Friday, February 27, 2009

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I used to know This Dude, he races for Pedros and HUP united now. I was on his first team along with The Fabulous Chronoman, and offered advice and support for his first couple seasons racing. At the end of his first season, I voted for him as most improved rider, but they gave it to a sad sack who couldn't get out of his own way on two wheels, "as incentive" I was told.

This dude got bit by cyclocross racing, and did well at it. As I wasn't racing 'cross much, I loaned him my bike for a season, a Bontrager CX, the last of the steel handmade bontragers before ol' chris sold out to Trek. He used it for a few races before he said he was convinced enough to buy his own.

The day he brought the bike back, he drove from boston to new hampshire with the thing on the roof of his car during a winter warmspell so the thing got road salt embedded into every bearing crevice (including campy chorus shifters) at 60+ miles an hour. I didn't ask him to rebuild it, I was just happy to help get someone into the sport, especially someone with the talent this dude obviously has. Sure, I ragged him about it later in the jocular manner that male friends rag on each other, but way less than I ragged on any of the other guys on the team, and even told him after that I was kidding, it was no big deal, I would have torn the thing down to rebuild it anyways, because that's what I do.

The dude ended up having a severe personality clash with another long-standing member of the club. I felt Old Club Member was completely out of line, and made that opinion known to both This Dude and old club member. I took This Dudes side, and spoke to Old Club Member privately about it. It didn't do any good, This Dude left the club, but I still think Old Club Member was out of line.

I thought This Dude and I were friends, we spoke at a few races after that, but then I noticed he was riding by without saying hello. I emailed him a couple of times and asked him what was up. I offered my congratulations for his new children and condolences when he lost his job. He never responded, even when I directly asked him directly to respond. I've commented on his blog, but he refuses to post my comments.

I don't know what I did to make me all of a sudden such a pyorrhea. I would have thought, after offering the emotional and actual physical support for him, that I would at least get an explanation for what ever heinous act it is I'm guilty of.

But what ever, life goes on. Any of you two readers who know me know that I have this innate ability to piss people off without trying, but still, my _real_ friends tell me when I'm being asshole. Not that it changes my behavior (it may or may not), but at least I know how people I care about feel about it.

I just needed to vent, thanks for putting up with it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Frozen Shamrock Race Report

Frozen Shamrock
The weather forecast was tentative. JP McBrides website on saturday said 'We still don't know if we will have the race, check this website tomorrow morning'. So sunday, I woke up, and it looked like a go, but it would be close.

I live less than a mile from the bar, so I decided to run to the race rather than ride my bike. I figured it would be a good warm-up, as well as get a feel for the temperature as well as my left foot: I sprained it last fall, and it's been good for a while, but a couple of weeks ago I stressed it again by not stretching after a set of hillsprints. I hobbled for a solid week, and only have been pain free for a few days, so I haven't run since february 6.

I made it to the bar pain-free, and generating lots of heat. I had dressed on the side of caution, with three layers, just in case. The wind was wicked, swirling around the buildings in downtown haverhill. I didn't feel it all that much on the way there, but once I got to the bar it was whipping around the side of the building in bone-chilling gusts. Many runners sought shelter in groups, or hiding in the doorways of the building.

Lining up a few minutes before the start, the first drops of rain made their presence known, much to the chagrin of a group of women behind me, but not to the guys from shamrock runners club, in particular the guy with the shamrock painted on his face - and bare feet. That's right...BARE feet - no shoes. I asked the guy if he lost a bet - no, he enjoys running in bare feet. The starting gun went off, and we surged forward. A surging mass of 800+ runners through the concrete, granite, and asphalt landscape of the former mill/industrial section of haverhill. We didn't start out fast at all, and I ended up zig zagging most of the way to the second railroad bridge looking for a lane, though passing Barefoot Man, he didn't look like he was having fun.

On the first cross of the river, I was in about 12th position, but the leaders were clearly pulling away. since my goal for the day was based on time and not position, I made sure to run within my limits, especially with the hill so soon into the race. It worked,at the top of the hill I was just pushing my anaerobic threshold. The first mile clicked by in 6:20 according to my watch, but the big clock read 6:15, hmmmmmm

The downhill was fun because I broke into a great rhythm with a long stride, and made up alot of ground on the two guys that passed me on the uphill. I passed one of them and was closing on the other, but lost him when the road flattened out. I held that spot past the two mile mark, which went by at 12:33 (6:13) by my watch, though the clock read 12:28.....oooookay

Coming back across the river, there was a substantial gap to the runner ahead of me. A friend of mine was standing in the middle of the bridge, and yelled out '14th place, there's a big group behind you, and you look like shit!!' He's one of my better friends.

Back onto washington street, A runner came by. Into washington square, another came by, then another. Heading between the mills on essex street, one more. I checked behind at that point and there was a good gap, but the way I was getting passed, I really needed to pick up the pace.

But here's where it gets odd. I crossed the line according to the clock at 18:58 and my watch at 19:03. Wait a minute....that would mean the last mile took me 6:30? Something was off. I mean, yeah, I got passed by a few guys at the end, but no way mile 3 took me 20 more seconds than mile 2, especially since mile three is the flattest section. Besides that, what was with every clock being 5 seconds faster than my watch? I hit start right when the gun went off.

My bridge buddy showed up at the finish after I had cooled down, and I mentioned to him That I thought the last mile was a bit long. "it is, he said, "by .05 miles"

Well, that would explain it. It would easily explain an additional 20ish seconds. But then I thought, we started the race half-way between the bar and the railroad bridge. If they start the race in front of the bar, you'd have a real 5K, rather than have a 4.85K/3.05 mile race.

But then it gets a little stranger; they posted my finishing time as 18:53. It said 18:58 when I crossed the line, and I hit my watch immediately after and it noted a few hundredths under 19:03. Where the hell do all these different numbers come from?

I ended up 18th overall, 4th in my age group. OK for a bike racer in february. Looking at it from my goal, which was time based, I did well. Doing the math, it comes out at 6:19 pace with their posted time and a 6:22 with my times. I'm cool with that.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

put up or shut up

I’m not saying lance did or did not dope. I don’t know. I don’t have access to any real evidence that shows he did. For that fact, neither do you but shrieking like ann coulter on this issue does the whole issue very little justice.

In the end what does it really matter to you, me, or any one? If anything armstrong did proved detrimental to the sport, I could see a point, but his involvement has proven to be the biggest boon to cycling this country has ever seen. His benefit to the sport has been immeasurable, and any detriment is being overblown, overstated, and to this point, quite insignificant. The constant anti-lance chanting comes across to those not-so-involved in the sport as no different than rightwing radio hate speech.

Lances involvement in the sport benefits me because people on the roads show me more respect as I cruise past a line of traffic clad in lycra. Once a month at work, someone asks for my advice on buying or fixing a bike. Before lance, I actually had co-workers call me ’stupid’ for commuting by bike - that hasn’t happened since lance started winning the tour.

Ask yourself honestly, do you really believe that lance being driven from the sport could in _any_ way be benficial to the sport? Are you really so naive to think that lance being driven away would give young racers pause in making the decision to dope or not? If anything, I could see it having the effect of driving talented riders away from the sport, Why bother with professional racing if, when you win, everyone accuses you of doping?

The burden of proof is on you haters. That’s the way our system of justice works. You think I took drugs? You need to prove it, not just keep up a rush limbaugh-esqe hate chant. That’s where we are. There is no proof. All the accusations have been conjecture or heresay, all the ‘proof’ has been generated under dubious circumstances or downright bogus, and the more you keep pushing discredited ‘evidence’ the more it makes you look like a intelligent design kook.

Peace Out, Mother Fuckers.