Saturday, May 8, 2010


So I crashed out of the Sterling Road Race today. Not a bad crash by any means, but enough to put me on the deck and off the back.
It was pouring when we set out, first across the 2.5 mile neutral section, then around the first of 6, 8 mile laps. I was feeling comfortable in the pack as we descended heading for route 12. You could tell that wasn't the case for everyone as people were opening up gaps and looking nervous. As we rounded the corner onto route 12 the first 2 guys went down. I think the guy just slid out. I decided I needed to "burn a match" and move up on the wide shoulder. I rode up to the front third of the field and found my team mate Cliff and slotted back in line. It was really pouring now as we rolled up route 12. Sitting on the right side of the field I was riding close to white line. I could feel my bike slipping on the line, even just going straight. I had no sooner thought that I needed to move away from the line when people are sliding along the road in front of me. I thought I had an opening to sneak through but ended up clipping a guys and going down. I wasn't going fast, so I didn't hit too hard.
Cliff yelled and asked If I was OK, I said I was and that I'd be back in the race. By the time I got straightened out though the pack was half a mile away. Two of us chased to get back on, but by the time we got to the start of the second lap the gap was still the same and it continued to pour. We both looked at each other and said fuck it. I didn't feel like riding off the back for 40 more miles. Cliff stayed up and in the main field, which according to him was down to about 20 guys at the finish. Way to go Cliff.
So what did I learn? the biggest thing, stay away from the lines, like on the other side of the group if possible. Even though I didn't go down on the line, it ultimately took me out. Also, I'm second guessing not finishing the race, but it's too late for that. Orchard Assault mountain bike race tomorrow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stick A Fork In Me

Did my first cat 1 mountain bike race today at Winding Trails. I didn't know what to expect, all I know is that I've been working hard this spring and have spent a lot of hours with frozen hands and feet. I'm really happy with my result. I ended up 10th out of 27 against some pretty stiff competition. Winding Trails can't really be used as a benchmark though, because it's barely a mountain bike race. What it can tell you though is how your fitness is. I feel good. Next up for mountain bike is the Orchard Assault at UMass. We had a good showing of Expo guys, hopefully we can build on that.
So...After yesterdays ride and todays race, I'm cooked. Luckily tomorrow is a rest day (on the bike anyway, have a ton of work to do).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Hard Ride

Tough ride today.
Next weekend is the Quabbin Road race, a race that I've been looking forward to. All this past week we've been planning to do a recon ride today. Well, as the weather forecast got worse and worse throughout the week, the ride kind of fell apart. TJ, Mikey and myself decided the forecast didn't look too bad and we'd go for it. Of course TJ and Mikey were late, but it actually worked out OK. While I was waiting for them I got a call From Steve Douville who said he and Jeff Buske wanted to ride and were leaving his house.
We all met up at the tower at Quabbin reservoir and got ready to go. Unfortunately the rain was still falling. We got underway and as we turned onto route 9, we discovered that the road had been milled for paving. I sure hope this is paved before next weekend because it wasn't fun to ride on.
To make a short story even shorter the rain never really stopped and there are a lot more climbs than I was expecting. This is going to be another tough race. Expo has about 7 guys registered in the cat 4 race (which rumor has it will have a field of 200! Hey why not, there are no rules, it's a Norton Production) so if we can hang in and get together we might be able to produce a decent result.
I decided that since I basically coerced the guys into riding in the miserable conditions that Delta should buy dinner. We stopped at the first pizza place we saw, Charleys Pizza and Sea Food, and chowed down. Everybody left happy. We got in 63 miles and 3 1/2 hours of riding. I figure riding on a day like this builds character, or is it "kills brain cells", I can never remember.
Time to rest up for my first cat 1 mountain bike race in the morning. Till next time, stay dry.

Here's a little taste of the fun.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Loved That Race!

There I said it. Ask me after next years race and maybe I'll have a different answer. For those of you not in the know, I just returned from racing my first Tour Of The Battenkill in Cambridge, NY. I didn't win, I didn't even finish with the main group, but I'm pretty sure I finished higher than most of the guys in my race and had a miserably aganizeing blast doing it.
This race is usually referred to as a "Paris-Roubaix" type race, but it's really more of a "Tour of Flanders" type race given the number of climbs. The course winds around looking for the right combination of dirt and hills that whittle the field down until all that's left are a few hard men (and women). Maybe next year I'll be hard enough. Crit's rule the racing season around here, but as far as I'm concern, give me a race like Battenkill anyday.
Nine of us Expo boys rolled up Friday morning to preview the cource and register. We went out for pasta and pizza and spent the night in a clean but somewhat over the hill "motor lodge". After a great breakfast we headed down to the race.
We had Mikey with us who was doing the junior 17-18 race, and Buske, who raced cat 5 along with the rest of us; myself, Paul, Cliff, Lance, TJ(oh yeah) and Dave H who were all doing the 30+ race. Several other guys from the club also raced. Here's who I can remeber: Dave D, Dave J., Marty, Rob, Andrew, Tom and Brian. Really good turnout for the team. Results..........Not so much. Not one of us, that I know of, finished with their field. Tough shit, who cares, this was an awesome experience and an awesome weekend. Next up my first cat 1 mountain bike ass wooping, than another crack at a road race. Great trip guys!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Welcome Back

Well racing season 2010 is under way. The log's title is a little misleading since I no longer have the Delta Surveying Services team. Thanks to the the guys who raced last year, but the opportunity came along to join an upstart team with a lot of experienced racers, and I decided to join Exposition Wheelmen. Delta is also one of the sponsors. We spent the winter riding together whenever the weather was decent (if you call the low 20's decent) and have finally started racing together.

Cyclocross season ended with me feeling fairly satisfied with my results. I ended up 20th out of about 100, 45+ masters guys in the Verge series. I earned enough points in the smaller cross races to upgrade to cat 2 and I also upgraded to cat 1 (expert) on the mountain bike. I've been training pretty hard over the winter with some fairly simple goals for the season. I want to be "in the game" in mountain bike races, and would like to be able to get some high placings on the road. I need to improve my riding skills on the mountain bike, but that takes time. You can get yourself in good shape, but the technical skills only come by pushing the limits and really practicing the skills. It's really hard to ride fast on a mountain bike for a long time. It's super tough! On the road I have to learn to race smart. Road racing is really hard too, but on the road, if you ride smart, you can use the other riders to save energy, but you have to make it happen. You can't just pedal along anywhere on the road and expect to be successful!
Cyclocross is going to be my main focus. I want to get in the top 10 of the series next year. I know it doesn't sound like much of a goal, but most of the guys in the top 10 have been racing bikes for years and are really far ahead of the rest of the field. I love racing cross and am committed to training hard for that goal.
I've done the last two weeks races at the Bethel spring series, racing in the cat 3/4 field. We have the most team mates in that field, and the most experienced racers. These guys really try to race smart. Our team mate Aki Sato is the race promoter as well as good sprinter and long time racer. We're all racing for him. My job has been to ride at the front and chase break away riders in order to keep the field together. Last week I did OK for the first 10 laps or so, but after that I really wasn't very helpful. That was my first race with the cat 3's, so I was just seeing what it was all about. Today I feel like I did a much better job. I chased down 4 or 5 breaks including two riders who tried to get away with two laps to go. After recovering at the back of the field for one lap, I managed a pretty good surge at the finish to get up to mid pack. My main problem is just lack of experience riding in a fast pack and being able to remain calm in tight quarters and taking and holding a wheel. I'm not going to rush this. I want to get my fitness level up higher and let the experience come.
Enough rambling. I try to keep this short and will use it mostly as a diary to reflect on the races. I really don't think anybody missed reading about the number of intervals I did on the trainer over the winter. Next week, 4 of us head to North Carolina for a week of hill training before the big Battenkill race on April 10th. Later.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not so fast!!

Todays plan was to get a better start. So, first thing I missed my pedal, but regained quickly. Just as we're reaching full speed, I hear the dreaded sounds of a crash, right at the front. I had to brake hard and swing way to the side, but I missed the crash. Now I'm just battling to get back up to speed and get to the first turn. Not a good start. Oh well, I didn't really make any big mistakes and did pretty well finishing 16th of 57 finishers.
Since this is only my second year racing I really am happy with my results. Most of these guys I'm mixing it up with have been doing this for years. But I know I need to work on some things for next season. Such as: Sam Morse was one of the guys in the crash, after about a lap and half he caught and passed me. I figured I'd stay with him as long as I could. Turns out that distance is about a quarter lap (or less). He came from the ground in DFL to finish in 6th. So I need to work on better fitness for next year. I spent the last three laps battling with Brian McGinnis. Brian owns a bike shop and says his main training is his commute to work. He also doesn't race road or mountain bike, he races BMX! Today's course had a lot of swoopy, uphill, downhill turns and when I was sitting behind Brian he would slowly open a gap on me through the turny parts. I could fairly easily close the gaps, but each of those chases is a match burnt because I'm slow in the corners. So I need to improve my cornering for next season.
Tom Stevens really puts together a killer course. He's done Gloucester, Providence and Baystate this weekend. He's so good at using the terrain to the best advantage. He puts in lots of uphill and downhill, but nothing crazy. He fills the course with turns that are usually grouped together and keep you on your toes. Just when you think you have the rhythm, he tightens it up. He puts barriers in places that seem odd at first, but turn out to be really fun and challenging. His courses are really tough and challenging and technical and I've loved every one!
Here is one reason why I like being a bike racer

Ribeye with mushrooms and onions, baby carrots, broccoli, Parmesan bread, apple cider. One more week to eat like a pig.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I knew I shouldn't have had that sixth piece of pie!

No joke, six pieces of pie on thanksgiving. The tally: 1 pumpkin and 1 pecan before dinner, 1 pumpkin, 1 pecan after dinner, 1 pumpkin, 1 blackberry later that night. The blackberry was delicious, by the way, my brother and sister-in-laws own berries.
So that's how I felt this morning before the Verge Baystate Cyclocross race in Sterling Ma. Like I had eaten six pieces of pie. I warmed up pretty well, but just felt logy.
I really need to be more aggressive in the start and take advantage of the call-up. I've figured out that I'm fit enough to move up through quite a few places, but I'm wasting that fitness in the start. Rather than let people by and worry about going into the red zone, I need to fight for a better position and than move up. Anyway, I ended up 17th today out of 50. I had a small mechanical. My back skewer came loose again and my wheel was just flopping around in the dropouts. I had to stop and lost the group I was with. I did fight back up to the remains of the group and got two spots back. Today was a pretty technical course, but tomorrow's supposed to be better. We'll see.