Showing posts from February, 2008

Rangeley Marathon Hype

50k in a snowstorm. Consider me officially stoked.

A Tale of Two Races

I wasn't joking when I said the first seven minutes were amazing and the rest kind of sucked.

Tuesday Night Fights

It's a good thing the Tuesday night series is almost over because I'm running out of Tuesday Night _____ post names. This one is pretty accurate though -- this was the most contentious Tuesday nighter I've been to yet.

The conditions were bizarre -- it was 34 and raining, with a half inch of new snow on top. I had my old Madshus Hypersonic wet base super-rilled skis with HF10, which I was expecting to be smokin' fast, and they turned out to be barely ok. There were spots where they would catch from the suction and I would stumble -- and these are rilled skate skis with flouros on them!

Now that the high school season is over we had some new faces, although Luke was not among them. At the pre-race meeting Andy, the guy in charge, warned the high schoolers that this was an "adult race" so they should "not break anyone's poles." Unfortunately these words caught the ear of the irony gods, who repaid Andy mightily for this statement during the rac…

Stowe Derby Race Report

The Stowe Derby is one of the stupidest ski races ever invented. It combines one ridiculously awesome element (descending the Mt Mansfield Toll Road on cross country skis at 40 mph) with a host of terrible ones -- incredibly narrow trails, mediocre snowmobile grooming, and the worst-shoveled road crossings I've ever seen.

But it doesn't matter. The race is legendary, it's huge, it's never going to change, and if you took the stupid parts of the course out the old-timers would riot. And the first 7 minutes are unparalleled. I might complain, but you can bet I'll be back next year.

Linnea and I made the questionable decision to camp out the night before the race. I haven't winter camped since I was a little kid and now that I don't sleep like a rock it turned out to be a less than restful evening. I compounded the error by hitting the first breakfast place we could find after getting out of the woods and eating what might be the largest prerace breakfast …

Tuesday Night Ice Racing

By my own subjective definition, one's life is pretty good when you get up on a Wednesday morning and realize, "crap, I haven't blogged in 4 days and now I'm 3 race reports behind." It's safe to say that I might "have a problem," but just like my "coffee problem" I've yet to figure out how it's anything less than totally awesome.

Maybe I can link ironically to this post when it's July and I'm blogging about how burned out I am.

Anyway, Tuesday was yet another Weston ski crit. After the weekend's torrential rain, the "snow" was rock solid, and for some reason Weston skipped their normal "till something skiable into utter crap" afternoon routine. The course was even icy and faster than usual, so cruising at a comfortable pace was easy, but going faster required more technique than fitness -- it was easy to flail and slip around a bunch without actually accelerating. In other words, it was a good day …

Flying Moose Classic Race Report

This race had been on my radar since November, mainly because it's run by the Bethel Outing Club and organized by my dad, and takes place about 5 miles from the house I grew up in. It had been in decline for several years, run as a 10k in 2006 in a 40-degree rainstorm (one of the only races that actually happened in The Winter That Never Happened, but still...), and drawing only 30 people last year when an Eastern Cup on the same day was moved to a nearby venue at the last minute.

But, this year was different -- it was back to its rightful 20k length and it was the only event of consequence on the calendar, by sheer scheduling luck.

In any case, these factors, coupled with the massive amount of snow in Bethel (the snowbanks are so high you can't read the speed limit signs) meant that they would be receiving the full brunt of the New England citizen racing scene, and I was thrilled to join in the fracas. My desire to vicariously promote a race led to me pestering my dad a fai…

Eastern Ski-O Championships

I bet you didn't know I was an elite ski orienteering athlete.

Well, I didn't either. It turns out that to be an elite American ski orienteer, you don't need much. The criteria are as follows:

1) Have a friend who does ski orienteering and can loan you a map holder.
2) Be good enough at skiing to go somewhat fast, but bad enough to have an aversion to "real" races.
3) Be under 50.

That's all there is to it. Notice that "ability to read a map" wasn't on that list!

Alex and I headed up to Gunstock Saturday morning for the long distance and sprint races at the Eastern Ski-O Champs. I was still reeling from a depressingly small number of beers the night before, but hey, at least I can get drunk efficiently. I realized things were going to be a little rough when I drank a pint of water and a 32oz Gatorade on the way... and still didn't have to go to the bathroom. At all.

After a few prerace instructions from Alex, mainly centering around how to pu…

Jay Winter Challenge 30 Miler Race Report

Last year Linnea dragged me to the Jay Winter Challenge, and it turned out to be one of the funnest races I've ever done. I crossed the finish line of the 10-miler and proclaimed, "I'm coming back next year with fatter tires and riding the 30!"

My reasoning was simple. 10 miles was fun. Having trouble staying afloat was the only thing that wasn't so fun. If we get fatter tires, then riding 30 miles will be three times as fun, right?

Note: This is the same reason that six gaps are actually six times as fun as one gap. Ask anyone.

Up until last Wednesday, this plan was looking good. I had a 2.4 front and a 2.5 rear, surely that would be the perfect combination, I should probably figure out what to do with my winnings, eh? And then it snowed 14 inches in Newport, and last year's icy, rideable trails disappeared.

What was left was a soft mess of powder, churned over daily by the innumerable snow machines that roam the area, a surface that ate up narrow tires a…

Tuesday Night Worlds: Just like last year

Ok, a brief race report before the real Jay Challenge report. I was thinking about pretending this one never happened, but if Alex is gonna bust out race reports about the regular Weston debacle then I will too.

I was still sore from Jay (yes, 3 days later) and warmed up pretty meekly. It was definitely one of those days where you are halfway defeated on the start line. But whatever, sometimes my body shows up when I least expect it.

The start was the typical cluster, I was feeling stubborn so I moved up gradually on the outside instead of elbowing my way into the draft. Everything seemed ok at this point, after the first loop I slid into 5th or so, no worries right?

Somewhere along the line Aaron Blazar snuck up in front of me, and made his intentions of blowing up spectacularly pretty clear. So I had to get back around him before the inevitable detonation, which I did, but right as I cleared that obstacle some dude I didn't know got to the front of the group and the pace skyr…

Jay Winter Challenge Ice Crit Race Report

This weekend was the Jay Winter Challenge, a race so freaking sick I'm splitting the race report in half. It was billed as a "stage race," but when one stage is a 30-mile MTB race in the snow you kind of know that how you do the 30 will be how you finish overall. So the only goal for the Friday night "ice crit" was to have fun and finish.

Linnea and I were rolling with some insane homemade studded tires we had borrowed. These things had over 400 drywall screws in each. Weighed over 2 pounds each. Cornered on ice so well I could lean it over while pedaling all-out until my pedals hit the ice.

The downside of that kind of traction is obscene rolling resistance when going in the straight line. I'm not sure I can quantify how hard it was to keep the bike going over 15 mph (a reasonable speed given how flat and smooth ice is), but I'm guessing it was about 20% more work than a stock Nokian's studded tire.

And unfortunately for us, the course was heavi…

Brainstorming Fantasy Cross

So a while back, when I pimped Fantasy Nordic on this site, a bunch of the regular clowns said "oh you should do Fantasy Cross," as if all that entailed was changing a line of code or two.

But I have been thinking about it, because I have a programming problem, and also because I'm still trying to become e-famous. It's become apparent to me that I don't really have the writing ability to acquire e-fame through blogging, so I'm just going to keepmakingwebsites and see if someday I get something approaching a non-negative return on my investment.

Anyway. Fantasy Cross. The biggest problem, to me, is that there is no single, unified race series that everyone attends. For nordic skiing it was easy -- there's a 4 month long World Cup season with about 30 races per gender. For cross, there's no clear demarcation of what the "season" is. World Cup + World Champs? Superprestige? Every C1 race? Women's World Cups? Where do you draw the lin…

Barely Legal Bikes, Vol 7

It's hard to go very far on the internet without stumbling across bike porn, at least if you frequent cycling websites. For a long time I considered bike porn to be morally wrong, as I am against the objectification of objects, and I have been able to resist the temptation of nude carbon parts...Until now.

Thanks to guys like BikeSnobNYC, the Amateur Bike Porn scene has really piqued my interest. I've realized that everyone should be into bike porn, both as a consumer and producer -- because really, what brings more joy to a cyclist than a poorly lit picture of your brakes? I mean, I have seen all manner of brakes in pictures -- stock Shimano, Pauls, Spooky, Froglegs -- but I have never seen your brakes on your bike. Much like a topless 18-year old, the appeal never wears off. By all means, show me your brakes, your cranks, your tubulars -- in fact, could we maybe get pictures of all your bikes?

Oh, you call it "your stable?" Why, that's so clever! I find …