Showing posts from May, 2009

Bear Brook Blastoff Race Report

I've heard a fair amount of hype about this race, so with a yawning chasm of four non-Root 66 weekends to navigate, I decided to head up to Manchester and see what the fuss was all about.

In retrospect, the 1-hour drive explains the popularity -- people will give you all kinds of silly reasons for why some events are big basically it goes like this: turnout = proximity to major cities - competing events. Nothing else was going on and Concord, Manchester and Boston were all nearby. The place was packed. Word on the street was over 300 racers.

The trails ultimately failed to live up to the hype, at least for this technical specialist. It was basically the same type of course as the Fat Tire Classic, albeit with a bit more singletrack and a much longer loop, but still just zero-recovery big ring blasting for 90% of the lap. There was lots of fast and smooth singletrack, which looked pretty but wasn't any more technically demanding than the wide open doubletrack. Probably mor…

Coyote Hill Race Report

It was pretty exciting to see how many people told me to take it easy on my knee in last week's comments. It's almost like quite a few people read this thing and most of them aren't trying to actively sabotage me. Meg excepted, of course.

Unfortunately for you guys, my knee was feeling super after a modest week of riding. There was even a doctor involved at one point, who jabbed my kneecap in various ways hoping to make me wince in pain, and he totally failed. So I was good to go for Coyote Hill, which is a good deal, because it's the best course on the Root 66 circuit.

Also contributing to my enthusiasm was the new bike. I finally gave up my dreams of getting a Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL when I realized that they made exactly one of those bikes this spring (and destroyed it after taking pictures), so if I wanted to get a proper race bike before September I'd have to "compromise" with the 9.8. Woe is me, with my 24 lb XT-equipped dualie. How can I possibl…

Winsted Woods Race Report

After getting it handed to me at Sunapee on Saturday, the obvious next step was to take my trashed pride back to the dirt, a.k.a "the sport I actually try at." I've seen the road/mtb double done with much success by guys like Mike Rowell and Jonny Bold, and I've also seen Cary do it with... less success. Unfortunately my fitness is much closer to Cary's than Mike's and Jonny's, so I had an idea about how this might go.

My legs felt like crap in the morning, and 2.5 hours in a car did not miraculously jump start them. I decided that today would be best dealt with via the "complain loudly before the start about how you raced yesterday" approach. Then I got the reverse holeshot, for good measure.

The start gets narrow and technical fast, and the "luxury" of being DFL allowed me to back off from the main pack a bit on the first technical climb and wait for the predictable bottleneck when someone dabbed. Sure enough, no less than six guy…

Lake Sunapee Race Report

Note: I can't believe how many words I just wrote about this stupid race.

I hadn't raced in three weeks and I had nearly crippled myself due to boredom. There was a mountain bike race on Sunday, but I just couldn't hold out another 24 hours, certainly not when my buddy Justin was going to make his road racing debut up at Sunapee. An easy decision! Throw the cross bike in the car and go beat on the cat 5 field for 46 miles, because I'm a cat 2 cross rider and 2 is a much smaller number than 5. I just had to bang my head against the wall for five minutes first, to forget how badly my last foray into road racing went.

Unlike Hilltowns, Sunapee doesn't have any field-shattering climbs, so I figured I would get to hang out in traffic for a solid two hours, which is the kind of experience that rates somewhere between "good for me" and "unnecessarily risky." Whatever, I like to keep my collarbone on its toes.

The day ended up being a lot windier th…

Inside the Mind of an Invalid Biker

"You're getting slower."

It started the third day after I wrecked my knee. It's still going strong today, and probably won't shut up until I lose my fear of pedaling more than twenty minutes at a time.

"You're getting slower."

The voice has no need to be reasonable. By the time you've reach this level of paranoia, quelling it with reality is utterly impossible. Who cares how many professional cyclists have managed to break collarbones, miss weeks of the season and come back to success -- the voice has me convinced that my mountain bike season is going up in flames, before my very eyes, as I sit here on my seventh straight day of doing nothing.

"You're getting slower."

My body is adjusting to the new, sedentary lifestyle of having a bad knee. I used to ride to work, now I take the subway. I used to need breakfast. Now I can eat nothing until 1 PM -- my metabolism's given up being ready to ride at a moment's notice. You don…

I Wrecked My Knee/For The Dover TT

See, it's funny 'cuz it rhymes!

But it's not funny because it's true.

So last Thursday I had a little knee/handlebar incident. It was your typical knee-to-mtb-shifter impact, cause by dropping the chain under extreme torque and leaving me almost unable to stand for several minutes. But I was able to get back on the bike, suck it up, and eventually it "loosened up" enough to finish the ride. So I had a massive bruise/puncture wound on my kneecap, whatever.

Of course, the bruise hurt a bit whenever my knee moved, so all my epic weekend mileage had a bit of a dull pain to it. But it was dull, you see? I managed eight hours of moderate intensity with only minor discomfort. So we're good!

Then last night I headed down to the Dover TT because I need to get in some seriously non-fun above-LT work... and while the Dover TT doesn't involve a number on your back, there's still a third party with a stopwatch which is close enough to a race to get me AMPED.…

Putting The Fun In Training

This has been a tough stretch. There were no mountain bike races this weekend, and none coming next weekend, plus some monstrously stupid mechanic'ing that has left my mountain bike unrideable anyway. You know what that means -- time to start road racing! Er, riding the road bike. Er... training.

My general M.O. is to ride a bit, race a lot, and get kinda fast. Thus far it's been totally effective, provided you call a career arc that falls far short of "professional" effective. But we've all got big dreams, and with two blank weekends and no mountain bike, it was a perfect time to do some big time training.

One problem, though, training sucks. Enduring extreme pain so you might be faster later? Come on. If there's no number on your back it doesn't count, no matter how much you write about it.

As a long time hater of training, I have been working hard on puttting the F-U-N back in training. This is not as easy as putting the FUN back in FUNdamental…