America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

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.