Saturday, December 14, 2013

End of the 'Cross Season 2013

Well I just noticed on the Cap City Cross site that tomorrow's final race of the series is canceled due to flooding. Kind of surprising since I met riders this season who would have looked forward to racing in axle deep water just a few degrees above the freezing point and loved and excelled in it. I have to admit that I would have probably loved it too (Excelled? That's questionable.). As it is, I am delighted to have season one with all of its lessons in tire tread patterns, recommended tire pressures and an array of bruises and aches in the books. (And I will have a greater appreciation for riding on smooth pavement this upcoming Spring.) Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the experience and learned that road riding skills have little, if anything to do with cross. It forced me to grow as a rider.

I am the most unlikely cross racer to have lined up at the start line. Since the age of 19, I have been a dedicated roadie who resisted any sort of off road riding. Then two years ago, I was enticed into the Battenkill gravel road race and started to be drawn to the non-tarmac dark arts. I finally broke last winter when possessed by a mad fit of cabin fever, I assembled a single speed Niner. "At least I can ride it on a snow covered bike path," I thought. -Have yet to do that but as soon as I could, I hit Alum Creek's P1 course, thinking "P1" meant a more basic experience than the P2 course. That first MTB ride was a harrowing and frustrating jaunt over tree roots, rocks and through closely spaced tree trunks. I was expected to somehow navigate over a narrow bridge after being thrown around by a descent into a heavily tree rooted ravine and then immediately climb up the other side. Must have been entertaining to watch. Next, I found myself racing the "Amish Country Roubaix." This event is unsanctioned. USAC would be crazy to ensure this one. As a roadie you know you are in trouble when the race course forces folks to decide whether to race with a cross bike or a mountain bike. Let me just say that the winner's medal is a horse shoe dangling from a loop of barbed wire. A horse would have been a better choice. -Can't wait for next year's event.

After these experiences I figured that cyclo-cross would be a relatively civilized discipline. While my fledgling mtb skills were a great asset, I learned that cross is painful, exhausting, frustrating and the most humbling best damn time anyone can have on bike. Cross says,"Give me your young, your old, men, women, experienced or inexperienced, I have a race for you." I particularly enjoyed watching fathers warming up with their sons and daughters in tow around the course (I wonder if Mom knew where they were). To begin, you can spend over $5,000.00 on a Sven Nys inspired rig, or do as I did and put together a sub $1,000.00 ebay and old parts bin project. (Great way to burn up all of those old Shimano parts collecting dust in the garage.) Your bike handling skills and appropriate tires are the most important pieces of technology. Plus, cross is a great spectator sport. I believe my support crew and official photographer enjoyed her weekend excursions. And I earned money! Yes, I was given a $1.00 hand up at one event for shouldering the bike correctly.

So, I can't wait until next Autumn. I know where and how to practice, will be ready for the explosive sprint at the start of each race and hopefully, after more mtb rides, be ready to glide through and over sand, mud, snow, ice and perhaps axle deep water.    



Monday, May 2, 2011

teamroll: at Calvin's Challenge 2011

The report from Pascale was the weather was much better than last year, because there was no rain, the temperatures were warmer and the winds were manageable.  Compared to last year when it rained for the first 3 hours and the winds were around 15-20 most of the day, oh yeah it was cold. 

What is Calvin's Challenge?  Well it is an endurance race were you ride for 6 or 12 hours all the miles you can get in.  There is a 50 mile loop and a 7 mile loop.

Classes including traditional bikes as well as:
• 3 Tandem classes
• Singlespeed/fixed gear
• Recumbents
• High wheelers
• Triples
• Trikes
• 2-person team
• 4-person team

Below are the results for the team.  Congratulations to all.

12 Hour Race (173 racers)
Heidi Marshall – 183.5 miles – Second place in age group
Pascale Lercangee – 214.5 miles – Second place in age group – 25th overall in 12 hour
“Seattle” Mike Jerome – 220.5 miles – First place in age group – 21st overall in 12 hour
Jim Burkhart – 101 mile – Third place in age group

6 Hour Race (37 racers)
Jim Balthaser – 90.5 miles – Fourth place in age group
Mike Perakis – 105 miles – First place in age group – 7th overall in 6 hour – New single-speed record

Kathy Petrucci rode in the non-race group and got 75 miles.

If you are interested in Ultra Cycling check out this link.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ned Rides 400km Brevet in Kentucky

Louisville Bicycle Club  400 km Brevet

I'll be the first to admit that I was too tired to write much about my 400km Kentucky brevet following the ride. I wrote a quick Facebook note to let folks know I finished safely. So here are some details from the ride. Unlike the KY 300 the weather was far better and I didn't have any tire or mechanical issues this time. However, with winds from the west averaging 20mph it made a hilly course downright brutal. At 4AM start the temp was in the upper 30's and all of rain had moved east. The roads were still wet in places, but not slick. The skies were clear and a bit chilly. I should have worn booties, not just toe covers, not so much for the pre-dawn chilly temps, but after sunset even my two pairs of wool socks were not keeping my feet warm. I rode well during the predawn and daylight hours. As the sun rose you could feel the winds gradually get stronger as the day heated up into the mid 60's in the afternoon. For more than the first half of the out & back route I rode with Bob Bruce (from Indiana). Bob developed some pain in his right Achilles after the turn around control in Liberty.  He needed to slow down considerably and told me to go ahead. So for most of the remaining 115 official miles I rode on my own.

I caught up to Tim Carroll from Cleveland before I reach Stanford. Tim has been riding all of the brevets this year on a fixed gear bike. I cannot begin to imagine how anyone could manage that feat. He did admit that he had to walk a couple of hills. On some of the truly steep hills I must admit that walking would have been faster than riding. I left the control in Stanford before Tim as he needed more time to rest and replenish.

The route section between Stanford & Harrodsburg has somewhat of an "L" shape to it so there is a long section going west - northwest with plenty of long, moderate climbs before heading north. This is where my average speed started dropping. I got to Harrodsburg by 6PM. Harrodsburg was the last control (65 miles to go). I ate & refilled the bottles. I also reset my lights as I knew it would be dark before I got to Lawrenceburg. I saw three other riders coming into the control as I was headed out. It had been my goal to get past the route section that drops down along the Kentucky River and back out before sunset. That area is the most dangerous part of the route. The road is very narrow and it has several blind curves. (One car cut a curve too far out and almost clipped me!) There are two bridges made of steel grate in this section. On one of the bridges the asphalt has broken down in several places along the bridge's edge creating a gap between the road and the steel bridge plate. On the 300 I picked the wrong track, hit one of the holes and flatted. I later discovered that I also tore the side wall in the tire and bent the rim. So I was determined to go much slower when I approached this bridge. Of course this bridge is at the bottom of ravine, so I had no momentum as I climbed up & away from the bridge.

In Kentucky there are no "leash" laws so dogs are a common nuisance. On my two previous rides we encountered only a few dogs, but on the 400 there were many encounters. I expect that from experience most of you know you get a rush of adrenalin when you find yourself having to yell, ride faster, and hope the dogs don't come too close. But, then after the rush, your body has a bit of a let down. I hate those drops of energy and I dislike encountering a dog when I'm trying to ride uphill!

I made it up the long climb from the Kentucky River before sunset as planned. I can't recall how long the climb actually is, but it is really long. Heading west is not as steep as the outbound southeast side we encountered in the morning. On that side there is a sustained length of 20+% grade. The climb averages about 15% for nearly a half mile. Imagine climbing Chicken Coop, but with twice the distance at the same grade. Got the picture?

By the time I reached Lawerceburg, and my last planned stop, it was fully dark. I normally enjoy riding, at night, but around central Ohio I'm not following a pre-determined route or I'm with a group. In addition there is usually more ambient light. Right out of Lawrenceburg I had difficulty finding the first turn and backtracked thinking I had missed it. Actually I hadn't gone far enough, so I lost time there. Later, I completely missed one turn & had to backtrack. I rode 8 extra miles, plus the time lost. The night sky was bright with stars, but no moon to provide additional light. The temperature was dropping fast without any cloud cover to hold in the heat. Expecting cooler temperatures I was carrying an extra jersey which I had put on at my last stop, but I'll admit that my feet were chilly, probably due to moisture building up during the day and my fingertips were feeling the cold, too. (Valuable lesson for future 400/600 rides and the upcoming Fleche.)

Due to getting lost Tim, Steve Rice, the Kentucky RBA, and a couple of other riders eventually caught up to me. Tim and I rode together for a number of miles. It was good as I felt more confident that I wouldn't miss any more turns. Apparently, I was riding stronger than I believed although the aches in my shoulders and mid back were telling me otherwise, because only Tim wanted to ride at my pace. My original goal had been to finish before 11PM, but after getting lost I thought I could still make in by midnight (20 hours). I was on the edge of Shelbyville only 1.5 mi from the finish when I had to wait 8-10 minutes for a freight train. Tim Carroll came up about 5 minutes later and Steve came up just as the train finished crossing the road. While randonneuring is not a competitive event, we were the second group of three riders to finish (#4, 5, & 6) at 12:05. More than 3/4 of the riders were still out on the road after I took a shower, ate pizza, and chatted with other riders at the motel finish. I'll bet the remaining riders had a very long night as temps were quickly dropping back into the mid 30's after a high in the mid 60's. By this time it was after 1AM and I crashed in my motel bed. The official route was 251.9 miles. I ended up with 259.8 and the Garmin showed 15,323 feet of elevation gain.

I never heard the alarm I set on Sunday morning and woke up at 10:15AM. So I quickly packed up before the 11 AM checkout time, ate a huge breakfast at Waffle House, and headed home.

So next week is the Ohio 300km brevet: Springfield - Oxford - Springfield. This is going to be a recovery period lasting all week as I still have some sore muscles and a sore butt. I don't know if my bike position is off, or if I'm "rocking" too much when I climb, but my back was really aching the last 100km.


Louisville Bicycle Club on Facebook
What is a brevet?
How can I start riding crazy long miles?
Ohio Randonneurs

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The 2011 Cycling Season is Now Officially Open

April 2nd Woodstock

The first official ride of our season is Woodstock - three days of Peace Love and Music?  Not so much this is a new generation and spring in Central Ohio, so its more like three hours of Rain, Wind, and Cold.

teamroll: had a good turn out for the ride.  Most rode 38-61 miles and endured cold winds, sleet, a little rain and cold temperatures.  It was 36 degrees with 12-15 mph winds.  Our hardy riders pulled on the lobster gloves and booties and headed out.  The more cerebral of the team opted to live to fight another day and headed for a hardy breakfast at Sunnystreet Cafe.  I personally would recommend the Protein Wrap.  It is huge and healthy.  

April 3rd Lynette Pate "Fuel For The Body" bike T.O.U.R.

This was a roll: store event.  Lynnette Pate is owner of Breath of Green, an all organic retail shop and Oxygen Bar. Lynnette and her best friend and husband, Tommy, opened their shop to better enlighten the public on organic and sustainable living as well as preventative health care. Her husband has been a huge contributor to Lynnette’s ventures.   

The purpose for this ride is to:
  1. Educate people on the benefits of going organic/green and living a more healthy lifestyle.
  2. Educate people on the negative myths of organic/green living.
  3. Educate people on the myths of bad fad diets making false promises.
  4. Show by example how much easier it is to switch to organic/green than people think.
Here is her Facebook page
Here is her Blog.
Here is the first leg of her trip.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Queen (King) of the Slipstream

Below is an excerpt from The Rouleur Magazine blog.  And we've all had a day like this.  Click on the Sucker link for the full story. 


February 10, 2011 by rouleurmagazine

I feel bad. Sat here. Not poorly – guilty. I really should pull my weight but at this time of the year that’s no mean feat. I’m not out of shape so much as not in shape, but I’m most certainly, yet again, tucked in. Sucking. Drafting. Feathering brakes. Concentrating. Wanting to be fitter.

I’m spending more time than seems decent sitting in, sucking wheels. I guess I’m out with stronger riders and it’s a win-win situation if they’re ok on the front. They get a workout and I get one too – clinging on to an alien pace. I’m hoping, as the season progresses, I’ll get to a level where I can do my turns at the front, but I worry that they’ll have only got stronger too and the gap will remain – between their ability and mine, their wheel and mine. I might well suck all year. Where will that get me? Well, I guess, sat here, concentrating on the wheel in front with a part of my head wandering off to ponder the situation; my ride partner’s choice of footwear, tyre choice and gear selection; his hub, his shoes, his calves, his arse; the little rear LED, switched off and pointing heaven knows where. The seat pack, with a spare tube and his emergency (full-fat-coke-and-a-mars-bar) fiver.

Get the rest of the story here.

Now go load Van Morrison - Queen Of The Slipstream on the iPod and set about cruising.

Valentines Card for your Spouse

We all know that we are lying if we gave this to our spouse's, but it will earn us brownie points for doing so, here is your free Valentines Card

Sunday, October 17, 2010

High-Fructose Corn Syrup is Killing You

High-Fructose Corn Syrup is Killing You

I found this on Facebook and found it interesting, so I'm re-posting here with their web site and their twitter account.

What You Need To Know About HFCS

Prior to 1966, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was virtually non-existent in Americans' diets. When it came to sweeteners, the number one version on the market was sucrose, or table sugar. But that all changed after the invention of high-fructose corn syrup.