Monday, October 27, 2008

suffering on the trainer?

So with a busted collar bone, i will be off the bike for a while. I am setting up my Serotta with a spare rear wheel and a hefty rear clincher and a big ol' steel skewer to hook up to my trainer in the family room downstairs. What an awful thought...months on the trainer. Earlier this week i was leaving work and i saw a CBRC kit whiz past on a local training road. I drove up alongside Schill, who was obviously doing some seriously hard intervals or something. He was all kitted out in tights, long sleeves cause it was freezing cold and spitting some precipitation. Even so, the sweat was dripping off his nose. I shouted some words of encouragement (actually i heckled him severely) and sped away. Here it was nearly dark, the weather was cold and wet, and i was wishing i could have been out there suffering and doing what Schill was doing. i can't help it, but i am still whining about my misfortune.

Beside this blog, the only person that hears about my whining is my wife. This past weekend we took a trip to Bennington Vt to see all the guys and gals racing at the Wicked Creepy. It was a great course, a fine event, and a beautiful day. On the way over, i described my encounter with Schill out on his training ride and how i really missed the suffering in true Cyclocross fashion. Connie thought for a minute and suggested i set up my trainer outdoors in the back yard. I could ride in the dark after work, she said. It will be cold and dark. She continued... "heck i'll even turn on the garden hose and spray water in your face, and if you want, i could throw some mud at you too and clang the cow-bell too." She was serious. I love my wife.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Oh how i look forward to Gloucester. Its such a cool venue, in Stage Fort Park right on the harbor. My wife and i make a weekend out of it, staying overnight at least two nights, getting to the Park early and staying late to watch all the days' races. This year we brought along our two new puppies, Hudson and Ruby. These two are such great travelers and they love to spend the day in the Park doing puppy things, like looking cute and drawing tons of attention from all the CX fans. Ruby also loves other dogs and tugs fiercely on her leash to get closer. Hudson does not like curly haired dogs. Neither do i, so we're good.

Anyway, i loaded up the one spouse, two dogs, three bikes (a road race planned for Monday, too) and the usual pile of bike stuff, clothing, tools, pump, trainer, etc. I got there early to get a good spot to set up the Club tent on Friday late afternoon and to scope out the course. Arriving at the venue, there was the usual flurry of activity going but the course was completely done and a bunch of people were riding. I drove to the little parking nook all the way at the end of the parking lot, just above the staging area, and with the best view of the harbour. Whoa, parked right in our primo spot was a massive Specialized trailer, fifth wheel truck, and several demo tents. Oh well, first come first served. I scoped out the area and there appeared to be room in front of this huge pro set-up. I approached the young man that was in front of the trailer and asked if i could set-up my puny team tent (empblazoned with a lame K-Mart logo or some equivalent), and he said sure, no problem. We became friendly neighbors by the end of the weekend.

Saturday, all the other execs and CBRC dudes had arrived and we had a great gathering under brilliant blue skies in our little grassy camping area. First up was the Cat 4 guys. James, aka the MonkeyMan, and Tim from RPI had great rides, finishing 21 and 26 respectively out of a 120+ guys. I think Tim's starting position was so far back that he was in a different zip code.

My race was at 10 AM and i did the usual pre-ride and warm-up. The course was very similar to previous years so it was very familiar to me. I got a 'call up' of sorts... i think former ECV president, Dan Tieger and Alan Atwood called me up to fill out the front row even though this was my first NECCS, or UCi race of the season. I lined up next to my buddy, Richard Sachs, but there really was not enough room for 10 across, so i slid back to the 2nd row. At the whistle, i got through the front line and got a great start, charging hard up the long, long uphill start. By the turn into the grass i was third. After a slight downhill left turn, I got passed by two guys, for reasons i still do not understand, but after a couple more turns, the course went back uphill slightly and i got both positions back. This was a good test going hard uphill and i felt good and had plenty of punch after the sprint off the line. The course turned again slightly downhill and then along the sea-wall.... flat and fast... and i got by another guy. again, no problem, feeling strong. At the end of this stretch is a stoney uphill section and i took a bad line and i think Eddie Hamel, "the animal" got by me. Everyone is new kits this year and i could not keep track of who was in front of me, except i did recognize National Champ David Rath just a few bike lengths ahead. Anyway, i think i'm in 3rd position and i haven't blown up as i have in previous years, so... so far so good, but man, my heart is pegged. I love this part of the sport. I'm pushing hard across the hard packed grass/gravel area just before the turn to approach the barrier, when BAM, i felt something hit me from behind and then i saw stars. I went down in a microsecond and went down hard. That was it, my race was over, and as it turned out, my collar bone was snapped and my season was over. It hurts on several fronts. So after a trip to Addison Gilbert Emergency Room (which was a race sponsor!) i returned to hang with the rest of the guys and watched some exciting racing both Saturday and Sunday. Walking around a CX race venue with approximately 1000 bike racers, with my arm in a sling, i must have spoke to 70 - 80 people who all had broken collar bone stories. Some more scary that others. Andy J-M's crash included a broken back, and punctured lung, and gnarly scar, and more, so my mishap was NBD. Josie showed me the unnatural bump from her healed collar bone break, and nearly every one i ran into would unzip their jersey and show off their clavical scar or misshappen bump! It was cool. Bottom line advice from nearly everyone was to take the pain killers and take the recovery slow... don't rush it. Sounds like good advice. I'll see if i can post the x-rays.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Off to Gloucester... the coolest race on the East Coast, the G-ster, the New England Worlds. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Schenectady Central Park Cyclocross Race

Well, i have not been doing a satisfactory job in keeping up this blog... i've been just swamped with stuff... Mostly busy with being the race director of the Schenectady Central Park Cyclocross Race.  Tons of details to take care of at the last minute.  One thing is for certain, though, i am fortunate to be part of the greatest CX community on the face of the earth.  Our club is so CX enthusiastic.  I simply direct a large group of volunteers, folks that step up to do whatever needs to be done and i am ever so grateful.

We had a great race, with a record turn out.  I even got to race.  I usually do not race, as there are just so many things to deal with on race day, especially in the AM when people are arriving, the registration desk is busy, the officials are scurrying, course tape is being finalized, hay bales positioned, and on and on and on.  Well, things were slightly more organized this year and i had a great registration crew (Thanks you guys!) so i suited up about 15 minutes before the start of my race and i raced.  I felt pretty good, my fitness is still lacking a bit, but i love the Schenectady course and i just had a blast!

After last year's race, i made a note to try to solicit some sponsors from loacl businesses in order to bump up our prize money for the Elite races.  In 2007, we had some real CX talent... like Jamie Driscoll, Team Fiordifrutta from Jericho, Vermont, the '06 National Collegiate Champion and '06 Crank Brothers Grand Prix Series Champ in U23. Like Josh Dillon (Fiordifrutta), 2007 Series Champ Alec Donahue, and Roger Asphlom from Westwood Velo. I thought that in '08, i really needed to up the $ to reflect the Elite racers that we were now attracting and we should try to build on our momentum and try to draw a bigger Elite field.  Well, i had good intentions, but i never was able to raise the $ for the Elite races, but i did get a lot of support from local bike shops and some $ from a local business that allowed me to provide some decent merchandise prizes.  In addition, my wife took it upon herself to put together some gift bags for all the Women racers that either medaled or placed in the money. These gift bags were very well received.  Turns out, the prize $ and merchandise was pretty decent and because my race was up against a UCi weekend race in nearby VT, that race drew most Elite racers to that venue to get them UCi points anyway.  All in all, i was OK with our tournout, the positive comments, and the cool zen of the day.  It was all good. Race # 2 in the 2008 Series is in the books.