Friday, May 30, 2008

Because I can...

Grow some lambchops
Make the Scalpel into a 69er
Not update this literary gem
Rely on Hoovis for Blog traffic
Go to a crit and say eff it and then leave and not race
Ride my bikes a lot
Drink too much at my own cookout
Lower the avg hours worked weekly for Americans ( I did not design the job)
Drink 360 oz of water in 2 days, I thought I was dehydrated. I only rode 3.5 hrs those days
Gain 6 lbs of sloshing water weight in that time period
Does that mean I peed, sweated and perspired 16 lbs of liquid in two days?
Burn a bridge, it is easier that way

Yep, those were the high points of the week. I know you are jealous.

Bike Game in NJ tomorrow.
Diggler turns 21 Monday.
New Orleans for week in eight days.
Stoopid 50 in two weeks.
Round Top 12 hr solo in three weeks.

I will soon be accepting pity dates. I have but two criteria, supermodel & races some form of bike. Easy enough.
I wonder what Jennifer Maclay is doing right now?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pricey little twig, branch, whatever

SRAM 971 chain
American Classic rear skewer
RD Hanger

In an instant I go from comfy, fun riding with Pflug'er to all the aforementioned parts being destroyed by a pesky little piece of tree that wants to say hello to my rear derailleur. GRRRR!
The streak is in tact. A mechanical at every race so far. Some are weird, like yesterdays. Some are part of the game, flats, leaks, wheel trueing issues and are of little consequence. All are part of the bike game, and all are frustrating. As the Diggler said yesterday, "that is part of mtb racing."
At least I am not acting like an imbecile when they happen.
Control what you can control, do not ruminate on what you can not. At least that is what I keep telling myself.
Today looks like a good day for a coffee shop ride, except that the coffee shop will be 50 miles away.
Hopefully I can post some pic-a-nic photos after today's cookout.
Enjoy the holiday. I saw a great sign yesterday while out riding.
Memorial Day, it has a meaning.
For those of us who have been selfishly thinking only of a day off work Monday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Now that was a first

Due to my uncanny ability to forget most anything, at most anytime, I was able to see something pretty cool last night.
After my obligatory stop at the shop, and the obligatory shop gremlins effing with my MTB equipment yet again (another story another time) I set off for home. Here is where two parts of my effervescent personality come out.
1) I forgot my wallet & suit jacket at the shop. I ALWAYS forget something there.
2) Even though I was less than one mile away, I refused to turn around. I despise turning back for things. It is in the past, deal with it another time.
That being said I went home and prayed for sunlight so I could do an easy ride back to the shop and get my wallet. Finally the sun broke so off I went. I am finally learning how to enjoy riding easy and absolutely love recovery days. As I was coming home I have to do a .75 mile, 8% climb. So I take it easy. I am noticing the swingset tucked in the woods, the lush foliage, the huge rock outcroppings that are in such cool formations, then I saw it. There it was, the first time I ever noticed this phenomenon in the month of May, MY BREATH. Tuesday May 20th at 7:00 and I saw my breath. That seemed so cool, at least to me. I started to take very deep breaths and exhalations on purpose. I just wanted to see my breath. I was like a five year old the first time they see their breath. It was something so simple, yet so cool.
Stuff like that is why I really like easy days.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

HOLY DANG!!!!!!!!!!! long, but worth the read & new info

I could not even think of a title that would do justice to yesterday. First off, I will answer the burning question. The answer is no. If the rain would have came at the start and persisted all day, then the answer would have been a resounding yes. What was the question you ponder? It was this.
For some, as Chili pointed out in the comments, the race was truly EPIC. For me is was simply the hardest seven hours I have EVER put in doing a race.
I will try to give some insight and you may decide for yourself.
Rocktober Challenge is truly one of a kind. It is a backcountry Marathon that will challenge you in many ways. Sure there are other events that are of the same distance, in the country. I am not so sure there are events that encompass anywhere near the terrain that was encountered yesterday.
Here are the quick numbers:
74 miles
9,898 feet of vertical
9, 458, 382 rocks on the course. Most in bone jarringly long "trail" succession.
Avg speed 10.8
finish time 7:12, I was third winner was 6:39
More course info.
15 distinct climbs that I could feret out
18 miles of climbing, 25% of the race
50% of climbing miles at 4 or 5%, that was interesting to me.
33% of climbing miles at 6%. Why did it feel so damn hard then??????
Here are the climbs:
Miles, % Grade
Lap 1
1.1, 7
2.0, 6
.9, 6

Lap 2
1, 8
1.3, 7
.5, 6
3.0, 4
1.5, 5
.5, 14 Damn you Kuhn
1.7, 6.4
1, 6
1.3, 4

Lap 3
.5, 15.3 That Powerline can go
1, 5
1.8, 5

7 100 mg caffeine Gu packs consumed
3 Margarita 200mg sodium Clif Blok packs
3 50mg caffeine Balck Cherry Clif Blok packs. 850 mg of caffeine for those counting at home.
122 oz of HEED
72 oz of water

What is absolutely impossible to explain is how difficult it was to ride the rock sections. Not a rock here or there, but stretches of trail over a mile long that are nothing but rocks the size of your head. Throw in a few 1/2 mile descents through rocky stream beds that are running full on for good measure. Dirt road climbs, that are soft from the previous days rain, that are 5-10 minutes long at a 10% grade. Trails so vertically steep that you have to walk them. Trails that are so twisty, blind and fast, that you somehow forget the pain of the aforementioned hell and just want to make motorcycle throttle noises.
I can not do a race report, because how do you remember 7+ hrs of backcountry riding? I can't do it.
I will recount some high points.
Start: Robbie L., Brandon & Wes are gone like they are shot from a cannon. This is up a long steep climb into a soft, bumpy field. Soooo hard. I settle in at 11th, and fifteen minutes in question my strategy of starting out chill. Within fifteen minutes I move up to form a group of three with Ry and NUE racer Shawn Adams, riding 4, 5, 6. Shawn tears his sidewall in the first major rock garden and he is hiking out of the woods. Ry & I roll the rest of loop one in 1:25 for 17 miles. Into the checkpoint to get a new bottle while Ry needs to fill up bottles and stop for a bit. I take off for what was probably the hardest, physically and mentally, 35 miles and 3:45 of riding I may have ever done. Totally by myself for the whole lap, wondering why I am doing this. Lap two had SUPER steep climbs, crazy mile long sections of rock gardens and endless places where I thought I was lost. I kept hearing the bronzed God was just a minute up the road, trail, rock graden. I went a bit harder to catch up, ate shit spectacularly once or twice, then fell back into my strategy of race your own race. Finally hit the checkpoint to see Zayne fueling. Thank God Aaron & Zach were there to help with chain lube. Switched Camelbacks, got a bottle devoured some yummy beef jerky courtesy of Mr. Shempf, and Wes & I headed out for lap three. 5:12 into the race, and we knew we had somewhere between 15-20 miles still yet to ride. We also knew of at least two monster climbs. We barely turned the pedals on the rise to get out of the lot, then finally loosened up on the road. As much as we cursed the good name of Uber promoter, super racer, and damn fine guy we enjoyed some super sweet singletrack. It was not a race at that point. It was riding cool trails with a good friend. I waited at times, Wes waited at times. We enjoyed, as much as we could, some really sweet trails, dumb Powerline climbing and knowing we had to be done soon.
With a gentleman's agreement in hand I took over the last section of trail, and absolutely ripped it so fast. One minute of pure unadulterated childlike joy, made the previous 7:11 all worthwhile.
Brandon won in 6:39. He is the real effin' deal.
Robbie L. was second in 6:51. This was a warm-up for him. One of the best 24 hour racers in the country.
Kuhn promoted a top-notch event. To see all the amenities and prizes he had for us was unbelievable.
The Kuhn and The Oesterling families are incredible. They give sooo much of themselves for this passion that we enjoy. Thank you!
Thanks to DCNR for allowing such a unique event.
Thanks to equipment sponsors, Cannondale and Ergon saved me yesterday. Flawless bike performance and grips that are second to none. I can not wait to rock my new Deuter pack for Granogue. It is designed so much better than any competitor product. for the incredible support we receive and for promoting all that PA has to offer people, right outside their front door.
Thanks to Masala Bistro for some yummy late-night Terai Chicken.
Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Epic, by definition, or not

Not much going on lately, so no updates.
Tommorow is Rocktober Marathon mtb race. This should be pretty nuts. Seventyish miles of mtb fun. With today's rain, and a chance of rain tommorow, that could make the course even harder.
That brings me to today's soapbox. The word EPIC.
Epic, that is a word that is very much overused in cycling. Like some kind of pissing contest, ooooohhhhh my race was so epic. I did this, that, and the other thing. Like so many things in life this term, at least in cycling parlance, has been dumbed down. In twenty-one years of racing I may have done ONE event that I considered EPIC. Maybe I cherrypick easy stuff? Maybe I have a higher standard as to what is a physical challenge? Maybe I am just going off half-cocked yet again? OK, back to EPIC races. My EPIC race was Cross Nats in 2005 in Providence, when the Nor'easter hit at the start and during the 35+ race. When a Cross Nats race get cancelled, that is EPIC. When you are so cold and hypothermic you do not know where you are, or fall off of your bike on a straight road, that is EPIC in my book. If you finished the 35+ race you can suffer more than me, at least on that day.
That being said, the Rocktober Challenge will be friggin' hard. However, the race will prolly not be EPIC. If it were 35 degrees, snow laying and snowing during the race, then it would be EPIC.
You want to know what is EPIC, go here.
So if you read this and race MTB, you should be embarassed the Muur Conqueror did what he did, and you could not drive to RB Winter State Park to challenge yourself. Seriously 31 ELITE guys?
Look for a race report on Monday, or not. My guess is the race will be a personal challenge where we are getting the most out of ourselves in our own personal battles. That is EPIC. Nah, prolly not, just looong.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Very Nice

Pretty much a good sum up to the weekend.
Early rise for stop #1 in the MASS Enduro series. French Creek 5 hr marathon was pretty sweet. Mostly because of the rock star trail conditions the endurnace racers had for our first two laps. A few tweeks on the one climb made it awesome fun this year. i do not remember some of the super fast twisties from last year. Niiice. Yeah i miss the road, nahhhh. People are way too nice and trails are way to good. There is not a single road event where you can challenge yourself like most of the MASS races. There is not a single road event where you can hang out afterwards and talk with friends who, gasp, do not even wear the same funny colored clown suit as you. imagine that. Sez, I think the four corner crit is actually the new inline skating. Think about it. Really only a few people actually inline skate for fitness. The rest just take a few strokes and coast along. That is essentially most any crit. Only a few guys actually work. Most just sit in the draft a pedal a few times. If there were such a thing as group inline skating i am sure there would be a person that would just sit at the back and wait for the final inline sprint.
No race report to give. The race was super fun and I felt strong and happy with what I did. Steevo I did give a "salute". It was kind of a Pete Townshend right arm guitar windmill. Not sure where the eff that came from. I guess that is what makes them special. No pics, no baby binkies, no pre-rehearsed stuff. Just zip up the jersey and enjoy the moment.
About two hours of bike cleaning was even enjoyable. The neighbor was impressed with the Stones, Stripped, playing while I was cleaning. The mom and little girl who commented on my broken bike last week, came by to say hello and ask about the race. A few other neighbors even stopped for a chat. Very cool.
Nice ride with the Adams family today. Nancestress killed it yesterday with an awesome 3rd place. She was out hammering today. The only weekend downside was the 1:15 ride home into a 20ish mph headwind, at the end of 4 hours. Grrrr.
Cooked dinner for Mother's day. I must say it was pretty good. Not E-town foodie good, but very tasty good. poached Salmon, grilled portabella's in a Thai peanut sauce and a killer veggie tortellini salad.
Planted some flowers and the back yard looks even better. It is even raining now, so the timing is impeccable. Now I just need to get some peeps over to enjoy it.
All in all a pretty nice weekend.
Damn I am tired. Time for a therapeutic beer/hot tub session.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Which button do you want to press?

I was reading an article about bike fit today, imagine that me reading about bike fit. This was different in that the point of the article placed a very heavy emphasis on neurology and the inherent implications of neurological functioning on fit and outcome of proper fit and function.
At the bottom of the article the author makes a very interesting point.
Understanding this will leave many of you thinking "I need to do something". There are only 3 motivating factors that change human behavior; pain, fear or ambition. Which button do you want to press?
This theory can be related to about anything. You can then apply to life in general. That can essentially be broken down into life. The base need is accomplished by essentially being alive. Needs 2, 3 and 4 (safety, love and esteem) break down into what I feel are the three cornerstones of life. These are work, familiar, social/hobby. By reducing the task, living, to its smallest context you can better handle the enormity.
All of that being said, there are but three ways to impact your hierarchy of needs, pain, fear or ambition. Of these three motivators you only really have total control over one of these, ambition. Pain and fear are totally reactionary. Some may disagree, although I am not sure what the basis would be. Something has to happen to cause pain. Something also has to occur to cause fear. Some immediate event or an experience that leaves an indelible mark. The great thing about ambition is that it is totally in my, yours, every one's control.
So how did I digress so far from bike fit? It is the same principle of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant". "This song is not about Alice's Restaurant, it is about the draft." The point is not really about bike fit and the implications of neurological well-being. The point is about taking a proactive motivational position, vs. a reactive motivational position. ie French Creek Enduro; sure it is going to hurt, I have only raced that distance once before, however my motivation is the desire to win. The ambition to get the most from myself.
Pain and fear are a part of everyday life, however by pushing the ambition button hopefully I will go a little bit farther.
I wonder if Maslow would have enjoyed the Bike Game?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Just another Tuesday

Go to some offices.
Run into a no class GSK rep. She just lost all courtesy from me.
As Mike Ness said so eloquently, "You shake my hand, while you are pissing on my leg."
Slow week for psychs with APA going on in DC.
Long ride in the sun was nice.
Lady telling me to not ride on Ridge Rd, due to a bear being chased on the road, was funny.
First house I bought with Amy is for sale. Some fun times at 1306.
The crazy cool 12' high Daniel Boonesque person carved from a tree.
Rode by the house I grew up in on Ridge Rd.
Watching Diggler & Gus jab at each other with my Ipod playing was hilarious. I could hear nothing, but their expressions were priceless. Good fun.
Set up some plans for weekend and next week. No I did not forget Mother's Day
Hopefully the rain holds off and French Creek goes off. Back to back 6+ hr trainers would suck.
Well tomorrow is just another Wednesday.
I wonder what Tina Lavin is doing right now?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Some Weekend high points

Friends for dinner and spending the eve Friday
New race on Saturday
MTB race peeps
The Vee. Steevo, no salute was given.
Being amazed by Rob L.
Nice dinner Saturday night
Killer Rhubarb pie w/ The Adams Family, Ry and fastest Guy's girl
Having the balls to go back to Michaux. I always sucked there.
Riding in 8th until I had to DNF half way through
Getting a ride with a stranger back from where I broke down
Having a great conversation about the outdoors, being active and PA with that person
Not going beserk over DNF reason
Dark chocolate bar while cleaning my bike
Little kids saying the most awesome things "You know why the sun is in my eyes?" "Because your bike is wrecked." Man did that make me laugh and put things in perspective. The little girl's mom was mortified.

Lots of little things here and there made for a nice weekend. I am glad I did not let something that I can not control spoil all the good things from the weekend.

Maybe I am a kinder, gentler version these days?
Maybe I just appreciate people, things and experiences a little bit more?

No matter the reason it is a little more fun to focus on the good, and the things I can control.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gluttony is one of the Seven deadly sins

So here is my post-race meal, after a pretty hard 2:26 mtb race. I guess "post-race" and "after" are redundant, huh? So what, my bully pulpit.

1 large Chocolate chip muffin
2 lbs, yes 2 lbs of Tortellini salad (1/2 was eaten 2 hrs later)
1 Coke 12 oz
1 Coke Zero 12 oz
1 Gatorade 12 oz
1/2 H2O bottle Gatorade 12 oz
Full H2O bottle Endurox 22 oz

Grand total of solid and liquid mass in my belly, 112 oz. Better stated, SEVEN POUNDS!

The bad part is that food needs to come out eventually. I am not a purger, so it will not be pretty. I will spare you the part about how I think my H. Pylori boo boo belly is making a comeback.

Those who have been following the progress of "The Blunder Down Under" will be happy to know, maybe you will not be happy, but I sure am. Australia has officially been renamed, drum roll please, New Zealand.

All in the spirit of keeping my loving and adoring readers up to date.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

You have my permission...

To kick me in the shins
Punch me in the thigh
Club me with a large blunt object

If you see me with an allen key in my hand anywhere near my seat binder bolt, at a race this year.
It is official. Height is set on ALL summer bikes right now. Cross bike fun will start later. So, guess where my saddle height on the Scalpel is right now? The exact place it was 25 minutes before the Greenbrier racer start. Hmmm, imagine that.
So if I start going for the toolbox, start an intervention. If I actually grab an allen key and head towards the bike, well you have my permission to inflict physical pain.

I hope my legs are a little less toasty by Saturday, and I do not mean warm.

Frig facts:
Beer: Guiness, Stella Artois, Duvel, La Chouffe, Hoegarden, Ithaca Apricot Wheat, Ithaca Red Ale, Ithica IPA, Ithica Brown Ale. 10 different beers. NICE!!!
Cheese: Havarti, NY extra Sharp Cheddar, WI Sharp Cheddar, American, Mozeralla, shredded Cheddar, String Cheese, Parmasean cheese. 8 different cheese. NICE!!!

It's a thrill a minute plane ride
Overtime at ring side