Jul 19, 2006

Oh the injustice. Breckenridge 100 is Hurly Burly

Click on the title to go the the full race report at the IF grassroots website.
It's extra long so I thought It would be best to write here about some of the other great things about the trip to CO. I got to stay with my friend Rob in Denver. He threatens to move East but I can't encourage that. There is just too much to do in CO.
Tim Dougherty and his significant other Katina grabbed Trish Stevenson at the airport then came and got me on Thursday. Trish is the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of girl. She calls me Thur. morning from the airport with no real idea how she is going to get to Breck. So I give her the low-down on the fact that Tim and katina should be in at any moment so just wait and we'll try to hook it up. She calls me about 2hrs later and has Tim next to her. They come and get me,and we head for a shop to look for supplies and Endurolytes. I feel weird asking for endurolytes at the shops we go to, as if it's some sort of rediculous question, because all the CO. riders are so superior and don't need things like that.
Oh well, can't think about those things, but I do take Tim to see Rodney Clarks custom frame shop, which like I said before puts any operating room to shame in terms cleanliness. We kick it, have some laughs and head out of town towards Breck. Katina drives like its a rental and ultimatly is disappointed that the rented mini-van is a chump on the climbs.
We get to Breck and hit a little bikeshop looking for more performance enhancing pills. Empty handed we decide to hit the coffee shop across the street and proceed to get jacked on iced coffee drinks. I'm not sure if it's the elevation or the second cup of coffee, but I start to get that punch drunk stumble. THe kind where it's fun to drag your feet and act like your about to fall over every ten feet. We close down the coffee shop then head out looking for Trish's sleeping quarters. She's staying with Karen Masson, Harvey Minton, and Ian The roaming Brit.
Tim, K and I head to their room and check in, into the jacuzi-tub. Not really but I regret not getting into it at least once. The elevation was doing weird things to me and I found myself trying to yawn every few breaths but never being rewarded with a satisfactory lung-full.
We all met at Rasta Pasta later and for a caribian experience, Italian style.
We slept, woke up Friday morning, ate and started to prep our gear. Tim's Lefty started bleeding at the boot so he started looking for a Cannondale dealer who would have the right tools. Yeah C-dale and their proprietary tools. Him and Katina took off for Vail.
I slowly got my stuff in order, waited for my dad to get to town, went and bought a race-face big ring for my XT cranks. All my shift pins had been worn off and shifting was a bear.
After grabbing a middle ring and cassette Lloyd had sent with Skippany, I had a pretty new drivetrain. Cool! I greeted my dad, then went for about an hour ride. I rode out of town and got on the Upper Flume trail, came down Mikes trail and finished on the Lower Flume. It was a lot of fun and a good indication of what the next day would be like.
After Cleanning up, I went to the racers banquet and meeting. Food was good, promoters disappointing. Read about it in the race report if your interested.
We got up at 4:30am Sat. morn and got ready for the suffer fest. It was chilly, so I wore my arm-warmers and vest,
and dropped my glasses at the start. Other than that it was a great, long day.
I got second to last years winner.
After finishing I sat around watched the promoters hand everyone a beer at the finish, watched riders struggle in, talked to a bunch of people and lay in the grass.
Awards were disappointing, due to the cheap and sexist promoters (read the report). But Trish and a few of us agreed to meet later and have some drinks. Brad Cole and his support Joel came by and took showers in our rooms since they were camping out. We went to eat some tacos and after they left I met the peloton at the ice-cream shop/ bar. After a little puppy dog eye begging we got the bartender to open the bar back up for one drink. John Cagliano was there and Tim Faia came by from off the mountain. After getting shooed out the door we went to Eric's underground bar, had another drink and watched some Tour action on tv.
Departing we said our goodbyes. The next morning My dad and I ate a big breakfast at Tim and Katina's room, then we headed towards Lake City CO to visit my old highschool friend Lydia, her husband Gabe and their 11month old Jaden. Tucked away in the mountains about an hour below Gunnison they have this little idealic town that is almost too good to be true, unless you like big city culture. The town of 350 has a coffee shop, organic grocery, and fine dinning. Where Lydia and I grew up, the town of 6,000 didn't know what cappacino was till 7-11 got a machine. They're kid Jaden was intense. He'll probably grow up doing first runs down the rivers of Mars.
Monday morning Gabe loaded Jaden up in the buggy and we went out to spin our legs for about an hour. We were bouncing along dirt roads and Jaden just slept through it all. LIke I said, kid is on it! My dad went for a hike while we did this, afterwards we met back up said goodbye to Lydia, and headed for Denver.
I slept the first hour of the drive, partially due to the fact that Lydia's dogs snore like my dad. It was incredible. So we made it to Denver around 5pm and went to eat dinner with a long lost cousin, Rene. That was our second meeting and it is so neat to see a stranger that looks like other people in my family. Hopefully she will be less of a stranger as the years roll on.
After dinner we went back to Rob's apartment, and pretty much went to sleep. I packed up early the next morn, and took off for the airport with my dad. We had similar flight times and got to eat breakfast together in the airport while watching tour action.
So after a 6hr delay in Chicago, I got back to Philly after midnight, took a $40 taxi home since the trains were stopped and slept till 10 the next morning.
Good race, bad promoters, good times, bad weather. Great trip.

Jul 18, 2006

Breckenridge 100 Goodbye

Just to let you know. I survived the hardest 100miler so far and got 2nd. A complete run down of the event will follow.
In the mean time, this is a picture of my highschool friend Lydia and her son Jaden, who we visited after the race.

Jul 10, 2006

Darkhorse gallop

Finished the Tour on Wednesday and decided to race this Sunday. A little experiment to see what the legs had. Drove to Newberg NY with my ride car pool sponsor Elk. Much thanks to Elk.
Danny Hock and Brian (tour finishers were there also). danny had the experience of a lifetime, and Brian too. They were ready for a good time.
The Gallop was Faast. Eddie and I were off the front and as courses go this one was almost all big-ring. Manging to hold my own I built a comfortable 2nd place lead by the 4th lap and took it easy to the finish to save my legs for next week. The Steel delux was showing signs of component fatigue and I promised it some fresh parts upon return home, before heading out to Breck, CO. Things are looking up!
Thanks to those who have answered the plea for help. It Is definatly helping and everything is coming together. Shout Outs too
Karen T.
Andrew N.
Chris N.
Hope your reading this and getting some vicarious pleasure.

Last day, Dowels. Tour Win for PA!

26sec is a mere blip and any ways why rely on that. We rode to the middle of Hankey mountain, and jetted off from there. With another 15-20min climb as the start Brian Fawley attacked at the start determined to get a stage win. Over the top we rolled with Brian about 30sec up then Sam, Keefer and me chasing. On the first downhill section I came around Keefer and rolled up on Sam at the top of the next roller. I came around him, and put six miles of the best off-camber single track decent behind me. I can't say that was the fastest I ever rode it due to the rain and need to not put myself out of contention, but it was as fun as always and at the bottom I had cinched the sack on the lead. another 2min or so on Keefer. Brian got his stage win by 31sec. That 21yr old Is going to be strong.
The rain and lightening put a premature end to the ride, since it was cold and we still had about 3hrs to go. we went back to the cars that were about a mile away and Brian put together a figure8 dirt crit. Due to being cold I stayed out but in the end wished I hadn't. It looked like so much fun.
Another year and another great experience. good people and good times, plus one of the best training weeks you can imagine. Realizong what your body can (or can't) do day after day gives a rider a lot more confidence in abilities and makes lining up at a short race seem like childs play!
Condolences to the Ohio crew who had to leave early due to the loss of a friend. Hello to a new friend Chad Irie and his girlfriend Sara who was Dana's intern the whole weekend. Those ladies made this whole thing happen.
The Man with the Mohawk is the tour Director, Michael Carpenter. Much goodness from that man who let us stay at his place the whole time. His Wife Kerri and daughter Lindsy were incredible to all of us Cupcakes and tourstinkers.
Thanks to Thomas, Tim, Chris and all the volunteers. If you want some of the best riding of your life go to Harrisonburg VA, stop by Shenandoah Bicycle Co. and if you want a guided tour talk to Chris Scott at mountaintouring.com.

54sec down to start, 26 up to finish. Stage 5

10miles Up Reddish. That was timed section #1. Keefer was looking to crush, and I was already down 54sec. A new group of young roadies were looking to make the pain stoopid! Oh well I hung on as long as I could and eventually lost 1.20min to the Keefer with Sam taking a 2ndplace. At the top Keefer talks about the ineveitable downhill drag race that was to be the second time section. This section rolls off the back of Redish then decends a rutted gravel/dirt forest road for about 6 miles. A section that can make or break your GC contention. I knew Keefer was going to go easy and avoid flats, so I decided to get out front, choose my lines carefully and let it hang out as much as possible. Nothing is quite as much fun as decending switchback gravel roads at 25-35mph on sissy roadbikes, dualwheel sliding the corners and questioning your sanity all the way down.
Ralph was the only one in front of me and when we hit the bottom we still had about 12miles of a slight gravel decent with a 3 mile paved section of rollers at the end. All excited about being first to the bottom and the potential of rolling one of the funnest gravel road sections together we took off, with me doing the first pull. Everything was okay till Ralph came around and got a little to excited. He sort of hit the gas and his rear wheel was bouncing all over the place. I backed off and waited, hoping the inevitable wouldn't happen. Then I saw his seat bag was open and everything was falling out. I reached for my tube for reassurance, and about that time he cased the back wheel. As I rode by I threw him my only tube and CO2 hoping karma would be on my side. Praying I could get off the gravel before a flat caught me I kept a 25-30mph pace and finally hit the pavement and knew I only had about 6 good rollers in front of me. At the tope of the second and longest one I looked at the bottom and saw 4 chasers working together.
in an effort to make myself vomit I Kept it in the big ring for the rest of the Pave' and rolled in just over a minute ahead of them and everyone else. More importantly I put almost 3min on Keefer and ended the day back in the yellow 26sec up.
Time for some Fireworks!

Day4 Delay.Sorry

OKay, the task ahead was to makeup a 7.5min deficit due to two flats yesterday. Keefer in his newly acquired yellow fever was going down. At least that was my hope. We parked by the river at the Woodstock parking lot, and headed out for prime Massenuten ridge riding. Fawley took the first sprint on the way up, and then we regrouped and started the time section. It began with a 15min gravel climb. Freshlegs Sam Koeber jumped at the start and the pack was willing to let him go, with Chinese Medicine Man Eric Williams pacing the peloton on his magic potion 96'er Giant Singlespeed. Towards the top I came around and caught Sam just as he was ducking into the singletrack. His freshness and 5" dualie definatly had an advantage over my hardtail. The crowd of rocks were large and ready to mosh. No real rythmn could be found but if you had some trails moves everything was fine.
I held on and came to the bottom about a minute behind Sam with Ralph hot on my tail. He finally had a day without a mechanical and rocked the rocks. Keefer down to about 4min. We regouped, looked at some funny graffiti, then moved on to the next section. With a power line shadow acting as the start, we took off. I got into the woods first and Sam again was hot on my tail. He bobbled on a log and then I bit the dust when I caught my bar on a tree. But up and ignoring the pain I managed to hold him off for a while longer. This proved to be the longest and most crushing of the mountain stages. Lots of crackers in the field by days in, but the last downhill was five miles of bliss. In the end I got back all but 54sec of the time I lost the day before.

Jul 3, 2006

Tour Day 3 disaster

two flats don't add up to tour contention. The Yellow jersey has exchanged hands, and the tug-a-war is on. Keefer attacked with leader down and set himself up with the yellow itch. But he might find out soon that the doctor can relieve him of it soon.
Todays scorcher was a 90degree, 96 miler. Pavement and gravel road. Most of the gravel was a 6 (or So) mile decent.

Jul 1, 2006

The days are getting hotter!! Day Two of le Tour

Out at 10am back at 6pm. 8hrs in the Shenandoah valley. SMT trail was blazing, not like the fires of Arizona, more like the luge of the winter olympics. So much fun and another 1st down the mountain. Keefer and I took the first time section in about 25 min. Rbun suffered a trashed derailleur, but was saved by Tin D's spare which he had packed, and he wasn't the only one packing spare derailleurs. Just shows what to expect on these rides.
15 miles of the SMTrail with a 5 mile single track decent at the finish. Stinging nettles and giant thorny bushes branded the riders.
tomarrow is 85miles on road bike. 2x1200' climbs, 8 miles of gravel road decents.