Monday, April 30, 2007

A little something to tide you over...

when not racing...
Cyclists are just dorky enough that I could actually believe this happening. Maybe they are all on their way to have a machinist make custom titanium replacements for every bolt on their bikes.
Maybe they are in a hurry to get to a low speed wind tunnel.
Maybe there is a sale on gram scales... Maybe you can think of a funny cyclist quirk for the "comments" page.

The "Mystery Cyclist" picture in my previous post is better known for his road cycling career than his MTB roots. He is a successful racer on a Pro Tour level team.

I will get pictures and video together for a NORBA #2 race report ASAP...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anybody.... Bueller....?

Can anyone name this rider?
Just a little useless trivia on a thursday...
Today I am just riding around and stretching my legs. This has been a funky week because I felt a little cruddy after I got back from Sea Slaughter, and I abandoned the training I had planned.
Tomorrow morning I will caravan up the coast with Alex and the rest of the Boone family for the Firestone NORBA.
Although I hadn't planned to be resting so much between my last race and now it could work in my favor. My legs should either be fresh and bursting with energy or stale and leaden, LOL!
Anyway, I should learn something either way.
Got the new team kits this week and I have to say, they are pretty awesome! Now if I could just get that new bike... (it's being painted).
Hopefully my trusty Ziggurat HT will get me through Firestone, although I have to mention that it would be a perfect course for a 29er.
The Zig definitely sustained some damage from all the muddy, short-track chainsuck. It lost the chainstay guard and a couple layers of carbon... I will have the Fisher guys take a look and report back with pictures to let you know the future of my favorite bike. Ever.

PS: If you haven't guessed who the rider is and you want a hint you can ask me in the "comments" section.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Part 3: Sea Otter ...P.S.

john brings flowers.boyband
John poses for his boyband album cover. He brought you flowers...
Biting Brooke on the ride home...
Just kidding...
So round and beautiful... wish I could get my hands on a pair!
Lew Racing's Pro VT-1 Wheelset. -850 grams!! The carbon/boron/aluminum honeycomb braking surface can be used with any pads. Comes with ceramic bearings, and you can upgrade to ceramic races for an extra 1000 dollars and save... 10 grams!
Yikes! Check out Nick Martins blog for more...
Jeremy. Those wheels are SA-Weeeeeet!...
Alex tops the Expert podium!...
This guy was not a sore loser and even held Alex's hand on the podium. Style points to Alex for the shirt poking out of his jersey... can you read it?
john brings flowers.boyband
Still funny...
Double yikes! Thanks Nick. I think Heather and Willow are at the CharityMix booth... you can download your favorite athletes music and the proceeds go to charity...
And that was my Sea Otter.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Part 2: XC ...the details

continued: ...I put my head down and sprinted!
Several hundred yards down the track, just past the Start/Finish area I caught on to the back and sat in. There was a rider, I think his name was Shane, who was trying to get us to work together but I didn't have much in me at the time. He was strong though, and he pulled a lot on the racetrack.
By the time we got around the racetrack and back to the dirt I had been relieved to find that my new bottle was filled with FRS and had a moment to get recovered.
Local Semi-Pro Romolo Forcino and another rider jumped!
I wasn't THAT recovered.
At one point I passed Papo on the side of the trail, I wondered if I should go back and see what he needed but I knew he had air and tools, and even if he needed a tube, mine wouldn't fit his 29er wheel. I found out later that he had eaten something questionable at Denny's and gotted a little ill.
After sitting in for a while though I started feeling better, and just a minute before the singletrack another rider jumped.
He wasn't too far off the front when the singletrack came into sight and I was feeling better by then so I jumped too and was next in line going into the singletrack, with him just out of sight.
I am glad I went when I did because when I came back out onto the fireroad there wasn't anyone behind me.
I chased him for a long time. Every once in a while I would see him disappear around a corner just as I was coming around a corner myself.
I think it was during this time that I passed Romolo. I am guessing that he and the rider he had broken away with had worn each other out because when I passed them at the top of a hill (I sprinted the bottom and carried more speed over the top) neither one tried to follow and both looked tired.
I still hadn't caught the rider in front when I came into the first feed zone.
It was at this point that Subaru/Gary Fisher team manager Jon Rourke made a critical contribution to one of my best races ever.
As I came through the feed zone he cheered me on and handed me a bottle of flat Coke.
Once I had the calories of the Coke in me I started to get a second wind... then I looked down and saw the initials on the bottle: JHK
I got so pumped right then that I surged up to the rider I had been chasing!
When I pulled up, he said: "Where'd you come from?"
I told him I had been chasing him ever since he jumped off the front before the singletrack.
He noticed that I had some "snap" in my legs and asked if I wanted to work together against the wind. I said OK but privately thought we might be separated before we got to the open part of the course, where wind was more of an issue.
While we were in the singletrack he said I rode it like a local and asked where I was from. I was pretty stoked on that because he was one of the fastest guys I had seen, so coming from him it was a nice compliment.
He started to say where he was from, and I think it was somewhere relatively close to Altadena from his tone of voice, but that's where we sort of started to separate and I couldn't quite hear him.
I rode alone from that point on, passing as many people as I could. I made the most time on a rolling singletrack/fireroad section that had a lot of short, steep climbs. They were like long rollers that I could sprint the bottom of and grind out the top.
I rode out in the wind the last couple of miles, trying to pass the guy in 23rd place, who was a couple hundred yards ahead of me, and trying not to let the guy in 25th place catch me. Together the three of us passed a lot of riders. Those were the most exhausting miles of the race.
When I got onto the racetrack for the last time I looked back and saw that I had dropped the rider chasing me. I knew the finish was up ahead so I put my head down and sprinted the last hundred meters!
finish cropped
I vaguely remember Larry Longo saying something encouraging.
After I crossed the line someone cut off my timing chip and I was met by my mom, dad, cousin Mary, Brooke and Alex.
I told Alex about the race...
Mom had food and a Sierra Nevada IPA...
Alex and I got to talk with Cody Peterson, one of the nicest pros on the circuit...
Mom and Mary took pictures (my dad is standing behind in a yellow hat, doing something with a video camera)...
Photo op with Fred Drier of Velo News fame ("Fred's Eye View"), yet another cool person on the MTB circuit...
Heather had a strong finish, her time was a little faster than mine! (Okay, so I am drinking STILL, in another picture... but I am really thirsty, and it's still the same beer!!)
Alex, with Jason Siegle rolling in...
Super Sue Haywood coming across...
Barry Wicks...
Barry having fun with bikes...
Lyle and Alex having fun with bikes...
Lyle and Brooke having fun with bikes...
The scenery in Monterey was fantastic and made a beautiful backdrop for a week of racing...
This was tricky. There was no place to put my food (in hindsight I should've given it to the cameraman/woman) so I ended up taking in with me, being unwilling to set it down anywhere inside and, um.... multitasking.

More miscellaneous bits of the Otter tomorrow!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Part 1: XC... the details.

The beginning.
I am somewhere near the back of this group. You can see me go by in the video on my last post.
One of the riders (on the left?) kept clipping in both feet and hanging on to the barriers but eventually they got everyone in line and started us!
Me and Papo sort of hung together and laughed at the initial craziness.
One of the riders charged off the front (fluorescent yellow jacket, camelback) and started swerving back and forth like he was dueling for a sprint... 3 hours to go...
Eventually the pace picked up and I had to stop laughing.
Papo drifted ahead.
I rode "conservatively" for at least an hour while things settled down and opened up.
That doesn't mean I wasn't riding as hard as I possibly could, just that I wasn't fighting anyone to be first into that off camber gravel on hardpack corner, if you know what I mean!
After that first hour the race had opened up and it was uneventful. Riders were tired enough to be friendly and with a couple exceptions weren't making stupid passes.
I would pass when necessary and let others pass me even if I just passed them back a couple minutes later.
At one point a rider decided to squeeze by at the last second, heading into some singletrack. With no warning. And no room. While I was replacing my water bottle...
after I dropped my bottle, I conserved what I had left until the end of my lap where my feed was.
The sections of the course from the 1st feed zone to the second and from there to the racetrack where you started out onto the course again were wide open and WINDY!
Heading past the first feed, I was between two groups of ten or more riders, riding by myself in the wind.
I decided to try and catch the lead group, rather than drop back.
It took me a lonely 15+ minutes of dangling off the back before I caught up, during which time I had the pleasure of passing a rider who had earlier in the race made a bad pass and railroaded me off the trail.
I saw him get shelled from the group and caught him a minute later...
As I passed by on the other side of the wide open fire road he yelled "take it now!", like it was a limited passing opportunity on tight singletrack. Hmmm?
(Okay, I was a little annoyed, but he DID ride me off the trail without warning in a POINTLESS pass. We were 15 seconds from the end of the singletrack and the only space in front of me was about a wheel length and then another rider... and another... and another.)
Anyway, I caught onto the group at the second feed zone and hung onto the back trying to recover. In order to stay with them I had to come around several riders who were getting shelled off the back but eventually I had sort of caught my breath.
Right about then we got to a short singletrack piece that put us back on the racetrack...
My wife was there with a bottle but I didn't plan the feed well enough because at racepace the ground was rough enough to make it difficult to put my bottle in my cage.
I was falling off the back of the group at this point and decided that I had better make catching them my main priority, since I probably wouldn't be able to fight the wind to get back on.
I clenched my new bottle in my teeth until I got back on the track, where the group was starting to pull away!
I had just gotten my bottle secured as I was turning left onto the racetrack when a series of events unfolded that sent me into a mini panic attack. Here's what happened:
I didn't know that my mom was going to be there with another bottle. As I came onto the track she asked me if I wanted a bottle, and I realized that maybe I had a choice of water or sports drink. Hmmmm. Then I realized that maybe the bottle I had worked so hard to hang onto was full of calorie deficient WATER.
Then I realized that the group was getting way ahead of me and that there was a strong headwind coming up the track.
THEN.... I panicked.
I asked my mom "what is it?" (real intense-like)
I probably should have been calmer, panic being contagious, she replied, "ummmm...?"
"What is it!!!!!!!!!?"
"Ummmmmm..., FRS!"
"Too late!"
I had reached the point of no return with regards to the group and it was now or never if I was going to catch back on.
I put my head down and sprinted!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Not sure how many of us there were, but I passed enough riders to get 24th in the XC.
Not quite the top 20 spot I was shooting for but not bad considering the level of competition and the number of starters.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mud Otter?

Sea Otter was muddy again this year...
According to the Sea Otter website, the race was supposed to start at 11:40 a.m.
According to the printed schedule at Sea Otter it started at... 11:00.
As I parked and got changed it started to rain a little.
I started my warm up at 10:40, thinking I would have an hour warm up. After 5-10 min of warming up a friend came over and told me the race started at 11:00. He and I went to find out what the real starting time was.
As we approached the timing tent (10:53), we heard the sounds of mayhem. Right outside the tent were a couple of officials and a couple racers arguing over when they should start the race. At about 10:56 the official who seemed to be in charge decided that the race would start at 11:00. I ran to use the restroom!
As I was exiting the restroom I heard the announcer (the legendary Larry Longo) say over the PA that the Semi Pro mens ST race would start at (drumroll......) 11:45.
Right then the skies REALLY opened up and it started to pour rain, with the wind whipping it almost horizontally across the ground.
I took refuge at the Subaru-Gary Fisher team trailer, where Jon and Matt helped me set up a trainer like I was one of the "real" pros on the team. It wasn't the first or last time they would help me at Sea Otter this year.
I warmed up out of the rain for as long as possible and then headed over to the Starting line for the race... only to find that it had been pushed back until 12:15.
I went back to the Subaru/Fisher trailer to get out of the rain, and while I was there Jon talked to one of the race organizers and found out that the race had been moved to 2:45 p.m.

I went to go eat at the hospitality tent...


and had something they called a "Cappucino" to warm up. If you've never tried one before, you gotta do it. It's fantastic.


After my "Cappucino" it was back to the hotel room to warm up with a hot shower and dry clothes, and then STRAIGHT back to the race venue to start warming up (again).

After my warm up I pre-rode the incredibly muddy (although not as bad as last year) course, and went to the line with my now filthy bike. And my now filthy white shoes.

And the race actually started!


If you could look closely at my chain you would see something happening, in the very first seconds of the race, called "chain-suck", where the chain gets stuck between the chainrings and the frame.
After the first bad chain-suck my chain was bent, which led to... more chain suck!
Eventually, after I was far, far, behind the last rider in the group, it became clear that if I was in my middle or small rings I would DEFINITELY get chain-suck.
I blame the mud!


Oh, here I am big ringing it...


Hmm... big ringing it some more.


And here you can see Jason Lowetz trying in vain to clean my drivetrain, while I am... big ringing it.


I managed to (slowly) ride most of the course in my my big ring, only getting off and running up 2 of the steep sections that I couldn't ride up in that hard of a gear.
I (slowly) moved through the field until I was in 11th place, only to be pulled for no apparent reason, while in no danger of getting lapped ?!?!?!?!?!.

I didn't mind though, I was just happy to be done racing. Tired too.



JB's race went pretty much exactly the same way mine did...


only probably faster, and I don't think he had to get off his bike just because he was stuck in the big ring.

Tomorrow: XC!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Love is in the air....

Motivation for me to be faster:
GF Carbon HT 01
Proto Carbon Fisher 29er!!!!!! (Well, THIS one is not carbon, so I guess it's a proto of a proto?) Maybe, if I am a fast little boy I will get one next year.
GF Carbon HT 02
Read more about 'em at Velo News.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Daily Grind

Hill intervals today... BOOOORIIIIING. Tomorrow I pack for the Sea Beaver, make sure bikes are running smoothly and RIDE.
For your viewing pleasure:
This is one of the coolest pics I've taken. There was a super muddy, steep section last year at Mount Snow and Jeremiah got through it super fast and back on his bike cyclocross style smoothly. I just got lucky and caught him mid-air.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Food Life?

Although this blog usually has cycling as a central theme, it is starting to seem more and more like a tour of the food I eat...
On one of my recovery rides Jesse Scarantino and I stopped by the best gelato maker on the planet (not my opinion, scientific fact) for some gelato. If you are a gelato fan, or you like GOOD italian coffee and you live in the Altadena/Pasadena area, then A: you are lucky, and B: go to Bulgarini Gelato
Jesse and Leo on the patio... Although they just moved into a new location on the North-West corner of Lake and Altadena Dr they are already proving to be very cyclist friendly.
The "Official Grand Opening" will be on the 14th of this month, but the owner (Leo) was happy to serve me and Jesse and the patio was a nice place to relax after riding.
This will inevitably become a regular spot to start/end a ride. If I can muster up enough self-discipline to not eat the (best) gelato (in the world) then at least I can treat myself to a grade A espresso!

Breaking down barriers... normally roadies and BMXers do not co-exist, but here Jesse is re-inventing the Euro Roadie Rules by wearing a matching kit (Italian Team) and exhibiting extreme image and style while simultaneously riding a bike costing less than 4,000 USD
I followed the E.R.R. and ignored him, but after seeing this picture I have been forced to re-evaluate my decision... I believe his strict adherence to rule #2, and the extreme image and style reflected in this photo warrant me overlooking his flagrant violation of exceptable bicycles.

Once again, although I took exception to his "fred"-like black shorts and his cheap POS frame I was compelled to overlook them on account of the extreme style and image.
Jesse is a reasonable person and when I explained the rules to him he agreed to buy a more expensive, european frame. It should be here tomorrow.

In other news a ladybug landed on my wife's leg.
Calm down...

A few years ago a pet shop burned down and the parrots escaped. They have been living in Altadena and the surrounding area ever since and have grown in number. Here they are making an extremely loud racket in some (poor) persons front yard.
I am pretty sure they are complaining about the hack job that some butcher did to their tree.
I was offended just riding by, and if I had seen the person responsible he would've recieved a slap across the face with my team issue gloves (which are white)

Rainy day riding... met up at a local coffee shop for a long ride to Baldy. It was miserably cold and raining so we went to my place and watched Off Road to Athens (must see for any MTBer) and rode the rollers and trainer.

My week ended with an Easter MTB ride. We had about 20 people show up and if I can get some pics I will devote a post to just that ride, otherwise you should know that guest blogger Jason Lowetz is showing impressive form and skill. He did not give up on even the steepest of hills.