Friday, March 21, 2008

Alex's ski season update

The snow is starting to melt, and the crocuses are popping up around Boston. This generally means that ski season is over and its time to start riding bikes. But not yet! One more race tomorrow before I let go of this awesome winter!

Since returning from Europe, I've been bouncing around New England like nobody's business. I did three marathons this year (ski marathons, that is), the Craftsbury Marathon (9th), Rangeley Marathon (5th), and Sugarloaf Marathon (1st). Those were hard, maybe three of them in one season was a little much. I got to be a wax tech at the J2 championships and the Eastern Highschool Championships as a CSU (Cambridge Sports Union) coach for the state of Massachusetts, which was pretty cool. I did some more ski-o races round here, and cleaned up pretty well in those, too. The coolest race I've done post-Switzerland was the Ski to the Clouds race, which is a 10km freestyle race that finishes with 6km of climbing up the Mount Washington Auto Road. Coming down was... interesting! Enough words, I'll leave you with some pictures. Here's to sunny days!

This is the route up mt. Washington... coolest garmin picture ever!!

Winning the Sugarloaf marathon.

The point-to-point Craftsbury Marathon was probably the most difficult race I did all year in terms of conditions. I made some poor choices when it came to kick wax and struggled through 50km with no kick.

Instructing skiers at New England Women's XC Ski Day.

A little bit of this kind of skiing...

The goal of every coach should be to scare their skiers into looking possessed.

A PRO waxing setup.

Powering through to 7th place in this sprint race.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Track Camp - San Jose

Awesome camp. Awesome group. IBC Trackies in attendence were Greg Pelletier, Steve Gauthier, and me. Couldn't have asked for a better group to work with.
Friday - we did a bunch of jumps, starts and some intervals late in the afternoon. Steve Hill (Masters World Champ & Elite Kilo Champ) took the time to talk and I, for one, love his stories. He can be hilarious and he's a great story teller.
In the evening, we got together at On the Border restaurant to go over his Mental Training presentation. While I won't share anything on this blog, you've got to show up at a camp to listen to this one. I can say that it's making a huge difference in the way I think (and I thought I was pretty good at it before....) :D
Saturday - we all went to Gold's Gym in San Jose. They have this wood/rubber platform for olympic style lifting, sweet! We all went through the lifts. I've picked up some tips on how to improve my form as well.
In the afternoon, we did a bit of intervals. In the night, we had pizza while Steve talked about sprints training. I can say that I've probably saved about 1/2 year of experience by just listening to him talk about tips, methods and strategies.
Sunday - we did motorpacing efforts and had lunch afterwards.
Weather was gorgeous.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Retro gear to go with Golden Arrow

Most of you won't remember Grace Jones, but she had Diane Fortini's USCF job 20 odd years ago. She died of cancer several years ago.  She had a cycling clothing company called Jones Cyclewear.  They invented the skinsuit.  In any case, Grace's daughters have restarted the business as Jones wear, selling all wool clothing.   I got myself a pair of wool knickers and a jersey to wear w/ the Golden Arrow.  Here I am decked out in full retro gear, including Adidas toe stap cleated shoes.  The bike rides remarkably nicely.  Photo by Madeleine,

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I'm famous? Sort of, but not really...

Guess who made the front page of 24 Hours of Great Glen's website?
I'm famous!!

Should I race it or not? You tell me - online poll at

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I'm back from Tucson.  Happy to see my wife, daughter, and cats but not snow.  I like it warm.  There is no getting around it.  I was there for 2 weeks, rode nearly 900 miles and had a blast besides too many evenings sitting in my room watching Law and Order re-runs.  I had all these notions of going to see movies that my wife didn't want to see at night, but after 5-6 hours on the bike, I never made it.  There are some great rides in Tucson-Mt. Lemmon (8600ft, 21 mile climb,) Maderos Canyon (6000 ft, 13 mile climb), and Sonaita (116 miles, 5000 feet, 30 odd miles of absolutely nothing but desert.)  I don't have many pictures because all the rides were long and involved altitude changes with temps changing from 70 to high 30's.  So my jersey had all my clothes in it as well as 1000 calories and an extra water bottle.  But the photo was taken at Maderos Canyon at 6000 feet w/ my cell phone.  I'm thinking of renting a condo for Jan/Feb/Mar next year and making multiple trips.  Anyone wanting to use it would be welcome.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sunday Nagog Hill Ride

Big, I say BIG IBC Team ride this past sunday. OK, in reality it was me (Thom P.) and esteemed member of the IBC team board of directors Julie Lefebvre, her boyfriend John, C Todd, and a friend we picked up along the way, Jim from Quad cycles. We set out for Concord, grinding into a vicious headwind, averaging all of 12 MPH up Mass Ave. We parted ways with C Todd just after Concord center and made our way up toward Strawberry Hill where we picked up Jim.
It's got to be annoying being a geared rider out with the fixed gear guys (John was fixed too),
we go so incredibly slow on the uphills only to spin away madly on the downs. On some of the rollers out on 225 I was like "get me off of this crazy thing called...a sweet fixie".
At the juncture of Strawberry Hill and Pope Rd. we opted to "go big" and continue on up to Nagog Hill...a first of the year for all of us. It was gorgeous up there, it generally is. The orchards full of leafless trees with their gnarled bodies protruding from the snow are somehow even more beautiful than their green, apple bearing counterparts of summer and me anyway.
From there it was over to Westford where we turned east, putting the wind at our backs. We blasted down 225, up over Chicken Hill in Bedford, through Lexington Center, and back down Mass Ave. Normally I think of Mass Ave. as a chute in Chutes and ladders, it just slides you right home effortlessly, downhill, invariably with a tailwind. However this is not really the case on a fixed gear. After three plus hours of sitting and spinning and bouncing along bombed out New England roads your butt is crying out for a respite. My double bib shorts style only forestalls the inevitable "Bonchial-Region" discomfort. Haven't felt pain like that since the paddling I took during my Fraternity hazing. Oh wait, I went to art school, that was made up.
Post-Ride we hit True Grounds for coffee and scones and all was not too shabby in the universe.
We're going to try to do the same or something similar next sunday, watch for an official announcement sometime this week.