Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just Riding Along...

Discovered after I got home from a 4hr+ ride (including coffee commute beforehand of course) with Matt, involving, let's see, from Hideaway Bakery:

up Fox, down McBeth, up Lorane to Blanton, up Blanton, down Crest to Lorane, up Lorane over to McLean, up that, across and down Timberline, up Hawkins, back down McLean and over Chambers, back down Lorane to Mcbeth, up McBeth, down Fox, up over Dillard to other side and back over again into town. About the last 90 min included sketchy shifting introduced by this nice piece. I'm amazed it held.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday in Iambic pentameter

The morning woke to a cold winter shudder
Cold freezing fog my lenses did cover
Descending Fox Hollow shivering cold
To visit the family I did go.

Warm cups of coffee and cinnamon rolls
Woke up our spirits as gifts they did show
Themselves from under the tree where we
Sat all around, faces pictures of glee.

Noon came and went, our stomachs they rumbled
Amongst bits of papers torn and crumpled
With purpose then to the kitchen we went,
Shoved in the oven a goose that was spent.

We feasted once more like good people should
To show ourselves that when we could, we would
We tipped back some bubbly and toasted the year
Filling ourselves with good holiday cheer.

Night came too soon as happens in winter
And soon the festive group it did splinter
To home and towards beds that we each had made
All warm and full, maybe in a slight daze.

Pedaling home, feet turning slow circles
Darkness around, nose turning purple
I spied two figures under a small bridge
Like a ghost in the night towards them I slid.

As I got closer I thought I could hear
A sound from under some cans of their beer
Where a small radio broadcasted low
A song about reindeer, frost, and the snow.

Under the bridge with no light and no heat
Two people swayed to their own special beat
Without geese or beds, simple or fancy
Gave to each other gifts of their dancing.

And though we pass as simple observers
Others who live without our fine fervor
Remember that luck is not a birthright
Give thanks to that which keeps you warm tonight.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Are we done yet?

Cold snap over. Rain back.

The transition brought freezing rain on Friday that started to hit my back as I pedaled home from a long spin and turned the roads into ice sheets by dark. Saturday morning, all ice, no bike, big suck. Warm enough to ride by dark but instead found 2 hrs of mind numbing trainer time while watching "March of the Penguins". Bad idea. Next time I'm watching Kung Fu, Drama, News, Romance, anything but Penguins. Anything.

Just like we've done every damn weekend since October, we rode to Cottage Grove on Sunday. BVB, Matt, Mark, Myself. With the roads mostly clear we looped the loop, uneventul except for a half second of terror when BVB led us through an invisible ice patch at 25mph where I briefly engaged in a fishtail followed by a two wheel slide followed by loudly cursing Winter when the tires hit pavement again and traction returned. Thankfully I was mostly pointed straight when that happened and didn't buck off the bike. That would have been ironic - crashing the one bike I tend to crash a lot, the 'cross bike, on ice, in the first year since this whole riding thing started where I have completely failed to race or even practice 'cross at all.

Spring can't come fast enough.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

bundled and padded

I have sinned... for possibly the first time ever, I intentionally went on a long training ride without a helmet. Left it at home. Ditched it. Not out of some pursuit of Euro-trendiness - it simply wouldn't fit.

10F this morning when I woke up according to wunderground.com, and the web flashed to 8F for a few minutes before I took off to meet McKenzie on campus. On went the knickers, leg warmers, tights, wool socks, double shoe covers, shoe warmers, five layers of base and jerseys, jacket, skullcap, baclava, fleece lined wool hat, glove warmers, wool gloves, lobster gloves. My head gained a solid 4" in girth and failed to fit into my helmet. And dare I say, despite the temperature, I actually overdid it. One of the winter jersey layers came off shortly into the ride. Mckenzie did one better, shaking with cold so much that we had to ride back to his house so he could get two or three more layers on before we went out again.

Fall slid into the Oregon winter with little fanfare but a few weeks of sun and gradually increasing cloud cover. After a couple weeks off and short weeks in October things kicked back into gear right as fall term started to kick my ass, and the CSC rides have been gaining attendance again, at least on Saturdays. It's finally that time of year when the 'cross bug dies, roadies start buying Super Record and pre-season hammers get thrown on the Lorane - Cottage Gove climb.

In fact, from now until March the talk around town goes something like this:

(just for you guys at the CSC ride... you are welcome.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a pretty good month

the close of august wraps up three consecutive weekends of long rides, strong races, and a couple of W's for myself and the midtown direct cycling team.

it started with a ride from waldo to oakridge via cascade lakes hwy, bend, sisters, hwy 242, mckenzie bridge, and the aufterheide. i froze my butt off in the morning, baked in the days, and did a nice little double of 121 miles the first day and 90 the second, to be picked up after lunch on sunday.
not to miss an opportunity, the very next weekend lisa and i joined forces for the co-motion tandem stage race - involving an 80 mile road race on the brownsville loop, the 24k coburg tt, and a greenhill tandem crit.

we put the hurt on in the road race when we hit gap road, and got off with the shepherds and the nick/dan combo from hutch's. the lead built up to be pretty big and when we hit marcola the shepherds turned the screws again and we lost nick and dan. we rotated through all the way until the almost the last 1k on mckenzie view, where lisa and i took the long sprint with a surge from 500-600m or so out.

we had enough of a gap not to worry about the others in the tt, where we opened up the lead to almost a minute, then defended successfully in the crit for a sweet win.

last but not least, the eugene celebration stage race went down this past weekend. we brought a full squad of 6 with the aim of repeating rob english's win from last year - and since this course was tt heavy, it seemed like a good deal.

the mcbeth prologue was solid as midtown took 1-4, with rob taking the lead convincingly.

in the road race, we had a really aggressive first lap. the plan was to put guys on anything that moved and not to work - our two little climbers were 2nd and 4th but staring at a 24k tt, and rob and i were pretty well positioned for the overall. so we covered a lot of moves and it went pretty hard.

towards the end of the first lap on crow road, i hit a rock on the left and flatted my rear tire. marc stopped with me and had his wheel out instantly, we changed it and he pushed me off. i chased as hard as i could until i caught on just before sprinters - marc almost made it back, but on spencer creek it went ballistic again and he lost us. i had just barely made it in time. marc was perfectly selfless and made all the difference - i owe him and the other guys everything after that one.

the second lap was pretty aggressive too, but i tried to stay sheltered and recover as much as possible. on territorial the speeds picked up , and little groups kept taking fliers. then, just after briggs, a really solid group of 3 went off including a gc danger from washington named phil (46" back on rob 17" on me at the time). their gap got kind of big - maybe 20"+ - and then two more pairs went with some strong guys including my teammate david marking them.

as we were strung out and almost single file after doane road, going into the last piece of territorial, i knew that we had to get another guy on that break or bring it back - either rob or myself. i moved along the left side of the pack using the draft such as it was, and then hit it hard and slingshot right off the front to chase. i had it in the 53x13 and sat right on the nose of the saddle just giving it everything i had, again, and made contact with the four up the road right at the wolf creek turn. i sat on for less than a minute and started working with them until we caught the group of 3 ahead of us.

at this point david and i were in a bit of a pickle. if we drove the break and got a big gap, i would take the lead but i didn't know if i could beat phil in the tt or hold the lead. in that case, i could end up 2nd but we could lose the race. if we got caught, at least rob would still lead the overall and probably win the tt too, so that was good, but then we would miss out on stage placings and would have to cover more dangerous moves late in the game. so we pulled through but not enough to drive it hard.

by the last 15k it was clear we 7 would be all alone for sure, though the pack started to close a little, and on pine grove i knew i had to do something. i thought that i could at least get rid of some of the baggage on sprinters. i hit out on the hill and was alone - no-one did anything to try to follow me. i put my head down and tt'ed for all i was worth in my 3rd big effort of the day, and by 1k to go was pretty sure i had it. at 500m i knew it and at 100m i zipped up my jersey, took a last look behind, kicked it once more and then sat up to soft-pedal across with my arms held high and fists clenched.

7 seconds later the 6 break away companions sprinted for 2nd, and less than a minute later the pack charged hard across the line, with rob having gotten a perfect armchair ride for the last 40 miles.

the win put me in the GC lead overnight, but it was always going to be short lived as the margins were small and i was pretty wasted.

rob took the tt convincingly, grabbed the lead again, and i dropped to 4th with blown legs.

we defended in the crit despite a big crash, and another season is in the books.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Rob took the State TT today, putting another Senior Men's Champ jersey on a Midtown Smoker. Dude went 29mph for 40k - that's blistering.

I put in a solid ride at 52:52 that set a new PR by a decent margin, at a higher average speed than I've ridden for any TT length at all. The Peoria course was all backwards with the headwind on the way out and tailwind coming back, which had me thinking that I was on a serious off day for the first half until I realized that 25mph was not, in fact, due exclusively to my legs but also to some gusting headwind. I didn't look at the clock on the way there but coming home was in the 29-31mph range the whole way so I'm sure the difference in the 20k's was in the range of 3-4 minutes.

On a technical / geeky note, I traded the steel frame in for an aluminum Fuji Aloha 1.0 TT bike. Previously I estimated my CdA on the steel bike at 0.265 and figured a moderately aero aluminum frame would get me down to 0.250. I didn't ride with a powermeter but using that number I get a range of 340-350W to do today's ride, depending on wind etc. So it's approximately correct. Now, assuming I did 350W on the upper end, how slippery would I have to be to gain the 1kmph or so to get close to Rob? About 0.230. Really slippery guys my size would be around 0.220. In layman's terms, quite a lot more aero. Like, more than just using booties and giving the legs a fresh shave. More than taking the gloves off and putting a visor on the TT helmet. Way more.

Dude is fast.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Now, the course map and profile (and signup) said 30k. The start times list said 35k. It was neither. It was 12k up and down Skyliner, and 10k around the golf course.

The legs were good. I went up Skyliner probably faster than I ever have, and downhill as well. I caught the 30s guy and the 1min guy, and the first 24k went by quickly. Then the course swung right and onto the loop by the golf course. We had driven part of it yesterday but not all of it was open - and it was the unseen part that took me by surprise. Twisty, fast, some climbs, barren, some bumps, sweeping turns I couldn't see the exits of, and super hot weather. I hit the rises for what I was worth but felt pretty far from the limit of what my bike could do through the turns and downhills. I have a feeling that's were I lost the most time - a failure to fully preview the course and mark the crucial points in my mind's eye. Still, it was probably the fastest I could go on the day. Next year, it will be faster.

Peoria for the State TT is on Sunday - 11am sharp start time. Tomorrow, a VO2 test at the UO lab and some serious recovery. Time to see where the edges currently lie!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

total prediction fail

Contadoped and Armstrong on the same podium, and the detonation of everyone but the Luxemburgers in the last week. Damn. I'm out some retro cycling parts I put in the pool.

Four days until Nationals. I hope there's a massive downhill headwind.

Friday afternoon, after a 3hr mellow ride on the TT bike making adjustments and trying out the position, I hopped on a plane headed for Cali and a cousin's wedding in South Lake Tahoe. If you've never been, it's a lot like Sunriver, but at 6,000ft, on a big lake, and actually in California wheras Sunriver is just full of Californians. So in that regard, it's actually worse. But when that's where the family is, that's where you go, and weddings aren't about the guests anyways so I'm happy to make the trip.

My flight got back at a reasonable hour yesterday so I got out for a late spin to make the most of increasing shade in the 101F weather. And what a crappy feeling comes from two days off the bike, excessive food consumption and four plan flights. Jay-sus. I'm torn between making sure the legs are rested for Friday, and opening them up. How do you rest after two full days of inactivity without overdoing it? Blow them out good and hard then softpedal for two days? I'll find out.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Gears

I just registered for the Nationals TT, which is the Skyliners course from Cascade and HDO with a bonus section at the bottom. Since I spun out the 55x11 at the High Desert Omnium this year, and I'll be rocking a new (marginally more aero) TT bike, I'm now shopping for a 56. 56/44 just sound badass. But at 45mph downhill I might actually be able to stay on the gear.

Mmmm... 56x11. Sounds good.

Friday, July 10, 2009

OK fine I give up

The French will win a few stages in the Tour afterall. Race prediction are quickly unwinding.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

this is why i don't do triathlons

because i would look terrible tt'ing in a speedo, among the many, many other horrifying transgressions of all that is good and holy to participate in such an event (and forget the running part)

thanks for the photo, doug.

The weatherman was wrong.

Prediction analysis so far:

Close to the mark, but getting further off. Score a point for predicting Cancellara's TT win (not that the odds were long) and almost there on him losing the jersey in the TTT. But Lance? What a ride.

The little move in the cross winds that left Contador weeping on Sunday is a perfect example of why I tip to Armstrong this tour: he does not make mistakes. Contador does. Think of Paris-Nice (although conspiracy theories abound on that one).

And of course, Voekler just killed my prediction that neither his team nor a Frenchman would win a stage. Bummer. I mean, awesome. Have to love that ride - even if I'm drifting further off the mark.

OK, new prediction: no more stage wins for bbox. And no win on the 14th either, for the French, because despite that being the day earmarked for no radios (hence higher chance of a break succeeding - they really want to win that day don't they?), it will fail. Maybe Devolder takes it from a break, to uphold the Belgian forecast?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

TdF time

Kevin sent out a little invite to a TdF preditions pool, tossing in some bike parts or other schwag for the winner. I was intrigued. Here's my preditions for July:

GC Podium - 1st + Overall Lead, 2nd, 3rd: Armstrong @ 30", Sastre, Andy Schleck
Team Classification - Columbia-HTC
Most stage wins - Columbia-HTC (thank you Mr. Cavendish)
Stage 7 Winner - Contador
Stage 18 Winner - Cancellara
Stage 20 Winner - Sastre

nothing amazing in this prediction. it's kind of staid. but, i do think either armstrong or contador will win and the other will be off the podium having blown up trying to. i give even odds on one of them not finishing. most of the astana guys are smart enough to know that lance is likely to be paying their checks next year, and so i tip towards armstrong to win the astana inner war.

in other predictions:

i give team garmin the most lower run podium spots of the tour, and one stage win to tyler farrar.

i also give cavendish green in paris, andy schleck polka dots, fugulsang the white jersey,

and the most doping positives to team katusha (we will have to wait a few months to validate this one though due to testing delays).

at least one riders from each of the following teams will ring the doping bell: katusha, silence lotto (not counting mr dekker already), fuji-servetto, milram.

scoring zero stage wins are cofidis, bbox, ag2r, and anyone of french nationality (though one will podium on bastille day, aka "drug testing forgiveness day" for the french teams). the break will go to the line with mostly frenchmen and they will all get murdered in the sprint by a belgian. all paris will cry.

half the dopers will be italians.

phil liggett will use his phrase "suitcase of courage" at least once. the rider he speaks of will thereby be doomed and lose the stage.

armstrong won't win a stage. he doesn't need to.

cancellara wins stage 1, wears yellow until the TTT when he loses it to either highroad or garmin, i put money on highroad.

Monday, June 29, 2009

coasting around the high desert

Man, bike racing has fallen off a cliff. The good road races are all over and I had to miss Salem Fairview this weekend to go to Bend. I lined up for the northwest crossing crit and pretty much just rode around in circles doing not a lot of anything for an hour. Fun, but nothing doing in the results department. I think the brain is not in bike racing mode any more.

Classes suddenly ended and summer rolled up along with a part-time job through the b-school, and the lack of work overload hit me in a slight panic - what the hell am I supposed to do now with all this time?

And yet... there's never enough. The to-do list keep growing with all the crap I put off during the school year - building a fence, cleaning the roof, changing that leaky faucet - and to top it off we're in the middle of summer harvest on berries and other goodies that I intend to stock up on for the next 12 months' worth of jam, pie, and other eats while the getting is good and cheap.

I went out this morning with Lisa and picked approximately one butt-load of strawberries, the last pick of the season for the place out on Seavy Loop. We got half over-ripe and half firm berries, but more than good enough for frozen stock and low sugar jam. Talk about some sweet fruit - the stuff is like a wet candy. That should brighten up a few dark evenings in January.

Soon I'll be walking around the woods with a rifle looking to fill the freezer with meat, cursing the school work load and wondering how I pissed away my summer without either sufficient beer drinking or bike riding.

Time to get a little of each done...

Damn summer is short.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

TTT #2

Took home the gold on Sunday. That felt good after the yellow squad kept showing up to our little OBRA races and dominating. 11 seconds is as good as 11 minutes for the ability to stand on top of a plywood podium out in Tangent, Oregon. I'll take it.

This year we went substantially faster than last, due to having Rob English to pull us around. Homie can TT like no other, and that was a good thing since Paul, Nick and I had raced the road race on Saturday and beaten up the legs a little bit. We went flying around the TTT course wondering if it was all going to hold together or if we were going to detonate completely. Luckily it worked out, and I don't think we could have gone much faster.

It did make me think, though... I really should get a real TT frame. I just don't fit so well on the converted steel frame.

The week has been a bust for riding. Wrapping up too many projects, and evening thunderstorms get in the way. Next week, though... 4oo miles, 6 pastries, 21 cups of coffee, 3 fishing trips, 4 naps. Mark my word. I might actually be fast by July.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Top 3 Reasons I Shave my Legs

1) So I can admire the stringy IT bands when using "The Stick"
2) I enjoy shower time and need an excuse to extend it
3) So bandages stick easier and pull off painlessly. Like all those band-aids I seem to use when I nick myself, shaving.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hot, Hilly, and Crowded

Silverton! First OBRA race of the year for me. Hell of a race to start with! I think I heard 81 starters mentioned by an official at the line. It sure looked like it. And 81 degrees, too. And 6,000+ft of climbing over 4 laps. Bleh!

Some stats:

Duration: 3:01:04
Work: 2523 kJ
Norm Power: 299
VI: 1.29
Distance: 112.535 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1122 232 watts
Cadence: 29 193 85 rpm
Speed: 3.6 76.6 37.3 kph

OK, got that? That's the grand total. For the 3 hrs. Now let's see what the hardest hour was... oh look, it's the very first hour of the race:

Peak 60min (258 watts):
Duration: 1:00:01
Work: 928 kJ
Norm Power: 325
VI: 1.26
Distance: 37.675 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 926 258 watts
Cadence: 30 183 85 rpm
Speed: 16.6 76.2 37.7 kph

325W normalized for the first hour with 256W average explains why we started to shell guys. That's a decently solid pace. But the first 20min were even the hardest 20 minute of the ride:

Peak 20min (284 watts):
Duration: 20:01
Work: 341 kJ
Norm Power: 351
VI: 1.24
Distance: 11.732 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 926 284 watts
Cadence: 31 183 87 rpm
Speed: 20.3 76.2 35.2 kph

20 minutes at 284W isn't bad at all, but normalized to 351 means that, if you weigh what I do, you probably needed to have a threshold power near that number otherwise you were going to be one hurtin' unit, and pay for it later if you hung on. Scale for size, of course, positioning, ability to shelter from wind, etc etc, but that's a good guesstimate.

And what did the very fist climb look like? Like this: 5 minutes at 393W at 27.3km/h (that's a guess on the actual climb time as my PowerTap doesn't do GPS - just picked what was likely). Uphill with wind. That effort started the 20min effort listed above which also started the hardest 60min effort... which is why, after the first two laps, we pretty much had half the field left. Or something like that.

So then what happened? Well, some really fast guys rolled off the front early. Then HP Chiro decided to chase. And chase. And reel stuff in. But not bridge or create big selections. So after the first lap I drifted back to watch, thinking it was going to be just attrition. And it was. And by lap 3, we were all just hanging out playing games.

We played a few different games, which included:

- Let's Guess Who's Going to Chase Now!
- Avoid the Front!
- Let's All Watch Ryan Trebon! (very popular game)
- Attack! (Just Kidding)

Then, on (I think) the start of lap 4, another group got off. I attempted to follow some moves and do some of that bridging suff, since they weren't that far away most of the time, but it never really went anywhere. And everyone was looking a little bit stuffed. So, at the last corner maybe 4k out I kind punched it into the head/cross wind and sure enough, they all let me go. I did an 8minute time trial, or something like that. La-di-da, I got 10th. At least it's in the money.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Le Pissin' Rain

Sunday TTT: 38F and raining. And windy. With clip-ons on the road bike. I have not been that cold on a bike in a very long time. Owch. Immediately through the finish I got in the car, turned on the heaters, and took off all of my icy wet clothes (yes, they were mostly wool) and sat there in a wool shirt until I could feel my toes again, at which point I put on underwear. When I could use my hands enough to work zippers and buttons, I put on the pants. Then I drove away.

On the plus side, the Wild Boar Coffee in Ft. Collins has free refills on house coffee and does Belgian waffles. So after caffeinated rehydration therapy, I made it back to Denver in more or less good condition.

Of course, the pissin' rain followed us home again. It's off and on a bit, but right now I am ready for some sunshine.

Saturday I went out for a loose spin to Red-rocks Amphitheater, which, if you haven't been, sits in between two natural red cliffs and carries sound wonderfully. Looking down past the stage you can see the city and the high plains in the East without much noise pollution from the town. You sit up in the hills and just kind of observe the plains stretching themselves away. I rolled up there and grabbed on to the guard rail at the top and heard guitar strumming coming off of the stage. The place is usually full of visitors, and completely open, so there were plenty of people around and one guy with a steel radio flyer wagon was giving us his own show. I was kind of digging it until I picked out the tune and a couple of the words - it was a John Denver song. So I left him lamenting about leaving on his jet plane and rolled back down to town.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The air up here

As I write, I am sitting in Lakewood, CO, the day after racing the collegiate nationals road race up in Fort Collins. A race marked by what Velonews described as 'gale force winds' - which is not much of an exaggeration.

Last week some of us who were making the trip hooked up with the UO physiology lab for some quick altitude acclimation work in the lab's environmental chamber, which allowed us to sit at a simulated 10,000-14,000 ft and adapt a little bit to the oxygen poor air. We didn't do a course long enough to boost hematocrit, but rather followed a procedure to improve ventilatory response and O2 use at altitude. We took turns sitting on a stationary bike pedalling at pathetic wattages with pounding hearts, and sitting around doing homework. I think that it worked, because I have felt better than I ever have visiting Colorado, but it wasn't really enough to get any sort of results.

We started off with a 'neutral' rollout that was apparently clocked at ~36mph as super strong winds pushed us around inside the rolling police enclosure. There was a pretty big pile-up resulting from the field riding gutter to gutter and swarming around, where guys were moving out to occupy all possible pavement including right turn lanes, etc, then swinging back in as the pavement expired and they faced curbs, ditches, and what-have-you. Eventually some guys just collided and mayhem ensued. The whole Oregon team avoided that but it was a major annoyance at just 7 minutes into the race.

The entire field basically blew to bits on the first climb. We hit a little bugger of a rise into some weird wind patterns and went hard up the climbs and before you knew it, it was carnage all over. And I sucked. I started hyperventilating on the climb and freaked myself out a bit, calmed down, and realized that I was in a really bad position. Plus, the short efforts like that are my Achilles heel - I really, really suck. If it involved any portion of fast-twitch muscle, I just suck. Anyhow, over the top of the climb I put it into TT mode and started catching and dropping groups of guys, just riding right through them. A lead group was up the road a little ways and a relatively big chase group right behind them. I got so close. But with the winds, either tail or head, it was just a bridge too far.

Sitting just a few seconds down from the second group, a few miles after the major carnage, a third group rolled up and caught me. Then we watched group 2 start to roll away. I was pissed. I tried getting the paceline going but it was just not moving all that fast, even though you could tell some guys were pretty much dead. I rode away - without attacking - on all of the climbs and got 2/3 of the way back to group 2 until headwinds killed it again, and again, and again. I must have done that three times, the climbs were just too short and followed by winds at the top where a larger group would just roll away. A group of maybe 8 fell off of group 2 and motivated our guys enough to chase hard - until they got within 5-8s and started looking at each other. What?! They literally stopped chasing. So I took the opportunity to jump across - again, no attack, just accelerating from 6 riders back and making the junction. That group went another 5-6 minutes, the group behind finally got their act together and connected, and I went away on the very next climb. Just big-ringed it when everyone else put it in the 39, one guy from Midwestern States followed me and it was just us. A little while later we caught a Colorado State and the three of us went bye-bye. We were within 30s of group 2 for the longest time - closing on climbs, losing ground in tailwinds - and eventually couldn't see anyone behind us any more. So we tempo'ed it home.

The winds... insane. I was stopped on the last descent by emergency services who has just arrived (an ambulance was in the caravan) to pick up a Marian college rider who had gotten picked up by the winds and hit a rock when he got dropped back down. I rode the brakes down the descent to try and keep everything under control. Not exactly a good time.

Today, I'm skipping the crit, and resting up for the TTT tomorrow. With calmer winds forecast and a borrowed Zipp sub-9 and 1080 wheel combination, there will be some serious hammer throwing. At least, by Oregon standards.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Roubaix Mullet Winner - Legit

The perfect merge of American and Euro white trash, 90's cycling fashion, and modern styling.

That's what it takes to win. The bar has been set. Pictures by Boone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sweet, sweet sunshine

Tuesday after Western Washington was bad. I woke up to a serious cold, and crawled to school and back for day 2 of the term, which was spent staring at the lectures through watery eyes and praying not to get called on. Wednesday was worse - the full cotton head made sure I did nothing but sit in class and go home to sleep.

Thursday I felt much, much better. And I decided to try and spin a little bit. I met up with the Thursday nighter for somewhere less than three miles, even after taking a long head start. I was realizing that breathing hard was going to be an issue.

Friday: no ride. Sleep in. Drive up to Portland for the PSU omnium.

Saturday: 9 miles in to the road race around Hagg lake, pulled out. Lungs just hurt too bad. No going hard, no breathing deeply, all a mess. Done.

Sunday: Sit in at the crit around Swan Island, for 55minutes while the group stayed together. My lungs hurt the whole time. 600m to go I took off and stuck for 3rd (2man break up the road). I coughed for 20minutes and hacked up some serious hard gunk.

The whole next week was a disaster. I felt sicker than before even though the mucus was thinning and the exterior symptoms were getting better - the body-ache stuck around a few more days.

This weekend we hit up Central Washington - home of the worst winds in bike racing. And for the first time in two weeks, I actually rode my bike somewhat hard and somewhat long. But no pop, no zing, no legs. And one of the hardest, windiest, most brutal courses I have ridden - the kind of course where you can drill 400w into a headwind on a flat road and barely crack 15mph. Super suck.

The good news is that it looks like we locked up Nationals qualifying this weekend, eating the most points of the D 1 schools in the race, so I'll be buying a ticket to Colorado for early May - by which time hopefully I'll have figured some stuff out and gotten my S&%t back together enough to have some fun and do a respectable ride - mostly, feel good in the legs and good in the head.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

spring break

Oh, the joys of spring in Oregon.

The collegiate race season officially opened with the UO/OSU omnium which used the old state road race course in Elmira for the TT and RR sections. I got there super early after being picked up at 545am along with some other teammates who were being bundled off for various race-day assignments. That meant a 5am alarm and breakfast before packing up two bikes and a whole pile of gear to get out the door and sit behind a registration desk. By 9am all the racers were registered for the whole day, and so I sat around with some others until the A race, at noon. The 63mile race itself went off cleanly, until about two hours in when I stood up on a hill to respond to an acceleration and suddenly felt the super bad, all-over body ache that indicates an impending hunger-flat. I had forgotten to eat. Since breakfast at 5am, I had two nature valley bars at 9am. It was 2pm. I was toast. Stupid. I went back to the start and ate everything that I could find, to stave off a true, day-ending bonk.

I kept my legs up, more or less, until 6pm for the TTT. We ripped through the time trial but didn't do anything particularly spectacular. By 8pm I was home, doing laundry and making dinner. The next day I slept in.

This past weekend we went up to Bellingham and Seattle for the WWU/UW omnium series. And true to the Pac NW form, we got up Saturday morning to 37F and rain coming down on the vans. The road course looked something like Sublimity, but with a little less climbing, and a lot worse weather. And just for giggles, the TTT went off at 9am, so that we all had a good 22minute thrashing in the legs before starting the road race at noon. At least we didn't cool down - just jumped back in the vans and turned up the heat.

I started the road race with 7 layers on the torso: wool undershirt, sleeveless nylon shirt, two poly pro long sleeves, the top of my long sleeve skin-suit, long sleeve jersey, and rain jacket. Feet had two pairs of wool socks, and heavy neoprene booties. Gloves had thick waterproof outer gloves with glove liners. Wool hat. Knee-warmers under full leg warmers. I was not too warm.

Big Dave rolled off with the day's 3-man break a lap in to the 8 lap, 64 mile race. I spent the first 32miles sitting right up front, sitting on anything that moved to chase or to break away, with some help from the other two teammates we kept the bunch from getting a chase group off. After four laps, the field was down to about 15 guys, thanks to the constant short climbs and freezing rain. At this point, the break got up to 5 minutes, and the pack had that resigned look of men just trying to get through the ride unscathed. Starting lap 6, I took another headcount: 12. Our boys still looked OK, at least by relative standards.

I rolled up to Will, asked him how he was doing, then said "There's too many guys here. I count twelve, we want more like five". The finish was on a 600-800m downhill after a short climb, nothing that suited any of us, being all climbers, time trialists, and generally likely to get our butts handed to us in a sprint against most cat 5's. So we did it the hard way - we started to attack. One lap to go it was 6 of us: three now-tired Oregon riders, and three hangers on each grimly determined to sit on a wheel and do absolutely nothing until the end. I cannot blame them.

So, in the end, we all got dusted, but we got dusted by a much reduced field. And dropping guys every lap feels oh so good. 64 miles in 3:05 - not a fast race by any measure, yet the DNF's stacked up high. Normalized power of 290w vs. average of 220w and avg HR 159- I've done worse, but not in worse conditions. That kind of thing is exactly why I skipped the Banana Belts again this year.

The crit the next day was nothing spectacular. Seward Park was nice enough to provide clear skies by the time we took off for the 55 minute race. Again 3 guys rolled off but our game plan was pretty much to chill out, try to get the legs loose, and see what happened. I spent 20 minutes feeling really bad, 20 minutes feeling that I could at least sit wherever I wanted in the field, and 15 minutes jockeying around before the finish. With 6 to go I stretched my legs on the finish climb but couldn't quite break the elastic, and with 1 to go sat near the front and rode the wheels in, with no punch in the legs at all I cruised to 4th in the field. Avg HR 168 for the whole crit (TT's occur ~183).

The legs felt find on Monday, but I woke up Tuesday with what felt like the onset of a severe cold. Now, it is a definite sickness: watery eyes, sneezing, aches, runny nose, sleepy, the whole bit. We're calling it a recovery week until Saturday's road race around Hagg Lake with PSU. Major suck.

Monday, March 16, 2009

help, i'm not hipster enough for cowhorns so i sawed the bottom of my shitty bontragers am i cool now?

two brake levers, one brake. don't get complacent riding those hoods and go for the drops to outsprint a traffic light.

blame mellow johnny's via devo.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Night is alright for Fighting

Yes. It is here. Thursday. Night. Ride. My first race of the year.

I might have to bust out that skinsuit.

It's sunny, almost warm, I've been cooped up for weeks it seems, and haven't been able to race. I may be fat and completely stalled in my training but damn, this is going to be fun.

And now for some training ride inspiration:

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Crap weather. Research paper that won't die. You name it, I'm coming up with more excuses to not race this weekend. Again.

The opener for me may very well be the first collegiate road race of the year, which happens to be the UO road race on the old OBRA state course out in Veneta. In other words, perfect. To complement my nefarious collegiate racing plans, I committed myself utterly to the cause by not purchasing any bib shorts this year. Instead, I scored the racer's best freind: the long sleeve skinsuit. This is all that I plan on racing collegiates in. And it is hot. In fact, I am test-driving it today, to see how it sits, since it is never a good idea to make a race your first ride on a new piece of kit - you have to know how the pads feel first. But I am hopeful. I believe that with proper layering, and a couple of gels shoved up the shorts leg, this will truly be the breakaway artist's best freind.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


It's getting ugly out there. The south valley has gotten pounded by the rain gods this week and kept me ducking for cover going in and out of school. I hit up the roads a little but got sidelined by a combination of lingering illness and looming due dates for most of it. I got in some reasonable riding around the edges of it all.

On Wednesday the prospect of biking to school in the wet and sitting through a full day of classes with a sore throat and bad stomach was so disheartening that I simply stayed in bed and emailed all my professors that I wasn't coming. I sat on the computer for something like 10 hours with a quick grocery run to break it up - and it had to be my single most productive day so far this year. Not going to school has got to be the very best way to deal with school - it's relaxing, gets you ahead on the workload, and requires no commuting. I might have to try that again.

On the plus side, I got the last of my tubulars mounted up while the rest of Oregon got grit in their eyes at the Banana Belts. The form is coming around and I might actually get out and race some day - if ever the time allows. Almost as good as paying to ride in circles is the Thursday Nighter - which is actually the whole purpose of my year. T-11 until we see how big this year's can of whup-ass really is.

Can't wait.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


This just in:

UCI bans wheels deeper than 30mm.
UCI bans the use of clinchers in racing.
UCI bans interval training.

Well, no, not quite, but I bet that's next. Or some other crazy stuff - I swear the UCI wants everyone on round tube steel frames. Dictating regulations, they can put a manufacturer out of business with a stroke of a pen. Since they are a for profit institution, what would that suggest? Insanity. Those crotchety old kooks have got to get over their nostalgia and get with the century.

So if you race NRC races, or anything else that requires a USA Cycling license, have fun trying to dump worthless equipment on ebay and purchasing new stuff that fits the bill. I hear the great Trek bicycle corporation is actually unaero enough to be legal - funny.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

No Pie

No racey-racey. Too much workey-workey, not enough ridey-ridey and no need to spend money.

Three days off the bike this week (Monday, Thursday, Friday) had me feeling all sorts of crappy and crabby. I did 15 1/2hrs in the other 4 days, so I pretty much alternated between grumpy and tired. At least it kept the fitness from falling off a cliff, like it could have.

The main reason for the funky schedule was that my class took a field trip to Seattle immediately after two days of midterms, where we drove around to various appointments in 12 passenger vans and paraded our suits in front of some executives, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and whomever else would pay attention. We heard some interesting commentary from the collected wisdom of Seattle businesses, including:

1) if you think you are worth X, you should now consider yourself worth X/2.
2) venture capital is fun but don't even think about it.
3) if you want a job when you graduate, go into health care or start your own business.
4) if you want to still have a job 12 months later, go into health care.
5) you are really lucky not to be graduating right now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Campagnolo Detonated

Somewhere on Gap road, on Saturday, the upper pulley bolt on my Record rear derailleur backed out- boom. Game over, 30 miles from home.

I wish I had my camera. Although I didn't get a picture, I did have my cell phone, which I used to call everyone in my address book with a) a car and b) a possibility of being in-town at noon on a Saturday. Which was, well, almost no-one. I guess friends who ride bikes are pretty unreliable when it comes to sitting on your ass on a weekend, waiting for an SOS.

So I got through to Brooke, who was only on her ass because she messed her back up and could not really leave the couch. Thanks, Brooke!

And especially thanks to the kindly retired couple who picked me up on their way into Springfield and dropped me off right off I-5, while I got grease and dirt all over their back seat and placed desperate phone calls for 20 minutes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Campagnolo dissected

Do NOT try this at home. Unless, of course, your partner complains about the ergonomics of the SRAM shifters on her winter bike, and you open your mouth and say:

"Hey, well you've got some 9-speed campy you're not using, I heard SRAM and campy shifters were interchangeable, let me just switch the guts over to 10-speed and install those instead! I hear it's easy. Should be, like, two ratchets and a spring, cheap, I'll do it in my spare time."

Because, you see, she might let you. And then, you have to figure out what parts are the ones you need to buy, search the internet for instructions, download exploded diagrams, and explode a perfectly functional Chorus shifter all over your table.

And then, you get this:

And this is not fun.

But in case you were wondering, it works.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


My brain finally clicked off during finals week, and I stumbled to the end of the first quarter of B-school. Two days later I hopped a plane for Europe and spent some quality time doing a whole lot of very little and sleeping in. Four books in 16 days and eventually some short but regular rides brought me back to even keel by the time 2008 shut it's doors.

The Geneva area was hit by a warm spell just as western Oregon was hit by crippling snow. I left the day before Eugene took it on the snout.

Tucked up on the edge of the hills, there are two options this time of year: along the hills, or down into town. So, along the hills I rode. I ticked off the miles along the same roads most days, but, being completely new to them, boredom was forestalled for a while. Instead I picked my way back along the same roads, endlessly considering why, at an otherwise normal intersection, there always seemed to be several direction arrows pointing to towns and roads of significance and one reassuring sign that read "Toutes Directions" ('all directions').