Tuesday, March 26, 2013


My training has significantly decreased since the summer.  I cut back time on my bike to have more available at home w/ the people that mattered.  Now I think I average two or three rides a week, down from five or six, for a total of four hours of riding/week, down from nine.   With that I have of course been expecting my fitness and speed to drop significantly.  As I no longer ride w/ a computer (Polar Hr broke once again!  To their credit they send me a new one for free even though the warranty had expired ), it's hard to track the actual decline and loss.  Maybe it's a good thing I cannot quantify it!

One thing I have picked up though is Yoga.  Something my wife has been trying to convince me for years how good it is, but of course have never given any credence to.  Well I finally tried it. I have been going about once a week and have greatly enjoyed.  It is really an efficient workout for me as I get to workout and stretch at the same time.  But more on that later in a later post.

This was my third Cross race this season.  I posted worse results than previous years in the first two.  I  finished 19th at the Prov Cx race and at the NBX CX came in 30th.   At both of these races this year I started all the way back so it was hard to get to the front and not be slowed down by the massive pile ups that happen around the first lap.  I don't usually care how I finish, as I do these strictly for fun and to bring my hr up.  I don't own a Cx bike and have no plans on buying one.  Cx is fun for sure, but it just can't compete against a great mtb course.

So with no expectations and waning fitness, I decided at the last minute to do the DAS Cx race (cancellation of a NYC trip freed up my weekend).  Even on Saturday I was not sure I was going to race and so went for a hard road ride in that shitty cold rainy weather.  On Saturday night I decided to race it, after Liz, who had designed the course for this race, told me the course would "not be a grass crit".

I got to the race venue on time even withtou speeding.  It seemed low key though the lot was starting to pack up with cars.   I was able to get two laps in for a warm up.  The course was really fun with a gravel section, barriers (who were too close to each other to efficiently bunny hop), four (!) sand pit crossings, and longish gradual climb, a fast decent on a fire road, a covered bridge crossing, a couple of tight turns w/ a climb up to some log crossings (which were easily rideable), another fast decent, a section on a running track, a very steep unrideable climb (though I tried each lap), some twisty stuff on grass which brought you back to the start/finish area.   It was a real nice mix of terrain and very creative use of the what the park had to offer. I think Liz used everything she could and with that kept the lap very entertaining and fun.  And I am not saying this because it Liz, but this and Eco farm are now my favorite Cx courses.

We lined up at the start and to my chagrin could only find a spot in the back behind John, who for hell of it showed up in his speedo!  I did not try to find out why.  Being behind him at the start though, gave me great motivation to pass him as quickly as I could.  Especially on the gravel section.  That could have gone so wrong!  I started somewhat at the back but after the sand pit crossing, being on the mtb, found myself getting to the front quickly.  As we started the gradual climb, there were two guys who had separated from the pack and were half way up distancing themselves rapidly.   For the hell of it, I decided to give everything I had and to try to grab their wheel.  As we crested the top I was on their wheel.  I was gassed but as we started the decent, they were hitting the brakes, and again being on the mtb, I could rail the corners much faster so I decided to pass and see if how much distance I could put on them.  I knew for sure that I would pay dearly for this, but I was out here just for fun so decided to give it a shot.   I was expecting to get passed on the flat section of running track, but they were not catching up.  I went through lap one in the leading position though was not creating a big gap to the guy in second position.  Again I was sure I would get caught pretty quickly.  Yet I seemed to distance myself with each lap.  Slowly I started to believe that I could actually win this but  was in slight disbelief when I finished the race in first place w/ some time to spare.   Absolutely no complaints though, since it had been quite a while since I had won anything.

It was really a fun course and can't wait to race it again next year! Nice job Liz!

PS: I just realized I never hit "publish" on this post, so here it is quite late....

Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 Burlingame MTB TT

This TT is great.  It has really become a RI "spring classic" for me (and I bet a lot of others).  The time to test your fitness not just against others, but see if you can keep your HR in the 190ies for 45 mins w/out throwing up after a winter of...well what ever it was that you did over that period.   The course is fun and challenging enough to pack a punch if you don't plan your efforts carefully, especially in the beginning three miles.  

I always get a little over exited when the race season is starting, which the B-game TT is the start of.  I love my wife and kids dearly and wouldn't want a thing different.  My work is good too and have nothing to complain about. But riding is really the icing on my great cake of life, and racing is that damn cherry on top (i actually hate cherries).  Racing is riding on steroids!

Rich killing it at the TT 
The race was great.  Very well planned by the usual crew of great guys, w/ a new timing chip attached right to the number plate.  If someone beat you this year by 1/2 second, you know it was going to be real, not a human judgement. Very fancy stuff!  Everything was flawlessly implemented.  I had the three guys I wanted starting in front of me, w/ Rich (who I  knew I would never catch- he's gotten way too fast), SteveO starting one minute before me, then Freddie at 30 seconds.  Both very tasty locally grown organic carrots!

SteveO coming through!
Freddie called me the P-word at the start for debating about getting my feet wet right away at the first mud puddle (he was right-I am).  But I had him caught and passed during the first climb of the new section, and was able to return the name for having lost so much ground so quickly. I was able to tackle the new section fairly intelligently, by keeping my pace high but without blowing up on the steep little short climbs.  I decided to just run up the two hard ones to make sure I wouldn't loose time trying to ride it unsuccessfully at race pace.

Freddie working it!
Coming out of the new section and turning left onto the fire road section I put Steve in my sights, but then on the fast decent trying to catch up, drifted into a wet rocky rut and went down.  The fall wasn't bad but my front wheel twisted and it took a couple of seconds to figure out which way to turn the bars.  By the time I was back on the bike, Steve was gone.  A mile down, I started to catch back up on the fire road climb and he let me pass him before the road section.

The rest of the race went w/out a problem.  I did dab once on the log/puddle/rock climb, but after that it was mostly fire roads and the bridges. The bridges were dry so everything was easily rideable.  My finishing time was 45:18.  Last year's time was 44:27, but many racers thought this year's course was a little slower.  I think we were maybe all a little slower because it has been a colder and longer winter.  At any rate, I felt a lot better this year, and even though the time doesn't reflect it, this year's race felt a lot more fluid.  I finished 8th out of 26, and I hate to be so shallow, but really it's all about beating Freddie and Steve...that be my icing on the cherry!

Who knows what the hell I was thinking there...