Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday Night Fights - 4.28.09

Typically this time of year we don't have 90 degree temperatures. I headed out to the tuesday night BOB ride anticipating that we might have a reasonably good turnout with some guys willing to work. Well, we had guys willing to work, but the turnout was way less than I had hoped, and the guys that were willing to work are either not up to the fitness level I was hoping for, or had other issues.

Duano used one of his old cannondales, and the 5 middle cogs were skipping, so he couldn't put any power into any other gears than the 11/12 and 19/21.

Billy has been having leg cramping bouts for the past two weeks, that according to him come on very suddenly. He didn't want to pull through when he was off the front with me, but didn't contest any sprints either.

Breenster is fit and fast, but spent way to much time pushing the pace. He said he was ok with staying on the front, but it was obviously wearing hard on him by the end.

I got a little frustrated, as we stopped twice in the first half of the ride - once so that duane could escort an old dog that started to chase us down the road back to its house, and once for an older rider who met us en-route to catch back on after we passed him going the other way. Once the pace picked up he got dropped again anyways.

I took some hard pulls for the rest of the trip, mostly on the inclines. I didn't attack, I just kept the pace high, and in almost every instance I left big gaps behind me. I wasn't interested in a solo ride last night, so I kept shutting it down until the group got back on.

The Zoo had been there all night, riding well for him, he went off the front a couple times as well, but wasn't able to make it stick, he doesn't have the fitness to stay away for long yet. Some years he never gets that level of fitness, but it's good to see him working it so early in the season. There have been times when I've been in a small break on these rides late in the season and he's there, but just drops off. It's just as much mental with him as it is fitness.

At the end I was off the front (again) but not working very hard. Zoo was at first the only one attempting to bridge up to me at first, but looking further back I could see duane coming up as well. Zoo went by, then duane. I hopped on duanes wheel, behind zoo. Since all duane had was his 12 he was driving hard. No one had come up with duane, even though there were like 5 guys still behind us. There is a sharp left corner just before the 'finish'. Duane pulled off but zoo was doing all he could just to stay in duanes draft. So Zoo sat up, I just kept the pace, and when I looked back I had 100 feet on the two of them. I was impressed that Zoo put in the effort at the end to stay with duane. He's riding alot better this year, he seems to have a better attitude, which has been his problem all along. In the past not only would zoo _not_ have tried to stay with duane, he wouldn't have been anywhere in sight at the end.

It wasn't quite the ride for _me_ I was hoping for, but it was the first time this year that I had done the whole ride of: ride from work to the ride, do the ride, and ride home. That's a 56 mile trip with hill sprints, townline sprints, chases, etc., so I was pretty spent.

The fun part - On the way back through south hampton, Breenster was motoring along and swerved suddenly to avoid a snake. Billy was on his wheel and rode over it. It was big enoungh that it tossed billy up in the air, like hitting a really fat garden hose, but he kept the bike up. Everyone else avoided it. I got a good look at it - no doubt in my mind it was a timber rattle snake.

As we rolled by, duane freaked out: "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?". The shape of the head was unmistakeable. The only other indigenous snake to this area that big is a hog nose, but hog noses don't have heads shaped like that. We didn't stop to investigate further, but then, just around the next bend, a fox ran across the road.

Well, any ride you go on with duane is bound to be a wild ride....

Monday, April 27, 2009

What's This Button Do?

The above line was overheard at the Dirty DuEARTHlon at Maudsley State Park this past sunday. In actuality, the phrase went something like this " Does anyone know how to change these gears? Do you just push these little buttons?". The Person asking was a 40 something male that had shown up as part of a team, all of them very fit, and wearing matching black and white pearl izumi skin suits. When I first saw them I was concerned, they looked like serious triathletes (except for one....more on him later). After that I heard that line, (he was seriously asking how the shifters worked) I wasn't so worried, maybe they were just good runners. To make matters worse, of the 4 of them, the cheapest bike they had was a specialized stumpjumper FS . The dork in question had a Cannondale Scalpel . All the bikes looked new.

Yes, I decided to participate in the duathlon instead of the quabbin RR for a few reasons: 1) 15 minutes from my house (90 for the QRR); 2) 11:am start (9:am for QRR); 3) I love running trails; 4) I've never finished lower than 3rd in a duathlon; 5) I anticipated a small turnout for this inaugural event, and thought I would do well.

On saturday I prerode the course using the map provided by the promoters. Maudsley SP doesn't have much for technical trails. Most of them are wide 'fire roads'. The MTB section of the course used nothing _but_ the groomed walkways and fire roads. Very flat, with only one hill requiring significant effort. There were white arrows painted on the trail that _mostly_ matched the map, but there were differences, so I did both. I also rode the running leg. Some very steep but short climbs, and a long section of new england double track with significant detritus obscuring the trail for extended lengths.

It was a 2.5 mile run, 5 mile bike, 2.5 mile run. My running is coming along OK, and thought even if I lost two minutes on the first run, it would take a reasonably strong mountain biker to maintain that over me on that super fast MTB course.

Well, guess who decides to show up.

Lyne Bessette.

Yes, _THE_ Lyne Bessette. Click here for her palmares. A professional cyclist, national champion, cyclocross champion, decides to head over to some little podunk duathlon, instead of racing with women of her caliber at the quabbin. Of course, she had every right to be there, but I'm just thinking it's like me showing up at some podunk little unsanctioned event where...........ok, so I went there to beat up on the locals too, but I'm not a fucking professional.

So we line up for the start, and I get a tap on my shoulder. It was one of the triathlete crew, a young man, very fit, light skinned black, with an afro that was a good 18" across. Really, I'm not kidding. I was thinking 'man, that's gotta be hot today' (it was 90 degrees that day). He says to me, "Hey, you see that big bald guy back there?" He pointed to the guy that was asking about the shifters. "That guys says you're his competition, I'll give you ten bucks if you beat him". A bunch of people laughed. I replied with "I'll give every one who beats this woman ten bucks" while pointing at Lyne. She sheepishly tried to deflect by claiming, "oh no, I'm not a runner!"

So we start off, and I know I have to stay as close to the front as possible for the first 1/4 mile, since it ducks into the single track then. I'm in the front group, and two people are jack rabbitting right away. This little kid and a tall guy. Lyne is in front of me with two others. I look back just before we hit the single track, and we have a good 100 foot gap. Coming out of the first section of single track, the arrows on the road take us on the main path instead of the next section of single track. I'm following the herd at that point. During the run, I pass two, and get passed by 2 more. First leg time was 16:40. I'm not sure of the real distance since the course was changed.

I get into the transition in 6th. Lyne "I'm not a runner" Bessette was so far ahead that I didn't even see her entering the trail by where the run came out. The beginning of the bike leg is across a flat field, then onto a well worn flat trail, then into the rooty fire roads for the next 1/2 mile mostly downhill. Even if she was a minute ahead I would have seen her. I pass one guy right away. I catch #2 just at the bottom of the hill. From then I'm alone for a _very_ long time. The first problem I see is that the painted arrows don't match the map. I follow the arrows. I get to the only _real_ technical part of the course and see that someone has torn down the tape and uprooted the sign for the only section of double track. Oh well, you have to know the course, right? The paint for the left turn was still there, I motor on. At this point I'm thinking, 'hey what happened to that kid that took off at the start'. A mile later I see him. Shit, that kid was motoring! I finally pass him, and who do I see up the road, Lyne Bessette!! Now, Lyne had at least a minute on me at the transition, and I was catching her.

My local crew of hacks was there. Duane, CX racer, former MTB racer, and Dr. Bigelow. They had yelled at me, that I was getting beat by a ten-year old boy and a woman way earlier on the running leg. Now, 1/4 mile from the end of the bike leg I was just about in Lynes draft when the see me, they start yelling "YOU CAN'T LET A GIRL BEAT YOU!!". Um guys, that's not a girl. That's Lyne Fucking Bessette, and I FUCKING CAUGHT HER ON THE BIKE LEG!!! I passed her up the little climb into the transition area. My bike time was 24:30, distance 5.3 miles, avg ~13 mph. I was really thinking I would maintain 15 on that course.

There were easily a dozen bikes in the transition area. I'm thinking, OK, I was in 6th after the first run, I just passed 4, there should be 2 bikes in here. WTF!?!?!

Lyne and I leave at the same time. We pass the kid riding into the transition zone about 100 yards out. Lyne "I'm not a runner" slowly pulls away from me. I keep seeing her disappear around corners. We are passing people like they're walking. Where the hell did all these people come from? Then I hear these big feet with a long stride behind me. I'm thinking it's got to be some big dude.

It's the kid. He pulls past me at about the same pace that Lyne pulled away. He's about 5'2 and looks like he has size 15 feet, I pace off him a little bit until he finally catches up to lynn, then they pull away together, but not fast.

The next time I see him, it's about 1/4 mile from the finish, and he has about 100 yards on me. I look back, no one in sight. I give it a little gas, but it was too late, no catching the kid. As I approach the finish line, they have a tape up for me.

For me? I get to break a tape?!?!

My finish was 1:01:30. I was hoping for sub 1 hour, but still not bad. They tell me I finished 3rd over all. One minute behind Lyne and 30 seconds behind the kid. There aren't any results posted yet, so I don't know any splits other than mine. I'm thinking I have one of the fastest if not the fastest bike time, I mean, shit I caught Lyne Bessette.

This is the polar graph (click to view in detail)

The heart rate is fucking scary, average of 189, max of 198. That means I spent an hour with an average of two beats over my lactate threshold.

Well, I did this race for the ego boost, and I definitely got one. We find out after that everyone in front of me after the bike went off course. In fact, the two bikes that _should_ have been in the transition before me took the shortcut. They had a marshal out on the course that was taking numbers at a check point, so _officially_ I was in first place at the end of the bike leg since the kid, Lyne, and I were the first three numbers on her sheet. I talked to Lyne after wards, and she said the kid had dusted everyone in the first run and was not in sight when she entered the first transition. She was in 3rd at that point. She said he caught her at the end of the 2nd run, so she paced him and then dropped him on the last 1/2 mile. My ten dollar challenge held up.

At the end of the day, I got beat by a woman and a 14 year old boy - they're not going to let me live this down.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anti-training 101

Or, "how not to maintain a training regimen".

Being disgusted with myself over the BkR performance I gave little thought to trying to keep with a real schedule this week. Granted the many-headed beast of jobwifehomecarkidslife wielded it's influence, but had I been motivated, I could certainly have done more than I did to this point since saturday, which has been a 45 minute trail run and one commute to work.

Saturday night - after spending almost 7 hours in the car, and 3 hours polluting the BkR course with my presence, I attended a birthday party for my south-boston irish uncle. Much Jamesons was consumed.

Sunday - waking up late with a mild hangover, we had breakfast with same uncle. Fattening food with bloody mary's. sleep for four more hours after he left, then went to my wino neighbors house for mexican food and spanish red wine

Monday, patriots day, day off - school vacation week. Daughters birthday as well. I could have got a ride in, but spent the morning websurfing until my daughter woke up. Took her out to breakfast at a greasy spoon joint.

(this isn't it, but you get the idea)

Bought her the driveway basketball hoop she's been asking for for two years. Made her help me put it together.

As soon as was done she took off to a friends house, didn't even shoot one ball.

Too late for a ride with the rain coming, and I had to clean up the piles of yard debris my wife made while i was at the race saturday.

tuesday - rain. Could have gone for a run at lunch but didn't feel like it.

wednesday - scored tickets to the postponed redsox game in the afternoon. could have gone for a ride/run in the morning but didn't feel like it. Went to fenway park, drank beer and ate kielbasa. Great seats! 7th row behind the red sox dugout!

thursday - finally got a 45 minute run in at work.

friday - commute to work.

So there you have it, after a heinously difficult 3 hour road race last saturday, I spent the next 5 days eating crap, drinking booze, and sleeping. It was like I was 22 again.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Not The Way You Want To Go In

Yes, yet another battenkill report. I'll make it short.

I cheated. I rode like shit, I have to say I _did_ embarrass myself (contrary to my previous post) and I'm doubting my future in racing bicycles.

I felt good up through the first little series of climbs on the paved road, but when we hit the dirt leading to juniper, the pace remained high, and I wasn't able to recover from the climbs. I got shelled on juniper. I ended up in a small chase group of about 10. Thankfully, the field had relaxed, and we were able to get back on. Still, I felt horrible during the chase. I took long breaks at the back of the pace line. If I were another rider I would have been mad at me.

Up joe bean road, I felt good for the first half since I had the chance to recover, but then, rather spectacularly, my legs just shut down. I had nothing. It was disappointing how quickly I popped, going from feeling good and staying with the main group to a sudden pppffffftttttttt.

At the end of joe bean it takes a left onto dirt. It's long and straight and downhill. I could see the group,well over a minute ahead. This is where I cheated. The cat 4s came by, and I latched onto the back of them. I wasn't the only one, there were a good dozen or so of us at the back of their field. But, just because everyone else is doing it....well, you know.

So riders in my field that legitimately pushed themselves to stay in the group were beginning to hurt, and now I was dropping _them_. People like Solo, who really should have finished minutes ahead of me if I would have let the 4s ride through, ended up behind me.

I deserve all the negacoaching I get this year.

At the last dirt section, I at least felt like I was riding well. I was passing a lot of people. At the end of the last dirt section someone yelled out '4 miles'. I wasn't going to hit it hard since I wasn't really riding well enough and 40th place wasn't anything to race for, but a few minutes later a group of 6 40+ came by. They were working a pace line. I tried to take a pull......oh soon as I got into the wind at _their_ speed I had nothing. So once again, I sat at the back.

Once I saw the intersection for the right turn before the finish, I went to the front and pulled all the way to the end. I didn't sprint, and three guys came around me. I was hoping to pay a little debt to not only those guys - whose wheels I sucked for the last 3 miles - but in hopes that they were some of the ones who did the right thing. I hope they realize I wasn't sprinting, and my goal was to make our little finishing group look good, not to take advantage of sitting at the back of their group.

The results aren't up yet. That's aggravating. For a $60 entry fee I would have hoped they would have been a little better at getting results up. I don't want to hear any shit about 'well, they had 1500 riders, this takes time'. I've been doing this a long time. It shouldn't take two days with a timing service, high speed camera equipment and computers to post results. As of right now, only half the fields are listed, and mine isn't one of them. If this was some podunk little race with one drunk official I wouldn't mind, but this has become a major event on the calendar.

Well, I'm not going to lose any sleep over my shitty results not getting posted. I'm not sure I _want_ to know.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not The Way You Want to Go Out

It's finally over.

I ran into Tyler at the-one-and-only-ever watchusett mountain bike swap, sometime in the late 90s. I asked him if he remembered me and he said 'yeah, you're one of duanes buddies'. He didn't know my name, but I was ok with the fact that he remembered racing with me. I'm sure right now he probably would draw a blank. I raced against him when he was a junior in a bunch of local races. including the Working Mans Stage Race. Everyone that knows him personally says the blood doping business made no sense, it wasn't in his character. I didn't know him well enough to make a conclusion, but since guys like Duane and Tyler Munroe were so adamant that something wasn't right, I had to give the doubters more than just a little credibility (not to mention the science, dubious at best, imo).

So, I'm quite saddened to hear of his depression, his mothers cancer diagnosis, and now this positive test for a performance enhancing drug that isn't performance enhancing.

I'm saddened because I know his brother Geoff, who has been putting on the Mike Schott Memorial race for the better part of a decade now. I've raced with Geoff in the masters fields, and he too, is a good person. I empathize with what Geoff must be feeling, watching his brothers roller coaster career ending this way, and what may be in store for Tyler and those that genuinely care for him after this.

It just isn't the way to go out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You stupid dumbshit goddam MOTHERFUCKER! (was: The Tuesday Night Fights, 04.14.09)

No, I'm not pissed off about anything. As I was getting ready to write this post, 'Bad Habit' by The Offspring came through my jukebox. It's off their album Smash. If you don't have it, get it. The line above is from the bridge of the song.

Anyways, I went to the BOB tuesday night road ride last night. I was hoping for a decent turnout, but there were only four others in the parking lot. An older cat4 guy (but very fit), A mid 50's non-racer, a current 50+ racer, and way-fast whitey. The Indomitable Duane was unable to ride since he's undergoing therapy for his hip, had some sort of anti-inflammatory injection, and was told not to exercise for a couple days. Once we started rolling we picked up two others, a criterium-pack-finisher cat 3 and a hard core CXr who does well in the fall.

I was in the mood to ride. I'm not feeling 100% right now, I have some sort of respiratory illness my daughter undoubtedly brought home from school. I thought I should bag tuesday and rest for BkR, but then I thought, 'I'll go and do some hard work tonight. If I do OK I'll be ok to ride BkR. If I _don't_ ride, I may get to BkR and die ten miles in'.

This ride has a very long 'warm-up' lead in of about 7 miles. Once we hit the 'go' point, I started riding. Not attacking, but putting a decent pressured pace on. I was keeping a good cadence in my 53x16. I ended up with about a 100 yard gap, until the rest of the guys decided to start riding. It's mostly gradual downhill for a while, so I just kept the pace about 25. Eventually they caught me, and we started a loose paceline. Way fast whitey and I were taking longer pulls, but the cat 3 crit-pack-racer was contributing. Unfortunately, the pace I was setting was more than just a bit faster than the others, and whitey was the only guy that kept my pace when I pulled off. I started to notice that they weren't able to hold the pace anytime the road went up, even over the little stuff. If I was at the front and simply kept the pace, I would develop an immediate gap. This happened several times, and I would ride my 16 at a good cadence until they bridged up. There is a half-way sprint entering exeter. I led up over the last rise with whitey on my wheel. He came by pushing a 14 at a good cadence, and fast enough that I had to work to get back in his draft. He kept that speed all the way to the sprint line. I probably could have come around him if I wanted to, but I didn't want to. I was doing the work I wanted to do, and he was going pretty quick for that last 1000 yards. Later he said he was hovering between 29 and 30.

The ride slows down through exeter for safety/traffic, and to allow slower riders to catch on. We picked up the pace again on the other side of exeter, and noticed that we had lost two riders. They both know the area well - so no problem.

We started working again, with me, whitey, and cat 3 crit doing most of the work. Then we hit a long shallow rise. It's one of those rises that's just steep enough to make you drop a gear to keep your cadence, and long enough so that if you try to keep your speed it pushes you into the red. I was pulling, had dropped into my 17, and next I knew I had a gap again. I let it coast a bit and two of them caught on, whitey and the Cx guy. We hit the next little climb and I kept the speed up. By the time I hit the flat on the other side I had a huge gap, maybe 30 seconds. There is a sprint line at the top of a hill about a mile from there, so I kept the pressure on, grinding out my 16. I made it to the top of the sprint line still with 30 seconds, but developed an intense wind cramp in the top right abdominal muscle. After the regroup, I had to sit on and let the cramp recover.

Over the next two hills, I would ride away from the group, then they would organize and catch me, then slow down and I would go again. The third time, I kept the pressure on. They were gaining on me, but then we hit the last steep 'power hill', and I looked back to see only one guy about 15 seconds back. From there it's about 1 1/2 miles to the 'finish'. I looked back a couple times, and it definitely looked like he was gaining, but coming into the finishing stretch I popped it down a couple of cogs and got out of the saddle. I think he still finished about 15 seconds back.

That's probably the best ride I've had at a tuesday night fight in years. I was able to maintain a good cadence in a decent gear for long periods of time. Based on the fact I was pushing my 16 on the flats and 17 on the hills I would say I'm as fit as I've ever been at this point in the year, so it isn't simply a case of the other riders being less fit. At no point did I ever actually attack, I just kept the pressure on, and if someone could stay on my wheel, great. If not, I would just keep riding.

so the good news - I'm fit, I think fit enough to not get embarrassed at BkR,
bad news - I'm sick, I have a sore throat, congested head, feeling slightly feverish.
good news - I'm down to a solid 146 on the morning weigh-in, and was at 144 last night after the ride.
bad news - a good pound of that weight loss came out of me in the form of phlegm from my throat and nose on the ride.
good news - the bike worked flawlessly, and I'm convinced it helped my riding last night
bad news - I have to get my ass in the basement and remount my sprinter 250's, the glue is two years old.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Boring Training Post

I didn't do much this weekend. I had a reasonably good ride home thursday - 31 miles after work and met my target of time and HR zone. Easy commutes friday, though I went for a one hour trail run over 'lunch'.

Nothing saturday. Since the weather pretty much sucked I decided to earn a few points by finishing off the full bath remodel by replacing the medicine cabinet, light fixtures, and base boards. You never know with a 100 year-old house how these things are going to play out, especially with electrical work. My house was originally built without electricity, then given knob-and-tube wiring in the '20s, then redone with armor cable in the '40s. As such, there are special moments like when I found out that the one half of the downstairs had been wired backwards, and rather than rewire all the old two-prong outlets to code, who ever 'fixed' it just went to the junction box in the basement and switched the black and white wires.......nice. For a change, I ran into no problems, and had a happy wife as if I was smilin' bob.

Saturday night I got invited to a surprise 50th birthday party for the nicest guy in cycling. No, it isn't Chronoman. There is actually a nicer guy. He was mostly responsible for getting me into racing, and was the best man at my wedding. He's the only guy in the history of bike racing that carries a handkerchief when he rides and races, and actually blows his nose into it. You don't get any nicer than that. Ironically, there is a great story about the party and the influence of another local racer that many people consider to be even a bigger ass than me. I won't names names on this blog, but if anyone in interested, let me know and I'll tell you off line. It's a _really_ funny fucking story.

Anyways, sunday I had the whole fucking easterfuckingfamilyfuckingbrunch gig. I wasn't sure if I was going to get a ride in or not. It turns out, we ended up getting home at 1:30 so I decided to try a 3 hour ride at a solid pace, basically my local hilly ride.

The wind was brutal. As Solo points out in his excellent pre-race report for BkR, the wind kept things _really_ slow every time I went into it, as well as being very cold. I was hoping to get some sense of my fitness over a long ride, but the wind made that difficult. On the hills with the headwind, I was pushing well into O2 debt, just to get over the climbs, let alone try it with any reasonable feeling of speed or power. several times I was maintaining a decent pace on a climb when a gust would just about stop me. On one downhill, I got hit with a gust that slowed me to point where I had to use the small chainring. This is normally a downhill that I can coast at about 30 mph. There were several instances of me actually getting moved a foot or so from a side wind, as well as one of those shiny balls on a pedestal that got blown over and rolled down the street in front of me.

Conversely, on the hills with a tailwind, I was rocketing up them at a pace that I would have considered fast for the late season. One hill in particular that I use as a general fitness test had such a strong steady wind that I was almost spinning in my 39x13, where as a late season effort in my 39x15 below AT would be good. On another flat section with the tailwind I was spinning my 53x16 and my HR actually started to drop.

The course kind of zigzags around Haverhill clockwise, with the two hour point occurring somewhere along a predominantly northeasterly direction heading into the last set of hills. It turns out I was less than a mile from home at the two hour point, and was feeling the efforts. I would have another half hour at least into the wind including a 3/4 mile hill with a 9% section.

Fuck it. I had two hours in with a lot of work above my AT. It wasn't getting any warmer.

My plan this week is to do the Tuesday Night Plaistow/Exeter ride, then an easy Thursday ride and a massage friday. I'm thinking resting for the BkR would be a more wise decision at this point.

For a laugh, check out this one from GeWilli.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I took a slightly different route home last night. The only reason I don't usually go that way is that there is a lot more traffic, for almost the whole way home. It goes through Lawrence via sutton street. I haven't gone home that way this year yet. I don't mind riding in traffic, I actually sort of like it. Through the years I have commuted through downtown nashua, lawrence, and haverhill, and into boston to MEEI via both mass ave in cambridge and over the mcgrath/obrien highway in sommerville.

Well, There's a set of double RR tracks on sutton street. As I was approaching them I could see they had frost heaved pretty badly over the winter - had to be at least two inches on one side of both sets. I went to find a smooth line that was in the lane of traffic, but there was a truck right next to me. I was going too fast and was too close to hit the brakes hard without risking a header, so I choose to try a double hop. First set cleared, second set the rear wheel came up short. I didn't land on the heave or the rail, but came up short enough so the rear wheel actually landed on the pavement before the last rail. I just didn't have enough speed to clean the second set. I was going slow enough by that point though, that I could just pick up the rear wheel. I picked it up, felt kind of a hard hit, but certainly nothing that I thought should flat the tire. I guess I didn't pick it up enough to clear the heaved pavement though, because a couple of hundred yards up the road, sure enough it felt soft.

Well, shit that was the 5th flat I've had this year, and the third in two weeks. All but the second one have been pinch flats. OK, I'm about 5 pounds heavier than I want to be, but I haven't dropped my tire pressures, always run just over 100psi, WTF?

This last one was brutal, not just two slices, but FOUR. The one on the upper right isn't easy to see, and may not have actually sliced the rubber, but the 'stressing' of the rubber was obvious. To make matters worse, when I was putting the wheel back in the stays, I snapped off the speed sensor. FUCK!

This picture is at home in the stand, with the bike inverted. I didn't even realize I did it until I started riding again and I could hear something in the rear going 'tik tik tik', it was the magnet actually hitting the sensor. At first I thought I just bumped it, but no, I fucking broke it.

This sensor is part of the polar power pod, a $250 accessory to the polar 700 series computers. I wasn't going to be able to replace just the sensor. I'd either have to send it in for repair or buy a replacement. An expensive proposition in either case, and also a complete pain in the ass for when I got the thing back and had to re-install it.

Closer examination showed that the plastic had simply snapped off, and that the sensor was intact. Actually, it worked for the entire rest of the ride. So what's a basement mechanic to do, but break out the shoe goo!

The pieces actually went together quite well and held themselves into place with out additional fixing, so I just degreased everything, slapped on a liberal amount of shoe goo, and left it upside down overnight. This morning it was pretty solid.

Since I was taking pictures I decided to snap a 'panoramic view' of _my_ half of the basement (my wife said it was mine).

(right click and open in new window to follow the lyrics below)

from left to right -
Cheezy squat rack with 200 lb barbell (not use in about a year, now used to hang spare mtn tubes and tires from)
Merlin upside down in the stand with shoe goo-ed speed sensor.

Behind the merlin, top to bottom:
top shelf - spare parts in plastic bins.
second shelf - cleaners lubes and a bunch of miscellaneous crap
third shelf - tools
fourth shelf - 15 years worth of velonews.
floor - a few boxes of old crap parts, and two empty 5 litre beer kegs (heineken and killians)

Moving to the right again:
Tom Kellog custom steel frame with Mavic Challenger disk, fixed gear 52x16 (the bike I rode at the harpoon TT, it's right where I left it after getting home that night)
oscilloscope & audio spectrum analyzer
nordic track
cheezy back/abs excercise machine (it has a seat, handles you pull on and pedals you push down on but they're fixed so you're sort of rowing while standing up, with an adjustable hydraulic cylinder for resistance. It actually works pretty good, it was free)
vinyl collection ( on shelf, appx 600 albums)
legs from old starwars AT-AT Walker toy sticking out of a box on the floor (it's a long fucking story)

Cheezy weight bench (with hand-broadcast spreader and empty bucket of driveway salt)
Neighbors early 90's specialized allez, freshly tuned up and waiting for her to come get.
Hanging in back
Basso Gap
Tsunami (frame & fork only)
Cube Aerium TT bike
Bontrager Cx
Giant XTC
'95 canondale MTB minus wheels and saddle
Continuing right
white extension cord hanging from outlet in ceiling
Door screens (soon to be replaced with storm door windows)
Breaker panels
usable 8 speed freewheel MTB wheel
Old proflex 753 frame with broken swingarm
Independent Fabrications Custom Deluxe Ti MTB
K2 3000 MTB with Girvin LElite fork and Ice tires
toolbox on stairs
(visible above toolbox) spare tires, note old Vittoria Tigre CX tires
stairs to outside and kitchen

Let's Play I Spy - An NEBC 50th anniversary commemorative Pedros bottle opener?

The thrills continued this morning. I went to pull up the zipper on my booties and the fucking thing broke. The zipper is still good, just the little tab broke off.

Riding to work, a car accident occurred _right_ in front of me, like 20 feet. I was on marston st. in Lawrence, and moving from the right shoulder to the left most lane to make a left turn. I had plenty of room behind me, I signaled to move left, and traffic allowed me to move over. This section of road is a downhill, and it's pretty easy to get up to well over 25 MPH before you need to move over, which makes getting into traffic a bit easier. Just before I signaled to move over, a car went by in the right lane (on my left), and just after him one went by in the left lane. Right when I got into the left lane, the car that had just passed me in the right lane tried to move into the left lane without looking, and drove right into the car that had just passed in the left lane. I think the guy in the right lane suddenly realized he wanted to take the next left, hit the brakes and swerved left, so the guy in the left lane nailed him. The right lane guys drivers mirror popped off and cleared about 20 feet. I swerved around them on the left, which was OK because a third lane develops right there for traffic taking a left, then went around the traffic stopped for the left turn on their right. I was probably doing 25 or so when they crashed. I spent sometime fucking around today and made a cute drawing. This is the intersection of Marston and canal streets. Not exactly an urban jungle, but sometimes getting over to the left can be dicey.

(clicky = biggy)

I can't wait to find out what the World has in mind for me for tonight's ride home....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Exceptionally Boring Training Post

Yeah, it's been a while. I've been busy/lazy - as a follow on to my comment on BigBikes blog, (with apologies for the unintentional condescending tone) I've been quite wrapped in my my jobwifehomecarkidslife, and riding.

Last weekend (not the one that just passed, but the one before that), I took a few of the locals on my 'haverhilly' ride. A couple of years ago I put together a local ronde-style loop that incorporates all the local hills I could find, with only one spot on the course ever getting more than ten miles from the haverhill city limits. It ends up being about 65 miles, with 17 notable hills (notable meaning they would be tough in the big ring), and somewhere between 2000 and 3100 feet of climbing. I say 'somewhere' because the altimeter on my polar 720 consistently reads about 3100 feet when I do the ride, but map my ride comes out with 2000. (Scroll to the end of this post for an exceptionally banal analysis of the disparity).

Well, we started out with 11 people and finished with three. I anticipated this. I had cajoled the group into the ride by promising that A) I would not be attacking the hills and would not be the first rider over the top, and B) by explaining that we would never bee more than ten miles from our starting point, and that would make it easy for anyone to bail at any time. Well, it went pretty much exactly as planned. The only complaint I got was from The Indomitable Duane Schofield over dragging the group through downtown Haverhill at noon on a saturday.

We did the 65 miles in a hair over 4 hours, Not bad considering the slower pace up the climbs and waiting at the bottoms of the hills for people to get back on. The other good thing about this ride is that there are no hills more than a mile long, most are between 1/4 and 1/2 mile, and generally speaking the longer the hill the shallower it is, though there are two notable exceptions. This means no really long waits for people to catch on.

After the ride I went back home and spent 4 hours cleaning debris from the winter out of my back yard. I had to get it done, rain was in the forecast for sunday. I got it done, but between the long ride and the work of raking leaves, chainsawing branches, and loading everything into a trailer.....lets say I was pretty whipped. Then of course sunday, my wife decides it's a good day to clean out the attic. Lots of stairwork carrying newly created trash down to the garage to be placed on the curb monday.

I really should have taken a couple of rest days. Monday I _did_ take it easy with a straight commute to a from work, but tuesday I had planned a tempo ride of 30 miles with a time goal of 90 minutes, (including the warm up). It ended up being 93 minutes, which I was satisfied with, as it was only the last day of march.

But then I was _really_ spent. Sore back, sore legs, sore shoulders, sore ass, mostly left over from the bending and lifting on saturday and sunday.

A massage on wednesdy helped loosen things up. Then thursday I took an easy run on the local trails at lunch, Just under 4 miles, and felt _really_ good.

I did nothing again until sunday, when I rode down to marblehead to watch the end of the masters race. I was thinking of riding home from the race, but a cold northwest wind convinced me to hitch a ride with Duane, who actually raced. I felt OK on the ride down, but it was deceiving since I had that tailwind the whole way, and I mean a solid 15 mph wind the _whole_ way, My route was almost a straight line south-southeast, with the wind from the northwest. I was doing 25 mph for miles at a time, with my heart rate well below AT. I was in such a groove at one point, that I blasted straight through georgetown center, forgetting that I needed to bear right and stay on rte 97. Going straight keeps you on 133 which takes you in a significantly more easterly direction. I didn't realize this until I hit rte 1, which surprised me because I was anticipating topsfield center, _then_ rte 1. No problem, just head south on 1 until you hit 97. I made it to the race about 5 minutes after the masters finished. No doubt the extra 5 ish miles cost me that time.

I'm not sure this haphazard approach to training is going to do much for me in the way of battenkill prep. Last time I went I foolishly used a 39/23, and got dropped on the juniper hill climb. This year I'll have a 26, but I'm still not confident of my fitness. So this weekend, I'll do my 'haverhilly' ride again, this time at a solid pace, no waiting. Since battenkill has 2700 feet, I think it might be a good indicator.

Want to play?

*Exceptionally Banal Altitude Disparity Analysis

I don't know where map my ride gets their altitude data, USGS I imagine, but I suspect the disparity between my polar 720 and them has something to do with the resolution of the website data. My Polar profile looks quite a bit more jagged than the Map My Ride profile, and I think the Map My Ride profile may be ignoring little 20-30 foot rises here and there, and may only have a resolution of 50 feet or so, even though it displays to a 1 foot resolution. I've also noticed it tends to average more of the climbing data as the route gets longer. Sure, the Polar is a barometric altimeter, but I highly doubt the barometric pressure dropped the equivalent of 1100 feet in altitude in the period of 4 hours within ten miles of the haverhill line, but that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong.