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