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.