Monday, October 31, 2011

Completly Normal...

Sunday evening after a weekend of wet racing Monkey and I spend an hour in the side yard doing laundry and washing bikes.

with the high pressure washer.

Totally normal.

Solid weekend of racing. I like wet, muddy races. Usually it allows me a chance to punch a little bit above my weight class. Not so much this weekend:
sometimes I have to cry myself to sleep at night.

Had a really nice start, and felt like I was riding with in myself. Sniffed the top 10 at the end of  2. Then I struggled a bit and couple of large groups caught me. I fought to hang on, but the penultimate time up the amphitheater of death, I felt I could barely move and gave up a spot to Piccillo. I chased hard the final lap, but didn't make up any time on him. His teammate Johan was charging and at the base of the amphitheater on the  final lap I had to dig really deep. The effort allowed me to pass Geoff House, and hold on for a solid  finish. It was a pretty good day. Had opportunity to be a ride of the season for me, but it didn't turn out that way.
Jake models our Halloween skin-suit which
was inspired by this
and has secret bear arms for the full effect

Snow turned to mud. Fun day. I admit I don't always have the best mental attitude when it comes to this race. The course is kinda like Fatmarc Kryptonite. Anyway, I got a solid start, hemorrhaged a few spots at the end of the lap on in a weird power section before the finish climb. With 2 to go I was feeling it. Legs felt good, I was moving forward and frankly felt poised for maybe my best finish ever at HPCX.

Then my bike was making funny noises and I starting to have trouble shifting so with 1 and 1/2 to go I took a pit bike. I was closing in on the group directly in front of me and in the exchange the group I just got a little gap on got back to me. Worst, my pit bike did not have mud tires. All the quick little chances I took and that worked out early in the race, were slide outs and foot downs in the final lap and a half. Once again I overestimate my technical abilities.

Last lap, last section of the course I was in a group of 5 with Benny da Jewlar, Arenberg, Zurawski and Biese chasing Morrision just a head.  I made my move that the opening of the last power muddy section and got to the front of the group. Then I started spinning out, and freaking humping the bike trying to make it move forward.  I failed as 3 of the group rode away. By the grace of god I hit the pavement before Benny could make contact and I scampered up to the finish line just a head of him.

I will admit, I hate losing spots, much less 3-4 on the final lap of a race. I was pretty grumpy on the way home over it. I question if I should have stayed on the bike that was shifting poorly, or been smart and had mud tires on both bikes. Failure to prepare, is preparing to fail you know.... I know better...
Monkey, usually a mudder, is having some power issues this year. She persevered and picked up some MAC points.

At the end of the day, I did have fun, I do enjoy racing in the mud and based on my finishes the last two years (ghost riding my bike through the pit, and sprawled out on the asphault) I'll take it. I can't say that I accomplished the goal set out for me by Auer (exorcise the HPCX demon!)... But it's good enough for today...

1-1 with crossresults this weekend. (6-4-2 on the year)

I'm going to do something normal now, like eating a plate of nachos.

thanks for reading


PS to super congrats to Dennis Bike who swept the weekend... (Booo-ya!)

photos from monkey,, and D.Lowe! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fishes and Stuff

My sister in law got me a fish tank for my birthday.

It’s pretty cool. Much more going on in the eco environment than I expected.
I have to admit I thought that maybe two gold fish in a bowl would be cool.
This totally exceeded my expectations.

Originally I was going to name the fish : Ross, Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe and Rachael.
I figured, I’d probably kill my first batch of fish, and I never was much of a fan of Friends.

Monkey told me I need to have a more positive out look on the world.

So I named them Meaty, Beaty, Big, A(nd), Bouncy and my algae eater is called Sucky.

For much of the season I have been politicking the wife to skip HPCX this weekend.
HPCX is a nice enough race, the Rutgers guys are always energetic and fun, the event is very nice.
photo from gwadzilla

I just hate that race… Again, it’s a good event, but the course is no good to me.

I always think I’ll have a good ride here, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t come together…

So last year, I swore it off. No more long drive.. No more smashed expectations…

I’d love to point out a single good ride I've had there, but I haven’t had a single good ride there.

The worst days had me sprawled out on the asphault at the bottom of the course or
ghost riding my bike out of the pit, walking away angry and frustrated convinced I'm done with the sport.

Again, good event, but the course has not historically benefited my strengths.

In a season full of cross races, and variety, the HPCX course, is not my favorite.
So, after last year’s debacle, I have consistently politicked my wife to skip this race.

She sees it as part of her season goals, and has had some good rides here over the years.
Just when I thought I had convinced her to go to the race that is just an hour from our front door vs HPCX
which is two hours from our place : she leveled the truth on me.
She made it very clear, "Stop Bitching. We are going to HPCX. Deal with it."
She walked out of the room.No more debate.


Damn it. I guess I like banging my head against the wall, I’ll be back again…

See you Sunday HPCX


Monday, October 24, 2011


The cross season is short, but packed.

In just under 10 weeks or so, Monkey and I will find ourselves racing 20 or so times.
There are weekends when we do races that are fun, and  are a part of our season goals.
There are weekends that we do races, because they are a pilgrimage and doing them makes us better at this game we play..
There are weekends we race because it's a work out, and no training is ever better than racing.

Then there are races we do because you just love the races, and know at the end of the day you are going to have a great time.

DCCX falls into that last category for Diane and I . The DCMTB team does a great job of creating a race that loops around the center of a great venue. The race, the only one in the nations capital, which I'm not sure why, but for some reason (maybe because my parents grew up in DC), holds a special place in my heart. The course twists and undulates, and is hard, but fun. The course is technical, and has 3 dismounts, and another optional. It's a beautiful thing.

While I tied crossresults today ( 5-3-2 on the year), I was pleased with my ride. It was fun.I got off the line well, but got jammed up a couple of times early on the first lap. I rode into a very good group with Lilibridge, Cutler, Culbertson, and McGill. With 3 two go I got a little cheeky when I saw Birner on the horizon. Should have been patient. I ended up getting myself popped off the group, and with one to go, was joined by my teammate Sweet Johnny. We rode together with Mealy breathing down our necks. Solid effort solid ride. I was satisfied.

Monkey has been getting stronger as the season progresses and her injury is healing. She was super stoked to line up on the last row of a group of 50 women. (no mabra points, not great crossresults score right now); She worked really hard, and worked her way through much of the field finishing up in 13th place. It was a really good ride, and a great effort. I was proud of her...

Today was a good day. I struggled to find some normalcy, and being surrounded by great teammates, friends and doing one of the things I love most sure as hell helped. You know, as normal as being a 40 year old man, dressed in lycra riding a bike around in circles in a field can be.

Jim McNeely offically has my vote for heckler/flasher of the year...

A very good day indeed.

thanks DCMTB


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Let's try and get some Joy up in this Mother Effer...

Name on UCI Race Results.
Mike Garigan- He's From CANADA!
Fred Brown's Moustache is outstanding
Tom McKay Glove Model

Monkey Rocking Out

Been a weird couple of weeks. Perhaps the weirdest of my life. Haven't slept well. Been busy as shit at work. Good Stuff, but not the best time to feel like your brain is functioning on 80% capacity. Fortunately, I have some good people around me. Monk's been working on sainthood. Riding the bike has been good solace. Seems like when I shut of the brain and ride, it's okay.  I've decided I'm tired of being tired. Need to find some joy.

Time to let it rip... Hug somebody... give 100%... Never leave it unsaid... No Regrets...
Ride bikes, work hard, give back... yeah.. that's better....

Did you see that, that's a bit of clarity.. slowly now, it's coming around....
this is what I want out of this life...
rambling out of control lately...

Monday, October 17, 2011


Thanks to everyone that came out to race.

Thanks to everyone that worked so hard to pull off the event.

Thanks for everyone truly being a community this weekend.

that is all.


Sunday, October 9, 2011


With Granogue looming, I knew that this weekend would be a one race weekend. A number of us decided that we'd meet out at the Estate Sunday morning to walk through some of the venue set up, and polish the course a bit, if we were gonna get a race in this weekend, it as going to be Saturday.

Tip of the hat to the Sportif Group who put together a very hard, very fun course on the grounds of the former Springfield Hospital, which was an mental health institution in the past century and is now abandoned.  The course wasn't  flowy, it was just hard and tight. I feel dirty typing hard and tight together. I liked it. I appreciated the extra effort to add a log in the course, to create 4 dismount opportunity's a lap. Well done. cheers gentlemen.

Upon arriving, Mike Birner presented me with a nice 40oz beer, you know for turning 40. The personal touch is always nice. 

My start was kind of awful. I felt like I got off the line okay, but at the first corner, I was almost DFL. I panicked just a little, and pushed towards the front. Say by the end of the first lap, I had finally made contact with the front group and was probably sitting in 7th or so. Lap 2 dropping into a sweet little mucky section that lead to the base of the second run up, I stacked it pretty hard. Once again, over estimating my technical abilities. The leaders were gone at this point, and I surrendered spots to a number of guys around me. Had to stop to straighten out my left shifter which was now facing me.  I picked myself up and started going again, but I was definitely finding myself in survival mode a bit more. McGill pulled wheelies on the first run up and made me look bad, and finally I was able to get some distance from him.

I surrendered a spot to Bernie and Hicks, before settling for an 11th place. Okay ride, not great. Cross results beat me by 2 spots today. I hate losing to crossresults.

Monk raced right after me, she got a good start and battle a  field of women 24 women . She was doing a great job in the tight corners of the race, and on first run up she was super pro. The technical nature of the course definitely favored her strengths as Monkey had a nice little battle with a woman from the University of Maryland (fear the turtle!). Diane was able to get around her on with one to go and hang on to finish 9th overall, and 3rd for cat 3s.

Not too shabby.

I was feeling a little jacked up after the race, you know from throwing myself on the ground again, but it was nothing that a couple of Advil, and my mug club card at Two Stones Pub couldn't sort out....

5-3-1 vs. Crossresults this year.

thanks to galen for the race shots...


Friday, October 7, 2011

3 quick ones

Last weekend at Gloucester I was doing some pre-riding with Potter.
As we raced across the beach we were pretty much even. As we hit the brick stairs, he charged in front of me.Potter ran to the top of the stairs, turned around and looked at me as I was trotting up, and he started barking at me to hurry up.

Seriously, it’s man’s best friend totally heckling the shit of me. More so the folks watching pointed out that my dog was talking shit on me. Perfect. Man’s best friend indeed.

Also at Gloucester, Monkey came through and I was cheering for her. A nice gentlemen looks at me and asks, “Is that your daughter?”
So Wednesday at cross practice, as I was getting things together I locked my keys in the car. My keys, with my cycling bag, my bike, and freaking everything. So I called Diane, who was heading out to ride with L-Web across town, to come and rescue me. She came over right away and appropriately busted my ass for locking my keys in the car.

Thursday near the end of the work day, Monk gives me a call and tells me that she had locked her keys in her car. “KARMA!!!” I scream at the top of my lungs. My peers come in to check on me, and I explained how Monk busted my ass about locking my keys in the car, and now, well, I had to go rescue her, and it was perfect because we were now even. Needless to say the rest of the night, be it on our ride, or after my shower as I paraded around the house in the buff,  I was shouting “KARMA!!!” Essentially being a jackass, resplendent that we were now even in some universal sense.

Friday morning, I come to the office to find that my office had been decorated by my peers. You see I turn 40 today, and well my wife never locked her keys in the car, she just needed away to get me out of the office. So essentially, I was totally burned,  burned by my wife and my peers. All of which listened to me shout about cosmic karma and what not. I was burnt to a crisp...fell for it hook, line, and freaking sinker.
Karma indeed.

thanks for reading.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I can't say that Gloucester is my favorite race. I can say, that I love everything about it. I can say that if you love cross and live on the east coast, you owe it to yourself to make this pilgrimage at least once. The venue is amazing, the level of competition is unparallelled, and for me it just feels like you are walking on hallowed ground the entire weekend. It was so much fun.
Seriously Officer, this baggy of white powder is a recovery drink, really. (ugh)

Tom Stevens, the course designer, has long been considered the bar for which all other course designers are held. This weekend's courses were distinctly different, but challenging at the highest technical level, but allowed for great racing. 4-5 dismounts a lap! (take note promoters!) That's cross racing. The use of off camber, run ups, a beach, stairs, a fly over... Maybe some of my favorite courses ever. Seriously, if you love this stuff, take a vacation day, and make the trip...
Tom rocking out with his disco vest!

Diane, Potter and I (Layla doesn't dig the car), crammed all our stuff into the Fit, and headed for New England. A cross racer's Pilgrimage to the motherland. We were really excited. Potter, may have been a little crammed in the back.
heading up the road.

Potter enjoyed the ride.

best navigator ever

Potter nestled in for the long drive

Saturday Racing:
Monkey lined up with over 100 other 3/4 women. It was a first for her racing at the New England Worlds, and her first time in a 100+ field. She was stoked. She battled tough, and rode in and out of a group the entire day... I was really proud of her ride...

Craig got a good start, battled with a couple of guys, and ended up on the podium. Very impressive for a guy who hadn't raced a bike in 15 years, and last year finished 37 at Granogue. I'm really proud to have another Vanderbacon in the mix.

Me, Saturday wasn't so good. I mentally blew it: thought I had a flat when I didn't. I pulled the plug instead of taking bike. It was a little disappointing. So we'll leave it at that...

Had some fun in the pit Saturday. Hung out with Canadians, got a little argy bargy, some guy wanted to punch me... People Laughed... you know typical stuff... at least my fine for dnfing will be offset by my fighter's pay from the director.

Monkey didn't race. Back is still healing it appears she's good for one race a weekend. So she suffers and fights through. That's rad.
final lap push

Craig's race maybe the real story. So maybe we had a few too many beers Saturday night, maybe Craig was little green at the line.  The race was off, and for the entire race he dangled off the lead group of 4-5. On the last 1/2 lap Craig finally makes contact with the lead group. One dude attacks, and ends up soloing for the win... Craig attacks through the pit and gets away from the group taking a final sprint for second, and barfing all over himself... Craig has worked really hard. He's going to be a solid cat 3 in a couple of weeks.
loved this run up

Tire pressure was the story of  my weekend. I was too low again today. I had to take a bike on the second lap, at an in opportune time. You lose those spots early, and really it's hard to ever make up ground. So after a second pit I was kind out on my own a bit, but I could see a nice group just in front of me. I finally made contact on the last lap and then the fun started. I had a couple of good runs, and picked up a few spots, and sprinted up the final stretch taking another spot on the line. Rule #23 of cross, and day you can pick 6 spots on the last lap, is a good day.

Another weekend in the bag. I love cross.

thanks for reading.