Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Out of the Darkness

Dawn... Not quite. Darkness fills the air. The sound of birds echoes through the trees covering up the sound of my breathing. My light creates a beam through the night illuminating potholes and frost heaves on the dark country road. I plummet down from the hill towns to the city below. Houses appear more regularly, still quite and dark. A light appears at the bottom of the long decent. Red. Stop. I look, no cars. The air is still. Normally a bustling street with autos and strip malls sort of a border between suburbia and the city, it still sleeps. Another mile and I decend more. Now I am in the city. I spot a car or two lurking. Crossing and intersection here and there. Much different than the day before at 4pm with traffic backed up and iron predators ready to pounce in road rage at an unassuming cyclist.
I pass ethnic markets. A few mexican restaurants go by and I enter the ghetto. I few bizarre people walk the streets. Soon, downtown is able to be seen and I cross the point st. bridge which is a border of sorts into the boheimian world of the eclectic Wickenden St. Shops and restaurants, normally busy still lie dormant as the sun begins to brighten the sky.

As I cross the bridge to the east bay, I enter a new world. I zip onto the bike path and roll south. A slight headwind. I won't break 2 hours today. I will break the slow time of 2:20 I set last week on the cross bike. I'm cruising at 19-20, in a good rhythm now. I'm along the water. I see a few people out now. Walking, running a few cyclists.
I approach a woman in her 20's. Tall,slender, with long strides jogging. A shared glance and smile. A stolen moment. Is it more than just two kindred souls burning a sweat? Memory of her quickly fades and she is part of the past. The smell of nicotine fills the air as a pass an overweight 40 something, smoking a cigarette and babbling incessently on the cell phone. It's only 5:20 for crissakes? what can be so important? Who the hell is up now anyhow? I want to thank him for ruining my moment, but anger overwhelms me and I stomp the pedals. I am moving along now at 20mph. I'd like to average 18mph for the first hour and have eight minutes to go. I do some math. I won't make it. Sure enough, I fall short by a quarter of a mile.
My legs are achy from the commute home last night which i set a personal best for the ride home. Part of the reason is because i drove in versus rode in. The car is at work. I'll drive home tonight.

I pass a bunch of runners now. Each one in there own little iPod zone. I can't ride with those on, prefering to listen to the wind, birds and my own pained breathing.

I'm surprised of the warmth as I continue south. i remove my glove liners and unzip my jacket a little to allow the air to pass through. Up ahead, I approach Barrington. I see a rider enter the path. He's all decked out in one of those expensive Italian kits you see in the high zoot catalogs. I figure I'll run him down like a lion chasing the lone gazelle. Just as I'm about to make the catch, he rolls onto the grass and into the parking lot and heads towards the coffee shop.


My ego shrinks back as I pass a bunch of grandmothers walking the path.

...fishermen on the bridges cast their lures into the bay as I pass. One looks at me like I'm a leper. He chomps on a doughnut. Mmmmmm doughnut. I miss those.

Soon, I'm off the bike path and headed to the Mt Hope Bridge. I haven't seen a car in 10 minutes, yet immediately upon getting on the narrow bridge, four autos zip by. At the one joint I stop and lift the bike over, I am buzzed by two more just as two are coming in the opposite direction.

10 miles to go. Mostly flat on the western edge of the island. Still a slight headwind keeping me at an honest 21 mph. My legs are crampy from no breakfast and the hard ride yesterday. I spin it into the office for a quick shower and begin a day at the office.

Not a bad way to start the day. 38 miles. just over two hours. and it is only 6:30am

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flandis and Bike to work

Today is National Bike to Work Day. It is the start of my once a week commute to work via the bicycle. Normally, this isn't a big deal for people. I used to do it all the time. However, it is a 40 mile commute that begins in the farm country, heads through the inner city of Providence, I hop on the East Bay Bike path and zip down the coast. I get to go over the Mt Hope bridge where I got three flats last year, then down into Newport.

Normally, the morning commute is nice as I leave the house at 4:30AM all lit up like a Christmas tree. The first 5 miles is down hill then through the city. No cars for at least 45 minutes. Coming home sucks going through the city at rush hour and then climbing to finish the ride.

Today I opted to take the Cross bike since the lights were already on it. I figured it would be less susceptible to flats. I also had to carry my laptop in today and had a HEAVY backpack. So, in effect, I was about 25 minutes slower than normal at 2:25 ride time. My back was a bit sore. I usually carry nothing but extra tubes since I keep a change of clothes in my office all the time. My legs are sore, I'm tired.

They are doing a group ride at work today at lunch to celebrate Bike To Work Day. A lot of people brought their bikes in to do the ride. The thing is, they brought them in their cars. WTF?!?!?! What is the point. I don't think I'll do it. They are gonna take a photo of the group for the newsletter. I'll catch holyhell all dressed in spandex.

I like to do it once a week in the summer as a way to get in 80 miles of riding w/o really effecting family time. I figure I save about $6 in gas cost plus $2 in tolls.

I'll continue next week. It won't be on a day I have my computer at home, and it won't be on the cross bike, or I'll need EPO to give me the strength.

Speaking of EPO and PEDs. How about that Flandis??? When this all occured, I thought that what he was accused of was not of benefit to him that day and gave him a pass. Plus the labwork was really shoddy. Upon further review, I found I may be incorrect, but still, the lab work was really bad. I felt, even if guilty, he should walk. LABs need to be held accountable. If he walked, they would tighten controls and be even better. This would benefit the sport more in the long run.

Flandis denied. He wroted a book. He solicited money from fans for the defense. ...Lies. ...Lies.

Is he gonna refund the cash he STOLE from fans. Hell, he lied to them. Sold them innocence when guilt was truely the case.

What a clown. Now he is naming names. I don't care. You are doing it for personal reasons and your word is trash anyhow. You should have been like others (Millar) and come clean. Served your sentence, come out against other doping (w/o naming names), and all would have been forgiven.

Instead you followed Tyler's lead. Maybe you are his vanishing twin. Now go vanish.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mystic Velo Crit

The team decided to show up down at Ninigret for the Mystic Velo Crit. The plan was to do the 3's and 45's. Since Badass and myself don't qualify for the Metamucal Division, we decided to meet in Wickford and ride the 20 miles down for our warm up, then ride back after the race.

Riding down is nice as it is mostly downhill on Rt2. We arrived to the Team RV and the three amigos of MikeM, Darth Norton, and Dougie were warming up on the trainer. Jim "I survived Deathcamp 2010" had done the 4's and was resting up for the 45's.

Looking at the start list, I said we pretty much had to worry about Master Yoda. If something got away, he'd be in it. For a field sprint, SDC was there, but no other sprinters

I've been feeling like crap lately due to health issues (pinched nerve) and lack mileage. My last training race was a complete mess and i didn't know what to expect. The race didn't go ballistic immediately like the Wednesday night training race. I settled in and was monitoring the HR. It was around 150 and the legs felt okay. MikeM attacked and Norton countered. When Bigbossman got caught, I gave it a go. I wanted to see what i could do and how i recovered. My attack was lame. I had little acceleration to get that quick gap, but settled in nicely for a hard pace and we stayed away for a lap. This is what i wanted. I didn't go to the back or really feel out of it as the HR came back fast. I just need to work on the jump, then being able to hold a faster TT pace (this will come). My recovery was my weakness lately and i needed that back. To test the recovery, I went a lap later and then a third time.

I was satisfied with the results and felt I could be a factor for the team today versus my "hang by a thread" performance at Wayne Elliot.

The wind at Ninigret was a diagonal cross wind that was slow on the backside, so I sort of moved about to stay out of the wind as much as possible until I made a jump. There was a crash on turn four that took down Dougie. I went off course and put my foot down to be able to get a free lap since I had been gapped. I don't like sitting around and waiting, but all was okay as we got back in. Doug was wearing his body armor and said it literally saved his ass. His finger was bloody, but that was pretty much it. i think i'm gonna get some armor.

The plan was to have Badass mark Bill for his trademark attack. They started calling primes at about 12 to go. I told john to be ready cuz he's gonna go for one and keep going or counter the prime. On the third one, there was this strong kid from Team CF up the road. The body language said "I'm going". Badass was right there and sat on. They got there and had a good gap. Words were spoken as John didn't pull through. He isn't 100% and really couldn't do anything. Well, considering he had a team with TWO sprinters and two other domestiques. He played that card. The CF kid attacked and Bill sat on. The field was in hot pursuit. If Bill had tried to attack John, he may have hooked up with the CF kid. John had nothing (that will change soon). We reeled them in and a shortly later, the CF kid was in the fold.

GHCC and Svelte had a lot of guys up at the front with 5 to go. MikeM and I got up there to keep the pace high. Soon, they all dissappeared and it was just mike and i trading pulls. not going too hard, but keeping it such that no one would attack. it was a long way to go. at two to go, some GHCC guy gets between us. then doesn't pull through. i'm thinking "This clown doesn't know what we are doing". No way is mike leading him to the line. mike flicks the elbow. he doesn't pull through. i yell "pull through, then get off, your screwing things up". he pulls off and goes into the grass...

ya know, these cat 3 teams just don't have it together. when you have 5 guys or so, som many times they all are worried about themselves and have no plan.

Anyhow, our plan wasn't to start it so early cuz we didn't have enough bodies, but we kept it going. unfortunately, the CF kid attacks just before one to go and the train is derailed. mike and i go backwards. john is in trouble. Dougie gets swamped. Lord Vader kept his position though and jumped on it. Had we made it to the line, i was gonna increase the speed to get the boys around, but not today.

on the backside, i started to move up and the mushroom occured. it made it tough to squeeze by. Vader was right up there still when Jim Peters (NBX) when to the front and ripped it like i was gonna do. I thanked him for doing my job. At this point, my job was done and no sense in sprinting for scraps. Vader came off the corner and got some separation to bring home the WIN! It was a good day for the team as we attacked a lot, covered the big guns, and delivered a sprinter to the win. The only thing that we were unhappy about was not getting dougie in position to place as well.

After race and debrief, we retired to the RV. The others started getting ready to do the 45's and badass and i hopped on the bikes for the ride home. It is uphill and we had a headwind most of the way. We scared some women cyclists taking up the whole road even though we gave them plenty of room. My legs were tired at the end and we got in about 65 miles for the afternoon.

I was beat when I got home, so instead of moving the pile of mulch (that is for today) I did some lightning mcqueen puzzles on the deck with the varmint.