Sunday, November 30, 2008

Busted ....

Drumroll goes to Schenectady for 2 hr mtn bike race w/the 29er SS. Drumroll's friends note his knee pain is probably from ridiculous gears and quickly throw on a better gear. (Note: Drumroll doesn't know jack about this ss or mtn biking stuff.) Decent start, quickly remember how much I suck at mtn biking as riders blow by on every bobble. After an hour or so start pulling back a few riders, feeling more comfy on logs, bridges, planks, etc. Then ... busted .. the MF'in chain that is. Race over dammit. C'est La Vie eh? Drumroll's team-mate (JW) smoked the SS division though and put some gas $$ in his pocket -- congrats JW!

Police respond to spate of accidents across Onondaga County; Centro goes to snow routes

That was the headline on this afternoon. Apparently as of 2:45 there were nearly 30 accidents caused by snowy, icy roads. Sounds like a good time to be out for a ride. Local cycling hero Paul K., owner of Syracuse Bicycle and all around rider extraordinaire sent out a quick e-mail last night asking if anyone wanted to ride. He said he'd recently hurt his back, hadn't ridden much the last 3 months, planned to ride easy, and was taking his CX bike. I've fallen for that one before, so I packed a lunch. Paul joked that I was stuffing a lot of food in my jacket. I joked that I've been on his easy rides before. Just because he's carrying one small water bottle and two twizzler's doesn't mean that you aren't in for an epic. In this case the ride wasn't too bad, but the weather was bordering on epic. I'd tell you how long we rode, but someone might tell Turbo, and then he'd be on his trainer all night trying to catch up with Paul.

Suffice it to say, we saw the Rez, Marcellus, Skaneateles and Camillus. We were supposed to meet up with Shep and Beck but last we heard from them they had just summited Everest, were working their way back down the mountain and were potentially going to need to build a snow cave somewhere off of Rt 80.

We contemplated taking a picture of ourselves with the crazy Dicken's characters in Skaneateles, or potentially some action shots drafting their horse and carriage, but the weather was well past deteriorating so we pressed on. In hindsight a snapshot taken with some nut job who has spent the better part of the summer growing a beard so he could look like an actual Dicken's character would have been pretty cool. Add to that the nickel sized snow flakes and our own bizarre collection of clothing and we'd have had some sort of Star Trekesque, lycra clad back in time moment. Maybe next time, that would have been a great pic for the blog.

The roads started getting pretty dicey, but the Michelin Jet's worked their magic and somehow we stayed upright even as we got passed by snowplows, passed accidents, and crossed slick train tracks. Good times.

The best news of the day came from my wife when I called on my way home. Anyone that knows us knows that I do most of the cooking but today she made stew. It was great, and I look forward to 2011 when she is inspired to make it again.

If you're up for some winter rides, drop me a line. As I've mentioned, the goal is to stay off of the trainer to the extent that I can on the weekends. Feel free to put that on my tombstone if one of the snowplows gets me . . . "Loved by few, his goal was to stay off of the trainer to the extent that he could on the weekends." That kind of has a ring to it. Hopefully I don't actually get hit by a snowplow though. Predicting my death in a lame blog entry would be . . . well, lame. Not nearly as cool as a surfer getting eaten by a shark and pooped back into the ocean. At best, my bike and I would end up in a garbage bag after the Onondaga Cycling Club Earth Day clean-up.

PS - I rode the 29er yesterday, it was pretty sweet. More to follow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lame excuses . . .

Well, as I write this I should be en route to Mass, but I've momentarily run out of motivation. After
only missing one weekend between 9/21 and 11/16, when the local season ended, I've come up empty this weekend. I have a long list of excuses, but no one made a better list than Jake Blues, so I'll go with that. "I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD."

That's all I have. The good news is that I have a brand spankin' new 29er in my basement, and so far, racing has gotten between me and its maiden voyage. I will without a doubt find the motivation to ride it tomorrow. Since I built it up on my own, hopefully the ride is mechanically uneventful.

I played in the annual family "Turkey Bowl" yesterday. You'd think CX would foster decent football conditioning. For the most part it did, but my legs are still pretty torn up today. I guess all of the riding let my lungs write checks that my legs couldn't cash. Probably the fact that I drank about a bottle of wine and 7 beers during the day isn't helping either. I'd join a 12 step program, but I hear one of the steps involves apologizing to anyone you've wronged. I just don't have that kind of time. That and and rehab is for quitters.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Snowmobiles and Snow Plows . . .

. . . are two of the things I saw and had to get out of the way of while riding on Saturday. The temperature was in the low 20's, but the "feels like" index on had it at 6. Mmmm, Accelerade Slushy. Actually it wasn't that bad as long as I didn't get moving too fast. I decided to hit up the Canal Path to keep the speed down. Nothing like cruising along in zone 2 while achieving a blistering pace of 11mph. Beats the trainer any day though. Riding the trainer on a weeknight is all well and good, but 2 hours on a Saturday is more that I can handle while CX season is still in effect. All trainer and no play make Skinny a dull boy. Redrum redrum redrum.

After my ride, I took my dog Ray-Ray hiking. As I pulled up to the woods, I saw Drumroll's car. Turned out he was also in trainer avoidance mode. He was rolling his new Dillenger and wearing out his dog at the same time. Probably a good way to keep her worn out and the humping to a minimum (see previous post). I was glad to see that I wasn't alone in my desperation to avoid the trainer.

Drumroll and I met up today and got in another decent ride on the CX bikes. Thankfully things had warmed up into the low 30's and there weren't any snowplow or snowmobile sightings. We even saw another biker. My drink also remained in liquid form as opposed to solid, so that was a bonus. Looks like we have a long winter in front of us. I'm gonna need to break down and get some fenders. Cold is cool, wet is not, and I'm committed to avoiding the hamster wheel on the weekends this winter. Let me know if you want to ride, if there's a group of us, the person that doesn't get hit by the snowplow can call the ambulance.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Soul Build Part 2B / CX done?

So there she is in all her glory ... the humper dog, oh yeah ... and the new Soul Cycles Dillinger 29er single speed. (Note: Drumroll has not been humped by the Dillinger ... yet). Took the new build out last Fri and this Fri to Green Lakes to see what this SS stuff was all about. So far so good 'cept froze my nads off today -- freaking snow storm trying to mess w/my ride dammit.

Also gotta figure out if I got any more CX in me. I've raced alot of CX this yr and have had 2 lousy training weeks in a row 'cause of work/travel so any form that I may have had probably got left in a hotel or rental car somewhere between Ohio, West Virginia and Mass.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dave Panella Memorial CX Race

I could provide a full race recap, and perhaps I will, but first this photo op of a teammate that my wife happened to catch.

I'm not sure that there's a lesson to be learned here, but if there was a lesson to be learned, it might go like this:

If you're kicking back after your race and drinking some 3 Philosopher's, don't drink so much that you feel compelled to sit on the ground. You're already tired and vulnerable on the ground, and your dog has clearly seen things at home. Clearly your dog has also worked up the nerve to try them. Then again, who doesn't get excited at a CX race?

The race went pretty well. I got a great start for once, but the course quickly turned into a maze of twists and turns, and making sequential 180's and circles really isn't my strong suit. The course had some new whoops this year which were pretty cool. Most of the usual suspects I tend to race with took the weekend off apparently, so I spent nearly the whole race by myself. I had guys 20 something seconds behind me and in front of me, but we were all traveling at about the same speed once the race settled in, so it was pretty much a TT for me. I finished on the lead lap in the Open race, so I think I was going about as fast as I could. The weather was definitely 'cross worthy with some sleet and snow, and I didn't smack my nuts this time, so all in all it was a good race.

I also won a couple of big bottles of Ommegang, a tire, an Ommegang sweatshirt for my lady and a few other things from a raffle. Not sure what the plan is for next weekend, but the weekend after that I'm headed to Mass to redeem myself after getting killed out there in my first CX race of the season. There will either be redemption, or my blog posting efforts will promptly be converted to my other passion, belly button lint. I guess you'll have to stop back to see how that works out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bethlehem Cup

The NYCross series finished this weekend. Most of my teammates headed to Greene to tackle the "Spirals of Death." I hadn't gotten a chance to ride in Albany yet this year, so I betrayed the team and decided to see how I stacked up against the eastern dudes. Last year I routinely finished in the back of their 3/4 races, so I really wanted to see if the new training regimen and new found skills from Cycle-Smart had paid off. They did.

I had also heard a lot about the course, it's epicness, and a gorilla banging a drum at the top of an insane run up. Bob hitched a ride with me and the 2:30 commute consisted of the normal pre-race talk. Training, racing, future bike purchases, tubulars and upcoming Spring races . . . We got to the race a little late and then I ran into a CBRC guy that I met at the Cycle-Smart camp. Turns out he broke his collar bone at Gloucester. He was going strong this year and had two new Conquest Pro Teams for this years campaign, so I was pretty bummed for him. The thought of losing a whole CX season after all of that training, planning and purchasing is a little daunting. Certainly pales in comparison to some of the curve balls that life can throw you, but a major bummer none the less.

Bob and I were racing the 3/4. The race before us finished late, so by the time we got on the course they made an announcement that we needed to be on the start line in 5 minutes so we couldn't complete a full lap. This probably wasn't the best course to miss a preview of or shortcut the warm up. The race started fast and flat. I didn't get a great start, but since I didn't really know where the course was going, that was fine by me. The course started out normal enough, but then we hit the run up everyone was talking about. Steep, muddy, and very long. Very long, muddy and steep (it bears repeating). Then came a couple hundred yards of peanut butter. I've had some time to think of adjectives to describe the mud, but I'm still at a loss for descriptives. This stuff was crazy, power sapping, and awesome at the same time. With a nickname like Skinny Phil, power isn't exactly my strong point, but I think I held my own. I did eat mud once, but that was just stupidity. After that there was a quick downhill with a sweet berm, and then another tough run up with three steps thrown in just to make sure everyone shouldered the bike. I really dug that run up until the last lap. On the last lap, I was sprinting in hopes that the guy 20 seconds in front of me would fumble at some point and I botched the remount. When I say botched the remount I mean I smacked my junk into the back of my seat. Thankfully my junk provided a slight amount of padding for my left nut. I was pretty concerned about what was going on "down there" but I figured I'd keep on pedaling while I sorted out where my junk ended up. Luckily everything remained in place and by Tuesday or Wednesday I'd say the pain had subsided. I hit my right knee on the headset/stem a couple of weeks ago. I thought that was pretty painful at the time. In hindsight it wasn't.

All in all the course was sweet, the race was sweet, they had a keg and a chili cook off. The gorilla didn't make it to the 3/4 race which was a bummer, but I'll probably get over it. Apparently getting over the loss of gorilla is taking longer than the smacking of my junk. That's weird.

I wish I had some pictures, but my old lady (actually she wants me to stop calling her that since I'm older) wasn't in attendance. Turns out they added whoops to Greene this year. Hopefully the races aren't on the same day next year. Whoops would be epic and the lack of a gorilla is definitely weighing heavily on my mind. Maybe the gorilla is a 3/4 racer? Sorry for the stream of consciousness, I just finished a caffeine fueled 4 hour commute and I'm trying to take the edge off of the Starbucks with some of Ommegang's finest. Sort of an every man's speed ball. Isn't that what killed John Belushi? Gotta go, commin' down . . .

Monday, November 10, 2008

Soul Cycles Build Part II / Weekend Report

Go here (as in physically entering Syr Bicycle, not by clicking) if you wanna see Mr. Drumroll's build up process of his retro blue Soul Cycles Dillinger 29er (peek in the back). So bite me, I took the EZ way out. So on to this past weekend -- Sunday I hooked up w/a 19 yr old in Greene and chased her round with a rapid pulse and a burning feeling in my chest. Man she was seductive and elusive. Even though I made my play for "her prize", I fell short by one spot -- seems "my rival" scored instead of me. I kept him honest & made him work for it but -- he was the better man on this day and she was all his when it was done & over. The 19 yr old was the Greene CX (or KX if you prefer) event -- and yes, at 19 it just may be the only KX event in upstate NY old enough to have voted. While Greene may have voted "for change", I hope the Greene KX event does not change irregardless of economic conditions, troop levels, or who controls the senate.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Soul Cycles Build

The fine people at FedEx came through and a sweet pile of boxes with frames, wheels and parts showed up at my office on Wednesday. I had a group CX workout/ride/slugfest Wednesday night, so the best I could do that night was lay out the pieces and take a picture. It was probably for the best, because starting a project like this at night could have led to trouble. The good news was that I have more vacation days left than I'll be able to use and I was able to take a half day on Thursday. My first stop was Home Depot, so I could build a ghetto headset press that I saw on the internet. Gotta love the world wide web, it isn't just for porn you know.

Ghetto headset press ready to go, I got to work installing the headset. It wasn't without its challenges, and I'll probably just go to a LBS next time, but I really wanted to build up the bike on my own. With the headset in place it was time to deal with the fork. I've never taken a hacksaw to a perfectly good fork, but after some measuring, headset spacer shuffling, and Sharpie marking, I was ready to let 'er rip with the hacksaw. It was actually pretty easy and after a little sanding I was good to go. I'm probably going to end up lowering the stem some and I'll bust the hacksaw back out so I don't end up with two inches of spacers above the stem, but I wanted to play it safe until I figured out handlebar position, etc. Setting the star nut deal into the fork was a little challenging without the proper tool, but again, I was able to get it in ghetto style. That's another item that a LBS could take care of in about 2 seconds, but I had to do it.

Fork and stem in place, the wheels, handlebars, brakes, and lock on grips were pretty much a no brainer. Avid is kind enough to send the brakes pre-bled, so short of zips ties and bolts it was already good to go. That kind of made my day since I haven't bled brakes in a long time and wasn't psyched about the idea.

Next step was to install the bottom bracket, crankset and chain. Again, it was pretty straightforward. The eccentric bottom bracket made tensioning the chain fairly painless, so it was time to steal some pedals from one of my CX bikes and ride around my driveway in the dark. On a side note, my old lady and I have lived in our house for about 3 and a half years, and we don't really know any of our neighbors. I'm reasonably certain they must think I'm insane after a few years of watching me roll out in the rain, snow, dark, and then ride circles while trying to pop wheelies in my driveway at 8:30 in the evening. I don't think any of them will be inviting us over for dinner any time soon.

I'm racing tomorrow, so I probably won't get a chance to really ride this thing in the woods until next week, but I'll keep you posted. All indications are that it should be a lot of fun. I've never owned a single speed, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes for me to lose the urge to shift. Even riding up my driveway I kept thinking I should grab a gear or two.

I'll provide more feedback on the bike, and some pictures of it once it had some mud on it, but first impressions are very positive, and the paint, fit and finish are impeccable. I also have to add that Chad at Soul Cycles was great to work with and provided plenty of options and advice for the build up.

Drumroll's bike is in the process of being built up, so keep an eye out. Maybe he'll even have a SS race report.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I don't know if you've heard . . . but I'm kind of a big deal

Really, it's tough to be modest here. The facts are the facts, and I came in 9th place in the Mens 1/2/3 race at the NY State Cyclocross Championships. Not only did I come in 9th place, but it was my second race of the day. Who's to say I couldn't have come in 8th place if I hadn't already raced the 3/4.

I must admit that there were only 12 finishers, but I've gotta take what I can get. I'm not getting any younger, so I need to capitalize on my new self appointed title . . . "9th faster 'crosser in NYS." I'm not going to let the fact that I've never cracked the top ten of any of the open races this year (or any year for that matter) deter me. As far as I know, most of the dudes that have been beating me must be from Canada or out of state.

In order to commemorate my 9th place finish, I'm going to have some custom skinsuits made with 9 Balls all over them. I've attached a picture of what they may look like.

I'm sure I'll have a big target on my back this weekend, but I'm just going to need to get used to the extra attention that no doubt gets paid to the 9th fastest 'crosser in NYS.

It's yet to be seen what kind of perks I can expect now that I'm the 9th faster 'crosser in NYS, but I'm sure I'll be hearing from TRP, Ridley, FSA and Mavic soon. I'll make sure I get some extra swag for my friends. I promise I won't forget any of you or let this go to my head. Having said that, I do expect that you'll be putting my bikes on my roof rack after the races from now on.

Humbly yours,
The 9th fastest 'crosser in NYS (or at least the 9th fastest that showed up that day and happened to race in that particular race)

Monday, November 3, 2008

She Won't Bite ...

"She won't bite ...." but I might damn it. Mr. Tool lets his dog run unleashed (illegally) on the canal path -- dog chases Drumroll as Mr. Tool calls back dog & keeps yelling "she won't bite" -- Drumroll hops off bike and chases dog w/bike -- as Drumroll gets back on bike, Mr. Tool has a few comments about chasing dog -- Drumroll , now seeing red, turns around to have a "discussion" w/Mr. Tool. Mr. Tool gets an earful of "I don't give a sh*t if you think she won't bite" and summed it up with "We wouldn't even be having this discussion if your ^$*#ing dog was on a leash you're holding in your hand in the first place." Mr. Tool sees Drumroll is really pissed and actually apologizes -- Drumroll realizes he's a bit fired up this Friday eve and maybe should race tomorrow.

Tomorrow (Sat) -- decided at 7:30 am to roll back to Rochester/Ellison Park again looking for missing seat redemption. Diced it out w/some of teh regular rivals and was able to hold on for a win. Woo Hoo -- redemption.

NYS CX Champs (Sun) -- holy crap was it a cold morning. Started out Masters race in row 2 on wheel of a CX stud type and had a good start. Played near the front for a bit and then settled in to race for possible podium spot. Thought I had a decent gap on last lap when a teammate and other dude smoke by on a run up. Never knew they were there and desperately tried to catch on -- figures, I caught the teammate but not "other dude" and ended up passing teammate in last few turns to win 3rd by less than a bike length in 35+. Looked real pro at the end slumped over handle bars dry heaving uncontrollably. Another teamamte won 45+ and had good overall team showing all in all. Gotta luv 'cross.