petit jean, the first climb of the day. on the climb however, it wasn't so bad. i was hurtin', but i'm always hurtin' on the hills. its what i do! after that climb i flatted. got a wheel change and got back into the pack rather quickly with some help from justin.

i don't know when, but a big (20+ riders) got off with solomon in the mix. woulda been nice to have andy in there, as solomon was down on time from the crit. ah well. the pack pretty much chilled out after that. the mercy team chased for a while but didn't really put a dent into the lead of the group. tough to put the hurt on a break of 20 that's working well.

a few miles from the penultimate climb we made a right hand turn. i was on the outside left. the guy just behind me and to my right failed to turn and ran into me. i mighta kept it up from there but i hit some gravel and i lost it. i pitched over the bars. i got up and dusted myself off. checked myself out, checked out my bike and i was just fine. hopped back on and started chasing. got to the caravan and picked my way through. got on just at the base of the climb, in the back. damn. i suffered until cracking just shy of the top where i lost quite a lot of time. i stayed in front of the caravan and planned to use it to get back in. no dice. there were but three caravan cars. damn. suffered the 20 miles back to the finish. too bad too, cause i was feelin' alright until i went down.

guess my fall looked bad too, 'cause lots of riders where asking my teammates if i was ok. they all thought i did a major face plant. aparently i'm reasonably good at crashing as i really came out of it just fine although it could have been a collar bone break or a major face road rash. ouch.

May 19, 2006

tri-peaks crit

first stage of the three stage tri-peaks stage race here in russellville, arkansas.

got to the crit and packet pick-up early and breezed through it. it was on the campus of arkansas technical university and so we took refuge from the unbearable heat in the library.

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russellville chillin'

not much to report, really. went for a nice hour or so spin this morning to help the legs a bit. makes it easier to warm up for the crit later tonight. in the meantime, i'm we're dodging the heat and chillin' out.

chad has everybody interested in his clam spaghetti. that garlic smells good!

we watched troy earlier. great story. i think the movie is rather cheesy. for one thing, why do these guys all have brittish and scottish accents? they're greek! the actor's heritage doesn't explain it. rather, this was a concerted effort. why? odd, eh? what effect were they attempting to achieve? for those who didn't notice, what does that say about your associations with the brittish accent?

still waiting to hear from the FHCRC about my job prospects there. my summer plans rather hinge on that information...

May 18, 2006

fayetteville to russellville

got the fellas packed up and on the rode today. we bid adieu to our lovely homes and hosts in fayetteville and made the two hour drive to russellville. we're staying at a nice home on the dardanelle "lake" (a damned river, if i ever saw one). it's warmer down here. a solid 5 degrees warmer. i guess we're looking at 90°-ish temperatures. the crit is in the evening on friday, but the road races are all early morning.

the terrain changed considerably as we moved south. fayetteville is really right on the edge of the ozarks. there are plenty of hills and "mountains" and fayetteville itself is situated right on a rather steep hillside. those hills are deceptive. you can gain a considerable amount of elevation and not really realize it because the hills roll so much. things are a lot flatter around here. but there are still ranges of hills that pop out of the flood plains, mt nebo is a good one. highest point in arkansas. we're gonna climb that one on sunday.

May 17, 2006

floatin'

went and floated the mulberry. ah yeah, the good life.

May 16, 2006

JMSR photos

master wordsmiths struggle to find words more than 4 letters long

chad gets his pre-race pep talk from the lady friend (in the walmart parking lot where the race started)

river/resevoir near our favorite loop.

the zion church, established 1850

JMSR wrap-up

all in all, not a bad race. any NRC (national race calendar, ie pro) top ten finish we get is good. this brings us up to 3 for the last two races. not bad at all. not what we were doing last year, but hey, that was unusual.

i think the race has outgrown itself and the promoter is aware of that. he knows he shouldn't have let in 200 riders and it sounds like he's going to split the race into two races: pro/1 and categry 1/2. not a bad idea. i'd make it just category 2. but nobody is asking me. they should. hell, if the bush administration had asked me before this iraq boondogle i'd have told them there were no wmd's and that the political outcome would be chaos and murder. but they didn't. i wrote letters though. i digress.

results were pretty messed up at the race too. this wasn't really the promoter's fault and he said he thinks it will be better next year. before the second road stage wherry was telling me that two of their riders who never picked up their packets or signed in before the stage were awarded top ten finishes in the first stage. he joked that now they had to defend their places. i said that was going to be tough cause they probably woudn't be able to make any of the splits or breaks. yeah, that's rough.

the courses are solid though. love the courses. quite challenging. the competition was tougher this year. my 9:55 was worth 40th place last year. this year it was 80th or so. big difference. hell, i beat last year's time by 15 seconds and finished 20 places further back.

we're excited and determined for next week's race. we have a good group of guys who are eager to work together. ah yeah!

porchin'

just sittin' around fayetteville. porchin' as i call it. man, if i lived in fayetteville, i could spend a lot of time porchin' it with a good beer in my hand and a little reggae in the back. ah yeah.

as it is, i'm porchin' it with some oatmeal, coffee, laptop and a water bottle. got my vitamins too.

yesterday was rather uneventful. went on a sweet spin with paxton, owen and andy. beautiful country side here. the drivers were pretty nice too. a wave goes a long ways out here. today looking to ride a bit longer and also get out on the water for some canoeing. ah yeah!

we played some poker last night. went over to some friend's of paxton and leslie's. they were good. leslie and i cleaned them out though. i won two hands and pretty much laid low for the rest. how does it go? gotta know when to hold 'em...

one of my major goals for the week is to not eat too many girlscout cookies.

May 15, 2006

JMSR stage 4

downtown criterium. this is a fun race, in a vibrant downtown core of a nice town. lots of folks out watching. brutal course. survival was the name of the game.

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May 14, 2006

JMSR stage 3

uphill time trial. my favorite! we finished the morning race at 1130 or so and ate and rested until leaving at 400 for our 600 time trial.

not much to report. for most of us, the goal was not to get time cut. andrew needed to put in his best effort. warming up on the cyclops trainers that were provided was simply a test in brutality. we were tired and sitting on a trainer was the last thing we wanted to do. but it was the only real option as the time trial start was at the bottom of a steep hill on one side and the time trial on the other. damn.

i moderated my efforts well to be able to ride a consistent pace though the whole tt and put in a decent effort. probably not my best possible time but i avoided my normal mistake of going too hard early and paying double for it later. at 9:55, i beat my time of last year by 15 seconds. not bad. fischer came in 15 seconds ahead of me, putting him in 44th place, and 1:21 off the leader. i'm in 89th at 10:21.

JMSR stage 2

this second 92 mile stage started at 800 am, a short 14 hours after the previous day's 110 mile race. nice. real nice.

the race is a rolling 10 miles out to an undulating 23 mile circuit which we complete 3 times and then return to the start. the circuit features a short steep (10-15% perhaps) wall. that wall is followed by a short descent and then several miles of stair stepping climbs which prove to be far more challenging than the steep wall.

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May 13, 2006

JMSR stage 1

first stage of the joe martin stage race is 110 mile, starting in a walmart parking lot at 145 in the afternoon.

the stage features a few shortish climbs and rolling terrain on its way to a long climb over mount gaylor. then it is a net downhill to the finish in downtown fayetteville.

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May 12, 2006

me in cyclingnews.com

flowin' mojo

first race of the joe martin stage race is today.

yesterday consisted of sleeping in (until chad woke me up at 1000) with a grocery run request. that's the thing about having the van keys, i guess. made some zoka coffee in my travel french press (that thing is a life saver) and went out to the local coop (another life saver) for some good food stuffs.

got the guys together for a great ride in the local countryside. chad was nearly taken down by a pack of 5 rabid dogs. last year these dogs scared dustin macburnie so much that he sqealed like a girl.

registration was awesome as we arrived promptly at 600 and were the first ones to be registered. back on schedule, ah yeah. went to the manager's meeting with paxton and leslie who are my hosts and will be helping us with logistics and feeds at this and next week's race. pretty much a non-event. however, the promoter allowed 210 riders to register. that's too many riders so to cut the field size down so he'll have to impliment a 15% time cut. that means that riders who finish more than 15% behind the winner will not be allowed to continue the race. not a big deal in most of the long road stages as it means being down by 45 minutes or so. but in the time trial a 15% difference isn't a whole lot when you consider the difference between most of the amateurs and the top pros (or even the lesser pros and the top pros). there will be some unhappy people at this race. folks paid a lot of money and came from great distances to be in this.

so, this morning i made more coffee and am eating some oatmeal with apples. great stuff. got some good flow going. haven't had good flow since i left for san diego. been weighing in at a solid 168-170 pounds (which would have been awesome last year) since i got back. well this morning, i'm back in the 165 range. ah yeah! got my mojo working now!

May 10, 2006

not a united airlines fan

i write this as i sit on a flight from seattle to chicago. my flight was supposed to go to tulsa via denver, but such was not our luck.

typically, i can check-in for my flight through the e-ticket consoles. did it two weeks ago on my way to san diego. have done it for the last to years of traveling to bike races on united flights. not any more. the procedure has changed. For some undisclosed reason (other than “because”) a person with oversized baggage and bikes has to go through the old-school “special services” line; the line with 3 folks helping some 20 odd passengers. justin, chad and i all languished in that line for a solid 30-40 minutes, while the deadline to get onto our flight passed (i thought we had enough time). anyway, she booked me onto a flight leaving an hour later and arriving to Tulsa two hours later. Justin and chad got onto this flight as well, going stand-by. good thing too, ‘cause their flight would have been into tulsa at 900! It’s a two hour drive from there to our host housing.

baffling to me why united has chosen to make their check-in system less flexible. the extra time to check our bikesat the e-ticket kiosk is pretty minimal, considering they’re already checking luggage there anyway. It makes no sense. I was assured that there was a reason, although it was not forthcoming. the poor african fellow in front of me was in a rough spot. his bag was 13 pounds overweight so they were going to charge him $500! i kid you not, $500! for 13 pounds! now that’s out there.

i tell you, i’ll fly southwest any time i can. cheaper fares and more reasonable service. It’s a win win.

i asked the attendant to fill my water bottle. she was happy to oblige and took my bottle to the back. she handed it back to me and when i tipped it up to my mouth, the bulk of the water spilled down the front of me. She’d not secured the top at all. well damn; wet crotch on a full flight.

i got the emergency exit row, however. lots of leg space!

April 3, 2006

frozen pictures

the tt and circuit race were both run at the spokane raceway, which had some crazy cool garbage and junk laying about.

frozen road race

ah yes, the frozen road race. started off rather chilly but warmed up. even in the sun however, i found myself wanting for a good warm coat.

after the circuit race, ian's lead was essentially untouchable. michael emde could potentially catch him but he'd have to win and then ian would have to finish lower than 7th place; an unlikely scenario.

the race was short, only 60 miles and basically flat and rolling. the typically strong winds are a big factor and the race rarely finishes in any semblance of a pack of riders. today would prove to be no different.

i followed a counter by one of emde's teammates and a group of 4 formed off the front. derrik archibald bridged to us handily and we dropped one of the others. we proceeded in this fashion for 30 or so miles until i discovered that i had a flat (a slow leaker, which was probably the source of my feeling like junk for the preceding 10 miles). there was no wheel car, but it came shortly and i got a fix. i thought the guys were waiting for me....i was wrong. more on that later. i chased for about 10 more miles and finally sat up for the group behind me. it was ian, mcdirmid and andy schultz with emde sitting on. we organized and made a furious chase. we brough the lead down from 2 minutes to about 20 seconds but we just didn't have it. i was pretty much cracked at that point from being in a small break in the wind, solo in the wind and then hard charging in another small break, in the wind. ugh.

so, about that flat. first off, i'm just callin' it the way i see it. i'm a gentleman racer. if i'm in a group with respectable riders with a large lead on the field, i'll wait for a guy who flats. i like level competition and tactical riding. flats, in my opinion, shouldn't decide races. i want to win on cunning and fitness rather than luck. but that's me. when i got my flat the guys knew. archibald rode up to the lead car to let them know so that the wheel car could come up, which was a decent thing to do. but after i got my wheel swapped out i looked up and they were gone. i rode a steady 25-30 mph in pursuit thinking i'd catch them quickly since they were probably waiting and rolling sub 20 mph. i was so wrong. i was bringing them back, but not nearly quickly enough. at one point the road doubled back and i could see them about 45 seconds or so ahead with archibald drilling it.

i talked to archibald afterward and he said "we waited for 'a minute'" (clearly the proverbial minute) and decided to go on because he needed to "take advantage of that". well, if that's what you have to do, i don't know. i just know that if the roles were reversed, i'd not have done that. and that dissapoints me. its a different story if the gap is a tenuous 30 seconds over the pack, but we had a comfortable lead.

somebody pointed out that i jumped archibald in the circuit race after he worked the whole time chasing my teammates in the break. well, duh. that's tactics. that's the point. flat tires are not tactics.

bottom line, they all took advantage of my bad luck. that sort of thing comes around though. as i wrote about the ranier roubaix, i suggested sitting up for campbell after he crashed. well, no more favors from this guy. but it wasn't just archibald. pruitt, who'd been sitting on found it in his best interest to take a few pulls.

incidentally, had i finished in the break of three and mcdirmid not had to chase (cause we weren't racing for third like another rider sitting on us) i'd likely have moved up to 3rd or 4th and mcdirmid held onto second. big impact, that decision to attack my flat.

April 2, 2006

frozen circuit race

good god, this was cold. cold and wet. just as we were ready to start warming up the wind started drilling us with heavy rain. windy, rainy and 40°. ah jesus.

i borrowed a trainer and rode under somebody's little tent to spin the legs back into some sort of racing shape after the tt.

the circuit race was run on the 2.5 mile circuit from the tt. windy and windy. we set about attacking straight away. i was off briefly with a couple riders. mcdirmid put in a good move and dangled in front of us for a while. ian and emde bridged and so it was 3 of the top 4 spots in the time trial in a break. archibald who'd been second in the tt was left to try and get the other yahoos to ride in a sensible fashion. it proved to be an impossible task.

the smart and sensible thing for them to do was to work together. 7-10 of them working together could easily catch the three that were in the break (who weren't working together too terribly well). but instead they all chose to attack eachother one at a time. foolish because alone, or even in two's and three's they weren't likely to catch three fast guys. so, they kept working each other over much to my delight. a few attacks went on the last lap and i caught one not so quick acceleration and used it to get myself up to speed. when he floundered in the wind i attacked him and i was gone, soloing in for 4th place.

in the break ian was 1st, emde 2nd and mcdirmid 3rd. not a bad finish.

April 1, 2006

frozen tt

first race of the frozen flatlands omnium out here was the time trial. first time on the time trial bike this year too. that always makes for a great race. the course was a winding car race track which made for some interesting riding.

for the unitiated, time trialling is a race from point to point done alone rather than in a group. essentially it is a race against the clock so riders use aerodydnamic helmets and those fancy areodynamic bikes. riding in that aerodynamic position is really different from the normal position and requires a lot of practice.

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March 31, 2006

road trippin'

back on the road. not quite like the road trips of last year, but its a good way to start.

ian and i left seattle at noon or so for the long trek across the state. rolled into spokane at 430 or so and got out on our bikes by 530. brilliant ride around the north side of spokane. great old roads rolling through the hills, dotted with houses.

i felt like complete crap though. it felt like i had two different people's legs. i think by the end maybe i regained ownership. travel is tough on the legs. really tough. poor circulation do to lack of movement on top of feeling pretty rough all week. that damned rainier roubaix took a lot out of my legs.

we're staying with a teammate of ours who lives here. i'm sharing a room with hone who's watching "walk the line" on his ipod. damn it. i'm much rather share a room with michelle and seabass.

tt tomorrow and then a "crit" that's really a circuit race. ah well.

September 14, 2005

jamaica to pottstown

today we packed up and drove to pottstown, PA. cheaper to get a hotel room (two to a bed and one on the floor) in some cracked out neighborhood than to drive north and drive back down. our host housing kicks in tomorrow, so we're set until tomorrow. we're on high street in pottstown. came from jamaica. it's been a good trip.

went for a ride in the countryside to the south of pottstown. i went out just before sunset. interesting time. the warm air was rich and sultry; a long slow sip of a fine and mellow tawny port. if the air in california is air you can kiss, this is air meant to be sipped and savored. the sun shone a deep orange through the misty air. the vegetation was lush like a tropical forest. it was a scene reminiscent of the kathmandu valley. i wound my way through fields of corn and cattle. serene cemeteries rested under the trees. small streams meandered and moseyed. old brick homes stood stoically, as they have for some centuries, quiet observers. as the sun fully set the entire misty sky glowed pumpkin orange, not a bit of crispiness in the air. these are the rides i live for. one in a hundred.

looks like i'm set to tick over about 9,000 miles during univest. how many miles you got? never felt better. i should race 'cross.

i wonder what russell is doing.

September 13, 2005

pick-a-bagel

we did another tour of new york city. dan rode the trainer for a few hours. solomon, dan and i caught the subway to brooklyn. a good portion of the ride was elevated, so i got a nice tour of queens. we went through a huge, old cemetery. it was pretty incredible, coming from the perspective of the relatively young seattle. driving to the subway we got into the real vibrant and active part of jamaica, queens. we've been staying in a more "reserved" neighborhood. it was all out there in jamaica center. we walked around brooklyn heights and enjoyed the views of manhattan. the neighborood of brooklyn heights is a cool neighborhood. i could live there for sure. walk or ride the brooklyn bridge to work in my office in manhattan. i could take it. we walked the brooklyn bridge and then stopped to rest at town hall. dan went shopping and solomon and i went in search of pick-a-bagel and central park. luckily for us, the bagel place was right next to the subway exit. we got some bagels with lox and people watched on the corner. some octogenarian lawyer was working the electorate as it exited the train ahead of his bid to be the democtratic candidate for district attorney. it made for good people watching. we hit central park next. what an amazing park. we sat next to a pond and discussed lead outs and other such important issues. eventually we went in search of a bathroom. couldn't find one but found a drinking fountain. i'll take it. saw sheep meadow. that's pretty awsome. the whole thing is rather surreal. such free and easy life in the middle of manhattan. could it really exist? still not able to find a bathroom, i found a secluded tree. public urination in central park. everybody should do it. solomon and i took the subway down to greenwich village to meet troy and dan for dinner. we wandered around looking for a killer indian restaurant that troy knew ten years ago. we didn't find it, so we went to a crappy mexican place. i didn't eat and solomon and troy paid a serious price. took the train back to jamaica and went home. got home at 1130.

September 6, 2005

fistfull of dollars

crit on monday to finish off the weekend. 50 laps, about 70 minutes. not much is expected to change in the GC, so as long as tom and sean make any splits, they'll be fine. there's money to be had and we're going to get ours.

i've talked about crazy crits before, but this was the craziest. it wasn't the fastest, but it was the most aggressive. lots of pushing, lots of choping, lots of bar banging. it was either adapt or find yourself at the back. i adapted. i learned how to really ride a crit. for the first 15 minutes i found my self being pushed out and chopped in the corners and basically being screwed by the more aggressive east coasters. i started doing it back and was able to hold position at the front. it was either command your space or i'd prefer a faster crit with less jockeying, but i could take it. it was crazy though. taking corners so close that my bars are on a guys legs or leaned over so that my face is right above another guys bars. yeah, close. shoulder to shoulder. it wasn't a super fast race. they had money sprints combined with the sprint point sprints, which was unfortunate. troy got off the front with two guys for the crowd prime and worked them over nicely to bring home some good money. $650. with that and the rest of our money, we made more than the winning teams. works for me. i was set up perfectly for the finish, sitting about 5th wheel going into the last lap. but then a louis garneau guy came right up and camped out next to me, blocking me in while about 10 guys came past. damn! i've never had anybody do that to me. local guys aren't that clever and pros don't care much about me. didn't help his team too much though. i fought my way back up from 15th wheel to get to 9th in the sprint. there wasn't much to be done. after the sprint, the first corner comes about 20 meters later. the winner, who sprinted on the right, chopped my wheel as i was easing into the corner and i went down (and took out his dickhead lead out guy). yeah, i went down AFTER the race was over. man, what the hell? i guess there was a post race crash in every field that alan adams watched.

went to our host housing after and got set up. not much space there. yesterday we lounged around, took sean to the airport and then went out to downtown burlington. always interesting to see where we raced the crit. we packed up and moved out to alan's parents' house out in the middle of nowhere in new hampshire. haverhill new hampshire, to be exact. they have horses.
vermont was a cool state. they don't allow billboards and we barely saw a chain store or restaurant the whole time. that's pretty cool, i think. it's amazing what it does for the scenery, capitalism be damned. the towns are so old, which is cool, coming from the west where barely anything is old. the layouts haven't changed much either. towns stretch along the rivers rather than branching out. the state capitol was strangely tucked into a narrow, isolated valley as if it were being hidden from somebody. the country side is kinda creepy too though. creepy old churches. blair witch and amityville creepy.

the international apartment of pancakes is operating in the adams' kitchen. tom ate half the batch. this kid is loco!

September 4, 2005

climb slow, descend fast

start with yesterday's race. 70-something mile race. there was a hill in it, but it was a pretty easy grade. for a lot of guys, it was a big ringer. i little ringed it cause i like the chain-line better. i can spin it better. anyway, it couldn't break the pack up much. if the prologue was an insane fight for position, it was only worse at this race. like i said before, 130 riders is way too many to put in one lane. especially when everyone of them thinks he can win. guys were again riding blatantly over the yellow line. there were huge cracks and holes in the pavement as well, so guys trying to avoid those holes would nearly crash guys. it was insane. i've never been so on edge in a race for so long. we were packed in tight. dan took the first kom. they worked the other riders in brilliant fashion. on the second kom solomon and tory set a good tempo but dan went a tad early and was aced out. ah well. in the first sprint (where we didn't have full road) i was boxed in. way boxed in. i just couldn't get any where. again, riders were riding on the left side of the road--for long periods of time. if you wanted in on the sprint, you just had to. there were a lot of attacks, but the field just wouldn't let anything go. guys chased their teammates down. it was ridiculous. sean and i got into one promising break, but again, they just wouldn't let it go. for the final sprint we figured on leading me out with tom and sean on my wheel. that way we could get a good result and those guys could get more points for their overall standings. it was a pretty strange sprint. at about 15 km to go, the pack just shut down. but because it was so tight, nobody could move up to do anything. physical blocking. what can you do? it was super dodgy. we all came so incredibly close to crashing so many times. insane. as things were ramping up, troy got me near the front, but we were on the right.. we were in an ok position, but then at 1 km a group came way over the yellow line and led out and we were suddenly screwed. i jumped and got what i figure was a top ten. tom was on my wheel and a few places back. however, because all the yellow line violations for the intermediate sprint and the final sprint were so blatant, they nullified those. damn. the whole thing was pretty stupid. nobody ramped it up because nobody could get to the front to do it. it was just impossible.


before today's stage there was a rider protest. we didn't start when they wanted to start us. some well spoken blokes chatted with the organizer. they basically told him that it was ridiculous and since he'd taken in some $15,000 in entry fees, he could at least get more than one moto to enforce the yellow line rule (since it wasn't enforced on saturday but was draconianly punished). the outcome was that riders that were relegated were reinstated but point penalties stood.

so today. dan is high in the KOM competition. there's a sprint at 18.5 miles. again, lots of attacks. nobody would let any go (suprising). but then one went. and they let it go. i was right there, but totally pinned in. i figured it would get chased down, so i didn't take the risks to get it. i'll bet it was the same for everybody else. they built up their lead and we worked on the front and held the gap steady until the first climb. i went backwards pretty fast, as did troy. up the climb the break was caught just after the KOM. damn. i got over the top with a group and promptly dropped them on the descent. i've never see a bunch of guys with such big asses descend so slow. it was ridiculous. we caught the pack pretty quickly, but man it was frustrating. weak. they were so weak. i got back to the front but we didn't have to work too much. there were a lot of attacks and a few guys got off the front. nothing that could really stick too long. dan wasn't feeling hot so he set tempo to keep the attacks down. eventually i got the race leader's team (target training) to do some work with us. lots of the teams were pretty content to let the break keep going. when the gap finally got to 2:30 they went to the front. middle climb wasn't too long but it was damned steep. probably 12-15%. and then it kicked at the end. kicked hard. solomon broke his chain, which was too bad. i was counting on him being up with tom and sean on the final climb to help a bit. ah well. what are you going to do? dan popped hard on the climb. the descent from there was super duper fast. i hit 62 mph. that's a new record for me. i also nearly went into the ditch cause a i didn't set up for a long sweeper quite right. ha! screw you noah! the break was still off and so i went to the front with fior di fruta and worked to bring them back. we brought back the target training guy that had been dangling, so they had to go to the front to protect their guy. finally! well, there were a few steep pitches that really socked me after working. and then the couple miles of hard pack dirt and gravel. we finally hit the final climb and i put my anchor down. yep, i was wasted. cooked. blown. i did the last 10 miles alone. damn that finish climb, only a two miles or so, killed me. the final 500 meters was 18%. i was seeing stars. i barely barely barely made it. a race official had to push my broken carcass off the road because i couldn't pedal any more. tom finished 4th and sean was in the top ten too. good finishes. some teams gave us crap about using all of our guys up, but i think we played things about right. losing solomon to a chain break was unfortunate, but what are you going to do. not like i was going to be any good on that final climb.

everybody finished though. that's good. that's guts. damn, if i'd fallen off on the first climb, i'd have turned around and gone home!

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September 3, 2005

GMSR: prologue

yesterday was the prologue. a different format. 2 mile neutral rollout to the bottom of a climb. the first 2-3 miles were pretty gradual, 2-3% with a strong wind. the last 3-4 miles however, were super steep, a reasonable format for the abilities of our guys. no full road at this race, so with 130 riders, you can bet it will be a mad fight for the front. our strategy then was to keep tom, dan and sean safe. if the pace wasn't high enough then we'd set it and keep our guys out of trouble. it was a crazy fight and guys were pushing and swerving and taking all sorts of chances to get up. a few guys were relegated for blatant yellow line violations. i felt that the whole thing was totally unsafe. i can't believe the whole weekend will be like that.

anyway, the pack started splitting as soon as we hit the climb, which really started with a 10% or greater pitch. the front group stayed essentially intact. i slid back a bit but was still in that group. on the next pitch however, i wasn't paying very good attention (and i was hurtin') and i was split off. i was at my steady tempo, so riding across the gap wasn't going to happen. in the front sean put in an attack with a few km to go to try and draw out some other guys and soften things up for tom. i don't know what happened after that but tom got second. tom doesn't really know what happened either. i asked him. he isn't sure.

dan decided at some point that this trek up the hill was much like the salmon running up the streams of the northwest. salmon never give up, so he couldn't give up was his logical next step. in his mind, he was a salmon all the way up. dan the salmon.

this morning we're getting ready to drive to the circuit race. it's 1015 and it is shocking that dan is awake. i'm not sure if salmon sleep 12 hours a night, but dan does.
the mad river barn inn turned our hot water on. that was nice. tom likes long cold showers. me? not so much. maybe that's why tom is so bitter.

July 9, 2005

cascade crit

downtown bend crit last night.

this race is known for being fast and intense. the prizes are good, ranging from $20 (don't blow it for that!) to $500. i'm not sure what the win was worth. the crowd is huge. the rain dampened the crowd a bit this year, but i imagine that there were still several thousand folks there. in the last laps all i could hear was the deafening roar. it was incredible! the course is "L"-shaped and relatively open. the women were reporting that the course was "like ice" and that the freshly painted stripes were slick (which they typically are). i think laps were taking just a bit more than a minute a piece. there were only 76 riders lining up, down from more than 100 starters. owen was lined up right in the front. i was in the third row. damn. good starts are crucial in these crits. being at the back means lots of hard work as the accordion effect is brutal back there. well, my start was grossly stymied by a navigators guy who couldn't find his pedal and swerved severely in front of me. the first few laps were quite tentative as the health net guys, who were on the front, took it easy. things sped up however as the racers realized that the course was not in fact "like ice". unfortunately i was cautious as well and didn't use that as a chance to move up. in fact, for the first half of the race, i was far too heavy on my brakes and was taking some pretty bad lines, making my life difficult. about half way through, i realized that i didn't in fact need to brake at all and that i was also getting incredible traction. i began taking risks, which rewarded me. i was running michelin pro grip tires and had the confidence to take lines like it was dry. i found that i could take that super fast outside line and pass easily. all this culminated with me suddenly finding myself near the front and the race was suddenly a whole lot easier. in fact, it felt like a local race. what a difference position makes! things were tough though because it had been seriously raining for the bulk of the race and i was actually getting cold. i was glad that i'd worn an undershirt! i was really wishing for arm warmers as well. in fact, i couldn't even feel my hands!. i also couldn't see much. i had yellow lenses on (i couldn't get the clear ones into the frames) and they were covered with water and grime. it was also dark. they had lights in some sections, but the reflections made it difficult for me to see. in some ways, this was good because i cornered more efficiently not knowing that i was only millimeters away from the guy in front of me. but it made it difficult for me to judge how much the guys in front of me were slowing. i got pretty confused in the last fives laps. i thought i heard three to go, and i was sitting pretty sweet. it apparently wasn't and i had no idea how many to go. tom was a few riders in front of me and made a strong move up and claimed 11th on the stage. i came in at 18th. i'm happy with that finish.

today is the circuit race. 13 mile circuit that we do some 6 times for about 80 miles. there's a wall in it. the wall isn't so bad, but the couple miles of gentle rising afterwards can really finish a rider off! i lasted about 65 miles in this race last year before coming off. i expect to make it the whole way this time. if there's a break that i can get into, i'll do that for sure. breaks often take those sorts of obstacles at a more reasonable pace while keeping its speed up on other portions of the course to stay away from the pack. that would certainly suit me well.

June 11, 2005

jackass, the race

crit yesterday, road race today.

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June 10, 2005

research and development

today is day three of the nature valley grand prix. first stage was the tt on wednesday. it was a 4.5 mile out and back on the banks of the mississippi river. it was a pretty windy course with a 200 ft rise in the middle and a false flat heading out to the turn around. if i'd had a tt bike and had ridden the day before, i probably would have really enjoyed the course. as it was, i kind of enjoyed it. i've never done a tt like that on a road bike. its not that bad, but definitely a disadvantage. i couldn't really relax in an aero position and still put power into the pedals--i didn't feel like i hade as much power. more than that though, i was sick a week ago and didn't get to ride yester, i went out feeling good and was pretty much blown for the last 1 km in the wind. i think that happened to a lot of guys. dustin came out our best placed rider in something like 50th place.

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