Friday, November 27, 2009

Dear Cat 1 men,

Hey guys, what's up? It's us, the back of the field.

Nope, Further back.

Yeah, there. Hi!

It's probably been awhile since you've been back here, so let me give you a little update. Things are tough. Not just the normal, "i'm going to get lapped and my legs and lungs burn too much to do anything about it" brand of tough. That's to be expected, that's why we sign up for these things.

This is different. It's the starts I want to write to you about. Not sure if you realize it or not, but you've been sending a lot of debris our way lately. Debris we don't see coming. All we can see is the ass of the four guys in front of us. We love love receiving new bikes just as much as you do, we just don't want them delivered to our faces while we are trying to race.

stole this from colin's seatcam; crossresults, crossresults, crossresults. there, we're even.

Next thing we know our front wheel is embedded in someone's ribcage, our rear wheel is three feet off the ground, and simply finishing the race is so much more painful than it needs to be.

funny story. see that red and black redline behind those yellow shoes on the left? that's the flying bike in the picture above, one day later. looks like dylan brought her home and clipped her wings on saturday night.

If Ricky want's to come back and race with us, that's cool. We'd love to have him. Can you make sure to send him back on his bike, and upright? His is a fast wheel, by which I would love to be dragged through the straights, assuming it's on the ground in front of me, not wedged firmly in my groin.

You guys are faster than us. We acknowledge that and let you go first, we stay out of your way and don't ruin your race. All we are asking for in return is for you to not ruin our race. Don't send your bikes flying back at us. Don't send bodies back at us. Just let us ride for 50 minutes, we'll stay out of the way as you lap us, and we all go home in one piece. That cool? You can even take our entry fees home with you.


the pack fodder

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lowell race report

Six reasons why Lowell is awesome.

after a few minutes of squinting, i'm fairly certain that's me. (photo: Geoff)

1) There wasn't a crash at the start. I did freak out a little going around the track when the pack started coming together. Cyclesmart has left mental scars on me. I think it's going to be a long time before I'm anything but cowardly off the line.

2) The announcer narrated my trip to registration. It felt super pro, but I think someone willingly handing a live microphone to McKittrick might be a sign of the apocalypse. Stock up on dry good folks.

3) Results? Why? This isn't the Verge series, it's not like anyone's keeping track of this. There were no series points to earn, and the money didn't go nearly as deep as it needed to go for me to have a shot at it. My goal was to test the legs and get a good workout, which is much easier than trying to get top 25 in a stacked field. Easy goals = fun.

4) Strategy? Why. This isn't a Verge race, we're here for a workout. It's more fun to attack the course at your own pace than it is to sit in a slipstream and stare at someone's lycra-clad ass. Passing is more fun than conserving. I pretty did much all the pulling. I wanted to be out in front. This was awesome until the last two laps when the gentleman's slide started. At that point I may have wished I conserved a little bit more early on.

5) I crashed! It was my own fault! There was no one to blame. It was awesome.

6) New dudes! The field was a diverse mix. Lots of masters, lots of Cat3s. Lots of people I've never raced against before. My page has a whole row of new skulls this week. Pretty badass.

gorilla prefer subtropical forest, but gorilla like Shedd Park too. (photo: Jeff)

New Feature!

From now on I'm going to guess how many crossresults points I think I earned in my race, before they are computationaled over at the interweb. Which is slower? Crossresults code or my race report posting? How many times do I have to mention crossresults before it's ok to mock crossresults? Crossresults is going to get the squirt gun show bump today. It's a negative bump.

Anyway, 304. The field was fast, and I placed well, but I think the lack of a cyclocross world kit* may have cost me a few points. I want to say maybe 308, but I felt really fast and made some good moves in the first 45 minutes. My guesses would probably be more accurate if I knew how that number was computed.

*not the one Brian Wilichoski wore while he whooped my ass, the black and green one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lowell prerace report

Things I have done wrong this cyclocross season.

uh, I need to race that bike, could you, and you, and you, and you, and you please get off of it? (that's me in the middle, #32)

1) Allowing Derrick St. john and Rickey Visinski to line up within 10 feet of each other.

2) Not dropping out of Cyclesmart day two after hitting the pavement at speed. I subjected myself to a great deal of unnecessary pain and frustration.

3) Buying that 11/23 cassette. I run a 1x9. This combination only works on the flattest and driest of courses. Haven't been on one of those in a looong time.

4) Not taking a rest week every three weeks. For some reason I thought I could just hammer through three months of cross racing/training, then take three months off. It made my legs hurt to type that.

5) Trying to cure the pain and frustration (and failure) of Cyclesmart day two by training extra hard. By "pain", I mean the literal type: roadrash, bumps, bruises and general muscle soreness.

6) Racing exclusively Verge races. I put way too much pressure on myself for these big events. Cross isn't fun if you're always putting pressure on yourself to do good. Grassroots races are good for the soul, and I haven't done any this year.

In summary

I didn't have anything in my legs at Cyclesmart, day one or two. There were also crashes at the start both days. I wrongly attributed my disappointing performance to those crashes when the truth was I was way overdue for some rest. This all came to a head Saturday morning when I woke up and didn't even want to look at a bike, let alone go to Plymouth and race one. So I took a solid week off for the first time since the middle of summer.

Did it work? Let's head to Lowell and find out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cyclesmart International, Day one

How did we get here?

I'm a mess. I sucked on Sunday, and this week is like slow torture. I have a gigantic monkey on my back and it's not going anywhere. I can't concentrate on anything. Nothing satisfies me. I'm craving something, but can't for the life of me figure out what it is. All I know is that I am constantly on edge. I've given more strangers the bird in the last 48 hours than I have in the last 3 months combined. Everything sucks.


I need to get this behind me. I need to go to the proverbial airport and drop off my baggage and this fucking monkey. First step is to get these race reports out of the way. Second step is to sweat. Get on the bike and hammer until my headset seizes up into a salty mess of corrosion. The final step is to start tearing off legs.

Cyclesmart, Day one.

Who cares? There was a crash at the start. I slowed, put a foot down, and got around it. From there on I climbed from group to group. Pass. Sit in and recover. Pass. Recover. Hammer for 2 minutes to the next group. Recover. Pass. Recover. Hammer for 2 minutes. Repeat until you get to Chris Hamlin's wheel. Watch that wheel disappear. Either Chris saves gobs of power for the last 10 minutes of the race, or I was out of gas. Who cares?

I'm shaving my arms tonight. (photo: df53x12)

Either way, aside from getting caught behind the crash, I rode the race exactly how I wanted to. I thought I had a really good race. Then I looked at the results and learned that I merely had a good race. The 15 racers on the bottom of the results read like a checklist of the racers I slowly moved up through. I though I was working my through the mid-pack and into the points. Turns out I was actually working my way up from tail-gunner to mid-pack.

In Summary

Either way, 29th. I'll take it. Sure, I might have been able to pick up 5 of 10 spots if I didn't get caught behind the crash, but there were also 5 or 10 DNFs that would have beat me if they didn't get caught in the middle of the crash.

This post sucks. Everything sucks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Canton Cup

Why didn't you race Canton?
Let's start from the beginning. Downeast? In Maine? Remember? With all the mud? Yeah, that. Gave my bike a good scrubbin' after that weekend. Rode 'er into the office the following day to see how she was running. Like most of the bike commuters around me, there was all sorts of grinding and squeaking coming from my drivetrain. A quiet bike is a fast bike. My bike was not quiet.

thom came dressed as a kid toucher.

So I ripped 'er apart. Took the whole bottom bracket apart. It's BB30, so the process was way more involved than the last time you took a look inside your bottom bracket. I had the special, overpriced, Cannondale tools, printed instructions from Cannondale's website, and a whole tub of grease. An hour later, I had very dirty set of directions, half a tub of grease, and one bolt left to tighten. I was quite proud of myself, until I heard the crunching sound that last bolt made.

So close.

my friend, functional crank arm bolt, and his evil twin

Aluminum fasteners. Why? So one thing lead to another, and my crank arm fell of as I soft pedaled through the parking lot at Canton. No race for me. I had a stash of beer, and I hadn't registered yet; two factors that made it easy to turn down the 15 bikes that were offered to me. Another Canton Cup, in the books.

Dear Cat3 Men,

I started typing a comment to respond to Mike's response to my open letter to Cat3s, and it started to get really long, so I decided to turn it into a post here at the show. I should preface this by saying I consider it too late in the season to justify the $90 UCI license that an upgrade would require, so I don't expect any more Cat3s to upgrade this year.

thom get's into character by scoping out all the boys. (wanna see my van?)

That said, my main argument for the top of the Cat3 field to upgrade is the Closed Cat3 field with 126 dudes, and the Elite field with 55 dudes. Canton, and the results of my fellow upgraders, showed that the top of the Cat3 field can hang with the elite field. I think the top 20ish Cat3 dudes could easily move into the elite field without the earth crashing into the sun. Equalizing field sizes was probably the intention of moving the Cat2s out of the B race. This move has been successful, but I feel it should be pushed even further.

Sure, the new elites will probably get lapped, but it won't be until after you've raced for 40 minutes, which seems to be the average length of the Cat3 races. The 20ish vacant Cat3 spots will be filled, which helps the sport grow, and the elite field will get bigger, which helps the sport grow.

after the race, thom, his van, and ryan kelly were nowhere to be found

Alright monkeys, start your poo-flinging.