Thursday, February 28, 2008

Global Update

In Michigan, cyclists are snared in the ice grip of Old Man Winter.

In Portland, the sun shines down and the air smells like flowers and other growing things.

In Arkansas, the goats and llamas are cowering in fear and a pile of empty Founder's bottles and growlers piles up outside a remote cabin.

Training for the season has gone in fits and starts. Not having a set of 200 and 300 mile races right from the get-go has allowed a bit of playfulness to creep into the spring base phase. Enough of that! With a 24-hour race over Memorial Day weekend, it's time to get down to business. A calendar was printed, notes were scrawled across it, and now it is time to start pushing pedals in earnest.

I've seen a vision of the future. Beneath and EZ-Up in Spokane, WA sit two bikes. They are the mirror image of each other. A rider walks toward the bikes; he is lean and ready. His entire demeanor is calm, but his eyes burn. He does not see the bikes; he only sees tools. He does not see the trail; he only sees the finish line. He does not taste the water; he thirsts only for a beer at the end of the final lap.

And his shorts are a bit too tight.

Modified ride schedule this week. Lots of road on the weekend. Full-on training program starts Monday. Stay tuned...

Friday, February 22, 2008


Went on the Yakima ride on Wednesday. Typical route, typical riders. Atypical weather and trail conditions; fairly warm temps and mostly dry trail. Also, riding the trail backwards was a new experience.

Got to the top of a certain hill just in time to watch the lunar eclipse. Several other folks were gathered at the top of this hill as well. We were even offered some champagne! The moon was a crazy orange color. It was a very interesting sight. Although I still felt some lingering issues from last weeks illness, it was a fun ride and I am looking forward to next week.

Out-of-town guest causes reduction in rides for the week. Out of town guest causes general increase in other good times. Not sure about weekend plans at this point; ride? Ski?

Decisions, decisions...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Road Racing? Ehhhh....

Did the Cherry Pie road race on Sunday. 52 Miles about 90 minutes south of PDX. The weather was amazing; bright sun and 60F degrees!

The race was two laps of a 25.5 mile loop. One climb at the start/finish line. The first lap was a snoozer. Very slow, with lots of grab-the-brake moments. One guy broke away and got a decent gap, but the field just sort of sat there.

It was a pretty big group; maybe 50-60 guys. We only had one lane to work with, so it was hard to move up. On the plus side, people were friendly and polite in the field. No uptight roadie 'hold your line' jabber.

After doing the start/finish climb on the first lap, the pace picked up a bit. The second lap seemed to go by faster, althought I don't think it did from an objective point of view. My plan was to get near the front with a couple of miles to go and make my best effort up the hill.

Well, that didn't work out so well. I could not get to the front; the traffic was just too tight, and I ride with safety and politness fist in mind. I guess that will have to change if I want to win; you need elbows to get to the front!

The final hill was really two hills, one after the other. I was mid-pack at the bottom of the first hill. The race split in two; I was at the front of the back half. I gave it everything I had, and caught on to the tail of the lead group as we started the second climb. I pretty much had nothing left, and just held on to the finish. I might be in the top 20, but I might now. I didn't wait around for results to post.

Overall, not a bad day. More like a training ride than a race. I'd think hard about doing another road race. Without a team, it seems hard to make anything happen. And let's face it, even in a Cat 4 field I'm not gonna tear the legs off anyone. At least in a crit, something is always happening...

That's about it. Full set of rides on tap this week, assuming I don't have a repeat of the stomach issue. Just another happy day in bike pardise...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What a crazy week...

So I went for a ride Wednesday with the yakima boys. Or at least a few of them. Anyway, as we were getting ready to head out I was stretching an had a weird cramp in the lower abdominal area. "That's funny..." I thought as we rode off into the night.

It was a good ride. I felt just slightly off; the hills were a bit harder than last time and I missed several switchbacks that I have been cleaning as of late. Anyway, a solid two hours of riding; good times! I went home, ate, and hit the sack.

I slept like crap; kept waking up for no apparent reason.

Woke up Thursday with the worst stomach cramps ever. I could hardly stand up straight. I had a full day of meetings and I needed to wear a suit and tie. Awsome! Nothing like a leather squeezing my gut and some silk trying to choke me to make the cramps even better.

I had to leave the first meeting early becuase I was so uncomfortable. I went back to my apartment and had a quick nap. I had no appatite, so no food for lunch. Went out for the second meeting; more of the same. The cramps were in full effect, and I was starting to get shaky and sweaty. Not good. I went straght home after that.

Got home around 3pm. Sat on couch, passed out cold until 7pm. Woke up, not hungary but had a bite of food, and right back to sleep untill 10PM. What the heck? Off to bed after that.

Slept like a baby all night. Woke up Friday with junior-sized cramps. Not bad if I didn't move around too much, but still painful to stand up straight and not much fun to walk around. I had meetings out of town that I cancled. Went in to the office for half a day. Back home, take it easy, and to bed on time. Me and WebMD were thinking appendicitis at this point.

Anyway, woke up today feeling much better. I was actually hungry! Still have very minor cramps/twinges, but otherwise feel ok. I went out for a short spin on the road bike, and finished work on converting the DDX to a fixie.

Tomorrow should be interesting: 52 miles of road racing. I didn't feel great on the bike today; hopefully tomorrow will be better. I don't have great expectations.

For the record; the legs are and will remain as hairy as the back end of a llama.

Look for a race report soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In Brief...

1. XC Skiing cancled; too warm on the mountain yeilds rain and avalance warning.

2. No trainer arrived in the truck. By new or harden up and ride in the dark?

3. North American Handmade Bicycle Show = Awsome! I didn't take pictures, not that it matters. Every blogger and magazine employee known to man took pictures. Suffice it to say that there were many nice frames at the show. And some weird shit, too. Like the $7000 MTB frame made out of kevlar/carbon fiber mesh.

I think I am going to add a dualthlon to the schedule. These guys host something called the Dirty Du; 5 mile run and 12 mile bike. What the heck? Might as well put all those Run Club miles to good use.

Sent Scott Q. an e-mail. It's about time to get specific on the second bike. I've got two 24's on the schedule for '08, and running one bike is risky...

Full ride schedule on tap for the week, including my first ever road race. I'm not talking about a crit or a circuit race, but an actual road race. Reports to follow.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Quick Little Update

It's been a slow couple of weeks on the bike. Lots of rides cancled, lots of bad weather.

The Wednesday ride was cancled this week. I did the Thursday ride last night. The weather was somewhat warm, maybe in the high 40's at start. We did the normal stuff up in Forrest Park. The ride up Leif was very fast; perhaps the fastest to date? Pretty fast, in any case.

Continental 29er Mountain King 2.4 tire review: This was my second ride on these tires. They were recommended as a great Oregon mud tire. I was running a Nevegal 2.4 up front and and a Karma 2.2 out back prior to the Conti's.

The tires performed as advertised; tons of grip in the mud. I ran them tubed at about 30 psi front and rear. They feel stiffer than the Kenda's, but were very confidence-inspiring in the high-speed turns on Leif. They held up to the mud on FL 5 very well. They were a little bouncy on the rocks, but I think they could be run at a slightly lower pressure and some of that would go away. Or, you know, I could put the Reba on and not worry about it! Also, they did not pack up with mud. Things were quite goopy on FL5 and I noticed no extraneous mud build-up.

Survey says: Pick up a pair! I think they would work at least as well as the Ignitor in Michigan, and I suspect they would make a fine Arkansas tire as well. I'm not sure about the weight, but I think they are lighter than the Kenda's noted above. And as a bonus I picked them up for $25 each.

Busy weekend. XC skiing Saturday AM, NAHBA Saturday PM, some sort of ride Sunday.

Oh, and my trainer should be here today. Be afraid. Be very afraid...

Sunday, February 03, 2008


2nd Place today. 2nd Place for the series.

I'll take it. :)

Not too much to report, really. Brandon, the guy that won the first race, was strong from the get-go. The guy that came in 2nd last week flatted in the first gravel section. The race kind of slowed down after that; I sat on Brandon's wheel, and he never pushed the pace. A group of four of us shook off a few slower riders and stayed together utill the last lap. Branon put in one hard effort and got about 50 yards on us. We closed it to 25 yards, but could never get a good draft. The #3 guy passed me with 300 yards to go; not a wise move. I sat on his wheel and went past with 100 yards to go. Hand in the drops, head down, legs like pistons. 2nd Place.

This was a fun series, and I look forward to more racing in and around Portland. :)

Men At Work

I'll be making some changes to the site over the next week or so. As a result, some of the links won't work correctly.

Check back later for Kermesse series wrap-up, and maybe some comments about my mega-slush ride yesterday. Portland! Snow! Somebody shoot me!