Monday, June 29, 2009

Tour of Grandview

First of all, some of the racers Cadillac George, Might Scott Young, and I lined up against in the "masters" race were younger than Lance Armstrong. Yep, of the 40 or so youthful masters, we saw full heads of hair - not grey, and even some pimples! The scheduled 20 miles and 18 times up the legger-ripper of a climb was gonna be ugly.

Sure 35 years old might be a category called called Masters, that is, if you were also holding an elite U-23 race. Some of the riders we raced were young enough to be our children! But who is complaining? Great venue, great course, only thing missing was Pascale's underwear dance.

Short story to tell: the rude young ones nailed it from the gun, you would have thought it was going to be 1 lap instead of 18. MSY had the fortune of getting a flat, he was out midway. Conti towed me around for multiple laps before dropping me. I just couldn't hang on to the pace and dutifully reserved my dignity (sure you did) by finishing last. Not last, if you count all the other grey beards that were slamming trunks and pulling out of the parking lot while we struggled to the finish.

Thanks to Jeff Jackson for coming to sign autographs, The Tingler for videography, and Mel for almost giving us a push up the hill.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

1 - 2 - 3 in Worthington and Granville

Ah yes, the tour of Ohio and we are the appetizer for the main show of mostly young upcoming cat. 1-2 talent. But who's complaining, I love the courses in both Worthington and Granville.

Friday night in Worthington and the temp is mid-80 (so is the humidity). Scheduled for a 30 minute plus 3 lap race, the organizers cut the affair to 20 minutes plus 3 because the storms were headed our way. Tym and Don combine the 4/5 (about 15 guys) and the masters (7) into one race. Chairman Fred wanted nothing to do with the young and the squirrely so he steps hard on the accelerator from the gun. I go next and we have shredded the field of the weak (and wobbly) and the race is now safe. Cadillac George acted as the cooling agent for the field by raining sweat to all those who chose to follow his wheel. Note to self: get a pair of Oakleys with wipers for August racing.

Each time up the leg breaking backside of the course and a few folks gave up their ambitions of winning. Final lap, final climb - a couple youngsters get a nice jump. We follow, passing riders here and there. Third overall for me, first in the masters, Fred second, George third.

Saturday Granville and the turnout is poor. 4 masters, F O U R. We are scheduled for 20 laps and the 4/5 with Farmer John has 12. The compost king was a man among boys leaving his fellow racers in the dust and finishing alone. But as custom in Granville, he almost crashed AGAIN while blowing kisses to the assembled.

Our race saw Mighty Scott Young (MSY) ride off the front halfway into the race never to be seen again. I didn't chase, neither did George or Chris (cat. 3). Each time up the brick cobble section Chris kept getting slower and slower. MSY wasn't coming back, so Conti-dor and I did the one-two on Chris until he was no more.

You have probably raced MSY sometime in your career. His orange Element is always parked at a race, and he is game to ride anything, especially if it tilts upward. Last week I wrote about his banshee screams from cramping at the State RR. This week, all rested he performed my dream ride - drop your competitors and solo lap-after-lap t the finish. Since he is an honorary member of The World of Pain, I can say we did the 1-2-3 again finishing MSY, Pantani (a gift from Conti), and Cadillac George

Monday, June 15, 2009

State RR Championship

I once began my race reports with a standard line, "you shoulda' been there." Lately, I'm thinking I'd change it to "You should have 'F-ing' been there, damnit!"

No really, remember we have a Team, and teammates who signed on to race. I had no designs on winning this race of 50 miles and 5 times up the nasty hill in the heat an afternoon in June, but my mates Cadillac G, Luca Brasi, and Brian-Mr. "when can I upgrade and get away from these Cat. 5 squirrels?" were signed up, so I signed up...

Now a few snapshots from Caesar's Creek:

-Big fields, new faces and there's a tall fit guy on a $6,000 Cervelo speaking German in the parking lot, hee hee, "I wonder who's gonna be racing Jan Ulrich?" He pins on his number and it starts with '4' what! He's in my race...It's gonna be a long day boys.

-And it was a long day, various racers dropped from cramping in the heat. Mighty Scott Young who led our big Cat. 4 race up the hill for the first 3 laps was overtaken by cramps the last time up and I actually saw him riding backwards and screaming

-Mr. Sausage (who apparently no longer races) is now a referee...and, might I say those vertical stripes are quite slimming

-Our friend Cameraman Dave Tingler was there making another documedtary. Why is is that once a video camera is present, people go all Jerry Springer on each other? Iowa Josh kept wiggling his finger in my face and doing the blackgirl neck saying things I cannot repeat here.

-Gimme-an-upgrade Brian barely got off the start line before a cat. 5 dupe wrecked him in the feed zone.

-I survived the climbs the first 4 times up, the 5th and final, my legs said 'no way' and I followed the pack, which was whittled to half by the last lap to the finish. I'm not saying the beers cooling in the car had anything to do with me out sprinting some guy for 20th.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

crash (follow up) + dog news

1 week post crash and I'm feeling (little) better. The soreness that I had from hitting the pavement at 23mph remains. It feels like a really really tough workout, but my recovery isn't taking the same path as a hard workout. I tried pushing the pace tuesday night, but I popped way too fast. More healing needed.

The body does have a mechanism to heal itself, and it entails sleep and more sleep. My new intervals have been stretches of REM, rapid eye movement sprints....

Strange how cloudy the brain can get with a concussion. My attention to tasks has been short, reading difficult. Not that anyone would ever say that I am a patient person, but I've not been able to concentrate for long stretches...

Dog update: Mr. Pickett (the owner) says the dog is fine...I plan to roll by is the rain stops and take a look myself.

Bike update: front wheel toast, saddle trashed, derailleur hanger bent, and some noise in the front end, will test this soon.

Clothes update: helmet, jersey and shorts trashed (lucky it was my "TEAM #O##" bibs)

more later.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bounce and a painful slide

This spring, actually these past 12 months, remind us, not that we (anyone) needs to be reminded, just how fragile this existence is. On the heels of a couple tragedies, I hit the pavement during Tuesday night’s training ride. Events have told us that friends and loved ones are here one moment and gone, kind of like all my General Motors’ stock, the next.

Ask any roadie about crashes and he/she will show you either where their collarbone once was or some patch of skin that has been rubbed off so many times that it is no longer capable of holding pigment. Conti has three times the breaks of Lance and remember Matrka’s ribs being introduced (rather abruptly) to the insides of his lung last year?

‘Gone in an instant’ continues to be the theme in my mind as I reflect over the events of Tuesday. It was a windy-looks-like-a thunderstorm kind of night. What started with a group of 15 behind Beehive Books got whittled down to just a few roadies escheloned clear across the road coming out of Prospect. I’ve learned a few things over the years about training/racing and know enough to follow a steady wheel, and Tuesday I was tucked safely behind farmer John and Scott-on-a-Scott. I prefer either Andy, Rea 2.o, or Conti’s wheel as they are the steadiest roadies I’ve ever met, but Mike and Andy weren’t there Tuesday and I got out of synch with Da’Godfather after an attack (that I started) just before Prospect.

I had just finished my pull up front and was drifting back to the rear. Maybe it was the wind, but I didn’t hear the shouts of “dog.” And I didn’t see the…bam I hit him broadside and was in freefall over my bars. Maybe a good thing that I didn’t have time to tense up, landing first on my head (helmet destroyed), then back and hip followed. Things went black then the stars came out, “hello Angelina, where’s Brad?,” and I think I saw Bunny from the Big Lebowski…

As I lay there, I couldn’t move my leg and it felt like my hip was broken. Ah, the immobility was due to my right foot being still clipped into my pedal. “Somebody unclips me, WAIT, if this leg is broken it’s really gonna hurt.” OK, nothing broken, I unclip (actually somebody did it for me) and I sat in the road for the next 10 minutes. Farmer John went off to make compost out of the dog (never caught him) and pound on the owner’s door. As the riders we dropped came rolling up, the looks on their faces were, I can say, less than reassuring. Maybe they were still thinking about Larry, Mike, or their own mortality as it relates to bicycles. But the ‘not again’ ghost was hovering nearby.

I know a couple posts ago that I wrote there are no other groups I’d rather be riding with through rain, cold, and crashes, but this is hitting a little too close to home!

Four hours later, I’m back from the ER, cleaning wounds and trying to find a comfortable position to try to sleep in. I’m out of the state RR and crit championships this weekend. A couple trips to the chiropractor and I’m actually feeling worse…sore neck and that old man shuffle walk.

Wait, it’s Thursday night. I’m thinking I’ll just do a little spin out of town with the regulars and see how my legs feel.

btw. those that want to see pics of my raw and skinless ass, please send $10 cash and I'll mail you them in an unmarked envelope.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A New York Tale

I took a break from racing this past weekend to vacation (while Mel worked) in New

York, or the city, as it is known in, …er, the city. All our past visits to NY found Mel and me wandering over to Central Park to see the dogs play and watch the cyclists go round and round the 6 mile loop. We pointed out brokers on their $10,000 bikes and hipsters on fixies.

This year while Mel did her thing, I rented a road bike and had a tour of the island. First impression; Central Park blows. Either you are dodging inline skaters, aggressive mommies with strollers or fending off those brokers, their Colnagos & Assos kit. I did 2 laps of the park, spinning my 25 pound Schwinn

($6/hr from Liberty Cycles) around joggers and spaced-out

tourists. It seems the hardcore roadies ride early in the a.m., by noon all I was left with were the square-pedaling-handlebar-above-the-saddle racers. But they all still wanted to race me. As I spun up the little (I’m talking little by flat central Ohio standards) rollers, I would get these 2 or 3 guys jumping on my wheel and eventually passing me on a downhill only to be caught as I spun (spun!) up the next roller. I had to get out of the park.

Now, the bike paths on the Hudson river was another thing all together. Folks seemed to understand they walked on one side and we cycled on the other. I was able to ride up, beyond Spanish Harlem, past Fort Tryon into almost wilderness on a path. Very cool sightseeing, past an aircraft carrier and Columbia University, turn left and I’m spinning through Harlem back into Central Park. Very cool. I’m now on the East River riding past the Empire State building, under the Brooklyn Bridge down to see lady Liberty and ground zero. Sometimes you forget NY is an island AND a port. But there it is, nature and boaters, sea kayaks, and a few super model wannabes sporting their stuff. All very cool, and all very accessible by bicycle.