Friday, November 19, 2010

Saturday Morning Ride from FREDS

I have not posted a ride detail on the blog, so I figured now was a good time to start.

Saturday Morning, FREDS in Chesnee, if you need directions, take 85 toward Chesnee from which ever way will you are coming from. Take the hwy 221 exit and follow that road all the way in. Freds will be on your right. We meet there at 9, be ready to roll out by 930. The ride takes us thru some nice horse coutry up in Landrum and Tryon, we climb Hogback Mtn mid way thru and then head back in store stop on the way in and out. Good pace, we do not leave anyone, but the regrouping needs to be fast.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Big Stampede

Man, don't you hate showing up somewhere when you know you did not bring enough money??
That is how I felt today at the Big Stampede at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Big Bike Swap meet. Let face it, alot of this stuff was people trying to clean out the shed, you know who you are. Some things however were good deals on good stuff, and my hawkeyes were really on, I think I had a little spidey sense on some things.
First thing, Joey, Trey and I arrive. This was my first time, so I followed Joey's lead, which lead us right past the entrance door to the back parking lot and to the United Healthcare van and trailer. Knowing that UHC was going to be switching bikes for this year, I figured Joey would have a good chance of scoring a TT frame, but alas it was not too be, they were still really proud of the used ones they had, but while he was comtemplating the need for one of his two kidneys, I spied something of my own. In the bottom of one of the plastic bins was a container of Eurostyle Chamois butter..OOHHHH, Daddy likey this stuff, so I reach in and grab it, uncovering another new container. Oh man, two of these will easily get me close to end of summer. Price was too cheap to mention, so I scored both. Man, that felt good. I bought little man a T-shirt. Well, I actually grabbed it and thought it was one for me without actually looking at the shirt unfolded. You cannot go wrong with T-shirts, no matter whose cycling teams name is on it, you need T-shirts...Remember this when TwoUpSports puts out some merchandise, you need as many T-shirts as you can get.
Next off, we head into the actually meat and potatoes area of the deal. Warmer temp wise anyway in there. I swear if I had a van and about 10 g's, I would have came home with a butt load. There were mountainbikes, some team bikes, other little bits and pieces that I really would have liked. One thing I had my mind set on was the Defeet booth, Defeet is the S-H-I-_, and when it comes to socks during this time of year, the wool they have is great. I scored me six pair and a bag to put the stuff in. I wanted to get me a merino wool base layer, but socks was all they had on the menu. Talked to some people I had not seen since season, which was cool. I then made my way over to the Team Type 1 tent. Oh man, they have an SLR team edition, little scuff, but I have been meaning to check one of these out, but did not want to spring for a new one..Cheap a$$ I know. "Hey dude, how much...?" "10" Wait, there is a Flite team edition, same thing, little scuff, but other than that. " How about this one?" "That one is 15." "How about 20 for both?" "Okay"
Cool, I loved to haggle! Put those two in the bag, and made my way around. I was also on a mission for my boy Jae to see if I could find some good race clinchers for him. I found a guy who had a set of Ksyrium Heliums, but I guess someone told him that this was a show where you brought something, put it on display, but never intended to sell it. I offered, he declined, I walked off.
I found another saddle, and hooked Todd up as he walked in the door, since it was the exact saddle he rides and loves, but in a full carbon railed version. I kick myself now, since I could have turned that one into some quick profit, but hey, sometimes you have to help a brother out.
I saw various other things that I would have liked. There was a set of headlights, that I should have sprung for, even if they only made it thru the winter, the price was a steal. There was also a guy there with a steel single speed Bianchi mountainbike, that I really wanted. I don't have a mountainbike, and this one would have done me just fine on the trails around the house. I wished I could have waited on him to really start squirming not to have to take that one back home with him.
All in all, I felt like I did well, and I know that next season, I am going with more coin and make sure I get some other things I want.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Testing a new saddle

Before I go into how things felt and this and that, remember as always, saddles are like the rears they sit under, they all or different, and some can stink more than others.
Right, now that is out of the way, let's talk about a short stint I spent this past weekend on the Specialized Romin. Jae called in a favor to Sunshine Cycles out of Greenville, and worked out a test saddle from them for the weekend. Since Jae has the Toupe on a bike already, I was the guinea pig for this one. That is cool, we had the coffee ride scheduled, so I figured that was as good a time as any to see what this saddle had to offer, me first, you second...Selfish I know.
First impressions, is that I have seen this design before...SMP have had a center channel saddle in many shapes and forms for a while now, so the design is nothing new. What the Romin does have more of than the SMP is the change in widths for different sits! SMP is now addressing some of this in newer models. I chose the 143 model, based off some measurements on my last fitting. The saddle is made with an intentional kick up in the back, and a curvy profile. The nose is wider than most, but not so wide as to interfere, and it may be more optical illusion than anything, since the front part is fairly flattened. Set was pretty simple if you have the tools and a tape measure. What I first did though was see where it sat over the top of the saddle I had on the bike to see what it would take to get it basically in the same place. Then I measured and re-measured my saddle height, marked the old saddles position so that it could be re-installed post test without problems. I sat the saddle up centered on the seatpost, and with the front tilted lower than the rear, to give me the kick up in the back to push against.
Initial feelings were good, just sitting in the living room. I could definitely feel or rather not feel anything pushing on the soft bits. Check one.
I always have some anxiety about trying something new like a saddle, since it can ruin a good ride. I am happy to say that the ride went off without a hitch, and without any adjustment.
Could I have changed the tilt? Possibly, but things were going pretty good, so I gave it some time. One thing I can say, is I never felt the slight numbing effect of the standard saddles when down in the drops and pushing. I do not run a lot of bar drop, and this saddle allowed me to push back against the rear and get low by bending my elbows. I have read that this is what the saddle was intended for.
Of course, when you pull material away, the pressure is put into another area. In this case, it is the sit bone area. You feel it at the end of the ride. You feel like you have actually been sitting on them, which is the intent of having them in the first place and hence there generic, non medical name...Sit Bones.
Either way, I was a little tender after the ride, but the softer tissue areas were fine. The next day I got in another 1.5 on the saddle with no ill effects, but alas I had to take it back to Jae so he could try it.
I am not completely sold on one yet, but I am leaning that way. Speaking to another guy I know who is a Pro and mad Cyclo Cross racer, he told me that he did not know how much pressure is put on the perinium and soft tissue, until it is not there.
That pretty much sums it up. And for the weight weenies out there, the saddle is light as is, and they make a carbon version.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Morning Coffee ride

Woke up this morning, almost late, for the first Saturday coffee ride from Chesnee, SC to Forest City, NC. The ride is an old route that used to be a staple of the upstate for a while. I can remember doing it back before I raced, and before I drank coffee, but it died out. Well, Dennis resurected it this Saturday, and a small group of us got up early in the chilly morning air to ride to the stop.
I drove up to Jae's early, left the house at 6:30am. Looking at the temp the day before, I packed the shoe covers, arm warmers, and vest. I am glad I did, when we started it was 48 degrees. We left from Jae's picked up Scottie on the way, and rolled on over. Dennis and Rick were already there, Michael soon showed up, Joey shortly after. This was the crew. We rolled out thru Harris past the race track, cutting some back roads, all the while trying our best to warm up. It finally started picking up temp, and speed, and we were soon unzipping the vest. There were some good pulls, nothing crazy on the way in.
Forest City is a small town, not unlike many other small towns in our area, not much to talk about, yard sales were the name of the game this morning. We all sat to grab our favorite caffienated fare and a little jabbing at each other. We laughed and joked, talked about the lates cycling news, and how ESPN will televise the world Domino championship, but the only time cycling gets on TV is when someone is doping, and we had plenty of that news this week. My wife mentioned to me that she had saw a chart of doping in sport, and cycling was not even at the top, and that boxing was actually up there pretty high. Funny we never read about that, we always see who the next cycling dope(r) is, but rarely see the big sports stars, until they are completely finished with their careers and then, people still pack the stadiums.
On the way back, the weather was a lot nicer as we made our way back in. Nothing fancy. The ride ended up being a little over 60 miles, which is good for this time of year, when, unless you are racing cross, you are basically in chill mode, which is good.
Oh yeah, on the way in, the cycling fairies shined on me. Found $49 dollars on the side of the road!! It was a good day!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

End of Season Blues

You know how it is, one month you are riding high, feeling good, then you look down and see that the season is done. That sorta happened to me last week. There are races left, but I also took on the task of starting back to school this semester, and I am feeling the effects of English coming on quick. Paper after paper. Not that I have a problem writing or talking, and if all the assignments were bike related, check please on the 100!!. We all know though that is not how it goes, and the papers are sometimes on topics that lead me to believe that the proffesor is trying to stir the proverbial pot. I keep telling myself, "Just get thru it." but I tell you, I would rather do hill repeats at threshold.
So here I am on the last week in September, reflecting a bit, sulking a bit, and looking at the bike wondering if I want to ride or not. Reflecting is a good way to see where you were and find out where you want to be. One thing I found out about myself is that I was putting way too much pressure on myself in the past. This season, I stepped back from the team and raced for myself. This allowed me to look at the schedule, look at the budget and find out which races suited me, my style of racing and my budget. There were times when I may have scheduled a race, but financially something came up, and we could not go. What this taught me was that sometimes you just have to know when to say no, and go on about training and riding. I learned patience this year as well, being by myself made me think a lot about everything I did in races. It paid off early with a win in the Spring series, followed by another win in Columbia, sc. My biggest month was last month, and I had some of the best results I have posted to date since upgraded a couple of years back to race Pro 1-2.
Now looking into next season, I am back with the team, but the understanding that now I can better race with the guys knowing my strengths and also my weaknesses. Also knowing that I can only do what I can do, and no more.
Next season I hope that the Friday Night Fights will be back bigger and better, well at least better and more numerous, getting bigger is not always better in the american bicycle scene, and as long as we keep things affordable and fun, I think the future of the series is good.
Until next season....


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Part II

So, we get down to the area of the course, check into the Embassy Suites, right at the start line for the race, score! We are on the third floor, with a corner suite that has two beds, a fold out, fridge and two big TV's. Man we are set. We got all of our numbers the day before, thanks Ashley Trevisio for doing this for the people that signed up for both races, this was a bonus. While we sat there, we decided, this was a good time to get our frame numbers ready and our jersey numbers pinned on so that part would be finished and out of the way.
Chris had decided that it would be cool to go catch a movie, just to sit and chill out, get some laughs in and enjoy the rest of the day. With the bikes ready, we drove maybe 5 minutes to the movie theatre. We got sat down and watched "The Other Guys." Great movie and just what we needed to relax. I even got to throw my froglegs over the seat in front of me, since no one was in it.
Left there for supper which was right next door and then back to the hotel. We were in full chill mode by 8:30. Harkey and I were in one room watching TV while the others were watching the other TV. I told Chris that this was the first time that we were actually ready for the next day at a descent time, usually we are up until close to midnight, which makes for a hard early morning wake up. Not this time, and I think that was really key to success. We all sprang out of bed the next morning, and ate breakfast. The other guys caught up on football, I made some coffee, we had time to get ready and not rush.
The race started fast and furious, with a bad crash that got local man Cleve Blackwell, he is sore, and fortunately, nothing is broken.
A group got up the road, but Big George and Craig Lewis along with Frank Travesio and a rider from Fly "V" were on the front reeling it in. This was perfect, the work I had been doing up to this weekend had prepared me for a lined out fast paced run down. From there it was jump and follow, attack and move. Things happen fast. Four more guys get away and stick it to the end. Myself and John get in a group of about eight and split from the field. I take the last turn first and gun it, and I mean I gave it the gas! I went into full blown time trial mode, picking up speed. I hit the last hill of the day, standing to get every last gear inch I had. On the famous downhill, I continued to pedal as hard as I could, 53X11 to come across the line in 5th place, ahead of the small group. John got 11th, David pulled 30th and Nick on his first time, set his personal bar high with 33rd. A great day, with great friends and a great result. The only thing I could have asked better would have been to be four more place up the road!!

US 10K Classic

What can I say? This turned out to be the best result I have had to date in a large Pro field. I have raced this race four times now, the other three not so good times before, except for Chris getting third that year. I had always went fireball McFearson out of the gate and botch any attempt at a late move. Not this time. Something about this year has changed in me, patience has become more of a friend than before, and it has paid off.
The whole weekend started off really well. Stacie, Lindsey (Our niece) and I headed down to Anderson, SC for the Tour DeLaFrance criterium, from Swagger. This was going to be a big pro field as well, with $10,000 on the line, the start list grew all afternoon long. We got there early, since Jae Bowen was racing and I wanted to see how he would do. Jae and I are working with FasCatCoaching out of Colorado, and Rick Kattouf out of Greenville, FasCat takes care of the workouts, Rick is a guru with nutrition. Jae did well, he got away from the field for a while, but the field would not have it.
We started our race at 5:15, and it was warm, but not insane hot like it has been, so I was feeling good. Pre race nutrition was finished, and I was ready. The course was a four corner tight in some areas crit. The front stretch was fairly tight, since it rolled down mainstreet Anderson. I made a move, with Boyd and Joey Rosskopf, but that got nullified. So then I wanted to sit in and see how things panned out and make a late move. Things were going well, I was able to sit in, move up when I needed to and not use a lot of energy. With about eight laps to go, I take the line thru the first corner, and my chain goes crazy. I had hit one of the course monster manholes and it had bucked the bike, causing the chain to come off the front ring, and out of the rear derailler lower cage. I could not shift out of this one, I had to come to a complete stop to pull the chain back into the rear derailleur. I asked the official for a lap, but he said no dice, apparently this is not considered a mechanical, so my night was over. I was ticked, but I calmed down, and just took it for what it was.
I had met Chris, John, David and Nick to head down to Georgia, so I kissed my wife to make my way down.
We stayed with David's girlfriend's parents, which was nice. Quiet neighborhood, and her dad had a 427 Turbofire Vette, so I loved that. Next day we head out for an easy hour before driving on down to the hotel. What happens next has never happened before at this race....

Part II coming up next, stay tuned.