Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Three Amigos as it relates to cycling.

This basically summarizes cycling and drugs. One side is people saying that the impossible is impossible and the unbelievable is unbelievable. The other side saying that what appears to be true is indeed truth. One man spent his life trying to obtain something, and upon failing, believes that it is unobtainable.

From the Three Amigos

German: "I know who this man is."

Random: "You do?"

German: "Yes, it is Ned Nederlander."

Random: "Who?"

German: "You are my favorite star of the silver screen."

Ned: "Really?"

German: "In Germany, the cinema is very popular. I've seen all of your films... including when you were known as 'Little Neddy Knickers.'

Ned: "Well, that was a long time ago."

German: "It was this man who inspired me to learn the art of the quick draw."
"I looked up to this man."
"I studied his every move."
"It was my dream to be as fast as Ned Nederlander."
"I practiced every day for hours and hours."
"He was a god to me."

Ned: "A god? Well, I don't know about that."
"But it is nice to meet a fan."
"You know, often I think..."

German (enraged): "Then I found out about movie tricks."
"Trick photography."
"I was crushed."

Ned (insulted):
"I never used trick photography."

German: "That is impossible. No one can be as fast as you appear to be."

Ned: "I am that fast"

German: "We shall see."

Ned: "Happy to."
"Does anybody have a watch?"
"Preferably one with a second hand."

Random: "I got a stopwatch."

German: "No stopwatch. As you Americans say,"
'We will play for keeps.'

99.9% of the people who have seen Ned's movies don't give a shit either way, its just entertainment.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail winter hike. Success

Young Bob and myself had planned a winter hike on the Laurel Highlands Trail. Leading into it, as we all know, it has been snowing a lot. We went for it anyway, and I got redemption from my previous attempt. The mountains had a good foot of snow, and more in some places. The drifts were up to our waistlines.

Friday: Park and walk for about 6 hours straight. The longest break was 4 minutes or so to eat. Got to the shelter, put up the tarps, made the fire. We both crashed out at about 8pm. 8.5 miles or so covered.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 1

Rolling out of the lot.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 1

Broke a lot of trail. More snow than anticipated.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 1

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 1

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 1

Bob is good at sleeping and not super good at carrying wood.

Saturday: We managed to keep the fire going all night, which made for an awesome morning. 12 miles or so of hiking. The hardest few miles were all uphill, with knee to waist deep snow. No snowshoes. Brutal. 8 hours. 12 miles of walking. All of the streams were frozen, so we both made the day on a quart or so of water each. Not awesome. Thankfully somebody had snowshoed the final two miles. Bob was incapable of carrying firewood to the shelter. I carried maybe 40 logs 300 meters or so. Sucked.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

Kept the fire going all night, stayed warm all morning.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

Left some dry wood for the next people. That is going to make somebody's day.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

We walked through the rocks just to get snow all over us.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

Bob would have given anything for snow shoes here. Hardest mile of the trip.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

We walked along this ridge the entire long mile. I got tired of seeing this same thing for over an hour.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

Not yet winter.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

For the last two miles, somebody awesome broke the trail with snowshoes already!!!

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

No water all day, I went right ahead and ate some icicles.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 2

Bobby found a way to not get covered in snow.

Sunday: The low Saturday night was about 3 degrees. This made it cold, even with the fire going all night. Not intolerably cold, but cold enough that when I woke up I really didnt want to get out of my bag. I will admit to taking pictures with my iphone and looking at them in my bag rather than sticking my head out. We had our best average speed of 2+ mph. The snow was less heavy, and more airy. We cruised all day with less effort. 14 or so miles.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 3

Stoked that this stream was running... or trickling.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 3

Heading out from our shelter for the night. Low was 3 degrees or so.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 3

Bob took a photo of me.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 3

I am against natural gas drilling, but this thing was so warm. It gave us a place to sit and we could warm our hands.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 3

The trail.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 3

View down to the river, and Johnstown. We descended like 1400 feet in less than 2.5 miles after this.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 3

Me and Bobby at the Norther trail head.

From Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 2011 day 3

Our ride home. The Chew Man! showed up in perfect time.

On the last day we found a set of car keys. I couldnt imagine hiking all day, and then getting back to the car and realizing that the keys are missing. That would be the worst. So I took them, and called the gym where the keys owner has a membership. I asked to have the owner call me. Anyway, I talk to the dude for a few minutes. Apparently he was hunting BOBCATS. No seriously. And coyote? And he lost his keys. He didnt realize until he got home, as his friend drove. Lucky him. I told him that I would mail them to him and start to take down his name. Turns out I graduated with him. We played baseball on the same team when we were six years old. What a small world...

Monday, December 13, 2010

The filthy chew

So after the Dirty Dozen this year, young Bob and I discussed doing a second lap. It would be like 120 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing. We told Chew, and he had already done it in 1991 in preparation for the Thrift Drug Classic. It took two entire days to think that we should just do three.

I threw the idea at chew and he accepted. He compared it to our "historic" winter time double century (only 3 people have done them in Pittsburgh... this is all Chew talking). 12 hours out from game time, the fourth person involved, Danny's longtime friend said that we would more than likely be out on busy roads at dusky / dark, and instead suggested to do each hill 4 times in one single loop.

This eliminated what we called the triple dirty dozen, but created what Chew called "the filthy Chew."

I love this time of year when doing stupid (fun) stuff does not have me worried about it ruining the stupid bike racing.

Filthy Chew Stats:
4 starters
3 finishers (sorry young Bob)
148 avg power
1 hill impassable due to snow
2 bonus climbs up final hill to make up for lost hill's elevation
210 normalized power
17,000 feet of elevation gain (188/mile)
4567 KJ
490 TSS
10 mph avg speed
9 hours riding
90 miles
1 new road I showed the Chew man

OH YES. Bob and I are possibly headed for a hike but it looks snowy!

Anybody want to buy or sell a house? That is my new line.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

what is miserable?

I have been hanging out with the Chew Man a bit lately and he has me stoked. I got him to retell the story about being brutalized by the weather in the late 90's.

I feel like I have written both of these stories on my blog before. Apologies to both of you readers for that.

The story goes: He was leaving northern Columbus Ohio to ride the 200 plus miles back to Pittsburgh. It was late spring, and he thought that he would be fine in shorts and a jersey. About 50 miles in, it starts raining, then pouring, then the temperature dropped to the mid 40's. Chew said he considered stopping to buy gloves, and also considered getting a motel room. Instead, he just pedaled home.

He claims that this is what gave him the mental toughness to win his second Race Across America. Danny said that after he got home, he couldnt feel his fingertips for two weeks. I think that is kind of crazy, but it is a good example of somebody just being able to push hard.

Now I will share a story about one of the worst rides of my life.

Matt and I were a few weeks into our Great Divide Mountain Bike Route trip. It was late September at elevation. We were in central Wyoming and had just eaten breakfast in some town. A dude talked to us about our trip, and when we went to pay, he had already covered it. Awesome.

We stocked up and rolled out. We had about 200 miles with only a small "provisions" store in between. 150 of those miles had no water or food. This is all on dirt roads/paths.

Anyway, after rolling out of Rawlins, it started raining. It was like 45 degrees, we were literally traversing the contintal divide at like 7000', which made the weather nuts. There were lightening strikes and thunder all around us. The roads turned to peanut butter mud, and our temperatures dropped. Unlike Chew, I got really scared. I put on every piece of clothing that I had, I had lost all dexterity in my fingers and hands, making braking hard and would have made changing a flat impossible. Matt and I basically ended up under a rock ledge and under a tarp huddled together trying to stay warm.

I remember Matt being calmer than me. I had borderline hypothermia. My lips were so cold that I couldnt talk right. Matt loves being miserable. Matt has been vegan for a few decades AND does triathlons. Those are two of the most miserable things ever. I guess that since Matt wasnt eating some fake cheese or swimming and running, he was able to calm me down to ride the twenty miles or so to the paved road. We rode into the dark, where we finally hit pavement, and found a form of shelter to sleep under.

The next two days were spent riding through the great divide basin. The weather was sunny and nice, and ironically we were in need of water, as there was none for two days straight. All of the steams were dry. We nursed the gallons of water that we had.

The maps said that there was a potential water source after like 140 miles of none. It was a reservoir of some type. We saw it from a distance and had to climb up to it, no knowing if it was dry. Finally I saw some green grass and knew we were in luck. Sweet. We rode hard after this to the next town, and literally big ringed the continental divide along the way.

Ups and downs.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

1985 USPRO championships.

Just a reminder of how badass Pittsburgh was:

Talks about the all day breakaway that included Matt Eaton.

Top 10

1. Eric Heiden (USA) 7-Eleven 6h29’39” (39.04 km/h)

2. Jesper Worre (Den) Sammontana

3. Jens Veggerby (Den) Fanini-Wuhner

4. Tom Broznowski (USA) Schwinn

5. Tom Schuler (USA) 7-Eleven +14"

6. Ron Kiefel (USA) 7-Eleven +1'40"

7. Davis Phinney (USA) 7-Eleven +1'48"

8. Andy Hampsten (USA) Levi’s-Raleigh

9. Jeff Rutter (USA) Alfa-Romeo

10. Thomas Prehn (USA) Schwinn


11. Chris Carmichael

12. Danny Chew

Both finishing in the same time as Hampsten.

Apparently thrift drug classic torrent HERE.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I am not going to shadyside to get zen

So a yoga place in Shadyside has a "all you can do for 20 dollars" deal going on. I am taking a few weeks off the bike, and I need something to do, so I signed up. For those not in the know, Shadyside is a fancy area of the city. Sephora, mac store, coach, gap, etc.

So anyway, I am riding my bike to the studio and I come up on the super aggro bike commuter. We all know this dude, right? He is on a decent hybrid bike, pushing like a 48x13 the entire time. He keeps looking back to see if he is putting time into me between red lights. He didnt say hi when I said hello. Just some super aggro dude. We come up on an intersection where I KNOW the car in the left lane that is supposed to turn left will probably actually go straight. Of course it happens. I watch the dude FREAK OUT on the driver, even though he was like 30 feet away from getting hit. It was not even close.

Anyway, I just keep riding behind aggro commuter dude. I turn and ride up the backstreet to the yoga place. Of course the dude pops out and IS ALSO GOING TO YOGA. Great. I avoid him while doing the sign in / change routine. I put my mat down, and go out to get water. Of course, despite most of the place being empty, and despite most of the other people (except me) in the place being young attractive females, THE DUDE PUTS HIS MAT RIGHT NEXT TO ME.

Anyway, my reason for going to yoga for the winter is so I can get more aerodynamic and be faster while putting out the same watts. I am not even going to front. However this dude, and the rest of the people in the glass are all "ohm ing" and "namastse ing" and all that stuff.

Then I looked around and thought about a story Amy told me. She and her two girlfriends were riding up Smallman St last week. There are 3 parallel outbound streets and it is the least busy, and the recommended bike route. A woman with a "buy organic buy local" bumper sticker on one side of her bumper and an "Obama 08" sticker on the other side passes them while blowing the horn and GIVING THEM THE FINGER. I could be crazy, but I think Amy said that it was a Prius.

Anyway, all this crap is not related. Not at all. It is just funny that people will pay 15 dollars to pretend to be zen, and then flip off their neighbors while buying organic produce. Or I guess the point is: you can take shitty people and have them do cool things, and they maintain their shitty persona.

Maybe someday I will be able to write a story that is concise and makes sense.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hopefully done being poor. I have a job.

I have been "poor by choice" for a long time. I use the term "bohemian." It is nice to live cheaply, reuse things, not buy new stuff, etc. However it gets old sometimes. Jake jokes that I have a trustfund. Not so much. I have been getting by on a about 1,000 a month or so for the past 5 years. It has allowed me a lot of really awesome experiences, however the romanticism is almost gone.

Anyway. I have a job now. I am writing this from my office at Howard Hanna Real Estate. I am a licensed real estate agent. I am working with my brother. If you are looking to buy or sell a house in Pittsburgh, contact us. Awesome.

How being poor sucks:
- Pulling out a rear brake or derailer cable, cutting the end off and then putting that aside to use as a front later.

- taking said housing end and pulling the cap off of it to reuse. seriously.

- keeping the heat at 56 or so during the winter.

- having glasses that are approaching a decade old.

- not having been to a doctor for non emergencies in 12 years.

- ordering contacts from canada with a 10 year old prescription.

- only wearing those contacts for races so they last forever.

- having eating out be a luxury, and not spending more than $10 to do so.

- only running the dryer at night so it heats up the house.

- Having an allen key with a rubber thimble around it, plug the bath spigot in my bathroom for over 5 years cause someday I will remodel it.

- buying 3 pairs of non cycling shoes since 2002. A dress pair at goodwill, a pair of new balances on ebay used for 15 bucks and a pair of 100 dollar northface winter boots. 2002.

- Eggs, bread, bagels, milk and peanutbutter. Lots and lots.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Just a photo.

Been cleaning out my closet. I have a lot of cycling stuff. Who would have thought.
Apparently I have over 10 pairs of booties.
This makes sense cause I have 13 pairs of shoes, and one of them are winter shoes, so
they obviously dont need booties.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The rapid trend of Cyclocross being little league... Elbows. Products.

They started creeping up a few weeks ago in Cincinnati. There were a dozen or so kids under the age of 12 on carbon fancy tubular wheels. Whatever.

This weekend we parked near a junior. He had two matching 4000 dollar bikes (at least). His dad had a stopwatch and was telling him exactly how long his intervals had to be during his warm up (while riding said carbon tubulars on the trainer). His dad also dropped a few F bombs at his kid while "prepping" him for his race.

I dont want to dog on one person that I was near just cause I heard certain things, but honestly some people just bum me out. I give this kid a few years until he fights his dad. This is the same dad who a few weeks ago told me how to ride a section of a course, but I dont think he actually has ever ridden a bike.

So I am riding in a pack of four dudes yesterday. All of them were faster than me. I am third wheel. Into each turn for an entire lap, fourth wheel dude leaned on me and threw hard elbows at me. He sat on (just like I did) on the pavement while Bad Andy towed us around, but then for some reason wanted to just lean on me. I just kept asking him WTF dude? He informed me that it is a bike race and that I am a pussy and that I am pack fodder. Cool man. I saw him post race and realized that he was one of 2 or 3 dudes in the race that I could maybe beat up (It would be a toss up between me and this dude, mcgrath and bad andy). Anyway, if you want to pass me, just do it where it require skill or fitness and I will for sure let anybody around, but to try to force somebody over is just not cool. Keep that shit out of cross.

Whatever.... On to happy things! I had BOTH people who read my blog tell me so this weekend. Thanks guys! I wont embarrass you guys by saying your names. Then you cheered for me! Awesome!

I recently got aFancy Carbon Blue Norcross SL. I could be all like "this bike is sooooo much better than my last bike," but that is obvious cause my last bike was a 300 dollar aluminum redline. I will say that I also got the standard Norcross for a pitbike. It is aluminum, and it is nicer than the redline. The carbon one is sick light and real fast and accelerates super super quickly. Needless to say, I am super stoked on the Blue bikes.

Coaching. No seriously I have a coach. So for a few months I have been using a coach. I havent really talked about it yet to many people cause I didnt want to be like "yo I got a coach" then get double lapped or whatever. But I have been happy with my results, and I feel like I am going pretty good. Cross is so freaking hard to measure. I try to measure myself against guys around me, and I wanted to start finishing 1 group in front of where I used to finish, but I think the dudes from that group also got faster. I could talk about my power numbers and stuff, but then I think that in the past I said that if I blog about my power numbers you can kick my ass. So where doe that leave me?
Friday going into race day, I am sure that I am ready. There is not hesitation. I think all bike racers get it. When I walk upstairs the night before a race, I try to feel out how my legs feel, then I wonder if I am too fatigued or whatever. It is nice to go into a race knowing that you are prepped, not too fatigued, and ready to race. The workouts are not TOO far off of what I have done in the past, but it is when they are done, and how much addition riding happens. So all in all, I am really happy. And as lame as it sounds, it is nice to have somebody else to own up to. Last Wednesday, it was 45 and raining and I still went out and did intervals. I am sure that would not have happened if I did not have to send the files to somebody.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Sat - up at 5am drive to and race charm city
Sun - race day 2 charm city drive home. 11pm arrival.
Mon - box bike up. fly to vegas
Fri - fly home at 7am
sat - amy's bro's wedding


Fly in Monday. Crash out at like 9pm their time.

We are all sitting wide awake in a dark room at 5am.
We get on the shuttle to the dirt demo, running into friends along the way.
Get on a carbon hardtail 2x10 29" orbea. We all rode a ton. Stubna rode a 10 grand specialized for like 5 hours. Super fun morning.

I tried staying up late Tuesday night to get my body ready for crossvegas the next night. It starts at 9pm, which is midnight east coast time, and the time we all fell asleep the night before.

Walked around a bit in the morning. Ran into famous people in the Campy booth.
Rode to the race venue from the strip. The Race Across America truck passed us and told us to motorpace off of them. Honestly a really good warm up for a race. The wheelers and dealers race looked fast. Rode some laps. Had my yuppie bike in full force (carbon tubulars and white tires!). Rode an OK race that I was happy with. We rode back to the venue, changed and went out for the night. No dinner and I watched the sun come up. Good times. Babik couldnt hang and called it a night at like 4:30.

I dont drink, so all I can really do in vegas is people watch. I found my way into a dance club and watched a bunch of 40 year old white people dancing with each other. This is "what happens in vegas..." Sublime was playing, they were all sloppy drunk trying to sort through who is left to go home with. It was pretty boring stuff. This is freaking VEGAS.... I wanted to see real debauchery. Nothing. I have seen more excitement on the southside at 3am in the middle of January. Lamers.

Anyway, I dont really get star struck. However, this was awesome...
Smile Eddy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

and on Chodroff...

I am sure that you saw Jon Chodroff got caught and fessed up to cheating. I know that he used to read this blog, and I hope he is not looking at any cycling stuff right now, because nothing good is being said about him.

Jon Chodroff and I raced "together" at the Tour of Ohio and for a bit after. I remember when John (forgot to off the ipod) Minturn was like "wait until you see this dude." Dude was Jon. He flew instead of driving, and we met up with him there. He walked up wearing SUPER short workout shorts. Not in a hipster type of way, but in a richard simmons type of way. That coupled with a 2XL T shirt and super crazy messy hair. The dude traveled with 2 laptops, 1 for his cyclingpeaks (wko) and one for just standard internetting. Weird.

Jon jumped into cycling a few months prior, and was trying to become pro. He was a cat 3 at this point and had been racing for a few months. The thing is, his power numbers were probably 1.5x what mine were. He was naturally talented.

The race became a battle between Dewey Dickey (lifetime ban) and Hekman. Chod was just hanging on, putting out the power of a pro, just to try and win the Cat 3 jersey.

I harbor very little resentment. He went straight from there to NRC level racing, and didnt screw over too many people close to me. In fact, when he did race local races, its not like he freaking won, unless it had a time trial.

Cynical me says:

Jon treated cycling like the kid from The Toy treated Richard Pryor's character. He wanted the black one, no matter what the price, and he got it. Being a Pro bike racer was another check on a long list of "give mes" that a privileged kid gets. There is no money in the sport, but he did steal a lot of experiences from people.
- Living in the national team house in Belgium and racing
- Tour of California
- Tour of Taiwan or whatever he crashed out of the first day

For every dude like Jon, there are a hundred bum amateurs (and probably other teammates) that would jump at the chance for any of those. Unfortunately the act of a selfish person took them all away. This selfish person is going to use his ivy league degree to go to grad or law school, get a job and keep screwing people over... he obviously has no conscience.

He is one of 25 - 80 dudes on "the list." Why are they waiting on the rest of them? They obviously have the fucking proof.

Empathetic me says:
Jon is a nice dude. He didnt screw me over directly. I cant imagine what gets into somebody's head to make them think actions like these are normal or acceptable. Maybe this will teach him a life lesson and he can find a new career helping people who are not as fortunate as he is. It is only freaking bike racing, maybe something good will come of a bad decision.

He is one of 25 or so guys who bought drugs. He is probably the only one I had contact with....

Time will tell.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I once saw this band...

(sorry this is so crappy)

In like 1999 I drove to Buffalo to see this band Farside. That and to ride a cement skatepark, cause this is when skateparks were rare, before kids were totally spoiled. Anyway.. Farside.. they were a 90's melodic "hardcore" band. A newer younger popular band opened up for them named Kid Dynamite. Kid Dynamite was made up of superstars from other cool bands.

Anyway, the place was packed. Kid Dynamite played before Farside, cause Farside were on a big national tour. After their set, the singer said "stick around for Farside..." After the intermission, I could see why the singer said that. Probably 80% of the audience left.

My heart sank. I remember feeling a huge amount of pity for them. I mean, they put out a huge record in the 90's on one of the biggest labels, and now they are playing in front of a living room sized crowd, after hundreds of people left.

"Hey, we are farside.... I guess not too many people remember us... thanks for coming out.."

Again I felt bad.

Until halfway through their first song. Then I realized that it didnt matter. These dudes had been there done that. They had toured, and had kids rocking out hard to them. They were once the IT band. They seriously played as if it was 1992 and their album was all the rage. They were not there for the crowd or the kids. They were there because it is what they wanted to be doing right then. They had nothing to prove, they just wanted to have fun.

I saw this same attitude both days this weekend at the bike game. I am happy to see dudes having fun. That is what it is supposed to be about right?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Last days of bike trip.

This is the final 3 days of our trip.
Sorry for delays. Im sure you were holding your breath.

Out of Windsor NY was a 20 mile long reservoir. Apparently it is one of a few places where New York City gets its drinking water. I have never seen DEP police until riding through here. They were like real police but it seemed they just drove around the water looking for people dumping or sabotaging it. Neat.

The rest of the day was spent just trying to get into the Catskills. We stopped in Dehi, which has a SUNY, which meant a cool coffee shop. We found the "catskill scenic trail." It was pretty rough, be we are like Cat 1 rail trail riders, so we bossed it.

We stopped in Stamford. Not too much going on there. We camped behind a school. I managed to get my bivy sack and my bike under a bridge for handicapped people in anticipation of rain. I hate packing a wet tent.

Scenic upstate NY. This farm had a "leave money take maple syrup" stand. Awesome.

"catskill scenic 'trail'"

We finally see some mountains.

Railtrail countdown.

Camping under a ramp. Nature. Wicked helmet tan.

Woke up to pouring rain. Got ripped off for breakfast. Started riding toward the Catskills. We rode for hours straight, stopping in hunter. At times there was standing water on the road because it was raining so freaking hard. It sucked. We stopped at least 2 hours in the town of hunter and sat in a cafe. This is where the Tour of the Catskills road race finished a few weeks earlier. We were a week too early for the world cup, that would have been sick. We decided to pay for a cabin, cause it was not supposed to stop raining. I am so glad that we did, cause it rained over 2 inches in 24 hours, straight through the night and into the next day.

The cabin was awesome. We had a crappy TV with a UHF dial and a kitchen. It had electric heat, so we put all of our clothing on the heaters and turned it up to 80. It was right around 60 all day, so being wet sucked. When we woke up, it was still POURING rain. We dilly dallied and told ourselves that if we made it to Port Jervis NJ, there was a chance of taking commuter trains back to Philly. (Euro or soft, you choose)... So we rode straight for 60+ miles to Port Jervis. We missed the 1pm train and sat in the little train booth for awhile trying to get warm.
LOW POINT OF TRIP: Pulling out what I thought was my rain pants, but what turned out to be a freaking backpack cover. Good job packing steevo.
We got lunch and went to the family dollar. We bought gloves and I looked for a wool cap. It was cold. I hate being cold and wet.

Then the rain stopped! 40+ hours of rain over!

It was awesome. We headed into the Delaware water gap to cycle the Old Mine Road. This is probably one of those things that is on a bunch of "must ride" lists. It is a 40 mile road in the water gap that cars can only enter, like a peninsula. This causes VERY little traffic. Like we saw 5 cars in 40 miles. It was awesome. The rain had let up and we had a great ride to an awesome camp site.

Our final day we rode from the Delaware Water Gap to Philly. 110 miles or so. There is a cool foot bridge that we were able to take that cars cannot (hence us being able to get out and cars not being able to)... it is part of the Appalachian Trail.

Google maps led us astray and we ended up going a bit out of the way. We could have taken 611, but instead ended up on 191 (Mountain Road) for a surprise 5 mile climb.

Here is a map of this whole area. SICK!

We headed south along the river. Jersey was on our left. We were going to take the D&L towpath the whole way, but IT CRACKED US. This was the like the freaking Race Across America of railtrails. It was grueling. We only made it 4 freaking miles before getting back on the road. RAILTRAILFAIL!

I actually turned around and took this while leaving, but you get the point.

Empty old mine road. Perfect shape.

Where were these when there were tons of bears?

Could not have asked for a better campsite.

No dietary restrictions at 5,000 calories a day.

We destroyed this railtrail.

Back at the Stubna estate!

Monday, September 06, 2010

24 hours of 7 springs... boring bike racing stuff...

Ben Stephens took a pic of my first lap pain face up the long ski slope climb.

My first 24 hour race of any type. "The champion challege at 7 springs." I am so tired today (day after) that I am going to write a long boring blog about it.

I got the invite onto the ProBikes corporate team. This seemed like the best way to adventure into a 24 hour race, to do it with people who have done it before, will lend you lights, and own canopies.

8 people = 2 or 3 laps each. Should be fun right?

6 hours of sleep. Breakfast and a good NPR show. First lap is still 9 hours away.

Roll up to seven springs. The atmosphere was pretty cool. There were tons of people. It was like a music festival without music but a bike race instead.

I was up 3rd, so I could watch how the exchange of the leg band worked between persons 1 and 2. The first person had to run around a lake, which I had no desire to even attempt.

My first lap I had very little traffic on the course (there was only 3 teams ahead of us at this point) and I had a LOT of energy. At this point, I figure that I am only doing 2 laps and go as hard as I can. Pass the lead teams on this lap and put some time into them.

Unfortunately, after about 6 hours in, we lost our advantage due to a mechanical. We were up by 10 minutes and lost 20 or so minutes. Ouch.

I hung out until midnight for my next lap. I thought this lap was cold, at 55 degrees, but it warmed up. I had fancy lights, good luck, and lots of energy. I turned out a decent lap time. I finished my lap, spun out for 10 minutes, drank some endurox R4 and crashed out in my Bivy sack by 1:30, with the alarm set for 6am.

LOW OF THE RACE: Being in my warm cocoon, wrapped in my sleeping bag, soundly asleep and waking up to my name being called. It was like 4:30. It was PERFECT tent sleeping weather. It was like 44 degrees outside at this point, and needless to say, kind of hard to get out of the tent.
"Steevo, we need you to start a lap in about an hour.". Uh oh.

Luckily somebody set my bike up with CRAZY lights. Like 1400 lumen headlamp and a 900 lumen handlebar mount. From what I gather, this is as bright, or brighter than one of those super annoying Lexus headlights. It was insane how bright it was. During the lap, people were moving over for me to pass when I was still 100 feet or so behind them, cause they thought I was right on them because it got so bright. Insane.

The sun came up for the last 20 minutes or so of the lap. This was incredible. I literally almost crashed cause I was paying attention to how awesome it looked. There were little birds that must have been burrowing all night on the some of the trails that would jump out of the way as they heard me coming. Amazing. I put in another decent lap.

I drank some coffee and ate some breakfast at what seemed like noon but was really 8am. We were still in contention for the win, but were down. In true bike race fashion we raced until the last minute.

My fourth, and final lap was about 10:30 am. My goal was to beat my first lap time. I knew some time splits, and at the top of the big climb, I was a minute up on my first lap. Somehow this advantage disappeared over the final 20 minutes of the lap, and I came in 25 seconds slower than my first lap. Still a good time, but not what I wanted. I got sloppy in the rock garden.

We came in 2nd overall to another really strong team. Good times were had by all. No major crashes and my fancy carbon fiber mountain bike didnt disintegrate over the brutal rock gardens.

At some point while talking to somebody I tried playing the "oh I am just a roadie" card, but got yelled at and was told that I am also a mountain biker. This was cool. Time to grow my leg hair out or something. Will do it again for sure.

Lap Times:
1st: 58:50 (2010 fast lap, which was a goal, barely beating a fast Evan Perrone by 13 seconds)
2nd: 1:02:36
3rd: 1:02:31
4th: 59:15

Full Results

Friday, September 03, 2010

Coburn - Ithica - Windsor... Photos. Soundtrack...

This could be a great song to listen to. "a little too easy seems seems just a little too hard today"...

Long day in the saddle.
Out of the Grand Canyon of PA, heading into New York, and up to Watkins Glen.

In the first 5 miles we saw a bear ahead. A BIG bear. We kept riding up to it, and it decided to run down between the trail and the river. I felt like we might be trapping it, which might lead to it ripping our faces off. Instead it jumped into the water. Mike was yelling "dude can you see it.... it is swimming"... But I was more concerned with THE OTHER BEAR I could hear below us. That one also decided to jump into the water. We watched both bears swim across the river. So awesome.

We cut through the Finger lakes National Forest and then over to Ithaca. We poached showers at a campground outside of town so we could be fresh to dine at the Moosewood, a famous restaurant and cookbook. I got lasagna that had polenta instead of noodles. I meant to take a picture, but I didnt. And chocolate cake. Then Dr Stubna and I rode at night like 10 miles to an observatory to camp. We were able to see a lightening storm rolling in, which was cool, despite the rain.

Bear #1 in upper left corner, bear #2 is in the water. Awesome.

Fog lifting off of the ridges around us.

The area around wellsboro, PA was like being out west. Everything was state game lands or state forests. It was empty.

We love railtrails. This one saved us from a brutal headwind.

Watkins Glen.

Drought summer left these pools wanting water.

Finger lakes national forest. Bonus miles as we took the scenic route to Ithaca.

I like this photo. Stubs riding with a lake in the foreground (the dark blue)... as we descend towards Ithaca.

BIG waterfall. Check out the people in the bottom right. It has been a dry summer for sure. Awesome bike touring destination, we didnt even get off of our bikes to see it.

Camped on a mountain outside of town.

124.8. 9:04 ride time.

We woke up and descended back into town. We rolled through Cornell. The campus was a great mix of old stone buildings and awful 70's architecture. We got bagels and watched the freshman. I guess it is a good school or something. Dr. Stubna got a phd there in dynamical systems (get my dynamical bear bag joke?)... and I have never actually heard him tell anybody this without prompting. I ate dinner last week with some chick who was bragging about some fancy pants school that she went to for music. No I didnt not mention the dirty dozen at all during dinner. Digression...
We rolled out of town and rolled fast toward the Catskills. We stopped in Owego, which was a surprisingly nice place. Stubna napped in the town park while I paced around and read historical markers. We headed on, stopping in Binghamton. We were pleasantly surprised by it. We went to a grocery store and there was a big poster for the Chris Thater memorial crit that was upcoming.
We pushed on a bit further to the town of Windsor, where we stopped and took in some culture before eating dinner and poaching a place to camp in the town park.

Every time I camp somewhere that it is illegal, I think of the above song... "See I only want to be a Free man but it's against the law to sleep on the ground in Gods land"

Nice outlook above Ithaca and the lake.

Bike only bridge in Binghamton!

Lots of bike routes at the end of the bridge.

The town of Windsor was proud to be on the NY17 bike route.

Taking in some culture. They were an old time band. They jammed. We felt real young.

Enjoy the weekend.
Cross starts in 8 days. Wow.