Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lovely Labor Day w'end, eh?

Made it over to OneGearDoug's for a little barbeeeeque this evening and to meet up with the MRC folk. Good times....most of the CX fanatics were in week is pretty much NE 'cross gets going (no disrespect to the good people at Cyclonauts and the Tobacco Road Series, but 'cross in August and in 95 degree heat seems odd...), so it was great to see who's getting ready. For my bit, I'm feeling better after this past week of some intensity. Rode fairly hard 5 days this past week and will continue to build the LT intervals. Cross is crazy hard - the kind of hard when by the end of the race you should be spent and cross-eyed. So hard that in 20 degree weather you're hot as hell in nothing but a skinsuit and beanie under your helmet. So hard that puking is more likely than not. I, like most other fans, enjoy the perversion of pain and pleasure all wrapped into 45 minutes of sliding around in the mud on a knobby-tired road bike. Bring it.

Cheers to the wife for the outstanding idea of bringing the kiddos over to Marlboro HS for fireworks. Huge hit.

Additional reasons why I like bikes....

Yesterday while out on a 90 minute easy ride, I stumbled upon this. One of the coolest things about a bike is exploration....yep, I yammer on upon training, racing, crashing, getting muddy, whatevah...but finding a new road, trail, etc, is the original hook to a bicycle. It's mechanized transport - a new way to explore with some wind in your face. The only issue as I see it (with the above referenced place) is that some d-bags in Stow (and I live there, BTW...) apparently don't want this running thru their respective back yards. I get the NIMBY thing when one is talking about an interstate or an office building. But a bike trail?? Gimme a break! Here's hoping that things get worked out, as the plan is to have this thing go through Stow, into Maynard and over to Concord.
The other reason that I love bikes is that today I discovered how absolutely invaluable those threaded washers that come with inner tubes are. Mind you, they're useless when it comes to the intended purpose, but I was installing a new hallway light and the strapping that you mount the light to (you know, the one that bolts to the face of the electrical box) wasn't fitting. Chalk it up to insufficient manufacturing tolerances....insert one of said washers underneath the strapping and voila: perfect fit!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Summer updates

Summer has just flown by! Amazing how when I was a kid summer seemed to last forever. I generally looked forward to heading back to school come this time. Nowadays it seems like summer is over in a flash. I suppose having every weekend booked with some damn thing doesn't necessarily help. Friday shows up, I try to shut it down for a couple of days, then find out we have somewhere to be and before I know it, it's Monday again and the hamster wheel picks up speed.

Here's a quick update on things....

1. The master bathroom project has pretty much reached completion. We are waiting for the glass door to be installed, but my involvement for the most part is over. I am happy that it's done...while I have plenty of experience around the house on various projects, bathrooms are complicated and somewhat intimidating. My good buddy Brad is a wiz kid at most things with an especially good skill for laying tile. Brad is always willing and able to help out as well. We would hook up at 7ish on weeknights and work til midnight. I took him to the Sox game to say thanks. I'll post some photos when the glass is installed.

2. With the bathroom done, I can finally finish up the baseboard and closet work in our bedroom. I've decided to build a couple of closet units for wife and me to better utilize the storage available for us. That project is pretty much all finish carpentry - no big deal, just a matter of time. Hopefully my sister can help with closet "door" coverage, because I don't sew and due to the odd-sized opening, we're thinking of creating some kind of modern/cool looking drapery type door.

3. Once that's done, I will finish up the boy's room. I need to install french-style doors on his closet, build a storage unit, and then get the baseboard done there as well.

4. Ahhhhhhhhh, the garden. As a landscape architecture major in college I have pride in how my yard looks and functions. It shouldn't just be a pretty thing to look at, it should be a system of outdoor rooms that you actually use for different activities. I built a really cool deck two years ago that we use often, and I need to create some garden room extensions off of it (first step will be a sitting area with a firepit....the kids LOVE to have fires outside), and the next step will be to create a walking path that connects the side yard to the back yard. I also have this rocky area that has a ridiculous little stone wall that serves no purpose. That needs to come down. Buuuuut my issue with the garden in general is that it's been neglected this year due to the bathroom project. It looks like sh*t to be honest and I'm embarrassed by it. Fall cleanup will be intense and I'll get things prepped for next year. Next spring will be a hard-core gardening thing.

5. Bike stuff - well, road season was interesting to say the least...there is a very specific difference between riding a lot and racing a lot. Riding a lot has no real speed can ride as hard or as easy as s/he would like. Racing is full gas, all the time.
This is me deep inside the pain cave without a light...
To quote Armstrong, sometimes I was the hammer, other times the nail. What is interesting though is that cyclocross season is here and is generally when I'm really amped to ride....but to be honest, my motivation is pretty low right now. Hopefully that will change soon enough....oh and by the way, gluing tubulars is zero fun.

Well that's about it for now....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Holy Hilltowns!

How's this for a course profile??
This is considered by many in the NE cycling community to be the hardest one-day race in the region....which is interesting when you consider that Battenkill, Quabbin, and Purgatory are all pretty damn hilly as well! The illustrious JLC had the line of the day when asked how this compared to Quabbin: "Quabbin is a crit compared to Hilltowns".
Really not sure how I did as the results outside the top 10 haven't been posted yet, but I'm hoping top half. I started to cramp pretty badly about a third of the way up the East Hawley Rd climb which is bad. I was within site of the leaders and going at a pretty solid tempo but had to slow way down or risk DNFing. There was one hell of a rainstorm with about 20 miles left that provided some welcome respite from the humidity. I really need to start forcing myself to eat more in the morning before I head out for these longer races. I seem to cramp up pretty easily it seems, especially on hot and humid days and I have to believe it's really hard efforts combined with not enough fuel. I'm just not hungry when I get up though; problem but I need to rectify it. I don't have the same snap and acceleration as a lot of my team mates on the super steep climbs but I can maintain a good tempo that doesn't blow me off the back. If I can keep the leaders in site and then catch back on I should be able to improve my results. Considering that I am stepping up next year, that will be critical.
Well, road season is almost done....3, maybe 4 races left and then it's on to the fun part of the season - 'CROSS baby! Time to start gluin' up those knobby tubulars!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gotta' stay positive...

Well, we're at mid-way point of the year and I can't say that I am terribly thrilled with how 2010 has been going. Career-wise, my new position hasn't been what I'd hoped so far. I'm behind on a number that was probably a dream shot for a first year rep as is, and I feel like I'm constantly behind. Every step forward = at least 3 steps backward. I'm learning something new everyday and that's a plus. The subject material is also very interesting as I didn't have much experience on the desktop prior to this one. Gotta' stay positive.
Home-wise, the family is terrific but I constantly feel like I'm missing things. I'm working a lot (but not getting anywhere) and because of that, it feels like life is speeding past me like I'm just a spectator. I can't believe how big my children are! I probably won't be able to go on vacation this summer with the family but am hopeful that I can send them someplace fun-beach camping, the Cape, or something like that. My bathroom project has also taken WAAAAAAAAY too part because of the thumb injury. My hope of getting that done before July 4th is out of the window....if I can get it done before the end of July I'll now be happy.
Bike-wise it's been a mixed bag. I have lingering layer of belly fat that I can't seem to strip off, but to be honest, my discipline in terms of diet is crap. I really should be hitting the gym 3 x's per week and completely stripping carbs out of my diet. With even a bit of structure in this area I'm sure that I could turn the 5 lbs of fat into lean muscle that would help me pounce on the climbs....buuuut, IPA tastes really good. I know, loser attitude.

Well, enough of that diatribe. Time to go back to confusing motion with action....something that I am extremely adept at!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day and B2B Report

Happy Father's Day everyone! I was given the wonderful opportunity to sleep in til 9 this morning - so nice! After yesterday's 90+ degree sufferfest aka the 10th Annual Harpoon B2B the extra couple hours was a blessing.

The ride was actually great and my legs feel pretty good today. I generally don't do well in extreme heat of any sort and with yesterday being pretty much the first pretty hot day of the year, I was concerned about cramping. I drank 12 water bottles, and the equivalent of two beer glasses of straight pickle juice....peed twice all day (which means I sweat the rest out....). I started to cramp a bit at the top of the long climb called "the Leviathan) but other than that I felt pretty good. It was great to see Larry, Kevin and Richey out there. Rich had to bail after about 100 miles due to extreme cramps. Kevin hasn't done much riding this year and smartly stuck to a slower and manageable pace. Larry is the consummate team guy and brought Kevin all the way in. I rode with Billy (per usual it seems) for the majority of the day. My climbing legs felt great and I pulled a big group of MRC'rs up the Willard State Park climb. On the Leviathan I was looking for another strong go, but Billy started to cramp up a bit so I worked with him and a better pace for us.

The only real suck section for me was after the 100 mile mark where I lost Billy and I was essentially solo TTing to try and catch him on windy roads. I hate riding in the wind. Thankfully, thankfully a couple of Team Psycho guys in full-on time trial rigs pulled up and offered a pull. In ten minutes of scootin' along at 26mph we reached him. I kindly thanked the boys for the train ride and sat up to catch a blow with Billy.

Not long after that, we hit a nice section of flat road with a bit of tail wind. I'm not sure where my second (or tenth?) wind came from, but all of a sudden I was ready to jam. We had picked up a group of about 10 or so folks and I hit the gas. Averaged about 25mph for about 10 miles, right up to the covered bridge that brings us into Windsor, VT where the ride ends. The last few miles Billy and I just spun in. I think we were out there for an hour later than last year (I haven't looked at actual ride time yet). Pretty sure we averaged about 19.5mph for the whole 150 which isn't too bad considering how damn hot is was!
Now it's time to get back to reality. The master bathroom project will catch a wave this week. I'm going to prime and paint today. I'm going to put up a second coat of paint tomorrow night and build the mortar bed for the shower, and hopefully get going on the tile install. I really would like to get this buttoned up before the Tour starts!