Archive for September, 2008

If I Can’t Overdo It, I’m Not Doing It… or… Ouch, my Legs! I Feel Like Nancy Kerrigan!…

Posted in On the regular on September 30, 2008 by bencycles

Both seem appropriate at the moment…
So last week I thought I should start introducing a running regimen in to my training ’cause I felt slow on the run-ups at Muck. Generally in life, I don’t run. I always thought it might turn me tri… heh, heh.
But for Cross, well, it seemed acceptable for the greater good. Gotta break some eggs, eh.

Instead of starting out easy for a few weeks on flat surface, I ran as hard as I could down and then back up the trail from the glider port to Blacks Beach twice, non stop so that I couldn’t even see straight. That was last Friday. By Saturday, I could barely touch my quads because they were so tender.

But I figured out a really good way to help them recover:

Well, that oughta take care of it…

The Nate Harrison Grade up Palomar mountain is about 11 miles with around 4700 feet of climbing up a dirt road to the lookout tower pretty much had me in the red for the entire time. It’s a great ride and I’m allready thinking about when I’ll do it again.

Yeah, I’m feel’n good now.

CrossVegas

Posted in Race/Ride reports with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by bencycles

A friend and I drove 10hrs round trip to watch a 1hr bike race.

yeah.

Dave actually wrote a pretty good report about the whole thing here and I put up a bunch of pictures here so I won’t bore you with the details so much.

P1000265
We hopped in the car ’round 3pm from San Diego and made the 5 hour drive to Vegas to watch a one hour bike race. Snacks, coffee, and a fully charged iPod made for a proper road trip through the desert. We managed to get to Vegas at 8 on the dot and found parking easily. Maybe skinny-legged bike racers aren’t as interesting as strippers. Once at the course, the crowds were pretty thick. DPP_77009

And pretty fired up, too.

DPP_77024

The riders were called up based on their rank to mass at the line with a cheering crowd.

DPP_77006

It was all nerves at the front. Dave and my Celo Pacific team mate, Brent Prenzlow, got a pretty good spot one row behind the front, too. Oh yeah this guy was there:
DPP_77004
I wonder if that’s the look he gave Jan…

The race was fast, electric and animated. It was everything I’d hoped to see. Some of the best riders in the world as well as a few people in the pack to cheer for. Plus, is Vegas really Vegas without this guy?
DPP_77058
That’s what Im talk’n bought!

Well, the drive home wasn’t nearly as exciting, but we both managed to get into the office at 8 the next morning.

It was a really bad idea and a complete success.

Pandering to Families Everywhere with the Aid of Cute Babies.

Posted in On the regular on September 23, 2008 by bencycles

In my subtle attempts to manipulate The Sprouts future, I employ a multitude of techniques. Here, I’m training her to be comfortable around men in spandex…

Oh Jesus, is it over yet?

Posted in Race/Ride reports with tags , , , on September 22, 2008 by bencycles

I think that’s what was going through my head as we started the second lap. I was ready to pull out right there. Seriously, I could see the car. I had totaly blown the start of my debut into cross racing: back of the pack at the line, slipped up clipping in when the whistle blew, timid take off… pretty much everything about my start was wrong. And when that’s the game you bring to the table, all you’re left with is the dusty scraps of the back of the pack.

But then that little voice popped up again. Kind of faint at first. Sort of like when every Who in Whoville started to sing on Christmas day. And the Grinch came to his senses and high-tailed it down that slope. But instead of the Whoville and the Grinch, it was the competing mentalities of my own head. And instead of christmas carols, it was “What the fuck are you doing… (sorry, I curse a lot when I’m talking to myself) …crying like a baby in the back of the pack? Ride like a man and get up there, punk ass bitch!” (Oh, I seem to be misogynistic, too… again, I apologize. I just want to be accurate. )

It was time to stop riding scared and get some game on! Grrrr! So I turned on the machine that makes all the pain go numb and I got down to business. Relax the face, shake out the arms and shoulders, open the mouth and let the dust-textured air flow. It’s kind of like religion in that it only works if you don’t think too hard about it…

Focus on the target.

I could care less about the people right in front of me. The guys I care about are right…up…there…

Everyone else is just part of the course.

I found passing people in a cross race to generally be easier than mountain biking because the usable riding area is so much wider. Just the intensity is greater. Wait for a sweeping turn and take the inside line to pass 3 or 4 guys at a time. That seemed to get me up the pack pretty well. Plus, I had really been nervous about how I would perform at the barriers in a race situation, so I practiced a lot at night which helped. About 3 laps of that and I finally had a good position.

By then however, those 3 guys I had my sights on had a nice little rhythm going and they were off the front. I was so beat from getting where I was. Another guy started to bridge up and I had nothing. I let him go. Had to recover.

“4th, that’s OK isn’t it? I can probably hold on to that.” I checked my watch. “30 more minutes like this?! Oh fuck.”

In 4th place limbo for what felt like eternity. No one catching me, but I wasn’t making progress. Every time check: “8 seconds!”

Jesus, 8 seconds might as well be eternity. Then I saw it. One of them up there was cracking, falling off the back. Little in bike racing is more motivating than seeing people in front of you cracking.

“7 seconds!”

Then, like that. On the next climb, I was up there. No fan fare. It just was. I wasn’t sure If I’d caught everyone, we were passing through a lot of the field by then. I kept pedaling. “Focus on the target” a climbing friend used to say when I was at the crux.

Focus on the target.

People weren’t giving me time checks anymore. Where was that guy?

Was I that guy? Oh shit.

I check my watch. The race is supposed to be over but we’re still riding. If we have to do another lap, I quit. I take the run up slow, it really hurts and I’m pretty sure puke is in my future. The guy in orange passes me. “Go on then” I think. “I’ll catch you on the down hill.” He looks at me, it seems inquisitive, as he runs past. I’m delirious. Back on the bike down the hill, he’s in front as we ride over the roots and hop the curb. I push to keep him in sight up the short climb when a thought occurs to me.

“Is this the final lap?” Oh shit.

And like that it’s over. I come around the bend and make the left onto the finishing straight just in time to watch as he raises his arms in victory.

Wow, cross racing is rad.

I smell cross season.

Posted in On the regular on September 13, 2008 by bencycles

The cross bike

Cross season is approaching fast. And since I have pretty much zero experience cross racing, I figured I should compensate for a lack of skill by setting up a sick bike. It breaks down like this:

Conquest Pro frame/fork 60cm, 12cm stem
Dura Ace drivetrain with, XT BB, XTR pedals
46/39 front, 12-25 rear
Zipp 303 tubulars
Challenge Griffos 32
King headset
Specialized Sworks Carbon H.B.
EA70 carbon post
Old Deore front / Avid Tri-Align rear brakes

17.6lbs

I tried to like Eggbeater pedals because they are so light, but in the end, I switched back to SPD’s.

I built it from the ground up with the frame I got from Ross at Sun Country Bikes in TX. It has some touches I really like.
The cross bike
Like the oldschool front brakes with Ti bolts.
The cross bike
and the rear Tri Align brakes with my ho-made straddle cable on the back.
The cross bike
I also like the front end. I tried to put an Alpha Q fork on, but the steerer tube was a little too short. The stock fork is only 50g heavier, but I think the Q would have been stiffer. I get a lot of chatter with the stock fork, but maybe that’s normal. I drilled holes into the brake hanger myself. And the Campy top cap is pimp. When someone is worried about what top cap they run, you know they didn’t show up to fuck around.

I’m starting to get pretty excited. I still have that box of PBR’s in the closet…waiting.

She won’t remember…

Posted in On the regular on September 9, 2008 by bencycles

A couple weeks ago, I was going out for a ride and The Sprout started to cry because she didn’t want me to leave and a really strange thought popped into my head before I even had a chance to use my personal brain filter to protect my conscious thoughts from the dark bowls of my unconscious thoughts;

“Can’t I just buy her love back when she’s older and I’m so old this stuff won’t matter anymore?”

I have a pretty crude thought process, even with my personal filter, but I really had to stop and think for a second about it, it seemed so matter-of-fact and logical. I turned and looked at The Sprout;

“It probably wouldn’t be the same.” I decided, just as mater-of-fact-ly.

And that was pretty much it. I went on my ride. But that thought still goes through my head, not because I plan on trying it, but because now I use that phrase to remind myself to actually be with her when I’m with her instead of just filling the time trying to prevent her next outburst. I haven’t skipped a ride because of that thought so much as I’ve tried to make more of the time I do spend with her.

I don’t have to be just a show monkey pulled out for short amounts of time to please a fickle audience and she isn’t just a time bomb who could explode if I don’t do things exactly wright.  Were just a couple people and we can hang out together and be cool with it as just that. Two people.  It was actually a pretty calming thought.

Besides, isn’t it normal to have a therapist nowadays…?

Through Pain Comes Enlightenment

Posted in On the regular on September 6, 2008 by bencycles

I think I’ve heard some form of that. So why then, when I’m pushing as hard as I can, seeing stars in the corners of my eyes and my body just wants to curl up on the side of the road in anguish (and I’m getting dropped – ultimate sufferage), does the only enlightening thing that comes to mind consist of;

“What the fu@&..?”

Is this really all there is to an enlightened state of being? If so, then I certainly felt like a zen master on the Elfin Forest loop today.