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Showing posts from 2016

Cheshire Cross/Orchard Cross Race Reports

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This is my eleventh season of racing cross, and I still like it enough that I have to hold myself back from racing doubles every weekend.  This weekend I failed, because Cheshire Cross is close and awesome and Orchard Cross is far and awesome.


Cheshire Cross Race Report  I've been coming here for a few years now, because there's some really unique and fun woods trail, and the best grassroots rideup in New England.

I was predicted to finish 5th out of 19 (!!), so I thought it would be a good chance try being a real cyclocross racer and start the race FAST instead of my usual technique of burying myself deep in traffic, picking my way forward slowly, and then using my steady forward progress to convince myself that I totally could have done better if I had started better.

Of course I neglected to remember that starting HARD means you should warm up for real, and maybe not panic and eat a gel right before the start.

So I blasted off the line into 3rd wheel, rode most of lap one …

Gran Prix of Gloucester Race Reports

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Obviously these are wicked late, but Gloucester is still the best race in New England (now with a more seasonable date!) and I have two chainstay cams to archive for the internet, if nothing else.

Day 1 Despite ULTRAPaully's best efforts, I got a great random draw on Saturday.  So great, in fact, that Adam Craig's lackadaisical sprinting was the only reason I didn't go into the first turn in the top 30 (when you're a cat 2, you don't pass guys who went to the Olympics in the start, there's rules about this).
This early positioning advantage was then swiftly cratered with a series of three bobbles in the beer garden section on lap one where what felt like the entire field went by me -- I got pinched into a post (2:20), then had a dead stop due to a crash in front of me (2:33), and then tangled with Radshaw when we were all flipping out trying to get going again (2:45).  
Dan Fitzgibbons was right behind me and he definitely got a worse deal, though: Day 1 at @g…

Midnight Ride of Cyclocross Race Report

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Midnight Ride is one of my favorite cross races, but I never blog about it because it comes right before Night Weasels, and for some mysterious reason I always have a lot of things that seem more important than blogging around that time.  But not this year!

(I wonder what Night Weasels task I'm forgetting right now)

The reason I love Midnight Ride, of course, is that the course is 85% turning, which makes the other 15% sprinting, and those are the only two things I can do in a cyclocross race.  Yeah baby!

This year they changed the holeshot from "sketchy gravel chicane in the dark" to "back to back 180s in the light" which was ... differently sketchy.  My scrubby third row start spot (sigh) led to frenzied sprinting into frenzied brake-jacking into frenzied argy-bargy turning -- but somehow I filtered through without incident and headed out into lap one right behind Chandler Delinks and Kevin Sweeney in the top 20.

Kevin left a 1.5 bike length gap to Chandler…

Should You Throw Your Water Bottle When Racing a Road Bike?

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The other day, with 1.5 laps left in a cat 3 crit, the guy in front of me reached down into his bottle cage, grabbed his bottle, and threw it wildly onto the sidewalk, almost hitting a spectator.

This process caused him to open up a two or three bike length gap in front of him which he then had to pedal hard to close... almost certainly negating any gains he made by losing the weight of the bottle for the final sprint.

So I'm pretty confident that this particular bottle-throwing instance was a poor decision, but it motivated me to look into the
actual savings of the bottle-throw, which is really just an excuse to blog about PHYSICS!!  And who doesn't love MATH?!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Throwing your bottle creates trash.  Trash creates unhappy residents on race courses.  Unhappy residents create problems for race promoters.  If you're throwing your bottle onto someone's lawn -- you are the kind of racer that all promoters hate.  Don't do it.

Let's set some ground rul…

Green Mountain Stage Race Race Report

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These days I am as much a race promoter as I am a bike racer, it seems.  And race promoting is hard.  There's a reason you never saw a Greenfield Criterium, Gnar Weasels, or August Adventure Promotion Report posted here -- the more you do it, the less novelty there is, but the workload is the same.   And it's a lot.  And it wears on you.

This is why, one day in early July, I woke up (probably at 4am thinking about Gnar Weasels or something) and I realized -- the day will come when Gary Kessler (the man behind Green Mountain Stage Race) comes to his senses and decides that it's time to retire GMSR.

And goddammit, then GMSR will be gone and I'll never be able to say that I did the best little stage race in the world.

So I registered for this year.  Even when I was a cat 5 I didn't have a power-to-weight ratio that was capable of hurting other people (at least not the ones who matter), but who cares?  I'm here to EXPERIENCE the one and only GMSR.  And boy am I gl…

Come With Me on a Lovingly Curated Backwoods Gravel Dirt Sand Wood Road Bike Ride

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Hey!  Let's go ride some bikes.

This spring I got elected to be on the NEBRA Board.  NEBRA is a bunch of people who donate their time to making New England Bike Racing bettAr.    And one of my jobs as a NEBRA board member (other than sending emails... oh god so many emails) was coming up with the route for the NEBRA August Adventure, because I am a map dork who lives in the Pioneer Valley and that's where we're doing this thing.

The reason we're doing a gravel adventure ride is because (1) we like riding bikes, duh and (2) we're trying to raise some money for the bettArment  of New England cycling via grants for stuff like race motos, official training, junior development, and other stuff that makes your life as a bike racer qualitatively bettAr.

wait a minute, I have to race against juniors.

but motos are the only reason we could do a Greenfield Crit at all...ok yup this makes my life better

So what are you doing on Sunday, August 7th?  Do you have a road bike wit…

Greenfield Criterium HYPE POST

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The Bearscat 50 was awesome.  Will I ever have time to write about it?  Probably not!  But Christin won so that's all you really need to know.  


The reason I have no time to write about 5+ hours of slippery bike racing is that I have to make phone calls (nooooooooo) and write emails (okaaaaaaaaay) and visit businesses (!!!!!!!) to make the Greenfield Crit happen along with Lydia Hausle and the Back Bay Cycling Club.

This is the grandest race promotion venture I have ever been part of.  We have been to TOWN MEETINGS!  We have passed out flyers to ABUTTERS who were either CONFUSED, SUPPORTIVE, or CRANKY!  We applied for GRANTS!  We have a CLINIC!  We have EQUAL PRIZE MONEY!  Thanks to Lydia this is WAY MORE TIGHT than [insert Weasels event here] and you don't need to worry about the venue changing or US RUNNING OUT OF TOILET PAPER!  It is going to BE SO AWESOME THAT EVAN HUFF IS COMING OUT OF RETIREMENT FOR IT.

Like any first year event, we HAVE NO IDEA WHO IS COMING AND IT'…

Weeping Willow Race Report

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There was a moment on Friday when the word "Noreaster" was getting thrown around, and I was thinking that this was going to be the raddest/most-trail-damaging race ever. But the ever-fickle New England weather changed yet again, and it dumped rain 100 miles off the coast. Willowdale State Forest? A bone dry, blazing-fast dustfest as always. But I'm not complaining.

Being just 45 minutes outside Boston, and very beginner-friendly, the place was packed, just like every year. We had 25 or 30 guys in the 30-39 Expert race, and passing on fast, twisty singletrack is pretty hard when everyone is amped up -- so getting stuck behind someone who wasn't feeling the flow (or the pedaling) could be pretty bad if you had podium aspirations like this guy. So for once I lined up semi-seriously and got into the singletrack in 7th.

And then we went faaaaaaast. I know we were going fast because I was immediately making deals with myself -- "it's okay to let those f…

Eastern Grind Race Report

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The Eastern Grind was awesome.  After the first two Kenda Cups were blazing-fast, drafting pedal contests (note:  not a complaint), it rained the night before the Grind and turned an already somewhat technical course into a GNARFEST.

But the weather was terrible (50 with intermittent rain) and the weather was terrible last year, too, and it was far from Boston (like 3 hours) so tons of people skipped it.  Because "people" don't always like the things I like.  Ugh.  People.

The race was promoted by the Bicycle Express team, a bunch of wicked fast guys and girls from Vermont (note:  probably redundant) and they had built a special A/B line coming down from the high point of the course.  Lea Davison tweeted that it was "a legit World Cup A-line" and she knows about these things so the #hype was strong.  And then it rained, and I hadn't preridden said A-line, but I knew I had to ride the A-line because I have a reputation to uphold.  So I was scared.

(What'…

Bear Brook + Seven Sisters Sufferweekend Report

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This past weekend I did two competitive athletic events.  It was like cross season, except totally different.  Here's how it went down:

Bear Brook Classic Race Report This was a new race at an old venue.  The venue is still close to Boston and Concord.  The turnout was still great.  The course was still pedaly.
It was actually a very nice course, in that the singletrack was fun and fast, there was a descent that was hard enough you could make up some time, and there was enough mindless fire road pedaling that I still had something to complain about.
I had recovered from the chest cold that caused me to both reverse-holeshot and not-blog about the Fat Tire Classic, so I was "excited" to actually race my bike instead of just ride it at Kenda Cup #2.  We had 17 (?) guys in the 30-39 race and in typical fashion I was the last guy to make the "selection" of eight as we motored up the climb on the lap.
The situation seemed entirely manageable until there was a change…

Post Nationals Hype Post!!

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Is it possible to HYPE nationals five days after it's over?   I'm not sure.  But I started looking at these numbers and I got psyched for the 2016-17 'cross season, so it was good for something.

I wrote about the crossresults vs USAC predictions last week, but now we can look at what actually happened!

The problem is that you really can't judge the quality of a prediction off a single trial.  Take, for example, my latest favorite thing to hate:  Powerball.  Anyone who bought a Powerball ticket I would predict to lose.  However, some people won Powerball -- but that doesn't mean the prediction that they were going to lose Powerball was the wrong prediction, right?

Nevertheless, it's fun to look at, anyway.  Let's go.

Elite Women

Katie Compton collected her 12th title in a row, but Georgia Gould gave her the toughest run for her money she's gotten in a long time.  Guess whose got two thumbs and a website that predicted Georgia on the podium?  this guyyy…