Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm not dead yet...

I'm felling better. I want to go for a walk.

Monday, June 1, 2009

You can dress him up (Clarendon Cup Edition)...

...but you still cant take him anywhere.

And I'm not talking about Stefan.

Look at that mess! Tie on backwards, button missing on blazer (it popped off just before I got there!), wires dangling everywhere.

You can tell I stayed at the hotel by myself. If my wife Dana had seen this, she would have killed me.

Lou Strader had to have this picture taken of me an Stefan. He said no one would ever believe that moto refs wear ties.

My family follows this blog, so here's some proof for them too.

Just an aside, I'm starting to look pretty good! I better keep on that bike.

The Air Force Classic.

Since no picture exists, lemme just say that it is possible to eat a Chipolte Burrito and pilot a motorcycle at the same time. I had to do this at the Air Force Classic since I didn't know where the food for the crew was and I had to get a hand up from Greg Hoffman at the feed zone. It was a good burrito.

Some other observations...

I think I got spoiled working as a Moto Marshall for the Air Force Classic. The speed of the caravan was incredible. Up to that point, I had thought our own P123 races moved at a pretty good clip. The Pro caravan is a thing of speed and beauty. It's just like it is on TV. I never bogged anywhere that I can remember. The whole ride was smooth and steady. Even when I was behind the breakaway that got caught with 2 laps to go.

I hope I get to do this again next year.

Oh wait...I get to do this next week in Philly. From behind the wheel of the Team Latitude/ABRT Elite Women's team car. with long time ABRT cornerstone and all round good guy Arch McKown as Director Sportif.

So I'll be in the caravan. Sweet!



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Diagnosing the Problem

In my last post I recanted how much I was disappointed at not doing well at RFK. A personal favorite course for me, and not just because of all the great memories I had of the 3 day all access VIP passes I enjoyed at the ALMS/Speed World Challenge event, The Cadillac Gran Prix of DC back in 2002...

...that the place was built for. It's not often in life a gearhead like myself gets close enough to touch a Le Mans winning race car...

...or hang out near the podium or in the garages...

...or stand 5 feet behind William Shatner with his VPL showing thru his Sparco race suit...

...during the Celebrity Race (His female driving partner wrecked the car on lap 1, effectively canceling celebrity race. He was pissed).

But I digress...

In the two races at RFK I noticed sharp drop offs in performance. Like one moment everything is A-OK and then boom! Nothing. I am chalking this up to a lack of short intervals training. Being fat at RFK is a non-issue. The real issue was not being able to repeatedly go with the accelerations and recover from them.

Monday I took off the bike completely, even though the PPTC Memorial Day Metric from Southern High School was on. I wanted to rest. Tuesday I was one of 3 to show for the D'ville ride. The weather was perfect for a mudder like me. So I had a good z123 ride. I felt great when I was done.

I spent all day Wednesday debating about doing Greenbelt or doing easy laps around BWI airport and taking pictures of airplanes.

I waited and waited for the announcement of the impending cancellation of Greenbelt, but at 3:45, it was ON and I said what the hell. That started another internal debate about doing the B race and suffer or do the C race (which im not really supposed to do) and maybe suffer a little. I made up my mind in the parking lot and signed for the B like the big boy eternal Cat 4 I am.

I lined up with my teammates, pretty nervous about how quick I was gonna be shot out the back. The race started and off we go down the hill. I had a good start and quickly let gravity carry my fat arse from the back to the front of the pack before the corner.

An there I sat for the next 5 laps. Never far from the top 10. At that point I was feeling pretty confident that I had nothing to worry about. Then on lap 6, it all fell apart. As we hit the little steep pitch by the parking lot entrance, it all went away. I went out the back faster than creamed corn thru a goose. It was like someone turned off a light switch in my legs. I decided to not panic and jump back in the next time they came around. Well they came, but it was neutral since the A race caught the B race and I was on the wrong side of the road to jump in. I had to jump on after both races went by and chase like a mofo down the hill to catch the back. Well that's not a good way to start a new set of laps. And 2 laps later, OTB again, only this time I decided to just keep going since there were only 7 left to go. I got caught one more time by the A's at the top of the hill and let them pull me all the way around to the bottom of the hill. I got up the hill and rode till the B's showed up again and got in another lap or two. With two to go I was on the back of the B race and when they surged up the hill, my legs said "no way buddy" and started cramping. I rode the last 2 alone.

I finished 2 laps down, but I was much happier at the end of the race than I was on Sunday at RFK. I don't know why. I guess I didn't expect much at Greenbelt and wasn't as let down by my lack of performance. I went home happy with a renewed sense of purpose and a new set of objectives to remedy the problem.

Every week, just keep going until I cant go. Maybe by early July, I'll have it in the bag.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Inspirational Photography II - The Evolution Of A Final Sprint - The RFK 3/4 Race Finaly

After I was OTB and out, I got a good spot for to take some photos. Something I havnt done at a bike race since I started officiating. As you can see, I'm a little rusty or I would have not backed off the zoom so hard mid way thru the sequence.

In this sequence Stephen Wahl, D.J. Brew and Jose Nunez duke it out for top honors. You can see Stephen leading it out ahead of DJ. Jose is hidden behind DJ until he pops out to the left. Stephen had the lead right up to about 10 meters to go, but DJ just barley nipped him at the line. Jose Nunez held on for 3rd.

Note how far back Stephen and Jose were before hitting the final bend.

Great job fellas.



Inspirational Photography - RFK Crit 2009

(photo-Amy Jones)

This one goes on the refrigerator door. I'm hoping it will inspire me to leave it shut and walk away.

I could spend an entire day whining about why I am the suck right now, but it's all there in one picture and whining would be a waste of time, serving no purpose. Look at that fat bastard! If it weren't me in the photo, I'd think this pour schmuck is ready to keel over and give birth to that baby he's carrying. Normally I have no problem making fun of myself, but it's starting to not be funny anymore.

My wife, being the voice of reason and brutal honesty she usually is, is probably right about one thing. I should either stop half-assing my commitment to dieting and training, or give it up racing altogether and just ride with the tourist. I really love this sport, so I think it's time to really put the other half of my ass into it.

The day wasn't a total wash. I turned 46 over the weekend and got to spend the day with my dad who was really great about hanging out all day. In spite of my ego bruising not once, but twice, I had a really fun day.

Thanks Dad!

(photo-Lance Lacy or Paul Bayer, using my camera. Those are Lance's wheels, so ask him about them. LOL!)

My next mass start race will probably be the Bowie Crit, since it's so close to home and 8 weeks away. Plenty of time to get some quality training in. In the meantime, the Greenbelt B race is gonna be for me. If I start now, maytbe buy the last one in August, I may make it thru an entire race without going OTB.

In a more positive note, watch out for the Ducati ST4s screaming around Crystal City in all it's dry clutch and carbon fiber exhaust glory during the Air Force Classic on Sunday. While my racing is going backwards, my officiating career is moving well forward. I got my B moto upgrade last week, so in the words of Navin Johnson...

"Things will start happening to me now!"



Sunday, May 3, 2009

How to look Pro...

...without the years of sacrifice and monk like devotion.

(photo: Dad)

In the interest of full disclosure the pro look didn't help me one iota from getting dropped half-way up the first of the 3 stair step hills a mile and a half before the start/finish in the Turkey Hill Classic 4/5 race.

Because I was looking all pro, I stayed in until I got thrown out. As fate would have it I had photo featured teammate, team co sponsor and all round good guy Brad Phumphrey for company with a few of his Cat 5 racers for a couple of laps after they got dropped in their race. Brad finished much higher in his race than I did in mine. His group was 2nd group in the cat 5 race and there were only about 10-12 finishers in the main Cat 5 group. Me, I probably finished 70 out of 75.

I'm not going to whine here, because it's totally my fault I'm as big as a whale. All I want to say is I love this race and cant wait to have another go at it in 2010.



Thursday, April 30, 2009

"GamJams Reviews: Shoes - Carnac Lemond

I bought the black Lemonds in 1996 from Mt. Airy Bicycles. I am still wearing them on a regular basis. They are with out a doubt the most comfortable cycling shoes ever made. They might also be the ugliest too. The words "clown shoes" has been mentioned more than once over the years.

The newer Ellipse model there next to the Lemonds are pretty comfy too, but I like the old school laces under straps.

I wish I could find a new in the box pair of Lemonds (or Legends as they were called after Carnac dropped Greg as a spokesman). I live a tragic life in that I cannot find a shoe that fits the way I like otherwise, I wouldn't be wearing 13 year old shoes.

I wear a size 43. ;-)



Thursday, April 9, 2009

Still hanging in there...

It's been awhile, but I'm still around. I'll get back to some regular posting soon. FWIW i've been riding as much as I can and have lost about 8 of those 12 lbs i picked up after Christmas.

And for chrissake everybody, keep the rubber side down.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fatguy Roller Pic of the Week - 3/13/2009

Howdy Ho Everybody!

Believe it or not, I didn't disappear into a vast pile of work, never to return. Although in spite of the way things are going with the economy, I'm happy to say so far I've been keeping very busy. I have managed some good rides in the past few weeks and I have been managing to keep a hold of some of my base fitness even though I'm not where i should be with my weight. The sad (and embarrassing)fact of the matter is that I am only about 8 lbs lighter than I was on November 1st when I started this feature. Whoever said that being in business for yourself will give you all the free time in the world to ride was wrong. I work more now than I ever did before. I'm not complaining, but It's a little disheartening to see the best laid plans got to waste for the greater good. These days racing and training ain't everything. Work has to come first no matter what. That's just the way it is. Like Jim Koch of Sam Adams fame says, "Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life." Well, that is very true. I love what I'm doing. I'm the best there is in the field and as long as I keep my head on straight I will be very sucessful with this venture.

There is a silver lining on the cycling side. Things have been easing up a bit lately and I hope to put in more time on the bike and less time with a fork in one hand and a beer in the other.

In other news, my team CADD9 came in 2 weeks ago. The parts I needed arrived 2 days ago and next week I should have the time to get it cobble together and get it tuned up in time for Walkersville. I can't wait. It's one of my favorite races. I had targeted it as my "A" race of the spring, but with me scrambling to drop 10 more pounds before the event, I don't hold out hope of a good result. Well see...

In unrelated news, my Ducati is running like a scalded dog. I guess those expensive spark plugs did the trick. Now I need to get belts and shims done before Jefferson Cup. Christ, this stuff never ends.



About the face - Ben Spies passed Noriyugi Haga in race 2. That's all I'm gonna say.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The price of stupidity: $31.50 and a slight loss of self respect

That's $31.50 for each plug. My ST4s takes two. I have no idea why I didn't walk out of the dealership laughing my ass off.

Somebody pass me the Prep-H.

Live and learn.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Chamois Cream - Vagisil

I need to state for the record that I have never in my entire 46 years used chamois cream. And I started riding when shorts were wool and chamois was real. I can also state for the record I have never had a full blown saddle boil either. I have had the occasional chafe and rash. And by occasional, I mean maybe twice a year. The chafe and rash have never been severe enough to warrant the use of chamois cream on a regular basis. That's were Vagisil comes in. If i happen to have a little irritation down in the man parts region, Vagisil cures what ails me and in less then 24 hrs, it's like it never happened.

I guess I'm just lucky that way. I can tell you all that during race season, on race day, I've got cycling shorts on for 12+ hours. (Yeah i know, yuck!) I wear them under my protective overpants when I ride the moto. I've found nothing that will stack up to a pair of cycling shorts for an all day ride. I cant say I've never had Monkey Butt after a 400 mile day, but chamois cream wont help that anyway. There's a powder for that!

I don't use that either.



(In case you're wondering, I am man enough to buy my own damn tube of Vagisil. I dont make my wife get it for me)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fatguy Roller Pic of the Week - 02/13/2009

Howdy Ho Everybody!

I'm back.

Well, I'm late with the post and truthfully I shot this on Monday the 16th and not Friday the 13th.

I may not look it, but I am in fact in the best shape I have ever been in for a February since 1999. Maybe better, I don't know. In 1999 there was no C race at Tradezone, but the B race then was a 4/5 race like the C race is now and I think the riders were tad slower then too.

I can see that I'm gaining lot of tone everywhere but in the middle. My legs are really shrinking! The middle is getting more obvious as I shrink overall. First on, last off is the cruel rule of weight loss. I think I'll still have a gut even when I reach my goal weight of 175 pounds.

I rode the C race at Tradezone on Sunday the 15th and I had a great time. I didn't do squat but ride the bike and sit in the wheels and stay out of the wind. So basically it was a 17 dollar group ride with 45 strangers and other teammates. Going into it I wasn't sure what to expect as far as pace and how I would handle it. I havn't raced there since the 2006 Turkey Day Cat 4 race and I got dropped 1/2 way thru it. I was in bad shape mentally that summer, so I didnt expect much. The last full race finish I had there was 2005 Turkey Day Cat 4 race. That was the year I lost 60 lbs. The first time.

Back to yesterday. After about 5 laps, I had no doubt I would finish all 16 with the group. I never felt like I was gonna be dropped. There was a time or two where I felt like stopping, my legs were like two bags of cement, but I never thought I was gonna be spit out. On the last lap I was just so glad to not have gotten dropped that I felt like my work was done and sat up. Thanks to wooden legs, I had nothing to contest the sprint with and well, it's a training race. I seem to have bad luck sprinting for inconsequential shit, like training races and group rides. I'll save it for when my season really starts in April. If I'm gonna go out in a blaze in a sprint crash, by gum, it'll be someplace cool like Wilmington or Reston. Not fracking Tradezone. Well not Reston either. I just remembered I'm gonna be a moto ref at that race again.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fatguy Roller Pic of the Weeks 1/30/09 & 2/6/09

Howdy Ho Everybody.

No pictures again for 2 more Fridays.

On the plus side, my business is moving along very steadily and it's very hard work. I remember reading in Bryan Vaughn's blog a year or so ago how he ended up getting very large while building his business. I completely understand. I work harder for myself than I ever did for someone else.

I'm not gonna say I am putting this feature on hiatus, I just need a few moments to workout time management issues so I don't burn myself out and get back up to 260lbs. right now I've probably picked back up to 205, but I haven't lost too much of the base I worked hard on in Nov and Dec. I'm probably about 3 weeks behind the 8-ball.



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fatguy Roller Pic of the Week - 1/23/09

Howdy Ho sports fans!

You may have noticed that there is no Roller Pic. That's is due to the fact that I've been off the bike for 7 days straight and don't have one to put up.

I'm back on the bike today and will be back with a new entry for January 30th.

So why have I not been riding the past week?

Well I'm glad you asked.

I've been growing my new business, JEK Design & Drafting Services.

I'll talk about it more later...right now things are going good so far, I dont want to jinx it.



Update - Back on the bike. I think i picked up a pound or so. But the ride didnt seem any hard then usual. I did 2 x 20's while watching Sukiyaki Western Django. Cool movie.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fatguy Racer Roller Pic of the Week - 1/16/09

Howdy Ho Everybody!

Another week goes by and I shrink another pound or so. White is not very flattering. I don't care. This feature goes on warts and all.

I'm not sure what the look is about. It might have something to do with what I was watching on TV. I finally got around to putting in a Netflix DVD i've had for 2 weeks now, Atonement. What a dire movie that was. I need to make a note to watch something alittle more upbeat, like Leaving Las Vegas, next time.

Well, until next time...



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Hydration - Gatorade

Howdy Ho Everybody!

This weeks review topic is indeed one that I have plenty of experience with. Over the last 15 years of cycling I have tried many hydration products. Some were good, some were bad and some were just plain WTF? I'm calling you out XLR8 or whatever that urine colored liquid concentrate was called, with the funky bottle and measuring cap. What I have discovered in those 15 years of trying everything under the sun is that it's all a bunch of marketing bullshit.

I am of the old school mold in all things cycling. I'm not a Luddite by any means, I embrace technology as much as the next guy, but I will only invest in new tech only If I believe it will have a payoff in performance for me. Cycling tech is not cheap, and like a seasoned investor I want a return on my investment. When it comes to gimmicky crap cycling has not been immune to the hucksters and their snake oils with promises of increased VO2, lactic buffering, etc, etc, ad nauseum. I was not immune to the sirens calls of those snake oil salesman and their promises of better, faster, stronger.

I bought into the hype on some of these products and gave them an honest run. I can report that the only thing they did for me is to part me with my money. They worked no better than Gatorade. Some of those products have actually hindered my performance. Cytomax, for instance, always made me sick to my stomach because it sat very heavy down there after ingesting it. My number one criteria for a hydration product is that it should not make me want to belch. Especially when I'm on the rivet. The problem with most products is they have too much sugar or sweetner. Powerade comes to mind here. If you can think of a worse product than Powerade, I'd like to know about it.

Having tried and rejected almost everything that has come to market in the last 15 years I have come to accept the ubiquitous Gatorade as my hydration drink of choice. I like it for many reasons. The first and main reason is that it just plain works. I have never been on a ride where I have bonked or hit the wall when I've had access to Gatorade. I have come close to dying on a ride from running out of fluids and like an oasis in the desert even the most run down backwoods country store has Gatorade. It's no small coincidence either. Gatorade has been around almost as long as I have. I remember buying it as a kid at the local 7-11. Back then it came in quart size glass jars with big mouth lids and metal caps. Which brings me to my 2nd main reason I like Gatorade. I can buy it anywhere. Have you ever been to a convenience store that didn't sell Gatorade? Me neither. It's as omnipresent as Coco-Cola. It's a great product that works and their marketing is 2nd to none in the performance drink market. And since I've been drinking the stuff since childbirth my body is used to it and doesn't reject it even under extreme duress. Even in the high heat of summer when the stuff in the bottle is hotter than jacuzzi water, I can put it down without drama. My body knows what it wants and it wants Gatorade.

Which brings me to my third reason for favoring Gatorade. It's cheap. Even though the marketing is huge for Gatorade, they have an advantage over all the others and it's price. I buy the huge can of powder at Sam's Club and I get more the twice the amount of drink than I would get with the other products. With the powder I can also mix it to any strength I like. I prefer to mix my own batches on the heavy side. That way when I'm out on the road for a long time, I can top up with water and still have a bit of electrolyte in the bottle. Speaking of water, that is my number 2 preferred hydration drink. In fact if I am only going for a short ride of of an hour of so, I only take one bottle of water. On any other ride one bottle of water, one bottle of Gatorade.

I will admit that right now I am out of Gatorade and am using a big bottle of Heed powder that I scored as some feebee swhag. It has the weirdest taste, mine is Strawberry, but it is almost as light as water. Remarkably Heed comes closest to delivering on what it promises for a hydration product. I've been using Hammer gel for a couple of years now with good results, so maybe I might actually spend my own money on another bottle of Heed when the one I got is gone. Than again, maybe not. Sometimes that weird taste just gets to me.

One thing is for certain. Like death and taxes, there will always be Gatorade. It's always there, somewhere, anywhere, when you need it most.



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Recipe Corner with the Fatguy: DIY Pizza

Howdy Ho Boys and Girls!

I didn't get to be a plus size individual without knowing a thing or two about cooking. Just because I'm dieting down to a normal bike racer size doesn't mean I'm willing to give up food. I have just changed my habits to accommodate my choices. One of my favorite is pizza. And not just any pizza, but pizza you can make at home far cheaper and better than what you can get delivered to your house or purchase in the frozen foods section. The best part is that it takes the same time to make one as it does to wait for one to be delivered. So why bother with DiGiorno or Dominos. Make it yourself. Here's how I do a pepperoni & Canadian bacon pie...

First I start with the oven. I set that bad boy to 425 degrees, just like it says on the dough package. I use ready made pizza dough from Trader Joe's. This one is a plain dough. They have whole wheat and herb doughs too. My wife like the herb doughs which I use to make her favorite. A 'white' pizza with fresh Roma tomatoes, whole basil leaves and Asiago cheese. That's the beauty of these things, I can do what ever my imagination inspires me to do. To get the dough ready I set it out and let it get to room temperature. While the dough is getting up to temperature, I gather the rest of the ingredients. Here I have a can of Hunts tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil, Italian seasoning, granulated garlic, thinly sliced Roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Canadian bacon and the aforementioned dough. Also in the picture is my favored cooking utensil for pizza, a well seasoned Pampered Chef pizza stone.

The next thing I do is to take a sheet of wax paper, set it on a flat surface and place a heaping scoop of flour in the middle of it. This is where I prep the dough. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of that. So here's what to do. I place the fresh dough ball in the middle of the flour and scoop some more flour on top of it. I lightly spread the flour on the dough ball all over so it's not sticky to the touch. Then I work the dough into a 12-15" flat round pie. I even get fancy and toss that sucker in the air too. I learned how to do that 20 years ago working at a pizza place.

I like to get the pie bigger than the pizza stone so I can make a shoulder around the edge. That's the crust. Once done tossing, I place it on the pre-oiled pizza stone. I prefer olive oil. If you don't want to use oil, spread some corn meal on the stone. My wife says that works, but I have better luck with the oil.

Next comes the sauce. I pour it evenly on the pie and then pick up the whole stone and wave it around to let gravity evenly distribute the sauce so that I get a nice even coverage. Don't worry, the dough will not slide off the stone. Another reason I prefer oil. Also, I am not shy with the sauce. The gravity method works better than using your fingers (gross) or the bottom of a spoon. Then I sprinkle the garlic and Italian seasoning on the sauce. Sometime, when I am not in a hurry, I will figure out an uncooked recipe for sauce, In the meantime speed and ease are king. Trust me, it will not taste bland.

Now comes the tomatoes. I place them all over in a single layer right on top of the sauce. It's hard to beat the taste of fresh tomatoes on a pizza. Dominos doesn't do that! Bastages!

Here's the good part. The cheese. This is where home made trumps all. I can put as much of that good stuff on there as I want. There is no skimping at Casa Fatguy. Cheese is a personal choice. I prefer whole milk mozzarella. I grabbed this part skim stuff by mistake. I wont be doing that again. You can use what ever you like. My wife likes Asiago. I do too, but I like to sprinkle it on top of the mozzarella. It gives the cheese a nice aroma and bite to it.

Now the pepperoni. This brand is actually very low on greasy scale and it's thin. The thick stuff is good too. Traders Joe's has a nice Pancetta that I like to top my pies with, but I didn't have any.

Next up is the Canadian bacon. I like to slice it in half. The cheese and pepperoni underneath cooks better if its not covered up with whole slices of bacon. Trial and error learned me that.

Last but not least, extra cheese! I loves the cheese. There is nothing in the world that cannot be improved on with addition of cheese. I also sprinkle on more Italian seasoning and garlic. Time to put it in the oven...

I set the timer for 20 min and check on it from time to time. This pie took about 23 min and I turned it 180 degrees one time to get the cheese to evenly cook. Timing is key to get the cheese melted without burning the heck out of it. A pizza is not a roast. You cannot put it in the oven and forget about it. My oven has a speed bake feature. I don't use it! The cheese cooks OK and quicker but the dough is left partially raw. Slow and steady wins the race.

Once done you should have a beautiful pie like this...

Slice into 8 pieces, pours an expensive Belgian ale with the money you saved and enjoy! I guarantee that this pizza will be better than anything that ever shows up at your door in 30 min or less.