Sunday, November 30, 2008

208: hey ho let's go

Thanksgiving Eve, if there is such a thing, Monkey and I go into town to Kildare's to meet Breyla-al, J-Dub, and Dan Mc. Dan's brother is in a band, and we are going to check them out.

Monkey and I get there a little early and are pretty hungry, so we sit down. The waiter comes over and is pretty nice. He asks us if we had been to Kildare's before. I respond, "sadly, yes. We went to the one in West Chester. The guy at the door was a tool, the food was bad, and our waitress wasn't very nice either, we're here to see the band and figured we'd grab a bite and see what happens."

The poor waiter was kinda caught off guard, I pretty sure he didn't expect that answer. Regardless he rolled with the punches, " sorry you had that experience, we'll do much better, I've been with the company for a while and the staff at West Chester can be lame..."

Needless to say the waiter was super nice the rest of the night, the manager stopped over an apologized for our previous experience, and hell we ever got comped a dessert. Truth is I didn't really expect anything, was really just being an ass, which I do from time to time, but this guy was super nice. Overall I still think the food a Kildare's is not so hot, but I'd go back if nothing else because our waiter worked his ass off. For what it is worth, we did tip very generously.

Was a pretty fruitful weekend for riding, did a really fun mtb ride with just about everyone on thanksgiving morning. The niner felt really good, considering it's the second time I've ridden it since August. I really enjoyed the re-hydration break. Camouflaged High Life cans, who knew?
Friday Monkey and I did a little recovery ride down in white clay...


Sunday was the MABRA series finals, and the Delaware/Maryland/DC state championships. I won a Delaware State Championship back in 99, and took second to Fort James in 2002, but since moving to Maryland I haven't so much as sniffed a medal. Couple that with Auer's opportunity to win the overall series with a win in the race, and placing a couple bodies between himself and Marc Gwadz, the 2007 series champ, and suddenly the race had a lot on the line for our team.

I believe the cold, wet, muddy conditions worked to our favor, as Kris was able to get the win and I got 3rd chasing this guy, the best I could. Nystrom rounded out the top 4. We were pretty happy. Gwadz is a class act. I have a lot of respect for him as a rider, and he certainly brought honor to the jersey this year. I have to believe had the conditions been different the outcome could have easily gone the other way.
For me, taking third overall, allowed me to take the silver medal for Maryland, with of course teammate Auer taking the gold, and Nystrom taking the 35+ bronze. That's a 35-39 Maryland sweep for for anyone scoring at home.

I'm pretty stoked about my placing. My medal, like my other two state championship medals will end up here.
It's one of those rituals for me.

All in all, a pretty super weekend.

love this shot of PA cat 2/3 state champion Zach Adams.
the emotion, the effort. I know how hard the kid works, and how much he pulls through. I'm lucky to have this guy as a teammate and a friend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

207:havanna affair

cleaning up after the yardsale:
Diane and I went to the movies last night.

We saw Twilight.
Before the movie Monkey and I were feeling a bit peckish so I got some refreshments. I got a thing of pretzel bites, and a small soda. The soda ended up being a small bucket of sprite. I’m not sure I drink that much soda in a week. The bill was $12 or something outrageous like that, and the cashier asked me if I wanted some candy to go with my pretzels and soda. I responded that if I buy any candy I’m gonna need to take out a second mortgage on my house. She stared blankly at me. I’m guessing mortgage humor falls short on a 16 year old girl just trying to do her job. I was just the creepy old guy buying some snacks.

Twilight was interesting.
I liked the protagonist Bella, and the story was good, but it was frankly the worst portrayal of vampires I have ever seen in my life. Really I was thinking the entire time that I was watching Ziggy Stardust parade around the screen.
Actually if they were just parading it would have made sense to me, but they were kinda sashaying around. If the male protagonist, Edward is supposed to be brooding, them be brooding, not a freakin’ queen. There were a number of times in the movie where I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing out loud. Frankly, I even saw Monkey laughing once or twice. Somewhere Bella Lagosi is rolling over in his grave.

I had another thought last night. So you have a vampire who is basically stuck in a 17 year old’s body, but is really 200 years old or so. He is totally skeeving out over a real 17 year old girl. How do you hold a conversation? When I look at the kids at the university, I think they look a little young, to be 200 and smitten with a 17 year old, I gotta say that’s just really pervy. I’m just saying…

And in another thought, completely unrelated to vampires. Is every cover that the deftones do creepy or is it just me?
Take for instance this one and this one

Be safe, have a great thanksgiving.

I will be counting my blessings for sure.

Thanks for reading.

thanks for Joe Metro for yard sales shots.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

206: do you wanna dance?

Due to a prior commitment many of us in the DCCoD and C3 families were unable to make the run up to Long Island for the weekend. That did not exclude us from racing this weekend as locally there were a number of fine options.

Originally I had planned to bag the weekend from racing all together. However the reality is that my opportunities to race cross are growing fewer and fewer as the season begins to wind down. For this cross racer there are just three weeks left, so how could I allow one to slip away.

Perhaps a little more tired than usual, Jan and I loaded up the toaster and headed out for Leesburgh, Virgina in Tacchino Ciclocross. Monkey was busy at work today, and didn't make the trip.

though there were a few options closer, the opportunity to show up to a race with Jim's hand in it, and a chance to guilt him for bagging the Fairhill race, was just too good to pass up. I also was excited to have a chance to race with a number of my teammates in the master's race: Auer, Nystrom and Jan. Thanks to Ken and all the Coppis for a fine race.

Well, for me, my friends that chance to race with my teammates lasted all of 40 seconds. That's how long my race went before my third eye rotated into my chain, knocked it off as it bounced, and in the process twisted a link. It took me a good minute and a half to get the chain back on, and then I hobbled to the pit. At the pit Norman and Sweet Johnny looked in disbelief as I rolled into the pit.

"what the freak are you guys doing out there?" Norman exclaimed. Unbeknownst to me, Auer and Nystrom had tried to take each other out both requiring a pit on the first lap. That's right folks C-3 Sollay had 4 guys in the race, and three of us had to pit in the first half lap.

Auer fought back to 2nd, Nystrom ended up getting back with Jan, as they finished 10th and 11th. I was so far back it took me two laps to catch anyone, then was able to pull back a few more riders finishing a disappointing 17th.

Frankly I had good legs today, I liked the course, I was cornering very well, and had power in the tough sections. While wrestling with my chain, and third eye, I kinda realized that my hopes for a good result were pretty much in the shitter. I also realized that I only have 3 races left this year, and frankly, I love cross and wanted to make the best of it. I spent the next 56 minutes turning myself inside out, and having a ton of fun.

Gwadzilla summed up the race for me as I desperately tried to bring back Roger Masse on the last lap. " I know your not happy with the result, but you had a great ride today..." Just after he said that to me, I was finally with in striking distance of Roger's wheel and proceeded to yard sale it, letting him get away.

I am very frustrated with my result, however pleased with my effort. Sadly 2 of my last 3 races have been in the category of "moral victory". I am riding well right now, perhaps the best cross of my life. Very frankly, I am tired of moral victories, so in the next two weeks, with a couple of more goals still hanging out there, moral victories will not be acceptable.

Props to Norm and Sam who had breakout efforts today, both making the podium, and Rich (RBB) who one the 35+ 3/4 race at Whitmores.

Oh yeah, Ethan and Meghan had an absolutely beautiful wedding. I was so honored to be a part of the festivities. Congratulation to you both, you are dear friends, I wish you the best.

thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

205: bonzo goes to bitburg

A smaller crowd at DCCoD practice last night, as darkness and cold weather fall upon us. Still a hearty group including Rich (RBB), E-town, Breyla-la, Keith, Troop (belgian work horse), J-Mack, Jan, Jebalicious, PMP, and L-Web met at park Y to beat on each other.

We did a couple of efforts, they were fun. E-town was hanging on my wheel like he wanted to date it. The kid is a really good cross rider. We were trying to make life tough on our boy Jebalicous. First effort I think we succeeded, second one he took us to the woodshed. He's pretty good at this cross game, he should consider playing it for a while...

As much fun as I had in the mud last weekend, I have to admit it felt great to stand on the pedals and have the bike go. Wrapped in the curtain of darkness and cold, it felt like we were flying around the park. I love cross practice.

thanks to Slick Rik for showing my bikes some love and getting them ready for the final three weeks...

thanks for reading.


Monday, November 17, 2008

204: howling at the moon (sha-la-la)

Saturday morning, I was licking my lips as the course as mercer cup was laid out before me. The loop had been saturated with rains late in the week, and had become a muddy, freaking mess. These are conditions where old fat guys, perhaps not a fit as their younger rivals, can use skill, experience and guile learned over years, to get ahead. The race started in a flurry, and as we came off the road and worked our way up the once grassy now mucky bog, I found myself on the third wheel. Today was going to be a big day for me.
Then as I shifted to an easier gear and disaster happened. My chain skipped over the top ring and wedged itself between the cassette and the spokes. In a matter of seconds I went from 3rd place, to dead last. As I stood on the side for the track, with my foot on my chainstay, and both hands on the chain pulling as hard as I could, after the previous weekends disaster, only one thought entered my head:

"New Jersey fucking hates me."

I picked up my bike ran a bit, then thought to take the wheel out of the drop outs, and got riding again. I was at least a minute down on last place, but you know, I love the muck and mire, and I just let it all hang out there. Truth is I felt great, I had really good legs, and in the end my result 27th, clearly my worst all year, yet I felt really satisfied with my effort, and my ride. Tom Mc (papa smurf) came over to me after the race, and he very rarely comments on my races, he told me I had a very good ride. That really kinda made my day. This despite realizing that:

"New Jersey fucking hates me."

Sunday the loop was shortened, but basically covered the same ground as Saturday. Torrential down pours overnight would result in an even nastier course. Before the race I was talking to Zack, and I commented, that if I can keep from breaking my bikes, I think I have a good ride. video

The race took off well for me as I was aggressive to get to the front. Second lap I ran into some trouble as I crashed coming off the fly over losing a couple of spot and more importantly precious momentum. Later in the lap, I was following a sweet line of Mike's and step stake went into my front wheel and got pretty jammed up. My only though as I tried to the broken stake out of my front wheel without destroying it was:

"New Jersey fucking hates me."

It took me a couple of seconds to get it out and I found myself at the back of a little group. Final time through the pit, to got another clean bike and passed to Chad and another dude before the final flyover and push the line. I got enough of a gap to sneak back into the top 10, finishing 9th.

I am pretty happy with that ride.

Although I was really satisfied with my riding, I was even more impressed with the hustle, and intensity all of the DCCoD and C3 riders put into working the pits this weekend. If you have never worked pit in a muddy race, where your teammates/brothers/sisters are taking a bike every half lap, and you are racing to get them washed and ready, they you really haven't fully experienced cross.
I was proud of our coalition's efforts, and intensity. Save for one F-up with disco it went very well. Props to Gunnar B, Alyssa, Sam and Jake who pulled through like they were founding members of the Coalition.

As Monkey and I exited the NJ turnpike and started over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, returning to the mother land that is northern Delawre, I took one last look back at the state of my demise. I'm not certain but I'm pretty sure going north I saw a sign that said:
thanks for reading.


Thanks to Dennis and Anthony for some shots, the blurry ones are from my own camera.

PS: Bad Andy and Bad Kat were outstanding roommates for the weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

203: I want you around

This picture hangs in the room where the seat us each week at the EL JEFE:

The waitress explained to me that it is a poster for one of the cooks favorite soccer teams. I think they put it up just for us, because it is so awesome. contacted me this week.
They asked me to work for them as a free lance reporter at the USGP in Trenton.
Ken , who has been supportive of my race report work, referred them to me.

I was pretty excited, pretty honored. What an outstanding opportunity.
In the end, I declined.

My plate has been pretty full this year.
Frankly, I was really looking forward to racing, drinking and hanging out this weekend.

I hear there is a pretty fine brewery in Princeton...

During my tussle with the beach at beacon I cut my nose. Since then I have hit it every time I dry my hair, scratch my eyebrow, touch my face. What was once a non visible little cut is now a nice mark that has people asking me if I’ve been punched during a killer b race or something. No, just a left over from my wrestling match with the beacon beach.
History tells us in the DCCoD, that as we move locations and lose day light, our practices tend to become smaller, and more intimate. Such was the case last week when we had just 5 hearty souls show up to Recreation Area Y for our weekly therapy session.
Last night, was the exception to this rule as we had a huge group. The crowd included: Troop (the Belgian work horse), CZ, Rotten, Monkey, Breyla-la, Jill, President Ryan, Scooter, Jebalicous, L-Web, Adam (newt), Auer, Monkey, Jan, RBB, Gavigan the MILF hunter, Benny da Jewler, Jamie, and I'm sure I'm missing someone. It was a very fun practice.
On one of the efforts I was hanging onto Auer's wheel like I wanted to steal it, and managed to stay there until we finished up. Auer looks over at me and comments, "that was a pretty good effort." Not breathing heavy, no effort really expended. I smile and mutter quietly through very labored breaths, "fuck you man..."
With that last gasp of effort, I fell over and passed out.
Just before the start of another effort, we found L-Web on the ground. Immediately everyone was looking around for Gavigan thinking he had flattened another mother. Alas, L-Web was fine and had just twisted her ankle a little funny.
I will say taco attendance was down a bit tonight. I did have a wonderful Chorizo burrito and a couple of these to help the throbbing pain coming from legs:
thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

202: 53rd and 3rd

Better house-man :

Mr. Belvedere?

Or Mr. French?

Maybe Odd Job from Gold Finger: Odd Job was an assassin, pretty good for handling the neighborhood bully, or
maybe when Buffy’s boyfriend got out of line, but can he make a good tuna fish sandwich?
I think not. I don’t think that he can cut the crust off my fluffer nutter with that special hat of his.

Me, I gotta go with Mr. French.

Have you seen my brush?Good for tires, Good for hair, not so much for teeth.
thanks to Dennis for the fine picture of my brush.


Sunday, November 9, 2008


5:45am Sunday morning.
Diane and I are speeding up I95 north headed for the Delaware Memorial Bridge and HPCX. I am enjoying a fine Duncan Donuts flat bread sandwich with bacon and cheese. It is still dark out side, but I think to myself that the sandwich is messy.
6:15 am Sunday morning.
Diane and I are speeding up the NJ turnpike headed for HPCX. The sun has come up and it is no longer dark. Diane looks over at me the way that only a wife can look at her husband as they speed off to a bike race early in the morning. She says to me, "do you know you have a slice of bacon on your leg?"
I look down, sure enough on my thigh is a slice of bacon, that must have fallen out of my fine flat bread sandwich from Duncan Donuts. I smile at my lovely wife and comment, " well, no I didn't know that was there, how fortuitous for me." I pick up the slice of bacon and eat it.

I love this race. I came in with high hopes. First time on to the beach, I got tangled up with a dude who prematurely exited his bike. This can be a problem when we were 3rd and 4th wheel. I take full responsibility, I have been taken out early in sand before, I should have given myself some space or at least a way out. My bad. When trying to pick up my bike Colin S. came by at full speed and laid me out. If I didn't know better I'd say Colin has a side job as office linebacker. That quickly, less than a lap, my race changed for the worse.
I was way off, and pretty much angry. Yeah, really angry. The rest of the race all I could remember was thinking, "fuck, fuck, fuck... kill, kill, kill..." Not my style. I am not a good racer when I race emotionally. It was a hard day. I fought back into the top 10 only to crash in the final two laps. Cam Mancuso was a fine traveling partner as we both tried to work ourselves back into the game. Then my bike stopped shifting and thankfully Sweet Johnny and Monkey had a bike in the pit for me. End result, actually a ride I'm proud of, finishing 10th, even though I had more than that in the tank. I was really angry, and really frustrated about my start. I couldn't shake my grumpiness.
Started the race. Bobbled on a root. Bounced off of 5 people, still pissed from yesterday, decided I wasn't having fun, was not enjoying my frame of mind, and frankly I quit. I rode into the pit got off my bike, took my helmet off and walked back to my car. Monkey asked me in the pit, "are you sure?" I nodded my head. "are you really sure, come on babe..." I was done.

I usually pride myself in having heart, in riding out bad days, in having guts. Today I failed on all accounts. In hind site I wasted so much energy being pissed Saturday during my race, racing emotionally, and then continuing to be upset, that frankly when I went to the well Sunday, it was dry.
I am really embarrassed.
I do this for fun. I love this, but today, today I was a shell of myself.
So that's all I'll say about that.

Monkey had 2 solid good rides pulling out a 10th Saturday and 9th Sunday.
I know I am part of a pretty special team. Anyone can be your teammate when you are riding well. I really appreciate the support, hugs, and voices of support I got from my friends and teammates when I was clearly far from my best.
Props to meatball and zach for breakout rides this weekend...
Thanks to Mike Kirk for some beacon shots.
Thanks for reading. See you all in Trenton.
I'm gonna have more fun next week.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

200: garden of serenity

Generally speaking I like white handle bar tape for my bikes. Now the white is sometimes hard to get clean and as it gets a little grungy, the tradition of the White Hand of Saron tells me that white handle bar tape is the way to go, if nothing else for the sheer pimpness of it.

It’s mid season, and generally about this time I like to freshen up my handlebar tape. Now as Slick Rik was changing out my shifter, I asked him if he could throw some new tape on the bike.

Rik reported that despite the fact that I haven’t ridden my bike in over a week, the stench from my sweat was almost unbearable as he pulled off the old tape. He commented that as he threw it in the trash can, Sadly the shop monkey took a whiff of my disgarded tape, and rolled over dead. Worse off, Rik was amazed the under layers of tape were still wet: damp with sweat. Needless to say anyone in the shop that day was all totally grossed out. What can I say? I’m a big dude, I sweat a lot. Figuring for a change, I busted out the blue tape for the final half of the season. I hear blue is a nice color.

Finally. After 10 years of MAC Cyclocross racing, I finally got a top 5 in a MAC CUP killer B race.
Which leads me to a few thoughts:
1. I should have taken up bowling not 'cross
2. when I talk about small incremental improvements each year, I really take it to heart.
3. Sadly with each of my improvements, the level of cross in our region improved just a bit more than I did...
4. If any of you have any concrete walls you want me to smack my head against for the next 10 years, I'm sure I'll get through...

I had a good start and got clear with Mike and Rob, and pretty much dangled 15 yards off of them for the first 3 laps or so. As we started our final 2 laps I was still dangling and Kremmor caught me, I told Mike and Rob to step it up a bit, and they did. Kremmor dropped me like a bad habit. The last lap I had a pretty good gap to 5th. I rode pretty conservative, and as I came up the finish straight high fived friends and family who had cheered me through. I had a little fist pump as I crossed the line. I was pretty stoked to say the least.
Kelly Benfit Strategies Cross at Rockburn:

Truth is I had no intentions of doing this race. Following fairhill I was wiped out. A combination of things changed my mine. First cooling down with Jim Mudd and Kyle Murphy, we were talking about the Rockburn race, I said that I had registered, but was likely to bag it. Kyle, busting my stones, commented "the mabra ban continues!" Jim laughed out loud.


I really like those guys.

Second, Auer was putting the screws to me, "come on out to the coast, we'll have a few laughs, it'll be great!"

So despite my true desire to be at some brunch in town with a beer, and a breakfast burrito, Jan and I headed to the race. I was lined up in the third row based on my early registration with 3 teammates ahead of me Auer, Nystrom, and Jan.
Race took off and the four of us found ourselves near the front. Gunnar went clear, Auer got stranded out in second. Birner came back to our group. After 2 laps I found myself leading a nasty group of Jan, Root, Shiao,Chris Samuels, Birner and myself. Nystron, Meally and Masse were just off of our group. I sat on the front and tried to keep the pace honest, and covered anyone who tried to bridge to Auer. I also knew I had Jan in our group waiting to attack. I was realishing my role.

With one to go, I continued to police the front, with half a lap to go, and up the two hills, Root attacked the group, Jan covered him, then the rest of the group. I admit, I burned a few more matches sitting up front then than I planned. As I crested the top of the hill, I could see Jan had taken over 3rd spot, and had a nice little gap. I had a huge smile on my face. My job was basically over. I blocked for Auer the entire race, and was able to set up Jan to take 3rd.

Now I just needed to get my enormous carcase across the line. Up the final straight Nystom bridged back to me, and for the second year in a row, I crossed the line high-fiving Sven.

End result for me was 9th: for those scoring at home that's 4 guys in the top 10. To say I was stoked about my ride, would be an understatement.

despite my reservations, the race was definately better than a beer and a breakfast burrito.

BTW Diane Grimm turned her tire inside out today during her race. Most amazing thing I ever saw...

thanks for reading.

ps: thanks to Anthony, Dennis and Mike for some shots.