any wonder my neighbors think we are insane?
He's ok if he's not the fastest on the block, but that doesn't lead him to treat cycling like an adult kickball league as so many do. Cycling is important. It's ok to train for it. It's ok to want to be faster, because that's actually more fun than sucking completely. At the same time, being fast doesn't make you better than anyone else, and he knows that, too.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
any wonder my neighbors think we are insane?
Sunday, April 27, 2008
We rushed over to the JCC to meet up with Mr. Gavigan Death Trail himself. Gavigan had best in show, and another dude with him. We had a nice group, and then after riding the Gavigan Death Trail, we met up with another group and a pretty big posse going. The group was suffering from a bit of large group paralysis, so International Man of mystery, Les Leach made the call, and we slipped off of the back of the group by ourselves. The next 2 hours were filled with some amazing single track riding. I don't think anyone knows B-wine like Les. I struggled a bit in the big rock garden, I was a little disappointed with that, but made a couple of logs I had not made before. My pedals are really sussed out, and I did a couple of unintentional one footers. That's hard on the confidence for sure.
All in all a pretty spectacular day if you ask me.
he prefers the old TV antenna style.
Paul made a new friend while changing a flat.
While I'm enjoying a spring time semi-retirement, I was stoked to hear of so many friends doing well and qualifying for the Nationals today at Greenbriar. Props to Coach for taking a 2nd in the single speed race.
In closing, I had a nice conversation with Peaches this weekend. He brought up the point that the DCCoD really needs to stop carrying Wes. I mean, last year it was Peaches carrying the load at Cranky Monkey, while Wes sat in and collected another W. This time it was poor little Jeb carrying the load, as Wes got to collect another win down at the Baker's Dozen....
yeah, we both laughed out loud at that one...
four days in a row rolling on the new frame. She's a keeper for sure.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I’ll admit it my memories of the race are dark. E-town was not having a great day, he really had to dig deep into his bag of courage to get through this. 5th place for he and Auer, was a strong performance, despite many challenges. I have raced with Buddy for god I can’t even remember how many of these things, and I remember sitting with him around 9pm and him just starring into space. He said to me, “ I don’t know if I can keep this up…”
I have never heard him utter a word like that, even though I know that he, with is partner BLRich would push through for a strong 8th place. I watched myself bark at my wife as she told me she thought she’d have to take the last lap likely at 11:59pm. My teammate Rik looked exhausted, and tired. I think to myself, “jesus, what have I done to these people, I’m yelling at my wife, she’s riding her best, Rik had gotten away from this, and I, I brought him back in…”
I see my friends, my family laying on the ground suffering trying to get some food in their stomachs to stick. Everyone is trying to get something to power the effort we are putting forth. Wes’s grime covered face, and sheer exhaustion at the finish line. Tom’s lost dazed look as he wandered around the course. “this is a recovery lap” he said to L-Web before leaving.
The course itself, was not that difficult. Smooth fast single track, that was fun to rip, with some rocky sections. You ride over a clump of rocks, around a clump of rocks, through two large boulders. But overall the course was brutally fast, no sections to just glide and roll, no time off the gas. It was attacking, pedaling, pushing the entire time.
Jeff was hurting, a little after 10:00 he had lost his stomach. Gu’s and Gatorade, any solid food had become kryptonite to him. The ever jovial duo of Wheelie Ted and Breyla la had grim determination in their eyes. As defending champions, they were in a battle and trailing by 18 minutes as the sun had set. Doyle Rules, who regularly abuses everyone at this campsite on the toughest of hills, and on the hardest of rides, seemed to incessantly moan and whine. He was hurting like I suspect he had never hurt before. At about 10:15, sitting in a huddle of my friends and teammates, I think to myself, “this is fun? Why the hell are we doing this?” Here I see all my friends looking like death, sunken eyes, veins popping out of legs, grimy faces, and just tired, worn out people.
Dark thoughts parade around my head, as my arms and back still throb with pain. Despite drinking as much water as I could get down after the race, my urine looks like it should be lighting up a neon sign saying “eat at joes.”
The coalition has gotten very good at the team endurance race game. We know how to stratagize. we know how to prepare, we know how hard it is to just finish one of these events, let alone dream of winning. As I looked around the campsite seeing my friends in agony, I question why.
I will admit to you, that at the end, when our plan came to fruition, when the object of my spring focus was over, I did not feel exhilaration, or a rush of excitement, I felt relief. For years, I would always cry when one of these things was over. The tally on me, on my soul was that great, the emotional and physical demand of the race was too much and would regularly leave me balled up somewhere on the ground, crying for joy that it was over, crying out of pride of what we were able to accomplish. These are so hard.
This time, I shed no tears, only felt relief. Relief that the pain was over, relief that we had survived another of these things. I swore right then that these team endurance races are the stupidest thing we ever do, and I for one, am done.
Once again I had look around our compound, and the faces that just two hours ago were long and broken, seemed to have perked up, some are even smiling. Some beers are shared, as well as pizza eating techniques. It could be described as a small celebration.
We’ve done it again, pushed ourselves, our relationships, our trust, our abilities to the brink, for no other reason than we can. I believe that we are all stronger for it.
At lunch today, I stopped by Henry’s to share some of our pirates treasure with truck stop gavigan, the mechanic for this group last weekend. At the shop, I found Rik, Lauri, and Tom. We all complained of hurting, but laughed and smiled about our experience. We talked about how much we loved the venue, how fast the course was, and shared racing stories with each other. Later, I caught up with Buddy, who was all smiles. We shared more stories, and talked about how much we missed Peaches this weekend. It’s never the same without peaches, next year my friend, next year…
Finally, I understood why we had done it, why we’ll do it again. The experiences, the friendships built in the crucible of pain that is these endurance races, are strong. You know no matter how shattered Rik, Buddy, or I am, we won’t quit, we’ll keep driving, we won’t let our teammates, our friends, our brothers and sisters down. I find that much like Napoleon Dynamite, when you are experiencing it, it may not be that fun, but talking about it, it feels like the greatest movie ever made. The suffering is great, but in the end, these events are always worth it. Scheming about next year has already begun.
Perhaps when I think my soul has finally turned black, and I am at the end of my rope, I am wrong, there is light, hope springs eternal…
Sunday, April 20, 2008
My fatal flower how the tigers all laughed
Sapphire eye looks down on my lilacs.
Thanks to PMP, Ms. DeeVious, Fitzy, Brian, Truck Stop Gavigan, Ms. earmuffs, and Megan B. for all their support this weekend.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I know that given my lack of fashion, my preference for dressing like a 17 year old skateboarder, and my pension for wonderful sideburns, that sometimes I tend to look a little rough. The other night on the way home from climbing, I was especially rough. I think it was one of those times that Tom describes as "Faticus, promise me if you ever end up homeless you'll tell someone, because looking at you on a normal basis, no one could tell the difference".
I know he's right. But I digress, I'm driving and I feel Diane just starring at me. I comment to her, " I know honey, I look really rough tonight.." She replies with a smile, " I think you look great, you're my baby, and I love you."
Does it get and fucking better than that? does it?
As the week turns towards the final half, I'm excitedly getting ready for the baker's dozen. I have found some pretty magical form, and with Diane and Slick Rik as my teammates, I'm excited for our chances this weekend. Washing bikes, charging lights, doing laundry... This was a great event last year and I'm really looking forward to the weekend. Not to mention the DCCoD and C3 will have a pretty pimped out camp area.
and on another note, I have also noticed as the world around me is turning greener, I don't feel as angry as I have. That's a good thing, I don't like going around pissed off... well not all the time.
Which is good, because you know when Kim asks how I am, I'd hate to scare her again, much rather just say, "I'm doing quite well, thank you..."I am doing quite well thank you.
thanks for reading.
spring or no spring black is still my favorite color...
Sunday, April 13, 2008
as best I can describe it, it is like the fatguys (domestiques) in the tour taking suicide attacks early in the race, with the hope of stealing a stage. Rarely do they ever work, but every once in a while one sticks...
Would today be my once in a while?
Essentially this is how it went down:
Auer and I take off the front from the start. I am on Auer's wheel, the start is hard, but not cross hard. Auer pulls off an lets me go through. I roll down the hill and get a little gap as Auer is joined by the group. We enter the single track, and Auer's on the front of the scrum. Maybe he wasn't so motivated to chase, as I was up the trail. Who am I kidding, he was blocking like mad, that's the entire point of having teammates right? Working together. I have I mentioned I love riding for C3 lately?
I was on on a suicide break by myself. I was out there, kind of expecting to get caught, but also staying as aggressive as I possibly could.
I kinda figure it would be cool to lead the first lap, and see what happens. So I do.
The second lap starts and I'm still out there by myself. No one is coming around. I wonder when I will be caught. I end the lap leading again. As I came through the start finish, I dropped into my middle ring, the grass there was tough to get through, I hear someone in the crowd yell, "get back in the big ring!" So I do.
I cross the river and hit the single track.
"shit, I might actually win this thing... Is that possible? I mean I never even podiumed at a MASS race before, fuck at any expert age group race."
I usher my doubts out of my head. I tell myself I've done my work, if anyone is going to take this from me, they are gonna have to kill it this lap.
I keep charging along. I am hurting, trying to keep my pace high, but not as aggressive as the previous two laps, I don't want to make a mistake and flat or crash out.
I enter the last section of trail. A little place I like to call the "twilight zone" it's one of my favorite trail section anywhere. I punch it, I punch it again, I got my mojo, my karma, and my flow going full speed now, I get over the last rise and I look back. For the first time this entire race, I see two chasers as Matt and Travis are right there. "fuck, fuck, fuck" I think to myself. I am pretty spent. I stand up for one last surge, this is all I got left. I'm leaving it all on the line...
If this race was one mile longer, I would have been third, thankfully, it was not, and I held on for the final 500 meters and a completely unexpected, but super sweet victory.
I never dreamed of winning an expert level race, but when I was out there, I refused to let myself be satisfied. Don't get me wrong, I was gonna be stoked to podium, but I've looked at a number of fairhill victories before and had then slip through my fingers. Today was my day. And there it was, unfolding in front of me... Amazing.
That's right, after years of let down, years of untimely flats, years of just dieing out there, after a race last summer that had me resolved to never race cross country again, I finally ended the day on the top step of the podium at Fairhill.
Later looking at the results, some dude said to me, "man, you barely held them off, they were right there, only 5 seconds back."
My response wasn't this cool, I think I said something like, "I don't care, I got there" but the reality was this:
5 seconds, 5 feet, 5 millimeters, I doesn't fucking matter, because today, today I got my Paris-Roubaix. I put my beast of burden behind me. I got my Fairhill win!
In closing I have a couple of people I want to thank:
First Diane, my wife who supports me through thick and thin, and understands what I go through, and my weirdness, my idiosyncrasies, and never falters. She's there when I need a shoulder to cry on, there when I need a foot in the ass. Without her support, none of this bike shit would ever happen.
Next, my coach Chris Mayhew. You know, I know my body, and I've been doing this a long time, I'll admit I never could seem to put it together on my own. Chris has helped push myself forward. Trust me, it didn't click right away. Mostly my fault, doing endurance races I was insistent on more miles. This year, and the past cross season I'm riding 1/2 of what I was last spring, but getting the most out of my time, and having a ton of fun riding the bike.
Mayhew has taught me how to be stronger, train smarter, and frankly to believe in myself- to have the ability to win, and very frankly, that was something that I didn't used to think I was capable of. If you think that's a glowing endorsement it is. The last 9 months I have raced better, ridden stronger than at anytime in my life, Mayhew my coach, my friend has largely been then architect of that. Thanks man.
It goes without saying how lucky I am to have the DccoD and the folks I get to ride and hang with. How can you go wrong chasing around a guy named Buddy the keg breaker? E-town or Jeb Bagger? Very frankly, if I didn't have the great folks around me supporting me, pushing me, I'd likely have quit this game a long time ago.
Thanks to Slick Rik for being a sounding board for what I'm thinking and for making sure my Frankenstein bike fits, and always works great. Slick Rick got me on the path, he taught me to learn myself and recover. Rik's guidance has and continues to help me.
Thanks to my local bike shops. The support of Henry's and Newark Bike Line help me be able to do the things I love to do. Fridays with Howard are something I always look forward to.
Thanks to my team director Kris Auer, and all of my C3 teammates. Aside from having great black kits, which are incredibly slimming, C3 is just a great program, a very focused team with like minded members, we race our asses off, and have a ton of fun. Not too shabby for a bunch of crossers.
Thanks to Wes, who after my meltdown last summer said, "perhaps you have taken the single speed thing as far as you can..." he was right. I heart my big ring.
Finally, thanks to everyone cheering for me along the route. As racers, you all know how much that helps keep you on target, and motivated.
Unbelieveable. Freaking unbelievable. It's been a long hard mountain bike season. I'm 2/3 through, and have another big weekend ahead. It's a long tough season for sure!
thanks for reading.
btw: I had fish tacos with some friends after the race, they were freaking the best ever.
thanks to Linda and Dennis for the advanced pictures...
Saturday, April 12, 2008
finally we got our new "summer edition" C3-Sollay.com kit this weekend. It has new blue stitching that makes us look like tron. That and it makes a bull's eye on my junk. I think I liked the black on black better, and that's not because I want everything to be black lately. Still the kits look nice. Tron's cool. I dig it.
So yeah, I got that going for me too.
Say hello if you are at fairhill Sunday, and please don't knock me down when you pass.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
1. visitPA.com Speed Demons 14:41.1 17 laps
2. CounterfeitPA.com presented by Menstrual Cycles 05:32. 16 laps
3. Baked Beans 00:25.3 15 laps
4. Team VisitStateKw@ledge.com Hipsters 08:29.9 15 laps
5. Buddy and the Keg Breakers 08:35.2 15 laps
6. Allied Milk Cycling 11:26.1 15 laps
7. Bike Line 12:14.6 15 laps
9. Mountainside Racing 14:44.1 15 laps
10. Cross Train 16:41.6 15 laps
11. visitPA.com Stuck with Kuhn 17:28.2 15 laps
12. RL2J 17:35.5 15 laps
13. Ramp Up The Jawn 00:28.2 14 laps
14. Johnny May and the C3 Cyclesonics 01:13.7 14 laps
15. D and Q Racing 03:17.1 14 laps
does this look like a man returning to racing after 1 year, 4 months, and 29 days. Look out kids, the ruler is back, and guess whose baker's dozen team he's on ? pichow! (say it, it feels good)
any sailor can captain a ship when the seas are smooth, it takes a real leader to navigate the rough waters. Peaches didn't feel great this day, but still put in very strong laps, and looked past knowing he didn't have his best stuff. That's why I have done so many team races with the kid, great character.
Buddy is determination personified. One of the toughest people I get to ride with. He was awesome this weekend. The short format isn't is his forte, but you'd never know it.
I'll admit it was weird not seeing Wes T. Conqueror on the purple rig this weekend. He has seemed to figure out how to work derailleurs very quickly. Bright kid.
I guess not any more weird than seeing me on this. First time since 2001 I have raced a geared bike, first time since 2003 I raced anything but a Spot. Black is kinda slimming isn't it. Well not always.
When Johnny isn't busy leaving his lime green boxer shorts in my car, he is all metal.
Jebbagger let the MASS know last weekend what all the crossers found out last fall... The kid can fucking ride a bike like a banshee...