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.