America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Canton Cup: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

My ankle protested from this summer's sprain, my lower back was in knots, my lungs tightened from the cold air, my windpipe was clogged with thick phlegm, and my mouth was completely dry... So I consider it a miracle that I completed 3 full laps of my very first cyclocross race today in the Masters event. A fourth lap just wasn't in me.. I wanted to be fit enough to drive home afterwards! I must salute all of those who tore up the course today... that felt harder than any road race I've ever done. yet strangely... I want to do it again! No, that's just regret talking. DNF's will do that to you.. make an empty glass seem full... My least favorite part of the course? The soft mushy grass fields where the wind pushed me around like a plastic bag... The barriers and run-up were fun. I dismounted reasonably well, for one who practiced it for only the first time ever, this morning. What got me was the sedentary lifestyle I've adopted since Jamestown... and that cold air- my lungs don't like it one bit. After quitting, I hacked and coughed up- I swear to you- not less than 3 or 4 ounces of the thickest phlegm I've ever seen. No wonder I couldn't get enough air! Some water might have helped... Am I the only fool who got thirsty? Does anyone carry a small amount of H2O in their back pocket??
Overall, I'm pleased with myself, believe it or not. Going up there took some courage and resolve. True, I cursed the day that I bought a cross bike, with every pedal stroke and every clumsy leap over the barriers... But in the end, I couldn't stop thinking about the next event, whatever it may be... I must have been dropped on my head as a child...
Great to finally meet Solobreak and see GeWilli today... BTW, do I get any points for not crashing in my first cross race? At some point, Solobreak went past me, and I was happy for it... that kind of suffering should only take place in private, and I wanted to be invisible.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Murat Likes It Off-Road

Biiiig lapse in my contributions here this past week. Many thanks to those who still check in on me to see if there's any action at Union Velo Blog.. Been busy as ever at work lately. I have about $2 million worth of high school science laboratories to get delivered, installed and operational in the next 60 days... That's a LOT of cabinets, epoxy resin tops, faucets, valves, fume hoods, acid storage units, apparatus rods, and other millwork to coordinate!
In other news, I was an invited guest on the Open Source Radio program on NPR, hosted by Christopher Lydon... The program was last Thursday, the web page and recording of the program can be found here. It was called "Talking Turkishness".
Last Sunday I met up with some co-workers at the Big River Watershed in Coventry.. I was the only one with a cross bike and no suspension, but I was ripping up the trails and jumping logs like it was second nature.. That was probably the most fun I've had on a bike in a looooong time. Hoping to do it again this Saturday morning with another aspiring roadie, my newbie friend Kaan Duru.
Today I had to go up to Salem MA for a jobsite visit and on the way I stopped at Union Cycle and picked up a pair of mountain shoes (Diadora Habanero, reasonably priced and ample for my first year of off-roading) AND a pair of Crank Brothers stainless steel pedals (I am boycotting French products, so the Time pedals were out of the question) (My road bike is a Look 486, I know..) Hopefully the $200+ I dropped won't bring me any buyer's remorse.
This Sunday there's a cross race in Canton (?) I am planning on trying this out, just for shits and giggles, to see where I stand in the cyclocross food-chain (I'm guessing plankton or paramecium) The cool thing is that my dad is flying in from Turkey tomorrow for a three week visit, and he used to race back inthe 60s, but has no idea what 'cross is all about. I hope to bring him with me and give him a good laugh on Sunday. So anyone out there with some pointers about Sunday's race, please enlighten me and I will be eternally grateful. Should I pre-reg? (only 41 registed in the masters so far- getting a good start position is moot for me- I just want to race and get a few laps in- better I don't endanger others by getting in their way this first time)
Besides that, I'm not riding except for the weekends, so my fitness is going to start seriously slipping away soon! Need to watch my diet, because after a summer of caloric deficiency, I most certainly have a surplus lately..

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Back in the Saddle

I took Monday and Tuesday off the bike, but today my skin was crawling at work with the weather so nice outside. Not only did I skip out of work a little early today and go for a 1 hour ride, I also swapped bikes and hit the trails for another 1/2 hour. The fog is beginning to clear I think. Been a little down since Jamestown, where my heart just wasn't into the suffering. Next year will be different. Sorry I don't have more to share.. Still looking to choose and register for my first cross race. Suggestions for a venue would be appreciated, for something preferably before Nov 17th, because my father will be visiting with us from Turkey until that time. Want him to witness the madness.

Monday, October 09, 2006

As The Wheel Turns: Jamestown Meltdown

The depression I've been feeling for the past week got the best of me today. In a race where I had a shot at a respectable finish, I had some kind of mental melt-down after one lap and was kind of like "put a fork in me, I'm done"... As I explained to a team mate via e-mail earlier today:
Coming through the start/finish for the first time, a circuit in my head (or heart?) tripped and I told myself I didn't want to repeat that for another two laps. A touch of burn-out? When it doesn't seem fun anymore, why force it? I no doubt could have finished, and would have if wife and child weren't there... but being with them just seemed a much more attractive past-time than tasting puke for 90 more minutes...
Nice rationalization, eh?? So for the final road race of the year, Murat gets the "Quit race because he's a pussy" award. Damn and blast it. I wanted to get some recognition for finishing too. I'm still breathing fire because the Topsfield promoters STILL have not posted results to USA Cycling. Yeah, I only got 23rd place, but being a Pro-1-2 event, I wanted to see my "name in lights". Pathetically, it's one of those silly things which drives me to be better: some effing recognition.
More than quitting today's race, the end of the season bums me out more than anything. Not a cross-junkie (yet) but perhaps a venture into cyclocross land will lift my spirits. I have a bike, all I need are decent shoes, pedals [and a frontal lobotomy, from what I've been reading lately]. Some one please take pity on me and recommend shoes for this pathetic weenie. The Crank Brothers pedals seem the way to go...
I wish we could tack on another two months of today's weather, re-start Wells Ave, even resurrect the old Wednesday night Lincoln Crit (I loved that race)
Planning on doing a February training camp somewhere far far away. Maybe in Turkey with their national team (if only I can somehow dodge the warrant issued for my arrest over there) Damn and blast it again. Maybe I'll go to Iran or Egypt (Yeah Europe would be sweet, but I want WARMTH, in a place that isn't cost-prohibitive). Believe it or not, Iran and Egypt and Turkey have some very fast elite riders. They're just too cash poor to race in Western Europe...
Whatever, I'm done for 2006. No more riding the bike to work... I really need to focus on my projects better than I have been- riding to work and back has made it impossible to do the 60 hour weeks that this requires... I'll have to really put my head down and play catch up for a few weeks, and use it for a distraction from the onset of fall/winter, which depresses me to no end.
Total mileage for 2006: 3994
Total hours in the saddle: 211
In comparison, I rode only 3028 miles in 189 hours during 2005.
Click the title above to see today's horror show of a Polar chart. (G-d damned blogger won't let me upload pictures on this blog)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Jamestown Classic tomorrow... then what !?!?

Tomorrow marks the last hurrah for the road season. The Jamestown Classic will take start in the morning and I will be among the Cat 1-2-3 pack fodder, but who knows, maybe I'll have a really good day and finish top ten. It's been a light week for me.. Didn't ride Tues, Wed, Thurs, or Friday. Yesterday I rode about 37 miles in two hours, feeling regretful for taking so much rest, per usual... Is it just me? or does rest hurt everyone's speed? Noticed my heart rate a little high and a general feeling of weakness the first hour...and legs felt extremely tight... opened up though in the 2nd hour. Today I just took a light and breezy spin with a couple of un-licensed friends.. 24 miles in 1:24. It was good to look down and see my heart rate hover around 100 +/- 5 bpm.. I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be for tomorrow's event. In the words of one team mate, "the race isn't decided on the hills, except maybe the last climb before the finish... Otherwise, the wind is a big factor."
We'll see. If the descriptions I've heard of the course profile are true, it will suit me well. Hope to tell you all about it tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

As The Wheel Turns: Flickr Update etc

I've just uploaded a bunch of photos from the Cycle for Life Pro-1-2-3 Crit. See the Flickr badge on the right. These were taken by my dear wife, before I flatted before I took the camera from her to shoot some video... Looks like I'm listed as a "pack" finisher on Bikereg Results, even though I had to quit with 13 to go. I'll take it.. better than being shown as a DNF.. Besides, I was primed for a top ten finish if the damn tire would have held air...
I felt like a wad of camel spit at work today.. The Seasonal Blues are upon me... I skipped riding on Sunday due to the weather.. Today I was trapped in a four hour production meeting in which I am a contributor for all of four minutes.. yet I am compelled to sit there and get jabbed by our President each time I doze off... Screw that. If it's inappropriate to be excused, then I'm just getting up and saying I have to go home early. At least then I can get a decent ride in before dark, instead of sitting there in that effing circle jerk. This is what I did...
Feeling depressed about Saturday's misfortune and about no-riding on Sunday, I resolved to go out and punish myself with a timed ride on my designated "hilly fitness test route". It's 26.2 miles, about 1300 feet of climbing, and it's hard enough to grow hair on your chest, at least when you drill it at LT the whole way... I didn't exactly shatter my previous personal best from back on July 3rd, but I did shave 30 seconds off and that counts for something, especially considering that I had to force myself out on the bike (I REALLY didn't feel like riding, but clenched my teeth but used the potential self-hate of being a pussy as a motivator to go)
I don't know how to show you a Polar chart (not without printing and scanning) so I'll give you a very old chart of the same exact route, so you can see the profile. (scratch that- effing Blogger is not letting me upload pictures) It goes like this: Fairview Ave to route 115 to route 116 to Route 12 to Old Plainfield Road to route 102 to Maple Valley Road to Route 117 to Fairview Ave to Maple Ave where I live. Counter-clock-wise. The hills are on Route 12 and Old Plainfield (where it peaks) It's harder than it looks- the two larger hills are 1+ mile long.
Scoping the weather report for Jamestown on Monday.. I hear that the course has some hillyness to it... Hopefully it's easy like Bob Beal or Topsfield. I do well on hills that I can power over in the 53x19, my favorite gear.