Monday, March 29, 2010

Finally a race report !

The King of Burlingame mountain bike TT is an oddity. Thats not to say it's a bad thing. It is in fact a lot of fun and a great way to start the racing anew in a fresh season and in a low key event.

It's a 7 mile loop around a pond in a state park in RI. It confuses me as to why people would say this is a "roadie's course" or "not that technical". There are parts that are pretty much just dirt roads, yes. BUT, (there's always a but) there are some serious boneyards out there too. Rock gardens, fallen trees, numerous roots, running water crossings, tricky slimey wooden bridges, and deep, dark, mysterious puddles. Oh ya "roadie course for sure". uhhmm NO!

I am the defending "King", so I figured I'd better go race and defend my crown. "It's good to be king." Having won the previous year I got to go first, but thats not the way a TT usually works. It's usually the fastest guys go last, but since it's in the woods on mountain bikes maybe it's an advantage to not have to make any passes. In that regard it may be an advantage. However, they're were no rabbits to chase....although I did see some sort of otter and a white tail deer.
Last year I had fast guys to chase and that helped immensely to make me push. This year I had to just rip it and stay mentally focused.

I rode the technical sections that come early on a lot better than last year and avoided the crash that I took last year also. I got on top of the gear in the power sections and had a really good feel going. I knew I was faster at certain points than last year and that was positive reinforcement to hammer. The ground was wetter and there were some puddles that scrubbed some speed off too, but I felt excellent and knew I had a potentially race winning ride going. I railed all the wooden bridges and charged hard to the line. I was pretty sure I had gone as fast as last year's course record time, or at least very close to it. I figured the only one that could threaten that ride would be my teammate Kevin "The Missile" Hines. But I had crushed the power sections so hard that I held out hope that I might even have sucsessfully defended the title.

I was soaked to the bone from the last big puddle that had sent a wall of water over my entire body, so I just spun right on down to the parking lot and got on some dry shoes and then rode up to the start a few miles away and got all the team's jersey's and bottles and then headed back. The troops were all done now, we had a great crew representing. Aside from Kevin and me we also had Sammy Morse and Bill Shattuck. 4 guys in the expert field at a mountain bike race is pretty sweet!

Well the results came up and I was very surprised. Not that Kevin beat me. I figured he could do that, after all he beat every fast guy in New England at the Golden Bike race in Hingham last year by 7 minutes. Do you have any idea how much of a beatdown 7 minutes is? The guy that got 2nd was the guy that beat Tim Johnson earlier in the year. So, NO I wasn't surprised Kevin beat me, I was just surprised that my time was over a minute slower than last year's when I rode sections of the course much better, and actually have better fitness than this time last year. I guess the ground was a lot softer than I realized and I didn't push myself like I should have, but I'm sure glad the Crown stayed in the Corner Cycle family.

The Missile told me he was coming after my crown some time during the cross season, and I can honestly say I didn't lose it, but was beaten for it. I showed up fit and ready to rip, put in my best ride and he just stomped me! ;o) Well he may have the crown, but thanks to that slow earth, I still have the course record......for now.

Seriously though, I don't think anyone is gonna beat Kev on a mountain bike all year. The guy floats through the boneyards and climbs like Roger, he has plenty of power on the straight forward sections, he doesn't cramp, and can ride for 6 hours, so you tell me how you plan to beat him. He even knows how to crash propperly!

Anyway, it was great to get out there again and see some familiar faces. Thanks to all the folks that helped promote the King Of Burlingame. I hope to see you again next year.
Thanks for reading, JB

Friday, March 19, 2010

Must See To Believe!

David Kellog just sent me this. I can't friggen believe this. Thanks David Check it out!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Up and Down

Tuesday was a great day to ride. It was sunnier than I can remember it being for well over 2 weeks, and half way through my ride, I saw this.
The streetsweeper is one of my favorite sights of the year. This was in Bourne, MA, now they may have jumped the gun a little (whats a few more wasted tax dollars?) but you gotta love the optomism.

Later in the ride I saw this guy hanging out on the rocks. Probably trying to avoid being lunch for the sharks that lurk beneath. If you can't make it out, there's a seal on that big rock. This is just off of Woods Hole at Nobska Light. The view doesn't suck! I wish I had my actual camera and not just my phone. It was WAY cooler than it looks.

Sadly the next day was pure misery. Wet blowing snow with 45mph gusts ....but you gotta do what you gotta do. In Belgium they seemed to just go about the business of gettin'er done. It was a good lesson in sticktoitiveness. It has stuck with me, how they are. If it weren't for that and my ipod I don't think this ride would have happened. I got in almost 2 hours in the woods on the mountain bike and got drenched, but timed my return just right as my fingers and toes were just starting to go numb when I got back.

Maybe thats how they achieve such heavenly praise.Can you imagine this sort of thing in this country?.....Me either, it'll NEVER happen!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Rhode Island Scene

Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride with some friends in RI. These rides are pretty famous for the good hard workman like approach. Right up my alley, so after threatening to show up for a couple weeks, things finally worked out and I got over there for the 8:30 AM start time. I'm not sure of the town, but I believe we were near the Coventry/Richmond border, in the Western part of the state.

It's pretty rural out that way which is also my preference, so I was pretty stoked to be riding with some of New England's legends, on my favorite type of roads. Temperature was fine in the low 30s and no precip, there were even some sunny breaks throughout the day.

The cast of characters was a great one. Lots of Arc en Ciel riders, Todd Buckley,(T-Buck as I like to say), Randy Rusk, Dave Kellog, and many more. NBX was well represented with Bill "Angry Legs" Yarbroudy, and J-Lo. There were lots of others too. I think there was about 14 or 15 of us at the start. Those few names I just mentioned represent lots of Stage Race overall winners as well as countless 1 day classics and crits throughout New England. A very top notch crew, and it was a privledge to be welcomed to their ride.

I often enjoy this phase of the season more than most because we all go out and suffer. Thats really the suffer, and in recovering from these sessions, fitness improves. It's a nice contrast to some race days when it seems more like the concept is to be the guy to do the least amount of work. Nobody could be accused of being allergic to work yesterday. It was solid.

The direction started out west and in no time we found ourselves in CT, and it got even more rural. There were acres and acres of farmland and that yummy smell/taste of methane. I actually mean that, as nasty as that actually smells, it usually means you're on some classic country road in New England with the big acreage views, and no vehicle traffic. I suppose you could be in PA as well as a few other places, but it always means ideal riding according to my sensory recognition.

At one point, on a rolling hills kinda road, we split into 2 groups. The 6 strongest guys stayed back while the rest of the bunch started working a rotation ahead of us. We gave them a good head start and then we did the same. Eventually we reeled them in, but we all stayed in formation, and our group pulled away on the long steady climbs in the miles that followed. It was perfect training and we all got pretty quiet in our concerted effort. At the end of that road we circled back and re-grouped with everyone. Randy ocherstrated the whole thing and it's always nice to see a senior rider take the responsibility of the ride and make sure everyone is more or less on the same page.

Next up was the store stop, and then we hit some very hilly terraine. It was awesome out there, as we just kept getting deeper and deeper into the woods. I think I heard banjo music at one point........hey at least it wasn't Ned Beatty squealing like a pig! Guys were starting to get pretty cooked and I'm not sure but I think we were a thinner group than when we started. Now thats motivation to bring your A-game. Ride well or be left in banjo country.

We eventually worked our way back out to rt. 3 which is where we started, BUT (there's always a but) what I didn't know was that it was a quite a few miles back to the cars and it was a series of long ass stair step climbs. It got pretty hard there and the strong men came to the front to make the tempo. It went on and on and on. Finally at the top of what just seemed like another step, I heard Randy say "OK time to spin it out". I was glad to hear that and relented. At that point it had only been Randy, Dave and myself for a while. Bill had gone the other way on rt.3 to get home or he would have more than likely been tearing our legs off. Todd and J-Lo were just behind us, and the rest of the guys were spread out like the end of a charity ride or something......carnage!

Only a few of us had driven to the start location and we were just under 3 hours at that point, so 4 of us just kept going right on by the cars and did another big loop with the guys that were heading for home, and then we circled back through another great, but steep hilly road to get back, adding another full hour to the ride.

Another great day in the saddle, with good friends. This may sound really corny, but as I get older and older I appreciate these days more and more. When my time is up here on Earth and I look back on it, I don't wanna say "I should have spent more time at work" or "I wish I got to enjoy more outings with people that share the same passion as me". This is it, we only get one go'round, and at least half of my life is behind me now, so I want to do what I love to do with people that feel the same way. We're so lucky to feel this way about something you can do right into your old age. I can honestly say that some of the best times of my life have been on long winter training rides with so many different people. We may piss and moan about the winters in New England, but it's what makes us who we are. Anyone can ride in 70 degree weather all year, but if you ride here in the winter, really ride, then you're more than OK and also pretty tough in my book. Not that that means a damn thing, but I know a few of you know what I mean.

Which brings me to this.....We did it! The winter is basicly over. Sure we can still take a few more hits and probably will, but the light is at the end of the tunnel now. The days are longer and day light savings time is less than 2 weeks away, the sun is higher in the sky and is actually effective at warming the air temperature, when it finally comes out. We can even race our bikes this Saturday at the Charge Pond training series. This is a great training tool and I reccomend trying to get to 1 or 2 of them to sharpen up some of those base miles with some actual race efforts.

Thats it for now, Thanks for reading,