Friday, June 27, 2008

A Long Time Comming...

It's been a long road since I did this to myself in June 2006.

That photo was taken in July 2006, about 5 weeks after the crash. Here's how it happened; I was sprinting for the sign at the end of a Davidsonville Thursday hammer ride leading "Rocket" Rick Schize with about 100 meters to go when my bike suffered a catastrophic chain failure and the rear wheel locked up while in a full 30+ mph gallop. I landed on my knee. I was out of the saddle sprinting so there was no way to save it. Had I been seated, it would have never happened. Aside from the chain, my Indy Fab Crown Jewel took a beating too. The straight bladed Steelman OEM fork was a goner, as was my rear D/A-Open pro wheel. I ended up rebuilding the bike with all new stuff, so it looks great now and rides even better than before. The crash had me in the E-room at Annapolis Med Ctr. the rest of that night. I got stitches and pain killers and was told no riding for 2 weeks. That was very optimistic. It ended up being closer to 5 weeks. My season was shot. The heartache of it all? I was doing great in my quest to comeback to full strength after a 5 year layoff. I had quit just about the time I was a couple top tens short of an upgrade to Cat 3. So my goal was to get those races done and get my upgrade. I can tell you that for the last 2 years it's been nothing but a struggle to get to where I'm not getting schellacked by Cat 5 doods. My biggest struggle these last 2 years has been to get back to the form I had before the crash when I was able to do the Davidsonville ride from start to end without getting dropped.

It finally came together for me last night. I'm happy to report that I didn't get dropped. It wasn't the fastest night and all the A guys stayed home but for me it was still harder than any race I have done so far this year. We covered the 32 miles in about 1 hour and 25 minutes. That works out to a 22.5 mph average, including the warm up and cool down. I can tell you that when it was on, it was on, 'A' guys be dammed. I had to dig deep to not let myself suffer the humiliation of getting spit off yet again. There were a couple times where I almost lost it, like the hills at Harwood, S. Polling House, finally Pax River. But I managed to find something deep inside that let me HTFU and suffer the pain. The payoff was tremendous. I cant even begin to describe the feeling that came over me when I crossed the line at the sprint sign before Governor Bridge Rd. I can describe the pain! It was horrible. But it was the sweet horrible pain of success and not failure. Whoo Hooo!

It's kinda funny when I think about the reasons that I have been killing myself training. Last night I realized that since the crash It has'nt been about getting myself a Cat 3 upgrade. It's been about exorcising my demons on this hard as hell training ride. Demons that dig themselves ever deeper into my pysche every time I fail or give up. To be honest with myself, I've been beating myself to death for a lousy training ride. A lousy ride that to anyone else on the club that is routine, but for me it's been anything but.



Friday, June 20, 2008

I Have Found The Garden Of Eden in Columbia, MD

It's next to the new Trader Joe's in the Columbia Crossing Shopping Center.

I had read about it on Ratebeer. So I had to go and check it out since it's a five minute drive from my office.

Hands down this place beats Chevy Chase Wine and Spirts and Corridor Wine by a country mile. Astor's? Forget about it. Bay Ridge in Annapolis? Not even close.

Since gas is expensive, I'll have to wait until I'm up Elkton way again to hit up State Line. From what I've read, they are the closest to Perfect Pour for sheer volume of selection. Maybe even better. I may never make it there. Perfect Pour is just too close to me to even wanna bother. I don't even have to go to Village Liquors in Waugh Chapel any more with their modest but quality selections (a little less than Astor's or Bay Ridge).

There were so many choices, I had a hard time deciding what I wanted. I ended up getting a untried 750 ml bottle conditioned brew from Brasserie Dupont called Avril, a 6-pack of Leffe Blond and a 500ml of Saison Dupont Vallie Provision, my favorite beer in the whole world (right now). Apparently it's a favorite of many other people because they were fresh out of the big 750 ml bottles.

Once I got all this beer home, I salted up a bucket of ice water and threw a couple of those warm bottles in. After an hour the Leffe was as ready to pour and drink. I also bought a Leffe glass too. Leffe is good stuff and it's and not expensive as other Belgian brews. Its right up there with Duvel.

Go check this place out. You wont be disappointed.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weeks in Review: June 1-15

Howdy Ho!

Back in the saddle again. It's been a while since my last posting so I thought I would update. More for myself than anyone in particular. Just so I'd have a record of how the wheels fell off of my season before it really got started. As I have written before May was a lost month for me as far as training goes. June didn't really start off much better. But it doesn't really matter. I have changed my focus to weight loss and maintaining whatever fitness I currently have. I have suspended the Hunter Allen training plan for a while. For the next few weeks I'm going to work on doing a good TT in August. Lots of tempo, cruise intervals @ threshold etc and the lots and lots of endurance miles to work the weight off. Thanks to the high price of diesel I am commuting to work a couple days week by bicycle. Mostly on my wife's days off from the ice cream factory. Last week was a pretty interesting commute. I took a route that I normally avoid like the plaque and to my surprise I found it to be quite easy. In fact allot of old route that I used to dread I'm finding to be quite enjoyable. I can only guess that removing the stress of high intensity training coupled with continued weight loss are having a positive effect on me mentally and physically.

Two weeks ago I couldn't get out of my own way and I was sliding backwards on the Tues/Thur hammer rides. During my rest week, i took 3 straight days off the bicycle. The timing was perfect. Those three days were the hottest of the year so far. One one of those hot days, I worked as a race moto for Ride Sally Ride crit and baked my brains out. That was a long day. 6 am to 8 pm on the motorcycle. The day started out at 80 degrees and only got hotter. I heard over 100 degrees hot! It was still in the low 90's when I got home. I have to give props to the Whole Wheel Velo Club for keeping an ample supply of cold water and grub on hand. I went thru at least 15 bottles of water that day.

I'd like to think that all my bicycle fitness is what keeps me going on the moto race after race. It's what most motorcycle racers do for fitness training. I do need to find a solution for my bars as my wrists are taking the worst of it. By the end of the day I can barely squeeze the clutch lever without searing pain shooting thru my wrists. I wish I had not sold my Helibars. I may have to get another set if I continue with the Ducati next year. I will for sure change out the clutch slave to easy the pull at the lever.

I've been seriously considering a replacement or another mount just to do races. Something like a big Beemer R1200T or R1200TP. Maybe even a R1200GS. I'm not a fan of the K bikes or the small Rotax engined thumpers. If i get a BMW, its got to be a boxer. In spite of sore wrists I still feel pretty good when I get home from a long day on the moto. I've been wearing bib shorts under my armored overpants. They are perfect for the job. I haven't come close to having 'monkey butt.' A common ailment of long distance motorcycling. What ever choices I make I will always have a Duc, so if I get rid of the ST4s, I will replace it with something like a Monster S4R or a 1098 superbike.

Back to the training. Not much to report. I did an unsupported century a couple Sundays ago and had a blast. Otherwise it's been mostly easy riding and tempo efforts. I haven't been back to Greenbelt to race since my last post. I was going to last week, but they needed a ref, so I said OK. I will be there this week to race. I'm looking forward to it.

What I have done is a whole lot of moto ref gigs. Murad in the rain, Ride Sally Ride in the heat, Church Creek TT on a hot, but not as hot as Sally Ride day, Jason Gundel Crit on a perfect day. My favorite one so far has been the Jason Gundel crit in downtown Wilmington. It's not often a rider gets the chance to blast around real city streets riding curb to curb unencumbered by such things as obeying traffic signals, pedestrians, cars, speed limits, etc. I don't think I could have had as much fun if I had went to Summit Point or VIR for a track day. The fact that I get a check for doing this makes it all the more sweeter.

I am looking forward to the Reston GP. If the 8 turns at Wilmington are anything to go by, Reston should be a blast too. But before that I am working the Washington County Road Race in Smithsburg. I like working the road races too. My clutch hand doesn't take quite the beating it does at a crit. What I'm not really looking forward too is getting up at 4 am to make there by 7 am.

Somewhere in between all this work I'll be hitting the bicycle training and getting in my hours as needed to stay on top of my weight loss. I haven't stepped on a scale lately, but I'm sure I'm getting close to the magical 200 lbs mark. Once I cross that barrier it will be much easier to keep at it.

I have to end this on a somber note, as I wish to express my wish for a speedy recovery to fallen Masters 50+ racer Craig Clark of Evolution Cycling. Craig went down hard in the 50+ race at Jason Gundel and suffered very serious life threatening injuries as a result. Fortunately there were plenty of quick thinking and qualified persons on hand to care for Craig until the EMTs arrived on scene. I like to offer my best wishes to him and his family as they do their best get him on the road to recovery.