Friday, December 28, 2012

I'm cold

I grabbed a win on day 1 of Supercross, and felt decent. Better than most of 2012, so I'll take it, but things cooled down pretty quick. Day 2 I felt pretty off and wasn't happy about it. NCGP was a complete disaster. Particularly Sunday. Embarrassing is the best word to describe my feelings from the day. I didn't even give my fitness the opportunity to fail because I was falling all over the place. Set the bike up all wrong with WAY too much psi. Just a complete mess.

On the bright side, there have definitely been times in my cycling career in which, under these circumstances, I woulld have just quit. Now-a-days I seem to be reasonably content with under-performing. Maybe "content" is the wrong word, but I feel like I can shrug it off and keep plugging away much better than I used to. That being said, I AM a realist. I've said before "you don't learn much when things come easy. You learn a ton when you make every mistake in the book". Well I'm going to add to that. You also don't learn a whole lot when you put the blinders on and deny the mistakes you made. I have to recognize how poorly I performed in order to see the mistakes I made and try to correct them. Things only get ugly when this creeps into you self esteem and you start to believe that you performed poorly because you ARE poor. I still go out to train and race with certain expectations. I have lofty dreams, but set reasonable expectations. The drawback that inevitably comes along with having expectations is the failure that you set yourself up for. I'll take the self-imposed failure every now and then, hell, I'll take a whole season worth, because I know I can work through them so I can have the expectations that provide me with the motivation and drive to become the bike racer that I used to be and the even better bike racer that I want to be in the future.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

getting warmer

There is snow falling outside right now. Yesterday I was comfortable in short sleeves while inactive. What the heck? My neck of the woods is known for unpredictable weather. Great place to be a meteorologist. It might be actually, everyone knows nobody knows so if they are expected to be wrong, well that must really take alot of pressure off.....but this could also be looked at as an unatural swing due to climate change. A lot of people would be quick to jump to that conclusion, and they are right, but it just makes me think about how we really have no scope for the changes we are causing. Climatic changes over, say 100 years is a blink of an eye in human terms. A flash of lightning. Abrupt. Nothing can adapt. To us, well it's a lifetime. We have no personal gauge for what is happening. Not too long ago we had cultural knowledge. The collective mind of the people was one, so to speak and closely tied to the world around it. The feelings, memories, and skills from one generation were given to the next, so that any one generation had the memories of their ancestors. That is a wisdom unknown to the people of today.

The bike racing weekend was finally a pretty good one at the NBX shimano series finals. On day one sitting on the back of the lead group finally worked out in my favor, as I was able to avoid the puppy-monkey crash and follow Lindine up the road with Nick Keough. We got some space but Garrigan and Milne bridged up. I was not feeling great as usual and when it whittled down to Garrigan, Lindine and I chasing Milne, I got gapped off a little. The good from this day was that I was able to chase back on and squeeze into third at the expense of Justin. He bobbled the last corner, or else it may not have been so. On the second day things felt like they were finally coming together. I could push the pace, make the splits, and even cause the splits. I think it has taken me this whole season to just figure out my position on the bike. Sunday I finally felt like it was dialed. I was comfy all around. Pace and Position. Unfortunately my head might need to catch up. It is so used to not having the go that I found myself sitting on the back when Milne went away. Yesterday when he got the gap I saw it and was held up a little but in reality, probably didnt have the go to get across. Sunday I saw the gap and definitely had enough to go with but was poorlly positioned and had no way to follow. I came across second, feeling quite comfortable.

I am pretty happy to feel like things are coming together even though there are a limited number of races left. I need to get the confidence in the mind now that the legs are workin OK. Long Island, North Carolina, Arizona in-laws visit, and then on to Chicago and Nationals.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Part 2 of the bike racing post just without the bike racing

All this bike racing has really been getting in the way of life. I have been spending a very limited time in the woods. That is not only bad for the psyche, but didnt help my pursuit of the white tail during bow hunting season. This summer I acheived a goal of producing a bow from the landscape, but I just didnt have the time to practice enough to reliably make the clean shot. Actually making a shot on target is rare. So I stuck with my hand me down compound bow with sights. Not the end of the world. But lacking time in the woods, that was limited in productivity as well. Which is OK. Sitting in the woods is nice. It's not all about bringing home a deer. It's about connections to the real (natural) world. A connection to an activity that is fundamental to being human. Also eating good food and filling a predator void created by our imbalances. The unfortunate thing is I failed because I am lacking the connection to the real world and I miss out on the other three things because of it.

Yesterday I was surprised to hear a little bit on de-evolution in somewhat mainstream media. Well, on Wait wait don't tell me, which pulls it's humor from the media. They even used the term, which I don't totally embrace, but the theory was there. It's not surprising to me that it is so rare to hear it even mentioned. It has no easy solution. It might not even have a difficult one. Climate change? Cake. Stop burning fossil fuels, which are unnecessary for human life. Easy. So called de-evolution deals with a fundamental human trait. Our nasty little habit of controlling everything in our environment. What we control we remove from the great balance. What is removed is, well, off balance. The point of the skit on the radio was that human are getting dumber. That's a pretty broad generalization, but the point is without natural selection, there is no reason a smart person would be more successful at breeding than a dumb person. Just like a person predisposed for cancer, heart disease, poor eyesight, etc has no problem passing those genetics on to the next generation.

Now to tie these two topics together I'll talk about a recent event in the woods around my home. Opening day of gun season for white tail deer. De-evolution at work. These are not wise and capable hunters. Seriously, "hunting" with a gun is about as hard as going to the grocery store. It takes about the same effort and that is evident by the sight of some of these characters out there. It also takes about as much wisdom. The gun does all the work. Deer didn't evolve to avoid bullets sailing from a hundred yards away. All you do is sit and line up the sights. You dont even have to sit in the right spot really. Just a general vicinity, which is almost hard not to be if you are in the woods or field. They don't really need to aim that well either. Again general vicinity is good enough. Bullet goes through bone. With bow hunting at least you have to be sitting within like 20 yards of an unsuspecting deer that has to be facing a certain direction. Today this is considered "really hard". While yeah, I am unsuccessful so far, it really isn't so hard in the big picture. It's only hard because we are so far removed. Modern bows are really just quiet, short range guns. All the bells and whistles. If we think about how much time and experience we have with something like driving, and imagine if we spent that time learning to hunt from childhood......yeah, modern bow hunting is anything but difficult. All this being said, I guess I dont have any problem with gun hunting, other than the noise and the obnoxious people. If it's like going to the grocery store, well, at least it's fulfilling those two things mentioned above. They are eating good meat and filling that predator void. Now trophy hunting? No excuses. Trophy hunters are unskilled, misguided, meat heads. Humans used to be a component in natural selection. We culled the weak from the gene pool of our prey. Now these idiots go out and shoot the biggest and strongest with a rifle from a quarter mile away. I wonder what that's doing for the genetics of our prey?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

where have I been?

been a lot of places. It's been long enough that I think I'll skim through the results and then summarize the big picture so far....and then get on with subjects of more substance.

I pulled off a 2nd place in Maine for the downeast UCI weekend. Felt OK, not super, but led alot of the race till Lindine caught me and I started to have lower back issues. Day two I flew through the air onto my face hard enough that I was a little dazed. Called it a day.

 I braved the coming of superstorm sandy and the prospect of being in New Jersey regardless of weather to race one day of HPCX. This was the first weekend that my current UCI points became effective. Front row! I was able to start with the front and let the race develope without going ballistic. Of course, presicely when the front was starting to throw a few punches a mechanical sent me right to the back again. Ahh, this again. I salvaged a 5th.

Alright the season starts. Front row again @ Cyclesmart Inernational. Lead got established and I was there.....barely.  So there was my answer to wear I would be if the bad start position was taken out of the equation. I was there, but I didnt have much to contribute to the racing at the front. Check this out. On day 2 I decided to test the bad start theory again by missing my call up to the front row and hanging back in the third row. I fought tooth and nail to that front group again but again I was just there, ready to be on the back at the finish line. Day one I was able to get in for 5th due to a bunch of crashing. Although its not really a gimme. I stayed upright and hence rolled in for 5th. Day 2 all those guys stayed upright, relegating me to 7th..

After a last minute decision Dan and I met up with the Jam fund van to get to the Louisville USGP. I soon remembered why I quit road racing. Well, one of the reasons. The team van. probably my least desirable method of doing something I dont desire. No offense to the Jam team cause it also was one of the most hilarious van rides I've been on. That is saying a lot. Anyway, my current UCI points were only good for 3rd row in this field. I killled the start on Saturday and snuck in the lead group. This course had some world class sand though and I guess I have some work in that department. I was flying right through in warm up, but in the race I was all off. That surprised me because skill is usually my fallback when fitness is lacking. Anyway that shot my right out of the lead group and left me fighting for 14th in the C1 event. Not bad. Not great. Story of my season. Day two I had a bad start and never got to the front. I finished 19th, but I crossed the line with a rubber chicken that I grabbed by the barriers from frame builder Don Walker who was screaming $20 to finish with the chicken. It had a dollar in its mouth and I had grabbed one earlier in the day too. So I was up to $22 dollars combined with my $28 prize for 19th and its still a crappy payday.

That was alot of words on bike racing. I'm just going to do another post on important stuff.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

racing update

Well, I made it through Gloucester and Providence. Thought I'd type an update. The two weekends were quite similar.

Day one Gloucester, a little wet, but plenty o' traction, lots of pedaling. I started somewhere just behind mid-pack. I didn't pass all that many people on the pavement like I had hoped. Everyone was going so damn fast. So I had to pass a bunch in the first bit of turns and just work through as many as I could, one by one for the whole race. I made it up into a group that was at the back end of the top 20. I kept pushing the pace in that group till it was down to just two and was out sprinted on the pavement. That meant I snuck in for 15th and the last UCI C2 points given out.

Day two started with morning rain that changed conditions significantly. I like that, but I didn't like my random draw start for the day. I don't remember what place it was but I was the second to last called to the line. Well, I couldn't see the line way up there, but I was called to the back of the people who were at the line. At least in the 90s. At this point I'm getting a little discouraged and I am sick of having to go so hard off the line. I knew it was going to be mayhem with the mud and all so I just started in my own row behind everyone and rode the pavement there, alone. Craziness ensued in the mud and I skirted around. Worked my way into 23rd by the end.

Day one Providence was dry and fast. Way too much pedaling. I had another mid-pack start draw, but I just suffered with the pedaling. That's bout all I remember. Suffering. I made it to 18th. No C1 points this time.

Day two, like Gloucester, changed significantly. Rain fell pretty much right before the start and made a layer of slime on top of solid earth. Also, like Gloucester I drew a start in the back of a 100 rider field. I think I drew 88, but missed my call. Didn't matter anyway. I'd rather be behind the last row on one side than in the middle of the second to last row. In the situation you have to work over to one side before you can move up much. From behind the back I have a straight shot up the side....usually. But anyway, I just didn't feel like fighting from the back, period. Like last Sunday I started slow and let the crashes happen and just skirt around. I didn't have a whole lot of motivation after that though and kind of just stayed upright, riding at a sub-race pace. I figured I was way back in the 50s-60s, but turned out I was inside the top twenty. Maybe 16th. Not knowing that I let anyone who was fighting go right around me. The end came and I was 24th.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Robbed in Baltimore

I don't like cities. No, I hate cities. They are the site of the human infection where the wound is gaping and the tissue is long dead and decaying. The long red streaks of the suburbs reach out into the living tissue of the planet. My experience with Baltimore went as usual. General disgust and overwhelming stress as I made my way to Druid Hill Park. Once inside I was able to block it out a bit, but only for a bit as we were surrounded. The city made it way to my car and my teamates car and decided to remove the contents of my wallet. This poor woodsman isn't used to having to worry about this sort of thing and of course had the thing stuffed with a significant portion of my worth....and when I say poor I also mean monetarily poor. My teamate Dan Chabanov is also poor and made a donation to the city by way of an expensive camera. Thing is though, he lives in these concrete jungles....he would argue that not all infections are the same....maybe not worded that way. Despite making sure I got a peek at my car every lap, the race went OK. Apparently the computer doesn't have much better luck than I. I've been pulling last row with the number out of the hat thing. The computer random kept me back there this weekend. 36th and 37th @ call up. Not dead last but close enough. I made my way through the pack on day one to make contact with the front of the race just as it was surging. A separation happened and I was behind it. I kept the pace and it split again. The end result was 2 leaders, 2 chasers, me and Ryan Dewald, and a large group behind. We worked together but couldn't make contact ahaead. I personally didn't have much to push with. Once we were certain to not make a catch or be caught I saved a little and took the sprint in for 5th. The next day I went about my business at the back of the pack and as usual when I reached the race at the front they were throwing down. This time I kept pace and made the split. It was me and the Euros from then on out. Bazin, Field, and the Frenchman's teamate Dassonville who started right in front of me. Nice to see someone else having to make it from the back. We cruzed around with a few surges happening, but when Bazin accelerated we all separated out to singles. The last 2 laps I was trying to close in on Dassonville in 3rd to make the podium, but just couldn't close the 5 second gap. We filed in with that order. Again another improvement. Things are alot farther behind than I thought they would be but at least they are headed in the right direction.

The mountains are green, with a little red and yellow starting to show through

Ah, Green Mountain cross weekend. This was my first cross race on a cross bike. I had like 50psi in my tires cause I didn't know any better. It was muddy. I fell....and almost fell alot. I cant remember exactly how I did, but I remember it was UCI one day and not the other. I think the UCI day I was duking it out with Myerson and ended up getting away from him last lap. The other day I think I let some air out and made the podium. I've generally had good races here. '08 I led the whole race only to get passed by Driscoll in the last bit of the last lap. '09 I won both days. Well things are a bit different now. I'm not on top of my game and it seems like the UCI fields have filled in. The top is still where it was, but the gaps between the top and the rest seem to have filled and the field size has grown. That gap is where I lived in '09. At the full on races I would just dangle off the back of the top. If the tippy top wasn't there I usually had an easy win. I'm not fit enough to live in that gap now even if it still existed. I'm not sure where I'm going to live this year. So far I know where I'm going to live before the gun goes off.....the back row. Since I am pointless, according to the UCI at least, I have to draw a number out of a hat for start position. My best so far is 5th from last called to the line. So day one I was again able to get in the game off the back row, but I struggled and faded throughout the rest of the hour. Day two I made a long slow push from the back row to 10th. I was OK with that mostly because it was an improvement. Up until now when the pedals needed to be pushed, it was just quicksand. Well I have never seen quicksand, so maybe it was like mud, cause I know exactly what that is like. Day two of GMCX was the first time I felt like I could push a little into the red. Good sign toward improvement.

Rochester season opener

Well, that happened. The fears I mentioned seemed to be at least somewhat a reality. My legs didn't do a great job with the pedaling and I did start last row both days behind a sizable field. It wasn't the full top ten field I worried about and my wrist wasn't too I had that going for me. Day one I was able to get around most everybody and wedge myself up into 4th on first lap, but that soon took its toll and I was on damage control, fading to 9th by the end of the hour. Day 2 I got boxed in and couldn't get around in the start and had to work my way through the line. I did make it to the back of the large lead group of like 10, but again faded fast. During a moment of weakness I decided that riding below my potential was not worth riding at all and put a DNF next to my name. Not proud of that, but anyway, moving forward....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Dear legs,

I regret having to send this letter, but enough is enough. Maybe you never got the memo. Or maybe you just forgot because it doesn't feel like autumn yet and in your defense, it has been quite a while. So let me take this opportunity to remind you that we are supposed to be a bike racer now. Actually, it was supposed to be a week ago and due to your absense, beard and hands were hung out to dry. I have to wonder how you failed to notice how hands were out practicing for bike driving and beard was filling out in preparation for the coming season. What have you been doing? I have supplied you with all the tools you should need to succeed. Hard training, long rest, but you don't seem to take the hint. Well, moving forward, we have a long job ahead of us and it's going to be much longer if you continue to fail at your part of the bargain. Unfortunately I have to put you on the spot. If you don't get it together I am going to have to reconsider your involvement at this facility.

Sincerely your's
Bike Racer Dan

Sunday, September 2, 2012

mayday, mayday!

Well, here I am, on the eve of the big cross season and all seems to be falling apart. The plan was to take the moderate fitness i had and bump it up a notch with training and racing over the last month. Instead I raced awful @ the tour of the catskills, suffering in an epic way, requiring some time off. Then family vacation brought more unexpected time off. I had hoped that time off would help but not the case. I then figured that it must have been too much time off and i was behind on training. After a good block on the bike, this seemed to be a false assumption too. To make matters worse a wrist injury from earlier in the year really started to flare up after catskills. I have changed my bar position a bit and started wearing a brace, which started to allow the wrist to begin to heal. I went to a pt who specializes in hand stuff to get some advice on keeping it on the mend during cross, which tends to be hard on that part of the body. Regarding everything else i have sortof narrowed it down to life.....I'm tired from life. Not over trained. No way. I dont feel under trained, but I have been really, really stressed out and spread really thin trying to be a pro, working man, and homesteader all at once. Last time I raced cross I was working but things have changed since then. I have alot more work @ home and alot more interests @ home. Before it was really just work and bike racing. Now there is so much more. As agreed I have finished up @ work and focus on cross full time. I have this week to try to rest and salvage what I can to start the season with. If I can do that then maybe I'll be able to ride into shape through the racing. The last component that has me a little worried is my situationcoming back with no UCI points, which determine my start position. Having none means I start in back. Now normally I would have few "tune up" races in New England where the elite feild might be spread around at a few different races. Therefor a smaller, shallower field to get the season underway with. Now the calendar is thinned out. One UCI event to be had by all. It seems I will have to contend with the big boys and a big field, right away and from the back. Unless things miraculously come together on my end and/or these situations dont turn out to be so bad, well I might be in for some suffering.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sorry for the long silence. Summer can just be too damn busy. Maybe I shouldn't blame summer. It's more people's reaction to summer, getting out and being social. That's not the case for me this year. I seem to be spending my summer doing some form of work. What's worse when I have to make room for one thing by sacrificing some time at another, sometimes there is someone there to tell me I should be working harder. It's like "look at how busy and unhappy I am. You should lighten my load by making youself miserable just like me." Nah, I think in the future I will stick to my guns and make sure I have time for my real interests....and sanity. I have managed to squeeze in a few very important projects. You may have seen the early stages of my "kit" in a previous post. That is one of the resources obtained from a foray last fall into the great balance of mother nature. I went out and studied the motions of the real world so that I could take a meager portion with great thanks and put every bit I could toward my family's sustenance. The process will be improved upon in the future, but here is the finished product of the deer's hide......soft, egg-tanned, buckskin. I'm very proud of it, as this is one skill that I figured out on my own. A mentor would have made the process ALOT easier, but I did not have one. So as mentioned previously, I made all the mistakes in order to figure out the process.

 Here is one way I hope to improve upon the process. A pignut hickory self-bow. Need to find a bit of time to tiller it and make a string....or more likely screw it up and start a new one!

Here we have the new 2012 Richard Sachs team issue Northwave shoes being caressed by the soft texture of the buckskin. Seriously, I'm in love with these shoes. No modification to the fit needed. Much more true to size than in the past. The sole is carbon where it needs to be stiff, but enough flex in the toe and mid-soul to not feel like a 2x4 when you run in them. Quick and easy retention system. I'm very happy with these.

 and I'm very glad to get this project out of the way as it was a very intimidating one for me. I'm not great with electrical systems and I've been trying to bring myself up to speed so I could install our new batteries on the cabin. I had to build a whole battery box and ventilation system with voltage controlled fan. Just finished it up the other day. Really nice to have the storage capacity again.

On the training/racing front, things have been about the same. Kinda just been floating along waiting for the signal to ramp it up. My pal Justin Lindine beat up on me again at a MTB race. I thought I was going to fare better this time as I was really comfortable riding a few seconds behind him for the first 2/3 of the race. Then my upper body and core turned to jello and I rode like a pinball, losing 5min to him in the last third of the race. I think I'm in for one more MTB race before the switch. The time came to put forth the full effort for the final push to cross. I ramped up the training and hooked up with my old amateur team for the rest of the pre-season on the road. About a week into this change I joined them for the tour of the Hilltowns. They rode very organized and put in a great effort with me as the finale. In the end I came up a bit short for fifth. I felt a little bad that I couldn't pull off better after all that work but I don't think I really have enough riding time in for 100mi road races just yet. It was just a week into training so I'm hoping to be better in the upcoming races. Last weekend I did a last minute team time trial with some Ithaca area locals. Turned out to be a good pay day and good training for the upcoming TTs.

borrowed text

"I think homo sapiens lost something......some vital part of ourselves, when we gave up the hunting and gathering life for the fettered, programmed existence of agriculture, and later, industry. Consider just the moves: the lookout, the spoor, the stalk, the cross country chase, the dead-on throw were replaced by the cramped, repetitive action of stoop labor, the planting stick and shovel, and worse, the quill, keyboard, and computer idiot stick. Time, which once rolled out in loose, measureless rounds of sun and moon, was chopped up into lengths and tied in knots; space, the free earth of the paleolithic, was quartered and fenced: off limits; trespassers will be prostituted" by Rob Schultheis from Bone Games

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

need a good ass kicking now and then

you dont learn much when things come easy. You learn lots when you screw up. Tell you what, I'm going to know everything there is to know about primitive hide tanning once i finally come up with a finished product. It's like I tried every possible screw up to see what happens, only i never meant to.  I'm finding out there are many lifetimes worth of learning to just scratch the surface of the complex skills needed for humans to live in the real world. Oh the irony. We once posessed a cultural skill set that our lives depended on and which allowed us to circle the globe. Then we completely severed all ties to it and now a tiny niche of folks today will spend their lives trying to re-learn these very fundementals of human life. Pick any one skill, even the most basic skill.........making fire. It seems one could spend a lifetime just at that. Plenty of time could be spent on technique alone, tree identification so you can competently select the right wood, cordage which is a whole other thing, and of course these are only half the battle. these get you a little coal, which you then have to have the right materials to turn that coal into a flame, and then to turn that into a bigger flame until finally you can relax and feed the hungry beast you've created. I often ponder these things in the context that our ancestors new these thing from childhood. it passed down through generations for millenia and new more about it than any scientific study of today could ever know. Anyway, this all relates to racing in a way. You'd think i would have bike fit all worked out after all these years on them, but not so. It's constantly evolving and i continue to maken discoveries by the above mentioned method of totally screwing things up to find out what not to do and by default, what TO do. Riding a bicycle is also not natural thing for the body. It is not really obvious what will work. Many totally different things work for different people because, well, we aren't evolved as bike pedalers. Guess it's what you pick up and get used to. Well i still can't nail down what I'm used to. I'll  try everything under the sun andthink I have it nailed down till one minute detail changes and all of a sudden that way of thinking no longer works. That's sortof how i felt last weekend when i swapped over to the MTB shoes and pedals. Just didn't feel right and i therefor suffered. Also sunday was the first MTB race in a long time. I realize while i am much fitter now, i was much more skilled on the trails when i was 16. This was the williams lake classic. I remember why this used to be my favorite race. Fun technical trails that go through a cave. My old teamate Justin Lindine was there. Good to see him, even if he had to crack me on the first climb. He has been kicking ass on the MTB and took no exception with mine. I was in serious trouble out there. Damage control from that first climb. No technical skills to falll back on. My legs might have hurt cause Saturday was the Black fly challenge where Cory Burns was ripping them off. Made an agreement to ride for a course record since we were in different categories. good thing, i would have blown anyway. we did hurt and smashed the record by 6 minutes. Unfortunately my dad was busy falling on his head out there in his first race ever. Fortunately it was a minor concussion, but we did have to go all the way over to Glens Falls to get him. When we got there the hospital was on "lock down" apperently because a patient "escaped". Sounds like prison to me. Hospitals are an extreme example of corruption. Makes perfect sense being in close with insurance and law.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

WHEELS and some racin

I got alot of riding to do before cross racing, so I needed some wheels. Why not go local? Stan's Notubes is down in my new stomping ground (for biking) in Big Flats, New York. Picked up a set of these Stan's ZTR Podium MMX wheels for my big brother Cannondale. Easily swapable to the RZ140. They are pretty silly light. Haven't weighed this whole thing yet but wouldn't be surprised if it was 18ish.
Also picked up a set of Stan's Apha Pros for the old amateur team Cannondale. Again, very light and the tubeless set up with Hutchinson tires has a great rode feel. I ran these tires back in 2008 with Planet Energy.

So I haven't gotten out and raced the MTB yet, but soon. June 9th down in William's lake. This race was my favorite race ever back in the 90s and it just so happens that my new teammate on Richie's team is the promoter of the revived version of the race. I remember the trails being really sweet, but I was a teenager. Quite often when I look back at things from back then I remember them being epic, but when I encounter them now they are nothing like that. I bet my skills on the MTB were better then though, so maybe it'll be even more epic. Either way, the course still goes through a cave. That's neat enough....and I'll get to meet at least one of my new teammates.

I have brought out the new Stan's equipment on the road for some racing....and the racing has been going much better since Hollenbeck's. I brought the wheels out for the Bristol Mountain Road Race. They certainly helped me defeat the negative racing there. I made things move on the first ascent up the climb and was fortunate enough to bring along some riders who wanted to race. Canadians Bruce Bird, Peter Morse, my pal Dan Staffo who's always racing a good race, and the aggressive Mt Borah rider Dylan Pudiak. We rode well together and put time into the rest all day. On the last lap Bruce split things down to him, Peter and I. He then went for it again and I couldn't follow. Guess I'm still lacking a bit. I rode in solo for third.

Then was the Tour de Syracuse. It had some hills so again, the race wasn't going to stagnate too long. I waited a little longer this time. Second lap we rode the hill at a pace that shed about half, then third lap hit it hard enough to bring it down to I think 5 or 6. We reeled in the solo Mt Borah rider which gave them two in the lead group. I always love the way Dan Staffo rides so when he put in an effort as most of the group was screaming at each other I decided it was going to be up to Mt Borah to chase. If they didn't, I'd rather see him win than risk motivating them by going after him myself. Some of the other racers I found out after were too busy yelling that they didn't even know he went away. The ones that did, refused to chase despite the numbers they had to sacrifice to keep the race win within grasp. Guess they were depending on us to do it for them. Well, as happens when you ride slow, we never caught Staffo. He won and I roasted the rest up the finishing climb to finish second. Glad to see Staffo win and my fitness seemed improved. I never went into the red all race.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The new kit is coming along nicely

The cough and Hollenbeck's

Then winter came back and I got sick....for a couple weeks. Really set me back. Had a fever and the works for a few days, but then the coughing dragged on for weeks. Real pain in the arse. I finally recovered and got back out riding in time to race the Finger Lakes Cycling Club's local race at Hollenbeck's cider mill. I dropped out of this race last time I did it. One because I was far from fit, but more because of rampant negative racing. Combine the two and I just had no fun. Well this time was no different. I was struggling to re-gain fitness after being sick and when the race got under way it was obvious that everyone was content to just sit around and wait for me to do something so they could weld the field back together and sit around again. The team present that had a good portion of the race wearing their jersey played the same game, except they employed some nice blocking tactics. I think there is a misconception about blocking. People think that's a viable tactic that pros participate in. It's not. Lower categories might do it because they don't know any better, and apparently it happens in the higher cats of local races when there are no other teams to do anything about it. Anyway, it's not a classy maneuver. It's like scratching and biting at a boxing match. Especially when you out number everyone. Man up and race. When you aren't fit enough to get rid of that type of stuff it gets annoying. So I failed to finish our little local race again. Oh well, as an old teammate used to say, maybe next year.

March and Horby Hills Kermis

So back in mid-winter I committed to be a bike racer again by September. Spring happened to come early and allow me, and everyone else, to get out early. Most of that riding for me was done commuting back and forth from work in the bike shop. That adds up to a bit when it's 25mi each way. Work ends in the evening for me, so the late hour that I get home is a bit of a hassle, but otherwise it's a nice ride and gave me extra motivation to get out and put in some miles so I would be ready for when spring really comes. That was teaser spring. Winter came back for quite a while, but I still kept somewhat motivated and had actually seen some fitness. I had visions of 2009 when it seemed like I spent the entire spring and summer trying to get ready for cross racing with Richard and not seeing any results. Seemed like it didn't come around until JUST before cross started. So I was happy to see a little fitness already in April...or March...whenever it was. I even managed to pull off a win at a local road race called Hornby Hills Kermis. This is my new home turf. See last time I was training full time I lived in town. Now I live 18mi west of town. Whole new turf. I've been out exploring all the new roads and little towns in my new training radius. That's one of those things I missed about training. You get to really get out and see a lot of the country around you. Anyway, that's a fun race. Some dirt roads with a decent climb once a lap. The race was fairly uneventful as far as racing goes. It just whittled down more and more each time we went up the climb, until there were three left. First into the last corner pretty much was going to win as the line was only a few hundred meters beyond. Nobody challenged the entry into the corner, so it was an easy sprint to the line.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back to it again

Some of you may have wondered where that skinny bike racer with a beard went that looked like he just walked off the Appalachian trail and six months of eating nothing but cambium. Some of you know exactly where I went and have the luxury of speaking face to face with me....well, I don't know if that's such a luxury, but at least they don't have to stare at a computer screen...but anyway, I'm gonna type stuff here so that I can re-connect with anyone out there who watched me race and listened to me spout in interviews that were supposed to be about bike racing because chance would have it, I'm gonna bike race again. It's going to be, well already is, a long process for me to get back to par so I can race cyclocross for Richard Sachs Cyclocross Team like I did back in 2009......or hopefully better. When that time comes to partake in my favorite activity (traveling places in big machines) then those lucky, or not so lucky, ones who once were able to speak with me will be relegated to the computer to follow along with my adventures and the others will get to witness me suffer the cold, muddy, torture test we call cyclocross first hand. The context is bike racing, but the subject will be elsewhere most of the time. I really can't see how it wouldn't be, I mean how much do we really want to talk about racing unless we juxtapose it onto the real world?

So I'll start with where I went for those who don't know and want to. I've quit bike racing twice in my life. Both times have been the greatest times of my life. Life changing times. It's like I've spent so much of my life dedicated to racing that things build up. The things, well, I want to say, that I really want to be doing, but maybe that isn't the right way to put it. The things that were pushed aside to focus fully on pedaling. Really, the first time I quit I didn't know what I wanted to do, or that I wanted to do anything, until after I hung it up. I flailed around for a bit and eventually found myself re-purposing the bike as a way to "get away" and see the country while living a simple existence. That was life changing, but it ended up being the reason I dove back in to bike racing with more commitment than ever. I was really fit after riding all over the place. I spent couple years racing road as an elite amateur, a couple as a pro and then spent a final year dedicated solely to cyclocross. I hung it up again after the success of 2009 cross season and this time it was like the flood gates opening. I knew exactly what I wanted and it was a matter of how much I could take on at once. I spent the last couple years as a continuation of stuff I wrote about for cxmag back then

I've been a student of our past. Learning where we come from and how our ancestors lived. I have picked up alot of the skills used in the daily functions of peoples who lived more connected lives than we do today. In doing so I have made my life more connected. Connected to the real world. When I say the real world people usually think like, paying bills, the work week and stuff. That's the real world? Nah, the real world is the one out there that all the other species on this planet hang out in. That's the one I want to know most about, and I spend much time studying it. I now have a beautiful wife and we have a homestead of sorts with a little cozy cabin. So all this stuff is again, in a way, why I'm heading back to racing. I feel like I have accomplished so much and gotten things headed in the right direction. I can now fit bike racing in there and I want to because I miss the competition. I raced locally a bit last year and it just fueled the fire. Maybe it's a primal hunter-gatherer instinct misplaced in the modern world.

After the words I went out on a few years back, you could call me a hypocrite and you'd be right. I went out for good reasons and I stand by them, but also point out that hybrid cars, solar panels, and quitting bike racing aren't the answer. They might be slightly better options that could help, but the problem is way, way deeper. It's fundamental. Goes so far back that the change necessary is almost unfathomable. Doesn't make the choice good and I certainly aint going to stop trying or lose that awareness I value, but I guess it's a pick your battles situation. Maybe it's a selfish decision. Maybe it's a platform to inspire change. Maybe it's all trivial in a hopeless situation anyway. Or all of the above. Who knows. It is what it is.

The process of obtaining fitness started mid-winter and I'll be posting again soon some details of what has transpired since then. It's been interesting.

thanks for reading