America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

Thursday, December 01, 2011

FirstBIKE is an unbreakable kid's bike!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

3 days straight

It's a good start. Three consecutive days of riding. The weather has been nice, making it a good opportunity to really enjoy myself. Today I'll try for a 4th day and maybe crack 2 hours (easy)

There's some exciting stuff happening over at Almost everything's on sale, including the new FirstBIKE.
It helps pay the bills, so if you're smitten with something over there, please take a chance. You won't regret it. If you're a New Englander, you are spending your money locally and will probably receive your stuff the next business day. To those of you who have been my loyal repeat customers: XOXO.
Thanks so much.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Taking all this time off from riding, training and racing was the worst mistake ever. I do not feel refreshed. I feel fat, bloated, slow and unathletic. Way to let 3 contiguous seasons of form disintegrate! Phuck.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Update time

So I've been off the blog radar for a bit here.. A lot of stuff happening, but none of it includes any riding, unfortunately. I haven't taken a break this long in two seasons I think. One interesting thing that happens when you stop riding- I HAVE SOME FUCKING ENERGY TO DO OTHER THINGS! also, removing the training load completely has helped me to SLEEP AT NIGHT MORE DEEPLY AND FOR LONGER PERIODS! I still wake up occasionally from the lower back pain, but it's not as often. Plus I am waking up feeling a lot more rested. Soon though, I will go out for an easy ride and then get all wrapped around that axle all over again and proclaim that my 2012 road season begins in October etc etc etc..
Cyclocross-wise, I've been laying low. The MRI taken earlier this year proved that I have two bulging disks causing me such great agony from all the running and jumping, and tree roots and other trauma that cyclocross inflicts. It definitely AGES you more than road racing, of this I am sure. So once I find a cross bike to use, I may like to race Canton and NBX at Goddard. But that's probably it. It will take some pain-killers to get through those I guess, but hey at least I have an excuse for being slow in cross.
WeeBIKE is growing nicely. We picked up a European brand of balance bike and we're contracted to be the exclusive US importer. Lots of potential there for us, we feel very blessed and I pray that we don't blow it. Still selling merino wool, still selling a bunch of different brands of balance bike at We also picked up some new brands to sell as authorized dealers, including FirstBIKE, FootBIKE, FUJI, UVEX and Louis Garneau. So we're excited about the growth. Every day we're getting closer to the time when I can walk away from the construction industry forever. It has aged me more than anything else in my life, it very likely contributed to my father's illness and death, and I've just plain had enough of it.
Our little company sponsored a couple of new teams this year: the Boston Bicycle School and Velocite. We continue to sponsor and manage WeeBIKE-Hasyun Racing and maybe we'll add another team to the WeeBIKE family, who knows? Our team won a few races this year, we podiumed quite a few times too, and I'm proud of that. We have both the NE Regional Masters Criterium Champion, and your hero won the NEMCA rankings for his age group as well. We had a good year.
It's been rumored that we might be opening a retail children's bike boutique, and there's some truth to this  idea. We are looking for some retail space where this could be successful. The idea is to have basically every brand of balance bike in a showroom, offered together with kid's helmets, apparel, gloves, and other kid-friendly cycling accessories. Sounds good on paper, but will it work? My thinking is that since we will inevitably be forced to rent storage space for our FirstBIKE inventory, it may as well be a location with a storefront. Seems like a no-brainer.
Thanks for reading. Maybe I'll see some of you at Canton Cross.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2011 Chris Thater Criterium 35+ results

Not my dream result (19th) but a small stacked field makes this race extremely hard to even complete. To wit, there were about 45-50 starters. I've had my doors blown off at this race two times before and for once I finished it and got some cash too- it pays $2000 twenty deep. After what happened in the 2/3 race which followed, I am doubting I will ever go back. Kind of a long story and I've already driven 700 miles today so it will have to wait.
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Monday, August 08, 2011

2011 Concord Criterium 35+ Photos

Many thanks to the shooter for sharing these pictures (click title to go there). This one is my favorite:
We put a lot of trust in our rubber at this corner.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Missing cable :(

I completed a very epic 150km ride the other day in a little over 5 hours. This ride included a shit-load of climbing, about 5500 feet of vertical rise. The final hill goes from sea level to about 1300 feet in 5 km. The first 2k are approx 12% grade- at least that's my guess. In my 5th hour of riding, this climb pretty much shattered me. So torched were my legs that I couldn't even get on top of the 39x23. I put a foot down and let my heartrate get down to 140 before continuing- which was pretty scary- I could barely stand up on this grade and almost fell a few times. Getting going again required some skill. This climb is expected to be rated HC once I upload it to Strava. We're presently at Ataturk Airport with 3 hours to kill before we board our 10 hour flight to JFK. Reis is zipping around the terminal on his Razor while wife and I share a 10.50 TL cup of Gloria Jean's filtered coffee (that's about $7)
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Update from Turkiye

Hey New England, what's up? While all of you bake in the heat, I'm more or less doing the same here. We're presently at an ultra-all-inclusive resort in Antalya, on the south coast of Turkey, which is the north coast of the Mediterranean. Maybe Pettachi stayed here after the Tour of Turkey- he did vacation in Antalya after both of the last two editions, as did many other pros.
Training has been going well I think. This past Saturday was the uber long Hors Category Uludag hill climb, followed on Sunday with a very easy group ride with about 10 of Bursa's juniors and some old friends who I raced with as juniors here back in 1989. Sunday afternoon we loaded the car for a six hour drive from Bursa to Antalya. We had one white knuckle close call with a TIR (ginormous tractor-trailer).. But since a man's reflexes peak at the age range of 35-45 we avoided disaster. What amazing views along the way though- in some places you have a 360 degree view to 50 miles away.
Monday was spent taking care of my father-in-law, a retired math teacher who has lost his sight almost completely and more recently, his 2nd wife of 31 years who left him in his time of weakness. Nursing the broken heart of a hard-ass alcoholic chain smoker is hard work. I did not ride Monday or Tuesday. Before leaving to check into our resort Tuesday morning, we made sure the house was stocked with bread, alcohol and cigarettes. He's a hard liner when it comes to politics- communism would have been better for Turkey than anything else, IHHO.
Wednesday after getting settled in to our hotel I was kind of getting worried about form- what with all the free food. Three days off the bike was unacceptable, and a hard workout was missed Tuesday which I wanted to make up on Wednesday. So I headed out at about 6 am and did the work. It was a disappointing workout though- 3 minute intervals at FT +15%, to continue with 3 minute recoveries until I failed to match the average watts of the 3rd interval. I must have been pretty fatigued because the 4th interval was a failure after 90 seconds. I tried again a few minutes later, and again a few minutes later. Nothing doing- I must have simply burned all my matches on the first three intervals. Plus it's over 90 degrees out..
Thursday was a day for 3 hours of endurance pace. I coordinated a ride with a young pro who races for the ManisaSpor pro team. Ali Gulcan and I met up at 6:00 am and did a solid two hours together on an out and back course- there was a longish climb and some wonderfully flat smooth deserted streets at the top. We screamed back down the same hill weaving in between Mercedes tour buses. (All the "greyhounds" here are Mercedes- Made in Turkey- and many are only 3 seats across) if not for the traffic, we would have hit 55+ mph for sure. Ali has been my e-friend for a few years, and finally got the big break he was working towards this season- a coveted spot on the new ManisaSpor Pro Racing Team. It was pretty apparent early in our ride that my idea of rest pace and his were waaay different. Maybe we were just excited to finally meet and ride together, but it was half wheel hell for me at least 2/3 of the time. I'm very happy for this fellow- he had thoughts of giving up and with a lack of family support I understand completely how difficult it is to keep the belly fire burning bright. The living wage in Turkey is about 600$ a month. He's getting the UCI mandated minimum of 800 Euro a month, which is a handsome salary in Turkey for a 24 year old. The ManisaSpor team has some Serbs and Slovenians on it, and one dude who is former Tour stage winner. It's a bigger deal than it sounds to populate this team. Good for Ali. Next year their team will be wearing my Hasyun merino wool base layers.
Day three of training was today, consisting of two 20 minute intervals at FT, separated by 10 min of rest. This is the most intimidating workout on my schedule- I really do not enjoy pushing myself at a metered effort for more than 5 minutes. I decided to stay on the hotel strip which had only one rotary with a light, and it had hardly any traffic, and long enough that I could do 20 minutes on an out and back basis. I had a real lousy time with this last attempt a few weeks ago- I ended up doing them on the trainer, and missing my target watts by a mile. This morning was a bit different. I was a little light on sleep, but I was making up sleep time poolside. First 20 min effort was a touch restrained- I really wanted to nail both of these, instead of having a super 1st attempt and a lousy 2nd attempt. My average's range on the 1st was only about 10 watts- a good sign that I could have gone harder and handled it. But my mind is on the 2nd interval, which is not only much harder, it's the one which pays bigger dividends. I had a target on No 2 that was just 10 watts lower than the 1st. I soon discovered that this was a good call. Though I did "cheat" a little bit by doing a few short bursts to keep up with my goal. I did these in the first 5 minutes- only a few times. It ended up that in the final minute, I had something left and could tweak the average up to within 4 watts of the first interval. Success. And no iPod either to use for tempo- that always helps. The Normalized power of both efforts was only one watt apart. Tomorrow early morning I'll do a nice easy ride with my son- on the same lightly traveled hotel road- he will love it. Thanks for reading.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Climb

Check my Strava account for the data.. There wasn't any official timing but the guy who finished first happens to use Strava and he's listed on my Strava account as a follower. It looks like he made it to the peak 21 minutes ahead of me. His name is Cihat and he's 28 or so. Judging from his watts he weighs about 120 pounds. My battle was with my lower back- it was absolutely splitting in two the whole time. Any time I got into a good rhythm while seated I'd have to stand to relieve the back pain. I have bulging disks down at L5-L6 region.. It doesn't bother me in the short crits or in the drops- mainly acts up when climbing long durations and in cross.
Overall it was 34 miles- the first 13 miles were controlled up until the turnoff onto the real climb. From there it was about 20 miles of switchbacks with about 2 miles of downhill relief in the middle. Strava rates the climb and some parts of it as HC. We basically climbed one vertical mile in 20 miles. When you factor in the short descent, the overall grade is a little over 5%. They will do this event again next year. Those of you who show interest and reach out to me- I will help get you registered and find you lodging. The route is spectacular. The views are like those you get in an airplane. I had a great time.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

2011 Uludag Hill Climb

Here's the no-cost hill climb that has been organized by Not to poke fun at any other much shorter events here in New England, but forget $350, we're not paying one cent to participate in this 34 mile ride. There are 50 registered riders including your hero.. We drove a majority of the course today on kind of a pleasure sight seeing trip and the first hard 10 miles of climbing is on some of the most terrifying and picturesque roads I've ever seen. Yes I've climbed these hills before, but it's been a couple of years. The sheer drop offs on each leg of each switchback is just plain deadly. All it takes is one reckless driver to push you over the edge if your'e not paying attention. The climb is going to be brutal, plain and simple. I have my new Garmin heart rate strap and I expect to be paying close attention. Apparently there are some fast dudes coming here from Izmir who are supposedly very highly trained. We'll have to see I guess. I'm no natural on the long climbs but I have the advantage of experience- I've climbed this mountain a dozen times. So at the end of the day we will have ascended 8000+ vertical feet. Not bad for a day's work. Wish me luck.

Uludag mountain road view

We're having tea at a roadside cafe with this view. It's another 30k of climbing to the ski resorts at the top, which are at 1900 meters.
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Bursa from a distance

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Thursday, July 21, 2011


In a classy place like Turkey, you get to deplane in the middle of the tarmac and board a few futuristic bus which takes you to the terminal for passport kontrol.
I surprised my son by bringing his 20" Felt dirt bike. They charged 60 € for the privilege, even though there are parents checking in strollers and car seats for free. They inquired about the hard case contining my bike and I told them it was "full of socks and underwear- take a look". This sufficiently embarrassed the ladies in charge of playing God with my wallet.. But they drew the line with the open dirt bike. I just turned the handlebars sideways and removed the pedals- no erap or container. We will probably leave it here for a young relative to grow in to..
Enough about that. I am riding the new Fuji and finding that I made an error in choosing the Zipp handlebars. They have too much forward extension, and I'm too stretched out when I'm on the hoods. So much so that if I'm climbing a steep hill out of the saddle, it's hard to keep the rear wheel down. If I happen to hit a wet patch- forget it- no traction at all. So a shorter stem and a different handlebar are needed.
Saturday I am joining a hillclimb organized by the media company the route begins at 155m above sea level and ends up at about 1900m. We are climbing in honor of Rifat Caliskan, an old time pro racer from the 60s and 70s who passed away a couple of years ago. Highly regarded as Turkey's answer to Eddy Merckx, he is sorely missed by the cycling community here. So about 100 cyclists will start out on a 54 km route together, the first 13km being mainly gentle grade until we hang a left onto an unimpressive country road. We will ride neutral until this point and then whammo- balls to the wall for 37km. The climb has two phases. We will climb about 800m for 15km and then a 3km descent. Then we ramp up again for another 20km or so to the top. It's all switchbacks and pine trees and breath taking views. There is a yellow jersey for the first one to the top as well as trophies for the top three men and women.
I don't know how I will go on Saturday. I still feel jet lag and my lower back is really pissed about the 10 hour flight. But my legs feel strong. I did some climbing Wednesday and did pretty well with all things considered. Saturday I should be one of the top five to the top, who knows? There will be a fair number of lesser trained folks who are doing it for fun, and probably 10 or so guys with the ability to put the hurt on others. I'm not a climber so my FT pace is probably much slower than the specialists, we'll see. I suppose my best approach is to treat it like a zone 5 workout. I should attack at 5-6w/k for about 1 min and then recover at 3-4w/k for a minute. That's what I'm built for. This is much more likely to shed riders from my wheel. Can I do this for 2 hours straight? I'm not so sure. Wish me luck. Thanks for reading.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Year to date stuff

Update to this post- this blog needs some cool music. I dig this song, so play it.

I like to look and see where I stand every so often. It could be argued that I've ridden and trained enough this year to be ripping people's legs off.. well.. that will happen in due time. I had an inadvertant mini peak in late May, right around the time I fell down at Wells Avenue. Fortunately, this incident caused me to slow down and take some rest, just in time to ramp up and aim for a new, higher peak in late August. That's what I'm gunning for, and my current fatigue is expected to dissipate in a couple of weeks after I go on holiday the last week of July. Just 10 more days of winding the spring and then we'll begin to let it unwind. A trusted source of training wisdom said it best when he told me "the house is all framed, now all you need to add are the finishing touches." Let's see if this training plan is successful. There are just a couple of people helping to show me the way, and I appreciate it immensely. Now if only I can get out of my own way with 1k2go.. My recent crash at the finish of Attleboro was pretty horrible- bike is totaled and my courage/trust of those riding near/in front of me, is at an all time low. This does not make for successful finishes to races. The best sounding advice I've received recently- attack at one to go and don't look back. Worst case, the strongest few will catch up to you and you can hang on to their coat-tails for a decent top five.. I'm liking the sound of that- my most advanced duration relative to power is in the 60-90 second range. I've managed 630 watts for a full minute, which translates to 9w/kg- the only zone on my chart that places me in the Cat 2 bracket. Anyway- the stats below indicate 312 hourrs of riding about 5335 miles (about 8550 km) That's more than the distance which I will be flying to Istanbul on Monday. Cool.
Here are the races I am planning to do after I return:
Concord Criterium, Witch's Cup, Fall River Criterium, Chris Thater Criterium, Topsfield RR, Portsmouth Criterium and finally, the Mayor's Cup Criterium. Yeah when you look at it, we're really only 1/2 way through the road season. There's even Jamestown in October, if one were so inclined.
Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 New Britain Crit 35+ Results

Having raced with bandaged elbow, hip and a left leg that looks like a cat used it for a scratching post, and on a borrowed bike that weighs about 20 pounds, I am trying not to despair about placing only 15th. As a 3 person team we did a good job of making sure Ralf's break was successful. He gave it everything in the sprint and lost by less than a wheel. Kyle took 2nd in the field sprint, for 5th. So for the 5th time this season, our team puts 2 guys in the top 5. We're on a roll it seems. I just need to get my courage back in the final km of racing. Crashing takes that away from you.
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2011 New Britain Crit Pro-1-2 Results

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Monday, July 04, 2011

2011 Exeter Hospital Criterium 40+ Photo Finish

I wish I was included in this picture but seeing Matt and Kyle in the top 5 is enough to "make my armpits swell" s they say in the old country.. Being my first try at this daredevil venue with a stacked field of 100 opponents, I can't be disappointed by my 15th place. I did things, horrible things.. to get myself up into the money. Just kidding.. but it was really hard, seriously.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 Exeter 40+ Criterium Results

100+ entrants and we beat all but one of them.
Pretty cool to point out that we're the only team with two guys in the top 10, and the top 5 for that matter.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Hamburg Criterium 35+

Super high quality photos of this event can be found HERE. I will be buying a few myself.
My form was not super- though I have to admit I had a lot of fun. It was a .7 mile flat rectangular course- my favorite kind.
Only 20 guys signed up- mostly locals from NY and PA. The small field meant that there was really no where to sit-in and rest, not for very long anyway. It was single file 80% of the time. I rode the front of the race every lap, never outside the top 5. If not for a ton of defensive racing, there would have been a successful break on lap one. This tiring exercise continued for 20 laps and then finally two guys got away- a couple of laps apart.. I think everyone expected me to cover that those too and just looked at each other.. but the reality is that they were probably just the two strongest and most daring guys in the race. Game over. Five laps later, I came out of the final corner 2nd wheel (or maybe everyone else made sure I was there, who knows..), expecting at the very least to hold it to the line for 4th, but as luck would have it, a split second's hesitation to come around into the wind cost me 3 more places. I didn't have the power left to hold these guys off all the way to the line. To top it off, they reduced the prizes to top 6 because of the low turnout, making my 7th feel even less satisfying. Such is bike racing.
The Pro race was scheduled for 6:15 and I did not feel like waiting 3-1/2 hours for that so they kept my $15 as a donation. Promised my son I'd take him to Family Swim at the Y. Done and done.
A bad day of racing is better than a good day at work, but this was not a bad day. I really enjoyed myself, I raced honorably and I didn't crash. It's all good.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Another Wednesday another Ninigret

I always try to warn dear wife when I plan to have a big ride to Ninigret and back. It pretty much means I will be gone from 5pm until 9pm. Even with the hall pass to do this yesterday, I found myself fumbling to get ready in time and ended up leaving with exactly 90 minutes in which to ride exactly 30 miles.. south.. into a headwind. A few times I really convinced myself that I wouldn't make it, but once I was past route 138, up and over that little rise on route 2, I started to really make up lost time. With about 2-3 miles left to reach route 1, I found myself a carrot- two triathletes on their TT bikes. It motivated me to press the pedals harder and I said hi to them as I passed, huffing and straining under the weight of my backpack. Got to the park at exactly 6:27, in plenty of time to hand them my pre-filled waiver and a $10 check hastily made out to "cash".
The race was hard! Strung out single file most laps, lots of attacks lots of primes. I took a few flyers to test the legs. The first was a quick bridge across to a lone Arc rider. Once together we rotated for a couple of laps- taking 1/2 lap pulls. but the field came around and that was that. Later on I saw a gap to a break of about 10 that looked do-able. I accelerated HARD and for about a minute I was cranking about 550 watts, hoping/expecting to see a tail of riders ready to come around and finish the break off.. but no one was there and I ended up falling short of the break by about 20 seconds more of that pace effort. Didn't have it and had to rest. By the time we hit 2 to go I was into mile 57 for the day. After I had freshened up at the back for a few laps I started looking for "the move" with 1.5 laps to go. The break up ahead was shattered- we picked up most of them and two guys were now alone surfing the field. (David K ended up beating his opponent for the win) Anyway I came up the wide open left side and saw Gary A on his hot pink Specialized just as he started hitting it hard. We got a small gap, he flicks his elbow, I come through hard and decide to go all-in but after about 15 seconds I'm really hurting. There's a little over a lap left and when I pull off the field is charging past. I actually sat up for a few seconds and let everyone go past me and basically let myself get dropped. But the bell was now ringing and I'll be damned if I'm gonna DNF at this point. I decide to ride myself back up to the tail-gunner position and finish the last lap. No sprint left in me though..
Mounted the headlight and set off north on Route 1 to meet the family at a friend's house in Narragansett. A pretty good ride of 76 miles completed. A big Wednesday like this is always the perfect tune up for my weekend racing. Now two days rest, some light spinning and I'll probably get on the floor and hump my Trigger Point cylinder a couple of times. Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Race Report Code of Ethics

As many times as I've been the offender.. I do try very hard to refrain from boring you to fucking tears. Nothing makes me want to stab myself in both eyes using freshly sharpened No 2 pencils quite as much as an endless stream of run-on one sentence paragraphs which explain in needless detail how poorly the narrator performed in spite of the previous two weeks of sloppy and deficient attempts at structured training that were hopefully going to result in some accidental success.

Forthwith, I am enacting a Code of Ethics which establishes proper race report etiquette.
1. If it wasn't a Win, write 1/2 as much as you would if it was a Win.
2. If it wasn't a top 10, write 1/4 as much.
3. If it doesn't include 3 or more laps solo off the front and/or the heroic winning of 2 or more primes, write 1/8 as much.
4. If you got your ass dropped and/or lapped, but you persisted and finished anyway, write 1/10 as much*
* If No 4 is the result of crashing horribly and suffering painful lacerations, contusions, sprains, strains, or breaks, skip to No 5.. Otherwise, stick with No 4.
5. If you crashed, got up, straightened your bars, collected your bottles, re-installed your dropped chain, continued racing, and finished the race, see No 2.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

5-31-11 Scituate Time Trial- New PB Yay!

I rode to the time trial in the perfect conditions on Tuesday afternoon. Light winds, sunny, dry, a gorgeous day all around. After careful depilation of the legs to avoid shaving off my road rash, I donned my new "Grape Crush" skinsuit, packed my backpack with some essentials and filled a couple bottles with 1/2 Coke and 1/2 H20. Heading out, I had a few feelings of doubt, and resolved to accept the fact that it would not be my best result at this 14.3 miles around the Scituate Reservoir. My hand was (and still is) swollen and achy right behind the knuckles. Earlier in the day I snipped the stitches and removed them. I actually pulled one of them the wrong way and lodged the quadruple knot deep into the scab- and then had to fish it out with the pointy end of my Swiss Army knife. Ouch. I popped a couple Advil, a B vitamin and a multi vitamin and set out toward Crazy Corners. The one aero advantage I took with me (besides the skinsuit- if that even counts) is my Louis Garneau aero helmet. I had used it once before and it really didn't make a difference. Today though, I was racing with an injured hand and nursing road rash, so I justified that the helmet would make me Even-Steven. One other difference- I had my 1600 gram Easton race wheels instead of my heavy Powertap wheel. Overall about a one pound difference, but mostly at the hub, not a rotational weight difference. One other ommission- no Power wheel means no power data. I haven't had any of that since I fell down at Wells..
Long story short, this TT hurts like a bastard. The climbs are short but challenging A couple are deceiving- you think you're done but then realize that you still haven't crested. The 2nd climb and the 5th climb are the hardest. My approach is to do the whole thing in the big ring, gain big time on the climbs. I pay dearly for this after cresting because it's tough to get back to top speed on the descents with legs that have been redlining for the past 2-3 minutes. I make up for this by getting into the most miniature tuck as I possibly can on the steeper descents (except for the last one- you really have to power down the backside of that one and ideally spin out the 53x11- it's not a steep descent so it needs some input) For whatever reason, maybe a local triathlon on the weekend, a lot of the big engines passed on this weeks TT. There weren't any leg breakers doing it and so it looked as though I could fall ass-backwards into the fastest time. This motivated me because if I was to have the fastest time, it needed to be a respectable time. As it turned out, my hand did not slow me down. The helmet made a difference. The wheels saved me lots of seconds. The diluted Coke was a good choice for hydration- it always agrees with me. My previous attempt was 38:56 (3 weeks prior). This week's result was 38:06. Woo-hoo! Good enough to stand as the 2011 season-to-date record, fwiw. I'm sure it will be smashed next week, but who cares? I'm way faster than my peak form in 2010, and it's only May. Cool.
Now if only I can get Providence Bike to correct the results so that my last name is correct!
Next time you are looking for a challenging Tuesday afternoon workout, head out to the Scituate Time Trial sponsored by Providence Bicycle. It's free and the first rider rolls off at 6:00. All abilities welcome.
Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Crash update

I took three days off the bike- Monday thru Wednesday. On Thursday I was going stir crazy and went out for about 3-1/2 hours. My left hand was wrapped with gauze and my road rash was still bandaged under my kit. Friday I rested and didn't ride. Saturday I went out to meet the ArcenCiel North ride and it ended up being a 93 mile day, with some really bad cramping in the last hour of riding. On the final hill going up Central Pike towards our starting point in Scituate, I had to shut it down and just whimper up to the top to a waiting group populated with men and women in their fifties. But to be fair, my hand was throbbing all day, I couldn't climb out of the saddle or grip the handlebar with my left hand, and every tiny bump and crack in the road made my hand ache and burn pretty badly. If I saw a rough patch coming up I'd usually take my left hand off of the bars. This also made it hard to ride in a double paceline. With a weakened left hand that's not good for front-braking, I had to let a gap open up in front of me to allow more braking distance pretty much all day meaning that I really never had the full benefit of a draft for 4-1/2 hours. I could barely shift into the big ring without wincing in pain.. so I'll go ahead and forgive myself for cramping and falling apart on the last climb, thank you very much! Saturday I completed my wife's new road bike and we headed to the bike path for an easy 10 miles with our son Reis. Memorial Day I got up early enough to meet up with the ArcenCiel South crew at 8:00 but an abundance of lolly-gagging meant that I left too late to make it under the circumstances (my hand) Normally I can gun it and get down there in 40 minutes flat. Today though, the hand was exceptionally tender, and a stiff wind was blowing in my face the whole way down. With some bad showers showing up on the radar I was apprehensive about a successful ride. Still I puttered down towards the starting point and got there in 55 minutes- almost 20 minutes late. After checking the radar again on my Crackberry and the Advil finally kicking in, I continued straight down Route 2 to Charlestown, all the way to route 1 (very close to Ninigret) and then headed back north on route 1. In Naragansett I detoured back south on 108 and jumped onto 1a North down by Point Judith. It was pretty fast until I got to Narragansett Town Beach but the winds shifted and made the last 20 miles home pretty much miserable. Another 66 miles logged and boy did it feel good to ice my hand when i got home at 11:00. My stitches need to come out tomorrow. I no longer cover up my bloody knuckles and some dark scabs have formed. Road rash is all skinned over- still pink/red/tender and peeling. Sometimes it itches like crazy. No more bandages since day 5 though (Friday). Tomorrow I need to go to Quad Cycles and drop off my pretzeled Powertap wheel for re-build or something.. I also need to check out a lightly used pair of Shimano 7801 carbon tubulars which are available to me for a great price. Selling my OVAL CONCEPTS carbon wheels on Ebay if anyone is interested. They are very fast and very nice looking eye candy but my svelte 154 pound frame does not require such an indestructible pair of wheels in a crit where the name of my game is accelerations.. i've also resolved to begin using only 12-21 cassettes from now on. Yes that's what they call a "straight block" or "corn cob", and back in the 80s it looked a lot more impressive to have a 11-12-13-14-15-16 freewheel. I don't need the 11. I don't need the 23. I want to have an 18 and a 20 for use in the more challenging/undulating crits like Fall River, Attleboro and New Britain. Jumping from a 19 to a 17 tooth cog does not please me, neither does going from 23 to 21.. They don't offer the new 7900 cassettes in 12-21- only the older 7800 is still available in this configuration, and I need to buy a couple- one for the [to be] re-built Powertap wheel and one for the new carbon wheels. I have an 11-23 cassette lightly used which will probably go on to my wife's bike.
I'm tired. Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wells Ave May 22 2011: crash and dnf and pictures added

Photo courtesy of this guy ..Not that I asked permission, but there are definitely a few cool shots in there I am willing to pay money for, and will. Follow the link and you will see the whole sequence of events, from the time I had a nice open lane, to when my lane abruptly disappeared and I had little choice but to start keeling over. The Garmin indicates that our speed at this point was 35+ mph.

I knew I should have just stayed in bed.. I had my heart set on going to NYC for the Tour de Parc Criterium. No can do says the wife. Okay.. then I either do a 4 hour early morning ride or head up to Wells Ave to ride really fast in circles. I chose the latter because I could sleep-in until 8:30. Oh well.. No sense beating myself up about it. Here's the brief race report I wrote to my teammates:

Thanks Adam for hanging out with me today- it's a big comfort to have a friend there. Yeah after a pretty solid day of racing, I fell short of finishing the damn race by about 75 meters...

I blame myself for not being at the pointy end of the field when it counted but with 3 laps to go I had to sprint full gas for 300 meters to get across to the little group that got away (Adam you were up there I hate to admit, but I figured you would rather have my company than not) which included Gavin, Thad, Tobi, Dan G., etc.. Once across I almost puked hanging on up until the bell rang for 1 to go. Barely recovered and not fresh enough to get to the front, I ended up behind a 4-5 wide band of dead legs to get past for a possible top 5. I used poor judgment when I tried to pass on the right. I should have predicted that someone was going to drift in to me. Once my wheel overlapped I felt committed and within a split second I had my front wheel being pushed to the right. Game over.
I have little silver dollar sized scrapes on my ankle, knee, elbow and shoulder. My hip and back have hand-sized abrasions. My left hand took a beating (he..he..) The first two knuckles were both punctured completely and embedded with the wool fibers from my gloves. They took x-rays and stitched em both up after injecting the skin with numbing medicine and scrubbing out the contaminants.

My biggest regrets, now that I know I'm okay, is the rear Powertap wheel is kaput, brand new Schwalbe Durano tire is damaged, brand new Easton front wheel is not what it used to be, it's brand new Schwalbe Ultremo tire had it's side wall shredded, my carbon handlebars will go to the trash due to impact, my Rudy Project Kontact helmet is cracked in three places, and my left DMT Prisma shoe is torn up including part of the carbon sole. Oh and dont forget a ruined pair of DeFeet wool gloves, brand new Pactimo bib shorts & jersey, and Hasyun merino wool base layer.. I'm pretty sure that the Wells Ave asphalt bears a sexy impression of my ass and left fist, so take that!

I can't make a fist for a few days (good thing I'm not a southpaw) So racing in Baltimore at the Kelly Cup is a longshot I guess. I was so psyched for that too.. We'll see how quick the stitches heal up. I hate to waste the good form that I've worked 5 solid months to get. I guess a week of rest can't hurt if I want to take it to the next level later on in July. Last year I did not touch the bike at all in June and after some focused training in July I was flying in August/September.. Thanks.

So that's my story. The Training Peaks chart gives a low-down of my last 3 laps of the race, from the time I hit it hard to get across (and regrettably, the whole field followed) to the instant that I fell down going 35+ mph, finish line in sight..

Thanks to everyone for showing concern for me afterwards and especially to Marvin W., MD, for taking the time to make sure I wasn't cross eyed or broken someplace. Until next time.. You can be sure that if I race Wells again, I will not be sprinting unless there's nothing but daylight in front of me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Mystic Velo Crit Race Report 35+/1-2-3

The weather has turned to crap. It's Monday night and I'm in the basement on the trainer doing a 90 minute active recovery spin. May as well multi-task and tell you about Sunday's action. I have a nice Youtube playlist on the computer showing me Giro highlights. I've watched so many race videos this winter.. Anyway.. Matt K and I headed to Ninigret in spite of the iffy weather. In fact it was raining at my house when I left, but the radar was showing a band of rain already past Charlestown. I crossed my fingers and headed out in plenty of time to give Matt his team-issue socks courtesy of our new sponsor, SoxySox. (WeeBIKE will soon be a stocking dealer.) Matt had 1/2 hour to warm up and I had 90 minutes to get ready. At the course, it was dry but overcast. Winds were surprisingly light. The usual chill in the south county air was enough for most to wear arm warmers, but I warmed up on the trainer for 30 minutes and went with bare arms- but I did have a merino wool base under my skinsuit, which proved to be the perfect choice..
Matt rolled off with a smallish 45 field at 2:00 while I continued to warm up. I could see right away that the local Arc team was not going to make it easy for anyone. Matt was gritting his teeth on the very first lap as he covered strong attacks by the Arcs. Then a terrible crash happened at the beginning of the final straightaway - I think it was the end of lap 2 or 3. I was on my trainer and couldn't see much. The race was neutralized while the fallen were attended to. Apparently Tony Hill's fork disintegrated from under him and sent him into a violent face plant. Makes you wonder if it's worth it to buy a frameset made from 2 pounds of plastic doesn't it? This was a relatively new frameset with no apparent defects. Tony was out cold, as I'm told, and an ambulance picked him up from the blood soaked course and to the hospital. He suffered some very bad road rash and a fractured face! It looks like there are no life threatening injuries, but I'm certain that it was scary as hell to hit the deck like that. Speeds were very high. His ArcenCiel Team attended to him like true soldiers of our sport, making sure he was taken care of, making sure his family was notified, his car and bike accounted for, and I'm sure he felt a lot of relief at the site of his teammates fussing over him. We should all highlight the Arc Team's crisis management as exemplary. Bravo.. And may Tony's pain pass quickly.
With the course cleared, except for about a 1/2 pint of blood, it was announced that the 45s would be reistarting their race combined with the 35s. This made perfect sense because all of the Arcs withdrew and followed the ambulance to the hospital. Only about 8 guys registered for the 35 race. Combined, I think we added up to about 20 guys, if that. We were going to be scored separately, meaning that I needed to take care not to let any 7-- bibs out of my sight. A small field means there is really nowhere to hide. All of your weaknesses are exposed. The usual attacks were launched pretty much every lap- Billy Mark, Gary Aspnes, Wade Summers, Zane Wenzel and John Gadrow all gave us some wicked accelerations to match. I took up chasing duties for a lot of these attacks, and it wore me down.. When the first prime was announced, I took pole position and picked up the pace a bit. I wanted to see either Thad or Matt come around and it ended up being Matt. He took the prime and kept going, solo. The small field watched him get smaller and smaller for about 2 laps, after which he got bigger and bigger. It was a bit early to drive it home solo. After we caught up to Matt, I took to the front and kept the pace a little bit high to discourage a counter attack. Without meaning to, I was making it needlessly hard for Matt to recover from the 4 lap time trial he had just completed. Poor judgment on my part. A few laps later we were offered prime number two. Again I made an effort to get the speed up by sprinting into the penultimate corner and putting myself on the rivet all the way to the final corner. Again, Matt easily comes around and takes it. Now there's about 9 or 10 laps left. The field slowed to a crawl and I decided to attack. Not the smartest move on my part, but I was feeling really good and willing to go ALL-IN. I opened a modest slim 10 second gap and held it for about 3 laps. I needed to hold that 25 mph speed for 6 more laps, and I could tell I was fading and didn't have it. I cooled it and let the field sweep me up, though I recall this to be the most difficulty I'd felt all day- accelerating on to the back of the skinny field after my attack. Now I knew how Matt felt.. But these situations are exactly what we train ourselves for, these moments of do or die. I look down at my shiny new team kit where it reads "FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS" and the pain lessens. Determination takes over. A lap or so later, I'm fully recovered. About 5 to go, Wade attacks again, and chasing duties fall to just a few of us, mainly Thad Lavallee, Gary and myself, though I could swear Gary was soft pedaling a little bit for his former teammate. We came right to Wade's wheel with 2-1/2 to go, but the gap opened slightly again. Someone attacked and got across to him. We crossed the line at 2 to go and I could be heard encouraging others to help close the gap. We crossed the finish for the bell lap and then speeds really ramped up to eye-popping. We caught the two escapees right before the penultimate left hander and just kept accelerating. I was not leading this out- I was very tired. Two lines seemed to form right before the final corner- Matt followed by Billy Mark followed by me, and on the right, Gary Aspnes followed by Thad followed by others. Gary dropped his chain, effectively shutting Thad down and costing him dearly. I hung on to Billy's wheel the best I could, hit it HARD for the last 100m, always accelerating. No one came around me, and I was the 3rd overall to finish, 1st of the 35s. The finish line camera shows me crossing alone so I think I metered my very last effort nicely.
The 1-2-3s lined up almost immediately while Matt and I scrambled with race numbers and topping off bottles. Another 35 laps of this?! My confidence was juiced from the last race, but this field was filled with the usual cat 1s, many of them half our age. Resolving to finish no matter what, I took my place in the sweet spot of the field and just made sure to position myself in the correct places, on the correct wheels. The field of 40 split at one point, and Matt got himself across to the break of about 11-12 guys. One of the younger Arc riders, Ian, took to the front and, with myself and another CF blocker on his wheel, proceeded to take a violent pull of about 2-1/2 laps, and all it took was a couple of more attacks by others to finish off the catch and make sure that this came down to a field sprint. I will admit the first 20 laps were hard, even in the protection of the field, but I was feeling better and better towards the end. I could see that Matt was moving up towards the front with two to go and I tried very hard to get close to him. At one lap to go in a 1-2-3 race there are a lot of [sacrificial] bodies seemingly going reverse. Maneuvering through such traffic takes some skill and experience- I like to think I have some of that. To my delight I found enough daylight to sprint to 9th place while Matt took 5th in a very fast 37+ mph sprint. We celebrated afterwards with a pair of ice cold Stellas I brought with me. I collected our prize money and Matt collected his 3 primes, including one from the 1-2-3 race. Hindsight is 20/20, but I already knew that I would have a good day if I did big volume Wednesday (with a crit inthrown in the middle), which was 85 miles to the Ninigret Crit and back. With all of Sunday's racing, I cracked 300 miles last week. And it was very pleasing to see in the 1-2-3 results that I actually finished 9th, when I was expecting 10th. This has been long winded, but hey my 90 minute spin is just about complete. Hope you enjoyed reading. Thanks.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Mystic Velo Criterium Results 35+/45+

Sorry this was all I had time to get. Matt also took 5th in the 1-2-3 which followed and I think I was 10th- it was a field sprint. We also took 3 primes!
2011 Mystic Velo Criterium Official Results
Correction: I was 9th in the 1-2-3 race.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

2011 Sterling Road Race 35+ Results

Full results will be on Bikereg in a couple of days. Maybe a short description of my first attempt at this race too. I'm a happy finisher.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
As promised:
Adam S and I did the 35+ race at Sterling today. I was not expecting to be put into this much difficulty, but the 2nd time up the climb I knew I had NO game. My engine runs very hot and when I reach a certain point the only thing that will help me is to back off and cool my jets. I was disappointed but not surprised- I'm in the thick of my training- fatigue is high and I'm in a weakened state. I do not taper or try to peak for road races, but it was apparent pretty early that lots of guys were there to rip legs off, not to add to a block of training. Our race was 6 laps. After getting popped at the beginning of lap three, I just put my head down and went to work, trying to meter my effort so that I can last four more laps. I caught and passed a lot of others who were dropped. A few tried to get in a rotation with me, but I was not in the mood for a collaborative effort and I rode away from them all. Kept catching guys here and there and just leaving them behind.. I was about 1/2 way through Lap 6 when the 45 field caught up to me. I took a place at the back of the field, and still, people thought it necessary to tell me not to "be in the way" at the end. I had a LOT of choice words for their poor choice of adding insult to injury. They were at the back of the race telling me to go to the back so that I would not impede their shot at 50th place? Wtf.. Try time trialing this course by yourself for 3-1/2 laps before dishing out unsolicited advice.
Anyway, I was in the 45 group for all of 5 minutes when a bad crash happened right in the gutter. I swerved carefully to avoid, I'm sure a lot of guys were shelled at this point because I was close to the back but lots of guys behind me.. Many handfuls of brakes were squeezed. We turned on to the final state road leading to the finish and I chatted with Marro a bit just as we approached the final turn, where I backed off and let these guys kill each other for 2nd (Tom Francis passed me solo on this stretch on my 5th lap) I crossed the line and made sure to let the crew know that a 35 rider was finishing. Nothing burns me more than going full gas by myself to complete a race, only to be omitted from results. So that's my story. I hope Adam had a better time. As predicted, this turned out to be an expensive training day- hopefully it pays some dividends in a month or so. At least I got some good tan lines.. These abdominal cramps and intestinal distress I've been having for the past hour are proof that I raced hard and didn't dilly-dally. Now.. If only I could have deposited three huge eliminations BEFORE the race started! Wow. Don't brag to me about making islands, these were friggin Continents.

Friday, May 06, 2011

5-3-2011 Scituate Time Trial No 2

It's funny- those days when you know that fatigue is high, leg soreness is there, and finding the will to suffer seems impossible- sometimes all of those signs are leading you into the weeds about your performance. Tuesday of this week I decided to do the TT in Scituate again. On the way there, it was cool, windy, cloudy.. and every pedal stroke was giving me the "wrong" sensations. I practically resigned myself to just having a shit time and caulking it up for good training. Smaller group turned out this time- a lot of fast guys were absent, which seeded me as the last one to start. I did not feel like I should be there. Long story short, what feels like a terrible day can and often does end up being a decent ride. It makes sense that it hurts more when you're going faster. The misperception of those times that it hurts more is that you simply don't realize that you're going faster than when it hurts less. I ended up doing a time that almost matches my best time of 2010- missed it by 10 seconds, but still- I took about 20 seconds off of the previous attempt a week ago. I give most of the credit to riding the whole course in the big ring. I make up a lot of time on the climbs- though I find that on the flats and downhills I lose time to others.. but that's partly because I am going cannibal and they are all aero'ed out. My Garmin read 38:50, the timer (Sean) scored me at 38:55. Good enough for a top three I think. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

4-26-2011 Scituate Time Trial No 1

Been dying to test the legs in a TT and get a sense of where I stand so far this season. The Scituate Time Trial circles the Scituate Reservoir clockwise. It's a challenging route, punctuated with 4 short punchy climbs of about 1km or so, and a 5th longer climb of about 1.2 miles rising 220 feet. Ordinarily I don't like to do time trials, but the profile of this course suits me much better than a flat course. I have accepted the fact that I am built for repeated short bursts of VOmax efforts and accelerating. I do poorly at any kind of prolonged steady grind. The ascents and descents of this course give me a fighting chance to use my strengths.
I rode to the TT in my skinsuit, on my road bike, with backpack to hold my spares, some long sleeve stuff for afterward, and extra water. Moments before heading out at 5:00, I hear a funny sound from downstairs. It's like a dying animal. It crossed my mind but I couldn't believe it- my front wheel went flat all of a sudden. I had just topped off the air a few minutes prior. I ended up changing the tube and heading out a few minutes late. Front wheel carbon aero, rear wheel Powertap. It's a 16 mile ride to the start of the TT, mostly uphill. Got there just in time to get in line in front of M. Maloney. Not a huge turnout- maybe 2o or so riders.
I ended up doing a decent ride- two seconds faster than my last attempt back in September 2010. My form was pretty sharp last September so I don't feel bad about this performance. The first TT of the season feels a lot like the first cross race of the season- it's a shock to the system- the urge to stop pedaling is very strong on that second climb.. The training benefit of riding full gas for 39 minutes is pretty good I think, and combined with a 55 minute ride out there and back, makes for a solid day of training. So much so I will probably skip Ninigret tonight. The weather looks iffy and the legs are tired. Maybe I'll roll around on the floor humping my new Trigger Point massage drum. Picked it up at the Boston Marathon Expo. That thing is painful- I'm still working on my technique.
Here's the profile of the Tuesday night Scituate TT course, above. The course distance is 14.3 miles. I think the course record
can be found HERE, set on July 28th by a current master TT champion. Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Training plans, Wells Ave report, ToT Stage 1 Vid

Not a bad week of volume.. 12-1/2 hours training for about 225 miles. This morning I was expecting to skip Wells Avenue in favor of more riding. The drive to Newton is a big time killer- which is time better spent tuning the engine here locally. I received this race report from teammate Adam S:
Brief Welly recap for those on Easter duty or recovering from hypothermia:
Unfortunately, just two laps in, there was a serious crash. Kyle S (Embrocation) went down hard and had to be ambulance'd out. I was in my customary spot at the back of the field so I can't provide causes or details. Hope he's okay...
After a restart, I jumped into an early break of nine including Jazzy-M (A. Myerson), J-Pow (Jeremy Powers - Jelly Belly), J-Spin (J. Spinelli), Thad L., and Marvin The Wangster. Now, it's long been a "pet" theory of mine that having 3 pros in a break can significantly increase its chances of success. Someday science may bear this out. Sure enough, after the halfway prime, the field was in sight. A major surge to catch and blow by the field whittled the break to 6.
And...yes, WeeBike was still represented :-) At 6-to-go, Myerson attacked, taking 2 with him. I was now caboose in the chase group with Thad and Powers. Three laps later, Powers spanked his cranks and I was popped. Cruised in for 6th. Ended up Myerson winning, Powers 2nd, Thad 3rd.
There's a good day's work! Almost regret missing it, although I can honestly say that my fatigue level this week is on the rise and if not for missing the registration for Blue Hills, this week would have included more rest, less TSS. I'll probably go next Sunday, except that it's my wife's birthday. Oh well, maybe later in the summer. Wells Ave is never a priority for me- it's a last resort. I like racing down at ninigret Wednesday nights, which is the plan for this week, weather permitting. I'm going to ride down and back, meaning that I'll need a fully charged headlight. Tuesday I expect to do the Scituate Time Trial (around the reservoir- starts at 6:00 from "crazy corners" where 102 & 14 cross) Again, I'll ride there and back. So my two big days will be Tues/Wed. Tomorrow, rest.
Checking the WKO data I see that I'm slightly ahead of 2010 relative to CTL, not by much. (in 2010, my training volume took a nosedive after 4/25, and I didn't get back up to 100 TSS/day until the middle of July) I'm definitely ahead in mileage for the year- about 2750 year to date as of today. This week ahead will be the one where I break through the 100 TSS/day barrier and hopefully sustain it through May unlike last year. I'm very psyched about the racing in Rochester NY on 6/3-4-5. Two crits and a circuit race, back in my hometown. It's been so long since I did a crit there. The last one was probably the 1989 edition of the Criterium at Cobbs Hill Park, where I got 3rd place out of a field of about 50 juniors, many from Canada. It will feel good to race there again. So I was saying.. One more week of building and I will take it easy that first week of May, hopefully show some good form at Sterling (and Maybe Bear Mountain). Then another three week period until I take another easy week at the end of May. I should arrive in Rochester with very fast legs for the Genesee Valley Park Criterium, The Powder Mills park Road Race and the Seneca Park Criterium. The weekend which follows is the Nutmeg/New Britain ordeal, where I can actually race 4 times, if the mood strikes (my record there is 3). Then what? Then I'll keep my eyes and ears peeled for info relative to Masters Nationals in Turkey- they like to wait until T-minus 3 weeks to announce the date and location, making it kind of difficult to buy a cheap plane ticket. I'll have to play it by ear.
Speaking of Turkey, the Tour of Turkey (ToT) is ON. This is a world class production with mega Euros at stake among the world's best pro teams. Don't dismiss it for it's location. Even VeloNews is finally giving it some coverage. A Turkish pro almost cracked the top 10 today- his name is Mirac Kal. If you're going to show interest in how the Turks do this year, he's the one to watch. Here's the finish below. Notice at the end how Pettachi lands a fist on the back of an opponent, relegating himself to last place with a time penalty. Farrar gets 2nd. Greipel flatted within 3k to go..

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

No weenies allowed

Murat's "hilly" ride by hasyunusa at Garmin Connect - Details
When you fight to overcome the urge to skip training and force yourself to do the work, it sometimes ends up being a religious experience. I'm walking on air after this ride.
You can view the route and profile of my workout with the above link. It was dark when i got home at 8:00!


I was just perusing some blogs I hadn't checked in to for a long time and came across this entry from the 2008 Keith Berger Criterium (one of my FAVORITE RACES) It's nice to get recognition for a hard day's work.
It was a tough time for me in 2008. I had recently returned from Turkey after laying my father to rest. Emotionally, I was a MESS. The day before Keith Berger, I had a total meltdown in the 35+ race at the COX Criterium and again in the Cat 2 race I had NO GAME.
The following day though at Keith Berger, something clicked into place. I think it was the "stop being a fucking weenie" hormone finally kicking in. The week or so leading up to this day, wife and son were still in Turkey. I was curling up in the fetal position every night alone and mourning my dad. I was downing a glass of wine after work, before I headed out to train. I lined up at Keith Berger that day feeling like I had four legs not two. When they said 'go' I took off. (see above) Two laps later I was joined by about 12 guys. (See above) After surviving solo for 6 laps (I was the last one to fall off the break's pace), I am joined by Patrick R and I think Todd.. We worked together to keep clear of the field and finished together. There's a quick little race report I entered about it, HERE, but I like the other race report linked above much better. I was cruising towards 5th place in the sprint that day and my foot pulled out of my pedal. Getting 6th was still pretty sweet, all things considered. I even took a $10 prime, which still occupies the white envelope in which it came. This year I get to do the 40+ edition for the 1st time. I'm sure it will hurt just the same.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2011 Rick Newhouse Photos? I dont hava any

Hey if anyone comes across some pictures from the racing on Sunday, please let me know where to find them. It got so warm at Rick Newhouse that I ended up wearing my one piece fat suit.. worried about how pear shaped I might have looked.. That and I was really hoping to see a picture of myself on the new FUJI, just so I can form an opinion of my bike position, relative to my old bike.. which is now being ridden by someone in Japan. Sunday was one of those criteriums where you're in the drops all the time. It was that windy.

2011 Rick Newhouse Criterium Results

Click here for results! Cheers for getting them up on Bikereg so quickly! It's so much nicer when the number of entrants are indicated, relative to it's effect upon Road-Results rankings, NEBRA rankings and probably NEMCA rankings too. Just sayin.. I enjoy following such data and seeing who's doing what- it's all a part of the bigger package of bike racing. FYI the winner of the 35+ race was not DQed, they were a lapped rider mixed up in the finish.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Guess where I am

I'm at the finish of the Boston Marathon in support of good friend Derek Larson from Columbia GA (orig from Western NY). We dropped him off at the shuttle buses at 7:30.
FYI everyone: Do you want to track someone who is running today? If you text the word "runner" to 345678 you will receive a reply asking for a bib number. Send a friend's bib number and you will automatically receive text updates at 10k, 1/2, 30k and finish.
My friend Derek's number is 8372.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rick Newhouse Vitality prime

The socks are part of another prime that I won, but the rest of the stuff pictured occupied a doubled up brown paper bag that is the "Vitality Prime", along with a 12 pack of Mountain Dew and a six pack of Newport Storm. The last items in the bag are hidden where family will hopefully not find them.
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2011 Rick Newhouse Criterium

I won't try to speak for teammates Dave or Adam. I had decent sensations in the legs today, but not good enough for being in the break with Vollers, Mark, Tobi and Ciaran.. On the bright side I took the infamous "Vitality Prime" (this is my 2nd time- I also won it in 2009) and scored a big sack of schwag including some playboys. Even better, I also won the prime on the lap right before, which made me feel pretty manly. It was a race of attrition- the wind was brutal. It was strung out single file and often in echelons all day. There was never any rest because if you let any kind of gap open in front of you it was over. Many guys cracked and lost contact and most of them already had a race in their legs. With 5 up the road there were 3 paying places left. John B attacked on the final lap and did exactly what I wanted to do. He held it to the line for 6th! Good for him. I set myself up for the sprint less than optimally, got caught out in the wind and couldn't pass Bill Y or Gary A so I ended up 10th. Lots of 45+ starters at the beginning made it a pretty good sized field of about 45-50 I think. The wind today was INTENSE! We were in the gutter all day getting blown around and into each other. Peter V won. I jumped into the Pro race afterwards and fell apart around 8 to go. I felt okay for about 50 minutes but the 35+ fatigue caught up with me eventually. Didn't feel so bad when I saw some other big engines pulling off as well. Actually, I got pulled or else I would have grinded it out solo to the finish. I hate not finishing. Overall a good day with great weather, sunny skies and no crashes. My only regret is letting someone else execute my plan on that final lap. I could have caught up to him but I'd also be bringing a bunch of opponents with me. I'm not anywhere near any kind of peak right now so all things considered, I'm pleased. This was a great practice race for me.. And the 3rd time in 4 tries that I finished 10th (I was 12th in 2009)
Big huge hat tip to Todd B and Randy R for making bike racing look so easy. Also salute Tim M for winning the Pro race and Dave K for winning the 45+.
Thanks for reading.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 Flat No 1: in the rain

I checked the radar. I could see a band of rain approaching from NYC but it was a long way off and headed towards Boston not RI.. So when I left at 1:30 the plan was to ride for at least 3 hours..
The rain started after 40 minutes- light at first.. then it got more intense when I turned north onto route 3 from Division Street (right there at the mouth of Big River) M original plan was to go south on Route 3, all the way to 138/Switch Road/Kings Factory to Route 1 North all the way home- about 70 miles. With the rain I ended up heading north on 3 and did my usual 32 mile loop.. but not before a puncture on 117. I had a spare tube and all- no patch kit though. Normally I carry two tubes, not today. The flat repair took a few minutes- no problemo.. but now the rain had stopped. Dilemma- do I try to salvage my ride plans and risk it without a spare tube? Of course not. By this time I was cold and pissed and my new shoes were soaked through. After getting going again and warming back up I thought about doing another lap of this 32 mile route- i could always stop at the house and grab a a patch kit.. but getting my brand new road bike and shoes soaked like this was unbearable to me. Especially the new DMT shoes. The bike could handle it, but road shoes stand to degenerate in many ways from being wet. At least i wore my shoe covers so the DMTs were spared form road dirt and grime- just wet but clean. It sucks that it was nice all morning but I was too busy to get out there in time to miss this rain. Oh well. I got a decent workout. It's pouring now. Tonight I'll put my bike on the new Kinetic Road Machine and make it scream for a couple of hours. Racing Sunday at Rick Newhouse, if the weather doesn't suck too badly. One of our new teammates has a title to defend in the 45+ race. So does my boy Reis in the kid's event, though he is less enthusiastic for whatever reason.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2011 Wells Ave Crit No 1

Missed the opener the weekend before and with the nice weather predicted, I informed my dear wife well in advance that I was not going to miss it this time.. Still, I always entertain the possibility that waking up or being properly rested might be a challenge.. as was the case this morning. I slept in fits and starts from about 5:00 am until 8:30, when I finally got up. Where I live, you can't reach Wells Ave on time unless you hit the road by 9:00. No coffee left in the house and skipping the raisin bran meant that I did not have the pleasure of my daily morning elimination. Yeah, since turning 40 I find it okay to talk about my plumbing. When it's working smoothly I'm happy.. Anyway.. sorry. I had 30 minutes to get going. Two Eggo waffles with butter and Aunt Jemima Lite Syrup, one english muffin toasted with butter and slathered with honey, one multivitamin, one paper sack with all my clothing and bottles and gear piled into it like sedimentary rock. I made it there with plenty of time to spare- the Bs were just rolling off when I parked.
My form has been feeling a little bit short circuited this week. Chris Hinds Crit- 90 minutes of torture- took more out of me than I realized at the time. I dug very deep to be in there, and my lack of performance in the 35+ race which followed tells us the same thing. Sunday I took an easy bike path ride with my son- like 15 miles. That's a lot for a 7 year old- but he loves it. Mon and Tues I rested. I felt horribly tired. Wed and Thurs I went out and did some long rides, mostly in zone 3 but a lot of 2 and 4 in there between the climbs and the descents. Friday I wanted to do an easy spin but no time.. Saturday I eeked out a 2 hour ride which was relatively easy-going and just what I needed to shake out the cobwebs. Would I feel like total poo at Wells Ave? I wasn't feeling so sure. Sensations in the legs had not been encouraging at all this week..
Meeting up with my team was a relief. We had a shit year in 2010.. not to mean our results were horrible but rather that our morale was very low. This year is going to be a lot better. We lined up and couldn't begin racing because there were not enough marshals to monitor and direct traffic. Finally we got a late start but the course was down one marshal. Lots of traffic, OMG! We had to slow down damn near every other lap for cars which were parking, turning, stopping in front of us. It's a relief no one was hurt.
So on to the racing. Nothing got away. Before the start we decided that our best scenario is always going to be a field sprint, and we had two opportunities to show our colors: at the 1/2 way prime and at the ending. Long story short. On the 20th lap there's a 2 place cash prime and there were 3 guys with a 5-10 second gap. Matt, Kyle and I moved to the front with 1/2 lap to go. The field opened up on the right allowing me to go full gas with Matt and Kyle on my wheel. We went out of the saddle before the curve even begins and I buried myself long enough to reach the break and give Matt and Kyle an armchair ride to the finish. We were 1-2 in the 1/2 way prime. I was smoked for a couple of laps and retreated to the back of the field to recover..
20 laps later we executed it a bit differently. I was caught up in some traffic while I tried to hang on to the coattails of my teammates, but the last lap was neutralized due to traffic and so we had to do another lap. This time, all kinds of tired legs crowded the last lap and made it hard to find the space needed to change lanes and go. I made sure to plan my moves through the other sprinters and by carefully maneuvering through the dead legs I got clear and almost finished 3rd behind my two teammates.. but the finish line came too soon. I needed another 10 meters.. But hey I'll take 4th- there's no shame in that. Matt won and Kyle was 2nd. We took all but $5 of the cash payouts and divided it up between us, as it should be.
Next week is Rick Newhouse and maybe this time I will skip the Pro race to focus on the 35+. I'm getting too old to be doubling up on race day. I'd rather have one great result than have two mediocre ones..
Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Thursday: Another 200 TSS

I am still in this fatigued state and wondering if maybe I am fighting an infection or something.. It's peculiar.. Up until the day I ran out of a supplement that I've been taking for a month or so, I was fine. Then I ran out and I feel tired, sore, unmotivated, and irritable. Withdrawel symptoms? I didn't know that BCAAs can do that! One things for sure, when I take them regularly I feel like a million bucks. Thursday I did another 52 miles- an out and back ride to Pt Judith in about 2:45. Route 1 is in a sorry state until you get down to 1A, after that it's pretty okay.. Winds were out of the East, but the ride south was a lot slower than the ride home. I've done this round trip in as little as 2:28 and yesterday it seemed like an unbeatable benchmark to me. No way I can go that much faster, I thought to myself. Then as I was perusing old charts in Training Peaks I stumbled into my 2010 Chris Thater Crtiterium data. I didn't realize it at the time, but the final 60 seconds of the 2/3 crit averaged 32.1 mph. The final 30 seconds: 32.8 mph, 20 seconds: 36 mph, 10 seconds: 38.7 mph and the last 5 seconds to the line: 39.7 mph. I had never ridden so hard and so fast for a 24th place finish before.. and this was my 2nd race of the day. The Chris Thater Crit pays 20 deep, in case you wonder why I was sprinting. When you're cross eyed like that it can be hard to tell if you're in the money, so it's better to assume that you have a shot at it. I will definitely be going back this year- I love that venue.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Wednesday: Ninigret No 1

Yesterday's ride was such a technical decision.. Winds gusting out of the southwest meant that I needed to ride down towards Ninigret.. where the first Wed night crit of the year was scheduled for 6:30.. Problem being it's too cold to ride out there, race and ride back.. not to mention dark. Additionally, the winds were scheduled to shift and blow from the Northeast at some point in the afternoon.. and 50% chance of showers was predicted for the evening.. I wanted to do a solid 3 hours, and I also wanted to race.. but better to keep my money and just get the volume over with before the wind shifted, before the rain arrived, before it got dark, and before I froze my ass off. Thusly, I decided to hit the road at 3:00 pm and ride down Route 2 all the way to Route 1 and head north back to my house. Instead of jumping onto 1A in Narragansett, I continued north on Route 1, even with the heavy traffic, it's the better choice because it's faster and the shoulder is very wide and safe. This knocked about 4 miles off my usual 60 miler and I ended up doing exactly three hours- about 56 miles. The winds heading down were such that I averaged only 15 mph by the time I reached Route 1. On the way back though- I averaged it back up to 18.5 by easily going 25+ mph the whole way home.
I wonder who won at Ninigret? That wind must not have been too much fun, lap after lap after lap.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Under the weather

I'm feeling extra fatigued since racing on Saturday. Sunday I did 15 easy miles with Reis on the bike path. Monday rest. Tuesday more rest.. Tomorrow I resolve to do some long steady distance of at least 3 hours.. I've been feeling a little bit down these past few days too.. and self-medicating.. with food. I'm so done with winter.. which is why minute 6:00 does it for me. Seasons.. Funny. (Nothing against Canadians!)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Chris Hinds Criterium P-1-2-3 Results

Here's an update to this entry with more results for Cat 4, Cat 5, 45+ and some Chris Hinds Criterium photos I took after I was done racing:

Apparently I only had legs for one race today. My lungs tightened up so much in between the Pro and the 35+ races that it was impossible to continue, especially after the (unwise) aggressive racing I did in the first 5 laps.. This breathing issue cracked me and I just did some cool down laps by myself.. Then it started to rain/sleet/hail and then I decided I wanted to stay dry so I took myself out of it and went to my car. As we can tell from these results, nearly half of the pro field DNF'ed. I had fun out there. As always J-Lo manages an excellent race venue where everyone feels at home and has a good time, and for a great cause. All proceeds go to fund Sam Hinds' college fund, who lost his father Chris to cancer about 9 years ago. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Data Round-up: First 90 days

Today marks the 90th day of 2011 and I like to occasionally stop and see where I am relative to previous seasons. Before I get into it, I want to inform all three of you that I know how uncool it is to talk about our watts with others. Let's face it: if I really wanted to be cool I wouldn't have a blog in the first place.. and if you were really cool you wouldn't be here reading this shit.. So first I'll share the awesome flowchart explaining that no matter what you do, talking about your numbers makes you look like a tool. Okay we get it:

With that funny schematic from Velonews behind us, we can move on. Below we can look at a summary of my last six weeks and also my last 12 months of time, distance, TSS, kJ, etc. I think you will find it interesting that I have been training light every other week since returning from Florida. It wasn't a conscious decision or part of a master plan. It is basically what I've felt like doing, dictated partly by life requirements, fatigue levels, the temperature outside, and my motivation. Let's just say it's what felt right. Moving forward, I expect to build in blocks of 2 weeks during April and changing it up to 3 weeks in May. Or not. Life is unpredictable.

The chart below? Boooo-riiiiing. but still one of my favorites. I'm not going to show you the same period one year before. Just take my word for it that I didn't flirt with a CTL of 90 [in 2010] until after the 3rd week of April. CTL is the blue line which indicates "chronic training load"- a running average of the previous 28 days of training. For the data challenged, I'll give one piece of advice about this particular chart- you're not really flying on the bike until after you're deep into 100 CTL for a few weeks. Last season that period was from 8/1 thru 9/30, and I could tell that I was capable of very good things during that time. This year it appears that I'll be into 100 CTL by mid April. Let's hope I don't get sick of riding and take an entire month off the bike as I did in 2010. (See May/June, above) Maybe I'll rest a bit in May (during all those pesky road races with hills)

Lastly but not least, tonight's workout on the Kinetic Road Machine. This is by far my favorite workout. It's an unofficial fitness test, but not the kind that necessarily indicates your Functional Threshold. Sure if I did this set after a hard hour of warm-up or after a 5 minute VOmax interval, then it can be used for FT (by deducting 5% from norm power). But the way I use it, it's more a measure of how much I've adapted since the previous attempts. It's good to see that since my last attempt exactly one month ago on Feb 28, I've added 14w to my CP20 and 14w to my Normalized CP20. I do not expect you to be impressed. As I said, this is just a very good way for one to gauge their progress and determine if the training stress is forcing the good kind of adaptation. Those of you without a power meter can choose a nice 5 mile loop or stretch of road and test your fitness by doing a private TT every 3-4 weeks. Keep track of your times and see your progression. It doesn't have to be done in an "on/off" manner- that's just how I prefer to do it because it imitates criterium racing, which is where I'm interested in being successful. Anyway it goes something like this:
30:00 warm-up (intensity is at your discretion- but I don't recommend Z2 for the whole time)
1:00 FT+30-50% (for me this is a little under 5w/kg)
1:00 recovery z2-z3 (again, for me a little under 3w/kg)
Repeat total of 10 times (20 minutes total)- in the final minute, recover for the first 30 seconds and then uncork everything you have left for the final 30 seconds, then go for 45-50 if you have it in you, all out. Do it to complete failure.
30:00 cool down, z1-2
This workout does a good job of teaching you to handle the stresses thrown at you in the final 20 minutes of a criterium. You can't shut it down in between intervals- you should still be making woman noises during the "recovery" periods. I usually shift between the 53x15 and the 53x19 during this set. Everyone is different. If you drill it too hard in the first few intervals, you will not want to finish and you risk aborting your workout prematurely. Shoot for 10 minutes the first time and build from there. Usually by the end of the 20th minute, my heart rate is into the 190s, but going back and forth between 165 and 180 the rest of the time. Remember: the excuse you hear most often from riders who get dropped in their first few races of the season is "those accelerations killed me". Well here's your chance to avoid that early ride of shame back to the car.. It goes without saying that you need a base of about 1000 miles before doing a workout like this..Have fun!