Sunday, December 31, 2006
last ride of 2006 this morning. an hour and a half on the roads up into MoCo and the down into the city and then back out on loughborough rd. i've been doing a lot of riding with this warm snap we've had recently, but since it's been tucked into free hours around parties, family, and holidays it all been on the road. 5 out of the last 9 days i've spent time on two wheels.
no big year end wrap-up, no 2007 preview... adios 2006; bonjour 2007!
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
just ended my brief post-nationals hibernation with a beautiful road ride. sunny and not too cold, but i think i have have a slightly warped sense of cold since most other people i saw on bikes were bundled up like we were in the middle of a blizzard. still a great way to spend a couple hours.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
very edited set on flickr, probably more to come later, but that will depend on how much time i have this week.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
sunday was the capital cross classic... raced the Bs, finished 30th of 46, wasn't unhappy with how i raced. after the race we had a late lunch at pizzeria paradiso and found a rather tasty beer -- 'la gnomette', a hoppy belgian IPA that's the product of a colaboration of brooklyn brewery and brasserie d'achouffe. ended the night with tenacious D at the patriot center. it was a decent show, but the crowd was awful. i saw them a few years ago a the 9:30 and that was a much better show.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
speaking of the trails at rosaryville... Dafydd Davis got an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the UK for his work on trails in Wales. isn't it time started a campaign to get Rich Edwards some similar over here... a congressional medal of something?
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
- Bear Republic Racer 5
- Stone Ruination IPA
- Victory Hop Devil
- Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA
- Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA run through the Randall the Enamel Animal
- North Coast Old #38 Stout
- Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout
- Stone Old Guardian
- Rogue Old Crustacean
the Bear Republic Racer 5 was my favorite of the IPAs - nice floral hop aroma and buckets of fresh hop taste with a bitterness that balanced the malt body of the beer. Russian River Damnation was a highlight among a great group of belgians, subtle and smooth. The Stone Old Guardian was hands down the better of the two barleywines. I've tried the Old Crustean and it just doesn't impress me, i think it tries to do too much to do anything well.
Monday, November 27, 2006
friday. woke up to a beautiful clear sky and warmer air but no coffee beans in the house so we took a walk down to one of the local coffee shops (we've got 3 in stumbling distance) to get a cup of joe and something to eat, read the paper, and replenish our bean supply. so much better of a way to start the day after thanksgiving than heading to the mall or standing in line for hours outside a big-box store. not that either of us would be inclined to do that anyway.
after getting coffee i got the road bike out again and what a difference a day makes. i started out planning to ride the same loop as the day before with a slight extension on to the end, but since i was feeling so good i decided to see if i could make it all the way out to travillah rd and back instead of cutting across on seven locks road. my legs felt good, the sun felt good, but once i got to travillah and then turned back down river road i started to realize that i was going to be back later than i'd told heather so i cut a little distance off the ride and kept pushing all the way home.
after a quick lunch we took a trip down to georgetown... a couple of errands and then a trip to pizzeria paradiso. i started with a nimbus "strong pale ale" from atlas in scotland, hand pulled off the beer engine and then stuck with the british isles theme with a conniston bluebird bitter and a old engine oil from harviestoun brewery. they all went really well with the pizza margherita... i keep thinking i should explore the menu a little more, but the margherita is just so good it seems like it' be a shame to put anything else on it.
saturday. another day with the family, this time to hike at sugarloaf mtn, which heather has never done and i haven't in years. the walk was fun, except for when i dropped heather's camera onto the rocks and watched it bounce a few times before sliding to a stop. it's working, sort-of, but i'm guessing that when i take it that there won't be much chance of fixing it. finished the day at crate & barrel to start registering. it seems a little early to me, but who really knows...
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
raced squadra coppi's taccinio ciclicross on saturday. heather & my parents both came out to watch but i managed only a respectable finish. 14th is my highest placing so far this season, but the field was small (sub-40?) and i should have been top ten.
i had a decent start for for the first time this year and managed to move up 4 or 5 places on the first lap but had constant trouble on a short but very steep climb right after the start/finish. i wound up in the tape off the side of the course at least 3 times in 8 laps and lost at least 4 place because of it. i only salvaged 14th because dave crouse from the bike lane also wound up in the tape on the last lap.
the highlight of the day was when the annoucer, who was calling out names as we came past the start/finish midway through the race, paused when he read my name, then mentioned my blog post from last week and congratulated us both... heather and my parents were out of earshot of the PA at the time, but it was pretty cool. after the race we wandered around leesburg for a while and got some halfway decent fish & chips at a little pub in town.
looks like i'll be doing a couple more cross races this year. other than the capital cross out at reston i'd figured this would be my last racing weekend of the year, but it looks like i'm going to be able to swing a trip to providence for nationals in december. i'll be racing friday in the 30-34 and then hanging out to watch and shoot the national championship races on saturday before heading down to philly to meet up with heather. it'll be interesting to see how far back i end up lining up since the seeding is based on registration order.
i'm going to try and get to the MABRA championship race in taneytown the weekend after thanksgiving as well. should be good motivation to stay active over the holiday weekend and keep me in shape for the capital cross in reston.
i need to get out to some more cross practices... the barriers on saturday were ugly. they were in the middle of a long fast flat section and i just didn't have the chops.
we had a dcmtb/city bikes team meeting last night. sounds like there will be a little structural change but unfortuantely they seem to think i'm doing a decent job and don't want to kick me out as captain. there was talk of getting together a team (or two?) to challenge for the granny gear national point series. we'd hit the 3 east coast races (converys, big bear, killington) and one west coast (temecula?). sounds like fun to me...
Monday, October 30, 2006
on an october saturday last year a girl from philly got up early in the morning to drive to an estate in delaware to go watch some boy she'd met a couple of times do some kind of bike race. the boy was from dc.
she was worried she wouldn't be able to find him; he was worried it would be really muddy and cold and she'd have a miserable time.
they found each other, he won his race, they didn't have a miserable time. they went back to her house and hung out in her kitchen while she made spaghetti for her friends and then they went to a halloween party (she was a cowgirl; he was the black knight).
on the way home he held her hand...
Postscript: i wrote this post last week. on friday night i proposed to heather. she said yes.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
saturday was the MORE picnic at wakefield. heather went with a beginner group and i ended up leading a small group (dom, ashmore, junkins, and myself) over to accotink. once we were over there i gave up point to junkins, who did a much better job of picking a fun route than i would have. we had a good ride, in spite of my slowly softening rear tire and dom cramping up a bit. it was good to ride with jason, who i've hardly seen at all this year, again.
once we were done with the ride we headed back over to the picnic and heard the tale of heather's run-in with a tree -- it sounded a lot like mine on thursday -- and then we ate some great bbq and fries (and i had a few too many desserts) and hung out for a while.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
it was pretty cold in the mornings...
but many people still showed up (even if they were a little slower getting up)
and, as always, the riding at douthat was very, very, good.
more pics on flickr
Friday, October 06, 2006
Sunday, October 01, 2006
2nd lap i was riding with mike and we were closing in on The Bike Lane's dave crouse when mike took a corner badly and took a tumble into one of the ponds. we'd been trying to work together to make up some ground, but i decided to go it alone. i was able to keep reeling in a couple of riders a lap, moving up through the field slowly and surely to finish 19th out of 62 starters. on the last lap i was closing in on a snow valley rider and was able to catch him at the top of the downhill into the start finish but just wasn't able to get around him on the last corner before he hit the downhill. he got a little ahead on the downhill and i just couldn't catch him before the finish line.
the mud made it a good course for mountain bikers... being able to hold more speed through the corners and stay on the bike on a couple of short and muddy 50/50 climbs was a big help. i think i rode a good race, attacking where i knew i could make a difference and getting gaps on riders to give myself a chance to recover.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
the forecast was threatening rain and storms but it was still dry as i arrived at druid hill park in baltimore before the first race of the day. i like to get to cross races early so that i can get a nice relaxed look at the course before the racing starts, so i suited up, put my race wheels (to which i'd finally mounted my tufos the night before) on my bike and took a couple of laps.
the course was long with no steep climbs, but there were a couple of hills near the end, a road climb from the start followed by a flat road finish straight that was perfect for sprinting and a couple of long fast grassy drags. a real power course. there were a couple of tight and off-camber corners, but otherwise it wasn't that technical. two sets of planks, both right after turns, one followed by a long shallow climb that would make a quick remount difficult. throw in a wooden retaining wall, followed by 180 around a tree to go back over the wall, and a triple sandpit with a 180-degree turn in the middle and you've got a good idea of the course.
watched the C race, took another couple of laps between that and the masters race, then started my final prep and warm up. there were callups based on registration order, so i took a fast lap of the course before heading to the start to line up. number 133 put me back in the 4th row of a 90+ rider field and i ended up near the middle of the row. as the ref blew the whistle i could feel the rest of the field starting faster than the area that i was. there was some rubbing on the start but we all stayed upright. my start wasn't good, in fact i'd say it was downright bad. being right in the middle of the field i had nowhere to go and then got stuck behind bottlenecks and pileups a couple times once we got off the road and into the grass. once i had the chance i started passing riders, including my city bikes/metrogutter teammate mike scardaville, fort james, and dillard, working my way up through the field.
3 laps down, 4 laps to go we were pretty well sorted out and i started to let off the gas a bit to make sure i'd make it too the end of the race without fading. i had a kelly rider in front of me, and a couple of coppi riders behind me. i passed the kelly rider after he went off course on a road crossing half way around the lap, then he came back around 30 seconds later when i took a turn wide and ended up in the tape. next lap i took a bad line through a tricky off-camber turn up and around a tree and ended up in the dirt. i was back up quickly but realized that 6 inches of my tufo had popped off my rim. i'm not sure if this was the cause of the crash, or a result of it, but i was able to pop it back onto the rim and ride to the pit, which, luckily for me, was pretty close. eric leaver of ncvc gave me a hand getting my pit front wheel on and i got back out onto the course to try and salvage my race.
i'd burnt enough matches in my ride up through the field on the first couple of laps that i didn't have the juice left to take back many places, but i probably managed to pull back 5 or 6 places in the last couple of laps. mike put in a good chase when i came around him, but i was able to build a little gap.
i'm not disappointed with my result (50 of 78 finishers), but i'd have been much happier if i'd not crashed and finished where i think i was before that (around 35th i think). with a better start i think i'd have done a lot better. my remounts aren't great -- they still have a stutter-step -- but they're getting better and i'm getting back in the pedals faster. i'm definately not losing as much time on the barriers as i used to. the 45-minute B race didn't seem as long as it did last year when i made the move from the Cs in the middle of last season.
i liked the tufo rear/michelin mud front setup that i had after my mid-race wheel change, so i think i might keep it. the michelin felt more sure-footed in the corners, but i do like the extra climbing traction in the rear from the lower pressure you can run in a tufo.
B race notes: brewer won the race, beating georgia gould (current womens mtb national champion)... the top 10 had 3 under 18s (nick bax, morgan gerlak, zach adams)... fatmarc took 6th, nystrom 7th...
great course, great park, great people, great time... keep it up guys.
next up... ed sanders cyclocross at lilypons
Monday, September 25, 2006
one of the big draws that got me to fork out some hard earned money for the bike was the campy carbon record drive train and i've got to say that after a month on it i'm a big fan. it took a little while to retrain my hands to the campy-style shifting (paddle & trigger).
a couple of weeks in i can't think of a single thing that prefer on my old shimano setup. there are a lot of advantages that i could mention (easier downshifts, multiple upshifts at a time, being able to trim the front derailleur) but the one that i sticks out the most is just how good the shifters feel in your hands. the combination of the very flat profile of the top of the hoods and a nice flattened are on the FSA K-Wing handlebar on the bike makes the hoods (where i spend 95% + of my time on a road bike) a lot more comfortable than shimano. these shifters just plain feel good. flipping the paddle for a rear derailleur downshift is a lot easier action than twisting the whole brake lever (a la shimano) and the upshift trigger action is light and allows multiple upshifts.
now that cross season is here and i'm spending time on my shimano equipped cross bike i'm having trouble re-adjusting and i'm thinking about going to a single ring campy setup on my cross bike. i can pick up a couple of american classic conversion cassettes for my cross wheels, but campy shifter and derailleurs can be pretty pricey so i'm not sure if i can swing it right now.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
View set as a slideshow (recomended)
View the set
Thursday, August 31, 2006
for now i'm just hoping that ernesto won't cause enough chaos to postpone the 100 on sunday. i'm not racing, but i'll be down there for the weekend, getting in a couple of rides and spending race-day running all over the course taking pictures.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
the sm100 is out for this year, but i'll be heading down to stokesville for the event, either to volunteer or shoot the event. it seems like it'd make a pretty cool project to really cover the full event and try to capture the true nature of it.
i should be out at the cranky monkey next weekend at quantico and after that it's time to start getting ready for cross. actually i'm already getting ready for 'cross. there's a series for cross practices starting on saturday at tilden and i got out for a quick run tonight to start getting my knees ready for some more running.
it's time to get back on the bike (again), so who's up for a ride tommorow afternoon.?
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
got checked out at the ER last night and it looks like i'm just a bit scraped and bruised, honestly i was pretty lucky. my team-issue bell sweep xc did it's job and now sports a pretty good crack. i was a bit worried about re-injuring my shoulder, since that's what hurt the most, but it looks like it's ok. i'll probably get an MRI to see if there's any ligament damage.
the wheels on my road bike are bent; the front topolino will probably need to be replaced completely, but the rear powertap wheel will just need to be rebuilt. i should be back on the bike in a week or so once the soreness goes down and we're sure my shoulder is ok.
(at least now i've had time now to get the wireless network set up correctly at the new apartment)
Monday, July 31, 2006
[note: this is one of my pet peeves in racing... if there are no call-ups and you want to get up to the front of the grid the get there early and bake in the sun like everyone else]
there were a few tangles on the trip up the access road, but i managed to get around them and got up the top and made the turn in pretty good position, then turned on the jets to get around as much of the traffic as i could. i got into the bowl right behind kevin dillard of NCVC, figuring i'm just outside the top ten. the trails in the bowl make passing pretty hard, but kevin let me by on the climb out and i put a pretty big gap there pretty quickly and as i was getting out of the bowl got word that i was in 10th with a couple of riders within site so i got up into the big ring on the road transit between the bowl & racecourse sections. passed another couple of riders in the racecourse section, then another when he bit it turning onto the powerline trails.
i was feeling really good so far, riding smoothly and cleanly and on the 2nd trip around the bowl i reeled in the 6th place rider. right before we got onto the road i got around him and tried to get a gap, but couldn't really open anything up. at the bottom of the phase I trails i got past another rider, but i wasn't sure if he was a getting lapped, or 5th place. from the bottom of phase I we turn onto the CCT for a bit, then double back on the creek trail, and then doubleback again onto the CCT. through here i'm usually trying to get some recovery in, get a hit of gel from my flask and some sports drink from my camelbak but i have trouble getting my gel flask back into the little pouch that i use to attach it to my camelbak. as i unconciously slow down while i'm concentrating on the little bottle and the elastic & nylon contraption that's never given me any trouble the two riders behind me slip by. i immediately start chasing and ended up dropping the flask.
i managed to keep up with them for awhile but i'm a little shaken now, starting to tire, and my technical skills aren't what they were on the first lap so they start to build up a small gap and by the time we're heading back to the bowl 6th place is a good 100 yards ahead of me. my second lap time wsa still good, though and was actaully my best lap of the race at just a hair over 29 minutes.
the third lap i rode alone, trying at first to get back up 6th place, but at the end just trying to not lose another place. didn't see a single rider ahead or behind me the entire lap so i had to concentrate on keeping the pressure on myself, since there was no one to do it for me. finished the race where i started the 3rd lap, in 7th at 1:29:17, 3 1/2 minutes behind the winner and about 30 seconds behind 6th place.
the rest of the day was pretty quiet... we saw a little bit of the masters/singlespeed/expert race then did some shopping, tried out the pool at our new place, watched the simpsons, made dinner (heather made summer rolls; i made a beef with sweet basil stir-fry with my homegrown basil and cayanne peppers), and tried a new beer (heavy seas 'red sky at night...' saison).
Friday, July 28, 2006
finally made it to a wakefield race this week... short story is 11th of 49 in sport but the long story has a few unusual things going on it. instead of a long-winded recap that would take long than the race to write i'll stick to the highlights.
arrived with plenty of time to spare, got registered and suited up, then went out for a pre-ride only to realize that the new chain i put on the night before (to replace the broken-and-trailside-fixed one from fairhill) isn't getting along with my old cassette. a rookie mistake, but i've been so rushed recently that i'm not surprised it happened.
jay - who was manning the bike lane tent/van - was able to hook me up with a new cassette, but all he had was a 12-25 cassette. oh well, i thought, it's wakefield it'll do. quick spin around the bowl and the gearing is working fine.
i tried to keep riding as long as i could before lining up for the start so i ended up in the middle of a fairly motley and very large group. passed a few riders on the start, but even then i could tell i was in trouble with the traffic. spent the first lap passing riders when i could - not easy on this course and passing is one of my weaknesses - but a lot of times i was just cruising so i didn't hit the wheel in front of me.
half way around the first lap i caught a bug inside my mouth. i managed to spit it out pretty quickly but i was left with a strange stinging sensation on my tongue. never saw what it was but it must have been a bee. my tongue was sore for the rest of the night and still a bit swollen the next day.
by the start of the 2nd lap it was apparent that my middle chainring was also not getting along with my new chain and so i spent the 2nd & 3rd laps of the race in my 42. as it turns out a 42 paired with a 12-25 is a pretty good combo for wakefield. at the finish i was still having problems with traffic and was with a group of 4 riders all within 5 seconds of each other but the new finish with a loose downhill turn right before the finishing straight left no room for a sprint.
my gap to 1st was a little over 2 minutes and my first lap took 17:30. the 2nd & 3rd were right around 15:20. next week i'm pushing my way up front at the start.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
the race started fairly calmly... we were a big group, around 40 in sport 30-34 but a long fireroad section allowed us to sort ourselves out and get most of the stronger riders up towards the front. as i turned into the singletrack in round about 10th place the conditions turned from occaisional puddles into a constant ribbon of churned up mud. conditions were difficult and bikes were getting muddy very quickly. there was some moving around in the group, taking places on the climbs, losing one occaisionally in the endless super tight twisty singletrack that is fairhill, but for the most part i spent the first 1/3 of the race steadily moving up through the field.
i had some minor chainsuck issues on a couple of climbs that cost me a couple of places but those were quickly regained and the chainsuck disappeared. coming into rough stong bridge with a 45-degree incline i noticed the riders in front dismounting and walking and remembered doing the same last year, but felt good, put in a little burst and rode up & over it, passing two riders in the process. a couple of times i was able to stay upright and riding on technical climbs that forced other riders off and i was able to get around them.
about a 1/3 of the way into the race my back wheel clipped something and sent me tumbling off the bike, only to see a 1/2 dozen riders pass me while i got myself back together. after that i found myself riding badly for a while - a couple of dabs and some tentative riding - but slowly i started pulling back the riders who passed me after my fall and used some long field climbs to put time on other riders. this pattern continued for most of the rest of the race... gain time on the climbs, lose it in the twisty sections, but overall moving up. i was riding comfortably, feeling much better than last year where i was having trouble climbing by the end of the race.
towards the end of the race the course got a little more muddy again and a little rocky and my chainsuck came back, only this time a lot worse. looking down at my chain it looked like there was a kink that was causing the problems, so i stopped and had a closer look... turned out i had a link of my chain that was about to explode, so i had to stop to and break out the chain tool to pull the bad link out and re-join the chain. in the process i probably lost 10 minutes and 5-10 places. i rode the last mile of the course re-energized thanks to my little break and felt strong at the finish.
in the end i was 18th of 40+ in my class in a time that was slower than last year, but felt a lot better. i'm not sure where i was before my chain failure, but looking at the results i think i'd have been 8th or 11th. my time was longer than last year, but i felt a lot better and for my first race of the year, and my 2nd time on a mountain bike in almost 4 months, i'm pretty happy.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Friday, June 30, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
for now it's back to the apartment hunt...
Monday, June 26, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Friday, June 16, 2006
heather and i will be making an assault on the dc rental market this weekend, check back later for war stories from the front lines.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
we managed to see the race from a bunch of places along the course... we rode from the house to brunch near rittenhouse and then over to the race just in time to see the womens race finish, then headed backwards around the course to the top of lemon hill where we saw the breakaway before they were reeled back in. after that we headed out towards manayunk and saw the pack come through main street and the bottom of the wall and made it back to the art museum in time to see the finishing circuits and finish.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
near the end of saturday's group ride i saw a group of riders in CSC gear riding towards the art museum -- no surprise since i'd seen a couple of pro teams riding down kelly drive, but then i realized they were riding a motley collection of bikes instead of matching cervelos, and then i took a 2nd look at the riders and realized that they were mostly middle aged and a little more generously proportioned that the typical european pro racer. for a second i thought they were just a group of overzealous fands, but then towards the back of the pack i saw a CSC team car and some rider that looked like they were actually on the team and realized that the team must be taking out some bigwigs from the sponsors for ride...