Monday, December 28, 2009

SLC Road Trip

Christmas came and went and with the dawn of the next day came a nice adventure. Nice depends on your definition. My buddy Bob was in town for the holiday and had this crazy scheme of moving an old MG B that he had acquired out from NJ to his new place in Salt Lake City UT. The problem was that he couldn't move it alone since it would be far too long of a road trip. Hence, here's where I come into play. He offered to have me come out with him and help drive the trip. While I was out in SLC I could get a few days of real skiing in, and then hop a nice flight back the following Sunday. Sounded good so I jumped in.

This is day 3 of the trip after a nice 41 hour trip from Parsippany to SLC. It was a long and arduous trip as not only were we towing a car on a trailer which slowed our speed, but we encountered 3 good snow storms to make traveling an epic adventure. In each of the three states: Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska we hit some snowy conditions that just got worse and worse. The most horrid conditions were in Nebraska when Bob was driving. It was really treacherous and we would see the effects of this storm later. All I know is that I awoke from sleeping in the back of the Jeep when we stopped to get gas and Bob was saying that was the hardest 3 hours of driving he's ever done. I didn't pay much attention since I slept very well :-). What he had stated was very evident in the next few hundred miles that were driven. There had to be over 100 cars and trucks all over the median and sides of the road that had been crashed and abandoned. It looked like some scene from a war movie with all the carnage. There was even tape on the vehicle as it was evident the police were responding to make sure no one was trapped in the storm. Very scarry stuff.

After that the remainder of the trip went very smoothly and uneventful all the way into SLC. Just one long scarry trip that will linger in my mind for a bit.

Up next-I'm leaving next morning for a 3 day road trip from Salt Lake City down to St. George UT for a few days of biking. Should be a blast. An update will be forthcoming.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

Got out today for a nice spin before the impending snow storm is about to hit. I was bracing for the storm to hit as I was out riding and was pleasantly surprised to see that it held off for the entire ride. Now it can snow all it wants. And it looks like it will be doing just that. We are supposed to get 12-18+ as the latest update on the news. Sounds fine to me. Make it the nice fluffy stuff so I can possibly ride tomorrow though. We'll have to wait and see.

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Untitled

Saturday, December 5, 2009

P'Burg CX in the Books

(Photo courtesy of Viviana Epstein)

The last race of my 2009 season is officially in the books. I know I should be happy and relieved but I'm kinda bleh... I've had a great season and it seemed that I got stronger each race for CX and now it's over. I guess I'll have to use that motivation to push me harder into the 2010 race season. As it is, the calendar is already shaping up and once I have a few more dates it'll all be set. Here's my recap from today. It was a FUN race for sure.

Hehehe...lets just say we had a real day of cross to end the season. I believe I was the only rider there in just shorts and a short sleeve jersey. I needed the mental patient advantage :twisted:

I got to P'burg at 10 to see the C race going on and there were some fun sections. No weather was falling yet but the course was delightfully off camber and greasy from the prior rain. It was really a MTB course. Handling had to be ON! 99.9% rideable except for the STEEP runup. You could basically make it 3/4 of the way up and dismount keeping the momentum and cruise the rest - hoping for traction.

So this time I decided to bring my trainer and had a better warmup which seemed to help. As I was spinning for my warmup I reminded myself of my battle plan. I was thinking of the NJBA Cup the whole time. I needed a LARGE gap(5+ places) on Blake Bedoya for 3rd in the series and I needed to stay at most 7 places behind Sam Fiorino. Of course the snow had already started, so with worsening conditions in mind, I had a good feeling about this. Time to beatup on some roadies :D So with that in mind I lined up and got ready to throw down.

I was in the front row and took off hard. I settled in right behind - you guessed it - Blake and Sam. I wanted to match their every more and try to benefit the best I could. Through the first lap they actually gapped me in the fast stuff, but I stayed steady and waited for the move on the off camber and tight sections. My opportunity came - Blake stuffed it into the tape and blocked Sam so I attacked and tried to gap them. It worked for a bit but Blake was too strong as he dropped Sam and he waited for the road to attack and I got back on his wheel. We battled back and forth like this for a while along with Andrew Logudice. Andrew got in the mix and was using Blake to get around me. I was fine hanging on Blake, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking I need places so at some point I need to go. Patience young grasshoppa... I believe in the 2nd lap I was cranking through the open field starring at the competitors ahead through the rain and sleet, and then it happened. Like a switch was flipped the rain/sleet that was falling in the field popped like popcorn and the snow instantly appeared. It was pretty amazing. Any way through the fast section Blake and Andrew were starting to open a gap again and I did what I could to catch back on which happened when they bobbled in a corner. I cranked through it and got around them taking the hard lines that I worked to my advantage. I pedaled HARD to get and hold that gap as I had some sections that were tricky and the weather was getting worse. I just rode the nasty stuff better. As the course looped back on itself I saw Blake, Andrew, and Sam still working hard to get back to me but were having issues in the conditions. I was loving it. I was drifting all over and using it to my advantage.

So my last two laps I knew I would keep that gap over the three behind and set my sights on the guy in front of me. It was one of those gaps that was just too big to close. I knew I was riding smoothly and closing but there was too little of the course left. The whole time I'm hoping that Blake drifts back and drops far enough that I can sneak my way into 3rd in the cup. I stay solid on the last lap and still charge hard through the greasy turns and keep it upright the entire time. I head into the finishing stretch not being able to catch the guy in front, and looking back to see that Blake had attacked the group behind and would open a gap and finish one place behind me. Crap...he's such a solid rider I knew he'd be close. Andrew was not far behind but couldn't cover Blake's move. Then behind Andrew, Sam tried to ride the entire runup and flatted his tire and DNF'd. That was sad to see as Sam is such a solid rider.

So things went pretty well all in all. There were 22 starters in the B race and I came in in 7th place. Not too bad. I loved the course as it totally played to my strengths. What a great way to end the season. I'm totally stoked for CX 2010. Does that mean I have to start the tubular fund? Dammit...

On the other side of things I did some of the math. I know - I'm a dork... Blake got 3rd overall in the series by 22 points. I settled right in behind for a solid 4th place finish. I wonder what next season will bring if I actually plan and do some training for this stuff. I'm just happy that the season went well and I had a good time. Now it's time for rest - food - BEER!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

27 Down - 1 to Go!

This has been a LOOOOONG season. First race was March 15th and the last race will be this Saturday, December 5th. 7 road races, 5 100 milers, 7 xc races, and 8 cross races with 1 cross left to go. Saturday it will be all or nothing as it'll be my last chance to blow up and lay down some smack! I hope my legs show up. It'll be fun and as of now it's supposed to be cold and snowy! Bring on the bad conditions!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Early Benchmark

Today is December 1st 2009. As of December 1st 2008 I officially started my training for the 2009 race season. I am not training yet for 2010, as that will start this coming Sunday. The exciting part that I am seeing from my weight log is that this day last year I weighed in at 175.2. At that time in my life, that was actually good, for that point in the season(surviving the turkey bloating) . But for this year I've been a little more active in the cross season and also paying a lot more attention to my caloric intake to prepare for next year.

At this point, everything I'm doing has paid off as right now I weighed in at 158.2. That's a 17 lb head start to next season. I'm not saying that I am drastically going to cut weight this year(or will be able to) but I solidly was racing at 159 or so this past year, and this upcoming year I want to maintain my strength and fitness and cut the extra weight off and get down to the low 150's for race weight. I figure it'll make a huge difference without dragging all that extra weight up those thousands of feet of elevation in the NUE series. Progress is good...

Staten Island CX Race

What a great venue! Today was an amazing day weather wise and what a perfect setting. I really was unsure as I was putting my bike on my car and heading TOWARDS the city!?!?! That faded away as I pulled in and geared up for my preride. Some sweet flat fast sections, a heinous long DEEP beach run followed by stairs and then some more fast sections leading to a MTB like section. It was pretty cool. Especially the fact that we were actually on the beach by the ocean.

My race went off with me in dead last since I was one of the last to register. I found a fast wheel and pulled through a bit of the field but then I just had to keep steady and work my way up. 2 laps into the 10 lap race it started to thin out and I just kept the hammer down. In the one hairpin(lap 3 I think) with mud I went down early trying to ride an outside line which opened up a gap in front of me. I did what I could to try and get back on and just kept it steady. I did get back through a few before going down once more in a fast corner but I didn't lose any places.

Into the last 2 laps I picked up the pace and picked off a few more as they were fading. In the last lap there was a nice little group behind me planning to make a move when one of them went down blocking most of the group. As soon as I heard that I dropped the hammer to get as much of a gap as I could. It held for most of the remainder of the lap and I heard someone sneaking up on the last turn before the finishing straight. As soon as I picked up on it I threw down the biggest gear I had and turned the pedals hard holding him off. It was a pretty good race. Not too solid with two falls but a good one nonetheless.

The most interesting part was realizing the first fall which was probably lap 3 or so almost ripped my front tire off the rim(I had to pick dirt out from under the tube later). It was actually unseated in a 2 inch section but still somehow stayed on the rim(even with 50 psi!). I rode the majority of the race like this with it solidly rubbing my brake hard. Finished 25th of 60+ racers. My mid pack streak is back!