Wednesday, August 29, 2007

the o's

sm100 and beyond...

saturday's photo ride with mike was fun. it was so hot & muggy out that i was dripping sweat even when i was off the bike shooting. sunday i skipped the cranky monkey to spend the day with heather, who'd been up in philly for her first (family this time) bridal shower. we went out to breakfast then drove out to leesburg to pick up a bench we ordered a couple of weeks back for our mudroom.

i say i skipped the cranky monkey to do this, but honestly, except for wakefield, my heart hasn't been into the middle distance xc events this year. after doing 3 24 hour races so far this year (more on that later) i think that's what i'd rather be doing.

got a couple of fairly easy hours on the road bike in the afternoon then we went to quarry house for dinner and a couple of beers. the place was pretty quiet and the crowd at the bar made for some good people watching. interesting characters we have here in silver spring.

1st place overall, 24 hours of killington
photo by some guy with mike's camera

an easy spin on monday, then a harder ride last night with matt... a couple of nature center hill climbs and then i rode over to his place to pick up some bike parts from the last team order (new fork!). spent the evening putting the new fork and bars on the epic, only to realize half way through that i don't have a star-nut for the fork so i guess i'm heading to the shop at lunch.

what's all this leading to... the 100. it's here, just 4 days away now. not as scary as it was a couple of years ago. can i finish? yes, without a doubt; will i finish? who knows, so many things can go wrong in a day this long, all you an do is give it everything you've got; if i finish, how will i do? no idea and i'm not going to try and predict. i just want to go out, have fun, see how it all works out. it looks like heather's coming down to the race with me which should be fun.

what comes after? well, we're going to head out the 24 hours of landahl for a final showdown with the atlanta wrecking crew for the series crown. between that, a wedding we're going to in september, and our own wedding i don't think i'll get to do a cross race until november. suits me better anyway, since the field sizes will be going down by then. i'm even going to miss the inaugural DC-CX that the team is hosting.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

this is getting to be a habit...

...that i think i want to keep up. picked up my camera on my way out of the door again this morning.



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2 rides in the cold and wet...

saturday the weather was gorgeous... rode to sugarloaf and back, with my brother tagging along for the middle 40 miles. josh and karen came down from philly on saturday evening so we grilled up some shrimp & scallops, and some delicious orange rosemary chicken from a recipe that heather found and sat out in the yard. sunday the weather took a turn toward the ominous, with dark skies looming, but the rain held off and i took josh up to schaeffer for an easy mountain bike ride while the girls went shopping in georgetown. we met up at paradiso in georgetown afterwards. josh & karen are planning their wedding for december so, predictably, almost all conversation all weekend was wedding related.

sunday's omminous clouds became monday's rain clounds and i got very wet riding home from the shop. i'd spun over their after work to grab a road tube from the team box and as soon as i left the rain started, light at first, but by the time i was climbing the mormon temple hill it was tipping down and then i got stuck at the train crossing, while a long csx freight passed.

yesterday it's wasn't really raining, but it was rather like riding through a cloud, there was a persistent drizzle/fog, that seemed to just be hanging in the air. the work seems to be drying out today though and by this weekend i'm sure i'll be wishing it would cool down again as it looks like we're in for a blast of hazy, hot, and humid air.

more rain, more photos...


some more camera time this morning, this time in the back yard...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

walking to work...

picked up the camera as i walked out the door this morning...


check out the whole set on flickr...

Monday, August 20, 2007


you can't tell in the picture, but it was tipping down with rain while i waited for this CSX freight to pass last night...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

ramping up...

gwadz is bugging me to blog more... every week i start with good intentions to write up the weekend and start the blog on a strong note, but suddenly it's thursday and it doesn't seem to make much sense to write up a road ride i did 5 days ago, or the minutia of some project at home. even heather has blogged more than me this week.

Saturday's ride was blog-worthy though, or at least it seemed like it at the time. we were up in Philly for wedding planning and heather's b-day and saturday heather was busy throwing a shower for a friend of hers. i had to show my parents around some potential rehearsal dinner venues, but i had my pass stamped until at least 2 in the afternoon. josef wanted a big ride, so i did a big ride. started with the 9am art museum ride, and stuck with that group for the first 3/4s of the ride. once they started to head back into the city i turned off and rode out the river trail to valley forge. once i got out there is turned back around and rode home. i had to do an extra loop around kelly drive/west river drive to get up close to 90 miles, but mission accomplished.

the rest of the weekend was good... 2nd meeting with the caterer, first meeting with the florist, cake chosen, rehearsal dinner location chosen, ceremony brainstormed, birthday celebrated, beers consumed, friends visited.

this week we've been multitasking well. i've shifted my hours a little earlier in the day so that i can get a good training ride in after work and we can still get errands run in the evening. bought my tux on monday, got a quote on replacing the windows in the house on tuesday and then sorted out the rental package for the groomsmen/ushers/dad's yesterday.

training's kicked up a bit this week. i've been a bit more on the ball with the 100 just 2 weeks away. the last couple of days have felt really good, so i'm hoping the next week will get me into good shape. training's been weird this year, but i have had a lot of big weekends year - 3x 24 hour races, a bunch of good, long mountain bike and road rides - another big ride this weekend (sugarloaf, anyone?) and maybe the cranky monkey at fountainhead on sunday. we've got friends in town so we'll have to see how it fits with the schedules.

by the way, the blogroll on the right is hopelessly out of date... here are some new blogs of note: heather, anna, darren

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

what's going on?

the pendulum has swung for the last week and a half. after a good bit of bike time in the previous couple of weeks i've been spending more time working on the house since coming back from killington. this weekend, with some help from my little brother, we managed to get some lingering odd-jobs finished up... a new light in the hallway, shelves & curtains in the office, picked out tile to lay in the mud room... little things that have just been falling through the cracks.

we're almost finished with the wallpaper striping in the kitchen. there's still a lot of prep work to be done in there though before we can get started painting, as a lot of the drywall is in pretty bad shape in there. we've got the last couple of pieces of furniture for downstairs on the way: a cupboard for the dining room, an armchair for the living room, and a sofa bed for the office.

saw social distortion (with the heart attacks and the hangmen) last week with jason and maili up at rams head live in baltimore, and then went down to the black cat after the team meeting with matt to meet up with katie and heather (and others) to see casey neil, and the starlingtons. both turned out to be good shows.

went out to annapolis this weekend to see friends of heather's who were visiting their family summer house. they bought crabs and shrimp and we ate on the front porch right on the bay, then went in to town for ice cream.

this weekend we're heading up to philly for wedding stuff. hopefully i'll be able to get a long ride in saturday while heather is throwing a shower for one of her friends.

3 weeks to the sm100...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

24 hours of Killington...

if you don't want the full details, here's the quick scoop: fun course, great weather, excellent teammates. rode out way from 12th overall (thanks to my slow start) to 1st (thanks to the rest of the team) in 4 laps and held on for the entire race. going into the night laps there was only a minute and a half separating us from the two teams behind us but with some good luck on our part and bad luck for other teams we held our lead and slowly built up over a full lap lead. at the end of the race i went out for one last lap with a 1/2 hour left to go before noon to give us 21 laps and a 2 lap overall and expert win.

now for the details, at least as many as i can remember...

start/lap 1:

since i'd never done the run at a 24-hour race, and this is probably my last one this year, i volunteered to run. i didn't realize when i did it that this would be the longest run we'd seen all year. there'd been some rain the day before and the skies looked threatening all morning. as i started to get ready for the start the rain started and we all thought this was going to turn into a repeat of the mudfest that we had heard this race turned into last year, but as i made my way down to the start the rain stopped. other than a shower or two in the first 2 laps that was the last we saw of the rain all weekend.

the run was kind of a long one, so i tried to take it fairly easy. i stayed in the front half of the pack on the run. there were only 38 teams/solos so it wasn't too crazy. i'd planned on taking the first lap fairly easy, since i hadn't seen the course at all and on top of that the run had put a little more hurt on my legs than i expected. out of the start/finish the course crossed under the killington access road and immediately started climbing up and across a couple of ski runs. after traversing over a short way on to the main base area, and then another shot of climbing we got the first, allbeit short, taste of singletrack. the trail was narrow, slick, rooty, twisty, and a total blast to ride. this pattern (fireroad climb, singletrack downhill) repeated over and over for the rest of the course.

another climb, this time a long one, up to the top of the course, interrupted by a short-but-sweet section of singletrack. but once at the top it was a mile and half of super tight singletrack back down. every 20 feet there was another technical puzzle to be solved: a little rock garden here, a tight 180 there, a slick hump of criss-crossed roots, a long boardwalk, a skinny, and a couple of bad mud-pits. there was a short run-up where the trail ran straight up a small muddy gully, but overall the trail was in great shape. a couple more repetitions of the up on fireroads, down on singletrack pattern, though with less and less elevation gain each time and i was dumped out at the lake by the venue. around the lake, over the bridge, and into the start to hand off to kent. 1:12 for 12th place.

lap 5

even after seeing us move up to 6th, then 3rd as kent and mike came back in i was surprised to see matt come in before any other team finished their 4th lap, so i went out for my 2nd lap in 1st place and very worried. without the lactic acid from the run in my legs the 1st climb seemed easier, and the singletrack was more familiar. climbed the big climb at a nice steady pace, starting to catch and lap slower teams, always trying to give some encouragement while passing. some rain that hit the top of the mountain on the 2nd lap of the race and the effect of many bike tires softened up a bit more of the course and the mud was worse on this lap. a good lap though, 1:07 to hold 1st place, just. after this lap there was about 1:30 between the top 3 teams in expert.

lap 9

the mood in the camp was a little weird after we took first. none of us were quite sure what to make of the situation. were we going to be able to hold this lead, or were we just setting ourselves up for disappointment. but the skies were clearing, the air was drying out, and over the cycle of laps kent, mike, and matt managed to open up the lead a bit over 2nd and 3rd. going into my first night lap things were looking a little more comfortable. that lap was going fairly well until about 2/3rds of the way around the lap. after the run-up, my hamstrings started cramping, a big thing to see this early in the race. the downhills were getting more slick and riding them at night was much more challenging that during the day. i kept moving and made it back in 1:21.

lap 13

after my cramping on the previous lap i was worried. i tried to do as good of a job as i could recovering after this lap. i didn't want to mess up my body clock with any sleep, so i made sure to get some extra food (instant noodles in a cup could be the best 24-hour race food), take some extra sportlegs (something i'd forgotten to do before the last lap), and keep drinking water. i also went down to the start and got a 15 minute massage from the masseuse that was set up in the start tent to try and get my hamstrings and back to relax a bit. the next lap was ok... a couple of technical bobbles, and a little bit slower than the first night lap, but still decent at 1:25.

lap 17

ah, back in daylight. caught a little sleep after my last lap and woke up slightly refreshed. hit the course with almost an hour lead over 2nd place. the downhills were so much nicer in the daylight and seemed to even be getting a little drier. rode strong and felt better on the climbs that i had since my 2nd lap.

sean sullivan (from the 2nd place team) catches me at start of the big downhill. they're a lap behind, but i try my best to keep up. he's flying down the singletrack with a grace i don't even pretend to have. near the end of the course i catch back up to him (i think he stopped to take off his jacket) and then pass him going into a section of singletrack. i rode that last mile of the course fast but ugly as i'm riding it faster than i should. the rest of the team rode hard to put that lap on their team, and even if it's only a matter of a few pointless seconds, i'm not going to be the guy that lets them get back on the same lap. i'm sure if he really wanted to, he'd have been able to pass me, but he didn't.

the 5th lap goes into the books at 1:10 and as i'm doing the math in my head i start to realize that we're going to finish the next rotation of laps well before noon... leading to the question of whether i'll need to do another lap.

lap 21

by the time the last lap comes around we've lapped every team in the race. there's no way we can lose, but if we stop racing early there's a chance that another team could get in before noon and get another lap in to get up to the same lap we're on. matt and i talked about how we'd both like to finish a full lap ahead. in the end it all came down to me to make the call.

i checked the standings while i was waiting for matt. he's out on lap 20, and 2nd & 3rd place are both out on lap 19. checked the times they started and 2nd place won't even be able to start lap 20 unless they beat the fastest lap of the race by 10 minutes, so we've got our 1 lap victory already. standing in the tent waiting for matt i got some ribbing from the announcer and the kid behind the table to go out for another lap and then matt comes in pulling off a great 1:05. it's only 11:30 and it feels anti-climatic to call the race early, plus i feel like i'm letting the team down for having ridden so strong, and then i find myself swiping my RFID and running for my bike.

the climbs hurt, but they have every lap. the power isn't quite there, and i'm spinning in the granny gear a little earlier on every climb than usual, but i'm feeling pretty good. i'd ditched the hydration pack for a waterbottle so i'm riding light. the course was drying out and i'm taking it fairly easy. rode the singletrack the cleanest i did all race - maybe not the fastest though. saw the rest of the team out on the course. they'd driven/hiked up to one of the singletrack sections to hand me up a beer, but i figured it'd be best to wait until the finish line for that... there was still singletrack to ride and i'm a bad enough rider with 2 hands on the bars.

the finish

crossing the finish line as the overall and expert winner was pretty damn cool. there's really no other way to say it. matt, kent, and mike all made it back to the tent in time to hand me a beer as i scanned out of the course and celebrate in the tent.

it wasn't my fastest lap (1:15) but it was the sweetest. we got the expert win in temecula, but we were 5th overall. after 3 top-5 overall finishes the overall win is what i think we all wanted this weekend, and we got it.

the series

we've got 725 points in the series now, two first places and a 2nd. the wrecking crew have 2 firsts and they're talking about going to moab. if they win there they'll have 750 points, but that's a much more competitive race and even though they've won in style at big bear and conyers, a win for them at moab isn't a foregone conclusion. there's talk about getting a team to go to lanadahl to try and get more points, and talk of going to moab, just to go there. not sure that i can swing another 24 with the sm100 and my wedding coming up.