Friday, April 30, 2010

and on to bike racing.

Turkey Hill is shaping up to be a real bike race. 120 dudes in the big boys race. Serious.

This happened Wednesday:
Amy: what is that on your forehead.
Me: Seriously. damn it.
Amy: (picking it off) What is this?
Me: Tubular glue.

As cheap of a dude as I am, I might be at the point where I am going to pay somebody to glue my tubulars. I bet I could get Chew man to do it for a bunch of old 9 speed cassettes. I cleaned off the back porch yesterday and there was literally 10 empty tubes of glue and one tub. That is a lot of time/energy wasted gluing tires to rims. What a life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

So I mangaged to finsih a bike race... boring bike racing blogging.

I updated the sidebars and stuff on this blog. So now it is like a live RSS feed. I like that.

Thursday I rode mountain bikes with my brother. It was my first time in the woods in 6 months or so. I said "dude I considered doing a big mountain bike race this weekend, glad I am not going ... I would have gotten shredded."

Then it was announced that the local Mingo race was canceled.

So Mayhew and I drove down to the Greenbrier (said big mountain bike race) resort with Terry following us in his truck. Terry was driving past Pittsburgh and stopped, hoping to race Mingo with us. Instead he got to drive most of the way home to DC alongside us.

Basically, my goal was to finish the race in a not embarrassing time. To quote Marge Simpson "aim low so you can never be disappointed in yourself."

This was my first real "PRO" mountain bike race I guess. Weird. I lined up toward the back. I didnt complain when a few dudes pull the "John Minturn" and rode up from the front and turned their bikes around in order to be on the front row. I just sat there and peed myself a bit.

First lap dudes go really fast.Usual douchery occurs and guys are giving me elbows and crap. There was one dude in particular who really wanted around me. Maybe he didnt know who I was and didnt trust me in front of him? Maybe he DID know who I was and didnt trust me in front of him! Either way I could write a two page blog about the amount of energy this dude wasted trying to pass me and how I would take a ratchet pedal and close his line, or box him out. First lap, new goal: beat this dude.

I count the dudes in the lead group as they ride away, to see if I am still in the money. This is something I feel that I have gotten good at in my cycling days. I can count the dudes in a mountain or cross race to try and figure if I am still in the cash or the UCI points or whatever. It is a unique skill set. I swear to god that I counted 8 in front of me, putting me right in line to either get the last cash or not get paid. Awesome.

I got rid of Mr Elbows, and I caught a fast dude on a descent (wtf?) and rode with him for a half a lap. I have raced him before and feel that we should be friends. He is "vegan rob" and has straight edge tattoos. After a half of a lap I was basically like "dude lets not attack each other, lets keep our pace in check and just hold our position. He seemed down with that. We still had like 90 more minutes of racing to go.

Then people start telling us that we are in 4th and 5th place. How on earth that happened, I have no idea. We only passed one other pro (young joe dombrowski)... which meant either they were wrong or my initial count was wrong.

Bike racing bike racing, Rob rides away from me in some rocks.

I hold on for 5th. Sweet. First good ride of the year. Stoked.

REAL BIKE RACING: This youtube channel rules. They put up races like hours after they finish. Like every big race. The last 20k of Liege are up.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sometimes I feel like...

Mayhew posted that on my facebook wall awhile ago. It is a feeling that used to be true. Amy and I are coming up on 5 years of home ownership. Last night we discussed the first time that we walked down the street, at night, to our new house. My stomach sank. It was a mix of boyz n the hood and an unsupervised recess from elementary school. It was like 10pm and there were dozens of kids out that were under 10 years old. There were dudes using their car stereos as radios as they sat on their stoops. We didnt communicate it to one another, but we were both having a bit of buyers remorse.

Anyway, last night we took a walk through the hood. I am not sure if we are acclimated to the area, or if it has actually changed. The local park was jamming. On the soccer field, it was the punx and the somalis playing a game of football (soccer) together. I knew both groups of people, and it was awesome to see them comingling and sharing a common interest. Amy and I joked that it would be badass if the Somali kids starting wearing tight clothes and stretching their ears out. The bike kids had the hockey rink corralled for a game of bike polo, there was close to 20 of them playing... Things are looking up.

If you are looking to buy a house in yuppieville, buy this house, it is my brother's listing and he will give me money if you do.

Here is apbs article about how only 3.5 out of 10,000 people are "tea party members." The disproportionate amount of coverage they are getting in the media is pointed out. Irony of the article is that it is a media article about the tea party.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I might as well write about Battenkill, despite how disappointing it was. I am not sure what happened. I went into it with the goal of doing something to help a teammate pull out a result (last year one teammate went 50 miles without bottles)... or to just try my hardest to finish. Neither happened.

I jumped onto the Haymarket Homevisit team for the event. It was mostly a composite team, consisting mostly of DC area dudes, plus myself and the legendary Steve Tilford.

Blow by blow descriptions of races are awful. All that I can say is that it was really really fast. I got dropped. It rained. I rolled in with 30 other dudes who were the first 30 to get dropped. Not the plan. All that I can assume is that it was hard day coupled with really bad legs. I dont want to dwell on it or I will get pretty bummed out.

The highlight of the past two weekends (pro/am and pro invitational) was the company that it was spent with. The first week we stayed with Ed's sister and her husband. They were 30 miles from the course in Vermont. The area was beautiful. There was tons of good time, good conversation and good food. I got to hang out with Pittsburgh dudes that I have to drive 9 hours to hang out with.

The second weekend the team stayed in a converted barn that housed 9 dudes. The cool thing about being on a composite was hanging out with dudes who I have never talked to before. 100% of my impression of these dudes was based on racing and the little I knew about them. Its funny that when you are racing, you can think that somebody might not be a nice person, but when it comes down to it, you have like 90% of your life in common with them.

Thanks to Haymarket Homevisit for the chance.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Corner to corner and then some...

Easter: Pack car with coffee, french press, oatmeal, bagels, peanutbutter and leave San Diego. 10 hours in car. 4 hour ride up to 8000 feet with shorts and jersey on. Drive. Camp at south rim of Grand Canyon.
Monday: Watch sun rise over canyon. Hike 4 hours. 3000' elevation gain. Drive 12 hours to Texas. Camp on side of road.
Tues: Drive 16 hours. Camp on side of road at state office building in Indiana. Finally give in and buy first food of trip for 6 dollars.
Weds: Drive. Make it home in time for the oval!
Thurs: First rainy day in 5 weeks. Do laundry and pack.
Fri: Leave early am for Vermont/Battenkill. Drive. Spinout / open up
Sat: Race Batenkill. Dropped at 70 miles or so? Maybe 75? Too much wind.
Sun: Spin out. Drive 9 hours home.
Mon: Scrape paint for 6 hours for my brother.
Tues: Officiate at the oval for the first time of the year
Weds: Pack/Laundry:
Tomorrow: Get to DC to Drive up to Battenkill with Haymarket guys.
Fri: Go to a school and talk to kids about bike racing or something near Battenkill.
Sat: Team stuff get it all together. Open up.
Sun: Batenkill / drive back to DC
Mon: Come back to Pittsburgh

Obviously there are a million stories from all this. Hitchhikers, earthquakes, dust storms, snow camping at 8000 feet without a rain fly, driving, driving, driving...

I would say the craziest of it all was that I just happened to be getting gas in Yuma, AZ as the 7.2 earthquake hit, with it's epicenter 30 miles away. I had been in the car for hours beforehand and the room started shaking. I guess it was a longer than normal quake, and for a split second I thought it was on my end. I was pretty sure that I was passing out from something or another. Freaking scary. Then I looked outside and saw the street lights oscillating.

Friday, April 02, 2010

San Diego.

Well the trip is winding down. I met up with Amy and we drove down to San Diego to hang with her brother and his ladylove.

I rode my first dirtbike. It was a 125cc. The dude I went with took me on some gnarly (in my first time riding a dirt bike brain) trails. However, it was super fun.

Then we went to Joshua tree for a day. We hiked up Ryan Mountain, up to about 5500 feet. We could see Mexico and the Sultan Sea from the top. We camped on BLM lands and took Jake's car offroading. We shot a bb gun a ton.

Riding has been good. Lots of sun and intervals.

My 3000 mile solo cross country drive starts in a few days. Plans include stopping at the grand canyon and riding in some mountains. I should get back to the burgh in time to leave for battenkill and add another 20 hours a of driving over the weekend.

Highlights SD:
Saw a road named "nuevo road."
Had a 1 armed man draft off of me.
Got cool guyd by tons of triathletes.
Found some mountains.
Saw avocado trees in peoples yards.
3 dollar burritos.
99 cent 20 oz cans of diet Dr. Pragers organic rootbeer.

Maybe some pictures to come.