2014 Charm City Cross

22 Sep

Charm City CX…. Usually a great weekend hanging out in Baltimore living and breathing bicycles. We all packed in the car and drove down Friday after work, Lauren, Balake, Thom, and myself in the jetta. We headed straight downtown to grab some food at Sticky Rice (www.bmoresticky.com/) before heading to the hotel. He shoveled down slews of food and drove down by the airport to the hotel. We got settled, rolled out our camping pads and got comfortable. A bit after midnight Emily & Anna got to the hotel after a traffic-y ride down. We heckled each other a bit then went to bed.

The next morning we were up at 7am to get to the race for the mens C & womens 3/4 events. I went out and pre-rode a bit with them. I had forgotten I put on filetreads on (ones I had never used before) and proceeded to com in to a corner hot, grab some front brake, hit a little bump, and scorpion straight onto my face in front of Shaina… luckily my face took the brunt as I didn’t even get the hands out. Welp lesson learned. Always remember what tires you have on the bike… It was good to see a bunch or people, root on Thom and the rest of the Cmen.

Next up were the ladies with Shaina wearing the MAC leaders jersey. Unfortunately for the first day they took out the flyover for the ladies but it looked like everyone was having a good time other than in the 4 sand pits they made for some reason…

At some point I finally got my act together, kitted up, and cruised the course. I warmed up around the lake for a while before the race and got to talk/ride with Cam Dodge for a bit. Super nice guy whos been crushing it lately. We line up and it bogs hard once we turn onto the grass, then again at the first set of stairs, then again at the next set. I try to stay calm and do my thing… not trying to get a mechanical doing something stupid.

The rest of the race is kinda a blur. I raced harder than I ever had in a legit A race. I was able to track down a few people that are always faster than me and pick them off by the end. I even had the pleasure of having a my teammate Thom pit for me and give me 2x water hand-ups in the pit. Much appreciated bud! Even though I still ended up in the very back, I felt like I gave it my all without having to lay off the throttle. Ended up AVG a heart rate = 198BMP for 54minutes which is the highest average ive had for an A race. I was really happy with my performance even thought that meant I was still a lap down. Plenty of work to do but I ended up 42nd (err results) / 53 starters

Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/197799423

The prologue + full lap of the Mens UCI DAY 1 Video:

PHOTO DUMP:

Friday night was dinner at Sticky Rice and a hotel party

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——————————— DAY 1 (SATURDAY) ———————————

Mens C 4/5

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Womens 3/4

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Mens 35+

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Mens B 2/3/4

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Brendie v Balake

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Warmup

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Mens UCI race

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Mens UCI results (couple mistakes but oh well)

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Pizza + Beer time

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——————————— DAY 2 (SUNDAY) ———————————

Mens C 4/5

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Womens 3/4

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Mens B 2/3/4

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Womens UCI

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Lost City Diner

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Another solid weekend. Next up… some New England action.

Granogue Cross 2014

18 Sep

Granogue Cross 2014 – Men’s 1/2

I hadn’t planned on racing this weekend at all but a bit of FOMO happened and I remembered how much I loved the venue/course. The last time they held this race was in 2011 and it was my 4th / 5th ever race, I was in the beginner Cmen race, and it was my first double weekend ever. I remember having a blast.

Been in the GoPro game for a while… video from 2011 Day 1 – laps 1 – Mens 4 race:

 

 

Anyways after a late night I woke up later than usual with nothing packed at all. I got the bike ready, packed the car, and we hit the road to catch the start of the Men’s B race. Unfortunately I forgot a bunch of stuff… sunglasses, Garmin, gloves, yada, yada… Right before everyone was lining up I used the restroom right next to the starting grid. When I got back out everyone was lined up and I was the last person (ie 4th row). My last race didn’t go so hot so I wanted to try something new. Game plan don’t go as nuts from the start and see how that works. I kept it calm on the prologue up the short steep climb and let things take there course. I didn’t make any wild moves and tried not to spike the HR too early. Im having a blast on the course but things aren’t there mentally. I cant push myself at all. My HR is low everytime I look down but I cant seem to tell myself to push harder.

Hal catches up to me and we catch up to Michael Miller – then we all cruise together for a lap. A couple times I wanted to make a move out of the group but I thought, just sit in and reduce your workload. OK smart Eric, lets try this out. Fast forward to the barriers that they both rode and disappeared after my ‘run’ attempt. I need to replace my right cleat as hoping wasn’t an option. They keep opening the gap as time ticks on. Im eventually in no mans land until I see Cam Dodge crushing it towards me. He closes the gap very quickly and I pull to the side as he laps me and give him encouragement (not that its needed at all) and he tells me thanks. I then then pick up my pace to ride behind him for a bit, JUST to watch his lines and try to pick up a thing or two. This last for all of 10seconds and hes gone. I pedal around a bit more, still having fun on the course but im done. A bit of a disappointment. I didn’t check results.

As usually lots to work on. I need to get more excited to race but its tough when youre not really fighting for anything. Ive never had to deal with the mental part of it, its something that im very weak at right now. Oh yah and cornering… I really need to practice that part. Charm city is up next! Well see how if I can make it with 1 to go before getting pulled!

Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/194838166/analysis

Video:

Pictures:

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Mens B

womens A

Mens A

2014 Nittany Lion Cross – UCI Men

8 Sep

— Saturday at Nittany Lion Cross —

This is the first big race of the season, the first race we were doing, and my first UCI race ever. I was excited to see a slew of cross buds but was more than a bit weary of doing the A-race. We got there before the 9:00am C-men race so the lady could pre-ride before her race, ie we were going to be there all day. The course was pretty much the same as always, with some of the roots covered in a small amount of loose dirt which meant that section was a cloud of dust if you were towards the back.

Ill keep my race recap short. I roll up to get my tire width checked and my front barely fits… guess tubes-n-clinchers really aren’t pro!? Im probably 3rd to last row with 45 starters. Im usually really nervous staring a cross race but I wasn’t nervous at all. Honestly I didn’t even know we were ready to start and was barely clipped in and focused before they blew the whistle. I lined up all the way to the left like a dum-dum and kept it civil during the start. I was told before the race to ride aggressive and make moves when I could. I tried to rail turns and pump out all the power these legs could handle…

That approach worked pretty well for the first 2 laps then BAM. I blew up sooooooo hard. My legs seemed alright my but lungs… my lungs did NOT like what I was doing at all. In a short section I think 10 riders went around me. Bleeeeh. The rest of my race was me riding by myself thinking, ‘Why am I doing this again?!’ I made it 45minuntes being 2 laps down before getting pulled. Not sure why they give people DNF’s now for getting pulled but oh well. I ended up 3rd to last, exactly where cross-results had placed me.

I have so much to work on in order to actually get in the mix. Im never going to be towards the front, but id like to make it through a full UCI race without getting pulled one day.

Strava Jawn: http://www.strava.com/activities/191061860

Youtube Video:

Photos:

4/5 C Men

Womens 3/4

Hole shot

Podium

Men’s 35+

35+ Results

2/3/4 mens B race

2/3/4 Results

Men’s UCI

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Droppppppped

Men’s UCI results

The Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia

5 Sep

The lady and I drove down south to The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia do some riding/hiking/camping before heading down to NC to meet out new nephew Max! On the way down we ate at Great Sage and stopped by the COOP-esq market called Roots to pick up some artisanal camping food/snacks.

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We stayed at The Middle Creek Campground located right off I-81

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Quick breakfast

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Then it was time to ride! I had no idea what to expect other than there were a couple cat3 climbs and an HC climb at the end… The lady is still trying to recover from her shattered ankle a few months back and she had never done any sustained climbing past ~800ft before so I knew today could be a rough one. I tried to explain what we were getting ourselves into… about a 2 hour climb back up to camp, but I think that only made her more weary.

Our camp spot is in the foothills of Jefferson forest near The Peaks of the Otter. We descended a few hundred feet, turn right and within 2 miles we turn onto the road and start climbing. This wouldn’t have been such a bad thing other than the road turned to coarse gravel… hmm OK! Wasn’t thinking these roads were going to be gravel but what can you do. Climbing up gravel roads is much more difficult for the shear fact that you have to be on your game and not zone out. Picking the wrong line can easily make you have to put a foot down where getting momentum to go again can be sometimes impossible. The lady took the gravel ascents AND descents like a champ and we finally make it to The Blue Ridge Parkway.

At that point she saw the sign for the top of the mountain to the right and thought we were heading to the top to take in the sights and sounds… this was far from the truth though. I explained that we needed to turn left in order to descend the rest of the mountain so that we could do the entire HC climb. We sped towards the bottom of the hill and exited the parkway to grab some fluids at a gas station ~1mile away. We ate the food we packed on the parkway before ascending to the top of Apple Orchard Mountain.

The climb was long and gradual with nothing too too steep. We kept a talkative pace the whole climb with a couple ‘shrink’ sessions mixed in. I was having a blast taking in the sights and sounds. It was an epic experience and the most ‘Rapha’ ride I think the lady had ever been on. These types of rides are usually hated during the journey, but thought about in high regards shortly after the fact.

STRAVA: http://www.strava.com/activities/188898991

Distance: 64miles
Time: 5h40m
Elevation: 6800ft

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Gravel gridin HARD

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Crushing The Blue Ridge Parkway downhills

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ALL the goats!

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BRP

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Picnic spot

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22miles of straight climbing… oooohie!

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We even got to hang-out/watch a local blue-grass band. We were deep in Virginia!

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The next day we hiked the Application trail for a whiles since neither of us had before getting in the car and heading South. Another great experience with excellent riding mixed in. Next up… cyclocross season.

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2014 Arsenal Crit – Mens 4/5

25 Aug

Sunday morning the lady and I rode down to the Arsenal Crit down at the Philly navy yard to race road bikes. This was going to be the ladys FIRST crit ever and first race after shattering her ankle… I was excited for her but at the same time a bit worried as crits are pure wildness in the lower categories.

Mens 4/5

Video :

Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/185113228

Distance: 18.7mi
Time: 45min
Avg Speed: 25mi/h
Avg HR: 186bmp
Avg Power: 273W

The Arsenal Criterium this year was a traditional 4-corner crit that had ended up selling out in the mens 4/5 field with 75 people. The goal for today was to keep it upright and try to lead Ryan out for the final sprint. I knew a handful of people in the field and had a good time heckling throughout the race.

Things somehow stayed pretty civil in the bunch and I only yelled a couple times. Nothing was really going off the front and I didn’t do too much work at the front either other than for a lap or two when the pace seemed to slow too much. For the most part things stayed together due to the un-technical nature of the flat course.

I won’t spend too much time rambling on but with 3 to go Ryan got up to my wheel and he was feeling good. We stayed to the front as I knew the last lap would be mayhem.

On the last lap on the straight away coming into corner 3 a couple people went flying by on the right side and I knew I had to jump. Coming out of corner 3 I was sitting behind two people who both realized they didn’t want to lead out into the very long drag-line sprint. As they slowed I moved off there wheel to make sure I had a lane. Ryan was one wheel off mine at that point.

Coming into the last corner I stayed to the inside as to not get pushed too far out when a rider came on the inside of my already inside line. I had to push wider than I had wanted tracking out of corner 4 into the sprint but still made sure to leave plenty of room to not force anyone into the corner.

As I came out of the corner I there was one guy in front of me and I charged to get on his wheel. I sat on his wheel for a second and realized there was a chance I could take this. I jumped HARD to the left and went for broke. I heard the cheering and gave a glance backwards to see what kind of gap I had… it was enough and I threw the hands up crossing the line 1st of 60+ people.

I think there was some touching of wheels and foot dabbing that had to get done in the final corner which took fellow teammate Ryan out of contention. I was bummed for him but was more than excited to get my first road win and hopefully be able to upgrade to a cat3.

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Results

Riding down south

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We cruised down early to watch a good friends first ever crit where we cheered/heckled hard giving us a great primer for the upcoming cross season.

Cat5 mens race

Next up was the womens 4 field where the lady was racing along side a bunch of friends/familiar faces. I wasn’t able to cheer as much as I would have liked as I was racing next but was more than happy to have everyone keep the rubber side down.

Womens 4 race

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After doing well I opted out of the mens 3/4 race. Greg was racing but I knew I couldn’t help him anyways nor did he need my help. Greg was doing work up from and went off the front in a group of three. Around 2 to go they getting closer to getting caught when Myles from Cyclismo went hard and blasted by them. It look like Greg went hard to bridge up to Myles and they had a 15second gap to the peloton with 1 to go. As I looked across the course with ½ lap to go I counted 10seconds to a lone chaser and 16second to the peloton… I saw Myles then Greg coming out of corner 4 with a huge gap. I started yelling so loud that I thought my hernia was going to bust. Gregg crushed it and got the win. It was a 2/2 in the winning game for the Sunnybrook Racing crew this weekend. Couldn’t be happier with the results.

Mens 3/4

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Ride for some food

Work And A Trip Down The Shore

20 Jun

Last weekend was a busy one. We had some company in town and got slews of eating/drinking and a tad of house work accomplished.

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The lady was doing a ride to get people ready for the Women’s 100 so I ventured out with my buddy Filson down the shore. The route isn’t perfect quite yet (note to self: next time stay on Piney Hollow Rd past Black Horse Pike/322 all the way to Harding Hwy/40 in order to bypass 54/12th street which is a bit busy)

Strava Route: http://www.strava.com/activities/154629175

It was slow in Camden with not many people out and about at 8am. Eventually we made it to the farmland and enjoyed the scenery. We stopped to slam some food and crush beers before heading to the beach for some Mang-O-Rita’s. we headed to grab the NJ transit home from Atlantic City to find the train we were hoping to take wasn’t leaving at that time anymore. The next train was 2 hours later so we cruised over to the casino for a couple rounds and to hit the slots.

About how we were feeling atmo

Train sign in the bathroom

Got back and did some lazy day hangs with the cats and took in the newly planted herbs.

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Philly Beer Week 2014

10 Jun

I had grand plans of actually racing on the road this weekend as there were two very close by crits in NJ. Unfortunately I got a bit sick and ended up doing exactly 0 miles the last 6days. OOF! The most productive thing I did was make it to a beer week event.

Luckily for me there is plenty of house work to do so I got on that full half force.

I got the front door finished… New hardware, new color, trim painted, and of course a sweet eBay find… cat doorbell!

Fixed a chair that has been on the agenda for a while since our cat loves to steal the rocking chair…

Finished up the back gate.

And finally bike storage in the basement>!!

After all the hard work we took a break and did some serious damage at Standard Tap’s Sour Brunch event during beer week. Ohhie I was seriously impressed. Even though its hard to swallow and Im still trying to recover, I couldn’t pass up a slew of sours. The Allagash Golden Brett colab with Victory, Free Will Kriek Lambic, and Funk Brewing Savage Sour Saison where my favorites in the sour game. The Naked Aigre Canon (saison) was excellent but not sour by any means. I think Fegley’s BrewWorks Framboise was the worst offender of the night… it reminded me of Nighttrain bum wine.

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