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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Noticing a Trend

Dear Readers,

I am noticing a trend in reaction to my cycling fashion:

"I can't have you looking like a hobo.."

-Current Team Director John Lux

"We are doing sleeveless jerseys this year mostly because I'm tired of Vanderbacon slashing the sleeves off his jerseys. That guy racks up uniform fines like it's his job."

-Former Team Director Kris Effin' Auer

"So about that pink leopard helmet, it kinda clashes with the kit a bit, I can get you something else..."

-Former Team Director Fort Greg

"You know if you ever fall on hard times, and you know you are homeless, please speak up, because  based on your fashion choices, your friends won't know if you don't say something..."

- Tom McDaniel

thanks for reading.


Monday, August 24, 2015


Dear Readers,

Yesterday, one of my favorite people in the world Anne Rock raced in the Arsenal Crit in South Philly. The was a huge mile stone, and victory for Anne. After swapping texts with her in the afternoon, I asked her to put together a write up of her event. I hope you love this piece as much as I do! Without any further ado:  

Brain, Body, Heart & Soul

I love bike racing. Road. Track. Cross. Mountain. All of it.
You know those freaks that go bananas on the top of cols at the Tour de France? Who join
fantasy cycling leagues? Who wear costumes at races because how could you not? Who eat
French pastries during July and watch both morning and evening broadcasts of the Tour
stages? C’est moi.

My passion for spectating is almost proportionally opposite to my skill at racing.  I’m a cat 1
spectator and pack fodder in cross and mountain bike races. Road has been my weakest
discipline, my nemesis, the one that constantly crushes my spirit.
I’ve been doing Tuesday morning sprints.  And the Thursday Great Valley training crit. I’ve
got two ascents of Monte Sainte Anne in my legs. Two!  I’ve lost the equivalent of a cat litter
bag of weight over the last few months. I’ve been frequenting the local yoga studio so much

I say OM in my sleep.

My body is ready!

When I got shelled almost immediately in last week’s women’s open at the Ambler Crit, I
couldn’t believe it. Getting shelled is what usually happens when I try a road race, but I
thought all this training would produce different results.

It turns out my shellacking wasn’t due to lack of fitness. Worse. The culprit was my brain.
I am a head case. And my head is enemy territory.

I’ve never been a strong road rider. Or at least that’s what I’ve told myself. And when you
tell yourself something enough, you start to believe it. Then you become it.

“I can’t climb.” So I get dropped on hills.
“I can’t bridge gaps.” So I get dropped during attacks.
“I have no business being at this race.” So I take myself out.

In preparation for cross, I aimed for the ¾ race at the Arsenal crit. As I rode through 24
miles from Northwest to South Philadelphia to get to the course, I was at peace with being a
head case. I knew that being physically prepared for the race wasn’t an issue. It’s all about
mental toughness.

Before the race, I chatted with Shaina Kravitz, a rider I admire greatly for her grit and
perspicacity. She offered sage advice, as did Werner Freymann and my husband, Gus

For once, I followed directions.
From Shaina: “Stay in the pack. Don’t go off the front.”
From Werner: “Try to be 5th wheel. Don’t go off the front.”
From Gus: “Your goal is not to win. Your goal is to finish with the pack.”

The race went well, without incident. I managed to stay 5th wheel or thereabouts for most of
the race. I ignored invitations from the front to take a pull, accepting only one and pulled
for about ¼ lap. Any time a gap started to form, I had Paul Incognito’s voice in my head
yelling, “Grab a wheel, Rock!”  I almost over-cooked a turn, narrowly avoiding hitting the
curb, and slightly soiling my chamois. Just kidding. Not about the turn, but the chamois.

Bell lap, and I’m still in it. Not just in it, not just hanging on, but moving up, making choices,
bridging gaps.

You know. Racing.
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Miesemner via Annette Weaver FB 

I didn’t contest the sprint. Coming out of the final turn, I sat up, mesmerized by the
kaleidoscope of jerseys and whirling cassettes. Dizzy from a hard effort. Comforted by a
sense of belonging. Grateful for the joy of two wheels. Pumped that my body overcame my

And that’s when I burst into tears.
Because today was all about the mental and emotional aspects of racing.

After my cool down lap, I rode over to Gus who had been cheering for me like a champ.  He
helped me understand that it doesn’t matter what other people think about your
performance. It’s only important what you think about your performance.

And then I burst into tears again.

Because let’s face it. Cycling is all about the passion.

At least for me.

Thanks Anne and Congratulations and thanks for reading.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Kris Auer and The Magic Skinsuit

Dear Readers,

I am really excited to be flying the Deluxx Bikes Cyclocross Team Colors this fall. I think that the change of venue for me has added an additional  sense of excitement for cross. I am honored for this new opportunity and excited to be apart of this new team. It's gonna be an awesome season.

That said, without a doubt the best years of my racing "career" were as a member of the C3 team. I'll add that I will always look back on my time with C3 with great pride. Kris Auer is a good friend. I was stoked to work with him as a coach, and as a team director. I learned a ton from him. I count myself lucky to have him as a friend. He was the kind of guy that could make a mid-pack guy like me feel like a world beater. A number of times, I know he coaxed my best rides out of me. Rides that frankly, I'm not sure I believed were possible. He taught me to believe.

then there was this one time...

A few years ago, I came into Charm City pretty cooked. I was in school, work was hard and I wasn't so stoked about racing the Charm City Weekend. Auer gave me the ole "fatmarc the team needs you to race this weekend." which I always suck up. I could never say no to Auer.

That weekend of Charm City our new kit also came in. The new skinsuits were bad ass. But, I'll admit it, I just wasn't into racing that weekend. I was tired, I was busted. I wanted to do my stuff for the race, and go home and sleep.

As I kitted up, Auer noticed I wasn't wearing my new skinsuit. As we warmed up and rode together, he commented, "it's a tough field today, gonna be a hard one, make sure to race your race, and make sure you wear your skinsuit."

In my mind, Auer knew that I wasn't mentally into racing. I reasoned, that if I wore the skinsuit it would mentally trigger me to bring my best. This was our race, Charm City- regardless of how tired or cracked I was, it was my job to bring my best. It was my responsibility to the team to race my guts out for the team regardless of how I felt. Auer was once again tricking my best out of me.

On Auer's advice, I put on the skinsuit. And I threw down during my race. I finished 21st that day in a nasty deep and hard race that was one of the deepest field I'd see that year.  Looking back, that race was one of my best races of that season. I was super stoked.

After the race, all of the C3 guys in the 35+ race gathered and shared stories. I hugged Auer and thanked him for once again coaxing another ride out of me that I wasn't sure I had in me. Auer looked at me puzzled. I explained, "dude, telling me to wear the skinsuit, you knew you'd get the best from me. It was a stroke of motivational genius. Well done."

Auer laughed, and said, "man, the new skinsuits look rad- I just wanted everyone to wear them."

Sometimes I just need to get out of my own head.
fucking Auer.
ruined short sleeve skinsuits for me that day.

thanks for reading.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

DCCoD Grass Track Week 2 (this week with photos)

Dear Readers,

Today's blog dedicated David Lowe, one of mid atlantic's biggest grass track advocates and guardians. Heal quickly my friend, looking forward to lining up with you again soon!

This is the only picture of Big Time Glen Turner that I got today.
 Look as he surveys  over the area for which he is about to crush:
I didn't see it at first, but know that's not what's happening...

I only have this picture of Glen, because it was the only time his was behind me all day. Good on him.
Bothel and Jimmy ROCK Mauer..
Third race of the day was the lazy man's race. Win and you're out on the 2/4/6 lap. Turner took off like a shot from the gun, and I tried to cover his wheel. I had hoped to sneak up on him and maybe steal the 2 lap and the win. Turner was having nothing to do with it.

As a result of my effort, I had a pretty good head start into the 3rd lap over the rest of the group and started the 4th lap with a good sized gap to the group. I was hurting, but stayed steady. I still have a good gap over the group heading into the 4th lap. Ryan is stalking me again. I make the final turn and glance back. Ryan is sprinting hard. I stood and start sprinting. We bound for the line for the second week in a row.  We throw for the line, and roll around the corner starting the 5th lap.

He's coming for me. Full Speed...
Ryan smiles at me and says, "I think you got it this week!" Was it deception and guile getting revenge on youth and talent? I  don't think so. Dear readers, between you and me, I think Ryan just wanted two more hot laps, and I was happy take that sprint, and claim 2nd in this race.

A quick clip of Hailey, Diane and Jenn's team time trial.  Each rider does a lap at the front and rolls off... Bummed to have miss Hailey on the video: and John...

(I)Paul to the outside- Monk and Anne ROCK take the inside line...
those are Dennis's legs...

Ryan, Bob Joos, Mike and JHIII staging for the next effort... and Jenn Sears

Ladies on the front row...

Lisa V

John with JHIII and Monk trailing...

the head master of grass track for the DCCOD (I)Paul splits the difference between Bob and Mike.
Great group out today, some really fun racing, and great efforts. Thanks to (I)Paul and Lisa V for facilitating and make this happen. Great times. I leave you with this awesome video of me blowing up:

thanks for reading.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

the return of grass track

Dear Readers,

Today marked the start of 2015 DCCoD (Delaware Cyclocross Coalition of Delaware) grass track season. (I)Paul the mad-man/master mind behind DCCoD grass track gave us a brief reminder of the rules:

1. no tubulars glued last year
2. big ring only
3. no crashing
4. have fun

Paul has been giving that speech before every session since 2007.  Yeah- 2007.

We had a nice group of riders today. It was a competitive,and fun. I always forget how hard it is to make a bike go fast on the grass.

As I think about my morning ride, the third effort sticks out in my mind.

It was a 6 laps points race with sprint points on laps 2-4-6. My plan was to go hard from the gun and try to steal the first sprint. But then I false started. After everyone got re-set, we re-started, but this time everyone had my adopted my plan, and I was pretty much DFL on the line.

After two laps, I was in 4th, and the pace at the front let up just a bit as Ryan, John, Dennis and Mike recovered from the first sprint. I stood and attacked coming around the group. I was out of the saddle going full gas as the third lap completed. All that stood in the way of me, and winning the second sprint was 200 meters. Perhaps my deception and guile would pay off!

But then a funny thing happened. Ryan, buoyed perhaps by the hair of Thor closed the gap and clawed his way back to my rear wheel. We entered the final straight and I could see him creeping up on the inside. I stood and sprinted with every bit of strength I could muster. Ryan kept coming and as the lap finished we both threw our bikes for the line.  We rounded the corner and started the final two laps.

As we completed lap 5 and passed (I)Paul,  he yelled, "Ryan got you on the line!" Ryan stood and accelerated again as we started our final lap. He quickly opened up a bike, two bike length lead on me. I stood to respond, but the lights were on and no one was home. Ryan rolled to the finish with a comfortable gap as he took the effort, posting up with a smile as he glanced back at me. Youth, strength and talent had been triumphant over age, deception and guile. It's the answer to the test that I already know, but can't walk away and give up yet...

Grass Track was awesome today. Great to be on the cross bike and to racing with some friends. That lap 4 sprint was the highlight of the day for me, despite not getting it. That was my one shining moment, in the course of getting slapped around. But it was worth it. That moment- that meaningless sprint on lap 4 of a 6 lap points race was perfect. There was no thought of my knee, or of work, or of life,  or anything just looking for  a little more to make it to the line first... That effort- made my day.

Next session, next Sunday...

thanks for reading


Friday, August 7, 2015

Guest Blogger: Kita Roberts and her first half marathon

Dear Readers,
We have our fourth guest blogger here at Cuter than James Franco- Kita Roberts! About 3 years ago my friend Kita and her boyfriend Josh asked Diane and I about getting mountainbikes. As is usually the case we ended up throwing them in the deep end of the pool! Despite having not ever competed athletically previously, Kita has fallen in love with cycling, and along the way discovered that she enjoys and has an aptitude for running too! Kita won the Trail Creek Running Series in 2014 and recently ran her first half marathon. I asked her to write up the experience for me. I hope you enjoy her write up as much as I did. Kita is an accomplished food blogger, if you dig that stuff you should check her blog out here. Thanks Kita!

At the start line of a bike race, you look left and right, and in those 30 seconds before go, you see the fire in your competitor's eyes. You see the drive to be first into the winding single track. There is ambition and fear, nerves and smiles. It's adrenalin sneaking into your veins that is promising to make the next few miles amazing.

The moments before my start at the ODDyssey Half Marathon in Philly, there was still chatter and muffled conversations as I stood elbow to elbow unsure if I would even hear the start or just know when to run based on the crowd. It was hot, unexpectedly so, and the race was already a half hour delayed. My normal race nerves had come and gone. With some unexpected travel in May, I hadn't put in the hours I needed training for a race and I approached the start knowing I wasn't going to make my desired time. Wrong attitude from the start. But "Go," came over the microphone and damned if I wasn't going to try.  

Running is different from biking for me. It's so different. There's a flow with biking, even if I am not as smooth as my friends. I can still find a mental space and smile from ear to ear as I struggle to maintain a pace and keep up. It's challenging but amazingly entertaining.

Running is different. Every time one foot hits the ground it's a reminder of how many more steps there are and the tick of every mile is a long countdown to the next. My mind doesn't fog over into that euphoric state, and I am constantly going over a mental checklist of my breathing, my legs, stride, form, pace, and most of all - trying to remind myself my struggle is all in my head. The breathing is good, the legs are fine, my stride is working. Stop thinking and run.

But I don't stop thinking. Miles one through six are great. I am running faster than I need to to make my goal. A full 30 seconds faster than I should be for what I want. I cross the half way marker right on target to be ahead. I'm over thinking those seconds and everything going on around me. I notice someone has dropped a packet of pills on the pavement as I round the corner.
Then it hits me.

That extra time I had built in didn't stand a chance as the climb over a bridge wipes me, the heat and the nerves kick in. I see a runner go down and need water and I start to think. I start to calculate every half mile, counting down water stops and people. I feel a wicked blister forming on my foot and I can't see the pace runner any longer.  The next few miles are a struggle to get out of my head. I find a seasoned runner and hang on to her for a while. My grip loosens, and the rabbit, sensing me clinging, with years of experience on me, dashes off. I took a moment to recompose myself, drink some water, get a little queasy. Not at all the race I had been hoping for earlier in the season. I am left to one more climb. Under two, maybe three miles. It's a 5K at this point. I can crush a 5k. Everyone is walking.

With running, when everyone around you is moving quickly, it's easy to get caught up in the movement and hurl yourself forward. When everyone slows, I subconsciously slow with them. But, I can run a hill. I know I can. I love hills. And I'll be damned if I let this one get me. I cheer a few peers on as we muster up it and I know the finish isn't far.
Finally, at the end, my friend is waiting to cheer me on. Remind me to hustle. That one little push and I sprint all out to the finish. It was a crushing 10 minutes over my goal. But, it was my first half marathon, and I finished. It was hot, and my bike would have been so much more fun, but I loved it. Running is a welcomed challenge in every moment, a push, and so wildly different for me than my bike. Every step is a victory for myself, every time I dig a little deeper shows me that I am capable of so much more than I thought. It wasn't the finish I wanted, but it was still a finish. Now, I have something to train for.

The ODDyssey was a blast as a first time half. It was a beautiful run with awesome support and volunteers. The beer tent afterward was flowing, and the spectators were great. I give it up to everyone who finished - but those who finished in creative costumes make the whole thing even more fun. For a first half marathon, it was a great one.

Overall: 915 of 3253 / Gender: 91 of 374 / Time: 02:10:25

thanks for reading


Monday, August 3, 2015

Granogue Cross Clinic- Wednesday Evening - September 2

Dear Readers,

I am really excited to be working with Nick Sears and Train Smart Sports Coaching to provide a Cyclocross Skill Clinic Wednesday, September 2 at Granogue. We'll offer two groups an advanced and beginner/intermediate. We plan to provide riders an opportunity to slow down and focus on technique improvement, and provide some insights to one of the toughest technical courses on the east coast.
The clinic is the Wednesday evening (5:45pm-8pm) before the Granogue cross race and will also provide attendees the only chance to see/ride the course before race day. Space will be limited as we want to provide optimum attention to our attendees. Proceeds from the camp will go towards the DCCoD's insurance for cross practice and grass track. Reg opens today at noon, and spaces are limited. check it out here:…
Additionally, thanks to Paul Incognito and Lisa Vible without whom this wouldn't be possible.

thanks for reading, and I hope you can make the clinic.