Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yet Another Lame Sucker Brook 'Cross Report

Yes, I know, the Sucker Brook Cyclocross Race in Auburn, New Hampshire is one of the more well attended races in New England (392 starters this day). It's a well laid out course in a good location, early enough in the year that the weather is usually not a deterrent.

I like to take credit for some of the early success of this race. The promoter Jack Chapman is a friend of mine. A few years ago at the first or second running of the event I thought the race was on a saturday instead of sunday. I showed up and jack said 'hey, we need someone with some racing experience to ride the course.' They had it staked out but no tape, so I took a spin.

For some reason Jack thinks I'm a good racer. I know this is because I won the first race in the EFTA series as a sprt vet about a decade ago, and he had the unfortunate task of telling me I was DQ'd because a couple of years earlier - when I wasn't a member of efta and had only done one MTB race all season - I did a race in the expert class.

NHTMF rant -

It turns out they have a rule that if you _EVER_ do a race in one class, you can _NEVER_ drop down to the lower class. I remember that expert race, I got there too late to enter the sport class and had driven almost two hours, so I waited around for the expert race. I hadn't been racing much that year and had no license so I did a day-of. I ended up almost getting lapped and dropped out.

So two years after racing _one_ race all season and not racing _since_ then I'm told I can't _ever_ race as a sport with EFTA again. Sure, force an upgrade after a few wins, but to DQ someone for a rule they didn't know existed when they weren't even a member of the organisation?

Fuck EFTA - should mean "Eastern FuckTards Association".

I've done one EFTA event since then. They had a cyclocross class at the Watershed Wahoo one year and I got second out of about 40 guys. It's the only 'cross race that I ever beat Chronoman and that was because he flatted a few miles before the finish. They couldn't exclude me from that race because they had no category breakdown, and didn't even award prizes. I think I remember it only cost $10, and I wouldn't even have done that except Chronoman knew I had ridden that course half a dozen times and wanted some company and intell.

If any 'friend of EFTA' reads this and feels compelled to comment, this is my pre-emptive response: fuck you you fucking efta fuck.

- end NHTMF rant

So the year I showed up at jacks race and pre-rode the course, I made a couple of recommendations. You know the stairs? Those weren't there. They just had an off camber ride up. I told him to build a 180. Yeah, that was my idea. Now they have the stairs, which is better anyways.

Anyways, The weather was fantastic. Warm and dry. I actually like sloppy rainy courses, but warm dry is a good second choice. I have no illusions that I'm going to podium in a 'cross race. It's not why I do it. I race 'cross because I enjoy the style and I want to support the sport. (another mini NHTMF rant - Yeah, I don't prereg on purpose. I don't mind paying the $5 late fee because I know it helps support the promoter of a class event, so to all of you ignorant fucktards that think I'm a cheap SOB, fuck you you fucking NAV fucks). So I line up at the back because I don't want to get in the way of the guys that focus on 'cross racing as their main sport. It's better training to ride through traffic anyways, and if I ever start seeing myself consistently in the top ten I'll consider pushing my way up to Chronoman at the start line.

They do a great job setting this course up. Lot's of good places to pass, wide corners, nothing you would need an MTB for. If there was any one change I would make it would be just a bit more pavement. So I start off working my way up from the back. There are a few guys I like to mark in 'cross races because I know they race all the time but don't usually podium. Tom Stevens is one, Dave Leedburg is another. I passed Stevens in pretty short order and saw that he was was falling further back with each lap. Leedburg started out behind me, but pretty much paced me up until the last lap, maybe only 10 seconds behind. With 3 laps to go I started doing a lot of trading places with two guys from bike link. It turns out the stronger of the two was Paul Lynch, but he wasn't to quick in the corners. The other was Dan Russell, who was not as fast in the straights as paul but better in the technical sections.

I had trouble in the sand pit. It was rideable, but keeping the bike straight was a problem for me. Here's a good picture of me almost bailing on one lap (though I never did bail in the sand):



And another once I figured it out:



Lynch would catch me and pass me in the straight fast sections (once in the sand as well). I would come back up to him in the corners and technical parts. At one point I finally got enough of a gap where I passed him and left him, but dropped my chain and he came back up to me. He knew he wasn't cornering well though, and twice he swung way wide and waved me by.

On the penultimate lap, I was behind him and decided to draft through the start line all the way until after the stairs. He's a big guy and pulls a decent draft. Russel was behind us. When Lynch pulled off and waved me through, both russell and I went through, then russell passed me through the barriers. I stayed with him then passed him on the fire road before the sand. Coming out of the sand I shifted to get around the 180 on-camber turn (by the ball field fence) but my chain dropped in the spokes. Both russell and lynch came by here, as lynch had used his power through the whole fire road section to bridge back up to us. I got things running again to - you guessed it - draft lynch all the way to the stairs. I passed him on the 180 after the stairs and russell was in my sights. I managed to close the gap on him through the twisty up-n-down and fire road, and passed him just before we hit the sand again. He muttered "shit" as i went by. He latched onto me as we passed the ball field again, and now we were catching someone from the 35+ field. I jumped around the 35+ guy just as we hit the pavement and went into full crit mode, holding off Russell for 15th place (yay! 15th fucking place!). Still, it was fun actually having someone to race with for the last couple of laps rather than just riding alone.

I didn't know who the two bikelink guys were at the time. I saw another masters racer of great repute afterwards and described the guys. He said, 'geeze, that sounds like lynchie, he waved you by? I'm surprised you and your bike are in one piece, lynchie never lets anyone by'. This sentiment was echoed by chronoman, who quipped 'I've seen lynch take on a stand of trees and the trees did _not_ come out on top'.

It was a fun day on a great course. After, I picked up a 24 serving tub of Gu drink mix for $5 (SCORE!) at the Naults table.

My next event is the Pinnacle Challenge, a focus event for me that I hope to do well at.

I'll let you know.

(If you repeated hit the refresh key on that pinnacle link, you'll eventually see a guy in a bright yellow BOB kit coming out of the covered bridge. That's me at the race in '06).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Go Thataway

I had to get this one up. It's of a construction zone at the rte 125 end of the ward hill connector in haverhill.

Salemfest 5k

The weather conditions for the Salemfest 5k on september 19th couldn't have been better. Clear blue skis and a bit chilly at the start. I was just on the verge of goosebumps in a technical long-sleeve and shorts before warming up. Registration was in an industrial condo park, on a hill. I was told the finish line was at the top of the hill, and I could see the staging. The start, though, was at the entrance to the park, a good 1/2 mile away,and at the bottom of the hill.

Turn out was light. Coolrunning shows just over 100 runners. I didn't see any of the 'usual suspects', though there were quite a few very fit people, and a number of people that looked like serious runners. The promos for the race mentioned hills. I saw the finish and that was certainly on a hill, and the start took a right out of the industrial park and went up a short steep hill. Once we took off, we hit that little hill, crested it, and started a long gradual downhill. I immediately found myself running in 4th spot. I wasn't pushing the pace, and was actually looking for a pacer. One guy, later identified as craig fram jr. took off (yes, the son of the local legend craig
fram, who was in attendance but chose not to run). He was clearly running a well-under six minute pace...to fast for me. But, the two right in front of me soon dropped their pace and I was running in second from about the first 1/4 mile to about 3/4 mile, when one other runner came by. I paced him for a bit until the one mile marker. I looked back and we had a good 15 second gap on 4th place. First place was long gone.

From the 3/4 mile point to probably the half-way point the course was uphill. Not by much, no way would I call the course 'hilly'. It was enough though, that the runner now in second was able to distance me by a solid 20 seconds by the 1/2 way point. The course runs an incomplete figure 8. We head out pelham road, take 3 left turns and come back out on pelham road and take a right to go the other direction (back towards the start) and predominantly downhill. To make the figure 8 path, we then took a left on commercial drive.

So far, I haven't seen any hills that would be worthy of mentioning.

I'm running completely alone now. Second place is out of sight, and 4th place is nowhere to be seen. Looking at my watch, I'm thinking I should be approaching the finish, but wait, the finish was at the top of a hill.....hmmmm

I come around a right hand bend....oh, my.....yup, that's a hill. I'm guessing about 200 yards long, and at the time I was thinking about 10%. Checking the course on mapmyride.com, it shows 100 feet of elevation gain in the last 3/10 of a mile, with the pitch varying between 6 and 11%. I could see second place almost at the top, where he took a right.

Hills kill me. I'm not sure why. On a bike, hills are my strength. Running, I always lose ground. I wish someonecould tell me why this is. I like hills, I've never seen a long climb and felt a sense of dread. But for some reason, running them slows me down like an extra large philly cheese steak.

I know I'm near the finish, so I dig deep. I get to the top, take a right, and it keeps going up but at a significantly shallower grade. I still don't see the finish, but I keep plugging away. Finally, just over the crest of the hill, I see it, and cross the line in 19:54.

I know I ran the first mile in 6:10. I didn't catch the second mile marker, but I'm sure it was similar or better since it was downhill. My aggregate pace was 6:25. I'm thinking that last hill added 40 seconds to my overall time.

The lesson was learned - preview the course. I'm not sure I would have had a better time if I had known about the hill, but I certainly would have been more comfortable.

After the race, they had the kids races. They set up a 200 yard loop behind the building where registration was held, and had them run laps.

Here's the visual. 10 5-7 year olds, let loose for one lap, while the PA system plays Yakety Sax (aka The Benny Hill Theme). It couldn't have been anymore appropriate. Half the kids didn't know what they were supposed to do and just ran, in what ever direction they were facing when they were let loose - "no, no, tommy, run that way, tommy, over here...over here". It was hilarious.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Apology

Over the past few months I have forwarded some inappropriate pictures and jokes to friends whom I thought shared the same sense of humor. Unfortunately this wasn't the case and I seem to have upset quite a few people who have accused me of being sexist and shallow. If you were one of these people, please accept my sincerest apologies.

From now on I will only post or send e-mail with a cultural or educational content such as old monuments, nature and other interesting topics.

Below is a picture of the Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris. It is the oldest bridge in Paris and took 26 years to build. It was completed in 1604.


(yes, I shamelessly copied this from an email I got today)

Monday, September 21, 2009

quad 'cross 9.13.09

Yeah, I know, this is a week late, so fucking shoot me.

The night after the topsfield road race, I realized I had no clean team gear and had to do a load of wash. I threw in all the cycling clothing I could find, and started the machine. Just before I went to bed, I went to move it to the dryer, and found that the washing machine had not run. After fucking with it for about 20 minutes, I realized that the machine hadn't completely drained from the previous load.

The previous load - my wife decided to wash throw rugs.

The next morning, I woke up and, after mulling the situation over my coffee, figured that lint from the rugs may have clogged the drain filter. Hey, worth a shot, I didn't have to leave for the quad cross race for another two hours, so I took the machine apart. Sure enough, there was a large disgusting lump of lint in the filter, also included were:

1/2 dozen plastic candy wrappers
2 brassiere underwires
about 4 dollars in change, maybe 25 coins.

Well,I had a pair of cyclonauts 'cyclocross' shorts that I had never worn before, and my long-sleeved team jersey that were both clean. This was the kit I should have worn yesterday in the rain. Today was bright sunshine and upper '70s. Whatever....

Thinking the rain would have made the 'cross course a soupy mess, I threw my 'extreme condition' cross bike in the car. I considered throwing both bikes in, but I was running late, and said fuck it. Well, the course was dry. There were two soft spots, both very rideable. Hey, it aint the bike that's gonna keep me out of the top ten anyways.

They had all the masters 35 and older line up at the same time, but then broke us up into 35s, 45s, and 55s, and started us in 30 second intervals. Each field had around 20 guys, so they could have just let us go together,but this was ok too. I'm not the best 'crosser and this would be only the second race I've done in three years - yes, three years. The smaller starting group wouldn't be so congested and picking lines would be easier.

These little local cross races are like old home days. I'm racing alongside guys I raced cat 3/4 racs with in the '80s. We're all older, greyer, balder, some of us fatter. I can see what the attraction is with the jobwifehomecarkidslife set. We talk about old times, tell old jokes about old riders, and rag on the new kids.

Since the 45s group was small, us riders actually trying to be competitive strung out and just followed lines. None of the hard congestion one sees in the 3/4 fields and what we used to see in the masters before they started breaking us out.

My 'extreme condition' bike is actually a Giant XTC aluminum hardtail mtb with a rigid aluminum fork.The bike weighs in at 19 pounds - not too shabby for a cross bike. I'm running continental cross country tires 26x1.5 22/32/42 rings and an 11/21 8 speed cluster. Don't let that fool you, a 44x11 is a pretty tall gear. The issue is that it doesn't handle as tight as the 'cross bike - it has a longer wheelbase and more slack geometry. It's great when the course is a mess since it's way more stable in sloppy stuff, but this course was fast and technical. I could tell the difference in all the little switchbacks how the bike wasn't able to wrap around the corners as quick. It didn't really cost me anything, as I said it has more to do with my fitness and technique than the bike.

I passed a lot of guys, got passed by the leaders from the 55s, but didn't get lapped. I was happy with that considering that the 35s started 30 seconds ahead. I didn't crash, and only bobbled one dismount. I found the strongest section of the course for me were on the uphill sections. When I was in a position to pass people on the same lap, that's usually where it was. I passed a lot of guys that were being lapped, so that was on every section of the course. I can attribute some of that to the bike. That MTB climbs like it has a turbo charger. The geometry and stiffness of the frame just lends it to going up fast, and even though the cornering with this bike is sluggish, I was gaining on people in the corners. I guess that's going to happen when riding at the back, most of the guys are real novices or take it even less seriously than I do.

I never felt stressed or that I was riding over my limits, and ended up 14th out of 30 in the 45s. I'm happy with that since my 'cross training consists of 'cross races. Other than race day, my 'cross bike doesn't get ridden. I've had people throughout my racing 'career' tell me that I could be pretty good if I took it seriously, but there isn't much of anything I take seriously. Not even me.

NHTMF

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not Here To Make Friends

I'm thinking of changing my on-line nym to 'NHTMF'. Read to the end to find out why.

Topsfield is a fun fast circuit race. Narrow new england farmroads, two small hills (little rollers, right after each other) with the second hill leading into a long winding downhill that's easy to spin-up your 53x12 in a group, a 4.5 mile route that we did eleven and a half laps on. The course makes the race interesting. Lots of opportunities for attacks and breakaways, and this day was no exception. Adding another element was the weather. It was warm and rainy, with intermittent heavy downpours.

I warmed up for the race on my trainer set up under the hatch of my car. It was a good turnout considering the conditions, maybe about sixty, with 45 finishers listed on bikereg.

I had no illusion of placing or getting into a winning break, but hey, I thought, I'll just try shit, stay at the front, see how it goes. So I did manage to stay at the front, and I did try shit. I got off the front a few times in small groups, and once even got out of sight of the peloton. But, like I said, I had no real impetus to go for a good result, and it didn't seem that the rest of my break away pals were too interested either. A few other attempts were made by other guys, and I followed them, but it kept coming back together. This was real racing, attacking and following attacks off the front, not just sitting in the field hoping not to get dropped like the salem/beverly crits. I felt good. Not good enough to go it alone against a pro/1/2/3 field, but still pretty good.

A cat 1 named matt o'keefe (semi-pro mtb rider for cannondale, riding this day in a CCB kit) came by me at one point and said 'try helping out'. This was after I had drifted to the back to rest after an effort. I wasn't sure I heard him right, or that he was talking to me, so I ignored it. With about two laps left, a small group was forming off the front, and I ended up in a line chasing. I was on the wheel of gary apenes (horst) and the gap was closing. Gary took a pull, closed it more, then I took a pull, closed it more, then pulled off. A rider came by, with this dickhead o'keefe on his wheel, and dickhead yells at me "QUIT LETTING THOSE GAPS OPEN".

What the fuck?

This dickhead o'keefe had been riding at the back the whole fucking race. I never saw him at the front, never saw him closing a gap (both times he mouthed off to me he was on someone elses wheel), or even blocking for his team mate in the break. He was hard to miss, being the only rider in the field wearing a yellow nashbar rain jacket. So I rode up next to him and yelled "hey asshole, if you don't like it, don't ride behind me".

Seriously, it isn't my job to make sure he stays in the field.

He countered "you keep letting gaps open up". I responded "dude, I just took a pull and closed the gap then pulled off". He says "you've been letting gaps open all day".

Clearly this idiot had me confused with someone else. I spent most of the race at the front, and only drifted back though the field after I put out a hard effort. So I told him "EAT SHIT". I didn't hear from him after that. You would think that a 38 year old cat 1 would do better than just follow wheels at the back of the field. I wonder who he had to blow to get a cat one upgrade? If his performance saturday was any indication, he had no business getting out of the cat 4 field.

Anyways, during this whole tete a tete, another group had formed off the front that took the last paying spots. I rolled across the line in 25th place after just staying in what was left of the field. It never really rained hard during the race, but never really stopped either. I was soaked and covered with grime.....cool. As chronoman would say, 'today we became bike racers'. Less than 5 minutes after the race the skies opened up in a torrential downpour that lasted about ten minutes.

so, again, I'm thinking of changing my on-line nym to 'NHTMF'. I was listening to a story on the radio saturday on the drive home about these 'reality' show contestants that come out and say 'hey, I'm Not Here To Make Friends, ya know?'. The story said that the first contestant to utter that phrase never wins. This seems to be the story of my life, and saturdays interaction with dickhead o'keefe is merely another chapter.

So, I'm just me, busy being me, NHTMF.

ciao

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Topsfield RR and Quad cycles 'cross weekend

yeah yeah, reports coming......

In the meantime entertain yourself with this and this

Friday, September 11, 2009

So _that's_ how they do that !

From Cycling News this morning:

It seems JJ Haedo ((Arg) Team Saxo Bank) and Thor Husovd ((Nor) Cervélo Test Team) Are tied on GC at the tour of missouri. This is how far they had to go into the results to figure out who wears the leaders jersey:

"The first place officials look for tie breaking purposes is fractions of a second from a time trial stage, but there have yet to be any contests against the clock at the Tour of Missouri. The next method of making general classification ranking falls on the aggregation of stage placings. Haedo and Hushovd each have one first, two seconds and one third place finish which totals to eight points; again, they're equal.

The third criteria falls to total of stage wins, of which the Argentinean and the Norwegian each have one; still a dead heat. The fourth method of distinguishing general classification placement is the highest placing in the most recently completed stage. Since Haedo won in today's Jefferson City stage while Hushovd finished second, the leader's jersey was awarded to Haedo."

It's ironic that they both ride for teams that were what team CSC from last year split into. Well, the team technically became Saxobank, but many riders left to form what became the new team Cervelo Test Team.

Just in case anyone wondered how they figure these things out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it - George Bernard Shaw

So, I ran the Thomas Chamberas XC race at Great Brook State park last saturday in the tropical storm. It wasn't that bad really. If I were just outside standing around in shorts and a T shirt, I would have been chilly, but it was warm enough that a simple warm up kept me comfortable. It had rained all night, so the trails promised to be as wet and sloppy as pig wrestling contest. It was lightly raining during the race, just to keep things fresh.

Now, I'm not sure if it's a characteristic about XC races over road (running) races, but the participants at XC races seem to be faster. The morning of the event, I was checking the details on the web, and happened to check last years results. I couldn't believe how many runners broke the 5:00 min pace last year. Well, I know I'm no 5:00 min runner, and have never even broke a 6:00 min pace, but I love running trails. There are so pitifully few real XC races around here that actually incorporate technical running sections, I was compelled. I really loathe the 'xc' races that use golf courses or groomed walking trails. I run the rocky, rooty, muddy single-track trails at the weir hill/osgood hill/half-mile hill conservation area of north andover often. There is actually about 4 miles of somewhat technical single track along lake chadwick from the southern tip of weir hill to the osgood trail head, and I've put together a 9 mile circuit on my mountain bike that doesn't use any trail twice.

Anyways, the turn out at the Thomas Chamberas race was better than I had hoped, maybe 150. Many teams were there, including some sort of navy ROTC team from southern mass. MVS was there in force, and it was nice to see many people I hadn't seen all summer, since I tend to concentrate on bike racing during the summer.

Well, The start was going to be interesting. I couldn't get any assurances from the promoter that the course was actually 6K, so the pace listings was in question. Well see when the gun goes off.

And, the gun went off. The rabbits went out. The hounds chased. And they _were_ fast. I couldn't count how many runners were in front of me, and I went out as fast as I ever had. I held my spot for about the first half mile, then began to fade. I'm not surprised, I really haven't been running a lot, not nearly enough to be competitive. I had forgotten my hrm, so I had no idea what my time splits were. But wait, there were no markers anyways....Gee, how hard would it have been to put up mile markers?

Now, I almost always use electronics in running races, but usually train without. This is completely opposite of the bike. I train on the bike with a power meter and hrm/computer but go commando in races, I don't need the distraction. (by 'commando' I mean with sans electronics, not sans underwear. No, wait, I don't wear underwear on the bike either, nevermind). So saturday I was racing strictly by bio feedback. I've been racing bikes for 20 years, so I know what my body is telling me. After the first half mile, it was telling me "hey, stupid, knock it off". I had to back off the pace.

Then we hit the fun part of the course, the single-track section. For the un-initiated, the term 'single-track' can be interpreted as 'wide enough for one person'. It's roots come from motocross though, where the course is only wide enough for one bike (i.e. a vehicle that can ride in one track), and passing is difficult to impossible. Generally speaking, single-track has obstacles like roots, rocks, holes, and tight turns. This section did not disappoint, and for an added bonus, it was all uphill! This is my element, and I caught up to the line of runners in front of me with ease, and actually had to back off in order to prevent running into the guy in front of me. It would have been difficult to pass through here, not to mention rude. I wasn't going to win this race, and anyone I passed here would have passed me once we left the single track anyways.

Sure enough, once we got out in the open, people came by me again. I held my spot through the next section of technical stuff - more up hill with roots and rocks, but wide enough to pass. Unfortunately, I'm not a very good up hill runner, and the section wasn't technical enough for me to take advantage of, so it balanced out. This lead into the woodchuck trail loop. From here to the finish it's rolling terrain, very wide, not technical, though the mud was everywhere. The only advantage I had was that I run downhill well. I've noticed in the past couple of years that I've taken up running that I generally pull away from whomever I'm with on downhill sections. I held my spot again through these downhill parts, but around the 3 mile point on the course its mostly _up_ hill. Advantage lost. More people passing me.

Coming out of the woodchuck loop, the course flattens, not technical at all. Now I'm with runners more matched to my pace. At the top of the hill out of woodchuck, I get passed by one runner. I pace him until the first section of cornfield when another runner comes by. It's a woman, and she attempts to pass me through a mud puddle.

She slips, and falls on me.
I keep her up, we both barely break stride.
She apologizes, I say 'no biggie'.
She starts to pull away.
I can pace her.....
I do.

We catch the last guy that passed me just as we go onto the short section of pavement. There's a course marshal calling out places, he says '52, 53, 54' as we go by.

The woman starts to pull away on the road and I can't follow.
I stay with the guy we caught.
We get back to the cornfield for the last few hundred meters, and the runner I'm with takes the lead. I let him.
We catch one last guy rounding the last corner.

I can sprint. I'm not going to say I can win any track events, but I've always been able to dig out something decent at the finish. We came around the last corner and I dug in hard. I pass the first guy I was with, then pull alongside the last guy we caught.
He digs in, matching my pace.
I keep up the tempo, he fades.
I'm catching the woman that fell into me......nope, not gonna do it.
With another hundred meters, maybe I would have got her.

There's no timing at the end, No clock. I have no idea how I did. I have no watch. I ask the woman I almost caught, she has no watch either. The time keepers were under a tent at the finish, so I snuk in behind to see if they had any info. They had positions and times, no plate numbers. I figured the guy that was calling out places had me at 55th, and I passed two so I should be about 53rd. 53rd finished in 22:37. OK, do the math real quick

.....uhhhhh.....uhhhhhhh.....duhhhhh

nope.

Brain not functioning on that level yet. I jog around for a bit, stretch out. Go back to the car. Open the calculator on my cellphone. Wait...a 6:07 pace? damn....that's good!

I go back to the timers and ask about the distance. I'm told it's 6k.

"really? Like, right on?"
"no, we're not sure, it's probably a little short"
"like 50 feet, or 500 feet?"

I probably came off as one of the annoying guys that bother time keepers while they're trying to do their job. I made sure there weren't any people coming in while I was pestering him. He was most cordial.

"well, we tried to GPS it, but we kept losing the satellite under the tree cover, we did it a few times, and it kept coming up to really close to 6k. It's not off by much"
"ah, OK, thank you"

I try not to be one of those guys that bug the time keepers. I've promoted enough bike races to see how annoying those noobs who try to grab the clipboard out of your hands are. Hell, it wasn't like me bothering him would change my placing, and he didn't have the order of finish by race number anyways, so I kept it short and polite.

On my agenda for the fall:
1) After all the tress are bare, do the course with my GPS.
2) Send them an email with the info, and suggest that they put up mile markers as well, volunteer to assist with that (never criticize without offering solutions, it just makes you look like a dick).

The results finally come up. They have me 55th, not 53rd. OK, so the marshal that was counting of placings at 1K to go was off. They have me finishing in 22:44, I look over to the pace column......12:37.

12:37?

I look at at the whole pace column, it seems everyone had a pace between 12:00 and 12:59.

The time keeper was right next to me.

"how'd you calculate that pace?"
"finish time divided by distance"
"yeah? so every one ran a 12 minute pace?"

He stopped posting the pages and looked at a few of the sheets, then raised his eyebrows.

"According to this, the entire field finished somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes" I said with a snicker.

He turns and announces to the crowd " ok everyone, ignore the pace column".

Turns out my pace was 6:09. That's very good for me, and is in fact a pace PR. The best I've done to this point was a 6:10 last fall at the TIP 5k in lawrence. So, even if the course was short by 100 yards/meters, that makes the pace still in the 6:15 zone. I can live with that, and quite happily!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A most banal blog post

Well, I ran the Thomas Chamberas 6k XC race at great brook state park on saturday in the rain. I'll blog a race report later.

For now, I'll relate the activities from the gorgeous new england late summer day we had sunday. bright blue sky, temps in the 70's, no wind. My wife was on a trip with ehr G-friends to NYC, so I dragged my 14 year old daughter out of bed at the crack of noon and took her to boston for the day.

It started with a tour through the north end (the italian section of the city) to St. Anthony's Feast. What the hell is this?


Some sort of shrine with people pasting cash all over the inside. (no, I didn't take the pic because of the woman in the photo, there were a lot more much better looking specimens that I could have taken good pictures of, trust me.)

Anyways, two streets blocked off with food vendors, trinket vendors, and elbow-to-elbow crowds. Too much, and the food wasn't that good. We decided to hike over to Quincy Market.

We went through the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the park created when they tore down the old elevated expressway and replaced it with The Big Dig. Nice fountains, lots of people relaxing, kids playing.



We'll see how long before it turns into a crack park.

Once we got to Quincy Market (A HUGE tourist trap) we caught a couple of acrobats performing, a three piece group consisting of a mom and her two sons (both not quite teenagers) called 'The College Fund Band', then sat for a caricature. I don't get a lot of those 'bonding' moments with my teenage daughter, so I was quite surprised when she suggested we sit for a caricature..._together_.

No, it won't be posted, but I did get this this neat shot of the customs tower while we were sitting.


I have friend, Eamon Coyne, who is a professional irish session musician, and he plays a gig at Mr. Dooleys every sunday afternoon/evening (make sure your volume is down if you visit his link, unless you _really_ like reels). We stopped in and listened for a bit, I had a Guinness, she had a coke.


We chatted with Eamon for a bit during his break, then my daughter asked if we could check out the people and street performers in harvard square. So, it was off to the subway and The Peoples Republic of Cambridge.

The reputation of harvard square did not disappoint. From the artists, to the musicians, to the conservative Harvard types, to the hippies, to the punks, Harvard square is always sure to entertain, especially on days with such magnificent weather. The high point was Dagmar.

Yes, she's wearing dragonfly wings, a leather fliers cap, and goggles. Let me paint the picture with a bit more detail. She had bare feet, day-glo violet tights, light cotton dress, black and gold brassiere, a plum vest with green wings and a green/gold/purple tail attached, leather pilots cap and green goggles.

The odd part was that she was _very_ pretty and had a great beautiful voice. If you visit their link (above) it starts streaming their music. We actually sat a listened for a while, as she had a set of choreographed moves that 'flowed' with their music. I bought the CD, I couldn't help it.

As it became dark, we headed towards central square to catch the T back home. We could have simply got on at harvard square, but it was such a nice night for a walk. I realize these 'bonding' moments with my teenaged-daughter are a rare and precious gift, and I wanted to make it last. She's starting school again this week, and I'm sure by friday I'll have done something to mortally embarrass her.