Monday, June 30, 2008

Master's Road Nationals TT

Boy there are some serious TT types who show up at the nationals (Duh.)  More bike bling than you ever did see, honey.  It was about 65 and raining moderately when we went off.  The course was a 38k out and back along the Ohio River on the Indiana side.  Pretty flat but just enough rises that if you didn't watch it you'd be up 100-150 watts w/o realizing it.  This was a long TT for me so I was concerned about not burning too many matches early.  I went out about 10 watts below threshold and was surprised how fast the turnaround point came up.  That gave me the confidence to crank it up a bit for the return trip. The rain cleared on the way back and we were lucky to go out early because the afternoon runs must have been brutal with 20 mph winds.  I got passed at the 8 mile point, but then passes two riders almost right away.  On the way back, I got passed twice but also passed one or two riders.  Don't know where I finished, but whatever it was, I'll be happy.  I'm sure no natural TTer.  25 mph average over 38K.  I was so sore on my sit bones and glutes that I almost couldn't get in my car.  I scarfed down 4 Aleve (I know Marvin, that's two many,) sat on an ice bag (not comfortable,) and took a nap.  Hoping to be able to sit on the bike tomorrow.  Wednesday is RR.  Julie Lockhart was the only 65+ entry, so I'm assuming she has another jersey.

BOLOCO Race Report (aka Go loco)

Ya me voy a loco!

Translation: I've gone crazy. Like you didn't know that already.

Yesterday's double hit at the BOLOCO Grand Prix in Newton was a fun time.

Hit #1 was the 5K running (yes - running) race at Noon. The organizer had some issues with registration and other organization (first year issues, perhaps?) but the race went off at 12:30pm. I was near the front and hit it when the whistle blew.

I should not have hit it so hard. I was running a 5:30 pace. After about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile I pulled the ripcord. No way I could sustain that and still have any ability to climb on a bike afterwards. I ran about 7:30 pace the rest of the race and came in around 21-22 minutes I think.

After wiping the gobs and gobs of sweat off, I kitted up and lined up with the Cat 4s. Me, John and Zak representing for IBC.

The plan: Zak attacks up the hills to push the pace and tire others out, while John save himself for the spring finish. I was to lead John out (if possible) or at least get him to a good position on the last lap. this wasn't even necessary as John took a flyer on the last turn and stuck it until about 25 meters to the line.

I tootled in mid-pack in the thirties. Satisfied with my daily double and now ready for what is most likely my last Fitchburg Longsjo race.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

IBC Women's Track Clinic

Julie seems to be too busy to do this, so I will.  We had a great time up in Londonderry this Thursday.  About a dozen women from a variety of clubs and locations ranging from Boston to Montpellier, VT showed up to get a taste of track racing.  Mark Bowen of NEBC and NEV led the instruction and shortly had everyone feeling pretty comfortable on their brakeless, fixed gear bikes.  Mike Troisi and I helped out.  Once we had the rules of track racing down, we started racing.  We ran a scratch, points, miss and out, match sprint, and an australian pursuit.  Everyone seemed to have a great time and we had a hard time getting them off the bikes.  But after 3 hours of racing, we fired up the grill and that did the trick.  I've attached a picture of the track bike I put together as a loaner just to give you a look at what was considered the prettiest bike of the evening.  Giulia was the lucky rider.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Housatonic Hills Road Race

Masters 45+
Four IBC masters lined up Sunday morning in soupy conditions. It was John Laupheimer, Brian Anderson, Kevin Young and myself. The dew point must have been 70F. I do worse than most in muggy conditions, so I was having a bit of a panic attack at the start, having brought only two water bottles to the race. Some riders were carrying four. It was 50's and drizzling when I left home in New Hampshire at 5:30am.

The modified course had us starting up Constitution Hill neutral (last year's finishing climb). Lap two would then go up this beast race pace. The finish was moved to in front of registration, a big ring sprint kind of deal, if there was anybody left in the field to sprint against.

Early in the first lap, at least 5 or 6 guys got off the front. I was playing this race a little more conservatively than the last couple, so I was buried in the field when this occurred. With prominent teams represented, the blocking was overt. We coasted down every little hill and soft pedaled the climbs. This was nuts. Surely there were other teams or individuals that weren't ready to throw in the towel just yet. I wasn't. Myself and Brian started taking some good pulls. This motivated others to come around the blockers, especially that persistent Deno's guy that kept getting in the way. Paul Wonsavage (Onion River Sports) put in some serious chase effort too. As we got to the steep pitches in climb three, we shut the break down. I think Bill Thompson (CCC/Keltic), Tom Luzio (Deno's), maybe Dave Kellogg (Arc en Ciel) and others were in this initial break.

After some serious descending at 50mph, we hit the KOM blip on the way down. This was nasty, as you go from full tuck to all-out grind in seconds. I actually led the field almost all the way up this 200+ft rise. With John Funk (Cycle Fitness) breathing in my right ear, I had no intentions of going for the KOM. I just wanted some margin cresting the top, as I suspected a split could form there. It didn't. I did not feel so good after this climb - a bit nauseated from over heating. I was almost through my water already, and we weren't even half way through the race.

Next up was Constitution Hill. This was the hill I believed before the race would be the main selector. What was left of our field at this point (30 guys?) hit it hard. About a third of the way up, my thermal cork popped. I was getting abdominal cramps from overheating. Past experience tells me that muscular cramping is just around the corner when this happens. I seriously contemplated dropping out at this point before having a complete meltdown. I have never willingly dropped out of a race though, so I became relegated to the fact I was not going to make the selection on this hill. I was amazed how nimble Gerry Clapper (Benidorm) and Dzmitry Buben (CCB) came flying past me to join Funk and others as they pulled away. I was in good company though with Todd Buckley (Arc en Ciel), Joe Rano (Bike Alley), Mark Luzio (Cycle Fitness) and others. But the deal was, most of these guys had someone up in the break, so they weren't going to work too hard.

This pretty much shut my race down. With Funk, Buben, Clapper, Eric Pearce (Bethel) and a couple others in the break, they would surely be gone. In my group, the first chase group, guys bridged up to us over the next several miles. Our pace was relaxed. Then we'd hit the next climb and shell a few. After climb three, I think we were down to less than 12 guys. I figured if I can just hold off totally seizing up, I might make top 2o. Then we hit the KOM hill again. I had so many muscles cramping in my legs I thought I was going to fall over like I did at the Everest Challenge race last year. There were several riders from other fields on the side of the road here that were cramped up. Mark Luzio was setting the initial pace up this little prick of a climb. I told myself if I can just make the summit, I should be able to finish the race. I cleared the top without a cataclysmic meltdown with Luzio, Tom Officer (also Cycle Fitness) and one other rider with a small split behind us. The split didn't last long though. I certainly had nothing left to contribute to the effort. I was looking for wheels to sling my bungee cord on to.

When we got to the bottom we have a couple miles of flat to the finish. Buckley launched early here and held a slim gap to the finish. There were a couple other fliers here, but we pretty much came together making the corner into the finishing area. Officer made a nice attempt and gave me a great wheel to be on until about the 200m sign. Then I went. I'm pretty sure I was first from the group to cross the line, a few seconds behind Buckley who launched earlier.

We had conflicting reports of how many were in the lead group. We heard 4, 5, and 7. So I figured I made top 10. But when preliminary results went up, I was not in the top 10. I protested, and apparently they missed me. They revised the results showing me as 9th. I'll take it for a race I nearly abandoned. My legs were so messed up I couldn't even walk right. I drank 4 bottles of water, 1 lemonade, and 1 chocolate milk at the finish area. I drank more when I got down to my car.

Seeing the results now on bikereg, it looks like the front group fragmented pretty good too, with riders crossing in one'zees and two'zees. They had 5 minutes on us though. I surely would have imploded had I tried to stay with them on Constitution Hill. Thanks to help from Brian, IBC helped shut down what looked like a very promising break in the first lap.

Turned out to be a decent race for me, but the day was a bit stressful overall. I was going to comment on how well the course was marshalled, specifically about the enthusiastic young ladies marshalling many corners. But after seeing the attention CTodd drew from his last post, I will reserve my comments.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

9,571 Calories...

That's right. I burned that many calories yesterday. I rode from Somerville to South Boston to Windsor, VT yesterday in the annual Harpoon Brewery to Brewery ride. The route was long and a little crazy.

I started in the "19 mph" group. We wound through at a leisurely 16mph and not until we reached Arlington heights did we get to a 19mph speed. The group had to have been about 50 or so riders large. Once we got out to Concord/Carlisle things were moving a lot faster than 19mph. 22-3mph more like it. Not that I was having trouble, but I thought if we were to cruise at 19mph or another 120 miles it might be good to not be hammering, right? We kept on cruising around the 22-24mph mark until the first water stop at 46miles. Much needed as my water bottles were empty and I didn't have too much food. Thanks to Ciclsmo Classico for sponsoring and working that water stop.

My nutrition strategy wasn't too well thought out for this ride. With planned stops at 46 and 108 miles I figured I could stick wheel I needed in my back pockets and that would suffice. Hah ha ha.

Upon departing the waterstop there was a really really nice climb. Pretty gentle in grade and a little twisty with a lot of shade. I got to the front to set the pace for the group. This way there was not going to be any 20+ speeds going uphill on my pull! I kept it smooth and steady for just about the whole way up. At the top I found that I was in a group of about 10 with some triathletes. The next 10 miles were fairly flat and this group was in a paceline ranging from 26-35mph. It was nuts. Triathletes can certainly hammer. Somehow I found myself pulling at 30mph on a flat! I couldn't believe it. There was one woman triathlete in the group and I must say, the view from her draft was quite delightful.


Anyway, I started feeling hungry, and noticed my waterbottles were near empty and the next rest stop was still ~25 miles away. Ooof. We came upon a major intersection and there was a pretty large Mobil gas station. It looked like a lot of other riders had the same thing because you'd have thought it was a water stop! I said goodbye to the group (and the um, "scenery") to grab some food and get more liquids.

I walked into the store and in my low-blood-glucose state I didn't get enough liquids! One vitamin water, 3 bars. That's it. I needed two more bottles of liquid. I knew I had some miles before the next rest stop, I just didn't know what was to come next on the ride.

I took off initially with a group of guys but quickly left them. I think they were in the "sweet 16 group" because pulling on a flat at 18mph found me hundreds of meters ahead. I figured "oh well" and would take the next 20 miles on my own and catch up with folks at waterstop #2. I found myself in various groups of hammerheads and not-so-hammerheads until Mile 89 hit.

Mile 89 hit with a vengeance. A sharp right hand turn and then it was up, up, up. Steeper than the last climb and of course I had 1/4 of one water bottle with anything in it. It was around 1pm and the sun was HOT. This climb offered little shade although there was some overcast in the clouds the sweat was pouring off me. I was dehydrated. Badly.

I suffered like a dog, but I wasn't the only one. Bodies were everywhere. People walking their bikes, stopping at the side to rest in the shade, etc. Once over the major climb, there was a van with a guy advising riders to slow for a nasty intersection. I asked, no begged, for water and thankfully he had a gallon or so to share. That helped, but the damage was done and recovery would be difficult, eve with 40-50 miles to go. Thankfully, I found a small group to ride with, er.. draft off of, to waterstop #2.

Waterstop #2 was quite large, and offered a vast array of goodies, with one problem. Very little water. I was able to get a cup of water and refill one waterbottle with powerade, but that was it. "Five to ten minutes more water will be here," I heard that for about 20-30 minutes. I left the stop with the MRC boys and rode the blue train until about 10 miles to go when I got dropped up a hill. It was clear I was cooked. What I found amazing was that even in this state I could crank it up to 22mph on the flats.Who knew I had that in me?? Climbs were a different story because they needed real power and any power I had left was waning due to the dehydration.

Crossing the covered bridge into Vermont was a sigh of relief, only a couple of miles left! I turned into the brewery and crossed the line. I was supposed to drop my bike off, pick up my finishers t-shirt and check in, but no. I went straight for the water table. I downed about three 12 once vitamin waters in about 10 minutes and I ate a bagel. I sat at a picnic table while the band started its set and just thought how amazing the ride was. Epic almost. I wished I had prepared better nutritionally, but it was a GREAT 148 miles. I would highly recommend this ride. It was incredibly well organized, well marked and even though I signed up my myself found plenty of riders to share in the suffering with.

I got myself showered up (after waiting quite a long time inline) then went and filled my tummy with barbecue. It started raining as Richard Fries was throwing out schwag to the crowd. At least the rain held off until the end. I packed my self up, brought my bike to the truck and hopped on the bus ride back to Boston. This morning I calculated just how many calories I burned in the 8.5 hours I spent on the bike. If that's a grand tour-like stage, I wonder what it's like to have to do that day-after-day for three weeks straight?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mystic Velo Crit

Kevin Young, Jody Dean, and I went down to Charlestown for the Mystic Velo Crit today.  It was a fast field with Eric Pierce, Paul Curley, Mike Pavlov, Joe Rano, and Karl Hambrecht there, just to name a few.  It was fast as expected with a pretty strong break emerging early.  I bridged up to it with Karl H.  but ran out gas just as we caught them.  Fortunately, as I drifted back to the pack, it caught the break.  There was pretty constant attacking til the last lap.  Then a furious field sprint.  I was just a bit to far back at the last turn, made up some spots in the sprint, but finished a bit disappointed at 16th.  Kevin and Jody were right behind me.  

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bake Sales and Bike Races!

Bike racers! This is your lucky day! This Sunday, Jess and I are going to be selling our cupcakes/works of art at the Wells Ave race, and you can be there to buy them. The scoop is this: they put skiing nationals out in Anchorage, AK, next January, and both Jess and I are going to race there. Because there is no point to being wicked fast on skis if you can't race against the best in the country to prove it! Just plane tickets are upwards of $800 right now, and with gas prices the way they are, they won't get much lower. So, we're trying to raise some money to get ourselves way up north this winter.

This weekend is our "pilot" bakesale--we'll give out some cupcake premes, we'll be set up right next to registration, we'll have coffee, scones, and healthy muffins for the health-conscious racers, and we'll have boozy, sugary, creations from heaven for everyone else. We'll be there from ~10am-noon, approximately, and if this is a good idea, we (or maybe just me, since Jess lives in Rochester and was just here for a conference) could make appearances throughout the summer.

Our list of goodies, rather tentatively, is as follows:
-Margarita Cupcakes
-Car-bomb Cupcakes (Guinness cake with Bailey's frosting)
-Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
-Cookies and Cream Cupcakes (possibly)
-Sparkling Cranberry Gem Cookies
-Chocolate Chip Cookies
-Lemon Bars
-Strawberry Scones
-Soft Pretzels (possibly)
-Healthy post-race Recovery Muffins
-Cinnamon rolls (possibly)

See you there! (and if you have any special requests, you can leave them in the comments)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Coyote Hill MTB Race

I noticed nobody had put a race report up yet for Coyote Hill. We had six racers flying the IBC colors (this was two weeks ago, I think?). Thom, Linnea, and Colin (and possibly George?) were there on Saturday rocking the short-track and the hill climb, while Rachel and I showed up Sunday to join these crazy folks for the regular race. Coyote Hill is awesome, the course is almost all singletrack, and it was built with bikes in mind, which is a great change from random singletrack that bikes are allowed on. It was hot, but it wasn't too brutal, and it was nice spectating weather, which always makes for a good day. I won't report on other people's races, but I think they went well, we had a bunch of podium appearances.

My race went significantly better than my race here last year, which was my first MTB race ever, and probably the fifth time I'd ever ridden that mountain bike, which came after a very long hiatus after my first mt bike was stolen. Long story short, last year I endoed twice in my warmup, four times in the race, hit two trees, and crashed rather painfully off a bridge. Suffice it to say I was not smiling at the end. Anyway, this year was great. I only crashed once in my warmup, stayed upright on all the bridges, and had multiple instances during the race when I found myself thinking, "this is FUN!" Now thats the way a race should be!

I guess if I rode my bike more these things would get easier, but at least I snuck onto the podium this time, second overall and second in my age class. Yes, there were more than two of us!