Archive | April, 2014

2014 Naval Yard Crit (Men’s Cat 4/5 & 3/4)

21 Apr

I cruised down to the 8miles down to the naval yard to get some racing in. Game plan was to do well in the 4/5 and double up on the 3/4 to get some miles in. I thought roughly a week off the bike would be a good thing but it wasn’t. My game plan was to start the race off fast and break it apart. The 6 corner technical course had me weary of riding with 50+ cat4/5 riders.

Naval yard crit

Naval yard crit


Naval yard crit

Naval yard crit

Men’s 4/5 Video:

Strava cat 4/5:

20 miles
0:47 moving time
Avg speed = 25.3mph
Max speed = 33.1mph
Avg power = 296W
Max power = 1,318W
Avg HR = 192bmp
Max HR = 205bmp

I cyclocross-started from the gun and led out the first lap and worked at the front for the next whiles. Not too long after there was maybe half the starters or so. I was feeling good and the pace felt pretty high. We tried a couple breaks but nothing stuck. Fast forward to 3 laps to go and 1 rider was off the front. I was sitting in trying to conserve. Coming into 1 to go I was somehow on the front with a really strong rider trying to go bridge the gap. I didn’t want to chase but had to put some effort in. Bad decision number 1. After it came back I sat in back in but jumped in the pack a bit too far back, mistake #2. Coming out of corner 1 on the last lap I was sitting on Justin’s wheels (from Tuckahoe) and let his teammate jump in in front of me. I knew they would have a good lead out and I wanted in.

Thing slowed coming into turn 3 which I wasn’t a fan of and got worried. We took the right through corner 3 and I crept up the right hand side before the left hand turn of corner 4 and a rider on a blue bike got wild and bumped me enough that I thought we were going down. I yelled a bit and told him to keep it up. Im glad he did. We slowed a bit coming into the left turn of corner 4 and with 2 more corners to go I JUMPED on it. Unfortunately for me there was no tension at all in my chain and I looked down to see WTF happened. Turns out the bump-age had dropped my chain to the inside (I think the little chainring). FUUUUUUUUUU I hurried to shift back to the big chainring and get back on it. A gap had formed and my plan at being in the top 3 was not a reality. I sat on a wheel and got outsprinted as usual. Not how I planned on ending that race at all and finished up 10th/70+ starters

Cat 4/5 Results:
Naval yard crit

Strava cat 3/4 (Pulled the plug):

14.5 of 25 miles
0:35 moving time
Avg speed = 24.6mph
Max speed = 32.7mph
Avg power = 277W
Max power = 1,122W
Avg HR = 188bmp
Max HR = 201bmp

I was cooked from the race before. The 3/4 race was not good for me at all. It entailed a lot of coming to a rolling stop of 10mph to a violent sprint back to 30mph 4-6 times a lap. It was brutal. My legs were too cooked to move up off the back and I couldn’t hang anymore. Before I got caught up in a stupid crash at the back I pulled the plug and called it a day. Pretty shitty day of racing to be honest. It was good to see the guy who won the 4/5 race also win the 3/4 as well as the Bicycle Therapy train do some damage in the field sprint. Luckily the philly cycling crew are solid group of people and we headed to Cantina to eat&drink.


Naval yard crit

The damage done
Naval yard crit

And a little of this was happening to the crew
Naval yard crit

After that we headed over to a buddies to help on some car modifications
Naval yard crit

Naval yard crit

Sunday we crushed MTBs and I remembered how much fun single track is. Lots of work needs to get done but who knows when that will happen. All I know is its about to be nice out and I cant wait.

Naval yard crit

Naval yard crit


Austin, TX – An Eating Vacation

17 Apr

Friday night the lady and I flew down to Austin, TX for a wedding and a bit of a vacation. Theme of this vacation was eat a lot and excise zero. We got in late but got a pickup from Chase & Ashley and b-lined it for a Tex-Mex dinner at Matt’s el Rancho. I was so siked for legit chips y salsa and some Loney’s!!!! OOOOOOOOOOHIE!


The next morning we picked up some food for the next day at one of Austin’s sweet grocery co-ops, Wheatsville. I seriously love that place, and can’t wait for the kenzo/fishtown co-op to open. We smashed some breakfast tacos and other nonsense then made a quick beer stop at some wild man artisanal gas station for choice Belgium/Texas brews before headed out to Horseshoe bay for a wedding.

We had a few beers and got dressed up for the wedding. The open bar was flowing and some dance moves were thrown before passing out back at the lake house.

The next morning the lady and I watched Paris-Roubaix on an iPhone… Not optimal but it worked. We then said some goodbyes and headed back to Austin. 1st stop was to check out the new Austin Beer Garden Brewing (ABGB) in order to relax and take it all in.

Parking lot find…

After a pitcher or so we made our way to Whisler on the east side for some fancy dranks/cocktails. After hanging for a bit we cruised back north to Titiyas for some legit Thai food. I couldn’t decide so I opted to order and app and 2x dinners. Both were dialed. Next up was an ice cream stop at one of the more artisanal stops on the trip, Sweet Ritual where they share the space with a juice bar & record shop/ They had the best vegan ice cream lineup I’ve ever seen to date.

The next morning Ashley flew back to hotlanta and we headed to Whole Foods. The weather yielded temps in the 40s and monsoon type rains. Lucky for us the flagship Whole Foods is huge for optimal food/beer nerd-ing out. We opted to her made-to-order (think Wawa but healthy) breakfast tacos there as well which were super delish.


One of the only things on my agenda was making it to Mellow Johnny’s. Back when we lived in Texas 5some years ago I hadn’t gotten into road bikes yet, so I figured I should make it happen. It definitely didn’t disappoint and was impressive to see some of the old race rigs.





Next up we cruised to Pinthouse for some microbrews and personal pizzas. Best beers of the weekend may have been consumed here with some La terroir & La Folie on tap from New Belgium. Ohhie! $6 For a 12oz pour of +7% sours!? Count me in. Seriously can’t wait till they distribute to Philly one day. The margarita pizza and pretzel were good toboot.




To keep on the microbrew roll we drove over to Blackstar Coop for more of same, good beer and some legit homemade garlic fries/chips. We headed home for a catnap.



Later that night we met up with some old Texas friends at Liberty. I hadn’t been there in many of years but it was about the same. $1.50 PBR pounders and food from the East Side King trailer did not disappoint. We order slews of beers and some beet fries, cilantro rice, and fried brussels sprouts. Very jealous of their new-to-me food trailers scene. We ran into a few philly friends as well, laughed too much, and I had one of the better nights out in quite a while.



The next morning we woke up knowing we had a flight out around 3pm so we needed to make moves. 1st up was lunch at Bouldin Creek. Id never been to their new storefront but that place still has amazing veg food and a solid vibe. I crushed way too much food before walking across the street to get some after lunch desserts at Sugar Mama’s.




This bike had it all… aero bars AND a 2×4 attached to a rear rack?! ooooohhhie



We had to be at the airport in 30mins or so but I had one last stop I needed to make. I had read about a veg Jewish food truck called, Schhmaltz. How could I NOT go?! I ordered a Reuben for the plane ride and we giddied up to the airport.





This brings me to now, Wednesday night typing on my super delayed flight home. I just ate said Ruben a second ago and wish I had ordered 3x instead of only 2x… the 2nd is for a fairly-Jewish-but-will-bend-the-Passover-rules-for-artisanal-vegan-Austin-Jewish-power-food, teammate Blake. It took me a bit of self control not to pound through his as well… Anyways I digress like always. Austin keeps kicking ass and I had another amazing weekend with slews of food, tons of friends, and a dab of sleep. Viva la Texas!


Editors note: the child directly behind me started to throw up a few minutes later which caused his sister sitting next to him to start spewing up as well… Picture one of those chain reaction vomiting scenes just like in the movies. I got zero hours of sleep on the super delayed flight home. Nonetheless, Viva la Texas!

Raw Talent Ranch 2014

9 Apr

This was the 3rd year our team had ventured down to West Virginia to stay at Raw Talent Ranch in the mountains and ride bikes all weekend. I knew what these climbs presented and threw on my compact 50/34 and 11-28 cassette to not kill my knees grinding up everything. Thursday morning I packed up the BMW 2002 and cruised up to Pottstown to Jamie’s to carpool down in the Greenland diesel Polo. We picked up another teammate and hit the road.

We got down to the house around 2pm, got things together and took off on a quick ride around 4pm. Descend the front side, try not to eat shit on all the cinders laid over winter, cruise around the valley a bit, then crush it up the dirt ascent back up to camp. It’s a good way to get the legs back up and ready after a 5hr car ride.

Day 1 Loop – Strava Jawn:

30.7 miles
1:51 moving time
3,035 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 16.6mph
Max speed = 40.7mph
Avg power = 204W
Max power = 1,036W
Max HR = 201bmp

The pie plate came out for the WV trip!!

Made some homemade date & cinnamon coconut milk rice bars. They were pretty solid@!!

Raw Talent Ranch Barn

Game time!

Still in happy mode (before the mountains crushed me)

I still have 0 idea what this means

Its not camp without a solid soak

Eric ‘The Breadman’ Saxman cam through on the homemade focaccia and loaves!

Day 2 – Apple Orchard – Strava Jawn:

71.6 miles
4:33 moving time
7,513 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 15.7mph
Max speed = 50.1mph
Avg power = 190W
Max power = 1,051W
Max HR = 194bmp

The next day we woke up to weather in the low 50s with highs in the 70s and a chance for rain. It’s pretty hard to dress for rides around there as there are multiple ridges where weather changes frequently. On top of that rides usually take ~6hours with stops and such. I made the decision to roll with a light weight wind breaker and embro on the legs in order to minimize the clothing in my pockets as there was only 1 general store towards the very end of our ride and I wanted to bring a slew of food. The game plan was to ride the Apple Orchard route which ends up being the hardest day for me usually.

We started the route descending the backside where we quickly ran into very think fog where it became almost impossible to see. On top of that there was more gravel in the switch backs than I had ever seen on the road before. We took it very slow on the top and opened up once the visibility and road condition got better.

We cruised for a while in the valley before our dirt climb first climb up Walnut Bottom. After a quick gravel decent we ended up on a smoothly concreted 4 lane highway that started to climb a bit and led to a straight on 6% downhill. The potential to go fast here is high with the low traffic, nice decline, and proper road surface but being in the valley yields a good amount of wind. This year I was able to put my chin on my stem and pedal enough to get a tick of 50mph cruising down it compared to the mid-30s that we ramped up to the year before.

After a bunch of shit-eating-grins we got back to it and pace-lined to the start of the orchard climb. **Note to self for next year, the asphalt section of this climb hurts more than the dirt/gravel portion!!** The owner of the barn and all around great guy Jay, rode with us the entire day and like usual kept us all entertained with excellent stories. He also does a great job of helping sike you up for the wicked climbs but when he said the start was a gradual 10% and I look down to a constant 15+% my grim turned quickly to a grimace. Shit that is brutal. Around the time we hit the climb the sprinkling rain turned to more of a steady rain and I stopped to put my windbreaker on.

By the time the asphalt turned to dirt it was quite a bit muddy and it was some Rapha type shit… low 50s, slews of fog, and enough rain to make your front wheel scoot around while your shivering on the downhills. At the top of the climb we waited and regrouped for everyone. We climbed just a bit more to get the body warmed up and descended on a fast dirt/gravel/mud ridden double track full of cattle grates and large cliff faces. My fingerless gloves made braking in the drops almost unmanageable so the decent was very fast for the lack of sight I had. The surface was quite a bit smoother than last year with a lot less large rocks and gravel. After the dirt decent the road descends farther with more switch backs and leads into rolling steep hills and continues to dip down to the main road. At the bottom we re-grouped again at the general store.

After everyone warmed up we all sporadically left the store and headed through the valley to the worst climb of the day, the backside. I think it may be one of the hardest climb Ive ever done. The Strava segment tells me it’s a Cat2 climb, ~5miles long, over 2,000ft high with an average of 8%. Unfortunately my Garmin had other plans and transposed all my data a few hundred feet from the actual road surface.

A foggy start to the morning

A proper dirt climb

Highway hammer-fest

Mark checking his wounds after a little pothole incident

Ryan having more fun than I was…

A very wet orchard climb

Wet backside climb

Eric’s mud face

That night Eric helped get my bike dialed in after the harsh conditions

Solid dinners all week

A lil Lamas action

Drying soaked shoes by the fire

Day 3 – Crooked Loop – Strava Jawn:

49.1 miles
3:35 moving time
6,962 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 13.7mph
Max speed = 45.4mph
Avg power = 207W
Max power = 925W
Max HR = 191bmp

The crooked was going to be a rough one since everyone already had a solid amount of miles and vertical feet in their legs. This rough has a slew of dirt/gravel climbs & descents. So much so that Jay (who runs the barn) always uses his cross bike with 34c knobbies. The dirt decent from the barn was in perfect shape so we bombed it hard. By the time I got to the bottom of the decent I realized my front bottle was MIA. Welp that’s gonna suck… luckily for me a teammate saw it bounce off a few rocks and snagged it for me. After being pretty entertained by the 40+mph dirt decent we got back into the groove of the paceline until the Breadman got a flat. A few of us went and checked out a damn that was right off the road where a few people fish and hangout.

We tackled a quick climb, hit the wicked winds in the valley and finally got close to the climb they call ‘wicked’. The profile on Strava makes it look pretty intense as it’s a very steep 2000ft peak which drops off quickly. The front side of the climb has slews of switchbacks tracking up the face of the mountain with a couple points of relief in the bottom section. The gravel wasn’t too deep this year so most sections you could down shift a couple and stand to pedal without the fear of spinning out.

Once at the top we all joined up for a couple pictures before the wicked MTB-esq decent. My confidence was high after a couple other dirt descents and it almost took its toll. I cam in hot… some would say too hot into a steep 180 switchback that made me have an ‘O Shit’ moment. It twasn’t that bad as I didn’t even take a foot out of the pedal but I definitely locked the rear up. After calming down a bit I ran into Jay and talked a bit before hitting the bottom.

We cruised back to camp with a short trip to the front side climb. A few of us stopped into a general store to grab a bit more liquid before the 8miles climb back to camp. During such time we spotted something that they call a barbeque loaf?! Never seen that one before.

During the ride up the winds howled and out group of 9 dwindled to a group of 4. Mark and myself were taking some deep pulls while Ryan and Rory sat in. I tried my best to stay on Marks wheel up the climb for as long as I could but just like every other climb during the week, I couldn’t hold his wicked pace. I knew today was the last climb so I would push sporadically as my legs regained their composure. Once at the first crest we descended a bit on the ridge where I was pushing the pace trying to make back time. I eventually reeled Mark back in and rode next to him talking for a bit. As the landscaped kicked again I sat on his wheel hoping NAY praying that I would see the barn soon. I stayed on his wheel for a bit longer until the hellish road kicked again, this time HARD! He rode away from me like I wasn’t even pedaling. I crushed as hard as I could on the next flat but had nothing left. Mark rolled in a solid 20seconds before me and I greeted him at the barn with a solid dare I say fist bump. Solid day, solid ride.

Morning sunrise

Dirt descent from the barn

Dam action

Climbing wicked

Top of wicked




Team shot



BBW sauce loaf?>!

Simpler Times eh?


Day 4 – Ridge Ride Solo – Strava Jawn:

18.6 miles
1:15 moving time
2,493 ft of elevation
Avg speed = 14.9mph
Max speed = 38.9mph
Avg power = 208W
Max power = 830W
Max HR = 176bmp

Sunday morning is usually set aside for cleaning, packing, and watching whatever Classic is on TV that weekend. I woke up early and wanted to take in the sights and sounds. I did a solo #yawnpatrol ride on top of the ridge. It’s a fun little ride with some brutal punchy climbs and ~1/2 of the terrain dirt/rock farmer roads. It was chilly ~30F but felt warm with the amount of climbing and the pounding sun. I was loving life, bombing the descents until I finally got a rear pinch flat where the dirt became littered with exposed rock. I wont complain as it was in the low 40s by then and I was in the middle of nowhere riding my bike… ie the complete opposite of my normal daily bike commute though Philly. I changed the flat and backed off on the gnarly-ness degree as that was my only tube. I cruised back to camp and got to watching Tour of Flanders. The race this year was very entertaining and didn’t disappoint. Ben had gone over to Belgium a few days before and my goal was to spot him on the Koppenberg! Check and mate!

No work + riding all day with a solid crew = the life. 2014’s version of RTR did not disappoint at all.

1st flat/mechanical of the weekend for me.

We watched the race and got to see friend & teammate Ben on TV repping hard! #PHLCX


Polo packed up and ready to head home

I got home and met the lady at the corner bar to relax and fall back into real life. It was another solid weekend.