Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thoughts on USAC putting down the hammer on OBRA and the ACA

Having recently perused this investigative piece on Cyclocross Magazine's website about USA Cycling (USAC) putting down the hammer on the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) and the American Cycling Association of Colorado (ACA) I thought I'd take the chance to point out a few facts about nation's governing body that I've learned over the years.

One major factor for the USAC enforcement of rule that International Cycling Union (UCI) licensed racers are barred from racing in other sanctioning bodies is well founded on insurance concerns. When a rider from the US races abroad on a UCI license issued by USAC they need to request permission from USAC (See USAC rulebook Appedix 3). What does that have to do with OBRA and ACA? Well, a lot. Allowing UCI riders to compete in OBRA and ACA events is undermining the insurance agreement USAC has with the UCI and transitively all other cycling governing bodies associated with the UCI. For example, when a US based rider decides to head on over to say, Spain, they show the permission to ride letter from USAC along with their UCI license to the fine folks at registration. Which is essentially saying, "Since the Spanish Federation is permitting this race, and the Spanish Federation is part of the UCI, I have insurance." Alternatively, if internationally licensed domestic riders were to continue racing in OBRA or ACA events, it is setting a precedent for riders from outside the US to race without insurance as they likely won't hold OBRA or ACA licenses and in this all undermines USAC's insurance agreement with the UCI.

An additional insurance concern comes from amateur riders, which is why USAC has some grounds on the basis of standardizing upgrades and categorization of riders across the country. By allowing category reciprocity from USAC to OBRA/ACA and vice versa, USAC is taking a big risk. This comes from how stringent USAC's upgrade process is, (or at least how stringent USAC believes the process is). That is to say USAC simply doesn't trust the upgrade process in OBRA or the ACA, and I think understandably so, as the process may be softer/weaker in OBRA or the ACA. Now, one could make the argument that this could be true for any local association (like NYSBRA, NEBRA, etc...) but at least local associations across the country are using the same rulebook and overseeing the process from top to bottom. And as far as USAC is concerned a category 2 road rider from OBRA or the ACA may actually be more like a USAC cat 3 and their lack of experience, pack riding skills and the like could present a great safety risk to other riders in a USAC Pro/1/2 field (such as a USACrits event), which is why we have categories in the first place. By removing category reciprocity USAC is making sure that they are covered for any event under a USAC permit.

One last note is on USAC's perceived lack of support for cyclocross because as USAC is prone to saying "cyclocross isn't an olympic sport," which it isn't (yet, hopefully). And while disappointing to many, it is a partially justified statement, this is due to the fact that USAC just like many other athletic governing bodies in the US is a subsidiary of the US Olympic Committee, which means two things. First, this sets the principal under which USAC operates, which is to win Olympic Medals. Second a good portion of the funding comes from the USOC, around $900,000 for fiscal years 2010, and 2009, making it the largest direct contributor outside membership fees, permitting, etc... for our governing body. Now, full disclosure, the second largest direct contributor is the USA Cycling Development Foundation, bringing in about $800,000 in 2010 and 2009. Now, as of July 13, 2011 delivering Olympic medals was removed from the official purpose and bylaws of USAC, but there is still a culture of olympic success in Colorado Springs, with the USAC and USOC offices being less than 7 miles apart.

In summary it's pretty easy to write off USAC cycling based on it's actions, but before getting out your pitchfork and regional flag declaring your independence from the tyrants in Colorado Springs, take a minute and think about why the governing body is making the changes you see.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Downeast, Beacon, HPCX


Downeast Weekend
Nothing to say, courses had lots of running due to mud, I don't do that so well..... Ho hum. One day I had an epic reverse holeshot... um.. I did not get rad, I did not get verge points... I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Beacon Cross
I have to preface this race report by describing the conditions. They were amazing and awful. How you might ask?

Well, it was 36F and raining. Which is the best type of weather, because .... it's epic. I am prone to epic condition bike races. Because now I have a story to tell.

So, the "warm up" for the day consisted of sitting in the car, hanging out on twitter and doing 1 pre-ride lap in full rain gear and rain boots.

I do have to say that the course was actually pretty awesome. Fast, flowy, sandy, turny, twisty, muddy. I would describe it as rad.

Anyhow, I started last row, because the MAC doesn't believe in Crossresults and I got staged by order from registration.

When the whistle blew I moved up quickly into the top half. I pedaled hard for a while and blew past people. But after the first muddy section the field strung out on the wide and fast course and I resigned myself to riding high tempo for the rest of the day trying to stay in the top 20. From there I got cold and wet. Also, there was the famous ampitheater of pain, with mud at the top and a long beach run. Both of which are not conducive to me having a good bike race. These two course elements caused me to fade a bit and I fell back into the 30's. I then rode with a couple of guys I don't know and sprinted for 30th.

It sure was a lovely day (photo: Hudson Racing)

From that point onwards I was focused on putting on dry clothes.

After the previous day's storm I was super excited for the snow on course at HPCX. The only problem was that it wasn't a good snow. It was the kind of snow that sits on top of damp grass and turns the entire bike race course into a bog. A bog with lots of running if you are a scrub, like me.

But, that's ok! For it was sunny and pleasant out and I can deal with that.

For the second day I was staged in DABACK with the scrubs and rolled off the start.

The start was rather intriguing, because we went up a hill on pavement into a muddy bog. Which meant it was time to run with my bicycle and throw some bows, and that is always rather exciting. Especially when I am down in the MidAtlantic and nobody has a clue who I am, thus I have no reputation to protect. I was throwing out my elbows, getting all up in dudes' lines and then I recalled... I hate running.

I decided to ride conservatively and save some energy for the running parts, this plan was foiled by the fact that the entire course was mud. Which meant pedaling hard the entire time, which requires being fit, which I am not.

'twas rather muddy (photo: Lauren's Mom)

After a few laps of this agony I recall passing Andrew (AKA Roommate X) as he had punctured his tire. Which meant it was time to try again! My glorious time as the alpha roommate was not to last however, as after he ran half a lap to the pit, he got a wheel from neutral support and then blew past me like I was standing still. He claims he did it because of this thing called "training" I think it is because he sacrifices kittens to the Evil Mud God on Mount Olympus... So he may of beaten me, but he also kills kittens! MORAL VICTORY.

Anyhow, I beat some dudes and rolled in for 37th of 64.

Another not terribly exciting weekend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MRC Race Report!

I had big plans for the MRC Cyclocross race, I was going warm up, eat right and actually be ready to race when the time came for some single-speeding.

Tragically, Greg roped me into announcing all the events with him, which meant standing around, talking on the microphone drinking coffee and eating donuts all morning until 10 minutes before my race.

I got this!

After changing and riding the course I knew I might have a chance for a respectable result. But then I learned there was a first lap prize. Which meant, I was going to go all out for the first lap, because I'm really good at that.

After the LeMans start....

I got on my bike and rode it pretty darn fast. And I was leading the bike race with Cort, which was great, I took a better line and got around him before the finish to win $50! Then I sat up for a second, and he was ready to keep going, whereas I didn't feel so great.

Photo: Abel

I keep pushing for half a lap and then... it was time for some coffee and donuts next to the side of the course. I got passed by a lot of people. Finished my coffee and donuts and then got back on my bike to rally and move my way back through the field to finish 17th.

Was blowing up after the first lap worth it?


Providence Day 2 Race Report


I got really busy with LIFE and all of a sudden I forgot about my blog!

Really, I know, it's upsetting. I mean, I have kept twitter going pretty darn well, but my blog. This thing is my baby and I've neglected it like I was neglected as a child. And now it is awkward, confused and can't pick out pants that fit.

But that's ok I guess. The blog and I needed some time apart so I could get a job and not be stressed out all the time.

Oh, right, bike racing! I've done a bit.

Let's do this!

Providence day 2
I missed out on Providence Day 1 because it was Yom Kippur, which is kind of a big deal. Like a really big deal. Thus I spent the whole day with family, fasting, not moving. But, I ate a massive meal at the Break-The-Fast on Saturday night and thought that would be sufficient to rally for a decent ride on Sunday. But how I was wrong.

I showed up at the race venue early, tried to eat, but couldn't and it was also nine million degrees kelvin. I don't know if you have ever read my blog, but I don't do so well when it's hot. Regardless, I pre-rode, hung out and got sad because the course had 1 mile of pavement on a 2 mile course and, it was hot. Did I mention that it was hot? Because it was hot.

Oh, so then it was time to race bikes, and I lined up behind the guys with Verge Points, because at this time in the season my results from 2010 were carrying my points.

Then the race started and .... it was hot.

I almost died a couple of times in the middle of the scrum, but I also just couldn't "go." This proved to be a slight problem as I felt awful 90 seconds into a 45 minute race.

Then things went from bad to worse, because as you may recall it was hot.

I started to fade, and fade, and fade, and I soon found myself deep in the Scrub Zone. It was not a good place to be, Mike Zancanato was there, and while I like the guy, and he sure does make swell bicycles, but I don't really like racing for 90th with the guy.

But then Dave Chiu showed up! He was chasing me down, and it almost felt like we were racing for 35th! Then, Dave fell down and I never saw him again. Ugh lame.

After that I got passed by some dudes and rolled in for a pretty meager 99th place.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gloucester Race Reports!

Oh, wow.

It has actually been a month since I updated this blog. I probably should catch up with all the bike racing that has been totally happening!

Right, let's get to it folks!

Gloucester Day 1
I don't exactly recall what happened, except for the fact that it was muddy. Which made me sad. I started 5th row, I think. I had a respectable start, moving up into the top 30 only to go slower as the race went on.

Photo: Ben Stephens

I don't really know what happened, I just remember there was an immense amount of suffering. I may have started crying on the last lap. Result 59 of 150

Gloucester Day 2

After the totally mediocre day 1 in mud, I was pretty stoked on a relatively dry day 2. Again I started about 5th row with bro's all around and I was PUMPED TO GO AROUND TURNS.

After the opening sprint I started bob and weave my way through the field and found myself in the top thirty. From then on I tried to LAY IT DOWN on the flat sections and SPRINT out of every corner. Which is a great strategy if you actually have fitness, but I don't. And after 2 laps I started to fade. By this point I was struggling and I knew it was time to limit the damage, so I focused on picking good lines and going as hard as I could on the flat parts. I was battling, it was fun. People yelled at me, and then the race was over. Result 41 of 144

Awesome race reports. I KNOW

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Midnight Ride Race Reports!

You know what's better than racing and training to get ready for the Cylocross Mega-week? Doing nothing!

And with that mindset I started the 2011 Cyclocross campaign in style at the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross in beautiful Lancaster, MA. I got to the race at about 4 after doing some traffic racing and did a slow lap on my new bike, that I built the day before with my new tubular wheels I had glued a few days earlier, and with total faith in my mechanic I pre-rode with about 10 psi in the tire because I don't know how tubulars work. After that I registered, socialized and walked to my car and heard the first call to staging.

Cat 3 Gentlemens' Race

"Wait, what? My race starts in ten minutes? I could have sworn it was at 5:30." The response from those around me was, nope, 5. CRAP. Ok, I applied skinsuit, rolled over to the start and hung out with dudes until we got lined up.

Thanks to Crossresults I lined up in the 2nd row and away we went. Early on I moved up to about 3rd wheel and I was at the business end of the race. IT WAS ON LIKE DONKEY KONG ON SUPER NINTENDO IN THE BASEMENT CIRCA 1993!

Up front was Sean "My dad owns a bike shop and I don't care if I sandbag" Kennedy, Jeff Elie and a few bro's I didn't know. But I was being aggro and I soon found myself 2nd wheel chasing down a surge from Kennedy out of the barriers. I tried apply WATTS to the situation.

Then I started to fade a little bit and ended up chasing a leading group of 3 or 4. A few laps later and the race had strung out a little more and I was now in 6th/7th with Ian Whittle, trading pulls to keep a large group behind us at bay. We hung out for few laps and then Ian had enough of my shenanigans and away he went off to 6th place without me, JERK.

I spent the last lap or two doing my best to keep the 5 or 6 chasers at bay, and rolled in for a solid 7th place finish.

SingleSpeed Race (A gearing choice not a category)

Then I was tired and hungry, also, I had to do another bike race in about 10 minutes. Quickly changed numbers, had a gu, zip-tied my shifters and got to the start. This time with no aspirations of doing well. Lined up 3rd row and away we went for another 45 minutes of cyclocross. After about 300 meters I found myself in the top 10 and I immediately realized I was overgeared. Oh noes! After 2 laps of trying to hang out in the top 15 it was time for the Gentlemen's slide to scrubtown, and I found myself in the middle of the bike race.

At which point Todd "20#Skull" Preskaksisiavatich showed up and I decided to have fun, so I let him catch up to my wheel, then I ATTACKED LIKE A BOSS FOR 35th PLACE, just to mess with him. I couldn't really keep that going and he soon caught back on going into the small stairs.

To prevent getting passed I implemented the best of race tactics, I dismounted and swung my bike out as far to the right as I could shoving my rear triangle into his face, because I'm an adult.

Todd was not hindered by this, got around me and then rode away.

I then tempo rode in for a uninteresting result.

Then I was more tired, more hungry, and my legs hurt. I ate some food and then went on to yell at people in the elite races.

Gosh, what an awesome event. Well done Gary David and Minuteman Road Club, well done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CX 2012 Looms

A few quick notes about the 2012 cyclo-cross campaign:

  1. I am getting a new bike, it will look like this:

  2. I am yet to do a 'cross race, because of some extenuating life circumstances, but I am excited to do the Midnight Ride
  3. I have tubular cyclo-cross tyres for the first time this season, I will undoubtedly roll them or flat them at some point because I am gluing them myself, they are by the fine folks at Vittoria
  4. I'm on the fence about having a 2012 Hebrew Cup, as it is looking ever more likely that I will not win, and what's the point directing a series that you made up if you cant win?
  5. Despite my currently flexible work schedule, I spent a lot of my free time applying for jobs... We'll see how that affects results.
  6. I moved to Somerville, everyone in my house races the cyclo-cross. I live in a madhouse filled with tubulars and whoopie pies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 2011, the month of awful

It is amazing how not riding your bike because you are tired all the time from work can affect your bike racing ability, this was most exemplified in 4 races I did from July 31 to August 10.

July 31, Norwell Circuit Race
Let's see, I went down to the race, hadn't ridden at all in a week and thought I could totally hang out, then I realized I had signed up for a P/1/2/3 race and I have no watts. So, after about 1/2 the race I got dropped, then I waited to get lapped, rode in the field for 2 more laps and then gave up, which was great.

August 3, Gran Prix of Beverly
After my stellar result on Sunday, I thought it'd be a good idea to do a notoriously fast 6 (or 5) corner Criterium on Wednesday because I'm smart. So I registered, got to the line, and did a genius thing which was start in the last row. Then we started and went real fast, which was fun, especially since I like corners. I would rail the corner and stay seated while the dudes in front of me would sprint and I could just barely hold a wheel. I continued to do this and survived the initial "let's get shelled out the back" train and I soon found my self in DA BACK, which was not a good place to be. I was tailgunning like a boss just behind a dude and hoping for dear life not to get dropped.

At this point I was enjoying my suffering a-plenty when the guy in front of me gave up, by which I mean, the field was lined out, and we were the last 2 guys in the field and he took his hands of the the bars and sat up. I was like "SERIOUSLY DUDE?" and tried to sprint around him to get back on the field, and almost got there, but couldn't close the gap. Then I got DROPPED and rode off the back for a while and got pulled.


After the race I had dinner and found that my teammates did this to my bike, because they love me:

August 7, Hodges Village Dam
I had big plans for Hodges Village Dam, I'd be doing a moutain bike race, in a rainstorm, on a really technical course, and I wanted to win the 2011 Hebrew Cup MTB championship against Uri and Ian. When I got to the race two things happened: first, it stopped raining, second, it got really really hot and humid. GREAT. Then, when the race started I tried to win the holeshot, which was a less than stellar idea and I started to blow up. That was rad. I then suffered immensely for 3 laps of technical mountain biking in steam-room like weather and finished 10th, losing the Hebrew Cup handily.

August 10, Witches Cup
I actually thought I could do well at the Witches Cup. I really, truly did. I got a second row start, messed up a little and then hung out in the field for like half the race while we went really fast. Then there was a crash, and I had to do a huge acceleration to stay in the field. This was my undoing, and a few laps later out the back I went. That sucked. Then I was sad, had a beer and decided to retire from road racing for the season, because getting dropped all the time was getting upsetting.

When does cyclocross season start?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yarmouth Clam Fest

Before going to the glorious State of Maine this past weekend I was pretty excited, because Maine is totally awesome and I had always heard great things about the Yarmouth Clam Festival race over the years.

Anyhow, I left Newton on Saturday night, with two my GreenLineVelo driven by ZipCar teammates to sleep on the floor in Portland. Now, it should be noted that before we left Newton, I had a chicken parm sub, then on the way out of Somerville (to pick up a teammate) I had a delicious chicken burrito and lastly while we were getting gas in Haverhill I had a bottle of chocolate milk and a white chocolate candy bar. This was probably the healthiest I've ever eaten the night before a race.

We arrived in Portland and after a little socializing I hit the futon pad on the floor and awoke 6 hours later to head over to the race, naturally I stopped at the local Dunkin Donuts for some health snacks.

Upon arrival in Yarmouth I did the usual pre-race nonsense, registration, changing, socializing, "warming up" and helping teammate Greg install a new chain and my used cyclocross derailleur because he had a parts explosion the day before. Then, rolled over to the start, and away we went for 35 miles of bicycle racing.

Early on it was immediately apparent that I didn't warm up enough and I felt terrible. But I hung out in the race and hoped that it would improve as the race got on. The first 5 or 6 laps were uneventful, I tried to move up a bit with Chandler, but I still felt downright awful. But, regardless at 3 laps to go I made a big push to move up and then I felt even worse.
Tailgunning, photo: Don McEwan

So on the backside of the course at 2 laps to go I floated to the end of the pack and Kyle actually gave me a little bit of a push as a warning I was about to get DROPPED, and then breakfast, and most of dinner from the night before was expelled from my body as I rolled off the back of the group.

Finishing, photo: Don McEwan

But then, I totally rallied! With the white death extracted from me, I finally felt not that terrible and I punched it to get back in the group. For the final two laps, I tailgunned hard, then moved up about 20 spots on the finishing climb. Just after that I saw Nat, and I was like "OH MAN, INTERNET" and sprinted hard for 60somethingish position and then the race was over.

I should be noted that Greg got 11th, on my used derailleur that he installed 20 minutes before the race. That man is not human.

After the race, I hung out with people, ate some fried food at the event and chilled. From there we got back in the car, and went to the beach, which was great:

Gosh, summer is swell.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crits, Crits, Crits

That's right, I've done 3 in the last two weeks, and now I shall share some brief reports.

Exeter Criterium
For those of you not in the know, the Exeter crit is one of the "big deal" weeknight crits in New England each summer and has a Pro/1/2/3 race aka, it was going to be fast. It was. All you need to know is that I paid $30 to hang out in the bunch for about 27 minutes until I decided I wanted to float back a little bit and then BOOM the field blew past me and I was off the back, solo.

Then it was time to wait for a group of 6 dudes (including young Collin) who also got DROPPED LIKE ROCKS, and we rode another 4 laps chasing in a completely disorganized fashion and then we sprinted, which I won. SO, I was the fastest guy to get pulled and placed. I'm kind of a big deal like that.

Attleboro Crit (Pro/1/2/3)

On Saturday I went on down to Attleboro to contest the big kids race and had a blast. I sat in a lot, because I'm not that good at bike racing. But there were a few moments of brilliance... I attacked with Adam Sullivan about 10 laps in and we didn't really commit to DA BREAK and I dangled off the front for a few laps, because that's how I like to roll. Then I spent a bunch of laps recovering, and started to work my way up to the front to help out Sam because he has insane sprinting watts, and he needed "protection."After helping him hold position from laps 10 to 5 to go, I was in 5th wheel and saw Adam St. Germain attack and attempt to bridge to DA BREAK, I thought, "that seems like a good idea" and followed toute-suite, only to realize that my legs did not think that was a good idea, and I swerved to the left, hoping to get out of the way, only to almost kill the rest of the group. Fortunately the group was fine and I was sent to the back of the bunch with the scrubs where I belong, which is where I finished. Sam did manage 8th place, he used his winnings to buy me a Dunkin Donuts Coolatta after the race, it was delicious.

Attleboro Crit (cat 3)

After the Elite race (above) at Attleboro, I decided to double up and do the cat 3 race because I like pain and suffering on two wheels. Early on I was aggressive and tried to attack with Uri, only to learn that my legs hurt. Then I tailgunned it for 30 laps got to the front at 4 to go to help shut down DA BREAK and turned myself inside out for my team. Then I stopped caring entirely and rolled in 2nd to last. The team got 2 guys in the top ten, so I'm fairly happy with the race.

Basically, I'm getting better at hurting myself by being aggressive and racing in elite fields in which I do not belong. Now I just need to get some secret watts, because I've given up on this whole "sitting in" thing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

On Being a Cat 3 Domestique, Keith Berger Crit Report

I went on down to Connecticut on Sunday for the Keith Berger Criterium with my friends on Green Line Velo driven by Zipcar, because we like to go around in circles real fast.

When I arrived at the venue I was amazed at how nontechnical the course was, and thus would be "wicked fast guy."

Going into the race the GLV boys and I had big plans to win priemes and take the win as we had 7 guys in the race.

Then the bike race happened, and things didn't exactly work out that way. Early on, Mark won a cash prieme on a 1 lap breakaway as the boys got up to the front to block for him, so that was pretty cool.

That looked pretty fun, so a few laps later I decided I wanted to be in DA BREAK so I attacked at a totally random time hoping that someone would want to come hang out with me off the front of the race, but nobody did and I dangled off the front for two laps before getting reeled back in before the next prieme.

Then I recovered for a while, tried to attack about two-thirds of the way through the race and bridge up to a break, but the cat 3 gentlemen thought that it was not a gentlemanly thing to do and collectively decided that I wasn't going to get away with that kind of silliness.

At this point, the race got fairly fast and all 80 dudes were lined out at 30 mph any time people wanted to get off the front, which meant it was time to wheelsuck my way up to the front.

At 8 laps to go I had made my way into the top 20 wheels along with Hughes and it was time to do my job and KEEP IT TIGHT, because I was a sacrificial lamb and the GLV crew wanted a big old fashioned field sprint. The positioning proved to be crucial four laps later when I saw some dudes trying to attack and Hughes and I were right there to shut that noise down.

At 3 to go, I was on the front and I guy from 5 wheels back goes "WE GOT A GAP, GO!" So, I drilled it knowing Hughes was there with me and I figured we maybe had a chance, and then I peeled off only to see the field was right there, and I decided to just slide my way back into the race on the inside of turn 2. Of course, I got pinched super hard and I decided that instead of cutting deep into the field and causing a crash I would just hit the brakes, let the field roll by and completed the last few laps of the race alone, off the back, knowing that I had done my job.

Mark ended up in 5th, Keith in 11th, and Hughes and I got 2nd to last and last respectfully.

I would call the whole thing a bike racing success.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Pinnacle Race Report

"Man it's rough, I don't know where to start or where to begin" -Patton Oswalt

Which in this case means, I don't know whether to talk about the bike racey part of my Pinnacle experience or how totally amazing the course was. Although, I may just refer you to ROOTER'S BLOG, because his childlike enthusiasm is perfect for describing how totally RAD the course was.

So I'm going to start talking about the race now. GET READY.

First of all, this was round 2 of the Hebrew Cup with the one and only אורי הלבי which meant I needed to go Niv Libner fast to beat him. It was also fortunate that he came up in the same car as me so I could have ample time to psyche him out.

Um, what else..... OH YEAH! There were 6 people in my race, and one of them was this super nice guy named Billy who was wearing black shorts and a blue cotton tee, and Chris Hamlin, pretty much guaranteed that Billy was going to win.

I met some other dudes at the start line and I was really only concerned about beating Uri.

The start was uninteresting and despite winning the hole shot, I opted to sit up because the race was 2 hours not 20 seconds and get faster as the race got longer. Anyhow, I slipped into fourth and then I just rode hard enough to keep Uri behind me. I got to the top of the hill, passed the guy in third who got a flat, and Uri disappeared, which was great. Then I went across the top of the hill and rode down with a huge idiot grin on my face.

Up the hill once again and I saw Fred Howland behind me, and I was "RACING" again to get on the podium. I kept Fred at bay all the way up the climb and made it to the sweet off-camber rolling section at the top of the hill. Then, my gear fell apart, by which I mean, my shifter stopped working. So I stopped, to see what the deal was and got passed by Fred, which sucked.

I eventually got going again, by pulling on the exposed section of my shifter cable to engage the paul in the shifter and BOOM, I could shift with one hand on the down tube and another on the shifter.

I eventually made it to the bottom of the hill, did one more lap and finished up in 4th place, NICE. If I only didn't ruin my bike in the middle of the race, I could have gotten third! After the race I learned that Uri, had not only broken his seat post clamp before the race, but had also broken his chain during the race, and had to DNF, so I won the HEBREW CUP!

And yes, the guy in the Blue t-shirt won, by seven minutes. That was great.

Last note, I figured out the problem with my shifting on Tuesday, when my derailleur broke:

Apparently, it was a little old.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Domnarski Farm MTB Race Report

For the second time this year I decided I need to GET RAD and thus did a mountain bike race, it was out in Central Mass at a farm, I was excited. Dr. PVB and I got a ride to the race from Joshua Robot, which meant I was going to get some Old Man Power from them (combined racing age over 60) on the way to the race, right?

Finally arrive at the race, register, catch up with Uri, who was the top nemesis for the day, as he was the only person I knew in the Cat 2 19-29 race, and was my only competition in the 2012 Hebrew Cup, I tried to psyche him out with my 2.2" wide tires, he had 29" wheels and awkwardness on his side. Then I changed, and said hi to more mountain bike friends that I hadn't seen in months, and remembered it was time to race bikes. Oh, I forgot to warm up, this is no big deal.

I got a front row start, because I race cyclocross and I know that is important for positioning. After the whistle blew I rode not terribly hard in third wheel down the 50 feet of fire road before the first technical section and managed to stay upright and boom, I had won the holeshot, because that is what I do.

And then I just pedaled, not terribly hard, because mountain bike racing is an endurance event, and I was "saving my energy" for the later part of the race. Little did I know that the race started by going up hill for a mile. After about 5 minutes of off the front glory I got passed by a guy from my race like I was standing still, and then a minute or two later by another guy. Ok, 3rd place, I can hang out here right?

Well, no, because after the long climb there was a really long section of fire road where I needed to pedal hard, and for those of you who don't know me I am not very good at that. But I tried (sort of) and I entered the next single track section solo with the hopes that 4th place (and Uri) were far behind me, they weren't.

Soon, I was going uphill again, and I saw Uri behind me and we enter another section of fire road, CRAP. Now I really have to pedal hard. But there was nothing I could do and I was caught by Uri and his big wheels, he passed me, and then crashed. After that, I passed him again, he caught me and then I got a stick stuck in my rear derailleur and then Uri didn't want to wait for me to take it out because he is a jerk.

I fix my bike, start pedalling, and I officially have no idea where I am on the 10 mile course, or what position I'm in and I start with the "I WANT THIS TO BE OVER" thoughts. Then there was more climbing, it was not fun, especially with my 36 tooth single ring up front, I couldn't spin up anything, which meant pedaling hard. I yelled to my legs "MOVE FASTER" to which they replied "uh... no." This was most apparent in the powerlines section of the course which had 2 super steep climbs exposed in the sun, and then a technical super tight climbs in the woods when I was passed by a dude I recognized from the start line.

Eventually, 7 miles in I got to the top of the course and started going down hill, which was great. Like much of the course it was a mix of techinical single track and fast fire roads that had berms and rocks, making it super awesome, I was having fun again. This is when I remembered why people are scared of mountain bike racing, because hitting a tree or rock at these speeds would suck.

Anyhow, after 3 miles of awesome descending (with a soul crushing steep climb in there just for good measure) the race was over.

After washing my bike and putzing around for a while I learned that Uri got 3rd place and I rolled in a few minutes later for 6th of 17 finishers.

I was displeased for a minute because I really wanted a top 5 finish, but the course was fantastic, the weather was great, and I had a good time. Gosh, mountain bike racing is fun!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weeping Willow MTB Race Report

After a 3 year hiatus from Mountain Bike racing (ok, I sort of did one in 2010 in Israel) I determined that it was time to return to my roots and get my RAD on at the Weeping Willow last weekend.

I registered for the Expert Race because it was an EFTA race and I could pick my own category, because as I was informed by Internet Colin that I would be sandbagging if I raced Sport and I hate sandbaggers so I wanted to avoid being a hypocrite.

Anyhow, I got to the race and pestered Lauren about how to race Mountain bikes and I got my "there are too many categories" speech out of the way before registration and then got ready to race.

I asked Coach Colin for tire pressure advice because this was my second ride ever on Tubeless tires and I didn't want to screw it up, so on his advice I put 20psi in both front and rear.

Then I warmed up, lined up and waited at the start line fore 15 minutes for the bicycle race to start. I was staged with 3 Expert Juniors ages 12-18 and the 6 other dudes in the Expert 19-29 race, we were behind the Singlespeed race (remember that) and the Expert 30-39 race was behind us.

So, the race gets going and I make a point NOT to win the holeshot and I hang out in 3rd or 4th wheel until the first single track section, which is when we start passing single speed racers. A few minutes later I get gapped by the leading trio of riders and I get stuck behind a train of singlespeed guys, I get around them and start clawing my way back to the front only to have a singlespeed guy go down in front of me on a tight, off camber turn, so I slam on the brake and BURP, I lose a bunch of air from my front tire. CRAP.

Radness! Photo: Toro Loco

Now it is time to frantically pump it back up to 20psi while the rest of my field, some single speeders and the front of the expert 30-39 race blows by, which means I know I've lost two minutes, super. I finally get going and channel my Grumpy Man Power (GMP) and drill it back through many of the singlespeed guys to find another couple guys from my race. I pass them both and after lap 1 I think I'm in 3rd place again.

GMP! Photo: Toro Loco

Things were going well, I was finally all alone on the course and I had two guys from my race in pursuit, when I burped my front tire again on a different off camber midway through the second lap. CRAPTASTIC! I pump up the tire to 35 psi this time and watch two guys from my race cruise by me and I get going again, hold off the 6th place dude and roll in for 5th place.

I was a little annoyed by my double tire burp and having to ride through most of the back end of the singlespeed open race. But hey, Mountain Bike racing is fun! So, who cares? I'll be back for more in 2011.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Welcome to Purgatory, 2011

"Be not intimidated," said my Lord,
"Be reassured, for all is well with us;
Do not restrain, but put forth all thy strength.

Thou hast at length arrived at Purgatory;
See there the cliff that closes it around;
See there the entrance, where it seems disjoined.

Purgatorio: Canto IX, Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

That's right boys and girls, the Purgatory Road Race is Back for 2011!

Here are some reasons why you should go:

  1. Exceptional Organization
  2. It'll be wicked hard guy
  3. It is close to Boston, Providence, Hartford, Amherst and Worcester
  4. It has an awesome name
  5. It is the only NEBRA and USAC sanctioned Road Race in Southern New England that weekend
  6. Proceeds Benefit the Sutton Food Pantry
  7. Ample Parking and Bathrooms

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blue Hills Race Report

Ok, last week I hyped up my team, Green Line Velo driven by Zipcar heavily for the win at Blue Hills, as we were to have 8 riders at the start. I went into the day hoping to be a super domestique and help the team get the W. Sadly, as you will read on the inter-net we didn't really get it together and mustered two guys in the top 10.

Anyhow, I had high hopes for the race at the start. The first couple of laps featured some attacks, our man Keith was hanging out on the front trying to control things and so was Pete. But for the most part I sat in until the 3rd lap where I got to the front to help with the work and then I did an "attack pull" past Cosmo and dangled off the front for a few moments. Then I floated back into the group for a lap and a half to find that a break had gone and gotten a gap. CRAP, the Green Line Crew wasn't paying attention. I then spent the rest of lap four trying to get to the front to do some work.

At the bell I had finally made my way to the front and drilled it in another "attack-pull" to try and bring back the 4 man break, but it was an ill fated attempt and I was quickly reeled back in, Rooter probably has it on video.

I sat in again for a bit until the final climb where I dragged Mike up the gutter to the front at 3k to go, also known as REALLY REALLY EARLY, tried my darnedest to up the pace of the pack to catch the break and then summarily blew up and coasted into the finish 30 seconds behind the main group, but Pete did pull out 6th and Chris got 10th, so I guess that's something. But the team has a lot of room for improvement.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wells Ave Report, 4/24


This morning I did the B race at Wells Ave, the greatest training series ever. I had to do the B race to get to work on time, so I was NOT Sandbagging, also, I DID NOT WIN.

Anyhow, before the start I heard some Quabbin Reservoir Road Race horror stories.

During the race I opted to not contest the muffin or cookie sprints (my favourite kind of prizes, yes I spelled favourite with a "U" on purpose) because they were not kosher for Passover.

I lost out to THE SCHON on the first $10 sprint, then mis judged the halfway sprint for $15 and won the second $10 sprint over the Schon. (And before you ask, Hebrew Cup points do not apply on the road, only for cyclocross.)

Also, after I won that second preem(sp?) I got a second taste of my Matzah Brei, which is kosher for Passover, from breakfast and sat out a lap, then I did lots of work on the front in the last few laps to close down "the break" which was a 545 Velo guy and brought the Schon and Mike to the front, for no reason other than to ride my bike really hard because I wasn't eligible to win the race anymore. I think Mike won, but Ian gave me $5 because he sure is a swell guy.

So, that's the story, bike racing is fun.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don't Get Upset

I've been listening to this song a lot lately, thinking about the lyrics and how they relate to my life. I think it is because the song is about patience, and how I need to be patient for things to come together. I've been struggling with this whole concept of adulthood for a few years now and perhaps that I shouldn't be bothered by it. So long as I stay put, figure out a plan and work hard, things will pan out eventually.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Social Media in the year 2011

So, yesterday my old team sent an e-mail out announcing that they had successfully entered the year 2008 by creating a facebook page, but they are still falling behind without a facebook group, twitter account.

Anyways, last week I also started playing with Foursquare on my phone which allows me to "check in" to stores, restaurants, arenas etc... and also see where my friends are. That led me to ask the question, is it ok to do the drop in? By which I mean if you see a friend has posted on the twitter, the facebook, foursquare or whatever else is it ok to stop by that venue unannounced? Or is there more to the subject?

Regardless, I find it to be an interesting question that comes up in the digital age.

So, please fill out the poll below to help me understand social media in the year 2011. I'll post the results sometime next week.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The dream is still alive, but it went all Frankenstein on me!

If you know what I'm talking about, that's great, and if you don't, well, then I suggest you try and read between the lines to figure out what this post is all about.

Anyways, I've been living the dream for a solid 20 months now, and frankly, it's starting to wear me down. The constant flux and uncertainty has lead to a lot of stress and now this week, keeping the dream alive took away bike racing for a while.

It sucks, but hey, it's the dream, and it has ups and downs. I guess for now bike racing is taking the hit. On the bright side, I can now go for 6 hour rides on Tuesdays and not feel guilty; so I got that going for me. I've still got a few irons in the fire and other projects that will hopefully kill the dream in a more permanent way. But for now, the dream has gone from being kind of awesome to more of a monster and summer hasn't even hit yet.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Grant's Tomb Crit Race Report

I'll be brief, because crit racing is not as exciting as a cross race and I didn't really do anything spectacular. But first, let it be known that the week leading up to the race I did a training camp with my GREEN LINE Velo boys in Harrisonburg VA and the night before the race I got a head cold and slept on the floor.

Right, so I woke up on the floor at 6:30, got in the car drove the 15 minutes with AJ and his buddy Craig over to the course, got registered and such.

Rolling off the line with Mr. Greg Izzo, photo: Gus Blumberg

The race got delayed and the course was cut into a tear drop as opposed to the traditional 5 turn set up, but whatever it was a bike race. I should also note, that I was terrified of racing in New York, when I last did a USAC race in Manhattan in 2008, the riders were so horribly sketchy and rude that I've since assumed that all NYC races may result in major bodily harm. But I put that out of my mind and raced anyways.

Just hanging out in the bike race with Evan Murphy (on my right, he got 2nd), photo: Andy Shen

I sat in the first 10 laps or so, tried to attack then summarily got caught and spent the next 20 minutes being pack fill recovering. Then at 5 laps to go I jumped on another move and tried to be in a breakaway because I was trying to win the bike race. That didn't last more than a lap. From then on I just sat in because I had nothing left and coughed my way in to the finish getting 40 something-ith position. When the race was over I was tired and cranky, yay bike racing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Not your usual venue

I've always been enamored with sporting events that take place in non-traditional venues, there's something that adds to the spectacle more than when the sports you love are brought to environments you never thought possible.

While Colin had told the internet about a downtown downhill bike race yesterday, I had been thinking about it for the last few months since the NHL Winter Classic.

So below are few examples of what I think are clever and innovative ways to bring sports to the public in ways unique and exciting.

First, the annual NHL Winter Classic, an outdoor hockey game held each year by two powers of the National Hockey League, my personal favorite edition was in 2010 between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers.

Second in my mind also comes from the Hub, the 2002 US Open of Squash took place at Symphony Hall in Boston.

On the same note, Squash has been found in New York City's famous Grand Central Terminal on several occaisions, where a court was erected in the middle of the grand hall.

Third, the 2003 Red Bull Boston Bike Battle. I was there, it was cool. A head to head freestyle MTB competition, at Boston's City Hall Plaza.

Fourth, Biathlon auf Schalke, great sport, great idea. Take the tension of Biathlon, but instead of putting it at some small venue in the mountains, bring it to the masses. Each year this event takes a biathlon race to a football stadium in Germany, and tens of thousands of fans gaze as their favorite stars duke it out.

Fifth, any snowboard or ski event held in a downtown area. The concept is pretty simple, build a jump, put it downtown and people show up. The example below is the 2010 FIS World Cup, Freestyle Big Air in Seoul, South Korea.

Sixth, the Race of Champions, this is another event brought into a football stadium, but unlike biathlon, this is auto racing. Each year the worlds best drivers from Formula 1, the WRC, Nascar, Indy and other major series are invited to battle it out head to head.

Seventh, Fencing, it can pretty much happen anywhere. This is the 2010 World Championships, held in November, it took place inside a palace in Paris.

Eight, Tennis, nothing specific, but generally Tennis can be done in random places, like downtown Dubrovnik, in a Velodrome and on a helicopter pad, all shown below.

There are others, but frankly, I think I've given cool examples a plenty.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Dude, we're in the County." Fort Kent Biathlon World Cup Spectator Report

For those of you who don't understand the title here's a brief glossary:
  • The County, is Aroostook County, the largest, and northernmost county in the State of Maine
  • Fort Kent, one of the small towns in the county that borders New Brunswick, Canada
  • Biathlon, Nordic Skiing and shooting, see previous post.
Ok, now that you know what I'm talking about I should also explain that the Biathlon world cup coming to the U.S. is a BIG DEAL, the last time it happened was in 2004. The audience for the races is about 6 Million viewers in Germany, as well as another 4 million or so across Europe. Biathlon is legit.

Right, so back in the Fall I asked twitter if anybody wanted to go and I got Cary and Colin to agree, fast forward a few hundred e-mails, and a few months and we also got Lauren to come along.

Colin in his Natural state while we wait for the mad scientist

We left Chez Resultsboy on Friday afternoon and got on the road heading north in Rush hour. On the way up there was the typical road trip banter, and after a few hours Colin and I had degraded so much that we were only talking to each other via the internet, excluding Lauren entirely.

Anyhow, we arrived in Presque Isle Maine just before midnight to stay at the fine residence of some friends of Cary who race for the Maine Nordic Heritage Center. The accommodations were fantastic, and we were a scant hour away from the Venue.

On Saturday morning we woke up plenty early to get up to Fort Kent to watch the men's pursuit that started at 9:15, so after a stop at Tim Hortons for breakfast in the Bou we made our way up to Fort Kent to watch the races.

Colin needed 3 cups to get going on Saturday

We made it to the venue with moments to spare and just caught the start. I'll spare the details, but we had a great view and the race was a classic, coming down to a very uncommon sprint finish.
The view of the Range
The rest of the stadium

After the first race, the four of us walked around for a bit at the venue, then went into town for some second breakfast at a diner where Cary made a breakfast sandwich, an omlette wrapped in a pancake.

The river that divides the bustling Metropolis of Fort Kent in two

Cary eating a healthy snack

Then, back on the bus to the Venue, watched the Women's Pursuit from another part of the stadium, which was another great race, featuring some really top notch competition and some chillier temps.

View of the Stadium during the women's pursuit

After the race we boogied on down back to our housing in Presque Isle for a few hours of skate-skiing at the Nordic Heritage Center. I skied with Lauren, who totally cleaned my clock for an hour before I got my rhythm, the trails were fantastic and the weather was great.

Lauren taking in the view of the County
Lauren and I went over the mountain, it was hard.

After the ski, I had an epic BONK from not eating lunch then skiing on an empty stomach, but after a nice meal at the house I recovered. We all crashed pretty around 10, knowing we had another early rise on Sunday to watch another day of racing. Next morning, wake up, stop by Tim Hortons and head up to Fort Kent, where again, we narrowly made the start of the Men's Mass Start Event.

It was another great race, it was a bit chilly, something like 4 Degrees F and the racing was fantastic. American Lowell Bailey had a fantastic race, finishing in the top ten, getting a solid result for the good ole USA, and yeah, it was fun. Then we went into town for no reason except to get warm before the women's race.
The leaders early on during the men's mass start
The Men's Mass Start attacks the small climb before the stadium

This guy looked awesome
The Bathroom at a Gas Station in Fort Kent

Right, so hopped on the bus after the walk through town, headed back up the venue, Colin bought a vuvuzela, but didn't know how to use it, so I took charge of the situation and put it to good use as we watched the women's mass start race. Then after the race, back on the bus, back to the car, jetted on down to Presque Isle, and we did another ski.
Colin playing with his new toy after the women's mass start race

I'm getting tired of writing at this point, so here are a few photos of the last ski, which I did solo.

After the ski it was time for a shower, and a 6.5 hour drive back to Sommerville which went pretty smoothly, including a stop for Calzones at WHOP.

Home by 11:45pm thanks to Cary's "spirited" driving. All together great weekend.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Israeli Cyclocross!

This just came across the Facebook at me, wow, that is awesome. I should totally go, I bet I'd be the most experienced cyclocross racer in the field, and I'd still lose. Granted, it is one week away and I can't just drop thousands on a flight right now, but anyhow this is rad.

For those of you who can't read Hebrew, the flyer reads as follows:

Friday January 28, 2011

  • Full CX Track Action and Adrenaline
  • Can be done on Road or Mountain Bike
Details and Registration Site:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Other Sports I like

Since the dream of being a pro bike racer was totally killed at the 2009 USA Cycling Collegiate national championships, I've been able to free my mind from being totally focused on bike racing and have come to follow a few other athletic activities that I think are exceptionally awesome.

First, Rally. Seriously, how rad is Rally? You drive a car with reckless abandon across dirt, pavement, snow, mud, sand, what-have-you. It is the cyclocross of car racing, by which I mean it is friggin amazing. I started really following it once I got to college and when I studied in France in 2007 it was recapped on the world's greatest sports channel: Eurosport. Not convinced yet, look at this video:

Second, Biathlon. Combine the pain and agony of nordic skiing, (which is great in its own right) with GUNS. I mean, this is America, we love our guns, why isn't Biathlon more popular? Anyhow, there's really nothing more exciting than having two people come screaming into the stadium, the crowd hushed, a cheer after each hit, a gasp after each miss. The pressure is outrageous, for with each miss a penalty lap will be done changing the dynamic of the race entirely. It's astounding, time is fleeting, Madness takes control.... wait, that's the start to Time Warp.... Just enjoy the clip below:

Third, Boardercross. Not much to say here, strap 4 people to snowboards, send them down a snow covered mountain with berms and jumps, and just for good measure make it really fast.

On the same note, the Freeride World Tour. While it is a subjective sport as far as the scoring is concerned, it is totally amazing. Big lines, big air, flips, spins, cliffs. This competition is totally pushing the limits of what is possible on skis and boards.

Of course I love to watch my beloved Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and Boston Bruins. But let's not forget my the Union College Hockey Team, 10th in the nation.

That's the end of this winter rambling for now. I guess I should probably start talking about bikes again soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Sporting Life, before bike racing

Before I got into this whole bike racing business (although I shouldn't call it business because it sure hasn't been profitable) I rode mountain bikes around my hometown and I played some other sports.

But when I got into racing in college my participation in other organized sports has totally disappeared, and as the cold New England winter sets in, I've decided to recap my glory days as an athlete.
  • Soccer, aka association football, from age 7 to 17. Growing up in the 'burbs soccer was the sport that ruled over all others and I had a few moments of meager success. In 8th grade I played on the Lincoln Youth Soccer "select team" and was a starter on my middle school "varsity" squad. When I entered Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School I made the cut on the Freshman team but couldn't make the junior varsity squad as a sophomore. When I transferred to Brewster Academy I spent my first year on the "reserves" team, scoring a goal in the first game of the year, and another in the last game of the year. I think I scored 6 goals in my illustrious career. I played a couple of years of intramural in college, but I don't really think that counts.
  • Lacrosse, from age 14 to 20. I started in middle school, then a year on the Freshman team at Lincoln-Sudbury, however, my sophomore year I didn't play for a few reasons. But, then I transferred to Brewster Academy and somehow I played two years on Varsity team, where we won the league both years. As a varsity player I started 2 games, and scored 5 goals. Then I tried to play my Sophomore year at Union College, played in the fall term, but I wasn't very good and quit before they could cut me.

  • Ice Hockey, from 6-20. Growing up in New England I played pond hockey, but it wasn't until High School I tried to be competitive. I was an absolutely terrible player, spending 3 years on Junior Varsity, only scoring 3 goals in that span, but having a fairly solid +/- and this one time against Westford Academy my Junior year of High School I got an 8 minute penalty for fighting and a game misconduct, because I was a 140lb ENFORCER. Then a couple uninteresting years on the club team in college. But hey, hockey is awesome.
But, the one constant in my athletic life has always been biking, starting with just the trails
around town, then moving into street and trials riding, before moving to free-riding and finally road racing when I discovered the ECCC and then my life changed. Now I'm obsessed, I went from owning a bike or two, to owning seven or eight at a time. I scour the internet for race results, slammed stems, gear reviews, videos, and spend absurd amounts of money on clothing, gear, travel, race fees, etc.... But, would I change a thing? No, cycling has been so great to me that now, I can't imagine my life without racing, riding, meeting other racers and other general nonsense related to this sport.

Up next: Sports I'd like to try