Monday, December 27, 2010

2010: A Map

Do you like maps? I sure do, so yesterday whilst staring out the window at the Blizzard of 2010 that has shut down most of Southern New England I decided a good way to summarize the year 2010 was to do it by map.

So, below please enjoy how I spent 2010 in map form.

View 2010: A Map in a larger map

Royal Blue: January-Early March
Red: March
Green: Late March-Late August
Light Blue: July
Yellow: Late August-December
Purple: December

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Podium? There must be an error in the results. NEBRA Cyclocross Champs Race Report

I closed out the 2010 cyclocross season by heading on out to beautiful Fitchburg, MA to contest the singlespeed category at the New England Cyclocross Championships, I was originally planning on doing the category 3 race the next day, but I needed to fly to California that day for family vacation, so I converted one of my bikes to singlespeed in about ten minutes on Friday night and I was ready to go on Saturday.

I drove out with Dave Chiu, who I really wanted to hang out with during the race because every time he is near me during a race it lights a fire in my soul.

The start, the holeshot was not to be mine, photo: Abel Tomkinson

So anyways, went to the start, and lined up on the first row of 2 because I'm pro like that and some "scrub" behind me commented he feared my holeshot winning abilities. Anyhow, when we got the go I did not win the holeshot but I quickly settled into third wheel behind Shawn Mottram and Chris Borrello and we went not terribly hard for the first lap or two. Racing singlespeed is weird like that, because you have a speed limit. The field was lined out like that for the first lap and change.
The bunch early on hitting the fly-over, I'm in 3rd, photo: Abel Tomkinson

After 2 laps the lead group was whittled down to Mottram on the front, Borrello in 2nd and me in third. I was at the front of a bike race and it was business time.

I was pretty content to sit on the group because I couldn't really go over the limit and attack because I only had one speed, and it was windy. I thought about attacking a couple of times, but then remembered that is a pretty easy way to ruin my day.

I'm somehow still in the lead group midway through the race, photo: Abel Tomkinson

Things stayed the same for a while until we hit the finish line at 2 laps to go and Mottram attacked. Borrello didn't respond so I jumped around him and tried my darnedest to chase down Mottram, dropping Borrello in the process . For the next lap and a half I was chasing hard, but I couldn't close the gap, Mottram was gone and I had to keep going if I wanted to keep Borrello at bay to get 2nd place.

Just after the attack by Mottram, now I'm in 2nd, photo: Abel Tomkinson

But, it was windy, and Borrello had a better gearing, he caught me and sat on my wheel for the last half a lap while pathetically tried to shake him. At the last 180 before the finish, he took the inside line and got away from me to take 2nd, I rolled in for 3rd place. I was disappointed for about 3 seconds and then I realized it was the first top 3 I had gotten since 2008 at the Penn State Collegiate B Downhill races.

Podium? Sweet! photo: Dave Chiu

Then I stood on a podium for the first time ever at a bike race. What a great way to cap off the season.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Ice Weasels Cometh 2010!

Ice Weasels! Even the name is ridiculous and for the third year running the event was great.

I spent the day prior to the race out in the cold slamming stakes into the ground with Colin, and his lunatic band of volunteers in balmy 22F degree temperatures for 6 hours. Which was great, especially because the ground was so cold we really had to force those suckers into the ground, or in many cases had to use a mallet and driving stake to get a hole in the first place. Lauren was chief smasher, she was excited about it.

Anywho, on the day of the race I got there at about 9:30 am and rolled into the parking lot to be greeted by Cary and Chip who were already holding beers, so the day was off to a good start.
Greg wore his helmet for protection from angered heckling victims, I wore my hat too high. Photo: Itai Halevi

After mulling around for a bit I found my way over to the microphone where I met up with my co-star, Greg Whitney to announce all the early races. After I had doubted him all week on the twitters, Greg was actually a great announcer which was a surprise to everyone but himself. There were a few hiccups along the way, we couldn't see the lap cards so we kind of guesstimated how many laps were left in each race, also, there were times where we simply lost track of the leaders on course, and said things along the lines of "oh who the hell knows."

So, after standing around for 3 & 1/2 hours yelling at people with a microphone I got changed into my Israeli team kit and left a slightly inebriated Ryan T Kelly in control of all announcing. After that I rode a lap or two, I was "warmed up" and went to start somewhere in the middle.
"Racing" Photo by Lee Toma

Then I raced my bike for a bit, until we hit the barriers for the first time and I stopped to have some beer. I got going again and I spent a lap or two near McKittrick, "racing." Sometime on the first lap a guy commented that he couldn't read my ass, which was surprising because I thought everyone could read Hebrew.
Mr. McKitty Stacks the Fly-Over, Photo by Lee Toma

Then Matt Aumiller started commenting on the PA system about the epic showdown that Mr. McKitty and I were having so I tried a little harder, and then I had a cupcake, Mr. McKitty gapped me and I stopped caring entirely. Somewhere in there I got wheel chopped by Colin, and a little later by Evan Murphy, my old friend from Canton, but then he sent me an e-mail apology the next day, what good sport; Colin didn't, he's a jerk.

Me, with GeWilli in tow, Photo by Lee Toma

Hanging out with Evan and GeWilli, Photo by Lee Toma

From then on it was a blur of cupcakes, beer, an onion(?) and I would continually stop to drink beers instead of taking them on the fly and constantly passing GeWilli until late in the race because I didn't want to be near him anymore. Also, I lapped Cosmo, which made me SO happy, and I gave Durrin a high five at some point.

Why did I take an Onion hand up? Why was there an Onion hand up? I wanted a cupcake! Photo by Keith Reynolds

I finished in the scrum, but who cares, I had a blast.

Monday, December 13, 2010

NBX Day 2 Race Report

After having a few moments of glory on the front of a UCI race on Day 1, I went back down to the kids (cat 3) race on day 2 in hopes to claim a few more Verge Series points as the series came to a close.

Heading into the race I had a major problem, I was still sick. My head cold had decided that our friendship was not over and wanted to stay with me throughout the weekend, so I coughed and sneezed my way through warming up before heading over to the start.

I lined up in the 4th row, because I have Verge Points and marginally do not suck and used what I'm going to call my "strategy" from day 1 and lined up on the left side of the grid. I knew it was important to have a good start because I had promised Chandler that at some point I would ride him into the tape this season, and he was on the first row, so TARGET ACQUIRED.
(In the top 15 Early on, photo by: Double Hop)

The plan worked out pretty well, when the whistle blew I had a great start and when we got to the first turn I had moved up to about 12th position, Kyle Smith was there, and he said hi. So I hung out in the top 15 for a while and I was trying to stay there, I was actually on the cusp of a really respectable race, and I was ANGRY for no reason in particular. This was most prevalent when I was pulling a group of about 10 riders through the twisty parking lot after the finish line trying to catch the leaders and I turned around to yell something like "YOU ALL SUCK!" Because, at the time I felt like they were not contributing to the chase. (It was only later on that I was told that everyone behind me just hanging on to my wheel for dear life).

(Still trying to get a top 25 a quarter of the way through the race, photo by: Double Hop)

So, after an exhaustive effort on the first 2-3 laps I started to fade and I just wanted to stay in the top 25, the group I had been pulling had passed me and now I was on the cusp of NOT getting Verge points, and then my cold had something to say, however, my cold did not really have communicative skills, and expressed it self by forcing me to cough alot, and then I was well out of the top 25.
(Head cold has taken control, photo by: Double Hop)

Ok, my race was over, and I wanted a beer. When I came by the second beach I had pretty much given up and I asked Colin for a beer, he told me to try for one more lap. I did, and sure enough the next time I came through I was rewarded with a nice cold one to relieve my sore throat.
(Yep, just coasting a late lap, photo by: Double Hop)

So, I was now phoning it in, and then I saw the guy in a grey t-shirt from Gloucester, and I decided to try again. But only enough to keep him behind me. When I made it to the second beach on the last lap Ben Corbalis was there and he took my beer feed as he passed me on the short run-up. He made up for it though, by taking a swig, flinging it into the air and then Scott Glowa snagged and finished it off, it was absolutely amazing.

Oh, then Ben and I decided to race for whatever position, and had a fun sprint where I won to take 44th of 90ish starters.

This race was still fun.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Backlogged Race Reports Lowell and Baystate Day 2

(This picture sums up how awesome Lowell was, photo: Toro Loco Cycling)


So, Lowell was a great event. I had a swell time. There was fun stuff there, such as ride-ups, hupcakes, barriers, hardpack, it was good. I also did the Elite (P/1/2/3) race because, I've pretty much had enough of the chaos of the cat 3/4 race for a while.

Anyways, I started in the middle-ish, I think, and I had a decent start. Unfortunately somehow got my foot stuck in Matt Aumiller's wheel on the opening sprint, and broke the valve off it, who knows how that happened, anyway I stayed upright and I spent most of the first lap on the Adam Sullivan train, things were going well.

Then Colin came flying by as I was sitting on RMM's wheel and I sprinted around RMM specifically for some chain-stay cam time. That was fun. Then I hung out with John Mosher for a bit and tried to stay with the Adam Sullivan Group. But couldn't and during this period RMM got around me.

But then I got dropped and I was trying to pursue RMM because, well, because, I wanted to beat him into the ground. So I rode hard, whilst still taking waffle, four loko and cupcakes during my pursuit and at two laps to go I had caught RMM and blew past him. Then I tried to close the gap to Josh to get back some dignity in the Hebrew cup, only to finish 10 seconds behind him as I claimed back 6 spots back over the last two laps.

Final result: 24 of 36

Bay State Day 2

After getting what I thought was a very respectable dead last in the UCI race on day 1, I was looking forward to a solid ride in the cat 3 (aka Kids') race on day 2. Especially with the more technical and twisty course that really suited my skill set.

I started in the 3rd row or so and just hung out for a while with the usual suspects and had a plan, suck wheels like crazy while things spread out.

Early on I was riding with Ian, Casserly and Benny my teammate. I was rather enjoying this group. Everybody pulled, everybody tried to move up and we were in the Verge Points zone.
(Railing a turn with Oscar in tow, early on Day 2. Photo: Ryan LaRocque)

Eventually, Ian disappeared because he doesn't agree with corners and I was left to hang out with Benny and Casserly. I felt bad for a moment, then I recalled I could finally reclaim some Hebrew Cup glory!
(Hanging out on with Benny & Casserly. Photo: Roger Cadman)

At maybe 2 laps to go I was following Casserly down the big hill that had a slick rock on the descent and I saw him eat it, hard. I said "Sorry dude!" and whizzed by as he lay on the ground. He later told me it was one of the more demoralizing moments in his entire life. SWEET.

So, last lap and it was just down to Me and Benny, who have been going back and forth all season to be the alpha Wheelworks Cat 3 and I make a tactical decision to sit on his wheel the whole time until the final short hard ride up before the finish. When we hit it, I took the high line, then dived down onto the track to get in front of him and I took 22nd of 87 and he took 23rd and I snagged few more verge points. Pissah!

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to ruin your race, NBX Day 1 Report

I think I've finally figured out the proper steps to totally ruin a bike race:
  1. Race in a category in which you do not belong
  2. Show up sick
  3. Get a good start position
  4. Ride your bike as hard as you can at the start
  5. Think it'd be a good idea to get in front of the people who can win the bike race
  6. Go to the front
  7. Go into the first corner way too fast and almost eat dirt
  8. Blow up spectacularly
For those of you who haven't seen it on the twitters:

So, basically, I went down to NBX, and all I really wanted to do was hang out with PVB in the back because, well said I would be close to him. On Friday, I was pretty excited about it:
But, when I got to the race, well, things changed. Because of UCI rules I wasn't staged in the back, like I should be, like I would be in a local race, instead, thanks to the random draw, I got third row, just behind the guys with UCI points.

When we got the whistle, I rode my bike pretty hard. I closed down a gap so that I wouldn't get gapped on the long straight-away up to the first turn.
(Starting in the middle, Photo by Peter Ozolins)

And then I saw some holes and I went past Al Donahue, and I found myself next to Adam Myerson and Derrick St. John. And then my brain went "I guess I better get to the front." So I got in front of Derrick and railed it. I was on the front of at UCI race, it was sweet.
(What now Mr. Keough? Photo by: Jay Walsh)

(On the front, why? photo by Jay Walsh)

Then I went into the first corner way to fast, almost came to a complete stop then tried to stay up there, only to blow up spectacularly and get spat out the back, seriously fast.

I was definitively last by the end of the opening loop. Then, I started coughing uncontrollably, stopped to get it out of the system and after 3-4 laps of a solo time trial off the back I dropped out.

Yeah, it was awesome.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Baystate day 1 Race Report

Aww yeah, I raced elite. It was great. Did you know that the elite race is insanely fast at the start? I sure didn't.

Oh, right so I decided to do the UCI race at Bay State because, well, I had the license, and I figured "why not, right?"

Anyhow, Jeremy Powers was there to win some small series title. If you don't know who Jeremy Powers is, all you need to know is that he gets paid to race his bicycle and races all over the world, so he is fast. While, I've raced all over, I'm in fact always losing money racing bikes, I think my total profit from bike racing is about negative $5,000. Needless to say I was excited.

Before the race I sat in the car with Tasha, because it was cold and we had a dance party, mostly of songs that sound like this:

So, I was rocking out, it was great, and then I went over to get my number, the person at registration said I was "a sandbagger" for doing cat 3 on Sunday and UCI on Saturday, little did she know I was reverse sandbagging.

A while later I got dressed, and rode the course and went to the start and stuff. I got called up by name, because this was a PRO-ASS bike race and I guess the UCI thinks we are all pros. But anyhow I started near-ish the back, which was fortunate, because I didn't want to be in the way of anybody who was faster than me.

When we got the whistle I sprinted and I hung out with Ryan and Colin, who were "freaking out" because we had to make a left hand turn of this cinder track. When we hit the run up I was still near people and I was SUPER EXCITED.

I ended up in a group with Adam Sullivan, Cary and Colin somehow and they decided to go fast. Also, since Colin had his sweet chain-stay cam on his bike, I wanted to get some sweet video time, like I did at Lowell, (skip forward to 8:19).

Baystate Cyclocross Day 1 Chainstay Cam from colin reuter on Vimeo.

(I am in the video from 1:40 until 3:12, then I get stuck behind fellow Union Alumnus Adam Sullivan for a while)

But after a couple of minutes on the back of this train, they went faster than my legs would allow, and it was time for my favorite thing: SOLO TIME TRIAL OFF THE BACK. But, as my friends informed me, "Steve you are beating people!" Alright, I'm not last!

Those people were some guy (Rodrigo) and RMM. After beating RMM at Lowell, I wanted to get him again. In order to achieve that I tried to lay it down, hard, for the next 25 minutes until RMM caught me, then I almost killed a spectator, and also caught some course tape, and the next thing I knew I was last, sweet.

So, I tried to just ride tempo and then I got lapped by Jeremy Powers at 42 minutes. It wasn't that bad though, because I was pulled on the same lap as a lot of other people. So, all things considered I am going to call my UCI debut a success, except for when I rode by Frances and she yelled "Steve, what are you doing in the elite race?" She is a good friend.

Last note: Amateur racers, I got lapped by Jeremy Powers, it wasn't that bad, I still had fun. So toughen up and upgrade.