Thursday, June 30, 2011

High Tide

If it were not for the FGBC blog, I would not have realized that some race in France was about to get underway (btw, their TdF pool is awesome and you'd feel really silly for not participating). Between the hurly burly of the last few months, my own distraction, and my team's poor performance at the Ardennes classics which meant I felt short of the my goal of reaching the FGBC podium, I just kinda forgot about PRO road racing. Sorta paid attention to the Giro, missed (well, not really) California. Who won there?

More importantly, I know from my visit to the soon-to-rival-Portland's-hipness Durham last weekend, the BCC boys are riding big miles (to be clear, not Pirate). For my own part, a recent move means I'm close enough to kick-ass rocky, technical mountain biking that I have hung up my road bike for the summer. I'm glad to have these blisters and callouses; they are signs of summer's high tide.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

master and commanded

Does anyone have any interest in what did I do this past Saturday? If so, here's a hint:

Partied with a bunch of sweaty old guys in tight clothing who spent a lot of time shouting at each other? Yes, you guessed it: Master...master...master of bike racing.

Pardon my stutter. I meant to say masters' bike racing. This was my first time racing with the old guys. They say the old guy's races are supposedly better than a normal cat-4 race because it's more tactical and the bike handling is better. This may be true, but I didn't really notice the difference. It's probably since I've raced a lot of these guys in the "B" races at local crits or fast rides. And yes, the guys were solid bike handlers and the entire pack didn't swarm on every single move anyone took off the front. And yes, I did get caught working in the wrong breaks, missing the right break, working in the main field trying to bring back the right break, and missing the jump across from the main field to the right break once we nearly brought it back. One part of me says that I got out-foxxed by savvy veteran riders. One part of me says that I got unlucky. One part of me is aware that I didn't know my competitors and wasn't watching the right guys at the right time. These are all true, but I think in reality, I was outdone by a lack of patience. Case in point: a few of us in the main field were working, seemingly futilely, to bring back a 12-man break. When it surprisingly narrowed from about a minute to about 10 seconds, a couple of dudes who had been doing no work and weren't protecting teammates up the road, jumped across the gap and I think actually finished pretty well. Meanwhile, I was too spent to follow. Is this a stroke of genius on the part of these other guys? Possibly. But I think it's a certain type of patience. Not the type of patience that involves waiting for something they know will happen in a given race (the safe bet was that the break wasn't coming back). No, instead, waiting for opportunities as they present themselves in a given race. If the break came back, they'd jump on it. If not, they'd wait until tomorrow and try again in another race. I think that these guys race enough to know when to work and know when to sit out. They don't have the desperation of an ambitious cat-4 racer, scrapping for any upgrade point of free pair of overstocked socks they can win. Each race is just another in a long, somewhat unmemorable series of races. They may think about it later, but they probably aren't writing blog posts about it.

Nevertheless, it was a good learning experience and a good workout. Kudos to Jay (BCC) and Kent (Triangle Velo) for helping to animate the race and not throw in the towel when all seemed lost. All in all, it was more fun than a Metallica show. Now let's clear our heads of the previous musical interlude with something better.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Briar Chapel XC Report

Off road racing at Briar Chapel. These are some nice trails. Not terribly long, but a super fast-n-flowy section and lots of tricky rocky sections. Not much climbing, but it keeps you working. Great course for singlespeed racing. My first mtb race in about a year. Got beat by Alex H (as always) and some dude in a tie-dyed tank top. This dude showed up somewhere midway through the first lap, asked to pass, and when I obliged, he dropped me like an 8:00AM calculus class. I was surprised until I figured his trick. Well two tricks, actually. The first trick is to shred. The second trick is to wear a distracting shirt so fashion snobs like me think that he's some poser and that I don't notice that he rockin' a carbon Niner. Indeed, I was worried about the early speediness of the dude on a rad Wolfhound (he was fast), but didn't consider the tie-dye guy. Obviously, the bike does not make the rider fast, but it may give you a hint. 

Anyhoo, here's my fashion-snobiness in action. New kits!!!

(photos graciously donated from "debpt"'s snapfish album, posted up on

It was way hot and dusty. But, in typical Triangle racing fashion, everyone out there was cool and easygoing. People were friendly and racers would let you pass if you asked. It's such a refreshing change from road riding. All we needed was beer laps. 

The O.G. was out. He works nearby now and rides these trails a lot so he was able to provide me with a useful scouting report. The O.G. dug deep.

 And in case you're wondering about the single-gloved fashion style and potential gang-sign:

well, apparently, the O.G. crashed hard and jammed (broke?) his fingers. He rolled in to the finish with some puffy-digits, a mostly-flat front tire, and a lot of sweat. His fingers were pretty jacked-up, but I think (hope) that they are mostly okay, but he may never play that Eddy Van Halen guitar solo again.

A fun time was had by all. We saw some friendly faces and did not suffer heatstroke. Thanks to the TORC folks for the first in yet another awesome series.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Edition

"Behind The Barriers" Special Summer Edition Episode 1 from Behind The Barriers on Vimeo.

"Behind the Barriers": This was fun last fall. Check out the summer update.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

animal instinct

Saturday: heat's got everyone crazy. Crazy like a honey badger.

Our team set out to divide and conquer--by which I mean that some kids went mountain biking and some kids went road biking. Jay and I decided to test our mettle against some other local FakeRacers (real racers, not a real race).

The Bitter Dose guys were out in new kits. They looked like a Damien Hirst painting:

...I'll let you guess which one. I'm not sure if their kits were actually inspired by the Hirst painting, but they do look pretty cool. I would have preferred that they went with his shark-in-formaldahyde design. Some people will tell you that sharks are ocean creatures and don't have anything to do with cycling, but to hell with those people.

Either way, I was jealous because we too have new kits, but since I haven't picked mine up yet, I was sporting last year's duds. However, we were quickly spotted before the ride by a cheerful chap on a shiny Pegoretti: none other than Linus' dad. He was apparently keeping Orange County's roads rad while Linus is on vacation. We chatted with him for a while before the peloton showed up and we were off. I quickly jumped into line and was checking out our cross-town rivals' kits. Despite the fact that the Regulators say that they have a picture of a rearing bull on their jersey, I'm still convinced that it looks like a dancing doberman, but what do I know?

As for the ride: the ride was a ride, you don't want to hear about that. Some people went fast, some people went faster, some people went slow then went home and jumped in a pool and drank margaritas. Jay's getting faster each and every week, rebuilding after some serious physical therapy for a torn hamstring. Kent from Durham also rode a notable ride, bridging across a long and lonely gap and sticking with the lead group to the end. Did I mention that some dudes don't like to take pulls? That's not even worth mentioning, that always happens on these rides. Come on guys, get extreme!!!

But the really interesting thing happened when Kent and I were lollygagging our way back to Mapleview Farm. We had been passed on Union Grove Church Road by a solo rider pedaling at a chipper clip. He was soon out of sight, by as we crested a little hill, we saw a man on the roadside tending to a shapeless pile. My mind quickly started building a Cohen brothers movie scenario where some hapless passerby stumbles upon some killer trying to dispose of a body. That seemed too crazy so I re-wrote the scene, replacing the "killer" with a "rouge gardener" and "a body" with "yard debris" (I suppose I would also need to replace "Cohen brothers movie" with "Carrboro public service announcement about the atrocities of improper composting"; however someone probably ends up dead in both). By this time, we had rolled up on the scene and found that the cyclist was sprawled out on the pavement and a guy was tending to him. No cars were present, so I guessed it was either a hit and run or heatstroke. The non-cyclist turned out to be a friendly guy who lived across the street (it's a rural area, so fortunately he noticed the cyclist) and as the cyclist sat up and began to explain what happened, the culprit turned out to be a deer. The cyclist was road-rashed and slightly disoriented, but didn't show any signs of broken bones or massive trauma. He became more lucid and philosophical (it was his birthday) as we waited for the ambulance, so our concerns were eased. Lots of motorists and cyclists stopped to offer help, which always makes you feel good about your community. The one alarming thing that did happen about 10 minutes after we showed up was a little rustling from the adjacent culvert and the emergence of a gimpy and confused deer. It was clear that this was our culprit, but it was unclear if it had a broken leg or just needed to walk off the effects of getting hit by a cyclist. Either way, it limped off into the woods out of sight.

There are a lot of deer out on the roadways these days. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: be careful out there.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Back in Action

Sorry for not posting anything sometimes gets the best of me (thanks Oishi for helping out).

Yes Ali, things have been happening! New kits are due to be shipped tomorrow, Thursday road rides and Saturday MTB team rides have started and Jay shaved his legs! Everyone here is looking lean and mean and ready to tackle the summer riding season.

On Sunday most of the road contingent of BCC headed out for what I was billing as an easy 2-2.5 hour ride. You know how it goes....bunch of dudes on fancy bikes, nice weather and good conversation for the first 30 minutes or so. Then heads start to drop, cadences accelerate and sure enough easy Sunday ride turns into a 3.5 hour slug fest.

Lot of climbing and aching muscles later...turned out to be a great ride. Glad to see everyone out there. Boone trip is in the works for July 4th, pictures will follow. This time hopefully not ones with me curled up on the side of the road trying to resolve some stomach issues while Geoff, Corey and Jordan point and laugh at me, thanks guys.

Now that I am back in the blogosphere...more posts to follow.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Things have been happening

Hello! Man, this thing has been dying a slow death. We've got a backlog of content. Some of us (Professor) have been too busy riding, others (me) haven't and the only excuse is laziness. I recently got married and moved to New Brunswick, NJ, home of Johnson & Johnson and my alma matter, Rutgers University. Good news is that I can ride to two mountain bike areas out my door--can you say awesome?-- and my commute is now a 25mile, traffic-free gravel canal path. I hope to be good a lot more riding and documenting some of it. Look out for more bikes of the BCC. I've got a Salsa on the way and need to post my cross bike. For now, watch this video from the Translyvania Stage Race. It looks awesome and I've got in my mind that this is a race I should do next year. Also, I heard Hollywood did the Gunnison Growler this weekend. Report?