Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SSAP13: Stoopid & Single at Stewart, again!

I was really wondering whether I would be able to race on Sunday after losing two days to this nasty virus that ripped through the house the prior week.  Friday, I got a singlespeed commute in but that ride was hardly as strenuous as a SSAP race would be.

On race day, I over slept, but fortunately I packed everything the night before so all I had to do was throw on the kit and jump in the car.  I was 10 minutes late picking up Glenn who wanted to tag along and spectate.  Glenn and I rode Stewart last weekend and I am pretty sure he will be riding SSAP next year.  Since I didn't have breakfrast we stopped at Dunkin's on the way and lost some time due to slow people that work there.  Got to Stewart around 8:00 am but that's because we stopped at the Truck stop and exit back because I needed the crapper; pre-race jitters.
Team Giant Hawk from Maine
from left to right:  Nick Carll, Seth Page, Wayne Lewis, Brooker
Ran into Nick Carll, a NEMBA member from Maine that I know from the Interwebs.  He and his race team, Giant Hawk had very elaborate team jerseys planned but didn't get them in time and had to improvise.

Photo credit:  Glenn Verness 
 My race strategy:  I am only here for the beer!
Make it to the beer stop
and finish the race and proceed directly to beer tent!
Blue track is the race course and red is the pre-ride on the previous weekend
Holding to that strategy, I started out in the back of the pack of NY Sport class.  The only thing that sucks about that is all the dust from the FRBs (Front Riding Bastards - stole this from the Hash House Harriers) while riding down Ridge Road.  I was chatting it up with Charlie from Saratoga on a purple Canfield Brothers Nimble 9, a frame that I was contemplating at one point but turning onto Major Mike my front brake cable started rubbing the tire and I had to stop to fix that.  Unbelievably, that was my only issue for the whole ride if you don't include the banana incident.  Last year my cranks fell off three times and I must have dropped my chain 10 times.

There was this huge pack of riders on my tail on Major Mike so I pulled off and let the big conga line pass and got the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

And who should be bringing up the rear is last year's Women's winner and Ridgefield Resident Kristen aka @cyclocrossgal.  I took off after her but she was long gone by the time I got to the top of the next climb.

Except for some minor tweaks here and there the course was pretty much the same as it was originally supposed to be but at the Ant Hills singletrack was out due to illegalness of the trail the course.  Ironically, the course changes headed into Prime Hill, which is some of the trail that I rode two weeks prior when I got lost.  This is where I picked up this guy Sean from NJ riding Misfit with flats.  We stayed pretty much together the whole time till then end.

Woohoo!  Free Beer!  At the 14 mile mark was the neutral feed zone, aka beer stop.  Newburg Brewery provided the beer and it tasted like a cross between a Koelsch and Weissbeir.  It tasted pretty good.  Seth Page of Team Giant Hawk took the picture.  At the beer stop I ran into Charlie again.  We all took off again and kept passing one another here and there for next couple of miles.  

Before turning again onto Ridge Road I decided sugar up with another Gu, finish my remaining Powerade, and eat my last banana because the last three miles is on Scofield which is a total bone shaker.  My first bite of banana was great but when I went to take another I just bit into nothingness.  That chunk fell off somewhere so I finished the rest and wondered what happened to that second piece of banana.  I got up on the barends to get a slight rise when I looked down and wedged between the fork stanchion and the quick release tab on the front wheel was my missing chunk of banana!

My finishing time was 2:36:34.05 and finished 238th out of 260 and for NY Sport, I was 3rd from the bottom, or 67th out of 69 racers that finished.  Last year, my time was 3:31:15, I almost shaved an entire hour off my time last year.  However, there are some differences, namely 3x my crank arm fell off and a bunch of dropped chains.  I am happy with that.  BBQ was great and the beer was cold!  George, aka The Mayor, and Dark Horse Cycles puts on one hell of a race!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Training for SSAP13? What Training?

I had it all planned out:
  • Monday - rest after 26 miles at Stewart on Sunday
  • Tuesday - morning trainer
  • Wednesday - ride to work
  • Thursday - MTB ride at Upper Paugussett
  • Friday - ride to work
I got through Tuesday but when I got home from bowling that evening that virus that all my kids got last week caught up to me, and I was taking extra precautions like sleeping away from the sick kids, staying out of the house (and riding) much to the chagrin of my wife and then wham o!  Looks like the only riding I am going to get in is a bike commute to work today and I will probably ride the trainer on Saturday.   

Holy cow, another cold morning!  32 degrees when I headed out.  It was balaclava time!  I was actually OK with my shell jacket and short and long sleeve under neath.  I wore over booties on the commuting shoes but where erred was on the gloves.  Should have gone for the lobsters!  Hands didn't warm up until I was 3/4s of the way to the office.

It was 58 degrees, according to the Garmin (my Blackberry said it was warmer but I think it thought it was in Florida or something) because it sure didn't feel like 66 degrees.  I was definitely pushing it with short sleeve and shorts but by the end of the ride I was still sweating pretty good.

I have this quandary when it comes to commuting.  Do I reset my garmin when I get to the office or not.  What I have been doing is just marking a lap and now that I have the garmin set up to show my lap times I can easily compare coming in to going out, however, none of the on or offline tools (Strava, SportTracks, etc..) do anything with laps.  Since Strava keeps the two tracks together the whole ride gets averaged and so my averages are spread out over a much larger range.  Guess I am going to have to resetting.

I think I am ready for another cockpit change.  The FUBars are pretty good, but I am disliking the single hand position.  I need some other places for my hands.  I think next I am going to try some trekking bars that I have had laying around for years.  The only question is will that end my Monster Cross status?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ooh, the pain, the post SSAP Re-ride Report

Getting back home from Stewart Sunday afternoon to find the house unseeingly quite was kind of unexpected but I found out that now all the kids are sick.  Some virus has made it's way that has everyone sick - yikes.  I hope I don't get it.  However, the virus might not be the end of me but my should/rotator cuff might be.  I may have injured my rotator cuff last summer and had to give up riding rigid off road because afterwards my shoulder hurt too much.  Yesterday, while transitioning from the Beaver Pond to the Ant Hill singletrack I hit rooty section and went OTB.

Without even thinking I came out of the pedals and landed on my left side, which includes the bad shoulder and hit the ground with a thud.  When I got up, I could feel the soreness start to take hold but couldn't think about it because I still had 13 more miles to ride.  But waking up this morning ... oh man.  I am going to take it easy this week and try a bike commute on Wednesday to see how I feel.  But given how it feels right now I could be out of the race on Sunday.       

Sunday, April 21, 2013

SSAP Pre-Ride

Headed back to Stewart State Forest again this Sunday for another ride.  This time, however, I had a course to follow.  Still, the funny thing about the Garmin Edge is if the course crosses over itself, unless you know where you are going it can get confusing at times.  Another key thing is to zoom way in when riding off road. The course I had was deadly accurate, too.

Hope the course dries out this week because there were quite a few sloppy sections.

At the 11 mile mark, Glenn and I stopped for a bit to drink water and eat.

Nearing the end of the ride these nice equestriennes even let us ride past them.

Half mile to go and I am ready to bonk!

Singlespeeder's Ride Recap: Rock to Rock New Haven

My brother-in-law and I rode our Single Speeds at the Rock to Rock Charity ride in New Haven, CT

There were may 10 to 15 singlespeeders and one was riding fixed.

Everything started from Common Ground, an ecological high school in West Haven

+matthew feiner from Devil's Gear Bike shop was doing last minute checks
Waiting for the ride to start

Riding through Woodbridge
Riding along the reservoir 

Caught breakaway group 2 miles from the Food Stop

Food Stop!

Lots of goodies

Waiting for everyone to arrive

Liz (r) was our team captain

Michael arrives


Fat Bike porn

Betsy arrives

And Ingrid, too.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

New Bars for the Kona

The Titanium bars that I had on the Kona broke while they were on Raleigh.  I tried the FUBars but couldn't get into them and the 762 mm Sunlite bars were just way to wide.  I stopped by The Bicycle Center to get Shawn's advice on some carbon bars and he is straight shooter.  He suggested that I try these bars from Giant. 

They are the only Carbon Fiber bars on the market made to work with Barends and you know how I feel about barends.  LOVE THEM!

Installed in a matter of minutes.

I love the white accents.

Went back to the Ergons because they are really good for climbing.

Can't wait to try them on Sunday for my second installment of the SSAP 13 ride.