Friday, May 30, 2008
The Faux pas is not really having a post. Will write more later, but this week has been crazy, so I will leave you with a couple of pictures.
Rumor has it...that Campy will announce 11 speed and electronic shifting. The new Dura Ace has been well documented (the high road mechanic post a bunch of close up pictures that looked pretty final with the exception of logos on the pieces) but 11 speed and new electronic Super Record trump Shimano. maybe 10 speed mountain biking? 11 speed sounds cool if I was only running one chainring.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Insight into the pro peloton often comes in rare tidbits of candor that give true feel for those who choose to live their lives on the road. How telling is it that when a HighRoad racer brakes a super high end carbon Giant (not yet sold to the public but I am assuming the frame costs 3k when it does) , the mechanic just "folded it up" and put it in the trunk as if it is just a tool for racing. Not the high end bike in the apartment that many fear to ride on because they do not wantto damage it...for the rest of us it would be a dream bike to ride and for them it is one of the pieces of their day to day. That is one of the difference between being pro and not.
Beneke is still crusing full tilt: Jurgen was a world cup champion when I was in college (twice) and he beat probably the greatest bike handler of all time Francois Gachet (who taught a youngster by the name of Vouliouz to ride who went on to win the most World Championships of all time...) at his prime before he broke his leg. Jurgen got 10th at this year stacked US Open...pretty good considering he was against true world cup racers who areon full factory sponsorship deals.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
As I headed down 2nd ave a roadie from one of the major local clubs pulls up next to me at a stop light and we get to chatting about my single speed bike. He tells me he just finished up his super early AM ride to Piermont and back. Light changes and we make our way down 2nd ave until some guy in his SUV cuts us off with out even using his lights causing both of us to jack on the brakes full tilt. The roadie tells the guy to fuck off and gives him the finger which causes the New jersy SUV to pull over and the driver to stick out his head and yell "Shut the fuck up fags in tights"...frankly at that point the aggression was a little disturbing and I was willing to turn off at the next side street and be done...but the skinny roadie tells him again to "fuck off and go back to Jersey"...the driver stops his SUV and gets out on 49 and 2nd...the roadie dude gets off his bike lays it down on the sidewalk and walks right up to the guy and as soon as he does the jersey guy pushes him and the roadie bops him so quick with a three contact combinations that would have made Bruse Lee happy....holy shit I think to myself and evidently the driver thinks the same and after his pummeling by the "fag in tights" he turns around and high tails it back to the SUV...the roadie goes after him (clack-clack -clack go the cleats) and before the jersey jerk couold get back into his truck and close the door the roadie lands another punch causing the driver to try and jump into the lap of his girl in the passenger seat...Too funny. Roadie yells a few kind words and then calmly walks back to his bike and we then ride down the street.
I had to turn off soon to get to the train station so teh exchange was short and strange:
"holy shit that was crazy"-Me.
"This is where Ihave to turn off. I will catch you on teh road some time"-Me
"Nice to meet you"-roadie.
Rode blue mountain for awhile: Stinger (upper and lower), My favorite trails (rear brake decides to go out on the steep off camber rutted descent) and a bunch more...Ran into the colombian trials guys. Rode with them for awhile. Watched them roll some super steep shit that I had not seen anyone roll before. The ride kicked my ass because other than a flat tire I did not stop riding. And for a little while I rode benhind two guys on FS bikes on the race course which was fun. technical enough with lots of sections to speed up on with a SS. Came home after the ride on the 2.12 train. Tired.
Sunday Rocket RIde: Woke up early to meet AM and few others for the rocket ride. A group ride that starts in Piermont and literally goes fast from the gun. My legs were fried from the day before and so it was real lesson in trying to stay in the pack and not lose your spot...It was survival. Gaps would open and if you were in the group coming off he pack you had to close the gap solo which meant chasing back on at 32-33 miles an hour. That happened twice and soon the group that stated at 60-70 was 25...with only one of the original people who I started the ride with...the others had been jetisoned out the back. At one point, I was pushing just about my biggest gear (53x14) and the whole group was stretched out wheel to wheel single file...I looked back and I could see a group of 6 who could not make the acceleration on the last rise before the dam get dropped and desperately try and catch backon with no luck...survival of the fittest. And while I wanted to hold on I was suffering too much from the day before and started to worry I may not make it home if I stayed on a little longer. I was going to get dropped sooner rather than later so I voluntarily took myself out of the action, ate a gu on the side of the road and headed backin the other direction to get the others who were going my way. Everybody had their reason why they could not hold on. The "kid" (he was born in 1988) was the most defeated but admitted he had eaten poorily the day before. The rest of us just admitted we did not have it...I will comeback to the rocket again but not after a day of riding my singlespeed. Limped home: had nothing on the climbs but gave everyone a ride on the flar section as everyone sat on and I pushed it as hard as I could for as long as I could. Everyone said thanks and internally I cursed myself because that hurt more than I let on to the others.
Friday, May 23, 2008
And my palm is still sore. It hurts to road ride but I am riding dirt this weekend no matter what.
It dawned on me recently that I might not have been as serious with the dieting aspect of training as I should have been. I have cut back on calories in the last two months and I have slimmed down and I am approaching "the weight." For those of you who do not know what "the weight" is, it is that point when power is high and girth is low: good for climbing. I had cut the calories, but did not add the protein that is needed for every work out. Protein helps rebuild those muscles and between riding single, pulling 14 minute laps in the park and hill sprints in the big ring I have been pushing. There were many nights when I would come home from training two and half hours hard in the park and eat a small bowl of whole wheat pasta with olive olive and cheese. And while this was good for the start of my six pack, it has done me no good in my attempt to obtain my potential. Now I look at protein as just as essential as my carb intake: 75-100 grams a day depending on what is going on.
I just need to start paying attention to the fuel I take on better.
Hard Rides on Deck:
Saturday will be a day in the dirt: Early to rise and head to Blue Mountain. I plan on spending the morning setting up my bike (suspension needs to get dialed and brakes needed to be set in a little) and riding the trails. I plan on rolling steady with little or no stops for 2.5 hours. After that head home and do some bike maintenance: wash bikes down as my road bike is filthy and needs a little lube in all the right spots, mountain bike will be muddy, and my cross bike needs to have its new tires put and also give her the once over before I retire her for the summer at my parents place in Maine.
Sunday: The rocket ride. It is local killer training ride and I will just do my best to hold on as long as I can. Like Gimbels, but without the pedigree. This will simulate true racing speeds. Goes from GW bridge up and around Nyack...Hopefully I can hold it together and not get shelled too quickly by the local pros. Maybe 65-75 miles total
Monday: Road ride to Nyack with some people from Toga. Hopefully easy, good chats and a reward of an Expresso at the spoon. Hopefully this will be the easiest day of the long weekend at roughly 65 miles.
I have been a hermit as of recent. Outside of some interaction with some random bikers for training, LD, sis and the rents I have been living peacefully on my own. I have not spoken to the J's in some time. I miss them but not sure how to connect again.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Do you dream of endless twisty singletrack amidst pine trees?
Spring is really here and the moist tacky dirt beckons. Riding in spring in some ways may be the most rewarding of all the seasons. You are fresh from a winter hibernation of countless boring road miles, the dirt is pleasantly cushy compared to the parched dirt of summer and the green of the flora is vibrant from its fresh birthing. The air is less sticky than the full humidity and heat of the summer sun and the inhabitants of the forest are just as glad to be out as you are. Trail riding in its simplest form is like a breath of life to the soul. When a good ride is over it can be completely satisfying in all ways: mentally refreshed, physically drained. And yet, shortly there after you are planning your next trip to the trails.
Do you dream like I do?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I am back from my cousin JP's wedding in London. Admittedly I am not a fan of weddings and tend never to go when invited. But I felt compelled to go, as JP's father Dennis had passed on and I felt that there was strength in numbers for the family in order to show support. I also wanted to pay homage to a bunch of people who traveled from England to my parents wedding (it was my mothers 2nd marriage and is why I remember it) in Manchester back in 1980: I remember it well and it was our first meeting. I could not be there for a "limey" wedding.
There was also a part of me that had been feeling emotionally desolate recently and I hoped that I would catch a glimpse of love and rekindle hope within. Maybe if I saw it again I would aspire more (I am not for the moment) for it and understand how to get it back into my life. It has been empty since it has left, and weddings are supposed to be the apex of actual romantic events, so I went with the hope that I would witness it.
The day of the wedding: Sis, Tommy (gun), Dan the man, yours truly and Noelle (Danny's beloved wife...his way better half). The wedding was a small affair with only close friends and family. The setting was perfect and is what you would imagine England to look like. Gorgeous. It was on this trip I got to really know Noelle and see the dynamic of their union. It was with them I found inspiration in what to strive for. And while I could not see under the hood per se, and really only the two in the relationship can see so deep, the exterior was fun, beautiful and well matched to each other. It was nice to see two good people have a good union: it seemed honest and loving. Gentle reminders of what greatness can occur is well appreciated and left me feeling good and yet uncomfortably sentimental.
How sweet they still deliver milk: I thought it was very cool and Noelle told me that one of the great things about being an exiled "Americano" in limey land is the milk.
Drinks: Pub culture in England is way good. Going out for a drink and a full on "bs" session in England is a way nice way to sped time. On that particular night I learned of my cousin Dans good sense to listen a "crackhead" and drive the couples only car through a flash flood in order to move the car to higher ground. The bit of wisdom provided by the "crack head" (Noelle's words) caused the sudden demise of their car and provided me with more than a chuckle at Dan the man's expense.
I will post more on my trip to England in the coming days including some pictures and rousing stories of drunken debauchery.
Friday, May 16, 2008
SNS's dad just passed away: he had been jsut diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the chemo had been working as the cancer cells had really dropped and they were planning on an operation in the next couple of days. Today someone called me to tell me that he had passed. I am not sure what to say,other than I am so sorry for their loss.
My left eye is swollen. It flares up every once in awhile when i am stressed or maybe not rested enough. So not i am wearing a patch on my eye as the bright lights are painful.
For your viewing pleasure is this quick video of a carbon 1 spoked wheel. Sort of crazy. It reminds me of the early 90's when there was a huge influx of money into mountain biking that companies had the RD to develop out of the box projects and one of them was a spoke-less wheel. The fork would attached to the rim and the tire would spin on an inner rim. I loved the concept as it was so Jetson looking.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
No less than 11 sets of individual bumps and bruises (definition: anything that is yellow, green, purple, blue or black that is sensitive to the touch) on my body not counting my wrist which is still tender. The recent outings on the dirt have netted me a slew of over the bar incidents. I have not ridden once at Blue Mountain without having gone over the bars. The learning curve is steep as I try and get back tomy best in terms of riding.
To top it off my legs are aching from the recent training: One night of 7 laps less than 2 hours again and another night of tempo and sprints. I am going at a good clip these days but legs have been screaming at me. Not even sure if I had recovered from Saturdays Solo Single Speed day: I don't think my legs were ready for mashing and standing on the pedals so hard after so many years of spinning.
I love the process of getting better.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I poached this quote from Jimmy Dean and just substituted some of the words around. Plagiarism is NOT the sincerest form of flattery, nor do I want to take credit for the thought process in place, but it resonated with me. Riding off road is much more creative than a straightforward road ride.
In the roots and rocks of the East Coast trails, skill is often more important than the engine. It takes a deft hand to roll seamlessly amidst the intricate weave of roots, rocks, fallen trees and the tragically unrelenting canvas know know as the trail. One could ride the smooth rail trails, but what fun is that when you can ride the precipitous nature of the undulating mangled trail. It is that division amongst mountainbikers that will often be the tell as to what part of the country you come from.
East Coast riders may not climb like a helium filled balloon, but West Coast riders may not ride the tricky tech trail with conviction either. Products of the environment breeds specialty for the terrain. And while the alter of the head down, ass up prayer session, known as climbing may make you a feared and revered rider in your neck of the woods, it is the East Coast trail rider who rides the unridable who gets the accolades amongst his peers here in the East Coast. While I admire those who climb with grace, as I train too often to be a better climber, it is the flash of memory of me trying to clean rock gardens and railing singltrack that fills my heart with love.
To ride the trails in the East often means looking and studying the trail for the line or the series of lines to be linked together in order to clean a section. Outside the box thinking is often required, as what may seem like the smooth line of entry into a section may not be the optimal line out of the section. You have to look beyond of what you thought was your own personal limit: the inner challenge of bringing your best to the trail. Sometimes it is nothing more than not braking, other times it requires a sequence of moves that seems innate like the way an animal moves through the woods. Fast selection of the right line and the willingness to change direction is implicit to smooth riding in the woods. The speed you carry through a section may determine whether or not it is a successful line.
The quote resonated with me because I have been rolling singlespeed recently which has required me to rethink lines, new ways to carry speed and new ways to conserve my energy. Sometimes it may be a case of having to go a little faster into something than I am comfortable with to make it through the section. Other times it is the knowledge that it can or can not be done after going through a section in the most direct route. It is as if the trail had been re-drawn for me due to the fact that I am now rolling 1 speed as I have to look for new ways to ride sections. I must learn to seek more from my trail.
Monday, May 12, 2008
There she is again!
Saw this guy in the middle of the race course (flat single track section on top of the mountain) trail in the middle of the trail. Screeched to a stop after almost hitting him/her. Checked him out for a few while he decided to hide out while trying to process the smelly human on a 1 speed bike. Picked him up and moved him to the safety of the side of the trail.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Have you heard "Police and Thieves" by Junior Murvin? Class.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
It still astounds me that the Bear Stearns came out on the Thursday before they were bought and emphatically stated they were worth 84 dollars. If you had asked the most bearish and conservative analyst on the street they would say at worst that the stock was worth half: 42 dollars.
The following Monday the company was bought for less that 10 dollars. There is a pretty wide gap between 84 dollars book value and less than 10.
Perception and reality, even in the world of hard, fast and often cold numbers, can have what seems like a chasm of infinite difference.
Sometimes you have to stop and really take inventory to decipher the reality from the myth that you may have made in your mind.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Blue Mountain was vibrant green. Almost nuclear neon in some places. It was pretty righteous. The trail was moist and loamy in many parts. Lots of traction on the dirt, but less so on the rocks, and roots. Between the lichens and the moisture, some spots were down right treacherous.
LD rode my SS again: I think I am going to have to separate the two of them for awhile as he seems to be liking my girl a little too much for his own good. He did not treat her wrong but he did roll a decent size drop on her...not her intended purpose and maybe not something I would recommend doing with regularity even though she can do it.
I saw this fancy Willits bike in the woods with swoopy ti tubes. There was another one on the trail as well that was pretty rad. So hard to bend ti tubes and this baby was swoopy in so many places. Anyway, a rare find in the East that I had to take a picture.
I bruised my palm on my already tender left wrist 5 minutes into the ride going through a small V shaped ditch/stream crossing. I was a little more tentative then normal after that but still rode respectably. Then in the last quarter of the ride I ended up over the bars after hitting a minuscule rock in a rocky section that just stopped me...maybe need to add air to the fork and increase rebound because that section I have never had a problem riding in the 10 years that it has been there. Anyway, that caused me not to be able to hold the bar with any conviction as every time it jarred I would inadvertently want to let go of the bar....which does not work well for riding in the wood. So ride was cut short just as we were getting to a section I was looking forward to ride.
Wrist is better today: stiff. I rode Sunday for 50 miles on the road. Easy miles for the most part. Did not have coffee in Piermont/Nyack so the trip was relatively quick. I saw Lampe and Chairman Mau out on the road: I used to ride with them every weekend a couple of years ago. It would be cool to do a retro ride again with them.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I made even harder on myself as the rest rode single file behind the Capalla Bros and I sat off to the left in the wind. AM asked how the wind was and I rather liked being able to talk, giving the impression of ease of course, and sit in the wind for the added level of pain.
Saw Paulie (who said he wanted to roll dirt style with me) , Joe on a new 6/13, AM, ralba and the Capalla boys.
It was a nice night and for once I made it home before 9.30PM. The nice thing about having some base miles in the bank is I don't have to work on it so much: 1 ride a week for tuning up and the rest of the week I can start to work on power and speed. I am really looking forward to riding up to Nyack soon though: Slow, long, fun ride with friends.