Sunday, October 29, 2006

Canton Cup Race report

My first Cross race was Sunday. On the hour drive down to Canton I was anxious to get it on feeling I hadn't gotten my fix of "competition pain" in a month or two.
Massive wind gusts kept things on the dry side considering that four inches of water fell just 18 hours before the event. Figured the course was going to be a mess so I installed some mud paddles as a secret weapon to combat the chunky wet ooze that I imagined would be everywhere.
Well, got to the race with my 2.2 mud terrain's and to my surprise...No mud. I gotta stop thinking like a mountainbiker. Course was a mix of asphalt and mostly grass on small rolling hills. All the rain that fell the previous day was absorbed deep into the sponge-like turf with not so much as a muddy puddle in sight. Fairly flat, fast, non technical...I was a dead man. Until meeting up with Kerry and she offered me her skinny 1.3 inch wide 26" cross tires for my race after she finished hers. Friends are the best.
I stood at the run-up with Roz cheering on Kerry and the rest of the men and women in the early race. Glad I came down to hang and make the day of it. Half the fun of cross is shouting at people you know to pick up the pace when they're really getting their ass kicked (nice huh?). It really helps to have friends in the crowd at these section to yell at'cha and get you moving a little faster.
It was soon show time for the B-men. Thom P was there racing his pink single speed cross bike. He had concerns about his gear selection being a little slow for the fast course...I think he set-up for more technical and muddy conditions too. Thom, Glenn Cook, and I missed out on the line-up cause we were gabbing during staging and got stuffed three or four rows in the back of the pack. Probably where I belonged being the new-bie to 'cross on a mountain bike.
The start was a drag race. Hell, the whole thing was a drag race. Felt alot like the time trial I did a few months ago but more fun. Early in the first lap while climbing a small grassy hump mother nature smiled on a pack of us and blew a giant gusting tail wind that pushed us up hill, good way to start things. The rest of the time 40mph gusts met square-on knocking everyone around. Must have been most difficult for the people with deep aero wheels and bladed spokes especially on the track portion of the race around the football field in the wide open.
I got into a groove and was enjoying the race from the first lap. I was fairly happy with my pace thinking I couldn't push much harder. Then Thom P slipped by me on his pink machine spinning like crazy. Looking strong as he past me and three guys ahead of me. My mission was now to keep him in sight and try to reel him in. This game gave me reason to reach deep and blow-up if I was going to blow up. <-- Something I try very hard not to do in longer mtb races but since this race was timed at 40 minutes who gives a shit if you blow up... I am slowly seeing the beauty in 'cross. Sorry to say Thom flatted at the end of the third lap, after he was gone I tried to keep the same inensity but had no one to chase down. Kept on pace and it was soon over. Good to have this one under my belt, learned a lot. Ended up coming in 25th.
Bummed to miss the Elite Women...I tried to listen to the announcer on the loud speaker to catch what was happening while I was back at my car getting changed and recovering from my race.
Did however see the elite men rip it up. The leaders made little work of the run-up...was more of a ride-up for a few of them.
Most impressive were the top three over the high barriers. Taking a huge risk jumping the 20 inch planks at race pace, and Anthony (3rd over) blazed through so fast that it almost looked like his legs past through the solid wood hurdles.
Man, I need a better camera with sound.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Whole lot'a fun riding lately. End of race season and just the beginning of fun season. Couple few night rides with the big bike crew have taught me that I have totally forgotten how to ride my 5 inch travel bike. Feels very disconnected and sloppy, not to mention I can't climb to save my life on the dual squishy right now. Have to work on getting reacquainted with the plush ride because it would be suicide to try and keep up with Roger and Barry on my hardtail. I also forgot how to set up the dually...overinflated the hell out of the rear tire and rear shock and spent much of the night bouncing about the trail with little traction.
Sunday I went back to the hardtail for simplicity and to get a decent 90 minute spin around the Fells with Jeff. Did however try something new and ran a 2.4 specialized 2bliss (miracle tire) on the front. Huge air volume and soft rubber compound held lines superbly on the rock strewn trails in Med'fa. Jeff and I did some 'old school style' riding on Sunday - a mix of trials and xc. The kind of shit the old crew would ride in Lynn woods in our early twenties. Balancing while riding fallen tree trunks and jumping logs. Took me twelve attempts to ride a thirty foot log before cleaning it. Jeff got it on his fifth try, bastard.
Thanks again George for kicking me a selection of rubba. u da man.
Now for a small rant session... Was surfing the usual sites (not THOSE sites) looking for components for next years race bike and was astonished by some of the retail prices. Who has $630 for a freekin crankset that's going to last one season? They're purdy and all, might have to rob a bank for next year's build.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Equally stinky situations

We could have sucked it up and suffered for another week but last night proved to be the night that winter officially started. Lesli and I in our usual spot, on the couch watching tv under a couple blankets. Cold night, raining buckets outside. Lesli got up and I knew what she was up to as she walked to the hall. I didn't put up much of a fight. "Can't we just wait a couple more days?" I quietly said and waited for a response, heard the click of the oil burner coming to life. Shit, the l-o-n-g and painful oil season is upon us.
Not going to be quite as bad as last year cause I 'locked in' an oil price. Turns out that sucks.

On a better note, been getting some morning rides in with Igleheart. Got a nice 10 mile singletrackk loop at Bradley Palmer that I hit a few times a week. First ride thru brickends Farm, where they process, well...shit. Big piles of poop. Some days it's pretty overwhelming, other morning I enjoy the mild smell of cow manure. Christopher says it reminds him of England.
I've been riding a rigid fork for a couple weeks now with a big 'ol fat tubeless front tire and have grown to like the precision. Maybe not when the ground freezes and the ride becomes more harsh but for right now feels the ballz. Chris built it to be 80mm adjusted, I ran a 100mm fork all year. Turns out the fox 100mm was way wrong for the frame and the 80mm puts me in a much better position to climb and lowers the BB height to 12.5...I was up above 13 inches with the four inch fork.

One last decision; to race or not to race this weekend? Maybe.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Kahuna !

Bring out your big bike, fat tires and full faced helmets!

Mother nature created these trails with mountainbiking in mind. I thank her for the rocky terrain that we punish our selves on regularly. 71 north shore riders came out to celebrate the comming of fall on Seaside's annual Kahuna ride. It was great to ride with guys that I haven't seen since last year's kahuna.

Our four person group held a good pace the entire 6 hours to cover the 25 miles of singletrack.
For you racers out there that's 4.1 mph! And that was quick.

Daren had an impressively strong day in the saddle on his 35 pound steel Wraith with 2.5 inch knobbies.
Running out of pedal power in B+T's with only food and beer on our minds at this point. Headed straight to Lobst'a Land where organizers had planned a buffet of burgers, haddock and tatonka fingers!
Looking forward to a double Kahuna on Nov. 24th!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunburn Sunday

Thanks to my mom for loaning her new Mega-Mega pixel camera this weekend. Lesli made a few changes to enable it to shoot pictures a little quicker to keep up with the action.. I don't usually blog so many pictures or play the sports announcer guy, then again- I've never shot 2 Gig of pictures in one day. Just wanted to share some of these photos.
Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB Team) grabbed the win from Lyne Bessette ( Wendy Simms (Kona)moved up to take third
Mo Bruno-Roy ripping her final lap to take 11th place

Paul Curley, racing since the 70's! Still ripping it up.
Grabbed a podium spot Saturday for vet men +45.
The helmet-mount rear view mirror rocks.

Jonathan Card (Cane Creek/Cabato Velo) got the style award for the string of pearls and matching sunglasses.

Matt O'Keefe (CCB) moved up from 43rd Saturday to 33rd Sunday

Todd Wells (GT) placed 10th Saturday and moved up to 7th Sunday.
Jesse Anthony Won the u23 cat Saturday but slipped down in rank Sunday probably due to a technical issue with his bike, but just a guess.

Ripping thru the loose corners with little help from the canti's.
I was hoping Adam Craig and Carl Decker were going to upset the Kona duo.Barry Wicks was essential in teammates win Saturday and was knocked off the box by Mark McCormack (Team Clif Bar) in a sprint finish on Sunday.

No lack of cheers for home town racer Tim Johnson as he rode his heart out but Trebon tore it up this weekend.
Check out Kerry's blog to see how I could have gotten run over snapping this shot.

One giant step to victory
Check out Sunday's results.

Gran Prix of Cyclocross weekend part 1

Just a spectator this weekend. Hauled my ass out of bed and over to Stage Fort Park on Saturday just in time for the start of the B Men's race. Sorry I missed the early women's race, I much prefer watching girls race.

Full on drag race to start the men's B

The early leaders of the killer B's

Thom P shouldering his pink ss 'cross bike
A Train of Vets on their first lap. Richard Feldman (DurancCycleworks)followed by Dale Knapp (Kona), Chris Peck (Fiordifrutta) and Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo). Aspholm went on to win by 10 seconds.

I.F.'s Bruno leading a couple riders including Paul Curley

best seat in the house

(from the rock) overlooking the mechanic pit and the sand trap (in the distance)

Birds eye view of the switchback section
Lyne Bessette dominated Saturday's elite women
Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash (both of team Luna Chix) were hot on Lyne's heels the entire race.

Wendy Simms (Kona) placed 4th in elite and was named most aggressive rider

Christopher Horner had a strong race in elite men's category

Here is the start of the Elite men's race Saturday with Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant Strawberries/Specialized) leading #8 Matt White (FiordiFrutta Elite Cycling Team) then Ryan Trebon (Kona), Tim Johnson (Cannondale, Cyclocross World) and 88 other bad asses.
Adam Craig (Giant Bicycles) works the tempo with Mathieu Toulouse (Maxxis),Mark McCormack (Clif Bar), Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant Strawberries/Specialized) in tow.
Jesse Anthony (cliff bar) grabbed the win for the u23 catagory
Tim Johnson (Cannondale- Cyclocrossworld) pushes the pace on the stretch, Trebon (Kona) uses the draft to recharge while Barry Wicks fights to catch up.
If I could ask Ryan Trebon one question... "You're an incredible cyclist, but have you ever heard of basketball?"

Here are the results from Saturday's races.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Do Over!

Like when you were twelve years old playing kickball. Your friend rolls the red jelly ball toward you at home plate. As you step up to plant it over the fence you accidentally take your eyes off the bouncing ball for a split second and Whifff !! like Charlie Brown getting owned by that bitch Lucy. What does a twelve year old exclaim? "Do Over!" After all, there's no strike count in kick ball.

Jeff came up to the north shore last evening amidst his busy daddy schedule to check out the ECV 'cross practice. We suited up at my house and rolled over to the trails on my usual warm-up pace. (I now see fault with warming up at high intensity). After a one mile asphalt sprint we rode a short piece of trail and met up with 30 'cross riders on their practice laps.
Thinking my legs are ready to dismount and jump a barrier I unclipped, cross my right leg over the top tube and awkwardly step over the off chamber and up hill barrier and wham! Pain. lots of shooting pain near groin muscles. Almost went to the ground. Looking up the hill and there are a dozen riders watching my stumble up the embankment. I want, no, I NEED a do over!
Stand on top of the hill like nothing is Wrong but there is. I tell Jeff, "pulled my leg" but meant my leg is on f*#kin fire! Not saying much else I roll with my tail between my legs into the single track to maybe spin out the pain. I put power to the pedals and the engine room instinctively shuts down. Not good.
I don't want to waste Jeff's time out here, time is a precious commodity for a new father.. so I tell him to do some laps while try and work out what I hope is just a massive cramp and not a torn muscle. Jeff's not buying what I'm selling, he's a good friend (the best actually) and won't leave. We spin a slow lap and my leg feels better, then to add insult to injury- I get a flat. Nice. My only reaction is to laugh as I limp a mile down the trail to my spare tube.

It's probably important to remember that I'm not super human. Just haven't been near kryptonite in a while. I spent the evening on the couch with various bags of frozen veggies stuffed where they don't belong.

btw, had no idea this existed. I think they need a "do over"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Zero yard work accomplished

Woke up at the crack of dawn to get a not so sloppy hour of riding on my rigid Igleheart (I nicknamed the boneshaker) before the rain moved in this morning. Started to pour around 9am and don't think it stopped all day. I wouldn't know...between answering pages from work and watching the Pat's kill the Bengales. I haven't been off the couch since returning from the woods.
No guilt. I got a good hard effort in with CCB yesterday. A large group of us left Topsfield and headed north to points unknown, to me at least. I'm still new to their club and don't know the routes, or the guys all that well. I did see a 'Plastow 2 mi' sign about the time we turned around to head back on our 70mi loop.
The back roads of northeast Massachusetts and southern NH in late September make for the perfect setting for a group ride. Cool weather brought out the long sleeves and wind vests, the colors of changing season were all around us. Small rolling climbs and open fields. Friendly conversation. Was all about getting familiar with personalities and abilities and tendencies of people I hardly know but they know well. In all a great ride and I didn't get spoken to or yelled at once! Although Pucci wasn't there. kidding!
Near the end my legs were twitching to sprint - so I mixed it up with a fior di fruitta rider on a few hard pulls. That coupled with my 6 mile cool-down spin home was the icing on the cake. Thanks for the ride ccb.