Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Don't expect much more of this...

It's all 'B' races for me from here on out. Soooooo...don't expect too much more of this anytime soon.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

MABRA Champs

Well, the bike came together in time for MABRA champs. Turns out, the problem was INSANELY simple and the solution even simpler. Pinks, in typical fashion, tried to do me right when he built the thing up. He routed the rear derailleur cable with metal ferrules at the intermediate cable housing. In the end, that generous attempt to keep the bike looking and performing best was more harmful than good-ful. Something about the metal was obstructing the cable pull and I was getting poor shifting in the rear. After swapping the metal out for the cheap-o plastic, all was buttery smooth and crisp. Sometimes it's the littlest, seemingly insignificant, things that make all the difference.

With the repair complete yesterday afternoon, it was time to get my mind set for today's race. Unfortunately, I never really came around psychologically. Set out solo early this morning. Matt had to opt out today 'cause of his holiday travels. Evan, BMOC, decided to step it up and race with the 'A's (right where that sandbagging b@stard belongs!!). In the end, I was home and enjoying a ham, egg, and cheese sand-o with SVR before the gun fired for the 'A's. It only makes sense to carpool to these things, so I guess I better step up to the 'B's...stat!!

I've said it before, and I really mean it. I don't like to have to criticize the promoters and organizers, but things were pretty chaotic with registration, set-up, etc. Let's just say, at the start line, we all had to strip down to our base layers to switch numbers from right to left. Get it right from the get-go folks!! Also, some ass clown parked on the course. I noticed this during my pre-ride and pointed it out to officials. They had to re-route the course and the start was delayed for it. This yielded an abbreviated 'C' race and that was another pisser. A 32-minute race is an absolute joke...even for the lowly 'C' riders. Anyhow...down to the racin'.

Today's trend was me not being able to find my pedals. Can't explain it. At the gun, it took me a full 15 seconds to clip in. Inexcusable. The entire field had already rounded the initial 180-degree turn before I was even up to speed. I had the same problem after remounting two other times during the race. Hard to say I lost the race 'cause of it, but that kinda shit is bound to matter when I start mixing it up the Killah Bs. Battled some of the regulars for a lap or two. The only technical sections of the course involved some nasty mud. It wreaked a little havoc with the drivetrain and was just kinda mucky and annoying. I never managed to pedal the one run-up and that was another disappointment. As usual, I'm not sure where or how I made up my ground. I guess there were some flat, power sections in the first quarter of the course. I can never figure out why guys don't take advantage of those sections, but I powered past a crap load of guys on those straight-aways. Also, as usual, the mixed fields made it really tough to figure where I was in the mix. After scooting past at least half the field during the first half of the first lap, I caught a glimpse of two guys up the 'road.' I eventually bridged to a pair (a young kid who I've seen working at Revolution and who rides for NCVC) ahead and didn't spend too much time with them. I accelerated past them. Eventually, a regular who rides for Joe's in B'more (pink jersey) paired up with the kid and they worked hard to reel me in. Never happened. At the same time, I had no friggin' clue where I sat going into the last two laps. I suspected I was sitting second, but had no idea who I had lapped and who I was about to lap. I rode my own race for a few laps and just kept the power to the pedals to ensure I wouldn't get passed. I rolled across solo and probably lost by about twenty seconds.

I'm glad to report I never really felt too taxed today. Talk to me next week after a MAC 'B' race (Reston). I suspect I'll report, 'I really felt too taxed today.'

Word from the road is Evan took 5th in the 'A's. Excellent. Maybe he'll win Nationals.

Time to wrap it up and head up to E&K's. We gotta get to planning B07. The time is now. The trip will rule! Oh, and we're gonna eat.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Still innocent?

Here's a Tyler Hamilton quote I saw on cyclingnews.com:

"I made a mistake and the price that I had to pay was very high," said Hamilton.

Seems like a very, very incriminating self-reflection. I think that citation really speaks for itself.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Southern 'Cross

I love when blog entry titles just come to me in a flash. As Arnold would say, "Dats a guud wun.

Anyhow, KD's photos are now posted and I thought I'd throw a couple up and offer a brief report. In a word, the race was mud. 'B' field was pretty small...probably somewhere in the 18-22 range. Matt, Kyle, and I all came to repreezent DC. The drive up was a little freaky, with the gas gauge on the Golf pooping out. We were driving along, chatting merrily, and I noticed the gas meter just plunge to the 'E.' "Strange," I thought. "I just filled the tank 8 hours ago." The things busted and I'll have to bring it in for a look over and an oil change.

The setting in Richmond was nice. The Park was sizeable and the soccer fields were packed. I wasn't expecting much from the legs, as I'm on a training regimen that has been kicking my ass...royally. The course was a good mix of technical, paved, and power. The technical sections were pretty close to off-road single track. I have to pat myself on the back for handling those, for the most part, smoother than I might've expected. Mixed in with the manageable single track, there were several sections of deep, gunky, sticky, muddy mud. This stuff was the ruin of the race. It wreaked havoc on the mind, body, spirit, and equipment. Once again, my shifting went completely awry and mechanical pitfalls plagued the entire race. My bike performed like a nervous eight year-old girl at her first holiday dance recital. In the end, I battled all adversity (including the highest barriers I've ever seen, a bout of nauseau going into the woods on the las lap, pretty chilly conditions, and the mud [did I mention the mud?]) and sprinted hard against Matt for a 7th place finish.

Diagnosis of the bike's maladies later in the week yielded brake pads that were worn completely through as well as a rear shifter that plain doesn't work. MABRA champs are a day away and the bike still isn't working. I'd hate to miss the championships.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lower Allen Classic

Raced in PA this past weekend. Worst performance and feeling so far this season. I'll file my major gripes quickly and move on to more positive notes. The course was NOT well suited to my riding style. No power sections. Not much climbing to speak of. Instead, LOTS of technical mumbo-jumbo. Lots of off-camber. Lots of sand and mulch. Not my cup o' tea. Good course for my cohorts, as Evan and Matt each logged second place finishes. Here's Evan at the finish. Someone has been working on their finish line celebration!!

Congrats to those fellers. In addition to the course conditions, the race organization pretty well sucked. I'm usually the guy to praise the organizers for putting on such a wonderful show. Can't say the same 'bout this one. For starters, the course was taped in an odd way. For me, it was extremely tough to follow the course. Beyond that, there wasn't a lap counter at the start/finish and the announcers never announced 'One lap to go.' All this added up to a piss-poor performance. I rolled across 11th out of 49. Blech. Further, Evan and Matt had to wait 3.5 hours to collect their winnings.

On the food front, we stopped at Friendly's on the way home. Holy crap!! What a dump. I've been pushing Evan to have a famous Fribble for over a year (since the trip to Philly two Junes ago). Believe it or not, he was too full after his 'entree' to wash it all down with a Fribble. I've never been so disappointed in my life!!! This Friendly's location smelled like cat urine. We gorged ourselves on fries and fried sandwiches. That's all I can stand to say about the experience.

On a more civilized note, Saturday night found me, SVR, D, and S at Bistrot du Coin. I'd been jonesing for the place for a while and, as usual, it didn't disappoint. Drew and I split mussels with cream and curry sauce, fries, creamed spinach, and escargot. We also each had a green salad. It was all top-notch. We hadn't ever tried the spinach. It was rich and creamy and spinach-y and comforting. I'll keep it on the top of the list for next time. All else was fatty and mmmm. Maybe D can send a photo of the bottle of wine we had. It was an excellent, excellent French wine.

Last night, SVR and I cooked up one heck of a number. We made butternut squash gnocchi from scratch. No photo evidence. Drizzled it with a butter and sage sauce. Ranks among the best at-home creations for us. We served it with a good spring greens (it's spring somewhere, right?) salad. On a more local note, the tomatoes were locally grown. For dessert...homemade banana bread. We used the recipe from the New Best Recipe cookbook. Served it up with some ice cream. I think E&K were content to be our guests last night.

And so we're up-to-date.

I hope to get some training guidance from Josef in the coming days. Gonna dive into a 'B' race this Sunday. From what I hear, the competition down 'round Richmond ain't as tough. We'll see about that.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rushin'...no, Polish

Feel like I've been rushing around like mad since my last post. Meals and wheels, meals and wheels. That's what's up. It's time to wind down before another big race tomorrow, but I've gotta post before it all gets blown outta my head in a blaze of haze and snot at tomorrow's MAC race.

In a word, it's good to be back to racin', even if I'm not training. 'Cross is certainly my favorite race format/discipline. Jumped straight into last weekend on the new bike. Back-to-back race days. More complete race reports are definitely in order, but the short version is that I surprised myself...big time. Pulled a fourth at Tacchino and a 'w' at Race Pace. Sunday was nuts, with me off the front for five out of six laps. It's only 'C' level, local 'cross racing, but the announcer was having a grand ole time making it an interesting race. The mold in my car must be they key to success, as Evan also pulled of fantastic results. 1st on Saturday and a close 2nd on Sunday. Represent. Of course, it was awesome to have friends' support each day. Big ups to my dawgs...D, S, SVR, and Yames.

On the meal front. Monday saw me pull out all the stops. An after work trip to Whole Foods yielded wild Rockfish, raw beets, and new potatoes. I whipped up a glaze for the Rockfish with some butter, Sierra mustard, and maple syrup. Coated the fish and baked. Mmmm. Dove into roasted beets for the first time. Good times. Nothing like coming away from a cooking session seemingly blood stained, but without the pain of a knife wound. I coated the beets lightly in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Topped 'em with fried Vidalia ernyuns. More mmmm. The potatoes were my standard oven roasted version with rosemary. Did someone say mmmm?

Two 2 Amys trips this week. E&K forced me to branch out with the ordering strateejuhry. We did two pies, a panini, and suppli. Left effin' full as can be. I've said it too many times, but 2 Amys is a gem. Glad it's a neighborhood spot, but not so glad about the crowds.

Gotta call it quits. Less than seven hours sleep going into a race isn't really the way to go. I'm expected in TP at 6:50AM. Rise and shine is at 5:30AM. Whatta a strart to the weekend!! I hope to post some photos and more race details in short order. Hopefully I get good results 'morrow.