Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy holidays, I think...

Almost two months since an update. Sad indeed, but there is a good reason for it.

Insert real life here:
I posted about my road bike crash that had taken me out of commission for a while. Fortunately, the wounds have healed, except for the obvious scars that will be with me for a while. Unfortunately, I did not post about the slip and fall that I experienced while walking on the rocky beach in La Jolla California the weekend before the crash. Well, as of today, I am STILL having problems with my right wrist, and finally got the news that it had indeed been fractured in that fall and was still not healing well.

Subsequently, I am STILL off the mountain bike (road riding is tolerable with a wrist brace/support) and it looks like I may be for a while until it is pain free.
End insertion of real life:

In the meantime, the hurried arrival of winter's snow and ice has driven me inside and insane (the two seem to go hand in hand quite often) and forced me to begin building up a cyclocross bike. Twisted, I know. But it will pave the way to a good solid ride option for the poor weather.

In any case, keep the rubber side down, have a safe and healthy holiday, and welcome 2010 with a bang. Ok?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And the bike bites back.

Ah yes, it's that time of year where we're trying to get the last hurrah out of a quickly waning summer season. The rain and cold has hit in the northeast, and things have gotten pretty sketchy pretty quickly.

Trails are soggy from heavy fall rains, and are covered with wet leaves and deadfall, so in the interest of not ruining the hard work of many, we stick to the road on days following heavy rains. Of course, there is nothing saying that deadfall and leaves aren't on the sides of the roads either.

That being said, in the 5 years that I've spent seriously riding, both road and trail, I've had my share of crashes, mostly on my mountain bikes. Of course, there was some bruises and scrapes involved, but nothing too terribly bad. Of course, all that had to change on Sunday afternoon.

Riding in paceline, no more than 4 miles from home on a beautiful 60 degree, sunny day, a large sticks (heretofore known as the "little bastard") managed to wedge itself into my front wheel behind the brake caliper. This means that my forward momentum of approximately 20mph carried me right over the bars and to the left, into the lane. Fortunately, no cars were right behind me at the time, and I escaped being flattened by a moving vehicle. My face and body didn't escape the pavement though. My chin cracked down onto the tarmac hard, leaving a deep gash, before I slid and tumbled across the pavement.

After taking a second to determine if I was going to die (I was not) I came to the following conclusions:
1: I was pouring blood from my shredded chin
2: My teeth were all still intact
3: I was laying in the middle of the lane, 2 feet from the yellow centerline, as was my bike and bottles.

My course of action (the two in front of me were scrambling to get back to me at the time) was to scrabble over to my bike on my hands and knees, and half carry half toss all my gear to the side of the road before staggering to the shoulder.

I realized that the bike appeared OK, and even though I was dripping blood at an alarming rate, I appeared to be mostly ok. So, off to the ER I went where they glued my chin back together after fishing out some of the grit.

So here we are, two days post accident. My body is aching and sore in places that I didn't even realize I had. My chin is disgusting to look at, worse to touch and even more painful than I could imagine that it would be. In fact, at times the pain is almost nauseating.

All because that little bastard decided to make itself known and put a quick end to my season. At this point, by the time I heal enough to begin riding again, the snow will be falling and the holidays will be here, which means no riding.

Ahh holidays. What more of a bummer does the year include other than "the holidays?" Those are almost as low on my list as the "little bastard."

On the plus side, time on the sofa means plenty of cycling DVD watching. Hello 2009 Giro and 2008 Tour DVDs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

And a month later...

Here I am again.

Forget updating ever couple of days, I can't even remember to check my bank balance that often. No, I'm kidding. Actually, the real difficulty in updating very often lies in the fact that life (which includes cycling, imagine that!?) has been interfering with...well, life.

Here in the northeast we've become mired in that awful beast known as "fall" in which the sun drops below the horizon early in the evening and leaves us stuck on stationary trainers or bundling up and donning lights to stick out a few miles in the chill of the evening air. It's an ever-present dilemma that anyone in a New England state will have to come to grips with early in their cycling experience. Gone are the long lazy evenings of tooling along trails and less traveled back roads. Those carefree summer days are replaced by worries of darkness, fallen leaves hiding slippery roots or potholes in the road, and the creeping chill of the coming winter.

Not to fret: the weekends are prime time to spend with the rubber side down. Knobby or skinny, mud or tarmac, spinning or mashing, climbing or descending, it is all good. It's just the exhilaration of the ride that makes the week's troubles melt away. It is worth all the time spent in the office, in meetings or on the phone. And it's one of the only escapes from reality that allows us to focus on the next obstacle in front of us without any thought of the consequences lying down the trail.

Wouldn't it be nice if life was just as easy?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I was informed yesterday...

That I forgot the link to the Livestrong Challenge photos.

So, in the spirit of giving (which is a rare spirit for me) go to town.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

After a long hiatus...

Here we are again. Yes, it's been nearly 2.5 months since my last update, but there has been good reason for such an issue. I have been very heavily training for the Philadelphia Livestrong Challenge for the past couple of months. This has meant that weekends have been spent consuming pasta, riding copious miles on my (new-to-me carbon) road bike, and practicing how to suffer mightily at the hands of steep and long slopes.

Why? What's the point?

I have two family members who were claimed by cancer, and I wanted to help the Lance Armstrong Foundation to put this mean bastard to rest, once and for all. So I trained, I trained hard, I suffered, I considered giving up, but I persevered. I rode the 100 mile Challenge, which also happened to be my first ever century (I only began road riding last year, and I was pretty much unable to complete even the metric we tried last year.) What a century to start with, right? 100 miles in 85 degree heat, 90% humidity, sunshine blazing down on the was fantastic.

So, right on.

Now it's back to relaxing. No more training schedules of 75 miles on Saturday, recovery ride Sunday, intervals Monday, etc etc. From here on out, it's going to be "mountain bike whenever I feel like it, road ride to keep some fitness, and drink beer as necessary."

I've been looking very longingly at my long neglected mountain bikes hanging in my garage. My Dawg has been whimpering at me, wondering why he hasn't been run in a while, and my King is still asking when his first race will be. Well champ, hopefully I'll have a free weekend here and there to make that happen.

Here's mud in your eye.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yet more rain...

It has been utterly disgusting how much water has condensed and fallen from the skies in the past few weeks. It seems like we've actually had maybe 2 sunny days per week here in the north east, and that seems to put a damper on the amount of riding one can do. Although the road miles are racking up pretty quickly (what with all the long training rides while waiting for the trails to dry out) and the fitness is good, that's no substitute for getting out and getting dirty.

In fact, this season has been something of a renaissance for fat tire riding for me. Since we've been training ourselves nuts for the Livestrong Challenge and the Harlem Valley Metric Century, riding a mountain bike has been less about training and getting faster than it has been about goofing off, having fun and kicking it old school, with not a care in the world.

Oh yes, and since I have an iPhizzle, I should be able to update from any place, at any time. Maybe even in the no-man's land of Vermont when I go and hit Kingdom Trails again this year.

Yup. That's about the half of it. A new appreciation for mountain bikes, some thrills on the road, no crashes yet this year and a couple of lofty's a good season so far.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh sure, it's been a LONG time...

...but what can I say? Nothing will absolve me of the sin of non-updates, but I can try.

Work has been stifling. I've got a metric century and then a century to train for. I've not been sleeping well. The weather has been combative to say the least.

On the other hand, I seem to be doing something right with my training, as I'm still improving, even when I've only managed about 6 hours per week in the saddle, and sadly, very little of that is fat-tire related saddle time.

Oh, and will have the new issue up soon. Just as soon as I have a few spare minutes to get it all formatted.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 10, 2009

TGIF...and Happy Easter.

Another April Fool's day has come and gone, another Easter is now upon us. Since we as humans tend to look at holidays with a sense of amazement and we regard them as a milestone in the passing of time. How often do we hear "wow, it's Easter already?" or "Wow, how can it be 4th of July already? Where has the time gone?" So as the march of time wears on, we pass holiday after holiday and occasionally consider what we've accomplished to this point in the year.

As a cyclist, we find that holidays are less important to gauging what has been accomplished in life than the general populace. Our accomplishments are measured as races and calendar events, training miles and hill climb times. Every race day becomes a holiday, another chance to cut loose and measure our progress. Many people life their lives by the professional racing calendar, wringing their hands in anticipation of races like Paris-Roubaix, Ronde Von Vlaanderen and Liege-Bastonge-Liege (I apologize in advance for my horrendous spelling, but I am French language retarded.)

Holidays are tough times of the year for cyclists. We love spending time with our family, but there's an interesting dichotomy in that our bikes are often considered family, or very nearly so. All too often, a holiday affords us a day off from work, which would be considered a gift of family time. There always is a tough decision to make: human family or bike family? The tyranny of the work week can often drive us to crave the freedom of the open road (or trail) as an outlet for our stresses, frustrations and emotions, and the gift of a day without paperwork, phone calls or meetings is a godsend. However, when we consider the two families at odds with one another, it becomes a balancing act of epic proportions.

So what can you do? You've got all day, a gift from "the man", and you need to get your fix. Ride early, ride late, ride with your other family, or just plain ride. Your other family will understand. They'll see the grin, feel the aura of happiness and joy, and all will be right in the world.

Just don't overcook the ham by going on a ride and forgetting it's in the oven.

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Whatever. Ride tough, keep the rubber side down.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oh, that farmer's tan.

There's nothing better than that point in the season in which you get your first cycling sun burn. Here in the northeast, we've been stuck in the throes of a miserable winter for what seems like eternity. Recently, we've been lucky enough to get a couple warm days here and there which have allowed time on the road. Trails are too wet still, but a couple more days of sunshine should be all they need to dry out.

I can't fricken' wait, but still, it's nice to be outside enjoying the fresh air and the sunshine just the same. Although, there's no better way to get base miles and feel good on a bike than to chill out on a road bike, hitting some wicked climbs and screaming descents. Who knew that road riding could be such a thrill?

On a little more thrilling note, I've signed on to ride the Livestrong challenge in Philadelphia this August. So that means I have about 5 months to get ready to ride a century with nine thousand feet of climbing. Shouldn't be too difficult, right? My ass will be the color of sangria by the time I'm done with that thing. Preparation is key, and I've got my racing and event calendar planned out already. Mountain bike race in June, metric century in July, and the Livestrong in August. One good solid event per month should have me enough incentive to put the training time in and keep me having some fun at the same time.

Anyway, I need to go and prevent my future dear wife from punting my cat across the room. Such civil unrest...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Woo hah, daylight savings time.

The first sign of the beginning of cycling season is the extension of daylight, courtesy of the federal gubbermint. Maybe it doesn't save a lot of energy, but it sure does help me expend a bit more. I love the fact that in the middle of March, I still have daylight on my drive home (although it IS usually about 6:30, and too late for a ride.)

Of course, even if the after work ride isn't happening yet, at least I know that the temperatures will be warming up and the nice weather will mean lots of weekend thrills.

That being said, my buddy, is helping me guide myself (through the magic of Garmin 705 gps love) through some wickedly cool routes. Give them some love, they deserve it.

And start riding ya bums!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yee HAW! Sunny days and rolling tires!

FINALLY! A weekend with sunny skies, warmer temperatures and a lack of wind/rain/snow was in the cards. Yes, I could have posted a little earlier, but there's been absolutely nothing to post other than "trainer again, more snow, freezing cold" ad nauseum. The weekend was a gift of sun and mid 50s temperatures, and although trails are a swampy mess of runoff water and oily mud, the roads were clear and inviting.

22 miles on Saturday, 10 on Sunday and around 2500 feet of vertical gain were served up with a healthy dose of humility; damn it is early in the season to be hitting it that hard. Trainer miles just don't compare to hitting actual eight and ten percent grades out on the open road.

Ahh, but the joy of having the wind whip through the vents in your helmet, the feel of tires at the limit of adhesion on a screaming descent, and the almost nostalgic pain of climbing for miles on end just made the weekend perfect. Pasta and homemade bolognese following a quick scrub-down of the soiled road racer reminds me that yes, the season is coming. It's already here. Time to giddyup!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baby it's cold out side...

Oh man is it. There's been only indoor riding recently since the temperatures here in the northeast have dipped yet again into the sub-freezing realm, and we've been subjected to a couple more ice storms. It's bad enough to wake up to ice on the car, but it's further demoralizing when you were hoping for some good weekend weather to get out and have a nice, relaxing (but brutally hard) road ride. It really doesn't bode well when you can't walk down the side of the road without feeling like you're walking across the ice at a (insert your favorite hockey team)'s game.

On the other hand, it's easy to do structured workouts on the trainer. The Power To The Pedals program from is a great program, and it's so easily done on the trainer as well. It's actually funny, when you think about it. We derive no joy from riding indoors on a trainer, since you really don't go anywhere at all, yet doing a workout program like that, in conjunction with watching some good TV (like last year's Giro) can make the hour go by incredibly fast.

Oh, and some good company helps as well.

Just think, mountain bike season is almost here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy post Valentine's Day

Well folks, after nearly 2 weeks of blanking you all, I'm back to say happy V-Day.

Riding has been non-existent in the past few weeks. There's just too much to do with moving into a new home and starting workk. I take solace in the fact that I get VS on DirecTV and can follow Velonews. In the world of cycling, there's loads of news: Valverde being questioned by CONI, the Tour of California starting, and, as of this morning, Lance Armstrong's Livestrong time trial bike being stolen out of the team trailer.

Now, allow me to editorialize a little bit here. Whoever you are who is now in possession of an ten thousand dollar bike, you are a scumbag. You're the worst of the worst, a thief of the absolute lowest class and an affront to humanity. Who the hell is so unconscionable that they steal a bike covered in numbers representing cancer deaths? I mean, really. So much for cycling being the sport of the wealthy and high class.

I hope the Twitterati find you sir. I hope they catch up to you while you're trying to unload this beautiful and psychologically inspiring piece of carbon fibre in a dark alley to some shady hot merchandise fencer. I hope they teach you a medieval lesson in all the best Pulp Fiction-esque manners they can possibly begin to think of.

Or, you could bring it back, leave a note of apology and beg for forgiveness from the human race for existing.

*Sigh* It makes me wonder why we as general humanity haven't gone to hell in a hand basket yet.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

After moving and all that funk...'s time to get back on the bike. I'll be starting work soon, I'll be getting a good schedule down soon, so I'll be able to actually ride my trainer on occasion. Actually, I'll have lots of time until I get TV and intarweb access in the new place, although those are coming soon.

That being said, check out the Road Bike Rider E-bookstore and pick up some training info for the coming season. Sure, there's lots of ways to train, including the "just get out and ride for a bit" but I think this year I'll actually have to structure things a little more than I have in the past. I'd like to enter a few races this season (you know, since I have a nice light bike that I can use for racing) and do some longer rides and events. Hell, I might even give a 6 hour or 12 hour event a try. It might be fun, who knows?

Anyway, no outside riding to be had any time soon. Only trainer time. Damn the snow and ice. I'm just dying to get out on the local mountain bike trails, and I'm dying to try my new Garmin 705 on an actual trail. Imagine that.

I guess I'll have to "suffer" with the Tour of California for the next couple weeks. That's going to be a great race, with an incredible field. Here's hoping to some epic early season duelling on the climbs and time trials. And let's go Garmin, let's flex those argyle muscles.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Being sick sucks.

Yes, it's entirely true. It sucks to have a cold. It sucks even more when it goes from your head into your chest and you just feel like utter crap for a few days. Riding? Tuh, forget it. Doing anything involving coherent thought? Forget it.

Even better is the fact of having to move on Saturday. Should be a joyful experience. I'm tired, I don't feel well, and I just don't feel like fighting with the cable company anymore. Bastards. That's a post for another day.

Oh, and update. The Williams Lake Classic mountain bike race will be June 14th, 2009. And it'll be the first race in the Catskill Mountain Bike Race Series. I'll be planning to train for that, for sure. Hopefully the snow will be gone by then.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Just one of those weeks...

...where you have to run yourself into the ground in order to move, finish getting together your life so you can start work, and of course, try to go for a ride. Yeah, right.

I haven't been on the trainer in about a week and I have about...oh, maybe 4 or 5 days to get my base miles in before I need to start the 12 week power program. Yes, there's a race in May that I'd like to be in some kind of shape to ride without dragging my balls behind me. I'm not expecting much, and the fact that I'm in the middle of a move and starting a new job doesn't help.

Blah. I'm rambling. Off to watch Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just a quick note?

Moving sucks. That's a foregone conclusion in most circles, but it's always magnified when you're the sucker that's sucking up a move. Coordinating help, dealing with surly family members who don't want to be bothered to help you move the mess that they partially helped create, and ever-present issues with landlords (both new and old) and utility companies all combine into a vicious stew of suck that is necessarily consumed only to cause an epic case of "life diarrhea." That's right, you become "ol' gravy legs" in an instant when you sign about 4 months of your life away and commit to this atrocity of human existence. I'd prefer to slam my face in a garage door given the chance, but I suppose it is all part of the ebb and flow of life.

That being said...I'm going to sit down, immerse myself in articles about the Tour Down Under and try to forget this truckload of life-poop that's been shoveled into my lap.

Oh, and for the record...

FUCK THE EAGLES. McNabb, you inaccurate son of a whore, get out. Now. And take fatso Andy Reid with you.

Oh god, I need to ride the trainer and get some anger out...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

And now for these commercial messages...

Five days. No, not five days until the Scripture written, Weekly World News reported end of the world as we know it and predicted by Nostradumbass (although there may be some kind of cosmic implosion of sorts.) No, it's five days to the Tour Down Under and the professional return of The Mighty Uniballer, Lance Armstrong. How will it go? How will he do? Will he have his old form back so quickly? Will he conceive yet another child after making sweet, sweet mattress music with his black (or yellow, I think yellow is currently leading) brake hoods? The world is waiting with baited breath to see the final results, both of the genetics test for his girlfriend and his placing in the TdU.

Really though. Love him or hate him, he's back and he's racing for a message. Now don't take this post the wrong way; I love Lance. He was (still is?) the greatest cyclist of his time, possibly of all time. But the cries ring out "He's a doper! Throw him out!" He still beat everyone in the field, and everyone was, at that time, on even terms, and he did it SEVEN times. Oh, and he did beat cancer before that. If there's any blemishes on his reputation, I'd venture to guess that it would be his weakness for ditzy blondes and Matthew XcConaughey. Personally, I prefer the blondes myself, but hey, that's his business.

What I'm really sick of is the utter media circus surrounding this race and this guy. I mean, leave the guy alone for a day, let him visit with family, whatever. But Lance wanted some publicity and he got it. He didn't (or maybe he did and I'm the dope here) bank on the media turning his life upside down with this news of a return. Really, leave the guy alone. There are other people in this race, let's hear something about them as well. We love all of cycling. Lance is just a part of the whole package.

C'est la vie say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell. (Bonus points to who can tell me the artist and song. No google. I'm watching you like ceiling cat.)

Oh, and as I said earlier, yellow seems to be the winner. From Twitter:
"560 VOTES: 262 BLACK (47%) / 298 YELLOW (53%) Many B votes want Y tape. Twitterati hath spoken: GO YELLOW."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Oh the things you'll eat...

So for the past week or so I've been attempting to log my diet using Holy shit, says I. I can't believe some of the stuff I actually stuff into my face with just a casual thought of its utterly abominable dietary contents. Yet amazingly, since I'm polishing off chocolate mousse pie, cookies, soup and other sundry junk food that's leftover from the holidays, I've actually managed to lose the few pounds I put on since Thanksgiving. This is of course no small miracle considering my time on the trainer has been limited by things like finding a place to live and moving. Such is life.

In other news, the Wii Fit is actually a really cool little gaming item. I may actually use the yoga included therein, and I might actually be able to touch my toes by the end of the summer. That would be something I haven't been able to do since I was five. Imagine that.

Oh, and yet more snow here in the northeast. I'm really getting sick of this (and having to fight to break cars free of snow drifts). Show me sun! NOW!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Just had to post this:

This photo caught my eye. Look closely...

That's the same road bike I'm riding right now.

Oh, and there's some woman in the photo too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I love William's Sonoma

What a great place. I'd love to have one of these for the wine snob in me, or perhaps one of these for the post ride entertainment.

In cycling news, it looks like the ice storm here in the north east will as yet prevent any outdoor riding. So that means I'm surfing Velonews and found this gem:

In a year of the comeback, perhaps it’s inevitable that Michael Rasmussen will join the band of riders pedaling back into the fray.

So "pulled from le Tour because he lied to his own team" is expecting that someone will come back and sponsor him? I can't believe that he's expecting to have an easy time coming back. I mean, it's one thing if you're someone like Ivan Basso, who served his two years and was a main rival of the top tier riders when he left the scene, but Chicken wasn't a huge winner of anything except the unlucky lottery.

In fact, he know this:
“It all depends on who wants to have me and where I want to be employed. It doesn’t make sense for me to sign with an Italian team if I want to race the Vuelta. My main goal is still to race the grand tours and we’ll see if I can find a suitable employer. I am confident.”

You keep being confident, Chicken. I'm sure you'll end up with some continental team, and have all kinds of chances to win Grand Tours.

On that note, time to go find some non-William's Sonoma produced coffee.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Trainer time...

Ho hum, more time on the trainer. It does give me time to think anyway.

What does one reflect on while pedaling for an hour and not moving a millimeter (unless you get over-exuberant and the trainer slides an inch to the left?) Well, there's the obvious thoughts of how nice it would be to hit the paved streets, put fat tires to dirt that's not riddled with frost heave, or even breath fresh air instead of recycled canned air. On the other hand, you can think about the New Year's resolution(s) that you've already broken or are in the process of breaking. And then again, you can simply meditate on the trainer until the incessant beeping of your heart rate monitor jolts you back to reality.

Really, how do you pass the time on the trainer without wanting to slit your wrists or auto-erotically asphyxiate yourself with your heart rate monitor strap (now that I write that, I'm slightly disturbed that I came up with it.) A training goal helps. So do some Tour videos or Giro videos. Or you could brave the cold and ride outside.


Time to set goals and order race videos I guess...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year to all!

Happy 2009 blog-monkeys.

Notes to live by in the new year:

1. Champagne is probably the quickest way to get drunk as a skunk, especially after killing a growler of exceptionally potent beer. For those looking for some kind of comparison, try drinking a half gallon of gasoline and chasing it with a double shot of acetone. Ok, I don't really know what I'm saying, but you get the idea.

2. I hate the trainer, but it is a necessary evil. I need to shed those extra pounds that, no matter how carefully you watch what you stuff into your face over the holidays, seem imminently attracted to my mid-section. As I said, necessary evil.

3. Have a goal. Mid May race date, which means I need to be finishing my 12 week power intervals by the first of May. That means...I need to be starting those in February. Wonderful. See number 2 above. Oh well, that's what goals are for.

4. I hate the trainer. Still.

5. Watch what you eat. It's all too easy to spend the day foraging and eating crap. Five or six small meals throughout the day are the ticket, and healthy snacks of fruits, veggies, low fat yogurt, etc keep you from getting the munchies. If you're a mountain biker and a big pot-head, this need not apply.

6. It's too cold for mountain biking, but damn do I miss it. I can't wait for the snow to be gone. I really can't.

7. I hate the trainer. Did I mention that?

8. Have yourselves a happy, stress free and bike filled new year. You owe it to yourself.