Showing posts from July, 2007

The Gap Ride

This weekend it was my turn to tackle to legendary Gap Ride. After a sleepless and apprehensive night, Linnea and I were on the road at 5 AM from Boston to meet my dad in Rochester for an 8 AM departure. Thanks to the miracle of the human body, the fact that I got like 3 hours of sleep Saturday night held off on kicking my ass until Monday morning.

We rolled out at 8:15 and hit the first gap, Brandon Gap. 8 miles at 4.5% sounds really easy, but of course the first 3 miles are really like 2%, so you get some nice 8/9% stuff near the top. Cresting the top at 9 miles (124 to go!) was really easy. I didn't even touch my 38x27 the whole way up. One gap down, five to go. This ride is no problem!

After Brandon Gap the road heads up the valley for 10 or 15 miles, winding along Lake Dunmore and generally being quite scenic. Just before the turn to Middlebury gap, however, there's a section of Rt 7 you have to ride that's very unprotected from the wind, just open fields. On t…

Training, impending gaps, goals

This weekend coming up will be my second in a row not racing. Theoretically I'm building some kind of base fitness so that I go fast later. More realistically, I'm hoping to build enough base fitness so that I can actually train harder and more often in future without becoming overtrained and cooked, like seemed to happen last year.

In the spirit of that, this weekend is THE GAP RIDE which is just your average Vermont trip -- 130 miles and 12,000 feet. Alex did it a few months back and survived, and I made the mistake of telling my insane long-distance-cycling-specialist dad about it, so here we are. The big question of the day is whether or not I can turn a 38x27 over Lincoln Gap -- the steepest climb in the Northeast US. The last 1.2 miles average 17.1%, with an extended section above 20%! I've looked at some ride reports and there are many, many accounts of people with triple cranks walking. Alex got over with a 34x27 earlier this year, so I think I can do it -- b…

This is why we can't have nice things

Less than a mile into a night ride tonight with Alex I tore my derailleur off my bike. It would have been understandable if I had crashed, or shifted, or it had been muddy, but all I did was bunny hop while in the 3rd biggest cog. Somehow this sent my derailleur into the spokes which of course led to a broken dropout and the end of my ride. Incredibly lame.

Also, I haven't seen this mentioned elsewhere, so I'll put the word out -- USA Cycling did the expert short track fields a massive disservice with their overzealous pulling of riders on Sunday at Mount Snow, and I think they'll realize their mistake next year when those classes are nearly empty. Entertain, for a moment, the following scenario --

1) You put down $49 to race short track at nationals
2) 15 minutes into the race, you're in 6th place, 45 seconds off the leader.
3) The officials wave you off the course

Sounds implausible, but it happened to Stephen Petersen. Expert Men 19-29 short track had 23 starters an…

MTB Nationals: Junior Expert Short Track

I watched a lot of racing over the course of three days up at Mt Snow and this was the best race I saw. Hordes of juniors were absolutely flying, the crowd and Richard Fries were going nuts, and it was half the length and 1/3rd the course of a cross race so it was even more intense. Linnea and I were pulling for Nick Keough since he was rocking the fully rigid ride like a true cross racer, until he crashed on the last lap, snapping his bars in half and ruining what would have been a crazy 10-up mountain bike sprint. I quickly picked a new suitor for my heart, Greg Carpenter, only to have him lose the sprint for third by less than a wheel. Anyway, it rocked. Short track MTB is definitely up near cross racing in terms of spectating potential. If they'd had a super-technical downhill on the course (Nick Keough was competitive on a rigid!) then it might have jumped over cross nats for the title of "coolest race I've attended."

Without further ado, here is the video!

Morning rides, other stuff

I got up and rode 50 miles today before work. It wasn't supposed to be 50 miles, but there's not much you can do when the name of the road on your directions doesn't match the name on the sign. Anyway, I didn't eat anything before or during, so I was fueled purely by my fat reserves. Luckily, they are enormous.

I was also witness to a variety of motorist stupidity. Nothing unique, but I did identify two particularly aggravating things people in cars do.

1) The too-wide-when-it's-blind pass.
I realize you're trying to be nice to me here, but you can't just go in the other lane on a corner. Seriously, I'm fine over here with 2 feet of space. You can get even closer if you slow down. But for the love of god, don't kill yourself or someone else trying to be nice to me!

It's like seeing a bike on the shoulder makes people forget, I dunno, every other safe thing about driving. I had one especially close call with a van going completely into th…

Pat's Peak XC Race Report

Driving up to Pat's Peak on Sunday, things were looking scary. Sure, when we left Boston it was heading into the upper 80s and hot, which is scary enough, but when we turned onto I-89 in Concord the sky had turned into the ominous black that can only signal heavy thunderstorms. And sure enough, just a few miles up I-89 we hit rain bad enough that people were pulling off the road. Like most thunderstorms this one stopped as abruptly as it began, and I arrived at Pat's Peak feeling good about things.

The Pat's Peak course had 850 feet of climbing per five mile lap. This was pretty bad news for me, since my legs have only occasionally shown up at races this year, and I upgraded to a class where everyone is freaking strong. The only good thing about 850 feet up is 850 feet down -- so I'll take a quick downpour to grease things up. I needed that trails as technical as possible to make up for 3400 feet of climbing.

What I didn't need, nor did anyone else, was for t…

Rolling in the Urban Jungle

Recently I wrote a post about "how to blog" and enjoyed pretending people might actually listen to my advice. It was such a power trip, I'm coming right back this week with "How to ride your bike in the city."

I've ridden my bike to work every single day for about 11 months now. I also do a fair number of road rides starting in "the city" and also run other errands on my bike. I ride primarily in Cambridge/Somerville, although I've done some time in most other parts of Boston as well, including downtown. I've noticed how much my riding behavior has changed over time, so I think there's a legitimate learning curve here -- which isn't to say I'm not going to keep learning. I've seen a lot of people out there who could benefit from some advice, so here it is -- and some of the worst offenders are roadies in full kits heading out on training rides, so don't think this doesn't apply to you, average-blog-reader!


Winsted Woods Race Report

There's something about the noon start time that lulls me into a false sense of security. Noon is the middle of the day, so surely I can do lots of things before the freakin' halfway point of the day right? So there's no reason I can't drive 125 miles AND preride a lap before a noon start.

Well, it would be easy, if I was one of those old guys who wakes up at 5 AM without an alarm. Then noon really would be the middle of my day, and I would probably be able to get in a nice hearty breakfast, preride, warmup, and the 13 trips to the bathroom that seem to be required before racing.

As you may have figured out, we didn't really get there with much time to spare. I think I parked the car at 11:25. I ran around and bumped into things for twenty minutes until I was ready to roll, and I only spilled about half a cup of energy drink powder in the back of my car in the process. I "warmed up" for a frantic ten minutes and rolled up to staging late, along with…

Colin's guide to writing a blog worth reading

I've been a proud member of the "blogosphere" for a whopping seven months now, so I figured it's about time I lay down the law. I've perused many a biker-blog in my day, so I thought it would be interesting to try to figure out what exactly goes into writing a blog that I like. I've actually been working on this post for quite a while now, so hopefully it's not just off-the-cuff hogwash that I have to edit tomorrow.

I'd like to think that I'm a fairly typical biker-blog writer/reader, so maybe sharing what makes a blog good to me is something that could be generalized from. On the other hand, if the amount of time I spend on cross results is any indication, maybe I'm not that typical.

Disclaimer: There are, of course, many reasons to write a blog other than having me read it -- so the only way anyone should feel slighted by this is if your main goal with blogging was to get me to read it. And there are literally thousands of cycling blogs …

I don't need no steeekin bike rack

Two road bikes, five wheels, suitcases in the back...

Two mountain bikes, three wheels, more gear in the trunk.

My car's slightly less impractical than you might think! What do I win?