12 May 2010

Massive updates!

So I know that it has been a while since I last posted, but that just makes this post even more exciting! A lot has happened since the last post, most of it awesome, along with some mechanical problems long the way.

My First. My Last. ECCC 2010
This year was my first year of racing. Well, at least my first full year. It was awesome to spend it with the ECCC and my team mates here at Drexel.
Even though I twisted my ankle in a questionable semi-bike related accident and didn't really race until Yale, there is much that I have learned this year. From traveling with the team and being the team mom to running a good chunk of the Philly Phyler, there is still a lot more for me to learn. But only more racing can fix that, possibly more reading. Need to merge the two some how.
The fantastic year that I had is only a testament to the awesomeness of the ECCC. Every one that attends the races is friendly and keeps the light heartiness of racing alive. I look forward to working with the conference next year in some capacity. (Joe, fair warning you will be nagged post "graduation" about that.)

Army: Cold. Wet. Windy.
The Army 2 mile circuit race provide a nice challenge for me. While the awesome down hill that came right after the start line provide an awesome chance to stay with the pack for just a short while, the gradual incline on the second half of the course caused some problems, not to mention the cold weather. The incline was only to be followed by a wall that result in me basically not being able to pedal up it with out hitting the granny gear. Also, all who were watching should just ignore me when I yell for food. Just venting some anger and pain.
The afternoon provided some awesome race watching with the BU team while sitting on the wall that I could barely get up. Some of the excitement that ensued included:

  • dollar primes
  • slow motion crashes (pretty interesting to watch)
  • PB&J sandwich hand off straight to the mouth
Sunday included getting lost in West Point. Honestly, we were making an effort to make it there. Really were, just wasn't going to happen. Plus I was missing a chain ring bolt and my ankle was bothering me. I wanted to save the pain for the pleasure of racing in the crit. Next year, I will get my ECCC membership card.
The crit was a nice short loop around one of Army's practice field's down on the river. There were tight corners and fierce head winds. Awesome. Started out strong. Top 15 strong. Quite happy about that. Coming around turn 2, went in to a sprint to pick up some speed and POP. Chain snapped. That is end of me even thinking of staying with the field. The rest of the day was spent avoiding studying for my chemistry exam.

Dartmouth: Mohawks. Collaboration. Finally.
Dartmouth hosted an awesome race weekend to close out the season. They even booked some awesome weather for us. Mid-upper 60's, couldn't have asked for any better. Also: the minivan the team rented was awesome!
The time trial was a collaborative effort between BU and Drexel. Mainly because BU only had one D rider and we had 3. We started off strong and it only went down hill from there. Chat and I ended up dropping off the back and Rob and Brendan finish not last. Awesome job guys!
For the crit, let's just say that I was really early then some how late (basically officials can't tell time). Ended up spending most of the first lap play catch up and sprinting parts of it. Drained all my energy and rode the rest of my laps alone. I will make it around for at least a lap one of these days.
The road race was beautiful. The Vermont landscape is just in-creditable to ride along. But as usual, the ride was riddled with some sort of mechanical mishaps. Shifting problem. Cleat problems. Completed only 23 of the 36 miles, but had fun doing it.
Basically it was an awesome weekend to end the season, and I going to miss racing in the ECCC until I decide whether I heading to grad school or not. ECCC racing just might help me decide.

Coaching: Try and knock me over!
After a little taste of helping with the NBW/Cadence cycling team, this year I decided to give it a shot. I didn't get my own team, but I continued to help Tim with the NBW team. They are a great group of riders with pure amounts of energy.
This last weekend, Victoria called me asking me if I could fill in for another coach that was in a nasty bike accident. While the though of a bike accident gets me in the gut, I was happy to start to help with the West Popular/Kensington group.
Had my first ride with them today in the cold, border line rainy conditions. They are also a great group of riders and I can't wait to continue to work with them over the summer.
If any one has any good ideas for activities for the kids, please let me know. Always up for trying some thing new!

General Ride: Death.
It has been hard to find time to go for general rides lately because of school, but when I find the time I go all the way. Did an epic ride with Joe the other weekend. Let's just say that I was glad to be able to stand and walk up stairs after it. It was pretty difficult. Lots of hills. But hey, only going to get better going up them. Will have to hit some of them soon again including the cobble stone hill.
Also went for a ride to my parents house in West Chester. It is an awesome ride out. Lots of rolling hills and about 30 miles one way.  This ride can only be described in bullet points:
  • had to true my back wheel twice. For some reason my spokes just didn't want to stay tight. Need to take it to a bike shop ASAP for that.
  • had flats with in a quarter mile of each other, using up all my spare tubes! Luckly, I was only a quick .6 mile walk from Performance in Paloi, only to walk out with a new helmet for my friend and new tires!
  • The head winds were crazy. Gusts everywhere! There were points where the wind would have knock me over if I hadn't lean over so far.
  • The end of the ride had chicken fried steak at the other end. Really what kept us going for a bit.
Other Races
So, got my CAT4 so my racing options have opened up a bit. Going to hit up the West Chester Twilight Criterium which should be pretty awesome. I also joined QCW and hope to be hitting up some races with them this summer, when I have the time. If any one is going to a CAT4 race, let me know! I may want to join you.

Happy Riding!

12 April 2010

Jester of the Mountain

This weekend was quite delightful to to point that I can barely walk up the stairs to my room. There was much mountain climbing, awesome downhills and possibly to many bike races for my massively large lungs to handle. But there is one thing that I want to discuss first: Jester of the Mountain.
As part of the circuit race this weekend, there was a mildly epic hill climb for the last leg of the race. Those that made it to the top first were considered to be the King of the Mountain. They got a fancy jersey and all of the glory that comes with it. But for me, this is some thing that I will never achieve, so I have resigned my self to being the Jester of the Mountain. I have some notes on this, and why I have labeled my self this:

  1. I was dead last in the circuit. I completed it, but dead last.
  2. I spend more time doing paper work for the Drexel team than I do riding Clifford.
  3. I caused John Frey to do a double take while looking at the photo results. I really need to get a copy of that. 
Let it be known if any one else wants the title, they must let me beat them to the top of some hill, on the condition that they actually make it to the top without stopping. If my out of shape ass can do it, any one can.

Now on to the exciting moments from the weekend as seen and documented by the apparently appointed dictator of the team:
  • I-95 on a Friday night is really the best way to go to CT, especially hitting the Washington Bridge around 9pm. I just remind everyone to make sure that they have cash on hand to pay the tolls. It felt like we were in the Kingston Trio song "M.T.A." and we were never going to get off the highway at any time.
  • When planning on going on an over night trip with bikes and someone is going to join you at your final location, make sure you have a spot on the bike rack for them, and a place to put their stuff in the car. The person might not like it that you leave their stuff in CT.
  • Make sure to charge the GPS unit. Better yet, need to get some sort of massive battery pack for it. That will work.
  • Statements overheard while riding in races and from the side lines:
    • "Guys, it is a prime lap. We have to go faster" -Men's CII field
    • "Why is everyone riding so fast? This isn't a race. We all have to get to the same place." -Men's DI field
  • Nick popped a wheelie just after the 5th turn in the crit on Sunday just after changing gears. It was pretty cool. I just won't want to be around him if it had gone wrong.
  • The Drexel men made a strong presence in the DI field this weekend. Having 4-5 people making an attempt to make it around the course is just awesome, and I hope that we have more people make it out over the last two weeks of racing.
  • Brent and Nick rode in the CI field this weekend. They did a great job, and since I wasn't riding with them, I will let them tell their stories about those races.
  • Fitting 8 people into a really small hotel room does prove to be an interesting feat. I think that there were some laws broken, but everyone for the most part slept pretty well. I think.
  • I'm not a leaping gazelle as someone stated at the ITT start line. I'm more of a new born baby giraffe. Just saying. I hope to some day to be a leaping gazelle.
  • Helping other team mates around the course also helps yourself to keep going.
  • To all ECCCers: Draft behind me. It is the biggest break during a race you will ever get. Ask most of my teammates and riding friends.
Some notes on my riding:
  • Need to figure out this whole gearing thing. Apparently I'm partying in the front and something is going on in the back. Not sure what, but it is being influenced by the front.
  • Need to work on the whole cardiovascular thing also. Man was I winded half way through most of the races that I was in this weekend.
  • Need to fix all of the small stupid mechanical things wrong with my bike. The clicking that is coming from, while helps me keep pace to the songs that I sing in my head while riding, is starting to get a bit annoying.
  • I think that it is time to invest in a bike fitting. A proper one, what ever that means.
Well this concludes my first blog entry in a really long time. With two more racing weekends coming up, I hope to meet more people, race better and get more riding in once I find my bike. It was lost in transport.

Happy Riding.

03 March 2010

Silky Smooth

This week is full of excitement:

  • Week 9 of Winter Term
  • Opening weekend of Racing Season and registered
  • Birthday (23)
  • The dawning of the shorts
  • talk of cyclists shaving their legs
We will start at the top. It is week 9 of 11 here at Drexel. The prime time for professors to give out assignments. Finals coming up and racing season is starting. This has been a hell term for me and biking will give me a channel to push out the stress.

With that said, racing season season starts at Rutgers. While the Frozen Toe Season Opener for the ECCC probably won't freeze my toes off, it is going to be my first race not in Intros. Well, I have only done one race in intros, I figure that it would be cool to just jump right into the D races. As long as I don't come in last, I should be fine.

There are no maps on the flyer for the race so I have no idea what the course is going to look like, but from what I have heard it is a pretty fast race. I do well with flat roads. And downhills. Uphills, not so much. It should be an exciting weekend. And I get to see Aditi (don't forget the wall hanging thingy)! So exciting!

It is my birthday this week. That is about it.

It is March. It came a bit quick. But the exciting thing about it is I get to start wearing shorts. It is still a bit nippy out on the bike, but leg and arm warmers were invented for taking care of that. Also, shorts weather also means that the traffic circle can be paved. Yeppie!

This season has introduced the notation of shaving the legs. The winter meeting for the cycling one of the last slides contained the "shave those legs." Recently took the dive and just took care of it. Interesting experience in it self, but the winter bib is more comfortable. Also, I will also be avoiding the mocking. There is a nice article on a fellow ECCC racers blog at http://bit.ly/8YeTgP.

Well, pictures and updates will come after the weekend.

21 February 2010

"Riding a Tall-Bike"

riding next to you today, out of the corner of my eye I kept thinking you were a guy riding a tall-bike.
Nick Bikes
Today started the "OH SHIT, racing session starts in 2 weeks" training regiment. Not as bad as I wound have thought that it would be. Clearly not in the shape that I need to be in to make it to number one, but I should be able to make to the end of the race, which was my goal.

Basically today's session was spent on the Points Race (need to do that race this week) course working on the basics of racing: pace lines, turning and plotting to knock Tim off his bike. Felt pretty comfortable with every thing. Need to work on the whole rotating through the pace line. Some how at the front, accelerate and when dropping to the back a large gap appears with me straining to close it. I partly blame the fact that I forgot to charge my GPS unit and  had no idea how fast I was really going, but I feel that with more experience, a natural feeling for the line will develop. Also, I think that my turns are a bit wide, but no one has said any thing yet.

The exciting event of the day was the dawning of the new Drexel Kits. Made by Vomax, I can't comment on the quality of them as I didn't even own a kit before these. They are nice, new and bright white to the point I do not want to wear them for fear of getting them dirty. Also to note, there is a massive amount of yellow that is associated with them. The arm and leg warmers are pure bright yellow. There will be some augmenting of them with other assorted warmers to reduce the feeling of being a sun as I ride down the street, let alone match better with my bike.

In other news, the Philly Phlyer is starting to solidify more and more. Need to yell at the venues in the next couple of days, but all should be good. To add a bit of excitement that should be build for the race, there will be low flying airplanes over the crit course during the race. Should be exciting.

Note on the quote at the top of the posting. Nick is on the cycling team with me and posted that on my Facebook will after our ride to day. It just reassured me that I had picked a good name for the blog.

'til next time: don't be lazy like me and spend time making race flyers. Use that time and race or just ride.

16 February 2010

The Start

Hello all!

This is my first season for racing with the ECCC. I'm quite excited. It should be an exciting time. While I wouldn't be able to make it to all the races, there are many that I'm going to and really looking forward to.

I hope to use this blog to share my experiences with cycling over the next couple of months in relation to racing, and any thing else that I do that is cycling related.

Just to give every one some background knowledge on the name of this blog. I'm 6'7". A pure giant. My bike, Clifford, is just to small for me. It is a 63cm Cannondale CAAD 4. It is a pretty bike. Based on my size, I need a 69cm frame. There are two that are sitting in my kitchen. So, there you have it I'm just to big for my bike.

Other Exciting Things
Here are some other things that are currently happening in my world of cycling.

The Philly Phlyer
Even though this is my first year racing, I have seemed to have found myself helping to plan this year's race. It has been a challenge to plan, and make sure that everything will go off with out a hitch. There are going to be thing that will be new this year. Things that will almost the same as previous years. Things that will just be plain awesome.

There will be another posting after every thing has been finalized. It is just going to be plain cool.

The Commuter
Some how I have crack my frame on my commuter bike. It's a 69cm Raleigh. Awesome bike. I think that I have replaced every thing on it, and it has been the bike that I learned a lot of my knowledge on in terms of bike mechanics.

The frame is cracked on the left drop out. My house mate says that I shouldn't ride it, but that isn't going to stop me. It adds a bit of excitement to commute to campus, along with the ice and snow.

If any one has any idea what to do about me breaking bikes and bike parts, please please chime in.

The Training
Ha. Where is the time for that?

Mountain Biking
With all of this snow on the ground, I have taken an interest in taking an attempt at mountain biking. Fixed gears with road slicks provide for a certain level of ... excitement ... while riding, but a mountain bike would be awesome to have. So with that, I have started the search for a mountain bike. Really need to do more reading up on it in terms of sizing but I think that I will be able to find on at some point.