Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ohio recap...

The last stage of the tour of Ohio was the exact opposite of last years final criterium stage which ended in a bunch sprint.  The 50 mile circuit race had us scheduled for 4 loops on rolling country roads and then 10 laps of a 1.3 mile finishing circuit with a big climb and a technical descent.

Things started off as expected, Inferno let a group roll off the front to protect the sprint jersey.  With one big loop to go the weather took a turn for the worse.  Wind, rain, hail, lightening, you name it.  At one point the cross winds were strong enough to blow Bennett off the road and he is probably 185 lbs, our flyweight Chong managed to keep it upright by drafting off of my billboard ass.

The run back into town was pretty uneventful.  We did our best to escort Chris to the front so that he could be on the pointy end of the race when we hit the finishing circuits.  I think that the guys executed perfectly, and we looked like we had a clear purpose in the race.  Th finishing circuits were a right bitch.  they started with a short paved incline that took a slight left-hand bend onto a super steep brick climb.  It was not quite snake alley, but close.  The climb was followed by a false flat/rolling descent and finished with a super steep bumpy concrete downhill with a 180 degree turn at the base. 

I cracked pretty hard the first time up the climb, but toughed it out to finish in the top 50.  I actually felt better as the race went on, but whatever.

Overall the guys rode pretty well, with Chris being the most consistent.  He ended up 16th overall and 3rd in the collegiate standings.

John Rowley managed to hold on to his Cat 3 jersey, and Le TSK was second in the collegiate and points competition.  It was really great to race with these guys again.

After the race, we had Pizza and some beer.  Tank, Lemur and I ventured out to THE bar in Granville for a few more drinks.  Upon arrival, Bennett and a few friends of his stumbled out.  Me being the jackass that I am threatened Bennett with bodily harm, and fisticuffs nearly ensued. I "boxed" his ears a few times and even threw a leg kick at his head thinking that we were just screwing around.  He then grabbed my head and came away with my hat.  Walking away from me he refuses to give my hat back and is swearing at me.  I now realize that he didn't recognize me and I'm flat out lucky that he didn't flat out punch my lights out.  After calling him by name a few times he realized it was me and the hat and hugs were exchanged.

The trip back to MD was uneventful (other than a detour to krispy kreme, and cute waitstaff at Panera).

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, R.I.P. 2008...

I was gonna give a recap of the final stage of the Tour of Ohio, but since Mr. Carlin kicked the bucket today I thought that I'd share one of my favorite Carlin quotes.

"And now, in the interest of equal time, here is a message from the National Institute of Pancakes: It reads, and I quote, 'Fuck waffles.' "

We'll miss you...you cocksucker.

Tomorrow, recap of the last day in Ohio or How I nearly got my ass kicked twice in one day.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Stage 4 of the Tour of Ohio was a good hard race.  Things got started shortly after the first bonus sprint when a group of nine riders slipped away.  C-Dubs, and G-mur were in a small chase group that never quite got there.  After they returned to the field, i threw an attack to try to get across to the lead group.  In doing so I brought a few other riders with (10 or so).  With representation up the road more than half the group just sat on.  After a few laps we had the leaders within 15 seconds, but then the attacks out of the chase started killed any chances of us getting across.

Late in the race, things got pretty serious with Dewey and le TSK dropping some bombs and bringing back the leaders with about 5 laps to go.  I got into sprint mode and started to find the right wheels.  I ended up in 8th place.  By far the best result I've had this year. More importantly I felt like I was racing, and had a chance to win.

The guys on the team rode their best race yet, as they were active initiating and covering moves throughout the race.

One more stage to go,and it is going to be a doozy.  The first 40 miles should be really easy, rolling terrain, but the eight finishing circuits are going to be insane.  They are 1.3 miles long, with a very steep climb, and a tight descent.  I expect to see some shake up in the GC.  Probably not in the top placings, but there are a lot of guys grouped closely from 6-20th.  If any of them have an off day it is game over.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ohio Stage 3...

While My race results have been less than spectacular.  Some of my Friends have been killing it.  Le TSK, managed to nab some sprint points in stage 1 and 3 and is now wearing the green "points" jersey.  Some people call it the sprinters jersey, but seeing as John is wearing it calling it the points jersey makes a little more sense.

In other news, my old housemate and all around hard man, John Rowley, is wearing the white jersey (highest placed cat 3 rider).

It has been a blast catching up with some friends over the past few days.  Tonight I hope to get something going in the crit. A top 5 finish would be nice.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stupid recovery tricks...

So after a miserable day, A-mac, C-dubs (the chubs) and G-mur (the lemur) decided that an ice bath would be a good idea to speed recovery.  A few bags of Ice and an eight-dollar kiddie pool later this happened.

Absolute piss...

That pretty much sums up the first two days of the Tour of Ohio.  I'm just not feeling great on the bike.  Stage one was a 30 mile crit on a 1/2 mile course with 7-8 turns and a section of brick.  Thankfully the officials decided to negate any time gaps and give all riders the same finish time less time bonuses.  That said, this caused some serious issues as guys were just sitting up wen a gap opened that they didn't feel like closing.  I spent the first half of the race picking my way through the chaff and made what would end up being the final selection of 30 or so riders.  I was working my way thru the remainder f the field when a Target Training guy got tangled up and wend down on the bricks.  I T-boned him pretty good, but didn't hit the ground.  I thought I could case back on but got to within 5 seconds but never any closer.  After getting pulled, I coughed until I vomited and my nose was bleeding.  It is time to go back to the doctor as I'm still not over what ever is up with my lungs.  The only good news is that Curtis (C-dubs) had a good ride and finished 13th.

Stage two is the Queen stage of the tour and a right bitch.  The first 25 miles are chill, but then it is one steep climb after another until you get to the line at mile 66.  I tried to be a good teammate and patrol the front of the race.  There were several times that a dangerous group was off and I rode hard to keep them close or pull them back.  I ended up cracking pretty bad with three major climbs to go.  I was able to chase back, but the writing was on the wall as probably the hardest two climbs were left.  I rode the last 10 miles or so solo or in a small group. 

Frankly, I'm really disappointed with my race. I didn't ride smart at all, and it may have cost me  chance at a good GC placing.  I'm guessing that I'm at least 10 mins down and there is no way for me to make that up. I really have no idea if my lungs are the problem, or if I'm just slow.  Regardless, I need to have a good race soon or I'm gonna be fried mentally.  I'm sick of feeling helpless on the bike.

The other bad news is that Chris Hong was the only guy from our team to make the selection today, and while he is a strong rider, It is going to be hard for him to make up any time as the rest of the stages are pretty flat. 

On the positive side, Tank had a pretty good ride.  He is a Cat 3 and a big guy (about my size) and he was a second placed rider on the stage.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bike and Build...

I took a few vacation days to meet up with Sophia and thirty of her new friends that are riding from Providence, RI to Seattle, WA with the Habitat for Humanity Bike and Build program. They travel about 70 miles a day, stopping few days in a community that has a active Habitat for Humanity project to assist with the build. It just happened that the route that they are traveling had them passing within three miles of my parents house.

On Thursday morning I met up with Sophia in lovely Roscoe, NY and prepared for the 70 mile ride through the southern tier of NY with the final destination being my old college town Binghamton, NY. The ride was a lot of fun as the scenery in the area is amazing; lots of steep hills rising from the Delaware river valley and dense deciduous forests. About 20 miles into the ride we hit our first SNAFU. The road we were to travel was closed. We had two options for a detour: 1) take the long way around adding 10-15 miles to the trip. 2) ride on Route 17 which is pretty much an interstate (in fact it is in the process of becoming interstate 86), and it is illegal to ride a bicycle on it. To make a long story short, we got a police escort form a very kind state trooper.

You can just see the squad car in this photo of the group getting off route 17. This guy saved our asses big time.

After another little detour that took us on some nice dirt roads along the river we got to Hale Eddy which is a few mile from my parent's house.  A few of the group decided to take a break and cool off in/by the river.

From there it was a few miles to Deposit, NY where we stopped and snacked some eats.  After lunch we had about 30 more miles to Binghamton which included a few long steady climbs.

Once in Bling-Blinghamton, I met up with my old roommate Doug who lives in the area.  He and his wife, Jimae, are expecting their first (and only from what she says) child in a few weeks.  It was nice to catch up as It has been at least a year since I saw either of them.

On Friday morning I met up with the Bike and Build peeps for a few hours of landscaping fun at a build site on the south side of Binghamton.  This was one of the more interesting parts of the trip as i got to speak with many, but regrettably not all, of the people on the trip. I must say that these people have some serious motivation and direction in their lives.  I takes a certain type of person to up and leave their comfort zone and ride across the country helping out the disadvantaged. What is even mare amazing is that 90% of the people on the trip are not avid cyclists.

After the build day, Sophia and I stumbled around Binghamton for a few hours taking in some of the bizarre architecture of the area.  We even went to Beethoven (recreation) park and took a carousel ride, which is a bit of Binghamton area history/culture.

Best wishes to all those on the Providence–Seattle route and all the others that are out there making this world a better place.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm (almost) back...

So it is semi official. I'm a bike racer again. This has nothing to do with riding well and getting results, rather the opposite. After a year of keeping the rubber side down, I came off the bike this weekend. The incident occurred at the Murad RR. It was a nice course, slightly rolling with no big climbs to lug my ass up. The weather on the other hand was not so nice. Once again, it poured buckets shortly after the start of our race. I was on early duty and the guys were out to give other teams hell until something good got away. After a few failed attempts I was off in a small group at the end of the first lap. I'm second wheel going into a slightly off camber down hill right hander, and boom front wheel pushed out and i'm on the deck sliding before I know what has happened. I didn't even get my hands off the bars, and thus ground my knuckles pretty good. I slid thru the corner, but my bike ended up in the middle of the road, and I couldn't get it until the entire field passed by. After getting things straight (saddle, bars, stem) I chased and chased. I caught the group at the start finish on the next lap when the officials stopped the race due to weather. after standing around for 30 mins they canceled the race. That is twice this year!!!

The following day was the CSC invite down in Arlington, VA (D.C. for all intents). Our race was fast and aggressive so much that the field went from over 100 to about 40 in short order. We tried like hell to get a break going but nothing ever materialized. One dude rode off solo and won. The rest of us tried to bring it back but got no help from the other teams, and or guys were pretty gassed for the sprint. Rick hung tough and nabbed 14th. I'm still missing that little bit of form that is the difference between driving a break and hanging on for dear life, but I'm getting closer.

Now I have a few weekends off, before Tour of Ohio. I'm hoping that training through these past few weeks of racing will pay off.

Monday, June 2, 2008


It is not too often that I see pictures of something that really knocks me for a loop. We are constantly barraged with shots of death and violence, and that has probably made me a little numb to most things. There is also a certain detachment as I have never be victim of a violent crime, war, or natural disaster.

I was sent a link to some photos of an accident involving a drunk driver and a bicycle race in Mexico.

This is the first image I saw.

This image is especially terrifying to anyone that has ever ridden in a road race. The car on the right is a police escort, so the riders were still in the "protection" of the race caravan. I can tell you that in the middle of a race you certainly let your guard down in terms of interacting with traffic because you rely on the escorts to keep you safe. The victims here probably had no idea what was going on until it was too late.

This image was pretty bad and I knew that the aftermath would not be good, but i was not prepared for what I saw a few images later.

That image is what shook me. It just reeks of death. No heroic efforts at CPR, no ambulance. I could have handled an image of massive trauma and EMT's doing what they could, as that would have given some hope that the guy would pull through. Nope, just a bunch of people looking at a pile of meat and bone covered by a blanket. If that doesn't remind you that we are mortal, I'm not sure what will.