Thursday, December 17, 2009

Go to music to get FAST!

I admit, I listen to a little bit of everything. I was a music major in college and I love music. But there are times on the the bike where the Bach cello suites and Josh Turner don't cut it. When I'm looking to go fast and fueling the chocolate rocket I turn to go-go music. The more instrumental the better. I love it when the hype man shuts up and the percussionist just take it away.

How can you not go fast with energy like this!?!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thank you Tracy Rankin!

Dear donald brew,
The following request to change your USCF category has been approved and processed by USA Cycling:
djbrew21 - 2009-08-20 10:57
Member: donald brew
License: Road RacerRequest to change category from Cat 3 to Cat 2

Goal number one of the 2009 season has been accomplished!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thank You Marion, Indiana!

I went to Indianapolis this weekend to visit some relatives. Before I left I checked the area to see if there were going to be any races and there were. About an hour away they were having the Marion Classic, which is an NRC race, so I figured I could get in some racing this weekend as well.

I signed up for the 3/4 and the 2/3. I figured going out to the Midwest would be a welcomed change since no one knew me out there and I didn't know anyone out there, I could just do my own thing. I've also wondered what it would be like racing in a whole different area. The course was a 10 corner crit that crossed to bridges, with two slight rises between turn 4 and 5, and 8 and 9. I was really looking forward to this course because I like going through turns. My first race was the 3/4. Since people weren't really going to assume I was a threat my strategy was just to stay at the front and not make any moves until the last lap. There were a couple crashes in the race but since I stayed at the front none of them affected me. To make a long story short, on the last lap coming into turn 8, I started my sprint up the little rise around turn 9 and held it all the way to the finish for first place. I made it onto the podium and got to get interview by Robbie Ventura, which was pretty kewl.

Next up was the 2/3. I figured after winning the 3/4 and the interview I would be a marked man, but my strategy was going to be the same no matter what. I ended up finishing in 2nd though. Coming into turn 8 on the last lap, a guy came past me so I jumped on his wheel. In turn 10 we both took different lines and that gave him just enough of a gap to hold me off. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to win both races. I never like getting 2nd, but I guess I can't feel to bad about it and to make me feel better we all got a nice big bag of sweet corn for getting on the podium.

So it was a good weekend going to Indy, having a nice time with the family, taking their money and their corn.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thank you Millersburg!

First I will echo the sentiments felt by not only myself but other races who've attended the Tour of Millersburg by saying that it was an awesome race, held by an awesome community. You definitely felt welcomed and it was like they really wanted you there and not like they were doing us a favor. You could also tell that the citizens there would been over backwards to make sure that us racers were comfortable and have everything we needed. This was my first time there and already I have a place to stay, for free, next year when I go back, which I definitely will do. On to the racing...
The time trial was first, which I was not excited about since the only time I've ever time trialed was at Tour of Washington Co., and that was the first time. I thought I was rolling along pretty good. I was the second person to go off after Lance Anderson. Before I took off I could see Lance disappear off into the fog and I wouldn't see him again until we crossed paths at the turn around. I knew I wouldn't catch him and I could only hope that I wouldn't get caught but I did. The TT wasn't hard, I just have no skills and very little motivation when it comes to something like that. By the posting of the results I finished in 40th place. There goes my GC hopes. The sad thing was I was actually kind of trying on the TT because I thought I could do well in the crit and road race so I wanted to at least be mid-pack after the time trial.
Later on was the criterium. After getting my result for the TT, I wanted to win the crit. I started gearing up and trying to get motivated for the race. I had never done this course before and I heard that it was different from last year so I wanted to warm up by taking a few laps. After my first lap of the course, I thought there was no way I could win because of that stupid hill. I took another lap thinking my legs just needed to wake up or something but that didn't help. I remember telling my wife after those couple laps that I was unsure that I could do well because of the hill and that this race would be about survival. I continued to warm up until the start completely avoiding going up that hill anymore extra times. The race started and Whole Wheel, with 2 guys in the top 3 overall, got on the front and just started drilling it. I tried to stay up front because I figured as long as I could keep contact with the wheel in front of me I wouldn't get dropped. In the first third of the race I felt like I was on the ropes, just playing defense. At about half way through the race I didn't really feel any better but I also noticed that I didn't feel any worse. I was starting to read the race and I noticed that if you were close to the front up the hill then there was some valuable recovery seconds waiting for you at the top while everyone kinda caught their breath. My strategy would be to hang on until the top of the hill and spend the whole front side of the course recovering and pedaling as little as possible. I can corner well and that made all the difference in allowing me to recover. I also noticed that if you attacked on the hill you would die by the time we got to the top. It was that same rhythm the whole race. Coming in to the last lap was no different. There was a guy who attacked early and was off the front. I was sitting about top ten coming up the hill and about 20 meters from the top I just gunned it out of the saddle, up and around the corner and got a gap at the spot where we had been taking it easy. Another guy jumped to my wheel and let me know we had a gap, and right behind him was my teammate Jorge. We bridge across to the early attacker and I was sitting in second coming out of the final turn and knew I had the win. I was extremely happy. Knowing that my GC hopes were dashed, I was happy that I would come out of the weekend with at least one win. What I hadn't noticed during the race was that this course and the pace was shredding the field. The guy who held the yellow jersey after the TT was even pulled. With and lot of the guys who were in the top spots after the TT not finishing or not earning any points, I shot up on the GC from 40th to 4th. It was at that point that I figured I would have a shot at the podium.

(Thanks Jim Wilson)

I was hearing that the road race would be a sprinters delight and my inner Mark Cavendish was over joyed. Going into the road race I wasn't really paying too much attention to where the other riders that were close to me on GC were. I wanted to win the road race. I figured that if I could win then the GC would take care of itself. The first couple laps were really uneventful. People tried to break away but nothing stayed. My job was just staying vigilant and hoping for a field sprint, which is what the race came down to. The run in to the finish was extremely fast. We would be blasting down the hill that tortured us the day before in the crit. At the bottom of the hill was a sharp right hander, and after doing this turn twice on the two previous laps, I knew it was crucial to get to through that corner on a good wheel. I unfortunately lost my nerve coming through that turn on the last lap and was on the brakes too much and lost a couple positions. I was in the front but got swarmed coming down the hill and I just knew that someone would go down so I got on the brakes, but everyone made it through clean. After we exited out the turn to a long straight the speed was so high it was difficult getting on a wheel and I had to burn a match trying to catch back on. We hit the last right hander and I already knew I was too far back to take the win but fortunately I had enough to pass a couple people and hold on to 7th.

I was nervous after the finish because I didn't know if finishing in 7th would give me enough point over the other top people to finish on the podium. After trying to do calculations in my head, the results were finally posted and my 7th in the road race gave me enough points to put me in 3rd overall. I was pumped. My first podium in a stage race. My teammate finished in 4th on GC right off the podium. If either one of us had of known what was going on we probably would've got both of us up there.

It was a good weekend, in a great town, holding an excellent race, run by wonderful people, capped off by a visit to Chocolate World with my wife.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Socks of Choice

Hincapie Sportswear Merino Wool socks. Super high cuff! I wear these socks year-round and the fact that they are wool does not bother me one bit. Since they are wool, I find they don't really get funky either so I can get a couple or more wears out of them before they need to go in the wash. They are extremely comfortable and I wear them everywhere, from church to the club and all stops inbetween.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't Recover Like Me

For me, and don't try to be like me, after a hard workout or race, or anytime in between, in order to recover, I find the nearest Starbucks and order me up a venti, solo javachip frappuccino.

HITS THE SPOT!!!!!! Please don't be like me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Missing in Action...Kinda

According to the automated banner ad, DJ Brew, on July 25th, in Mathis, W.V., was supposed to be getting his epic on at Lost River. But, after July 18th, in Barnesville, M.D., after Giro di Coppi, DJ changed his mind.

I really wanted to support the Lost River Classic, which is why I initially registered. I expected my support to extend beyond my money to actually racing in the race but after my performance at Coppi, I realized I am just not in the kind of shape I want to be in to spend most of a race climbing. Now had it not been so close to the end of the season and I felt like I had a lot to gain from a training aspect, I would've gone to Lost River. Instead I figured I would go to Lancaster and test the legs out in a good ol' fashion criterium, the Grandview Grand Prix. I did this race last year and I really liked the course and the atmosphere. I went back this year seeking a better result than last years race. I actually figured I could win it, which also aided my decision to do Grandview over Lost River. Unfortunately for me Lance "Freakin' Stud" Lacy was there and decided he could win it as well.

I'll start by saying there is something about the racing in PA that's different. I can't quite put my finger on it but it didn't seem the same as racing in the MABRA area. The race was pretty easy. Obviously since I was seeking a result, I did no work and waited for the sprint. Lance Lacy, seeking a result, and more importantly not wanting to sprint against me, took off and never looked back. He had some company initially, but the sound wave his S80's were creating as he pedaled was too much for his breakaway companions to handle and they got dropped. There were several bigger teams there with 8 or more riders who I figured would do some work to bring Lance back but no such thing happened. It seems that they were all sprinters sitting in waiting for the sprint with me. Which brings me to the final lap.

I was feeling good at the bell. After not having done any work and taking good lines through the turns I was coming into the last turn in about 10th. Some might think this was too far back but the final stretch was sort of a long false flat into a downhill and there was a bit of headwind. I was feeling good so I knew I could blow past people as we got past the false flat. Unfortunately, I picked the wheel of Kyle Jones to follow. In hindsight, I definitely can't blame him because as soon as we came to the last turn I should have just nailed it like Steve Wahl did at Ride Sally Ride, because I felt good enough to hold it all the way to the line but instead of being aggressive and going on how I was feeling, I started thinking too much. I picked Kyle's wheel because he said he had been sprinting good and he's bigger than me so I knew he would be a good draft. But during the race he did too much work and didn't have enough for a final kick. I came off his wheel back to the inside of him where there was a group of guys about 4 wide in front of me. I panicked a little because I knew I was boxed in and running out of real estate. With the curb on my left, Kyle on my right and 4 dudes in front of me I was able to accelerate into a small gap in front of me and nudge my wheel in for 5th.

I'm kind of pissed with that result, because I know I lost that sprint from lack of confidence. I should have never went into it relying on someone else to give me what I need to get to the line first. There was nothing I could do about Lance, he was super strong that day, but I should not have lost that field sprint. I should've made my own way to that line. Instead 3 other pansies who I know I could've beat got there before me and that really gets under my skin.

Congrats to Lance on the win though. There's something about when a person has a plan and executes that plan to perfection that's just amazing to watch. Before the race Lance told me he was gonna go into time trial mode, and he did, and he won. I need to start applying that to the sprint and just speaking it into existence.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dawg Days of Hagerstown

Too much work and not enough sprinting is how I would classify this past weekend of racing for me. I was really excited about Hagerstown because it's a crit of course and I felt like I had a good chance of winning being a sprinter and all. And some point in the race though, my focus changed from "sitting in and waiting for the field sprint" to "do work to make sure the break gets a big enough gap". I used up too much energy for things in the race that shouldn't have been my concern anyway and ended up not having enough at the finish. I didn't care what place I got I just knew that it wasn't first and I was pissed. If I don't get first, I don't care. You can keep your bar points, upgrade points, prize money, jerseys, medals and primes I just want first place. After looking at the results online when I got home I realized I finished in 6th, and at the time I didn't realize it but after checking last years results I got 6th as well. Talk about a marked improvement. To add insult to injury, I'm almost positive that at some point while packing up my truck to leave I misplaced, and by misplaced I mean "placed" on the roof of my truck and not at the bottom of my bag, my Garmin 705. This would be Garmin number 3 that's been donated to charity. If anyone found it and wants to give it back just let me know.

I couldn't stay too disappointed about Hagerstown because Dawg Days was just around the corner and if there is anything to cheer me up after a bad race, it's more racing! I would be racing twice at Dawg Days in the 3 and 123. In the 3 race, the story was pretty much the same as Hagerstown. After Lance and Tim got away, there was an initial chase group that formed and then there was the peleton. At some point I was able to bridge up to the chase group and shortly after we were all back together with 2 still up the road. I was still doing more work at the front than I wanted because I figured more people would be helping out. I didn't think they would stay away seeing as how only two teams were represented and neither one of the guys up the rode was a sprinter. I thought more people would put in work to bring those two back but that didn't happen. I guess people like sprinting for 3rd but I don't. Bike Rack did a great job of blocking as well. Seeing as how they co-hosted the race with Artemis, my team, I guess they were my co-teammates, so I should've been co-happy that they were doing a good job blocking, but I co-hated it because it was too good. I didn't have enough left in the sprint (for 3rd). Whether is was lack of energy or motivation, I guess a little bit of both. Congrats to Lance and Tim for seriously digging deep and sticking that break all the way to the end. After this race concluded I started thinking about how I was going to survive the 123 race. Fortunately, I did survive, in the field, with two cramped legs, but survival nonetheless.

Now that another weekend of racing is behind me, I would like to say I'm no longer thinking about the piss-poor performance at Hagerstown but it still sits in the back of my mind. But, by the time Coppi rolls around this weekend it'll be all gone.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thoroughly Thrashed.... Bike Rack. Those boys can climb! I decided, against better judgement, to take Rugg up on his offer to ride hills with them today instead of doing the Goon ride. I will say without a doubt that this ride did not disappoint. While the thrashing was taking place I must say I was really enjoying myself. It would've been so much harder to make myself hurt like that if I had of ridden by myself.
Seeing those guys do their thing was a serious reality check for me. I thought maybe if I threw in a little bit of hills the next couple weeks I could be competitive at Coppi and Lost River, but after seeing that gang attack those hills I might just be doing these hills so I can survive Coppi and Lost River. Anyway, I know where I'll be every Tuesday @ 6:15 pm when the weather is cooperating. I've just found my new favorite form of self-flagellation.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I'll start by saying I got 3rd in the 3/4 race. I HATE freakin' 3rd place. I know I should be happy I got third or finished "in the money" or that I didn't get caught behind that crash, and all things considered I am, but I'm really not because I really HATE 3rd place. I would probably have a different reaction if I lost because 2 guys broke away and I was left to win the field sprint, but I hate to lose when I'm right there up front at the end of the race and don't do what I have to do to get 1st place. HATE IT! And technically, if 2nd place is the first loser, then 3rd place is the 2nd loser, then that means I couldn't even win at losing!

On a more positive note, I loved doing Reston. The 3/4's got lucky because we didn't have to deal with a lick of rain. The last time I did this course was in 2007 as a Cat 5 and I came in 18th, so it was nice to come back to it. I didn't have a particular strategy going into this race either. I guess if you can call sitting in until the field sprint a strategy then I did have one. But I'm a better sprinter than anything else, so isn't this an appropriate strategy for me? Anyway's, having a strategy like that never makes for an interesting race report so I'll just skip to the end to say Win had a freakin' sweet leadout from his teammate and I should've went earlier than when I did. I didn't go as hard as I wanted through the last two turns because I had way too much air in the rear tire and those turns were giving me a little bit of trouble when I tried to power through them during the race. That gave Win and Greg all the meters they needed to stay ahead and come in 1st and 2nd respectively.

Later on, I attempted to do the 1/2/3 race. Attempted is the correct term because after about 14 laps, I was graciously pulled from the race. It was fast and it was furious. I just did not have enough left in the legs to hang on to the back of the train.

For the next couple weeks, the focus of my training will shift towards the hills. I refuse to be embarrassed at Coppi and Lost River by all the climbers out there like I was at the Tour of Washington Co.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I (heart) Washington County!

I can sum up this past weekend of racing with one word, "Painfest". At least for me it was. I picked a whooper of a first stage race. Feeling grossly under prepared, I showed up for the road race ready to have my butt handed to me on a silver platter by some of MABRA's finest climbers...and they did not hesitate to put me in my place. After the first lap around that course, I didn't think I would make it until the end. Fortunately I did, but losing so much time to the leader and knowing I can't time trial my GC hopes were quickly put to rest so I knew the rest of the weekend would be pure fun.

The time trial was my first. I don't really know what to say about it since I have nothing to compare it to. I know there was a super headwind at the turn around. I didn't catch anyone, but I didn't get caught either. Then came the crit. Finally an event I knew I had a chance in, at least for some stage glory. This crit was fun as well. I was pretty close to quitting within the first 5 or 6 laps, but finally the legs started to come around and I was able to get into my own zone. I knew if the race came down to it, I was feeling confident enough that I could win it in a field sprint. With 1 to go, there were two guys kind of off the front that I thought we would catch. We were doing pretty good at making up ground but coming into the last corner a bike rack guy clipped his pedal and everyone behind him had to slow down and scatter for different lines. Fortunately for me I was about 4 wheels back and was still able to maintain a good line through the turn. I started the sprint from pretty far out because I knew I could hold it but it wasn't enough to catch the guys up the rode so I ended up in 3rd.

Big congratulations to Mr. Rugg. I know he isn't my teammate and all but I was really rooting for him to take the overall win this weekend. As hard as he's been working, he deserved the result he got. Also, watching his teammate, Tim Brown, dominate in the crit was awesome. I must confess that at the beginning of the season I though the Bike Rack guys were just a bunch of squirrely dudes, but my view of their team and tactics has done a complete 180 as the seasons progressed. Keep up the hard work fellas!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cops can be funny too!

I came across this while reading the article at

Giove, also known as "The Missile," earned a total of 14 NORBA national downhill titles, 11 UCI World Cup victories, two overall World Cup titles and the world championship in 1994.
Apparently aware of Giove’s competitive background, DEA agent John Gilbride felt compelled to offer the observation that “drug trafficking can lead you downhill fast."

See people, even we have a sense of humor.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back in the saddle

After taking a week off for vacation visiting the in-laws in the Bahamas, I am now back home and "back in the saddle". During that week away, my legs turned to mush and now I'm in panic mode because as of a minute ago I decided to sign up for the Tour of Washington Co. I guess no matter what my fitness level is, I have a strong desire to feed my hunger for competition.

This will be my first stage race. I cannot time trial. I never really cared much for the race of truth. I much rather prefer a race of lies if it keeps me from embarrassing myself. But I will say that I'm excited to see the guys who are really good at time trialing throw down. I admire the amount of mental toughness and focus and high threshold for pain it actually takes to succeed in something like a time trial.

See all you guys this weekend.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ride Sally

I figured I would write this before I head off for a week long vacation to the Bahamas.

This weekend was Ride Sally Ride and it would be my second time in this race. Although you would never know it (which I will get to later). I raced in the 3 and 1/2/3 races. I was a little disappointed with the way the 3 race played out. I mean I felt great the whole time, but in the end I wasn't in the right place at the right time and for it I did not get a good result. Talking to Chuck afterwards made me feel a little worse but also motivated me a little bit more for the future. I practically live for the sprint. I race every race hoping it will come down to a sprint. When I imagine winning races in my head, it's never in a solo breakaway, it's always in a sprint. And not just a sprint with anyone but I want to be sprinting against the best and win. To see Stephen Wahl take the race, in seriously excellent fashion, and know I wasn't where I needed to be to give him a run for his money pretty much blew my whole race. I ended up somewhere in the top 10, although the officials or results won't reflect that because on the last lap of our race the finish line camera went out. The officials only scored the first 6 riders. It really wasn't a big deal to me because quite honestly, if I'm not in first then why put up a fuss. Also, last year when I did this race, in the opposite direction, they didn't even score me coming across the line. I would've been in 12th.

At the end of the day I had the 1/2/3 race. All I can really tell you about this one is that I had a really good time in this race. Even though this race was faster than the 3 race it felt a lot easier. I think the overall smoothness of the race made the pace easy to maintain. I also felt like I had an easier time moving around in the 1/2/3 than I did in the 3. I also enjoyed racing with the Artemis Elite guys. (GET ME IN BLUE!!!) DC Velo ended up lining up their train of guys for the final lap and it looked well oiled and solid. I was watching on Bryan Vaughn's video and its amazing how easy they seem to be able to find each other and get on their teammate's wheel. They ended up winning, but I really didn't care because I was happy I finished and that I felt pretty good during the race. The photo below is courtesy of Jim Wilson. SWEET!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Greenbelt, Flats and Inflation

I've only ever flatted 3 times while riding. The first was on the very first time I've ever decided to ride to work. While on Rock Creek Parkway, heading to Beach Dr. at about 4:30 in the morning I hit one of those grates and flatted my rear tire. I had recently just ditched my frame pump and started carrying CO2. Unfortunately, I had never used or knew how to use the CO2. I wasted half the cartridge trying to figure out how to use it. Eventually I was able to get about 45 psi in the tire, which was enough to get me to work and to a bike shop later in the day.

The second time I flatted was my first double flat. I was on the way home after the Goon ride on Tuesday. Heading down Connecticut Ave. I hit a pothole right at Chevy Chase Circle. Of course I was only carrying one tube, but at least two CO2 cartridges. I fixed the front tire because I figured that would give me the most control and then patched the back with duct tape. I filled the back tire with the second cartridge and kept heading down Conn. Ave. I made it to about Nebraska Ave. before the air shot out of the back tire again. I rode the rim from Connecticut and Nebraska all the way to Hains Point where my truck was parked. That 7 miles probably took me a good hour and a half to ride.

The 3rd time I've ever flatted was at Greenbelt yesterday. DOUBLE FLAT on lap 3, over and out. I watched the race from the sidelines and got to see Tim Rugg get yelled at by the ref. Pure entertainment!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Validation at RFK

I didn't want to be one of those people that upgraded from a 4 to a 3 without having ever felt what a win feels like and once I became a 3 I didn't just want to sit around in the Cat 3 races content at just having upgraded. I felt and still feel like I can be competitive in the 3's. I think I've said before most of the guys that are 3's I've ridden with before anyways, so it's not like they're a whole new group of people who I've never been around.

Yesterday, I won the 3/4 race at RFK. I definitely had to work for this win which makes it that much more sweet. Most of the guys that are leading in the MABRA bar for the 3's were there and I knew I wanted to have a good showing because I wanted to prove to myself that I could compete in the Cat 3's. I knew this course favored the sprinters and I was excited because it's one of the few races where the final 200M are nice and flat and wide to really just let the legs go. My focus was to just stay out of the wind and to fight for good position in the last 2 laps leading to the finish. Everything went according to plan and since I wasn't really too concerned about people breaking away, I was able to relax and little more and let the race just happen. Coming into the bell lap I had good position and the other bigger teams that were at the front were starting to ramp up the pace. First Steve Anderson from DC Velo came shooting up to the front to drive the pace then I think ABRT came to the front to up the pace, then Bike Rack came up to keep the tempo, but making that turn into the headwind kind of jeopardized my positioning because we were starting to get swarmed at the front as people were moving up the outside. As we approached the final turn, I could see Stephen Wahl was in front of me. I've seen and heard about this guy. He's good and he wins and that's all I needed to know to know that I wanted to be on his wheel coming out of the final turn. I got boxed in a little and was worried that when we came out of the finally turn people were going to be in front of me and I wasn't fully going to be able to open up the sprint. Fortunately as we were turning a wonderful little piece of real estate opened up right in front of me and I took it. Just as I was exiting the turn I could see and hear Stephen shifting gears and I knew I had to get on with the sprint. We were starting it early and I wasn't sure if either one of us would hold it all the way to the line. Then I wasn't sure if I was even going to be able to pass him. I just kept digging and digging and I think I just nudged past a foot from the line. Sprints like that are always so much fun.

Anyway, now I feel like my upgrade has been validated. There a lot more races to go and a few more that I really want to win. During the off season I sat down with the upcoming race schedule and picked out all my "A" races and "B" races, like training books tell you to do. I was gonna be a good boy and follow all these strict plans to be really competitive so I could win all my "A" races. But when it really comes down to it, I'm way too competitive to even have that attitude and categorize every race as A or B. When I register for the race, I want to win it and it automatically becomes an A race. That's the bottom line for me. The only thing that changes for me from winning at Tradezone to winning at RFK is how happy I am afterwards. But in both races I'm going to ride just as hard. Fortunately, I don't have the most organized team right now and since we never really talk about who we're racing for and what we want to do as a team, I know when I take the line I can just try to win.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Glasses and Greenbelt

Being blind and all I normally wear glasses or contacts. Being poor and all I'm not going to spring for prescription sunglasses either so my regular glasses service as my eyeball protectors when I ride. But, when I'm wearing my contacts I wear some Tifosi Dolomites that I picked up from Bicycle Place. They are pretty stylish to me and they come with interchangeable lenses. You still get some wind in the eyes but normally that's not a big deal to me...unless it's allergy season. Every year when the seasons are transitioning from spring to summer, I typically get pretty bad allergies. It doesn't effect my breathing or anything like that, only my eyeballs. They get all red and itchy and I end up looking like I've taken up recreational ganja usage. There have been some bike rides where I was seriously thinking about wearing swimming goggles or some kind of snorkel mask to keep my eyes protected. One day, during the 10 o'clock ride this winter, there was a guy wearing skiing goggles. But those would be too heavy to wear during the spring and summer. Until I find the perfect solution I'll continue to deal with the redness and just take a Zyrtec so they don't itch. On to Greenbelt....
So much fun! I'm really enjoying myself in the "A" race. This time I tried to relax a lot more than last week and it helped. Just for me, it's amazing to actually get an up close and personal view of how some of our region's top riders ride. Seeing how guys effortlessly move through the pack, or fly uphill, or attack, or cover breaks is one thing watching from the sidelines but it's a whole different animal when you're right there to see it. At the end of it all, I was out of position to contest the sprint, which sucked because I felt good coming up the hill the last time. Being out of position though, when those front 5 guys took off and others started to drop off the pace, a nice little (read HUGE) gap opened. All the sprint in the world couldn't close that gap. Next time I know that if I'm feeling that good, I definitely have to make more of a conscious and aggressive effort to put myself up front with the guys that are actually going to sprint. All in all I finished in the top 10 at 8th.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"The Finger" and Bike Jam

I consider myself to be a nice guy. I'm not one of those people that yells or curses in the peleton when people hit the brakes or cut me off or touch my wheel, or any other reason you would find to yell or curse at someone in that kind of situation. I figure, such is racing, and if I get bent out of shape every time that happened, then I would never enjoy myself when I raced. But, yesterday at Bike Jam, in the 2/3 race I, D.J., in a moment of indiscretion, did indeed give someone "the finger".

To whoever that person was, I offer my apology, not because I feel like you didn't deserve it, but because it was completely out of character for me. I think in the heat of the moment, you (John Doe who was the recipient of the finger) where just running your mouth and yelling so much that I got a little, or a lot, tired of it. I never understand how people like you could claim to be racing, and putting out the kind of effort that it takes to win, but still muster up enough energy to scream and yell throughout the race. Do you really think people respond to that approach? Because I certainly do not. It's just mind boggling. I also do not understand how you could continue to ride behind me? It's like in traffic when a slow car is driving in the fast lane and you tailgate them, then flash your high beams and they still don't move, you eventually get frustrated enough to just go around them. Apparently you had been behind me long enough to analyze my riding style, diagnose my problems, figure out I had no business being in that race, and then offer a solution, "moving to the back of the (expletive deleted) group!" If my riding style bothered you so, why would you not just come around me. You are obviously a person far more skilled than I am who would've had no problem moving up to the front of that group. After a while I didn't hear your voice anymore so either my finger worked or you did decide to just move on up to the front where it was much safer.

Anyways, I offer my apology again to "that guy". I had to get that off my chest in order to say how much I enjoyed myself at Bike Jam. That was my second race as a Cat 3, or first if you don't really count Greenbelt. I didn't get in a warm-up at all because I was too distracted on actually getting into the race. I pre-registered as a Cat 4, but got my upgrade. I had to wait until check-in for the 2/3 race was closed before the organizers would let me in, which was only 20 minutes before the start. Fortunately, I at least was already hydrating in hopes that I would get in, but 20 minutes only left me with enough time to get the rest of my kit on, number pinned and head to the course entrance for good positioning at the start line. I felt like the race started off pretty fast and I could tell that I was nowhere near warmed up. I was surprised how fast the race stayed, but that wasn't a problem at all. What killed me was not being able to move up in that race, and it seemed like as soon as I moved up, somehow, some way I would end up slowly moving backwards. It seemed like I was yo-yo-ing somewhere between 20th and 40th, if that makes sense. But I learned, at least for next year, that positioning is everything in that race.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Inaugural Greenbelt

After the recent excitement of upgrading to a Cat 3, reality started to set in. I slowly realized that now I had to race as a Cat 3...and Greenbelt was the very next day. That meant I would have to do the "A" race, which meant I would have to race 1's and 2's and people who have been 3's much longer than I have, which meant this race would be much faster and longer than the "B" race, which meant I could possibly get dropped, which meant shame and embarrassment, which would lead to hanging up the see what I'm getting at. Actually, I would never hang up the bike.
But anyway, I was still excited that the Greenbelt series was now getting underway. It now gave me something to look forward to on Hump Day that didn't involve scantily clad women on Kyle's blog. This really won't be a race report because I think I was so on edge the whole time that I was only paying attention to what was going on in my personal bubble and just trying to be as safe as possible. Ace from ABRT actually realized this and spoke to me afterwards because he could see my arms were all locked out while I was riding and I didn't quite looked relaxed. I could also feel it in my upper body after the race was over that I was more tense than usual. My hands were actually starting to cramp towards the end of the race.
In the end I was excited that I finished and I finished in 7th. I'll take that any day. I was also excited that I got to ride with some Artemis Elite guys as well. I definitely look forward more to the experience that comes with riding with 1's and 2's and the different things that I'll learn along the way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I'm a Cat 3 suckaz! Oh boy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

From rent to MORTGAGE

Today, my wife and I purchased a house. Oh well, I guess my bike budget is now totally blown. At least now I will have my own little bike shop/storage/workout space.

Now go and enjoy this great weather we're having and to those up in Ephrata racing, good luck!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Syn-Fit Crit Cat 4 Race

Gorgeous weather today! The most efficient race check-in ever. It was like a commercial for Apple. "Need to check-in hundreds of bike racers at an office park an app for that." "Need to shrink a line of 20+ folks for the port-a-johns...No app for that." I still think the EVO people did a great job today and I very much appreciative for the race they put on.

I felt pretty good in the race today. My goal was to not really do too much work. I didn't have one of the biggest or strongest teams there so there was no point in me sticking my nose out into the wind for no good reason. I felt like the wind really was the equalizer in this race. It didn't look like it was as bad as it was until you put yourself in it. Throughout the race several guys tried to get away, but nothing ever remotely stuck. I wonder why that is. People make comments that we're Cat 4's so breaks almost never stick but is that really the case or is it simply a matter of fitness? Anyway, nothing stuck which was very good for me because I always want the races to come down to a field sprint...and it did, so I'll skip ahead to the last lap.

I saw Bike Rack start to form up their train as we came through the first turn onto that backstretch and I figured that they would be fresh because they didn't put too many people off the front today, and I knew especially since I hadn't seen Sam most of the race he was in the back staying fresh. I also saw more NCVC guys coming up to the front and I knew to watch them as well because they had people everywhere in the race and were looking pretty strong. Now I have a different strategy than most during the last lap. I like to fall back a little bit because it helps me see easier what's going on so I can better make predictions about which line to take or whose wheel looks good to follow for the sprint, and with Bike Rack guys coming up on the outside and some NCVC guys coming up this was easy to do.

As we started to approach the last turn, Bike Rack had at least a train of 3 guys at the front, but to me it seemed like they were starting to slow down. I started to yell that they should keep up the tempo so we didn't end up getting swarmed coming into the last turn making it harder to sprint. Essentially I was telling them what they needed to do to give me a good leadout, wink! wink! Coming through the last turn I was sitting 4th wheel. I told myself during my warm up that as soon as I got my bike upright after the turn, no matter what place I was in I was gonna start my sprint and that's exactly what I did going past the 3 people in front of me for the win. I made 60 bucks which more than covered my entry fee and the cheesestake I bought with some of the money on the way home.

Carl Dolan tomorrow, two races 3/4 and 4/5. See you all out there.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Protect Your Dome! Helmet review: Bell Sweep

The Bell Sweep R

My favorite helmet. I have 2, one in black when I'm feeling stealthy and the other in white, that I wear in most races. I've tried other helmets, but they tend to all make me look like an extreme dork. I like the way the Specialized S-works helmet looks on others, but when I try it on myself, it makes me feel like I'm rockin' the Kid 'n Play high top fade.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tyson's Corner virgin no more!

I was really looking forward to doing this race for the first time. I had been hearing a lot about it in years past, but never got a chance to do it. After not getting into Walkersville on Saturday, which I now consider a positive, I was definitely ready to race again.

I tried to warm up on the trainer but we really aren't friends and after about 2 or 3 minutes I had to get off and decided to just warm up on the street. I got lined up and the race started. I felt pretty good at the start of the race. My strategy was to stay within the top 10-15 throughout the race, and hope it came down to a field sprint and I figured with my level of fitness right now that shouldn't be too difficult but lately, Bike Rack has been all over the front at the races so far, and this race would be no different. I love the challenge these guys offer and even Evo got in on the action a little bit. It sucks though that most of my team was no where to be found during the race and if you could find them they were no where near the front. The whole time I only saw one teammate and that was with 2 laps to go. I feel like as a result I end up doing too much work throughout the race which makes the finish that much harder for me.

But, I'm getting way to far ahead of myself because within 2 laps of the race, there was a crash behind me that saw our race neutralized and sitting at the starting line for 15-20 minutes. There obviously were some eager beavers out there. We found out that instead of racing for 60 mins., we would now be racing for 30 mins + the 8 that we had already done. So after a long break we restarted and it was more of the same. Rack would send a guy up the road and then patrol the front trying to make sure their guy stayed away. We would eventually catch him then another one would go. It didn't look that smooth all the time but you could definitely tell what they were trying to do. I guess it doesn't have to look nice as long as it's effective. There were a couple other teams that tried to get away but we would bring them back as well.

Fast forward to lap last. Down the long sweeping turn I sitting about 5th wheel from the front. All of a sudden, to my right I see Kyle Jones comes flying by with a string of I don't know how many other people on his wheel. In my head I was thinking I had missed the train but by the time we got to the final turn to go up the hill we had caught up. I was now sitting at about 20th. I was told that this wouldn't be that bad of a position going into this hill because people would blow up before we got to the top. I took this advice to heart, and like they said people starting popping one by one. I found an open lane to the outside and just stood on the pedals. I ended picking off quite a few people who were going backwards and ended up crossing the line finishing 5th. I'm pretty happy with that result. Half way up the hill I thought I was gonna puke so I started coasting just a little bit and when nothing came up I started sprinting again, this was the difference between 4th and 5th for me. Of course I would've loved to win but I know going uphill is the worst for me and will be something I'll have to work on before Carl Dolan. I guess I'll be throwing in some uphill sprints into my training. I cannot sprint uphill. I thought I was doing pretty good until I saw this DC Velo guy come flying by me like I was standing still, he didn't last all the way to the top but still I would love to be able to sprint like that going up hill and take it all the way to the line.
After the race I was jonesin' for some sweet corn fritters and a chicken quesadilla, so after watching the women's race I headed over to Cheesecake Factory with my number 1 fan, the wife. And at the end of the day, I took my $25 in race winnings and me and the wife went out to Cold Stone Creamery. OH YEAH!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Bike Racks

The Saris Thelma 2 Bike Rack
This is my rack of choice and will forever be my rack of choice. No cloth straps or metal bits. Super simple to use and install. Put the bike in, pull the two ratchets tights and go. You can't beat that! It also folds flat and out of the way when you're not using it. You also can't beat the durability and reputation of the Saris product.

Looking forward to Walkersville...NOT!

It sucks that I didn't make it off the waitlist for Walkersville this weekend. What sucks even worse is that it looks like no one from my team made it either. Guess I'll be walking around the Tidal Basin looking at the same cherry blossom trees this weekend. I normally don't complain about races registration or race organization but it seems to me that if you have a whole team that doesn't have any representation in a field (in 2 fields actually) then something is wrong with the process. I look at the Cat 4 AND 5 list and no one from my team made it in the race. If it were up to me, I would at the very least try to make sure as many teams as possible, that wanted to be represented, were represented in any given race. If that means limiting the amount of teams members from one team that can be in the same race then so be it. It's like they do at Bike Jam with the pro 1/2 race. I won't rant and rave and take out my anger here though because I plan on doing that at Tysons, on Sunday, with my bike.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Sprinting for 3rd never looked so good!

Thanks Amy! You take some great pictures. I gotta make sure I start sticking closer to your husband so I can get in more of them, except in the sprint, then you can get some nice shots of me pulling away from him.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jeff Cup - didn't drive that far for nothin'

Waking up Sunday morning I wasn't quite sure how the weather was looking in Charlottesville and checking MSN's weather report wasn't making me very pumped up, but I knew I had teammates that were going to be out there so I decided to take my butt down the road anyway. Throughout the drive down 29, the weather was looking nicer and nicer and I was starting to get pretty excited about racing.
I got to the school to start getting ready at around 1. Got warmed up and lined up for the neutral rollout to the start/finish line feeling excited, hydrated and fueled. The race was your usual Cat 4 race. The pace wasn't too difficult and when we caught someone who had broken away, everyone slowed down. When we came to a hill, everyone slowed down. When we turned into the wind, instead of forming a good paceline or echelon, everyone slowed down and even when we went downhill, lots of people still slowed down. There was the usual bumping of elbows, overlapping of wheels, riding in the gutter and sending people into the gutter, that happens in these races. Swearing and yelling abounded.
At some point on last 4, the last lap, a group got off the front. I had no idea this group was away. I knew there were two people up the road that were still in sight and I figured we would catch them on the final stretch to the finish, which we did. But, apparently there were two more guys in front of them. My legs felt pretty good going into the finish so I knew I had a pretty good chance of winning the field sprint. I felt like my position was horrible with about 800m to go so I knew as soon as I saw some daylight I was just gonna go. At about 500m I got that opening on the outside edge and I just stood on the pedals and sprinted in for 3rd place and $30.
My real "fun" started after the race when I realized my lights were left on, so my battery was dead and my keys were locked inside my car. I spent the next 3 hours trying to track down a slim jim, tow truck and waiting for AAA to come and break into my car so I could get home. I ended up giving my winnings to the tow truck guy who eventually got me into my truck. I also want to give a huge thanks to Dave and Cheryl Osbourne who helped me out big time and actually stayed with me and my wife to make sure we were squared away.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tradezone numero cuatro

I didn't do that great this race. I went into it with a specific plan and got caught up in all the hooplah. I ended up racing outside of my comfort zone and that sucked. I feel like I'm kind of forced to do that when minimal teammates show up to ride. I really wish more of my teammates would've come out to these training races. So far the only people who have shown up are people I've never really ridden with before and I say that literally. I mean I look on bikereg and see that some of them are registered for races and that's great, but I feel like these training races (especially when the weather is great), are just as important because that's when we learn what each other can do. Racing is fun, but it would be a lot more fun with teammates.
ABRT, Bike Doctor, WWVC and a couple other guys were in attack mode firing on all cylinders, and that was cool. Definitely makes the race a lot more interesting. Next week I plan on sticking to my plan, which is super top secret.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

From H.P. to Paris-Roubaix

For starters, the weather was actually pretty good down at H.P. today, and the amount of people that showed up for the noon ride justified that. I love these mid-week crits, so to speak. For me, it seems like I always learn something new about the way I ride or find out something new that I never want to do again. I try to use the times I go down there as a learning experience and so far I think it's paying off.

Anyway, for the latter part of the evening, I bought I ticket to go the Road to Roubaix movie at the Arlington Drafthouse. The event ended up selling out so I was pretty glad that I didn't wait till the last minute. I think the mixture of cycling, food and especially beer really gets a lot of people excited, so it was easy to see why this event would sell out. For me, I really just wanted to see a good film. Since I don't drink, that didn't factor into the equation at all for me.

After getting a good seat around 10 after 8 pm, the movie finally started at about 9:45 after raffles and sponsor shout-outs. My personal opinion is that the movie wasn't that great. I've seen Off Road to Athens. I own it, and I really liked that documentary. I figured this documentary would be along the same lines but to me it lacked something. I guess I was expecting to see a little bit more about how the cyclist prepare for Paris-Roubaix. I wanted to see something about the training and the equipment selection and everything that goes into racing the race. I thought that everyone that spoke just kept saying the same thing over and over for 75 minutes. "Paris-Roubaix is a difficult race and takes mental toughness" and "You have to be a little crazy to do Paris-Roubaix", with an English, French, German, Italian and Dutch accent. I was just a little disappointed, and I like road racing more than mountain biking so I really wanted to like this movie. Maybe if I had had a couple of pitchers of Dogfish ale in me I would've liked it a little bit more, but that's just my opinion because I'm sure there were people there that absolutely loved it and thought it was Oscar worthy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm allowed to change my mind!

Ok, so I woke up this morning feeling a lot better so I decided if the weather holds I will race at Tradezone #2. We shall see.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Come on already!

I'm getting really anxious for the warm weather and the real racing season to start. Unfortunately it's also causing me to lose a little bit of my training motivation. This was my first real winter of actually training and right about now I'm extremely sick of riding inside most of the week. The weather is really starting to get on my nerves as well. When it's beautifully sunny outside, it's freakin' windy, I mean wind tunnel windy. Take last Thursday for example. After waiting all week to get a chance to ride outside I get down to HP for the noon ride and I have to battle 30+ mph wind gust! Very discouraging! Literally at one point I think I was leaning into the wind at a 45 degree angle just to stay upright. Then, when the weather is warm, it decides to rain. Mother nature needs to be shot and I got the Glock .40 to put her down.

Anyway I guess I'm really just looking forward to the season starting more than anything. I just want to make sure I don't end up as one of those riders with good early season form that fades and fizzles into nothing towards the end of the season. I was getting excited for UMD but because of LAX we gotta wait for Jeff Cup. Tradezone #2 is scheduled for tomorrow, but so is rain and snow. I've been battling a bit of a cold for the past week or so, and I'm thinking that even though I'm registered for the B race, I might be sitting this one out. As a matter of fact I know I'm sitting this one out. I want to make sure this cold doesn't try to hang around any longer than it has to. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tradezone: Part 1 of many

I decided for this race I would do the B and C race. Not because I think I'm that great, but because I definitely need the training.

So the C race went like this, I won. That's about it. It was about as interesting as you would've expected a C race to be, there were no breakaways and no crashes that I know of. Actually, from being in both races, I think the C race was far less sketchier than the B. Who would've thought. On the bell lap a guy in a nondescript black uniform took off after the first right hand turn. I saw this and moved up to the front, not chasing the guy in front of me because I knew he would be cooked before coming into the finish. On the backstretch with all the pot holes another guy shot past me to bridge the gap and I rode his wheel across until we caught the guy and took off at the bottom of the uphill leading to the finish and that was all she wrote.

After the C race I was actually feeling pretty good. I still doubted my ability to finish the B race once I saw all the familiar faces in the B race, but I figured might as well give it a go. Now, the B race was a race, and I loved it. Attack after attack. I could definitely tell there are a few teams that are on the ball, and two worth mentioning, Route 1 and ABRT. I am not on either team, but I love when they show up to race because I know there will be some good tactics going on to make the race more interesting and feel like it makes me a more intelligent rider. Since this was my second race, I was trying to conserve a lot of energy and make smart efforts, which I did for the most part. I was feeling pretty good until about 5 laps to go. Then the hammer of Thor came down upon me and both my thighs cramped like crazy. I knew I could still hang on but every lap it felt like a cramp kept popping up in a new spot. By 3 laps to go, my hamstrings started to cramp. At this point I seriously thought about just pulling off but I figured I could still finish as long as I didn't try and stand up, which I never did for the rest of the race. Needless to say, I was able to finish in the field and definitely not contesting the sprint. I was upset about that, because I was definitely in good position on the last lap.
But it was a learning experience and now I at least know I need to tweak my race time nutrition a little bit because I refuse to not be competitive in anymore races because of cramps.

By the way, had anyone notice how skinny Kyle is looking these days?! Awesomeness!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The "Dirty" Double

Today I attempted to do the 7 and 10 o'clock double ride.

Now before I continue let me just say that in my riding past the most I've ever ridden in a single day is, at best, 60 miles and this was by myself. No one was attacking hills or pushing the pace.
Also, I've only ever finished the 10 o'clock ride once with the front group and that was just last weekend.

So with that said, maybe undertaking the "double" so soon was a bit crazy. But to get to the point, did I do it? Yes and no. Technically I completed both rides and on the same day. That, I can be proud of. I can also be proud because this was the most miles I've ever ridden, since I've been on a bike or trainer or rollers. But, I am a little disappointed because I got dropped from the front group on the 10 o'clock ride going up Esworthy. I was eventually able to hook up with the second group so at least I didn't have to finish the ride alone. I wish I could say that my failure could be completely contributed to my lack of mental fortitude because that would be easier for me to correct, but it was not. I was completely in the zone mentally. All I had to do was talk myself into getting back on the bike to start the 10 o'clock and I knew I would be OK. But physically, my legs were toast. My mind had enough strength to hang on to that wheel in front of me, but my legs checked out of the game somewhere on Tuckerman. In that moment there was nothing I could do about it but get dropped and hope another group would come along to sweep me up.

But I am not deterred because I will accomplish my goal. I know somethings that I can work on to get better at doing both rides but if any of you other dirty double veterans have any pointers on completing them both with the front group, I'm all ears.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

One Goal Down

This past Saturday I was finally able to complete the 10 o'clock ride with the front group. I know it's not that big of a deal but it was definitely a big hurdle for me. Mentally more so than physically. The next challenge on the list before the season really gets going is the 7-10 double of course.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weird Sensation

I hate to toot my own horn, but I'm a really good visualizer. If it was a sport, I would be the gold medal world champion. I have a really good photographic memory which makes visualizing past races very easy. I can see things even down to the smallest detail, like the color, make and model of the lead riders tires when I replay a race in my head. I think I've developed this skill over the years as an artist. I was an art major in college and we did a lot of exercises based on visualization and recalling past scenes and details.
When I read different sports psychology and athletic publications, they all talk about how visualization is an important tool for competition/race preparation and helps maintain focus. So, I try and visualize different race situations on different courses quite often to sort of keep me pumped up. I also do it to sort of develop a game plan in my head and go through all those "what if" scenarios. But, the weird sensation I get is that when I am visualizing these things I can feel myself start to get all warm and tingly, not in an erotic sort of way, but in the way where I feel like I am actually in the race. I can start to feel my heart rate pick up and my pulse in the side of my neck. I feel every sensation you would feel in a race short of sweating. When I realize this is happening, all I have to do is just take a deep breath and it brings me back to reality. I was wondering does this happen to anyone else?
I like the sensation when it happens, but I just think it's a little weird and I hope it's far more common than what I think.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reality check!

Today I renewed my racing license for the upcoming season. Which made me realize that the season is just around the corner and I while I feel pretty good, I still feel like I'm way behind where I need to be. What made me realize this even more was that I finally bought and finished reading that cyclist training bible book by the Friel guy. It kind of made me feel like I wasted all these past winter training months.
In the past I've always just trained how I felt. If I felt like going fast then I went fast. There was no organization, rhyme or reason to my workouts. I just got on the bike and rode. I pretty much let whoever was riding around me that day dictate what I was going to be doing. Sometimes, this can be a great motivational tool, and other times it can make for really inefficient training. Falling victim to the junk miles routine because I didn't have anyone to ride with.
The more I read and re-read the book, the more knowledgeable I feel, but I also feel like knowing this much information and terms and numbers and compiling this much data takes a lot of fun out of the sport for me. I feel as though if I'm going to be good at riding a bike then I have to become a student of riding the bike, so I should be reading all these books and crunching all these numbers figuring out what the square root of my lactate threshold is divided by the maximum mean of my VO2 max subtracted from the 1mm leg length discrepency I have to figure out my power output as I suck wheels down at Hains Point.
I guess I need to find the balance between just riding, and riding with a purpose. I want to win and I'm super competitive so I try and use that as motivation when I ride. Any other information I have going on in my head is just a distraction from my ultimate goal, and that's winning.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

10 o'clock-o-rama

Yesterday I did the 10 o'clock ride for the second time ever. The first, I time I did it I got dropped from the first group as soon as we turned on River Rd. and ended up by myself not really knowing where to go. I missed the turn from River back on to Piney Meetinghouse and ended up making my own way back down to Beach Dr. This time I hung with the front group a little bit longer but still got popped off the back. Fortunately I didn't fall back by myself and was able to ride the rest of the route with a few other guys. My legs felt like jello. I don't know how some guys do the 7 o'clock ride and then do the 10. That's just crazy to me.
This 10 o'clock ride his hard for me because I have a hard time going uphill, and my endurance kind of sucks. Luckily for me a group ride like this exists so I can hopefully get better. My goal is to actually be able to complete the 10 o'clock ride with the main group. Then my second goal is to be able to do both 7 and 10 o'clock. Hopefully these goals can be achieved before the season starts.
Also, unrelated to biking, I went to the movies to see Slumdog Millionare and it was great. But was what even better was what I heard in the crowd before the movie started. You know those people that get to the movie late, that want to rearrange everyone so they can get their group of late people to sit together? Always asking you to move down one seat. Maybe you're one of them, but I really don't like those people. Well, the theater was pretty full and this lady came in with a group of three people. She went down the row asking if people didn't mind moving down one seat until she got to this one lady and the exchange went like this. "Excuse me, do you mind moving down one seat so we can sit together?" The other lady said, "Yes, I mind. I got here early because this is where I wanted to sit." I could've turned around and given that lady a high five. A victory for us early arrivers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bar tape review: Get your hands on this!

I've always been a big fan of Fi'zi:k tape. They come in a multitude of colors and last season I experimented with about every single one. I seriously anal about my bar tape and during the season I change it about once every two weeks.

The guys at Conte's turn me on to the new Fi'zi:k tape, this microtex dual tape and it's great. Feels like suede! When I ride the trainer I can ride with no gloves and not have to worry about my hands becoming annoyingly slippery. I have the black and red on the bike now, but when the season starts, I'll be rockin' the white and red. BOOYAH!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I, and about 50 to 60 other SERT officers, boarded Ride-On buses at about 3 in the morning and headed in to D.C. for the inaugural events.

Our area of patrol was to be on the parade route, on Pennsylvania Ave. between 14th and 15th street.
We got into D.C. amidst the organized chaos of hundreds of other law enforcement agencies from the U.S. And after a lot of sitting around and getting shuttled and shuffled around we ended to our area of post at about 6.

At this point, I had already been up since 1 in the morning. So at about 6 I was thinking to myself the day is just getting started...little did I know. With the parade not being scheduled to start till 2:30, we had a long way to go.
I'm sure most of you checked weather reports or heard what the weather was like that day, but it never got above freezing, and Penn Ave. is a freaking wind tunnel with tall buildings on both sides of it. Our side of the road was also the shaded side, never seeing the light of the sun the whole time. Fortunately, with the amount of officers we had, we were able to do rotations and each shift would stay out about 45 mins to an hour each. The only time our section was to be at full strength is when the president and vice president came through.

The atmosphere was pretty exciting. The parade route was no where near as packed as I thought it was going to be. There were plenty of empty bleacher seats in our sections. I would say D.C. did a good job of crowd control in those areas, maybe even too good of a job given how much space there was left on the parade route at the start of the parade. I would've said this would've been your best opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Pres. and VP, unfortunately Obama was back in the car by the time he got to our section, but I still got to see Biden walking down the road out of my extreme peripheral vision. We were told at no point were we to turn around and take our eyes off of the crowd. This made it difficult to see Obama in a car.

All in all it was a pretty exciting day. I could sit here and complain about how cold it was or about how long we had to stand but to be a part of history and actually see an African American President sworn in, something I never would've thought would happen, was worth it. I will admit, I don't think I was feeling this way at the end of a 17.5 hour day.
Hours worked: 17.5
Hours standing: 12
Toe warmers used: 8
Hand warmers used: 8
Warmer used other places: 2
Blueberry muffins ate: 8
Cups of coffee: 6

Monday, January 19, 2009


Right now I'm sitting in a briefing prepping for the innauguration detail tomorrow. I'll be working on the parade route. I'll be starting work at 0300 hours in the morning with the parade not expecting to end until 2000 hours.
There will be crowds, noise, demonstrators and everything else to go along with the hoopla, but the only thing I can think about is how bad my legs will hurt on Wednesday after standing for majority of the day, and how much its going to affect my ability to ride.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back in the wind tunnel!

I went down to HP today for the noon ride not expecting many people to be down there because of the wind and the temperature. I got there about the same time as Jose Nunez and rode a couple laps with him just easily spinning along. After making it back around starting our 3rd lap we were caught by what I would guess was the main field, including Chuck and the DC Velo kid Nick, back from Belgium or somewhere.
They were moving along pretty good so I jumped on the back of their group. I will admit that my legs were hurting pretty bad, one from a new exercise for the hamstrings I tried this week and two, because I had to run a 1.5 mile timed run in a fitness test for work and I thought I was Usain Bolt so I went waay too hard. But, I was just so happy to be back outside riding that I tried not to think about my legs too much.
Anyway, after reading Chuck's how not to attack like a wussy post, I was a little worried about what would happen on the Arlington/headwind side of the HP loop. A couple times he took off then slowed down and looked back smiling waiting for us to catch up, then did it over again a couple more times. Very interesting (read demoralizing). I'm not sure what he was trying to accomplish but I don't think I was in any position to question Chuck, just try to keep up.
At the end of the day I was glad I came down to HP and didn't let my legs tell me what to do. I was also glad Jose showed up when I was two seconds from leaving before even starting. He told me as I got out of the car, "Don't think about it, just do it." I have to remember this the next time I have to train and really don't want to. I can't think about how windy it is or the temperature or if anyone else will be there, I just gotta go out there and do it. But I do realize I really need to find a good pair of gloves. I hate it when my fingertips hurt more than my legs at the end of a ride.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jealous Sundays

Since I can't ride on Sunday, I fill my cycling jones by watching others ride. It's mainly several different groups that come through Beach Dr. after the D.C. line into Mont. Co. I do get a kick out of watching the different types of reactions I get. As a police officer, most people assume when they see me sitting in the cruiser that I'm doing some type of enforcement. Maybe waiting for one of you lawless bikers to roll through the stop sign so I can chase you down in my pretty, white, heavily modified Impala or maybe waiting for one of you to stray from the required two-abreast law or not give the proper hand signal before making a turn. Those ones who recognize me just give the friendly wave and keep on moving.

I wish there was some kind of way you let all of you know that I am affiliated, so that you don't have to be paranoid as you cycle past or so you don't think that I'm just some lazy cop sitting in the car, eating a donut, drinking coffee and polluting the air by leaving the engine running (we have gotten that complaint before). And while those stereotypes do reign true throughout some of the department, I am one of you. Maybe I should hang my Artemis jersey from the passenger window, or get one of those cool license plate covers that says "Share the road" with a picture of a bike on it. I could leave my collection of Velonews magazines scattered about my cruiser but that wouldn't give the impression of cleanliness. But, if you look closely they are there, and sometimes I'll even go as far as having my bike in the back seat of the cruiser.

I see all the riders out early on Sundays and I wish I could be out there too, but come Tradezone, I'll be taking days off work to come lay the smackdown on the Cat 4 field.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hains Point wind tunnel testing

I went out to Hains Point for the noon ride today and it was windy, particularly on the back stretch. I went out to do a warm up lap before the group started and found myself struggling to keep the bike upright, and that was with shallow rimmed wheels. There were some brave souls out there sporting dished wheels, kudos to them.

A couple laps into it, there were a few attempts at an echelon but they never really materalized. I don't know if it was lack of skills or the wind was so brutal no one really wanted to stick there nose in it. At one point a gust of wind blew so hard I thought I was being t-boned. All in all it was a good workout. It looks like there's more rain on the horizon, so I'm glad I was able to take advantage of being able to ride outside, in the sun, wind or no wind.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Beginning

Its a new year so I figured it's time for new things. I've been reading everyone else's blogs and always wanted to start my own, so I figured now is as good of a time as any. I didn't want to start it too early in the off-season because the only thing I could talk about are countless hours on the trainer, and since I don't train with a power meter or heart rate monitor, I figured that wouldn't be too interesting, although those things aren't interesting to me when I read them on other people's blogs either.

First a little about me. I'm 26, married,


a Mont. Co. Park Police Officer and this upcoming season will be my 3rd year racing and I'll be a cat 4 itching for an upgrade by mid-season if all goes according to plan.

Haines Point was my intro to cycling about 10 years ago. At the time I didn't have my own bike so I rode my dads 90's Marin Point Reyes, flat bar commuter, 3 sizes too big, complete with skinny knobbies and a pannier rack. I'd wear gym shorts and t-shirt, knowing I didn't fit in with the real riders but wanting to go fast so I made sure I hung on to the back of the group so no one would see me.

10 years later, after becoming a XC/track runner/javelin thrower in high school and college, I'm now back to biking. After completing my first season racing unattached, I knew for the second time around I wanted to join a team. Having done most of my training, if you can call it that, only on the Haines Point loop, I figured I would try and get on with NCVC first. No one ever got back to me when I sent an email to them through their website. Oh well, they're loss was my attitude. So I then tried to get on with Route 1. The racing season was getting ready to start again and then only thing I recieved back from them was some generic email stating I should come down to Haines Point. That's all, but I was thinking come to HP and do what. Oh well, great recruiting efforts. I found myself starting the Tradezone training races in '08 with no team. I didn't think it would really be that difficult to get on a team.

Fortunately, at Carl Dolan I was approached by Jerry, who races for Artemis. He told me about the team and introduced me to the right people and by the time I raced at Bike Jam I was in an Artemis jersey, albeit one that was one size too small, but an Artemis jersey nonetheless. My second season with the team is about to start and I'm looking forward to see how everything else is going to go.