America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ninigret Crit No 1

Having a warranty service call at a school project in New London- ideal to set up the appt for Wed afternoon, because afterwards, I can go straight to Ninigret for the first smack-down of 2009. I'm not alone in getting there early- lots of guys showed up at 5:00 and took off to get a nice 60 minute spin/warm-up before hand. I timed my arrival such that I ended up doing a nice little loop with Dave K, Mike M and Mike C- what could be better? Funny- first half of the ride I can't get the new Ergomo to work- I try everything- no watts, speed or rpms. Then 15 minutes into it I remember that the Ergomo doesn't automatically connect to the data like the Powertap you have to plug in the wire yourself, dummy! Phew! For a few minutes there, I though that my $650 investment had gone up in smoke.. We got back around 6 and I decided to change out of my short sleeve Under Armor and into my long sleeve thermal Under Armor. Temps were 55 at first, but now they were dropping and I was sweaty. More warm-up on the race course while the B's raced- which seemed to really screw up their event- 'A' riders were all over the place, getting in their way.. We lined up at 6:30 with a pretty good sized field- about 40-45 guys. Maybe more. I worked really really hard in the first 15-20 minutes. At the front for some duration pretty much every lap, and for many laps in succession. Primes are being given, but I'm not ever really feeling strong enough to go for any. Then about 1/4 way through our race, right after a prime sprint, about 15 guys roll away and leave about 30 of us behind. The gap is small- if I hadn't buried myself the lap before, I could have jumped across.. but timing was not on my side. This 5 second gap grew and grew and grew until it was basically about 1/2 a lap and they surfed the field until the end. This contained the usual Mark M, Tobi S, Bill Y, Adam S, Gary A and others- didn't get a real good look at all of them from behind as they hit the throttle. There was a crash in the breakaway group in turn No 2 and bodies were scattered all over. I heard that a collarbone was broken, don't know who.. The break was whittled down to 8-10 guys after this (see the deep valley in the HR chart, as we all coasted through to avoid hitting the casualties). I'm happy to go to the front and take some pulls, do some work, maybe get close to the break, whatever. This is a training race. On one lap I decided I'm going to turn myself inside out for about 1 minute and see if I can drag some of the stronger guys with me. My team mate Mike S. is the only one who can follow, and by the time I ease up, I can't even follow his wheel, I'm so cooked (see the peak in the HR chart). Then three other guys blow past me and I try to latch on, but the field was onto us by the time I caught my breath. We picked up quite a bit of time on the break- [that lap], but we weren't really organized and the host team had a lot of guys in the field- maybe they were blocking- I couldn't tell. Later on.. with 5 laps to go I resolved to freshen myself up for the finish and avoid those 1 minute intervals which I so love to do while racing. Sat in and let the HR drop to the low 160s (you can see it in the chart) Last lap, an NBX rider went for it a little past the finish- opened a nice gap. 4-5 guys were in pursuit of him on the back stretch and I followed these wheels after making it through the crunch that was the 2nd to last corner. As it turned out, I had the freshest legs of the front 5 because I accelerated past the pursuers right before that final dog leg corner, passing them on the right and accelerating up to the NBX whose last match burned out about 200 meters before the line. I got myself a field sprint by a few bike lengths, thanks to a good recovery and a well-timed acceleration. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's one of those things that you NEED after falling apart in a road race and finishing one hour down on everyone. Confidence is built a little bit at a time.. I also took a nice prime. Does your mouth water just thinking about the taste? Thanks for reading.

Cramping 101

If you race for 90 minutes with severe muscle cramps (racing is probably incorrect- more like "getting your ass back to the car..") such that you can actually see your muscles deform and change shape, and if there is residual pain in all of these muscles in the days which follow, what does it mean? Is this an indication of serious muscle fiber tears? Have I ripped myself up? It sure feels like it. I could easily Google this, but I'd rather hear what readers think about the damage caused by muscle cramps. Maybe if Sunday's race wasn't point to point, maybe if it was 5 laps around a 12 mile course, then maybe I wouldn't have finished, but maybe the damage to my leg muscles would have been limited. (??)

Monday, April 27, 2009

(Final) Stage 8 sprint crash Tour of Turkey 2009

Out of all the carnage of that final 4 km, one of Turkey's finest pro road racers- Mirac Kal- took 9th place. The Turkish National Team's best placed rider in General Classification was Ugur Marmara, at 69th (1 hour 17 minutes back from winner) which isn't bad for a 29 hour, 1200km, 8 day stage race. Heck I lost an hour to the winner of yesterday's 63 mile Quabbin Road Race. Puts things in persepective..
Here's a link to the Cycling News report on the final stage and overall GC

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Quabbin Reservoir Road Race

Above is the published profile of the 63 mile race course. Below is my bike computer's interpretation of the profile. Which one do you think I looked at when I decided to race this event? The chart below shows only altitude and heart rate.
All kidding aside, many things about my race were absolutely awful. Fortunately, I also have the luxury of finding the good concealed within the bad and the ugly. This week I increased my training volume way too much, by a factor of 2.35.. and today's lousy performance was not a surprise. The cramping surprised me, and the difficulty of this course surprised me (see above). Let me also add that "Mapmyride" indicates only 3035 vertical feet of climbing. My Polar and my Ergomo beg to differ. Polar recorded 4419 feet of climbing and Ergomo 5066. I hear that District Championships used to do TWO laps of this?? 126 miles?? Good grief that would suck.

Friday, April 24, 2009

17.15 pounds

After 2-1/2 years of riding my LOOK 486, I finally weighed it today. It includes pedals and two cages. I'm impressed with old bike. Looking at BMC frames lately.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Critical Workout

I did a solid ride after work- over three hours. Got home at 9:15. I love doing the backroads at night with headlight and blinky. Feels kind of hard core.. Now that I'm a 'bachelor' for the nest many weeks, I can train with impunity, well into darkness, and not worry about what time I'm expected home. and now that the crap weather of the past few days has passed, it's time to really put my head down and do the proper ratio of work and rest to force the kind of adaptations that I'm after. It might interest some of my five readers to know that I am not using a coach any longer, not since last August. We keep in touch, but I've been the captain for the past 8 months. So here's tonight's ride- and I'll bet it's not too different from the Quabbin Reservoir Road Race route on Sunday.

Plan B

The incessant precipitation this week has required me to train indoors- no commuting to work and no Ninigret Crit last night. It's been weird adjusting to training without power data! Monday I did an easy one hour crotch numbing spin on the rollers. Why not the windtrainer? because I want to get a mileage reading and for this to happen with my Polar HRM, the front wheel needs to be in motion! Yes the true colors of my OCD shine through. No worries. Better men have done worse.. So Tuesday I decide to add a little bit 'o intensity, but with a HRM on rollers, I need to be in the 53x13 just to get my heart rate up to 160. So I'm trying to adapt to the situation.. I decide- let's hit it HARD for 1-2 minutes and wind up the heart rate to 160, then soft pedal it back down to 140 and repeat. This is a JOKE! Training by heart rate is effing medieval IMHO. Heart rate takes forever to catch up to the effort on the pedals. It's like Rain Man.. who would answer questions posed to him two hours ago or whatever, you know what I mean.
So on Friday I expect for my new ERGOMO Pro system to arrive with matching carbon cranks. I got them for a song, from an Ebay seller who accepts returns within 7 days- no strings. I know I threw the dice big time on this one, but the features of the Ergomo computer were too good to ignore, and the price was a no brainer. Plus I was tired of racing on a rear wheels that others have accurately described as an "anchor". Now the very light and hardly ever used Easton Tempest 2 rear wheel can finally populate my race bike instead of hanging in the garage.
Last night- I'm hoping to ride the bike home and it begins to pour.. at 3:00 pm I call the YMCA- the 5:45 SPIN class is full, so I add myself to the wait list. I don't wait for a phone call, I just GO, and as luck would have it, there was one no-show. I did a solid one hour of SPIN averaged 218 watts and 160 bpm. Today I'm feeling it. Saturday I will be doing a loooong easy ride to try out the Ergomo. Sunday we're racing the Quabbin Reservior Pro race. It's going to be a nice hot race. Thinking back to the last Pro-Am road race I did- the 2006 Topsfield race. That year my fighting weight was a lean 165 pounds, and I was using my current LOOK 486 bike, without Powertap- I had the matched pair of Eastons on there. My approach for Sunday is to just make the best of it and enjoy the ride. No pressure on myself to perform. I'll save that for the A races (criteriums) coming up later on this summer. We have a couple of guys on our team who are capable of winning on Sunday and it's going to be exciting..

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 Rick Newhouse Criterium

In the 35+ race, I won the Best Prime Ever, by attacking before the 2nd to last corner and holding off a pursuing Eric Marro. More on the contents of this mysterious brown bag they call the "Men's Vitality Prime" later.. This could rate as the highlight of my day at that point but there is more to tell. Our humble team scored The Big Slick. A very in-form Matt Kressy took 2nd in the 35+ (by winning the field sprint) and then took a commanding win in the Pro-Am race which followed. I'm in NY today but I'll post some pics of the results later on. The other highlight of my day was attacking the 'field' before the final corner and almost making it to the line for 11th- but one guy stuck to my wheel and easily came around my dead legs just before the line. I was suffering in the Pro-Am race which followed- we had our man in the break and the attacks to bridge across wore me out enough that I cracked with 8 to go. Still a great day!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Holy smokes everyone on Thayer Street is in stripper mode.
It's a sea of pasty white skin..

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I just shipped a pair of Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL wheels to a guy in Japan, using a cardboard box that originally came here from Taiwan with 1/2 dozen Specialized floor pumps in it.

Next: Rick Newhouse Criterium

Looks like some decent weather for racing on Saturday. I'm in for the 35+ and the Pro-Am which follows it. Training has been low volume but high quality these past many weeks. More than anything I want to have a great time and not crash. Last year I raced on a slow leak on the rear tire and was lucky to crack top ten with it. Maybe this year I'll have better luck. You know me- I'm not 'skilled' enough to avoid an unpredictable flat tire! Hehe..

Good luck to all you Battenkillers. Bike shops are licking their chops in anticipation of all the equipment failures that will be checked in next week for repair.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I just agreed to sell my 12,000+ mile Powertap wheel! Need to find a nice matched pair of wheels to replace them with- preferably Zipp 404s! Who's selling? Has anyone ever heard of 50mm "Blackwell Research" carbon wheels? There's a matched pair on Ebay I think I can get for $1250 or so.. I think it's far eastern stuff rebadged here in the states, but what isn't these days???

Monday, April 13, 2009


It will appear that I have an OCD relative to average speed and time, but this is wacky.. On Feb 14th I did my favorite hilly 40 mile loop. I always hit the lap timer at the mid way point- which is at the top of a hill. On that cold day in February, I hit the mid way point at 1:04:55 and completed the ride in 2:08:30-ish. Here's the Polar chart from Feb 14th.
Yesterday I needed a lot of motivation to suit up and throw a leg over the bike, and so what better way to fool yourself into going out and thrashing yourself for two hours, than to go for a new personal best on a known route? It's been two months since the last test, and I'm SURE to do way better than in February, you would think. Long story short, I matched my last time to within 5 seconds- both at the half way time check and at the end. If you said you'd give me $1000 to do this, I'd fail, but somehow yesterday's ride was the identical twin of the ride on 2/14. The watts we pretty much the same too- a little less than before, but I can attribute this to losing some body mass over the past few weeks. So why isn't my speed UP! I can't explain it other than maybe standing in the freezing rain for 8 hours on Saturday did a number on my legs.. (no riding at all for me Saturday) and that for the past month+, I have barely cracked 100 miles per week. Volume is way down as compared to the death marches I did every weekend in January and February. Intensity is up, but volume is down. The wind was definitely a factor- it seemed to be gusting to 25 mph and constantly shifting. At any rate, this was the good solid workout that I was after- more TSS than if I went up to Wells anyway! I wonder how that went..

Saturday, April 11, 2009

2009 Chris Hinds Criterium

Here are the pictures I took while trying to do a good job announcing primes, attending to the lap cards, and delivering primes to shivering blue-lipped finishers. Well I should qualify that, Sheldon Charles did the lion's share of the work and I was like, manager and stuff. We made a good team! So in between all of the stuff going on in the race, I tried my best to get some pics here and there- mostly from the Pro and 35+ races:

Here are the rest, but not Women's results, sorry. That was the last race and wasn't posted in time for me to shoot.

More later, gotta run!

1. I will post results when I get home.
2. I did not race in the freezing rain.
3. Someone broke their collarbone.
4. It's still raining and miserable.

Friday, April 10, 2009

No rest

"Sleeping" from 12:30 AM until 6:00 AM with three or more interruptions does not constitute quality rest. For whatever reason, I occasionally have these fits of sweating profusely while I sleep, then wake up soaking wet and shivering cold,, and there ends up being a pile of wet t-shirts next to the bed because I changed into a new dry one three times. Falling back asleep in a damp bed sucks too, and all of this sounds like the perfect way to invite bacteria, infection, pneumonia, whatever.. The cause of this is a mystery. It comes and it goes. Recently the right side of my throat is swollen and sore again, as it was last week on both sides and went away only with antibiotics. Lately our son has a fever and my wife has pain in her right kidney. WTF?? I am really f--king starting to hate New England and it's miserable spring weather.. It was almost more fun to ride when the temps were in the teens and 20s- at least it was dry and the temperature swings weren't such that you got sick every other week. It is STILL not as warm here as it was in San Diego two months ago. We met a few people out there who were astonished to discover we were from the Land of Peter Griffin. "Oooohh! I've always wanted to see Rhode Island!".. I wanted to punch them in the mouth. Is that bad? Diggity.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

2009 45th Presidential Tour of Turkey 12-19 April

You have to see this prize list. It's any pro's wet dream. $4500+ Euros for winning a stage. What's that about $7500 dollars? Really makes you think about those $300 masters purses being split up 8 ways. Link to the 45th Presidential Tour of Turkey. I wonder how many pros are going to play it smart and vacation on the South coast after the race is over.. Dopers beware: I remember in 2007, Kashekin was located in Belek (where we also vacationed just a few weeks later) and he was given a random drug test at his hotel. Busted.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

2009 Michael Schott Memorial 35+

Full Results are up on Bikereg
Okay this sort of turns my crank.. I just checked the results and it appears that the other 14 guys who "did not finish" get to remain anonymous. When did quitting become more honorable than finishing (or trying your best to finish?) Lame.

Another podium for Millwork One Racing: Matt Kressy is 2nd in the field sprint out of a full field in Marblehead. Needless to say the team is proud and honored to have Matt fighting to win races for us and we all share his good result even though we're just riding his coat tails. I had an unlucky day: a pre-race nature break combined with tinkering with new, untested equipment cost me the start and had me chasing a charging field solo for one lap before I sat up and waited for the them to come around so I could jump in. Then my rear hub started squealing like a pig whenever I coasted for more than 5 seconds. Worse things could have happened I guess and it was a good day overall for the team. I'm glad to have had an easy time motorpacing in the field- but once you're down a lap there's little reason to turn yourself inside out, especially with a potentially deadly mechanical issue.

Below I give you the series of photos showing the finishing sprint of the 35+ field. (courtesy of David Rizzo- see his slideshow above) It's evident in the last few pictures that I crossed the line a half hearted 18th, knowing that there was no free lap. In fairness- I did indeed turn myself inside out for the first lap while most people were sucking wheel and soft pedaling.. Oh well.. Wouldn't have mattered anyway.. The mechanical issue made it impossible for me to leave it all out there.