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Shawn "bega" Blumenfeld
Bega Services Inc - Cycling Coaching and Events
USA Cycling Certified Coach
Bicycle Race Announcer
What's in a name? Shawn Blumenfeld, or fully: Shawn Adam Blumenfeld, but i'm maybe better known as Shawn Bega. bega is actually just a nickname i picked up when i was in my teens and it stuck. it doesn't mean anything. at times, ive used it as a nom de plume, and it serves as the moniker for my company. but legally ive always been Shawn Blumenfeld, which i now sign Shawn "bega" Blumenfeld with the quotes to specifically denote the nickname. Given the religious name of Samuel Israel Isaac as a young boy, and called "blumie" throughout my childhood, ive actually had lots of names for just being one person. To make matters even worse, my mom and sisters have 2 additionally different last names from me, Fienberg and Bauman respectively. In college, i was sometimes reffered to as "woodstock" like the festival, not the bird, though i wasn't even alive when it happened. and my sometimes joyous performance of the "snoopy dance" shouldnt add any confusion here either. My brother's friends sometimes called me "little Lane" but im not sure they meant it as a compliment to either of us. when you see me in person, either shawn or bega will do.
What's in a race career? i consider myself one of the most successful unsuccessful bike racers of all time. ive been paid to race in many areas of cycling competition including road, cross, messenger racing, despite never really being individually successful at any level at any time. ive been sent all over the world so that i could race. not so that i could win, because that would have been a fools errand. but just so that i could race. when i was in my 20's, i had a brief moment where i may have had a chance to accelerate through the ranks and become one of those guys you might have heard of, but for various reasons, i never really reached that plateau. but what i did do was work my ass off for my sponsors, and i worked my ass off for other racers. ultimately, my best glory has come from what other racers have accomplished under my management. but most importantly to myself if not the reader, is that i have truly enjoyed my personal racing career for a long time, and will continue to do so long into the future. i love racing, and it takes commitment and sacrifice just to get onto the race course, and that is a drive that i still have regardless of my results.
What's in a cycling career beyond racing? i have been in cycling for over a quarter of a century and have held virtually every job related to racing, peppered with over a decade of being a messenger. ive been a racer of course, a manager, a team director and owner, a mechanic, a coach, an event promoter. im probably most known for my work as director/owner of "hub racing", a women's pro team and the RFK criterium that went with it. and maybe for "dccourier" and "team bega", my messenger company and team, that came in the years before. and for my work on many messenger championships. after years of working at various positions in the sport of cycling, i now coach full time.
What's in a shoulder? a long time ago on a mountain far far away... in a 3 rider breakaway, descending the catoctin mountain roads on our way to a nice victory, i slipped. i dont remember the accident at all, but my comrades have described it to me in great detail. i slid across the tarmac, going full force into the guard rail along the cliff, putting the metal rail support through my shoulder, out my lower rib cage. amongst the injuries were a partially crippled left hand, 2 permanently damaged shoulders, the loss of muscle use in part of my back, and a really cool scar above my left knee that represents the big and little chain rings from my bike. while i dont outright blame the crash for "ending my career", it certainly set me back a little. perhaps more importantly though, it changed my perspective. the joy of riding became just that, joy not work, and everyday im on my bike i remind myself of the guard rail that while doing so much damage, also kept me from falling off the mountain. and of course, i learned to descend a little better in the years following.
May 18 2013
reminder to self. one week to mayhem. 3 days of alleycatting. if im going to ignore my own advice and target one race so aggressively, id at least ought to be prepared. so i will be training in bmore to learn the streets better the rest of the week. and probably a day in the RVA. ok, ill propose the potential irony now: how funny would it be if i cant find an address in my hometown of dc on stage 2?
May 16 2013
quick shout out for dc's "bike to work day" tomorrow. my 17th year leading the mt pleasant to freedom plaza convoy.
April 30 2013
patience has its down side. having done some officiating, some announcing, some one-on-one coaching sessions with a couple of excellent students, my own competitiveness is starting to simmer. its time to get out and race. im targeted for the end of the may and then the beginning of july, and its been an exact target this year. i usually caution against this. zeroing in on a single event can lead to great disappointment. but every so often, there is a single race that will stand out amongst others in my desire for glory. so going contrary to my own long standing advice, i will bank my season on mayhem and naccc. while the mathematical training isnt really that different, the mental difference is greatly pronounced. i think i may be putting too much pressure on myself to perform well in these solitary races. oh well. worst case scenario is that i dont have good results this year. best case is i win them both. most likely im somewhere in the middle. only one way to find out. train then race and see where i place. but for sure, my patience is running out and its time to compete.
March 29 2013
spring charity rides aside, i find myself without my normal early season goals. i had to take joe martin off the table to (gasp) actually work that weekend, so my first real racing target isnt until the mayhem. given my winter softness, i could certainly use the extra time. just like most other humans, as i get older, my lifestyle and metabolism change. my ability to recover, and thus my ability to train consistently, diminishes. but truthfully my winter just ended too late. i stayed in shape via off-the-bike exercise through the cold times. so while im fit, im not cycling fit. my season will benefit from the willingness to recognize where im at, and the patience to wait until my capabilities match my goals.
February 7 2013
as a good friend noticed me out on my bike, ill come public here too. indeed off season is over and im back out training on 2 wheels. my friend also asked me if i was training for something specific. riding without specific goals is just riding. which is great and i highly encourage you to go riding even without some race in mind down the road. increase your fitness, your endurance, your joy of the bike. but to take advantage of scientific training, well, you have to be more specific.
im looser with my goals than i used to be in my younger years, but ive certainly picked some events for the season. as well as needing to be in proper shape to lead long group rides like vasa, ive picked some races to target as well. joe martin is a maybe. just want to be competitive if i decide to go. but my dreams for the mayhem triple crown are loftier. nothing but a victory will satisfy.
early season goals defined, youll all see me on my bike now, despite the cold, from here on through.
December 27 2012
as i settle into my off season now i remind myself to set a schedule. off season training can be difficult. you might need both mental and physical rest from a long stretch of racing, but you cant completely let your fitness go. i dont even know my goals for the next race year yet, and some of my friends are still racing cross as i become a couch potato for the winter. so i need to set a schedule to make sure i dont become total fluff. regular soft exercise, with lots of fun mixed in, works well for me. staying off the bike, ill use rowing, a heavy bag, weights, and a treadmill, even video games, to stay active. ill make sure to do something everyday to maintain a minimum fitness. then ill have to sit down and pick some good goals for 2013 to shoot for. and of course, i get to watch my friends go for national and world titles on the dirt and grass. thatll keep me motivated.
i dont spend a lot of time reflecting on the past year, but i will study my metrics from the whole season to see where i can alter the science part of my training for next year. and i do rebuild my trophy case with all of my new awards.
November 4 2012
a tale of 2 alleycat races
50+km through mexico city in the darkness of night might not sound like fun to the normal bike racer, but to the street racer like me, well, lets just say 3 hours of pure joy. when i race a live traffic race in an unknown city, i usually try to follow the locals. when i race in a city where i dont know the language, i absolutely have to follow the locals. but following locals isnt as easy as it might sound.
so on friday night at La Carrera de los Muertos, i started by chasing the fastest of the riders out of the start, arriving at the first checkpoint just behind them. these guys were fast, but even in this foreign land where i dont know the traffic patterns, i took the intersections smoother than they did. but i knew i wouldnt stay with them on the longer stretches, so i made the hard decision. i didnt try to win. theyd leave me behind eventually and id be lost in mexico. so i let the fast guys go and waited for the next group. the choice paid off, and i was able to enjoy a fantastic race with my new found mexican comrades as we pedaled through this huge maze of a metropolis. but i couldnt resist the opportunity near the end, when i recognized the way straight to the finish, to leave some of them behind. making my way to 13th place, i won a can of beans. all prizes are good.
amongst my cheats:
i came clean about my cheating to the drunk organizer, not the sober one. this was my best move of the race. much easier to gain the good graces of the drunk organizer. to my credit, i came clean without prompting, as soon as i finished, and stated i would of course hold no ill will if i was dq'd. i put the organizers to a difficult choice. ultimately, they decided they would have dq'd me if i had won, but allowed my 5th place to stand. it must have been my smile.
November 3 2012
October 31 2012
any time i step to a start line, my desire is to give it everything i have. and while it's my hope that my preparation has been appropriate, i know i can't always change my long term training for a single race. and if you have another "job", even your race day prep can be affected. i announced at DCCX, so any real consideration of a proper race in the tandem class at the end of the day was out the window for sure. but when i step to a start line...
my captain and i indeed put it all into the bike. andy zalan has great handling skills: his urban fixie and bmx background with many years as a messenger has given him extraordinary balance and technique. so i felt extremely comfortable in the stoker seat. i gave him all the power i had left after a day of dehydration and adrenaline filled yelling into the microphone. while im sure my comparative numbers werent anywhere close to my norms, i was able to push the pedals hard enough for us to ride the triple run-ups, with AZ making the u-turns cleanly at the bottom. we got great screams of appreciation from the crowd as we negotiated and powered our way around the most difficult parts of the course, a section that most individuals couldnt ride earlier in the day. and the screams and cheers were just an appetizer, as we rode well enough to grace the 4th step on the podium. i love getting on podiums.
September 29 2012
September 19 2012
sometimes everything goes right in a stage race and you win it (mayhem triple crown). sometimes it all goes right, and you just do ok (joe martin). sometimes you do everything right except one little thing and you're out of the race after the first day. i slipped in the prologue time trial at the ECMSR, on a turn i've taken 1000 times, on my home tt course, going about 3 mph. as my good friend sheba is fond of reminding me, it's not how you fall; it's how you land. a bruised bone on my wrist kept me from starting day 2. i felt bad for abandoning my teammates Greg Addo and Kevin Porter, but an injury is an injury. and racing isnt about one race, no matter how psyched you are to do it.
injuries can restrict your body, but they shouldnt restrict your effort. rehabilitation starts immediately. follow doctors advice, and set goals for your return to various levels of training. my first week had me walking off the hip bruise and babying the wrist and cheering on my teammates on their way to boston. my 2nd week had me back up on the trainer and beginning to use my hand. now going on 3 weeks, im heading back outdoors. as they say, get back on the horse.
August 28 2012
the big race for me in august was cmwc. chicago threw us some great parties, a filmfest including "Line of Sight", a velodrome day, and a really complicated race for the championships itself in the shadow of soldier's field.
i rode to the track on velodrome day. totaled 70 miles all on the fixed gear. chased my friends from japan all the way from the hotel to the track. raced on the track. rode home. great training. great fun. exhausting. i won a t-shirt from the chicago cutting crew. an excellent addition to my trophy case.
the cmwc qualifying contained more boxes than usual as packages. i rode with the trailer. the extra speed through the checkpoints for not having to load my bag made the difference. i qualified for my 8th cycle messenger world championships final. not many messengers, or even ex-messengers like me, can say that. andy zalan can. but i barely made it: 80th, a mere 2 minutes within the cut.
no boxes in the finals so no trailer necessary, and i went all out. several hours of short sprints. with time counting down, and my entire day on the line (dq'd if you didnt make it into base within the time limit -all work would be lost), i went for one more delivery. ripping my number off my bag and leaving the bag at my final stop (kind of like dropping a water bottle for you pros out there), i sprinted with what strength i had left and crossed into the dispatch base with about 20 seconds left. maximum time used. maximum effort. 71st fastest messenger in the world.
then i put the trailer back on and went for the cargo championships. heavy heavy bricks, several large pallets, a couple of (fragile!) eggs. at one point, i had over 200 lbs behind me. i made a directional decision that put me ahead of last year's cargo champ, janis from latvia, and slid my way into 5th place.
then i came home and slept for several days.
now im awake again, and putting in mega miles getting ready for the ecmsr that starts next week. ecmsr will be 700 miles in 7 days. dont be impressed yet; wait til im finished. then i will expect all of your accolades.
July 5 2012
i did everything right for my time trial on tuesday in west grove pa as i continued the chesco series. a hard 10.5 miles of steep rolling hills. i rode just above my max numbers the whole way, peaking my heart rate at the very top of the final climb. a respectable 13th place, and definitely near my best possible time for the course. even though it was only around 30 minutes of racing, it took everything i had in the tank. very happy with my time trial race.
chesco isnt a stage race, or even an omnium, just a series. so each race stands on its own. my decision to even do the time trial would cost me the next day in the road race as many of my competitors sat out. and going all out just 12 hours before the much longer road race could well have spelled doom. but i really wanted to race 2 days in a row for these, and i would start the road race and give it my all regardless of the rubbery legs.
so what do you do if on the start line you know youre not going to make it through the day? attack on the first climb of course! the field generously gave me leeway and i gained about 15 seconds on the initial tilt upwards. feeling much stronger now than i actually was, i stretched the solo breakaway lead to close to, but never over, the magic one minute mark. i got cheers galore from the families sitting on their front lawns as i came over the 2nd and 3rd climbs alone. but the longest of the climbs would end the glory ride as the "chasing" peloton "finally" grabbed me, still on the first lap of the 5 lap/65 mile race. i thanked the group for letting me have some fun and wished them a good race as they went by. the competitive part of my day was predictably over, but not without a ton of fun out front.
ill skip thursday, and will head back up for the final criterium on friday. but i wont have anything for more than a parade lap. ive had my minimalistic glory for the week, and will be satisfied just to wave to the crowd.
btw, they fed us barbq on the finish of the road race. results are always secondary to good home cooking.
July 2 2012
Rode at the front in phoenixville on saturday evening. well, for a short while anyway. with 2 steep hills in this less technical criterium, i did a good job "convincing" the field to let me set my pace early on. i pedaled steady and hard but i certainly wasnt shedding all of the big sprinters off the group. then the field jumped for a prime, and i went backwords to the tail as the sprinters first took over, then joined me at the back. eventually i trailed off with a group of some big boys, and even as the field slowed back down in front of us, my comrades couldnt help me on the climbs to get back on the group. i finished a crowd pleasing 29th.
again no 2 days in a row for me yet at chesco. and in fact a rest day in the series has me off until tuesday's tt and wednesday's road race. ill have to buck up and grin and bear that back-to-back.
June 29 2012
After what felt like quite a long stretch of officiating throughout june, i really had the bug to race. So i signed up for the week long Chesco Grand Prix series up in pennsylvania. 8 races over 9 days sounded like a lot of fun. i only fit into the category events though, with no aged-group masters available for me. racing against the younger guys in a technical criterium, i prioritized safety over results on day 1 in oxford. i wisely sat just off the field as i watched several risk-taking kids slide out in the turns in front of me. while the strategy kept me upright, it did mean i had to sprint out of every turn to catch the group. eventually of course, the high-power, short efforts caught up with me, and my day came to a relatively quick end. not unhappy, though, i felt i raced hard and had fun, and in fact i felt strong and fresh. id be back tomorrow, with more comfort with the field and id spend more time within the draft, so id likely last longer in the race.
until i woke up "tomorrow" (today). barely able to stand enough to walk to my computer, i checked my power files from the previous day's race. having hit more than my sprint max more than several times, the reason for my pain was clear to see. everything was wrong about the strategy from a mathematical perspective. i was way over my limits despite the short amount of distance and time. i had no cool down, but rather a sudden drop. my final attempted "sprint" to catch the field was merely 75% of my previous successful one. and then the numbers just collapse from there. while i had fun and felt good, the numbers dont lie, and neither does the intense soreness this morning. i hit the wall. interestingly perhaps, is that i never came close to maxing my heart rate. the individual efforts were never long enough.
so ill take a day off and be back "tomorrow tomorrow".
May 31 2012
video from NACCC Richmond. ton of fun. they fed us barbq all weekend. excellent result: qualified on the front row via the early chance friday night. medium result: took 20th in the "rush hour championship" saturday night. not so good result: failed to make the 2nd manifest in sunday's finals. played polo for my first time on monday. ate a lot of barbq all weekend. check out the video.
May 17 2012
its getting close to summer, and we're full swing into the charity ride season: with vasa and the maryland spring century already behind me, you can find me leading my trdational Bike to Work Day convoy from mt pleasant to freedom plaza, (new route this year: check out waba.org). then look for me at sears sucker, as well as officiating several usa cycling races. finding races for myself amongst this sort of schedule can be difficult, but i will of course be racing the NACCC in richmond.
May 5 2012
i wasnt sure about by my comparative level at Joe Martin. ive had some decent results in some early season training crits and some messenger races, but nothing really serious. and i made the decision to close out my april at the famed arkansas stage race only a week before the race. i didnt know the other riders besides perusing their results. i havent really been training for hills, and the climbs around fayetteville were indeed straight up and long. it was a national level race, and while im in the amateur ranks, these types of races do indeed attract some of the best riders within my age and category. so i think its fair to say my confidence of a top result was low. if you set your goals too low, you cheapen the achievement. set them too high, you will be too frequently disappointed. i try to set my race goals to something i can only achieve if i give it my all, both physically and mentally. my goal at joe martin was to finish the 2 day/3 stage race on sunday with a general classification placing. for those of you without your rulebook out: that would require first surviving saturday's time trial and road race, and then completing at least 50% of sundays criterium before being pulled for getting lapped by the field. it would indeed take all i had to even attempt to accomplish this seemingly pitiful goal.
ignoring the fact that a race of this difficulty really should be a target of specific long term training, i really feel i did pretty much everything correctly in my short term preparation: i left for arkansas right away; i made slight but reasonable adjustments to my diet and dropped a couple of pounds; and i went out and watched the pros on thursday and friday. nothing gets your blood going for your own race like watching the really fast riders tear it up.
and i studied my numbers. given the distances and climbs id be racing, id have to limit myself on saturday to my maximum. sounds logical doesnt it? actually, in a single day race, you may want to frequently strive above your tested maximums. but to "finish" on sunday, id have to be able to recover over night, mostly regardless of how i compared on race day to my competitors. so before you give me crap for my lost time to the leaders on day 1, note that several racers who finished ahead of me on saturday didnt even start on sunday. just sayin.
it indeed took all of my strength and strategy in sunday's crit to make it half way through. the full story of my criterium is longer in the telling than my time on the course itself, so ill hold back here and let you ask me in person.
ive taken last place in races before (emphasis on the plural of races). in a messenger race, this might be a position of pride, but not really amongst more traditional racers. ive never liked the sometimes awarded "red lantern", embarrassingly given to the rider who "most hung in there with his head held high despite being in last". id prefer this to a dnf, but still. ultimately, i took "not last" in all 3 stages and in the final general classification. while maybe nothing to brag about, i was certainly gleaming on the inside. i finished joe martin.
March 6 2012
video from WABA's 2012 Vasa Ride. mmm mmm blueberry soup.
January 28 2012
alleycatting in the winter is normally about fun in the cold, but the 50°+ in richmond for the nighttime "Too Fast Too Trashed" alleycat was certainly more to my personal enjoyment. as the race started, the lead group sprinted up the big hill away from the river, dodging the cars coming down the oneway as their bikes flexed wildly. being from out of town, i was afraid they'd leave me before the 1st checkpoint, and i didnt want to get lost in the richmond darkness. so i led out the 2nd group at a more endurance like speed, and they steered me right. but as we climbed the 4-story parking lot spiral, i found myself leaving my comrades behind. i had to chase the lead group or settle for a slower race. i chose to chase.
checkpoint by checkpoint, i picked off riders, too anxious at the beginning, and now falling to my steadier pace. i kept directions at the front of my mind and found myself playing cat and mouse with the podium spots. i would catch mike going into the checkpoints, but the tasks at each stop (name the stars, get naked, find a beer buried in the sand) kept me from ever achieving his wheel.
at the finish, curtis the winner was laid in out in a drunken stupor well into his celebration. but mike, having arrived a good 5 minutes before me, was still frantically looking for his final beer in the sand. a wave of sympathy came over me and i pulled a beer out of my bag from an earlier trip to the beach. i buried it, and pointed mike to his treasure. he picked it out of the sand, handed it to race captain stu for 2nd place. i found another beer for myself and completed the podium for 3rd overall, taking the prize for top non drinker. i won a pound of coffee from richmond's lamplighter roasting company. there is no off season in messenger racing.
January 6 2012
a top ten at happy holidaze was a nice way to close my season. and while i won't wax poetic right now about the 2011 year (victory at the mayhem, finals at both naccc and cmwc, a couple of top 10's, raced against the big boys in the dirt), i will take this moment to remind myself that there is no off season this year, no rest period. training starts now for 2012. and while some of it may be softer during the next months or so, consistent riding will help stay off winter doldrums and create good form for the early races. good results early will help encourage me to race more through the season, and will of course make it more fun. i will take advantage of every nice day to get outdoors, because the wind trainer can just be dull.
also, got to marshall the tweed ride last month:
November 5 2011
its been a fun, event filled cross season, but not with a lot of racing. ive officiated several races, announced at a few as well, most notably DCCX. and ill be announcing at the mabra championships on november 27. ill be officiating several times throughout the rest of the season, and ill get my feet a little muddy also.
i did get to race kinder kross last weekend, and i guess i was hoping the photos would be out before i posted, but i cant wait any longer. i went to kinder with the intention of testing my upgrade. i opted to race in the masters 1/2/3 instead of any of the combos that included the cat4s. i mean, why upgrade if youre still going to race with the rookies? i held on well to the super fast old guys through the first several technical turns. i chose wisely to run instead of ride the muddy up and downs and this helped me stay in touch with others who slipped trying to ride them.
i hung on to the second group for the first lap, and started to fall back with the third group through the 2nd lap. there was a water pit in the middle of the course, and not wanting to crash out, my group took it carefully and one at a time. but i didnt stay with the group long, and was alone for my final lap as i cruised towards the hazard. thinking "im alone, this is easy, i have all the time in the world", i cassually drove my bike into the foot and a half deep puddle. however, i failed to set my left pedal in front of the apex of the stroke and couldnt power out of the mud. i slowly tilted, then fell softly to my left. i landed sideways, fully submerged from head to toe, still straddling my bicycle.
but like a good cross racer, i got back up and continued to ride. i came through the finish line, hoping to see a zero on the lap counter, but there was no salvation for me. it still read 2 laps to go. frozen and wet, i had no choice but to end my day early and accept the DNF. oh well, not the last cross race of the season. i will continue to test my upgrade. results be damned, no more rookies in my races.
October 10 2011
i qualified well on saturday at the north american cycle courier champioships in austin tx. i made no mistakes on the manifest, and rode hard to a 19th qualifying place. the rain (its not supposed to rain in austin, but this weekend somehow it did) was brief during my heat and the distance (around 11 miles for me, more of course for some others) played to my messenger racing strengths. with the short ride and very specific manifests, only one mistake could cost a rider a full 2 mile lap. i placed ahead of several much faster riders.
but that advantage can disappear in a messenger championship finals. in sunday's final, i again rode mistake free, and that kept me in the running for a top 20 for the first half of the race. but the rain kept coming in a steady mist (rain in austin texas - im just saying'...). eventually, the more recently hardened messengers (yeah im soft now i admit it - my hardness is all gone) started to pull away from me, and others caught me from behind. by the end of my 45 mile race i was dropping into the small ring even on the flats. cold and wet, i had trouble getting my heart rate into my work zone.
indeed, i feel i left it all on the race course. i ended up the 40th fastest messenger in north america. ill take that result home any day.
October 4 2011
anytime im racing for a championship, i take it a little more seriously. well, not everytime, but most times. so for the naccc in austin, im bringing 3 bikes, 2 cross and a road. i dont trust the organizers who claim its a road course, and i can always put skinny tires on the xross as a roadie pit bike. its one of the few advantages ill have from driving instead of flying. ill have all of my equipment with me: extra wheels, a stationary trainer, more water bottles, a folding chair. its going to be hot down there in texas, so im already starting to focus on hydration. the body can take several days to climatize, and ill only have one day once we arrive. but temperatures will be rising the whole drive across the country starting wednesday so the shock to my system won't be as much. and oh yeah, i have to go riding today. last hard day before the weekend.
October 2 2011
freezing rain for my officiating gig out at fort ritchie yesterday. i guess it was cross weather, but 8 hours standing in it hurt. i wanted to go out to apple harvest to race today, and my friend sol offered to let me join him on the tandem, but i had to recover instead, and spent the day under the covers. i didnt even ride on saturday, but the cold certainly tortured my body as if i had. when thinking more about a future race, the way i am about next weekend for the naccc, one might choose to skip a day like yesterday. but officiating is a job, so i cant bail on it the way i would on a race. its unfortunate for me. a wet cold day can set you back several in a training plan. ill have to make up for it the next couple of days before heading to austin for the north american cycle courier championships.
September 29 2011
no swim at nations tri bummed me a little, and i took a week off the bike. at my age, i have to be careful. a break can be good for the psychology, but not for the pounds. my weight fluctuates a lot more than when i was younger, and a week off feels more like 3 or 4.
but its cross season and if i want to race, i gotta keep putting in the miles. im officiating on saturday, and will probably race on sunday but i havent pulled the trigger on registration yet. (as a cat3 master in cross, i can actually pick from 6 different categories to race in.) ive missed all of the dcmtb clinics (rain sucks), but i think im at least fit enough to get on the course and get dirty.
and then there is the NACCC next weekend. i love championship messenger racing, and so i might be making the trip to austin. from a fun perspective, its ok to be indecisive and decide at the last minute. but from a racing perspective, well i have to get focused if i want good results in cross or naccc.
September 8 2011
and nations tri just updated with no swim because of the hurricanes. not sure how i feel about this. its certainly not the same race. im not trained for nor excited about a bike tt and the race is no longer a challenge in and of itself without the swim. ill have to decide if im even doing it.
September 8 2011
getting set for nations's tri on sunday. the swimming is what really has me worked up. totally new experience. the training for this has really been "leanring" not training. its my first triathlon and while i barely remember my first bike race, the emotions are certainly similar. i am well versed in triathlon speak, but its not first hand. i'm a cyclist and always have been. i only started running and swimming for the first time in my life this year.
cmwc was more fun than race, and i ate my fair share of polish sausage across the month i was there (they just call it sausage in poland). im not used to training for single events like a triathlon. when i train for cycling, even if i have a race or 2 in mind to target, im thinking about the entire season. so a little up and down is not only acceptable but quite frankly necessary to keep from me getting burned out. but when training for a single event like my first triathlon... well, i should have targeted my weight better for sure.
that being said im in decent condition and im not worried about the endurance for the olympic distance, even if my times on the bike might be longer than they could be. but the swimming kills me. i cant do the crawl because of my shoulders, so im slow just from technique. using the upper body at all is new to me, and even the leg motion feels contrary to my 3 decades of developing my bicycling pedal stroke. and this will be my first large group open water swim.
if i can push through the swim, i should be able to finish out the bike and run within the time cutoffs without issue. but honestly, im clueless as to my own expectations for time. so ill give myself the same advice any good cycling coach would give to a first time bike racer: "just try to hang in and dont crash. try to finish. worry about times next race."
July 31 2011 some personal results from cmwc:
43rd in the uphill time trial. andy duncan outsprinted me at the top to win our match.
i qualified via the guerilla race, and went for that title during the finals. but strom from switzerland put a crew together on behalf of the german mafia and they jumped me, taped up my wrists, cable-locked my legs and took all of my bandito$.
main race finals: 109th (DFL - but i was in the finals for the 7th time)
July 16 2011
went north to PA for a race. was with the front group in the until about 5k to go, but i was racing with some 20 something years young guys and i couldnt hold the speed in the line. i went into the red zone to stay with them for about 10 minutes, and then as my heart rate creaked beyond my tested peak, i hit the proverbial brick wall. i was passed by the chase group, then the peleton. then the masters 50+. i finished somewhere in the fodder off the masters group that started 5 minutes behind us. it took me about 20 minutes to cover the final 5k. i think i was credited with 51st.
oh well, thats racing. i gave it everything to stay with the leaders, and there was no reason to save anything. i was really close to having a great day. with cmwc now just around the corner, at the very least i know what i need to clean up in my fitness to give myself my best chance. i was still able to ride strong the following day, and my training rides have been mostly endurance based, tending towards my minimal talents. so im confident i can ride the distance in the finals. but to race the messenger championships you gotta have speed. you have to race fast in qualifying just to make it. and you have to stay with the leaders early in the finals until endurance starts to matter late in the day. so for the weeks leading up to cwmc, its been all speed work. its not a talent of mine, and i cant sustain the training for it. but if my timings right, ill be in the best possible condition for the messenger championships. of course even veterans now are 10 years my junior, but im still younger today then i will be tomorow, and ill only be 2 weeks older come cwmc 2011 in poland.
June 9 2011
every so often i return to my roots. well, probably more than every so often, lets say about twice a year or so. while i rode before i was a messenger, my love for cycling really took off that high school summer when i first took to the streets. and out of that, i grew a passion for alleycats: live traffic messenger racing. but its been years since ive raced an alleycat outside of guatemala, and i turned my organizing to more legitimate races like rfk and the cmwc even years before that.
but if you look through the dccourier.com archives you'll find many of these ridiculous races that ive been at least some small part of. the MayHem, born in 1997, was my real baby though, designed originally to be as complicated as possible: using points systems, bad addresses, larger than life packages, nude finishes on 18th st. and those that have taken on organizing its namesake since then have really done it credit. so when some friends of mine revised the MayHem Triple Crown Alleycat seires that i helped create with AZ, i had to take it on. a mayhem stage race in baltimore, dc, and richmond across memorial day weekend.
and i won the series. how bout that eh? 13th in baltimore, 2nd in dc, and 4th in richmond. my co-winner, kate schrock, and i could not have been a more perfect picture of contrast of messenger styles. she rode a steel flat bar, a t shirt, a bag too big for her small body, cut off shorts. i was all kitted up in full team bega uniform, pink shoes and a carbon bike with zipps. just goes to show: in the bike messenger world, its not how you look, its how fast you deliver. of course, im retired from messengering, i just go back and play one on the weekends again every so often. kate still pounds the streets.
mayhem video featuring "dirty bike" by who killed teacher (from "welcome to the big ring - the cmwc 1998 compilation cd" rememer that?)
May 19 2011
starting to really ramp up the training. spending time at skyline doing serious hills and distance. leading 2 group rides per week, an endurance ride on sundays and an entry level training ride on thursdays. registered for my first tri in september so im learning how to swim. im not worried about the run part, just have to learn to deal with the distance and the pain, but you can drown if you dont swim. my bike times now put me near the top of my age group, but thats without swimming first. i need to learn to swim forward instead of down. if i can get out of the water, this might be a fun expansion for me beyond cycling. the jury is still out.
and tomorrow morning i get to lead "bike to work day" from mt pleasant to freedom plaza. 15th year leading this convoy. better not rain.
February 27 2011
getting some time outdoors on the bike. the earlier you can get off the trainer and out into the real wind the better for the year. almost all riders start to get out around the same time as the weather gets nice now and then. but preparation isnt just about having the mid-weight jacket ready. if your bike is still in the basement with last year's dirt, youre not ready to start with the early season miles. i got my bike all cleaned up, appropriate upgrades done, way back in january, and put on the finishing details just in time to go lead waba's lincoln ride (a mere 18 miles slow paced through dc) a couple of weekends ago. a great way to start the marshalling season. too many riders wait until march or even april to get their bikes ready.
next weekend im leading the annual waba "vasa ride" out of the swedish embassy. lets hear it for the blueberry soup! but topping the distance scale over the metric century, i have got to get miles in this week. or i guess the kilometers if im going to claim the century.
at at the same time, im pulling the trigger on poland for the cmwc in july. 5 weeks in july/august will see me going to poland followed immediately by the earth cycle tour in maine. its going to be all about endurance this summer.
January 11 2011
time to wrap up the year i guess. i went and raced one more day of cross races at schooley mill, but sometimes even i can be disappointed with results. i dont really care how i do against others, but i do want to do my best against myself, and i didnt on that day. i came to the line all 3 times, but only managed a finish in the first race, and it wasnt anything to write about. yet here i am.
but then i did get to announce at the mabra cross championships at tannytown. big honor announcing a champs and it was a lot of fun to call bobby lea and champion wes schempf to the finish line as they battled lap after lap. and justin the junior is going to be something special, and ill get to say i called him to a couple of podiums when he was still a kid.
so as i plan for this coming year, i see warsaw the cmwc on the horizon in july. if i go itll be to race all out this year, not to organize. i have a couple of tours for earth cycle tours. there are definately some rides to lead, some races to announce and officiate at, and even some road races to race in. just getting the schedule together now. looking towards the fall: i should have my upgrade in cross i think despite a less than stellar year in 2010. the upgrade from 4 to 3 is on experience, and is equivelent to the cat5 to 4 upagrade on the road that you really have to get at somepoint even if youre just looking to race masters. im not looking to race the 1/2/3's in cross, but i dont need to race with rookies anymore either.
November 19 2010
So after announcing at DCCX, i of course caught the bug a little for the season. But with limited racing left out there for me, and working at shops in bethesda and toronto, i had to triple up. i took on the all hollows cross and entered 3 catagories. in the first race i held my own and finished middle of the pack, but in the 2nd i had little left to really compete. but i stayed with the laughing group and though i took last place in the race, i wasnt gone from back of the riders i was with and i was only lapped once by the leaders. but the third race i really shouldnt have been out there. after getting lapped about half way through the race, i was no longer in contact even with the laughing group and i had to ask the officials to pull me. they told me just to stay out of the way of other racers as they lapped me, but with some single track on the back side and 2 long sand pits, i was just in the way. so they they pulled me at my request and officially listed me as only one lap down, but 2 or 3 would have been more appropriate if i had ridden it out.
so i take on 3 more at schooly mill, then announce again at the mabra champs next weekend.
October 11 2010
The CMWC and Gran Premio in Guatemala are over, and i think i can fairly say it was an epic experience. everything we planned essentially collapsed in front of us. the roads were closed because of mudslides so participants had to walk down the mountain. a hurricane washed la ocho into the river. the website crashed from too much traffic. the photo guy didnt show. yet the crew pulled it all together and everything went off with more success than we could have possible dreamed.
I personally didn't win anything except 1 heat in la ocho; the organizing took it all out of me. But i did get top 100 in the cmwc main race, and 50th in the gran premio, and team bega won 4 more championship titles.
im really proud of the work i did to get everyone to panajachel. and especially proud of the work to get results out on the cmwc website and messenger email list. the cmwc never saw results and updates like that before. every night, every event. az and luk really worked their butts off redesigning every race given the circumstances on the start lines, and my results crew with lola, brad, and cookie went all out to help me get the information right.
the cmwc 2010 website has my blog entires and updates from the 2 weeks, and full results with photos. check it out.
i announce at dccx on october 24th, and im going to try to get in some cross racing for myself over the next couple of weeks.
June 23 2010
i redlined on saturday. i didnt back off they way i was supposed to, i pushed instead. sometime around on the steep climb a couple of laps in (five 6-mile laps total), i started to feel the sugar running from my body. my eyes were watering, and my heart rate was climbing. i told myself to back off, timetrial the last couple of laps, make the time cut and race on sunday. i said it to myself over and over. but my legs didnt slow or pause and i didnt drop to an easier gear. instead i fought to stay with the front group over the hill. i knew it was over, that i was about to hit the wall. but i didnt back off. as the salt poured from my pores, i told myself again to back off. but i wasnt listening to myself. big mistake. i lost focus, concentration, the ability to pedal. i touched the wheel in front of me and shot out the back of the field like a rocket. i came to a standstill on the hill and then the legs cramped. completely stopped. frozen. take it easy, ride it out, make the time cut, i said to myself. i didnt listen. instead, i pushed to chase. i kept the caravan in sight ahead of me for a good solid lap. then i cramped again trying to chase over the same steep hill. i lost a lap sitting on the side of the road trying to get my cramped tight legs to move. some artemis guys cruising the course getting ready for a later race stopped to help me out. i drank some water. got back on the bike and rode out the distance, finally finishing almost 30m minutes back.
33rd technically, and though the results list me as "33rd, DNF, +29min", they should read "33rd, out of time, +29min" cause i indeed finished. not everyone did. big ups to jim who waited for me at the officials table so he could score me.
but i didnt get to race on sunday. the lesson? listen to yourself, back off, ride it out, and race on sunday. redline and youll blank a manifest, and be watching on sunday.
btw, 15 years almost to the day since i fell off catoctin mountain. and i turned 40 on sunday. next up i have some big officiating duties at the cap crit in dc, and the mabra masters champs following that. and its time to sit down and evaluate the training and reorganize for the final push towards guatemala.
June 12 2010
so i pulled the trigger on registration for the tour of washington county stage race. road race saturday morning june 19 and a tt followed by a criterium on sunday june 20. joe jefferson and his gang have put forth a masters 35+ cat III/IV which really is my ideal competitive category. aged grouped and cateogrized. and im throwing in the global gutz alleycat back in dc saturday afternoon. the weekend should be a real test for me, and almost identical to the kind of stress the cmwc race will bring the body. just like cmwc, ill race saturday morning and afternoon, and then have a long sunday to try to complete the task.
my hardest struggle next weekend will be the road race on saturday. i have to be able to hang in the saturday opener race even though my training has been dedicated to the long haul. my training has really built my endurance, but im still not comfortable with my top speed, and i really want to race on sunday. if i blow up trying to keep hold of the field on saturday, i actually risk getting dropped, hitting the wall, and missing the cut. but if i make it to sunday, my endurance might take hold by the end of the crit, and my lack of speed might not be as much of a factor. this is the same risk as going all out trying to qualify at cmwc. you go all out making sure to make the finals, but have nothing left for sunday. or worse: blank a manifest as your heart redlines in panic. you have to assume you will survive saturday regardless, and train for sunday if you want to win it all.
but like i said, this is a test and i wont have the answers until after the weekend.
May 24 2010
so last friday was bike to work day. i got to lead the ride from mt pleasant to freedom plaza for the 14th straight year. shout out to rick morgan who is the only one i know who has done these rides for more years, though ive done more consecutively. tons of fun. got some press for my bike shop. close to 200 people came into freedom plaza with me this year.
this didnt count as training in and of itself, but since i needed to ride in from silver spring md to lead the ride in dc, i ended up with close to 60 miles before i got to work.
and yes that was me officiating in the pit in that video from the leonardtown crit with all the tacks on the road. and i think i let bryan back into the field with plenty of time. 2 hard crashes in 2 days just took the wind out of him i think and he couldnt make it back in while others from the group had less problem rejoining.
May 17 2010
So officiating is pretty exciting, but not always worth putting here in my training blog. except to say ive learned a tremendous amount from some of the great veteran officials in MABRA, and i cant wait to use that gained knowledge down in guatemala at the cmwc. for those that dont follow the inner workings of this year's cmwc organization, im heading up registration, results, and awards. so officiating these hectic crits, and a tt also, has given me great insight into how to score, tally, and post results fast and accuately. count on it in guatemala.
but while ill be officiating some races going forward and you'll still see me out there with a clipboard, its time to turn back to the racing that i need to prepare for september. the 25 mile thursday night conte's ride in bethesda is now a mark for my qualifying round, but itll be racing on sundays thatll complete my training.
April 12 2010
well i got a chance to race afterall. with a last minute schedule change before i went into my officiating stretch, i jumped again to new jersey for the Blueberry Circuit Race in Hammonton. another low fan fare, well run, fun, friendly race, mostly flat with a 6 mile loop. the masters race was fast fast fast and i got to really test my speed. i didnt want to drop off from lack of full effort, and i have plenty of time to recover, so i redlined to stay with the front group. and there was notable success for me. instead of drifting off, recovering in the turns and with a paceline of others in the same boat, i burried myself to hold the wheels of the fastest group as they accelerated. ultimately, i probabaly could have stayed with the 2nd group for the full distance and i would have gotten a result. but this was better for my final goals. gotta get and maintain speed. i made several laps with the top 25 or so, before i hit the wall. and hit it hard. thats why knowing your redline is so important. you can cross it to stay on the wheels in front of you, but not for long. if you stay above your redline, you will hit the wall. so i scored a dnf, which i dont like and usually i would prefer a placing even lower down to none at all. but i prefer a dnf off the front group than a dnf off the 2nd group.
March 29 2010
so i passed on jefferson cup because of the weather again. this isnt race season for me yet, its still training. my target is in september. so i dont have to be getting wet right now. but it is a missed opportunity to sit on some really fast wheels, and with officiating dates filling at least some of the next couple of weeks, it might be a while until i get another chance. but wet and cold can take a lot out of the body and set the training back days if not weeks if you really hurt yourself. this is a plus/minus vs current messengers for me. riding in the rain day in and day out ultimately hardens you up, trains your body to recover faster, and makes you immune to the bitter weather. but it can also drain your body of needed resources, especially as we get closer to the cmwc in septmeber. while i cant count on 70° and sunny necessarily in guatemala, well, im counting on it.
March 22 2010
the weather looked iffy so i never went down to the dismall dash. its was a tt anyway, and while they serve as a worthwhile measure, they don't help increase speed or endurance anymore than a solo training ride.
but i felt really good following the thursday contes ride so i pulled the trigger on the south jersey training series #2. it was a fantastic 3 mile curcuit in harrison nj, and matt and team independence put on a fine event. with little fanfare the masters race still had around 25 racers.
a race like this for me is all about top speed. my endurance is acceptable at this point, and the outdoors training with the nice weather this past week has aided that, but until im sitting on the wheels of the cat 1's and 2's in the masters fields, i wont gain the top speed i need to compete at cmwc. and this race was fast for me.
i sat in fine with the group early, but while i didnt redline the heartrate, i couldnt match the acceleration of the top riders when the group split in two. but i stayed comfortable with the 2nd group as the paceline formed. several riders foolishly attempted the jump to the first group, and the accelerations caught me out 5 or 6 times. but each time i was able to grab the wheels of the smooth cyclist 54 guys (not really sure of the team, that logo just stood out). eventually, the jumps caught me one too many times, and i rode the final distance alone. i passed at least 2 others who fell off after me, but also got lapped by the leaders just before their finish. results not yet posted, and not really important, but i was somewhere between 17 and 23 i think. not sure how many dnf'd ahead of me.
next up for me is either saturday for a small road race up north in pa that might be just my style or the big one down south in va on sunday that will have a lot more riders to group with. i think ill flip a coin just before reg closes. i cant imagine trying to do both.
March 11 2010
so "leading" a ride like the vasa ride from the swedish embassy is really more like following the ride. with hundreds of participants, way more than expected, me and the other marshalls on the ride had to depend on experienced riders like arley kemmerer and heidi goldberg and mark plotz to hang in with the front group so we could follow and fix flats and such. it went off with out a hitch, and i rode the 60 miles moving from one group to the next, helping those on the side of the road as i went.
but since this is about my training, ill properly relate it to that topic: 60 miles in this format is actually a pretty good resemblance to the finals at cmwc. every group i was with was moving pretty fast, but i wasnt settled to just stay with anyone. id make sure they were ok, then accelerate to the next bunch up the road. the stopping and starting for lights, intersections, conversations, mechanicals (other's mechanicals, not mine of course, though my new pedal/shoe combo was squeaking a bit) all have a similar strain on the heartrate as hitting the checkpoint at cmwc. up and down, try to recover instantly, and try to stay in control of your breathing and muscles the whole way through. any exhaustion would be a bad sign right now. i wasnt pushing race pace or anything, and kept my heartrate below the redline. so how was i at the end of the 4 hours? fresh and ready to go again. just where i want to be right now. the endurance feels good, the winter hours have paid off. next comes speed. im going to have to race to really get that. im thinking about the dismall dash tt this sunday. tt's are a great measure, and the 25 miles in southern virginia will be a good test for me. but it will take crits, and riding off wheels like dave osbourne and josh frick to really get my speed up. still a long way to go, but i feel the training is on the right path...
February 25 2010
so trade zone got cancelled last weekend, so my first real officiating slot probably wont be til the (possible) trade zone again on march 21. but i get to do a couple of more gamjams computrainer races at contes. so thats at least a little practice in running an event from an officials point of view.
but i did get to test my legs. with the open sunday, i did a small training crit. stayed with the 2nd group, but had little left at the end of the 45 minutes. these crits require a similar fitness needed for qualifying at cmwc. and i dont need to be winning these, or attacking or nothing like that, to meet the standard i will need to make the finals in guatemala in september. i only need to be in these groups at the end. but i gotta have something left. i should be finishing these strong even if not fast. if i can finish these crits strong over the next couple of months, i know ill have enough to make the finals at the messenger championships. regardless of my results though, the concetration in training has to continue to be on the 4 hours needed for the finals. i gotta trust that ill make the finals, and continue to train for that likelyhood. with the cold here, its a lot of time on the trainer. wanna ride with me? im doing skype video conference rides with some friends, and im always looking for ride partners...
February 18 2010
got to officiate at the gamjams computrainer throwdown at contes last weekend. threw up some video also (check the link up top eh). get to officaite outdoors for the first time of the season on sunday at tradezone. the tradezone series will probably be a mixed game for me this year. im officiating at at least 2 of them: feb 21 and march 21. and ill race maybe 1 or 2 of the others. and i get to lead the waba "vasa" ride coming up on march 7th. blueberry soup at the end of a 56 mile trail ride. cant wait. more info on the vasa ride at waba.org
February 8 2010
catch my interview with biker bill on 10-9 radio - episode 3. we go into some detail about the messenger email list and cmwc guatemala and other messenger community history stuff. download for your ipod, he plays music throughout the broadcast as well.
February 6 2010
big ups to jim and lew and judy and ruth and im sure im missing someone... they held the officials update clinic online in a webinar. so maybe we're going backwards on the race course techno-wise with the radios going bye bye and all, but we're all 21st century for our meetings. so along with some racing, youll see me out there on the sidelines wearing officials blue some this year as well. remember - no throwing bottles in a crit!
February 3 2010
theres no better time to retire from being a team director. usacycling has followed the uci in banning racer radios, meaning team directors can no longer yell at their racers through a little ear piece during a race. well, that just takes all the fun out of it for a td, and its just one more reason why im happy ive turned hub racing over to the women. i mean, who wants to direct a team if you cant scream and shout at them during the race?
in the old days, my director used to hold up signs for us to tell us what to do. i guess that works in criteriums, but usacycling has taken a backwords step here technology wise. the theory is, put the race in the hands of the racers. level the playing field, so that big teams with coaches and stop watches cant dictate the race from the sidelines. but the truth is this will backfire. big teams can dictate a dedicated plan, but lessor teams need to react. now that reaction must come without the information. oh well, im not a director anymore, and they still allow radios in messenger racing. hopcroft and i are gonna clean up at cmwc in guatemala...
January 27 2010
so we had a 60° day on monday. i literally stood on my porch waiting for the rain to stop so i could go riding outdoors. it dropped to around 40° or so by the time i got home but it was worth it. did about 15 miles of my 50+ following sheba. she pulls her baby in a trailor while i draft the 2 of them. kind of evens it out, she's faster than me. bigs ups to andre? and his friends who pacelined with me my whole way home. should get outdoors again thursday as well.
indoors on the wind trainer is good for getting that winter base. i just work heartrate and cadence, and i can really feel the benefit when i go back outdoors. my pedal cadence is high, i can easily sense my heartrate zone without looking. all good for when racing starts. but outdoors is the enjoyable part of cycling. maybe i should move to guatemala instead of just visiting. always seems to be 75 and sunny down there in panajachel... ah well, itll be sligo creek park tomoro if the temp stays up.
January 10 2010
so we've had some snow and im not really a cold weather person. so its mostly indoors on the trainer for me. its a mixed blessing. the training is consistent and hard, and theres no lazy coasting down the hills. but the boredom starts to take over and i find myself putting in old race vids and taking on merx and anquetil. should be into the 40's later this week and we might actually get a thursday night ride... one way or the other, i gotta be putting in miles now if i want the form in september for the cmwc. mesengers are on the road right now so summer can seem like a picnic to them in comparison and their bodies will feel great in guatemala with even a few days of not riding against cars, like a vacation almost. im an ex messenger, and need to duplicate that long term form and constant sprinting if i want to hold up over a 3 to 5 hour finals of contast stop and go and go again at the cmwc.
the other evening i got to "watch" (that is "read the live text commentary") josie and her new zealand national title road race. even from half way around the world i wanted to shout at her in the radio to tell her to go with the counter. at least once according to the commentary she trid to counter attack. but no one was reaching rushlee. wish i could have been there for josie, but this is a new season for me. almost 15 years since i thought about my own racing first and everyone else's 2nd. the doctors say my shoulder is good. i can do upper body work. i can train consistently. i made it through the cross season. can a 40 year old ex messenger take the cmwc? this might be my best shot...
December 2 2009
i took 44th in the championship on sunday. made my goal of top 50 and then some! a great cross season for me, in what was really a return after many years to any kind of consistent organized racing (on the bike that is - ive done a lot on the sidelines!). through the season, i got mabra points, stayed on a lead lap, and finished top 50 in the champs. im happy with my results, so i dont really care what you think :).
next up for me? well the big ones are masters nationals next august, followed closely by the cmwc in guatemala in september and then the 2010 cross season. i want to race the masters individual and tandem tt's, and i want my best chance to win the cmwc in guat. for cross, ill want to make the move to the cat 3's. so ill start serious training next week or so, with those races in mind. ill probably do a bunch of tt's throguh the season and will definately do some alleycatting to get ready for cmwc.
November 25 2009
rockburn cross sunday november 22 2009
i finally stayed on the lead lap! seeing 2 laps to go, i could feel the leaders behind me. my comrade gary and i hammered the next to last lap, knowing the long 10+ minute laps at the rockburn cross gave us a real chance to stay out the full length. the officials were generous to us, and held the counter at 1 to go as we came through. with the leaders on our tails as we crossed the line getting the bell, we knew the job was done, and we went on a glorious final lap with the mens b race warming up right behind us. they cheered for us as we fought it out for 75th place. i think i crossed ahead of gary, but it didnt really matter to either of us. we had stayed on the lead lap!.
only the mabra championships to go. next sunday november 29. can i take a top 50? we shall see.
November 19 2009
my first mabra cross series points.
my 5 points from urban put me into 60th overall in the 2009 series.
November 15 2009
urban cross charlottesville va. Monticello Velo Club and the bluewheel bike shop put on a great race definately with a city feel.
21st !!! i had a rocking race. with a good start, i was near the front as we turned from the concrete to the mud, but an early chicane up around this little tree caught the whole group and almost all but the 1st 5 out of the hole shot had to put a foot down. i stuck to the middle of the field and found a group of about 4 or 5 to race with. i hammered the several parking lot sections, and this gave me good luck on some of the technical stuff as i was frequently clear of other riders when we turned out of the parking lots and into the mud. very much a messenger style course with curb jumps both up and down. but somehow, i still got lapped (in sight of the finish no less). i cleared the sand pit on every lap, but lost traction on the steep climbs (turning them into run-ups for me). i kept stable and safe on the downhills that almost always dropped into a turn. and i took 21st!!!
the ncvc and rt 1 velo guys (danny k, chris c, elliot) were shouting for me the whole way. and big ups to the altius racers. several of them passed me during the race and everyone of them had something nice to say like "keep going" and "youre doing great". which i did and which i was!
next sunday Rockburn Cross in elkridge md. cross season's almost over.
November 14 2009
saw the boss with my brother the other night at verizon center. ive now seen bruce in each of the last 3 decades. he definately puts on a great show and he hasnt aged at all. but i think it might have been almost the same set list as 10 years ago. nils lofgren is an amazing guitarist and his brother matt is a really good general contactor. shout out to the local boys.
got urban cross on sunday down in charlottesville. should be a smaller field with everyone going up to nj for mercer. and the urban environment might make me feel more at home. only 3 to 4 more cross races total this season. going to try to get with the lead group at the beginning and fall into the middle group instead of having to chase from the back. some bump training with brian walton the other week, and more coaching from arley has me looking for my first good start.
November 9 2009
i had spent time with arley this week learning some more technical aspects of cross racing, and i put my tire pressure down to 30lbs at her demand. i felt good on the course, and the low pressure definately makes you feel more secure once you get used to it, but the lap was really short and really technical. the downhill off camber turn made me nervous, and i knew i would loose time there and through the mtb trail on the back side. several longer road sections would help me against people of my level, but would only help the leaders in the their quest to lap me.
i started well at the back, but moved up carefully to somewhere in the middle. the 55+'s caught me early, about 2 laps in, and i was sure i was in for at least 2 laps down by the end to the 35+ leaders. but the moment never came, and i just kept hammering up the hills and playing it safe in the technical stuff. and when i came through the line with 2 laps to go, i still had almost a half a lap on the leaders. but they double timed me from then on, and caught me on a straight away about a mile from the finish.
so one lap down, and 68th in the huge 110 racer field. i had pre-ordered sausage and french fires, so they were waiting for me after my race and i didnt even need to go get money or anything and sausage and french fries can make anyone feel like a winner!
thanks to jim mcneely and squadra coppi.
photos of me on the internet!:
November 8 2009
racing today at Tacchino Ciclocross . sorry bout the late notice. i know youre all setting your schedules by my racing, ill try to post earlier :). my goal now: try not to get lapped. really big field, close to 120 riders pre-reg'd. ill try to catch the middle group and stay upright.
October 13 2009
i made the internet!
photographer joel requests donations to the special olympics. least i can do is put up the link:
October 12 2009
hyattesville cross sunday october 11th 2009
rt 1 velo pb arrow bikes put on a stellar race realtaively local to me. only a 15 minute drive, i was able to race in the morning, turn around and get to work at conte's by early afternoon. now thats how every day should be.
a flat grassy course meant technical turns. the double helix spiral ( 4 circles in, turn around, 4 circles out) was a little bit daunting. you really felt as if you were head on into the other racers. i popped the little hills really well, never loosing a step, and i cleared the natural barricade logs on the back side on the bike. but it was the sand pit that got me, and i actually lost some spots because of it. 4 times around in practice, i took the sand clean without missing a pedal stroke. and i was fast through it. but the adrenaline made it harder to hold in the race, and 4 of 5 times i put a foot down 6 inches deep into the sand.
i had a real chance to keep from getting lapped, and ulitmately it took real class from the winner Stephen Robinson who was about to catch me with about 300 meters to go. with plenty of distance on 2nd place, he held up to let me cross the line ahead of him so i could stay out another lap. but the officials called it right, and with the leader in sight of the line, they turned the lap card to 0 and ended my day. the results will list me a lap down, but reality is he never passed me and i was still on the lead lap.
i took 37th. another move up in my field. and i beat the pants off of "cup-cake" sol who couldnt stay with me in the long almost road-like strethces.
next race for me is dccx october 25th 2009. announcing and racing. and ill be on the mic at the startline of bikedc this saturday october 17th. so i get some mic time and riding time. who else likes fall?
October 6 2009
ok ive added hyattsville to my race sched. this sunday october 11th. gotta keep racing. race at 10am, then off to work at 1pm. no time for football..
October 5 2009
"Kelley Acres" Cross - Middletown Md October 4th 2009
so let me start by apologizing to janelle and chris. as i was in my personal fog of mental lapses as i went to register, chris and janelle switched places at the registration table and i never really looked up. i called janelle by chris's name. ive only known the 2 of them for maybe a combined 25 years, and i cant believe my faux pas. sorry you all. i feel like crap.
the race was spectacular. in the words of joe jefferson, "like mountain biking on a wet golf course". the short cut grass that dominated the race course was slick for warm up, but would dry by race time just enough to be really fast and smooth. some of the descents would have felt more comfortable on a downhill bike, but it was the climbs that would break up the race at the front. i was able to stay seated the entire time up the steep embankments, but i never tried to clear the bunny-hoppable logs as the winners surely were doing. the fly-over was cool, a 40 foot ramp down at about 20 degrees, but real fun would have been up the ramp and down the stairs! and the bridge at the creek crossing was just scarry.
joe on the mic jokingly called me as if i was off the front as i got lapped through the start area, and i put it into the big ring to justify his stating that i was "on fire". i rode safe and clean, but never found a race partner like charm city. big ups to the dcmtb and artemis riders: each one said something nice as they lapped me, granting me the encouragement to finish it out. i dont believe in not finishing, and it certainly reinforces that feeling to have friends on the course.
i finished 48th, just 43 spots off the podium. im moving up baby! but i gotta admit, its kind of a brick of a hammer of the pending mid-life crisis to be listed as 40 years old in the results. cycle cross aging is weird.
ill be at bikedc next on october 17th, working the mic and running comms. then look for me at dccx on october 25th announcing and racing!
September 24 2009
next up for me is the kelley acres cross on oct 4th and then DCCX on october 25. ill be announcing at dccx, and we're setting up to do a remote "in the race" announcing for my race - so no cursing when riding next to me!
also - i got BikeDC on oct 17th. dc's largest community ride. ill be on a microphone and a bike somewhere for this. sheb's threatening to put me at the iwojima memorial, but i want to be on penn av.
September 22 2009
so i busted out my first cross race at charm city on sunday. gotta say, im addicted right off. its similar to messenger racing and not just because of the skills involved (dismounting, technical turns, on and off road) but because of the crowd. the field gets spread out, and no one really seems to care how you're doing. they just cheer for you as you come around, yelling your name loud and clear. feels like the old days off the front of some local crit, but its for everyone, not just the one or 2 leaders. lot of passion about the ride. and its close and personal to the fans. you can reach out and touch your friends as you ride by, and even talk to them (ok maybe im the only one who does that). even mimi and judy officiating had cheers for me, and my club (mark matt, jennifer) all were at the sand pit trying to get me to ride through it. i cleard the bottom stair of the stair case on my last lap and slammed my front wheel into stair number 2. i think im the only one who even tried to ride up the stairs.
big ups to big jim of coppi's who raced with me almost the whole way. he caught me on every downhill, i caught him back on the uphills, and we finished just about together. 83rd and 84th maybe? im not sure they do results that far down.
September 14 2009
so im gettign ready for my first cross race in charm city.
so before this blog, most stuff i wrote about me and what i was doing was tied into hub racing, various cmwc's, other messenger and race stuff. check the archives listed on my home page.
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