Saturday, June 28, 2008

Crit Envy

As I grow older, I'm beginning to realize that all of those little expressions and sayings that your parent's laid on you are 100% based in fact/reality. These were the things that they said to you as appendices to life's greater lessons, the bonus content you never asked for, and generally the type of talk that guaranteed that your parents were your parents, and were never going to be cool.  

These additive words of wisdom drive you nuts... right up until the day that you realize that they are coming out of your own mouth to your own kids. 

Today my kids heard a few of these expressions and I thought "oh my god, I am every father on earth right here, right now." It was a good feeling.

Today was epic. Initial plans to head to Mystic Aquarium (nice but overpriced) were put aside in favor of a trip to our Mecca... Providence.  I'm wondering if it is legal to love a city in the manner that I do. Hey - I live in Massachusetts - that sort of stuff is common fare here.

We hit the bike path to try out CJs new bike: a hand-me-down from a friend of ours who's 8 yr old just graduated to geared cycling. After a bit of early morning TLC, the bike fit and rode like a charm, and the pilot was ready and willing to tackle the upper portion of the path from Broadway down to Haines park.

Post ride we headed into town to watch the P-1 Cox crit. A new course looped through RISD and down by Hemmenways, with the Finish line in front of the Parkside. Standing on the infield watching the race I was reminded of two things: how much I like RI and how much I miss criterium racing. 

Bumped into gewilli and jjamner as well as neo-pro sean o'rourke who managed to finish the pro race in the main field. It was great to catch up with those guys.  Jamner reports that he was 119 lbs at the end of last week's tour of ohio. freak.

TJ in the black and green of HealthNet is undoubtedly looking forward to riding in the stars and stripes of US Cyclocross champion in a few months time. This road stuff doesn't have enough slop for this guy.

JP and JP on a bit of a break here, two gross guys showing the field how to guarantee that you won't win the race. JP looked super strong, but JP looked a bit undertrained.

The leaders come by on the back stretch, leaning deep into the turn as they cross the river West to East.

Waterfire was the backdrop for the race. I like waterfire but I'm not sure why. People just walk around and there really is no where to go.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

punch you in the eyebob..... hey!

Another project, another opportunity for BT to lecture me about paying someone else to do this stuff...

It ain't perfect, but it is 195 sq ft less grass to mow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ride report

I've not raced yet in 2008, though I've been tempted to head out to the root 66 series and put myself through that torture. Just as I'm about to pack up the ol' 29er though, I remind myself how much I did not enjoy last year's Hodges Dam Race. And that, I'm told, is not a technical course. Mtn bike racing is like cross racing, but twice as long (at least) and 20% as much fun.

Although the past week was spent around the house and not on the bike, I have had some great rides this spring. Here's a recap of a few memorable ones...

I finally met Mr. Hi-Viz green jacket. A few weeks ago, on my way to work, he and I turned onto our common road at the same time, leaving no real incentive for either he or I to loose or catch the other. The weather had been warmer than I had last seen him, and while it was still chilly enough for him to wear those stylish full length tights, he had zipped off the arms of his green jacket and was rocking it in "vest" mode. Straight sexy.

We talked about riding a bit, and he seemed to be a nice enough guy. He asked about my bike (the fixed gear IRO that day) and I explained single speed vs fixed gear and the challenges of each, specifically the difficulty that fixed gear riding presents when the road pitches down. He gazed at me sort of sideways when I unclipped to show that the crank arms didn't stop turning even though my legs had. 

After 5 minutes of noodling along, Jonathan declared that in 15 years of riding, this was the longest he had ridden with another person. I became instantly more aware of even the slightest reduction in distance between us and my hands slid down over my levers. 

He seemed like a nice guy, but then the other shoe dropped.

He expressed gratitude for bumping into me that morning, saying that he was tired and didn't feel like pushing the pace. Whaa?? He then followed that gem up with a comment about how tired he was last week when I reeled him in, and he must not have been having a great day.

Hmmm. That's not so nice, is it? Well, he's going to have to call the DPW next time I come across him 'cause I'm going to tear the road up. It'll be worth being a Sweaty Betty at work for that. 

Training Grounds Redux 
We moved here to Sutton 10 years ago and I was big into hockey at the time. I had a mtn bike, but didn't ride it much until I met a few people at work who rode. I discovered some jeep trails behind the house, but nothing too exciting, mostly double track and some busted up paved access roads.

Then in 2001 I found some good trails back there. It was a 7 mile long loop I called the "Training Grounds" because unlike those jeep trails, this stuff was challenging, looping back on itself again and again, with steep ups, drops and a few great rock features. The stuff was great, but kind of short, and to make the ride worth it you had to tack on a few miles of those jeep trails plus the road ride from here to the trail head.

Last summer and over the winter a few guys I know went back there and cut or resurrected another 11 miles of trails. The full loop includes the "Training Grounds" about half way through the system of trails, with some pretty flowy stuff at the start and some even more difficult stuff towards the end. The newest section added this spring is towards the beginning of the 18 miles, a section of nice gentle bends that encourage out of the saddle cruising and some sweet carving... all under a canopy of 60' white pines.  
Last week I went out just after dinner to experience this newest section for the first time. At the farthest western point, the trail approaches a small pond and loops back and forth along the banks, climbing away from the water's edge for a moment before plunging back towards the shore. The sun was reflecting brightly off the water, and the leaves rustled in the gentle breeze. The silence and beauty of that moment struck me, and I said out loud that I was pretty damn lucky to have this in my back yard.

If anyone wants to come on out for some trail ridin', just gimme a shout. Good Stuff back there.

Scituate Reservoir
Riding alone sucks.

Especially on the road.

I mean really... what is the point?

I ride to chat with or race against or help out or generally interact with others. Not once have I found that nirvana that riding alone supposedly brings people. Riding alone is a means to an end. The end is riding with others. Preferably in a cyclocross race, but a group ride will do. Get it?

You know that feeling that you have when you are pretty sure something isn't going to go your way? Last Sunday I had that feeling. I was looking for some company on a 50-60 mile trip to someplace new (not the usual lap around Sutton) and my first two calls ended in disappointment. It was a nice day and I was coming to the conclusion that no one (else) was really was interested in spending 3-4 hours of it to ride a bike. 

On my last call, my prayers were answered. Just like that my solo trip into RI became a three person group ride with two good friends. It was such a nice treat to have company for that ride. 

Riding alone sucks.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

celebrating in Sutton

As you can imagine, we're all pretty happy here about tonight's Red Wings game. It got tight there at the end, but they came through when it counted. Fleury's gaff there was tough to swallow, but the kid's been great up until now. lots more wins for those penguins to come. 

but this is our year.

god bless the united states of america and god bless the detroit red wings. 

Monday, June 2, 2008

Red Wings

Win or loose... this game is fun to watch if you're a Red Wings fan like me.


Fleury and Osgood should split the Conn Smythe.