Friday, April 30, 2010

USA Cycling Support Ticket #215305 Closed: License Category Change Request

Dear Kevin Sweeney,

The following request to change your INTL/NORBA category has been approved and processed by USA Cycling:
huge_pop - 2010-03-11 9:37
Member: Kevin Sweeney
License: INTL XC
Request to change category from Cat 1 to Pro

Member Explanation/Resume:

Mark, Sorry to keep bothering you, but below are the results you requested when you rejected my last upgrade request:

I raced Cat1 at the Darkhorse40 and Finished 3rd out of 64 total cat1s. Pro and Cat1 distance was the same and my time would have put me in 3rd place in the pro race. Results are here:

I raced Cat1 at The Horror at Harding Hill. I finished 2nd out of 43 cat1s. Pro and Cat1 distances were not the same. Results are here:

My best race of the year was 6th place in the Pro race at State Championships, Pro and Cat1 distances were the same and my time would have put me in 2nd place out of 48 Cat1s. Results are here:

Request was approved on 2010-03-11 14:45 by Marc Gullickson

USA Cycling Response from Marc Gullickson:

I'll upgrade you but really your results are not in the right events for consideration. If you want to go pro why wouldn't you want to race in the big races like the Mt. Snow National and Windham last year???? Especially since those are the pro QUALIFICATION races???

Thursday, April 29, 2010


There is basic algebra scribbled all over my walls. There has to be a solution to this problem. 24 seems like such a large number. An hour is such a long time. How come I can't get anything done? Everything I do is planned days or weeks ahead of time. Relaxation comes in 5 minutes spurts, constantly being interrupted by the guilt of not being productive.


Last year I worked a job I hated. I made it bearable by "working" from home Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I swindled/scammed myself into about a 14 hour work week, which finally paid off when I got laid off, on June 1st. Perfect. I had all the time in the world, the whole summer to myself.

This year I have a job I really enjoy, but a 9 hour day is the best case scenario. Weekends are no longer a given. I rush to start rushed workouts. I am late to everything. All the gaps in my calendar are filled.


I'm a new home owner. The ownership is new, not the house. The house is over 100 years old. Everything breaks always. I have a lawn, it does not have a pause button. My maid/chef/secretary quit right as the days started getting shorter and work hours started getting longer. I am building a death star in my basement. My MTB components are going on their 4th year and now require an hour of maintenance for every hour of use. Dogs can be trained to do just about anything, a dog's "evacuation system" cannot be trained to "fire" any less than three times a day. Trust me on that one.


Haven't figured it out yet. But I'm close. I've started trimming. A corrupt commissioner allowed me to give up my fantasy basketball obsession, which I'm proud to say was good for about an hour a day. I've made tons of cuts to my google reader roster. Blogs with too much content, too many updates, and no direct tie to my daily life are gone. Bikesnob, Dicky, Stevil, BKW, I love you, but I ain't got the time. I cut out every email newsletter and mailing list, now work time is spent working, which only gets me out earlier.

I have time to do almost everything that needs to be done. Since I haven't started training yet, my neglect of the squirt gun show is the most troubling aspect of my crowded schedule. Trying to maintain chronology is one of my biggest problems/excuses. If I race, I can't write about anything until I write up the race report. Which brings us to our next subject...

The race reports are the real problem.

Problem is I don't like to write boring shit. Let's face it, when you race 30 or 40 times a year, it gets hard to come up with a new "angle" for your race reports. I can't stand the same old boring race reports. "i had a bad start, i passed so and so, i crashed, i finished 11th" don't care.

However, as Router points out, race reports are one of the few things that really matter for a bike blog. It's like the ante; like it or not, you need to do it or you're not in the game. Writing a witty report, with a fresh angle, that is bigger than the race it describes isn't possible when you race damn near every week. The amount of mental effort required clear a bar that high is enough prevent updates all together.... and THAT seems to be the issue here.

Lowering the bar.

Yeah. That's what going to happen. Deal with it. Races will be acknowledged. The ante will be paid, and I will remain in the game, but they're going to be quick and dirty. I'm thinking of going with a form-letter approach. That should free me up to write about topics other than races (aka topics that actually require thought and creativity.) If you want lap by lap reports, there is no shortage of them, and they aren't hard to find.

I got a counter.

I know which posts you're looking at, I know how long you're reading them for, and I know how often you read them. Google searches that lead to my many USAC rants are still my largest traffic generator. My most popular entries? anything that starts with "Dear Cat x Men..." Race reports? Not so popular. To be honest, the number of hits is directly proportional to the enjoyment I got out of writing the entries. (Fun fact, 2nd most popular search term? "brian wilichoski" no joke.)


I've got so much I want to write about. Let's get too it. Right after I fix that part of the kitchen floor that keeps putting holes in my socks, mount a new rear tire on the mtb, replace the dysfunctional front door knob, hang the new curtain rods in the dining room, replace the crawlspace door, do laundry, unclog the front gutters, and wake up at 6:05am so I can not train before going to work.

(2:39 to write this. no coincidence that it is 40 degrees and raining right now.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ketchup 2010 - King of Burlingame race report.

Race report? Weird.

What the hell is a time trial?

Roadies will tell you that mountain bike races are like 2 hour time trials.

Mountain bikers will tell you that road races are retarded and mountain bike races are actually races. Therefore a time trial is a race, don't listen to roadies.

Just a race?

Well, no. It's a race against yourself. Or at least it starts out that way. I thought I was going to be the last one out in the Expert 20-40 race since starting position was determined by registration order, and I was #148 of 150. But as I was waiting to start I thought, why is Josh Wilcox still here? Shit. He's fast, and he's starting right behind me.

it was really cold. and wet. and early. (photos: dl)

Kind of racing.

So off I went. I was moving down the trail at what I would call race-pace. Two hour race-pace, not half hour race-pace. My weakness was apparent immediately. I've mountain biked outside on trails once per month in 2010. Let's just say that my technical handling skills were pretty horrible. At one point I was on the saddle, both feet unclipped, legs out in the air, rolling backwards. At another point I was bouncing through a rock garden at high speed, both feet unclipped, sitting on my top tube. Sure enough, after 5 or 10 minutes of folly, I hear someone behind me. Josh Wilcox.

Actually racing.

Well, now it's not a time trial anymore. There is a guy right next to me, and I have to ride faster than him. That's straight up racing. The kind of racing roadies don't understand. Hammers were spread out on the trail behind me, the pain cave was located, and entered. Vision was blurred, and snot was distributed.

the high-res version of this face is the ugliest thing you have ever seen.

...and the ending.

All I knew about the course was that when I got to the second road, I had to hammer to the finish. Colin told me this, I initially mocked him for telling me so little, but in actuality, it was the perfect amount of information. I got to the second stretch of pavement and opened 'er up. I put a 15 second gap on Josh in that last stretch. After seeing the results, I realized if I had ridden half as fast as Josh in the first 10 minutes, I would have won. MATH!

almost forgot.

By far the best part of the day was ripping through Acadia that afternoon with my man Rob Stine as a guide. Unfortunately there were no trail side photographers there, and I know you, internet, you need pictures or you're just going to skim and move on.

(somewhere out there, there is a photo of me with roadie leg fully extended around a sharp, downhill, sandy corner. everyday when i check my mail, i expect to find that photo with a ransom note)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ketchup 2010 - New Bike

Word? This is a bike blog, so I feel I need to mention when I get a new bike.

i am a horrible photographer.
The more astute squirt gun show reader would note that this is the third BMC I have had in less than a year. What can I say, and BMC has a great warranty program. These little sissy roadie bikes with their tiny tires and rigid everything just can't take the beating I dole out. Well, that or the roads in New England are really shitty and I ride like a gorilla.

goal for 2010: lapping the cat5 (womens) field.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ketchup 2010 - Rosey's Rhonde

The 2010 race is just about upon us. I gotta bang out a bunch of posts so I have a clean slate when the season starts for real this coming weekend. First up: The best of the best, Rosey's Rhonde.

Sevens stacked on Sevens. (photo: chip/hup)

Why it ruined my 2010 season. You see that scene above? Well, I don't want to go on any rides that aren't a competition against other teams, I don't want to go to any races that don't start and end at the bar, and I don't want to go to any bars that don't have countless high end cross bikes spread out around the front door.

What it was: 65 mile on-road/off-road hammer fest. Course consisted of a single sheet of directions, which were lost almost immediately. Teams headed out one at a time, slowest first, as a way of handicapping the field. First one back to the bar wins.

that's us in the yellow, yes, we took a wrong turn at every possible opportunity.

Why it was awesome: The motivation of a race, the camaraderie of teammates, beautiful weather, and the relaxed vibe of an early spring training ride with your homies. Oh, and Dave's moustache was there. I also set a personal record for shammy time, 12.5 hours.

Who won? Every one sitting still at the bar at 8pm, with dead legs, and a belly full of cupcakes and free beer ...and Bikes Not Bombs.

In summary: It was around 8:30pm. After a delicious veggie burger, 65 miles, a pile of fries, 5 cupcakes, and about a dozen beers, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open. We decided to call it a day. We all shuffled outside, found our respective rides and said our goodbyes. I gave Rosey one last hand shake and thanked him for one of the best day's I've spent on a bike. I threw my leg over my custom Ridley, and watched as Rosey threw his leg over his ride, then headed off into the clouds.