America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Palmer Library RR Video...

Sorry for the delay! My home wireless network kept failing, so I humped my computer downstairs closer to the router and finally got it done. Mind you, it takes about an hour to compile the video in Moviemaker, add titles, music etc.. It takes another hour to save it to disk. It then takes another hour to upload to Google, and then another hour for them to process and approve it. We're almost there. Thanks for patience.

I've hired a coach

No more riding my ass off just because the weather is nice, and then resting only on the rainy days. No more "winging it" when it comes to training frequency, duration and intensity. No more "racing my way into fitness".. No more fooling myself into believing that I have it "all figured out" just because I started started racing 20 years ago. Time for a serious gut check.. 
I have selected a coach who I believe will get me out of this death spiral, straighten me out and have me flying straight. I'm cautiously optimistic. And yes, this also means I am getting myself a power meter too.    

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Palmer Library Road Race DNF Report

Grrrrrr. I continue to be eluded by the finish line of a road race.. It's no coincidence that all of the races I've ever won were criteriums. Why I continue to bash my head in trying to do an event I suck at, G-d only knows.. Maybe it's the fluke result (if you can call it that) which I earned at Topsfield last year in the P-1-2-3 race. Gave my confidence some wings.. but a few weeks later at Jamestown P-3, I quit after the first 54 minute lap. I was gassed. Seems that on a really good day, I can finish a road race. Anything less, and my heart isn't into it. The head prevails.. It says.. "You are suffering like a dog on the first lap, you shouldn't be in difficulty.. You are pack fodder today with no hope of even riding at the front, much less cracking top 20.. Three, four or five more laps of this will make you feel even worse.. and for what? To say you finished? 80th? DFL? Stop punishing yourself.. You're better than this.. Go home.. lick your wounds.. rest.. toss your training/rest plan in the circular file and start over.. Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.. All or nothing.."
Story of my life, those last three words..
After the first lap, a few miles past the finish, we were cresting a rise and I couldn't see the top.. I'm in the big ring and I notice a lot of others are in the little ring.. Should have followed suit, but I felt committed. After the top, I'm fading, dangling at the very back, legs sloshing with lactic acid, they don't want to go anymore.. It's at this point when a switch is thrown, one which illuminates the "This isn't fun anymore" sign.. I'm not a masochist, I race because I tend to enjoy it immensely, and polluting that enjoyment by forcing a bad day into a death march, isn't good for my future in the sport. After I begin to coast, a very friendly racer passes by, slows down and asks my name. In times when I want to turn invisible, I forget my manners- I didn't ask his name.. Hopefully he visits here and says hi. A few seconds later, Gewilli comes bombing down the road and the two of them try to rally me into a 40 mile training ride.. I consider it as I produce more acid trying to accelerate.. but my mind was already made up. The fire was smothered completely.. would not re-ignite. I pulled a u-turn back towards my wife and kid who were waiting for me at the Warren School. Regrets for that guys.. Thanks for trying and I hope you got more out of it than I did.
I think I'll clear my calendar of all road races for the next 30 days. "Stick to what you know" seems to ring true right now.
"All or nothing".. Destructive behavior? or not?

Palmer Library 35+ Road Race Video, Coming Up

32 minutes of footage.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ready for Palmer?

As ready as possible I guess.. I rode 30 easy miles today.. and got to thinking.. whatever I've done in the past 30 days has a much bigger effect on tomorrow's performance than anything I do today.. So why fret about anything? What's done is done. You either have it or you don't.. Going easy today was the right move, because the most important thing of all tomorrow is to feel rested at the start.. The camera is installed, this time aimed a little lower so I don't end up recording so much sky.. I am going to turn it on at the start and we'll get about 30 minutes of continuous footage out of it- one lap or more. If it were possible to start it on the third lap I would, but it's not possible to reach under the saddle, power it up and hit the start button, not without stopping. I could lower the quality of the recording and get an hour or more out of the 2 gig SD card, but that might end up looking pretty bad on screen.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Recent charts: Loud Road & Tunk Hill Road

The first chart shows you a ride in the Pittsford/Victor area of Rochester, NY this past weekend. The hill which you see in the profile is the infamous "Loud Road" which climbs 319 feet in 1.4 miles. Then a fast descent and another 172 foot rise in 1/2 mile. I lived only five miles from this road as a junior, and used it very often to work on climbing. Back then I'd grind it out in the 42x16 seated, as I was 30 pounds lighter than present. I always feel at home on that climb. The GVCC used the two climbs for a prologue TT one year, part of a stage race we organized. I got 4th.

This second chart is tonight's ride from the Church. Big turn out, especially after we connected with another group of 6-7 riders. Towards the end of my ride, peaking in the 78th minute, is the Tunk Hill Road climb.. (I had to head towards home after this climb, hence the mirror image) This is another rise which I'm pretty familiar with, having climbed it dozens of times in the past few years, but always by myself, never in a group. I always wondered how I'd fare in a fast group like tonight. Truth is, I can't climb very well right now. Felt really good on the steeper first half, then I came apart about 100 meters from the summit. This one rises 220 feet in one mile, but the 2nd half isn't steep at all.. Looking back on my Polar records, I find that my fastest time up this hill is 4 minutes flat, using the big ring back on Oct 2nd... Today was the same exact time of 4 minutes, except using the little ring and very early in the season in comparison. I'm hoping this means I'm ahead of the curve in 2007. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Palmer Library Road Race: I'm in

Confirmed Rider List

Junk Miles?

After my meltdown at the GVCC Classic, I didn't get to see Todd Scheske again, but he called me in the evening to make sure I was okay. I love that. Says it all about him doesn't it? Anyway we get to talking about things for almost 1/2 hour and I explain that I weigh 25 pounds more than we did back when we were juniors (I'm 174) Todd, on the other hand, seems to have lost weight since that time somehow.. Todd's like "holy shit dude! Drop ten pounds and your power/kg will go off the chart" Duh! I've known this.. but no matter what I do I can't get under 170 so far this season.. Maybe I will soon though because of the daily bike commute becoming a regular thing.. Hope so.. although Todd refers to such riding as "junk miles". (Ouch) Todd's a Cat One who definitely has his stuff together, going to Master's Nationals, winning at Chris Thater et al... We're the same age. He uses a power meter and trains smart.. So smart in fact that he offers coaching... The Cat One (Mike Mathis) who won the GVCC Classic is Todd's pupil. With my recent lack of results and getting my nose rubbed in it publicly, I'm thinking I'll take him up on it. Insanity can be defined as continuing to do the same thing, and expecting different results. Could I be beyond help? At my genetically pre-disposed limits of performance? I doubt it.    

GVCC Classic

My five or so readers might want to know: I got my ass handed to me in Sunday's race. If they had a 35+ race, I might have had 1/2 a chance.. They did 40+ instead.. so I had to try the 1-2 race. Out of over 40 starters, about 18 finished. Guess I'm not the only one who needs to "turn down the suck knob". Results
My buddy Todd got 7th.. Judging from the times, the small field was pretty much shattered at the end..

Monday, April 23, 2007

Click here to visit Murat's myspace page

...NOT! Except for his anti-Semitism, I consider it a privilege to share the last three letters of my name with Borat. (yes, they are r-a-t.. go wild with that one)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

GVCC Spring Classic Prelude

Today's weather was awesome.. enough so that I took a 2-1/2 hour recovery ride in anticipation of tomorrow's death march of 66 miles in the 1-2-3 event. A good friend since 20 years ago, Todd Scheske, is the organiser (and president of the Genesee Valley Cycling Club). Today I rang his wireless kind of frantically to tell him I was on my way to Rochester, but that I couldn't find my license. No worries, he says. We made the trip in 6-1/2 hours, including one 1/2 hour pit stop. Upon arrival at my mom's, I suited up and hit the road with my younger brother Ali. He accompanied me for the first 90 minutes, then I continued on my own after that. The straight flat wide shouldered roads of northeast Monroe County are nice, especially when you want to take it easy. HR got up over 125 only once or twice, otherwise I was just doing 90-110 bpm, what a recovery ride should be.. So now I'm alone while wife, son, mother and brother are all out with friends. Sipping an Amstel Light, which I know I won't finish.. Legs freshly shorn.. I was like, wow, it's been a while hasn't it? Actually I'm on the once a week program.. Little secret: use good quality hair conditioner instead of shaving cream. So much better for the skin, no cuts or nicks, ever.. Anyways, I notice some veins have finally reached the surface! Some of the veins had veins of their own popping out.. Kidding. It's just encouraging to see that the layer of fat on my legs has gotten thinner, that's all. What will tomorrow bring? It's a rolling 11 mile loop with 1000 feet of climbing per lap, and we're doing it six times. I'm excited to be racing back in my home town.. together with some old friends here in Western NY. To be honest, a lot of the people I used to run with aren't in the sport anymore. Too bad... but many others still are.. My goal is to finish tomorrow without popping. Get to the end of the sixth lap without any stupid strength wasting maneuvers. I tend to get ahead of myself on the short climbs, pushing 100% to the top and then expecting to recover on the other side. I need to use my energy in carefully metered doses if I am to last 66 miles without cramping up. It will be a disappointment if I get shelled.. but let's not confuse humility with a lack of self-respect... I intend to have a great time and come away with a great day of training among friends, if nothing else.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Turkish weightlifters take podium in Strasbourg Euro Championship

Turkish weightlifters take podium
"...Meanwhile, Sibel Simsek won the bronze medal in snatch, and silver medals in clean and jerk and the combined category for women's 63 kg class. Simsek lifted 98 kg in snatch on her second attempt to put her in third for her weight group. She also lifted 122 kg in the clean and jerk category to claim the silver medal. With a total of 215 kg, Sibel Simsek finished second, where Armenian Meline Daluzyan won the gold medal lifting 243 kg in total. Daluzyan broke the European record for juniors in snatch and the World record in clean and jerk with her performance on the second day of the tournament...." TDN Report

Is it Saturday?

Judging from the very light traffic on the roads and bike path, I wondered for a second as rode in to work this morning. Finally it looks like I can resume my regular program of commuting by bike. This requires me to keep a big inventory of clothing in my office, but it's worth the trouble of course. This morning I am reminded of how riding to work has the same effect as two cups of coffee- the fog is lifted.. thinking becomes linear instead of that chaotic white noise.. I'm NOT a morning person. On the other hand, it also has the same effect as fasting. I'm starving. Just as I was turning into my place of business on Minnesota Ave in Warwick, I encountered a "REFUND NOW" rider from the opposite direction. I had seen him before, but always on days that I drove to work. Bike commuters have this unspoken respect for eachother, you can feel it... I will be racing in Rochester NY this Sunday in the GVCC Classic road race. I'm going to do the 1-2-3 race and I'm hoping to see a few old friends at the start and finish. Good luck to everyone at Turtle Pond.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Rare Two Hour Ride

I suited up at work and set out to meet the folks who ride every Thursday from a church on Route 12, where it crosses Pippin Orchard Road. Thanks to a teammate who took pity on me, I discovered this ride. It's kind of frustrating to discover after five years living in West Warwick, that this ride has been going off just 3 miles from my house. Oh well.. Apparently, these guys do this ride year round, which to me is stunning. As I've said repeatedly, Murat is a total weenie when the temp dips below 40. So there were seven of us. I could only recognize two of them, and in fact one was an ArcenCiel rider who I had met previously at the Sophie's ride about 1-1/2 years ago. He remembered me and I was happy about that. We chatted a little bit about this past weekend. It's all good. We took a route which I am very familiar with.. Hope Furnace is a road I know every square inch of.. but then we turned onto Maple Valley, going in the WRONG direction... (I've never gone up that hill. My typical hilly ride takes me up route 12, left on Old Plainfield Road, left on 102 and left onto Maple Valley, DOWN it, never up) At any rate, I could tell that my riding partners were doing this hill for the umpteenth time.. Me, I can't tell where we are on the damn thing. We hadn't climbed it very much when I realized I would pop long before reaching the top, if I tried to hold their pace. Besides, the future ex-wife was expecting me home by 6:30 and this road would take me to an ETA of 7:30. Not good for future riding "permission". So I nonchalantly woosed out of the hill, announced that I needed to go, and I doubled back in the most direct route home, using 117.. Overall I got 2 hours in, plus the 15 or so minutes where the watch was stopped. Took me 35 minutes to ride to the church in the first place, so I was satisfied. I don't mind admitting that I want to be strong enough to complete this ride with them in the coming weeks, and today I wasn't. I've not climbed anything over 1/4 mile since late February when I was in San Diego. Just glad to have found a local group ride where an ass-kicking is more or less guaranteed. Riding alone all the time only takes you to a certain level. I'll be riding to/from work tomorrow for sure.
Thanks for reading.

Let's look for the positive

On the bright side, my testicles have finally descended.. Additionally, the world of racers who blog.. or bloggers who race.. has received some important exposure lately. An increase of traffic here has resulted in the discovery [for many of you] that there are many other blogs out there which are authored by racers, bicyclists, enthusiasts.. etc.. I can only imagine this to be a good contribution to the future of our sport, and it's my belief that the "sport" of blogging is going to become as intertwined into bike racing as, say.. your regular visits to Velonews, USACycling, and Bikereg.. Hopefully this site will be a regular destination for many of you. Hopefully you will use this as a portal to all of the other fine blogs out there, listed in my sidebar. It goes without saying that I try to include every cycling blog I encounter, without regard for the author's achievements, race category, team, location, discipline, DNFs, choice of equipment, race, religion, ethnicity or gender. Many of the New England team sites and blogs are listed here as well. If you want your site to be added, or want to recommend a site for inclusion, please leave a comment with the address. Many thanks. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

More trash talk?

Well no, not really. Just a startling and unhappy realization. For many years, I've been telling my wife that the bicycle racing community is a first class group, without exception. I've been telling her that all of us are mature, intelligent, dedicated, strong, disciplined... all of the good things that one would willingly expose his family to.. I've been telling her never to worry about who we encounter at Wells or Lincoln or Ninigret, that she can follow our 3 year old son Reis as he wanders person to person and says "Hi" to total strangers, without worry or fear, because they're all great people. I've been telling her never to lock the door when we're at a race, in case I need to grab something last minute before start, because bike racers do not steal. I've been telling her that "these are the people I want to associate with, there are none better".. I've been proven wrong. What lies I've been telling.. what many words I must now eat.. Regrettably, my dear wife reads this blog, and it's comments.. Do the math. I'm thankful my son can't read yet because if he could read, he'd be afraid to come to another bike race with his dad. So to all of the basement people out there, whoever you are, and whatever your results list or ranking looks like.. my startling realization is that it's time for me to stop pre-judging all bike racers, even the very "best" ones, as though they are all saints, completely free of bad habits or language or thinking.. How pathetically naive of me. More than anything else which has transpired in the past few days, this realization bothers me the most.. Our so-called tight knit New England "family" seems to have some serious identity problems.. kind of like Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, something I spoke about as an invited guest on NPR's OpenSource last fall. Everything's fine and dandy until you are openly critical, until you expose weakness, until you denigrate the status quo. Such fascism is something which the Turkish Republic is strongly criticised for. If you know a little something about Orhan Pamuk's recent fame and fortune, you will know what I mean. If you decide that you disagree so stongly that it's necessary for you to begin throwing your own feces around like a red assed chimpanzee, go for it. You will only be perpetuating the ideas which I've set forth. Better to prove me wrong so that we can share some relief.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"In the slaughterhouse, every sheep is hung by it's own leg..."

Let me make some things clear to those who might care:
1. I first raced a bike as a 16 year old back in 1987, this continued for about five great years. (How I miss the days of winning junior races without hardly any training)
2. In 1991, as a second year cat 2 at 20 years of age, I was forced to quit the sport due to family problems. Three years of no racing, no riding, money problems, stress, depression and poor health followed.
3. In 1994 I tried to get back into it, training and racing overseas in Turkey for one season. Limited results. Demoralizing as hell.
4. I got married in 1995.. and the realities of just plain surviving trumped any bike racing aspirations.. until 1999. So another four years of no riding, no racing and poor health. I had no choice. Relocated to New England area in '99.
5. In 2000 I bought a used KONA road bike from a kid who worked at Providence Bicycle and started training again.

6. In 2001 I continued to train, got my license and tried a few races, and ended up crashing badly at Lincoln.
7. In 2002 I took the year off, regrettably, to restore the 1870 colonial fixer-upper we had bought.
8. In 2003 I started training and racing again, but I crashed hard in early August, our first son was born in late August, I quit my job, and I had serious surgery in the fall. Good times. Mediocre results, but not bad for one starting with a fitness base of less than zero..
9. In 2004 I took the year off again. Spending time with our newborn son was top priority.
10. In 2005 I started training and racing again, with the Colavita New England team. Great people.
11. In 2006 I also raced, joining my good friends at Union Velo, and kept fit over the winter by playing indoor soccer. For the first time in a long time, I didn't get dropped in my first Wells Ave race of the season. 'Broke' two fingers playing indoor soccer in February, sprained my right ankle badly in June (still have weakness in my right foot and calf), hit by a car and hospitalized in July, survived all of it and had some decent (to me) but mediocre (to most) results, but nothing to be ashamed of.
12. It's 2007 and I'm racing again.. the first time I've done it for 3 contiguous seasons, since I was 19 years old (I'm now 36) Hoping for a few top ten finishes.. maybe one or two top three finishes seem within reach..if not this year, sometime in the next few years.. my goals are modest.
So what's my point? It's this: "KNOW something about any person who you're ripping to shreds, or else ____ ___ ____ __". You can fill in the blanks. I know where I stand folks. No need to knock me down from some kind of imagined high horse using un-informed verbal assaults. It won't do you any good. On the other hand, it might be exactly the kind of inspiration I need to rise up and try to prove something, and that would be to myself, not to or for anyone else's approval. I will hungrily eat humble pie and admit that I brought it upon myself. (see title) I take full responsibility for my foot-in-mouth episode and express my sincere regrets, apologies, and salutations to those who were offended by my recent race report. Let's not let it become contagious.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rick Newhouse Criterium 1-2-3 Race VIDEO

Here it is... Please give it a view.. and if you see someone you know in there, let them know about it, send them a link. If you LIKE what you see, please be a sport and click on one of the advertisers, either here or at . No need to buy anything! Just click and you'll be helping support the recording of future race videos. Many thanks.

Rick Newhouse Criterium: Race Report

Where to begin?... Saturday was a disaster for me on many levels- mostly performance related. I signed up for the 35+ and the 1-2-3.. Had the camera program all figured out, or so I thought.. When I returned to my car from registration and started looking for the 2 gig SD card which I was sure I had thrown in my bag.. my skin crawled. Nowhere to be found... No worries, I have a 1/4 meg SD card in my digital camera.. or do I?? Nope. SO, Murat suits up and unclips the camera from his bike.. cursing under his breath all the way to the start line. grrrrr. The best laid plans.. ruined. This no doubt weighed heavy on my mind for the whole entire 9 minutes which I raced in the 35+.. Well, no it wasn't only that.. There was also some weird tactics which our hosts subjected us to on the second lap... Three of them decide they want to split the field and SIT UP going into the hard left turn.. WTF?.. Whatever.. this may be the last Rick Newhouse or Arc en Ciel crit I ever do.. So what happened in the next 3 minutes after this maneuver pretty much sealed my fate in the 35+. When the Arc riders sat-up for whatever reason, Skip Foley, and others and myself went around the outside of the next corner and started really working it towards the front half of the field, which by now had opened up a 25 meter gap on us. Skip connected in no time, but myself and the others were popping veins in our heads trying to bridge. Once my fuse was lit, the implosion was inevitable and with my head now out of the game, it wasn't long before I ended up just riding to the car. So my premature ejection from the 35+ meant I could salvage the day's true mission: to capture video from within the pack.. Wife agrees to grab the SD card and meet me 1/2 way (sort of). I met her at the Wendy's in Coventry (exit 7), got the card and doubled back in time for the 1-2-3 start at 1:15.. Mounted the camera (with SD card and new lithium batteries in it) and took start with no trouble at all. Thankfully, everything worked out as planned from here on out. The melt-down of the 35+ was still fresh in my mind though, and it had a limiting effect on the psyche.. Having the camera on me though, gave some much needed motivation to stick it out with these speedsters, for as long as possible. My goal was to fill up the camera, which I pretty much did, capturing 28 minutes of non-stop footage in rear view mode.. After that though.. I felt much better about my form.. stopped beating myself up about the 35+ race, forgave myself for falling victim to a dumb prank, and coasted back to my car before the race ended. Eleven guys had rolled off the front anyways.. leaving about 25 of us with table scraps (beer primes? what a terrible idea, sorry) Field got lapped anyway.. and my mission was accomplished.. With some quality rest and fine tuning I know that I can hold my own in a 1-2-3 race no problem. The real prize of the weekend is the 26 minute video I put together, complete with some decent background music.. By the way, Gary Aspnes won the cat 4 race and Gavin Manion won the cat 3 race.. or vice versa, not sure. (I know Gary because he almost caught me at the Bob Beal TT last year.. and Gavin.. the kid needs no introduction) I salute them both..
Video coming up!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Murat Needs a break from New England!

Looks like I'll be racing "back home" on April 21st.. The GVCC Classic Road Race is in my cross hairs. Murat knows the roads in Bloomfield, New York and has many old friends in the Rochester area.. Todd Scheske, Derek Larson, Jon Wirsing and I all started out as juniors back in the late 80s. I was president of the Gensee Valley Cycling Club in 1989. Todd's been the president for the past many years.. Here's a shortlist of my many racing friends out West, at least the ones who still race:
Todd Scheske Derek Larson Scott Hollenbeck
Ken Wright Chris Tirone Jon Wirsing
Mike McKnight Don Vescio Mike Beaudrie
Lots of great memories racing every Thursday night at the old Victor, Mendon, Webster and Chili race courses we had set up back then, each about 8-10 miles around.. all gone in favor of newer, harder, and safer venues.. The GVCC has come a long way since then.. and I owe a lot to those who helped me learn how to race a bike.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

East Providence Bike Path: Not what it used to be

Murat went riding today at one of his old stomping grounds, the East Providence Bike Path. Last time I was on it, a raw sewage line had burst stinking up the place and obstructing the path with some bypass piping.. Today I just wanted to chill and spin the little ring.. and that's what I thought I was doing.. until the 38th minute when I look down and realize I'm in the 53x19.. Murat shrugs at this point and says 'Fuck it'. Today the east side's stunning beauty and waterviews were eclipsed completely by the degenerated condition of the path's surface. In many places, there's hardly a square inch not covered in dirt, gravel, and seashells. I've also forgotten how narrow the path is.. Makes the Cranston path feel like the Cross Island Parkway (remember when Kramer re-painted the stripes?) One thing which did like was that there was no broken glass anywhere. Yes our Cranston/West Warwick path is plagued with young people and their infatuation with diminishing the enjoyment of others. Sunday I had to clear tree branches which were deliberately placed to obstruct the path entirely.. Shit like this makes me really dislike teenagers.. all of them.. guilty by association. If I could only catch the fuckers in the act of breaking bottles, I will make them regret it with a very fast call to the police department and some choice words.. Anyway.. Murat rode out to Colt Park, circled around the back side, and enjoyed a nice tailwind during the 13 miles back to the car.. Today it occurred to me that the roads in Colt Park can potentially be a pretty good criterium course.. A little on the long side maybe (we can call it a "circuiterium") although there is a road cutting through the middle of the course making it more compatible to a typical crit course in length. I will consult with the Union boys and explore whether we can resurrect our defunct Lincoln Crit with a replacement at Colt.. Make it an early Saturday morning event... Around the 90th minute of my ride, the inevitable...Like two ships passing in the night, Murat and Gewilli saluted eachother as they passed from opposite directions.. I would have stopped, but the future ex-wife was already engaged in the act of dividing up our shit because I'm habitually late getting home as promised.. Sorry boss. Also worried that you might jack knife the trailer and crash trying to slow down so suddenly.. Next two days will be some active rest.. maybe a spin class tomorrow night to stay loose. I want to race the Pro-3 and the 35+ on Saturday at Ninigret.. If it doesn't crack 40 degrees, I may pass on it though. Pressing my luck with catching a cold lately, riding in these 40 degree temps.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Gorilla math, child's logic:

Each passing day should be warmer and warmer than the last, at this time of year.. but instead we are seeing a complete reversal.. It was in the sixties, in San Diego, in February! Why do I live here??..
So instead of a nice hike in the woods, Murat stocked his new IKEA wardrobe (it's huge), fixed some electrical problems in the kitchen (after an hour of mapping, turned out to be a loose wire), and then went for a ride in the freezing cold. One thing I noticed: legs are completely kaput.. telling me I worked harder than I thought yesterday at Chris Hinds.. The moral of the story is that I'm glad I skipped Wells today (did they even race?). It's time to heal, not sprint for primes up in Newton. So I took a typical route into the wind and uphill, gently of course, and only gunned it for about four 15 second burts, all downhill. I am a big fan of conditioning myself to be so used to drilling it at 35 mph, that it becomes second nature, instinctive. One realization: I need to train with others, more often. This solo training regimen of mine is getting old. Need to be with riders who put me to the test, make me cry, drop me at will. I'm finding that training solo all the time can be a big disadvantage. Where the F are all the RI racers? Used to go with the Arc-en-Ciel boys once a week. That ended when they booted me from their Yahoo group. I expressed hesitance in joining their team, and that was it. Booted. How welcome would I feel riding with them again? If for no other reason, I'd do it to hang out with brother Jonathon, but the rest of that team can go pound salt... A couple of those boys hooked me pretty carelessly and without remorse yesterday. Picture me unloading the really bad Turkish swear words under my labored breathing.. Anywho.. Just discovered a pretty cool tool available via Velonews:
Map My Ride The system gives you the mileage, allows you to save the maps for others to view and share.. Seems like something I can get into. Here's the map of today's ride:

No Wells Ave for me today

I went out early this AM to go to the drugstore.. It was still below freezing as I was pumping gas and I decided to pass on today's race. Maybe an off-road ride or hike at Big River will be better for me anyway. It's nice and sunny out, just cold. I did buy some lithium batteries for the camera- $10 for 4 of them. There was a $2 coupon on the package though.. These things better work for me next Saturday at the Rick Newhouse Memorial Criterium!
This time I plan to do the 35+ AND the Cat 1-2-3 event.

Chris Hinds Criterium Race Report

First of all: Many thank to our race organizer: Jonathon Lowenstein..
Not much good to say about my performance today.. Although I'm kind of exhausted, it's late and I just finished assembling some very large IKEA furniture.. Murat is disappointed.. I had all kinds of gas left in the tank after the final sprint.. unhappy about holding back and not leaving it all out there. I know when I've given it everything.. I'll have weird cramps and nausea after the finish. Not debilitating, just a nuisance kind of feeling. How I allowed myself to be shuffled to the middle of the field with just a few laps to go.. I can't explain. But it took some kamikaze cornering, some short bursts on the grass, and a lot of risk taking to get up into top friggin twenty, barely. One thing I found to be helpful was taking off the gloves at 5 to go. The mushy feeling they give kind of dampens my confidence and makes me overly careful. Bare handed: much better. Our team had six riders today, with best place going to Neil who actually finished in the money. Lots of respect to Neil and the rest of the team: Michael Andelman (15th), Steve Bonadio (34th), Rick Kotch and Jay Busse. Even if our results seem kind of like Powerball numbers: 10-15-20-34-37-48.. All we need is a Powerball.. I think I'll play these numbers next Wednesday.. One lesson I re-learned today: When there's a big field, it's even more important to stay up front as much as possible. There are so many more people competing for position.. This race had over 70 starters.. Today's speed was not very high- around 25 mph.. but the cold has an effect on everyone I think. It was around 40 degrees, with a wind chill much lower than that. My average heart rate was high: 173. What's up with that? I did in fact feel pretty fresh and strong, just didn't feel very fast. Saw fellow blogger Solobreak at the start.. Must have been tired from the fine place he earned in the 45+. Didn't see him again. Where's Gewilli? Where's Colavita? Where's the rest of the Union Velo team? Lots of no shows.. Then again, look at the weather. It did suck to be all bundled up. Man I miss San Diego.. The other thing which took the wind out of my sails: damn camera didn't work. Very sorry about that.. Was very excited about giving you guys some great footage tonight.. I was at the start line trying to power it up and no dice. Too cold out.. That and the crappy IKEA batteries I put in it.. which used to be made in Germany.. now they're coming from China.. Need to get lithiums.. more tolerant of the cold. Should be at Wells tomorrow.. weather permitting. Full results

Friday, April 06, 2007

Chris Hinds Criterium: Water finds it's crack

My brain resisted the idea of riding home from work, but my heart was into the idea, and won the debate. No doubt it was cold.. but nothing ends a work week better than a bike ride home. Enough said. It took a while to get warmed up. The stop lights seemed to be timed to impede my progress. Couple of times I thought I'd make it, only to grab the brakes hard and put a put a foot down.. which explains why my left Speedplay cleat has been loosening up every few weeks. At last night's spin class at Bally's (which I'm proud to say, included my wife Ebru) I tightened up the cleats and ended up stripping one of the screws.. Time for new $40 cleats I suppose.. On the bike path, lots of roller bladers today. I had to approach one from behind.. He was in the left side of the path. Steady. Moving forward in a stright line without swerving. I'm about to pass on the right.. then he unexpectedly does some effing maneuver right into my path! I'm in the dirt and rocks all of a sudden, leaning on him shouting "heads up! heads up!". "Sorry dude." Pffft. "Me too" was my reply. Almost hit the deck there.. Other than that, the ride was cool, quiet and uneventful. I give myself points for not bailing and taking the short, direct route to my house (at 14 miles).. Instead I took the long way that I usually take, making it a 21 mile ride. Chart above represents 19 miles.. because my wireless Polar is quite finnicky in the cold.. One thing I discovered recently: Backpacks are a good thing in the winter. Keeps the back nice and warm. Not great for when you want to get out of the saddle though. Tomorrow is Chris Hinds Criterium at Ninigret. The weather's going to be crap, as it should be in April. I guess a little bit of extra discomfort and suffering is something we should be able to handle. And as for our mutual friend Chris Hinds, let me salute him with the timeless Anatolian proverb: "Water has found it's crack".

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Back on the rollers, and another video

I can't do more than 20 minutes without requiring a break.. or else the twins go MIA.. Ugh. This weather sucks. Two full days off the bike since Wells. Plenty of sleep too. Feel fresh! Spun the rollers tonight with an avg HR of about 125. Not quite a workout, but stretches in between the 20 minute sets really felt good. Looking at Saturday's weather report and it says a high of 42 ??? WTF! I wanted to do the P-3 and the 35+.. Might just do one of them, depending upon how late I decide to sleep in the AM. Should I record video again? Will I escape scrutiny at the start line? Will some weenie say something to the officials? I hope not.. As I've told others, the camera is more secure than any water bottle or bike computer. Hopefully it all works out and I deliver you some more good footage from within the pack. Check back on Sunday.. For now, here's a vid of one recent ride home from work. Kind of lame, but I offer it as a salute to all those who leave the car at home and get to work on their own "power" ;)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Wells Ave Race Report for April 1 2007

Today had it's highs and it's lows.. Great weather for racing.. about 60 degrees when we started, slight wind, partly cloudy.. but the field was rather small, I think there were only about 40-45 starters in the A race, thanks to the Marblehead race drawing most of the region's competitors. Me, I decided to be a cheap lazy procrastinator and missed a chance to register. I had no idea it was so popular.. Well it made for a light field today at Wells, both in attendance and depth of participant wattage.. Not to say it was easy, not at all.. there were lots of attacks to cover, breaks to chase down and primes to sprint for.. But compared to the race exactly one year ago (again, Marblehead was same day) this year was a click faster for sure... Murat spent lots of time at the front with his head down, trying to contribute to the overall average speed.. Our Union team had four entries: Rick Kotch, Dave Lyman, Neal (sp?) and myself. Regrettably, the CCB riders stole the show in spite of our best efforts. Three riders escaped, another two bridged up late.. leaving us with the field sprint for sixth place. On the bright side, Mr. "I've ridden five times all year" Kotch took the field sprint, and embarrassingly, he did it while trying to lead me out. It didn't work out what can I say? I was a part of what I believed to be the lead-out train, in fact I got a little aggressive on the last lap and shouldered my way onto the wheel I wanted- Thad Lavallee's. Then as we're rounding the last bend before the straightaway, Kotch comes flying up on the outside and says "Murat let's go" or some such remark. No worries, I shift left and start winding it up behind Kotch. As it turned out, I ended up blowing my wad with about 25 meters to go.. sat down and spun it out as best I could, crossing seventh in the field sprint, 12th overall. Yeah five guys got past me in the last 10 meters, I was pretty much siezed up by this time. On the bright side (I know I said that already) a pack prime was announced for the 27th lap, and I won it with time to sit up early.. Felt gooood. At first it was Dave Lyman who jumped for it early, followed by the one woman in our group and another rider who I can't name. First our lady friend peeled off, then Dave Lyman.. leaving me with unidentified sprinter. At this point Dave yells "GO Murat, you got him!" and this was what I needed to snap me out of a trance. I shifted and went for it, per his suggestion, as if my life depended on it. It's amazing what a person's positive encouragement can do. I must tip my hat to Dave Lyman for taking an earlier prime himself, and for helping me get one also. Rick Kotch in his terrible form with no training won the field sprint, and I respect that immensely (I have 800 miles in my legs and maybe I have something close to his form at this point) Neal? I don't know much about him, but for one who hasn't raced in a loooong time (as I understand it).. you looked pretty solid to me! Here's the coolest thing about today (except for the batteries dying): I was able to video record the first 9 minutes of the race using my "handlebar cam" mounted discreetly under the bars. Batteries were due for changing though, and it just died after 9 minutes. Footage will be posted here ASAP. Need to choose some good background music for it. Thanks for reading.