Monday, April 28, 2008

Root 66 Fat Tire Classic

The IBC MTB posse rolled down to Farmington, CT sunday and brought home the goods. Linnea pulled off a second place finish, solidifying her hold on the Expert 12-34 series lead. Colin landed top five in Expert 19-29 pulling himself into second place overall in the series (after riding a 120 mile Brevet the day before with his dad...hardcore). Alex was third in Sport 19-34 in her first mountain bike race of the season. George was 23rd in Sport 30-39. Thom P. (that would be me, feels much too weird to write about myself like I'm some objective reporter) came in 3rd in the Pro/Semi-Pro Open class and moved into first in the series (for now).

Alex, serving up some dust

George Shaw putting the hurt on

Linnea giving the top step a rest...until next time!

Me (Thom P.) bemusedly occupying the third step of the podium.

Danish Pastry House Rides

Thursday AM, 8:15 O' clock at The Above-mentioned Danish Pastry House at 330 Boston Ave. at the corner of Winthrop St. in Medford with an 8:30 stop at the Governor's Ave./South Border Rd. entrance to The Fells. Duration is about two hours at a gentlemanly brisk pace, not so much a hammer ride as a speed skills ride. This'll be going on every week, rain or shine unless otherwise stated. It is officially a NEMBA ride but anyone who wants to get a good workout, work on their MTB skills, or wants to get into Mountain Bike racing is more than welcome to show up.

Tour of Ephrata Stage 1

I couldn't make Sturbridge or Palmer as I was summoned to Swarthmore for a dance recital on Saturday night.  I did find a race: The Tour of Ephrata (Lancaster County, PA.)  Despite tweaking my hamstrings riding the old Raleigh, I drove out Sat morning for the road race stage.  My hamstrings hurt like hell during warm-up.  I stretched and felt a bit better and went for it.  Six laps of a 5 mile loop in Amish country.  I sat back feeling like I was going to abandon because of my hamstrings for the first lap and a 5 man break got away.  They were catchable, but the pack didn't want to.  On lap 3 we came around a corner to see a team of horses pulling a plow and a horse and buggy behind it.  Like I said Amish country.  I got tired of the pack pace and dragged it along for the last 2 laps.  With one K to go and an false flat into the wind finish, I took off, dragged 5 guys with me, dropped the pack and got passed at the finish.  I did them a favor.  The rest of the race finished 30 seconds behind us.  My hamstrings were so sore I abandoned Sunday's racing, which is too bad because the 10 mile hill climb TT would have suited me.  Oh well.  On ice packs as we speak.  Hope to be back on the bike by the weekend.  See you all at Jiminy.  I'm officiating.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sturbridge W3/4 Race Report

W3/4; 34 miles; 3rd place

I kicked off my road racing season at Sturbridge, personally very pleased to find the race course so transformed that the 17mile loop ended with a 3mile stair-like climb rather than the infamous crash-prone downhill sprint to the finish. There were over 30 women starters, many of which included teams from CT, NY, and NJ. I was the sole IBCer for this race, but not so lonely as the chatting through 4-mile neutral start up the climb allowed some time to get reacquainted with friendly riders I knew well last season (including CT women who rode solo last year but banded this year as CVC-Subaru). The official start/finish was at the top of the climb. Already winded from the neutral start, the field got off to a slow but relaxed start. The speed picked as we coursed through descents, and then through a set of rollers. This was a fun course! CVC-Subaru stepped on the gas by launching a series of well-timed attacks, just before reaching the climb again. By the time we reached the top, there was a woman (EPS/Riptide) off the front a bit and the remaining peloton had been shaved by half. Through the 2nd lap, a dozen or so of us maintained the gap by working together and keeping a good tempo. Towards the end though, we allowed one NCC woman to pull us to the base of the final climb. Well that NCC'er had more than enough to jump and take the lead through the climb for a well-deserved victory. A second woman jumped at the base, and I quickly realized that I missed an opportunity to get on her wheel. I couldn't mend the gap and so I paced up the remaining hill amid a cluster of women, pacing myself and waiting for an opportunity as we approached the finish. At the sight of the 200m marker, I jumped and pedaled through the burn, fighting for a 3rd place finish. I was pleased with my season opener, and look forward to working on those uphill finishes.

I also want to give a big thumbs up to the promoter (MN) on a safe & well-organized race. There were many volunteers (Thank you!). Evidently, safety was a priority. The course was fun and road quality good; it had few turns and they were well marshaled; there were police & EMS; and the pace vehicle drivers knew what they were doing. The W3/4 field also had SRAM neutral support. I look forward to racing these events again next year.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Well, I raced it.

I'm on a rest week but Little Stevie Weller wanted me to keep my legs fresh.  So I decided to race the 1938 Golden Arrow in full vintage wool in the CBTT.  A full race report would be extremely boring, but let me just say those guys in the 30's were real men!  I managed 22 miles per hour which frankly surprised the hell out of me.  It's like driving a tank in the Ardenne.  Think about 30 pounds of bike and 37 mm 26in tires and all steel-brake levers, handlebars, cranks, hubs, etc.  Something I only need to do once.  If I get a picture later, I'll post it.  Expect to see me in lycra and carbon from now on-fo sho.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Obscure sports

My ski coach in college had a really good point. "Why would anyone want to come to a ski race? We just run around in the woods in funny clothing". Well, orienteering is even closer to that extreme (of running around in the woods in funny clothing). Normally, the competitor is given a map, they look at the map incredibly briefly and then they disappear into the woods for some amount of time, usually between 30-60 minutes, before coming back into view- sweatier, muddier, and more tired looking than before. Quite the spectator sport!

Well, this weekend was different. This weekend was the club relay championships in Rochester, NY (my hometown). There were eight spectator controls (spectator controls being flags that the spectators can see) in a big field, and the runners popped in and out of the woods many times, to the delight of my team, which had a megaphone and was putting it to good use in the heckling department. I was on the CSU "A" team, with Brendan Shields, Peter Gagarin, and Ross Smith, and we ended up 2nd! I had the fastest female split on my leg, but it was very much a runner's course, and I grew up a mile away from that park, so I know it quite well.

Silver medalists! Ross, Brendan, me, and Peter.

Sorry, I know this isn't a bike race report, but, I guess I lead a more varied lifestyle than just riding bikes. It means I ride bikes slower, but I also know how to not get lost when running in the woods...

Letchworth gorge, the site of the race on day 1.

Monday, April 14, 2008

IBC MTB Posse in Effect

The IBC MTB kids were out there in the burning sun this past weekend down in Middlebury, CT at the Root 66 Hopbrook Dam series opener. The big news was Linnea's win in the Expert 12-34 category, she got herself the series leader's jersey and a sweet set of Mavic wheels. Colin was 4th in the ultra competitive Expert 19-29 category, actually beating at least one Semi-Pro (did somebody say "Upgrade"?). George took 16th in a 50 rider strong sandbagger ridden 30-39 sport class, and I (Thom P.) took 6th in the Pro/Semi-Pro's, hating life on a geared bike. This posse's got velocity, so look for more results soon!