Monday, December 31, 2007

Chris E. interview

Very nice interview over on bikeradar.com with endurance mtb legend, Ellicott City local, and all around nice guy Chris Eatough.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Thanks to Gwadzilla for the head's up.

NYE TMR

"I just dropped in to see what conditions my condition was in."
The Morning Ride New Year's Eve Edition

At 5:30 the roads were damp and the temps were mid-30's. With no wind
it was actually quite pleasant out. I warmed up on BB and arrived at
DD in time to enjoy the corporeal delights of a cup of hot coffee and
a chocolate glazed.

As I finished my pre-ride snack SK rolled up to the front door. The
soundtrack for the ride was provided by Grover Washington Jr. with
"Just The Two of Us" and Bob Marley's "Mellow Mood".

We were surprised that nobody else showed, but we were not deterred.
We had a very nice ride to close out 2007. The pace was
conversational and traffic was even lighter than usual. We took the
trolley path for the climb out of the valley. I really dig that climb
in that the grade is constant and not too steep. You can just keep a
nice tempo and even effort all the way up.

By the time we entered the Park the temperature dropped enough for us
to notice. Fingers got colder and frost appeared on the sides of the
road. Out on Montgomery we had a few tire slips. The roads were
icing up in spots. We quickly learned to stay seated and keep a
smooth pedal stroke. No sudden movements or accelerations. No funny
stuff, Lebowski.

Making the right on Montgomery after Giant to head over to Rockburn
the ice was very evident so we rode even more gingerly through there.
It was fine as long as you didn't get silly.

It was kind of cool to see the conditions change like that. Driving
into work I heard stories of black ice and typically arrogant
motorists arrogantly ignoring the conditions. Not surprisingly the
I-83 skating rink was closed (or would that be open?). A number of my
colleagues have still not made it in.

Anyway, it was a very nice ride to close out the year. I'm glad I got
this one in. Thanks for the company Steve.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

ABC

abc's at two-and-a-half

video

Saturday, December 29, 2007

winter chill


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Originally uploaded by cbnystro


That time of year.
The winter chill.
Warm temps this morning allowed us to play in the yard getting muddy and working up an appetite for lunch.

Chipotle. mmmm.

Mel's riding and the kids are napping so I'm sitting in bed with my feet up watching the '06 Koppenburg 'Cross. Lotta cats crashing in this race. I'm not sure we really know what a technical cx course is.

Can't get enough. I'm enjoying the break, but I'm already thinking about next year...and what I've learned this year. I need to sit down and put some of those thoughts in words so that they stick. One big one that comes to mind is about gaps. Knowing when it's ok to leave some space and when it's critical to tighten up the gap. It's crazy how quickly a 10 foot gap can become unbridgable when it occurs at the wrong time.

Been enjoying riding the fixie the last week and that's what I'll be doing later. I'm not even sure I'll ride a bike with gears this Winter. It's fun and it makes me stronger. Win-win.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

b-day ride photos

more photos from yesterday courtesy of John H.


birthday girl
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Perkins taking his usual line...through the air.
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the crew - Perkins, Auer, Mel, Me, Morgan, Harshman (minus John who was manning the camera)
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rolling party

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Birthday ride

Melanie was a Christmas eve baby. Despite the best intentions her birthday has often been overshadowed by the holidays.

This year will hopefully be the start of an annual tradition, the birthday ride. Though a lot of people were already out of town for Christmas we got a great crew out to ride and celebrate.

John (old bashturd), Perkins, Harshman, Auer, and Morgan joined Melanie and I while our babysitter took over kid duty.

With temps close to 50 and good trail conditions we were bound to have a good ride...and we did. I end up doing a lot of my rides solo. That's fine, especially when I'm training but I really love a good social group ride. Sharing a nice trail ride with friends is satisfying. I think it helps me to better appreciate the quality of riding we have here.

We sampled tasty trails (and plenty of logs) on both sides of the Park over two and a half hours before returning home. Once there, we dug into yummy bowls of chili, complemented by corn bread, cupcakes, and recovery beverages.
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Fun times. In fact, I think we'll be doing more of these chili & beer rides this winter.

Happy Birthday Honey!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

da boyz

This photo of the boys was taken back in September. I just came across it again while doing some organizing on flickr and I dig it.

So...I've been enjoying the beer and the cookies of the season and not riding. It's only been 10 days and I'm ready to get back on the bike. I know that it's good to take a break, but I get stiff and sore when I don't ride...and cranky too. I'm going to have to saddle back up soon (like maybe tomorrow morning) just for sanity's sake and to lessen the guilt of drinking a beer every night.

Last night we hit Pub Dog with some friends for Pizza and Beer. Dang it was good. Gotta love a place that brings out 2 beers every time your order 1. Best part was Thor dancing, playing shuffleboard, and generally entertaining the entire bar after dinner.
He didn't want to leave.

Tonight the plan is to put some white bar tape on the fixie. Nothing says pimp hand like riding a fixed gear bike with white bar tape at 5:30 in the morning in December. Or something like that.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
Trains

Friday, December 14, 2007

KC Dispatch # 3: E-Town!

Congrats E-Town! 5th place in the under 30 B race at Natz. Looks like he grabbed the hole-shot too.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

At the dinner table


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

KC Dispatch #2

This story about CX Natz from the local KC press includes a photo of the Mid-Atlantic/Tom McDaniel compound. Note the Sprinter van and C3-Sollay.com jersey! Conditions look like typical Natz conditions...epic.

KC Dispatch #1

KC CX Natz dispatch from our man on the scene Kris Auer:

Well, out here at Kansas City. You all are sure to miss
"something" pre-ride showed a lot of ice, some mud and some more
ice, also some cold air and some air with wet stuff floating in it.
Rain and Snow I believe. Just trace amounts of that though.
the course was not really set up but it looks OK. We'll know tomorrow
how it races as Ethan, Young Jeff and Tom McDaniel race tomorrow.
I'll keep you informed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Looking back...

I just completed my 5th season of cyclocross.

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2003
Started doing the Kris Auer 'cross clinics (He's hooked a lot of people on CX!) and did 4 races, all in the C's with good results in each of them.

2004
Moved up to the B's and did 10 races. Fought it out in the 30's in MAC races and finally scored my first MAC Series point at Highland Park with a satisfying 24th place. In the local races I rolled my first tubie at Ed Sander to finish 12th and scored some cash in 5th at Hagerstown. I closed out the season with a 16th at Reston, the final MAC race.

2005
The first year of Charm City Cross and another season in the B's, doing 7 races. With an infant at home (Thor!) I limited my schedule focusing on the MAC. Once again it was a battle to get into the top 20 in the MAC, with a bit more top 10 success in some local events. This was also my first trip to Natz. The highlight of my season was surviving the 35-39 Natz race in epic blizzard conditions to finish 35th.

2006
This was a breakthrough year for me. I did 12 races in the B's and learned how to race. I was usually in the top 20 in the MAC and scored my first top 10 in the mud at Evo. In the MABRA events I was pretty consistently top 10. I scored a few upgrade points, but not enough to move up. At Natz I had a mediocre ride in the 35-39 race where I had decent legs, but was not aggressive enough. In the 35+ B race on Sunday I decided that I would go for it, race aggressively, and fight for position. In fact, pre-race I said my plan was to get the hole-shot, go all out, and blow up first lap. Instead I got the hole shot and rode in the lead group for much of the race. I faded a bit, but finished strong on the last lap to end up 20th, only a minute down on the winner. In a 200 rider field if you let up for an instant you lose places. 8-) That race really boosted my confidence for 2007.

2007
My expectations for this year were modest. We had a baby (Gavin!) on August 29th so sleep, training, and racing were not priorities. Our race continued to take off with a hugely successful event for the 3rd straight year. After Charm City, I planned on doing a few races later in the year but things fell into place for me to race 7 times. With no pressure, renewed confidence, and a new B-Masters category I had an unexpectedly good season. A year spent riding a singlespeed mountain bike helped too, adding leg strength.

I had never won a bike race before this year, but managed to stand on the top step twice in 2007. That was cool. I also ended the year with enough upgrade points to move to cat. 2.

That means I'll be back to racing my ass off and fighting for position mid-pack...but that's all good. It was nice to race at the front for a season, but there is something noble and satisfying about duking it out mid-pack with kindred souls. We do it for the love of the sport and the experience.

So that's 5 years of racing and 40 races total. I guess that's not a lot, but looking back I'm real happy with the journey and all the rich experiences and wonderful people I've met along the way.

I'm enjoying the off-season (and a craving for chocolate chip cookies), but I already have an eye on the calendar for 2008. Less than 300 days to Charm City!

p.s. I can't thank Auer and Mega enough for getting me into 'cross! You guys rock!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

synchronized mudding

I'm too lazy to conjure up the prose so the Rockburn 'Cross Masters 3/4 race report will go down like a family photo album...which is fitting since the C3-Sollay.com team feels like family.

Marc and I got a good start as we wanted to lead through the first few turns of the prologue. After the initial acceleration we kept it steady and rode conservatively to stay upright and settle into a good tempo. A quick glance back revealed that we had a 5 second gap almost immediately. We planned on waiting for the race to develop before making a move, but we couldn't pass up this opportunity. Here I am leading for the last time all race. This was roughly 1 minute into the 45 minute event.


From there we just rolled it. For a while Bernie was in 3rd and making his way up to us, but mechanical issues set him back and ended his race.


Picking clean lines through the slippery mud, maintaining a steady effort on the flats, and drilling it up the punchy climbs. We had the course dialed in (with the exception of the last turn in the sand). A Dugast Rhino 34 up front and Challenge Grifo 34 in the rear hooked up all race long. The bike would slip around in the mud but the treads always found some bite for traction. Good tires at the right pressure (low as you dare to go) are confidence inspiring and make a big difference in the slippery, wet conditions we had yesterday.


Yup. Marc's still out front and I'm just trying to hang onto his wheel. Same story all race. I clipped my helmet on this tree a few times even though my thoughtful teammate was warning me about it each lap.


Out of the saddle on all the little climbs was how we rode all race. We had a decent gap, but Karl Konnelly from LSV was chasing hard so we couldn't afford to let up. My Mom is in this shot offering encouraging words. I was very happy that a good chunk of my family came into town (with cowbells) to watch me race.


We were talking to each other most of the race pointing out good lines, bad lines, and offering encouragement as back pains and cramps started to surface. Racing with a teammate is a great motivator. No way I would have gone as fast if I wasn't riding with Marc.


The entire race was like synchronized swimming as we stuck together throughout. Marc was even kind enough to slow down for me as I got gapped on a couple of the climbs. Many hours of practice went into rehearsing this finish line maneuver, the 'end game' to our race. I was worried that I would crash and take us down, but it worked out. I made sure that my wheel didn't cross the line first. Marc ended a fine season just like it began, with a win.


One more podium to close out the season. An upgrade is already in process so next year it'll be back to those mid-pack battles that I love. It was nice to have one season of glory after putting in a lot of hard work learning how to race my bike. I truly feel lucky to race with such a great, supportive team.


Congrats to LSV for putting on an excellent race at an awesome venue (almost literally in my backyard). I hope that Rockburn 'Cross continues for years to come.

photos courtesy of John Scott from LSV.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pre-ride

did some laps on tomorrow's course
gonna be fun and SLICK
time to go wash the bike


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

Thursday, December 06, 2007

snow ride!

One of my unwavering cycling principles is to take advantage of good snow riding conditions on the rare times that they are available.

There's something sublime about a snow ride. A fresh layer of snow produces unique aural qualities. Sound is muffled lending a calming quiet to an already quiet endeavor...that being a night/early morning mountain bike ride. It's a beautiful thing.

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Similarly, rough edges on the trail are smoothed out by the snow giving the woods a softer feeling and sometimes hiding slick roots beneath. Local knowledge, softer tires, and a light touch are important. The bike will go where it wants to go. It's best not to fight it.

Four intrepid riders (Me, KR, Merrill, & W) gathered at Kasa de Krash for hot coffee prior to setting out into the frigid sub-20 degree air at the ass-crack-of-dawn (5:45am). Spirits were high as we had received confirmation of primo snow riding conditions on the trails.

We plowed through powder laying fresh tracks in Rockburn. There was a solid 5 inches covering Sunday's 'cross course. I imagine we'll be racing on a soft, slippery surface (if not any remnants of snow) this weekend. Should be fun!

Snow riding also requires more power and effort. It's not unlike riding in sand or mud. Push a big gear and maintain a steady power output. So, by the time we crossed Landing Rd. we were sweating and breathing hard.

Some buddies of mine had done a ride last night so once in Patapsco we had a nice track to follow. Since those guys had done the trail-breaking we were able to roll along smoothly so long as we stayed in the narrow lane of our predecessors.

Traction was pretty good, though it got slippery at times. I think we all laid it down in the snow at least once. Another benefit of fresh snow is that it softens the landings. 8-)

Creek crossing were taken with care and I think we all stayed dry and thankful for disc brakes. The good old days of v-brakes trying to slow an ice-covered rim were exciting, if not very safe.

The downhills were a blast as the bike would slip here and there. Brakes were working just well enough to scrub a little speed but body english was a better way to control the bike. It almost felt like powder skiing. You felt mostly in control as long as you let the bike do its thing.

Early in the ride we had a clear sky with stars and a stunning crescent moon casting a magical glow that reflected off of the smooth coating of snow. As the sun rose we were treated to some amazing views, especially as we rode out of the trees through clearings. The just-hatched light beaming from a blue sky onto fields of white was
stunning.

Though tired from the effort of pedaling through fresh snow I felt refreshed, even renewed, as the ride ended. In fact, I'm still smiling now.

The rest of the crew stayed in Rockburn for some loops on the 'cross course while I rode home to make it to work. I was late, but it was so worth it. Rides like that are what it's all about.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

caught by the cold


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

The entire house has been fighting a relentless cold for over a week now. We had been planning on doing the big Thanksgiving Day ride at Avalon, but there was no way we could make it work in our condition.

60+ degree temperatures at 8am made it tough to stay inside and the jones to ride on such days is a powerful force. After our midday Thanksgiving meal, Mel's Mom agreed to stick around so that we could get out for some sort of ride.

We weren't moving fast and we left a trail of snot behind us, but we had a nice time out in the woods. The colorful display of Fall foliage was split between the trees and the trail making for a visual treat that Hunter S. Thompson might have envisioned on a psychadelic excursion. Our timing was perfect as a cold front blew in towards the end of our ride. Cold wind and drizzle chased us back to the warm phlegm-factory that is our home.

Later that evening while exploring the internets Thor and I put away some chips and salsa with an orange juice (him) and a Clipper City Heavy Seas Category 5 Winter Storm Ale. (me) The kid has a strong appreciation for the finer things in life.

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This morning we rallied to make the trip into Charm City for the Holiday Festival of Trains (and arrival of Santa) at the B&O Rail Museum. We had a ball watching Santa arrive by train and even got to take a train ride ourselves.

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The B&O is a fantastic museum housed in an old roundhouse full of a variety of vintage trains.
Good stuff.

Now, back to being sick...but I can't help but get out for some kind of ride on the trails today. The rain never really happened so conditions are still excellent. I think I'll take the geared mountain bike out for the first time in months so that I can take it easy.

Probably no racing for me this weekend since we're all under the weather, but I'll be back for Reston and Rockburn to close out my season.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
Here's our butterball.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

piggy-back


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

fun time at the playground racing down the tunnel slide and throwing rocks in the creek.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What makes a 'cross course?

One of my favorite things about cyclocross is the diversity of race courses. Each race has it's own personality and challenges. Different features favor different riders. Each race is different.

Are you a mudder? A runner? A good bike driver? A diesel? A climber? A technician?

A cyclocross course exposes your strengths and your weaknesses. A good 'crosser will work hard to improve weaknesses and become well-rounded. Your strengths will always be your strengths, but improving your weaknesses is satisfying and beneficial.

I like the fact that there are many ways that you can improve. It's not just about putting out more power, though that usually helps!

Sunday's race has me thinking about what makes a cyclocross course. The Race Pace track had zero dismounts. Are dismounts absolutely necessary? No. However, I would prefer that racers have to get off their bikes at least once per lap.

Well executed dismounts, remounts, and bike handling are a thing of beauty, balletic in my mind. They are the ARTISTIC part of 'cross. Power and speed are the science. The combination of the two creates an allure that gets my juices flowing.

Race Pace Promoter Rodger Carter wanted a faster, less technical course and that's cool. I really enjoyed the race and the changes made from last year. His explanation of why they didn't include any dismounts is interesting. He says that when 'cross was developed the running part was intended to keep the racers warm since the races were run in the cold, wet winters of northern Europe.

Since our races are run under much milder temperatures there isn't the same need to keep the racers warm. So, an Autumn race season and global warming are the reasons for the decline of dismounts and running in cyclocross? Interesting theory, but I'm not buying.

He also argues that a racer should be able to do well on all types of courses and I totally agree there. However, I think you can throw in a set of planks or force a run-up and still have a fast, non-technical course. If you're going to forgo any forced dismounts you should incorporate more technical sections (like the off-cambers at Race Pace).

That said, a rainy day would have made this track very tough...I'm thinking 3 dismounts and some very slippery grassy sections. If that happens you can always remove the planks. Anyway, I'm not bitching...just contemplating what makes a 'cross.

Diversity in cylcocross courses is a GREAT THING. I had a blast at the Guy's/Evo MAC mud-fest weekend last year where there was a shitload of running per lap and I also enjoyed Race Pace where I never had to get off my bike. It's all racing and none of it is easy.

While I think that most 'cross races should be more in the middle of the ride-run spectrum, it's fun do one at the extreme from time to time.

The season is nearing it's end, but my enthusiasm is still boundless.

Off-topic, but good reading:
Michael Lewis on what really drives Wall St. and much of the business world.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Race Pace CX

Race Pace Cross
Masters 3/4
Sykesville, MD
11/11/07

My original plan was to do Beacon, but we had some stuff come up with work, etc. and my schedule got messed up so I opted to stay local.

This was my third time doing this race and the course has changed every year. I'd say this was the best yet and with a few tweaks it could be a super track. The best way to describe it is fast and conducive to group racing. It has some bumpy grass sections, a few tricky turns, a decent little climb, and one technical off-camber section. Mostly you are just flying around with nothing to slow you down. Zero dismounts. Just one small log that is easy to hop. With a set of planks at the base of one of the short, steep rises you'd have a nice run-up.

Bernie and I lined up front row with the rest of the crew. I got the hole shot and punched it on the first climb. Matt Michel went with me and I pulled him around the first lap. The course had a lot of drafting sections and he was content to sit on even though we had a decent little gap.

Coming up the finish straight of lap one he was still on my wheel and started to sprint for the bikereg prime. I was hoping to just keep a steady tempo, but I also didn't want to give away the prime so I jumped and beat him to the line.

After that I needed to recover. There was a big group of about 6 or 8 guys chasing and I knew I had a choice of blowing up or recovering. Easy choice. I slowed and recovered.

When that group made contact I could see Bernie dangling just off the back so I went really slow through the next few turns to help him make him contact with the group. As soon as Bernie got back on Karl Konnelly from LSV attacked.

I went with him and Barry Holman and Ron Huebner tagged on too. That strung out the group and Roger Masse was a few more wheels back. Seeing that Roger was not with us the four of us decided to work together to keep him from bridging. We drilled it the next two laps and just rolled it really well trading pulls. Karl took some monster pulls and really made the difference in us getting a solid lead. Huebner was getting gapped and just dangling a few seconds back the whole time.

With 2 to go I worked my way to the front by working some cornering mojo to get past Barry and then Karl. There was a bunny-hoppable log late each lap followed by a grassy rise up to the finishing straight. On the penultimate lap I took the log at speed and sprinted up the rise. Behind me Holman had a little trouble on the log and lost momentum. That held up the other guys too.

Seeing that I had a gap I went all out and buried myself to make it stick. I made myself truly hurt the first half of the last lap before I looked back and saw that I had the winning gap. Then I just made sure I rode it cleanly. I came up the finishing straight and had time to zip up the skinsuit and raise my arms across the line.

race pace cx 07 finish

That gives me the points to upgrade to cat 2 which I hope to do at the end of the season. Then I'll be able to get my ass kicked in elite masters next year.

It felt awesome winning again. The cool thing is that Melanie and the boys were there cheering me on. Thor was yelling "go Dada" each time I came by. That gave me a tremendous boost each lap. I may never win another bike race so I'm really happy that they got to see me win this one.

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Post-race some buddies from The Morning Ride busted out a big bottle of Brooklyn Local One for a celebratory recovery beverage. That capped off a fun race in style!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Not quite

Thanks to some excellent photographic work by Dennis Smith we see that I wasn't quite on Kelly's wheel coming out of the final 180 degree turn. Note to self, stick to that wheel!

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But I did try really really hard to get back up there before I ran out of race course.

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Good stuff. I love cyclo-cross!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Isn't it a bit early to be anaerobic?


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
Yeah, it's early but this is ~my~ time. "My time" being defined as when everyone else is asleep. Damn that hurt, but I feel good and I feel alive...although I could use a cup of coffee. Life is good.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Crosstube!

This is cool.

Get your 'cross video fix at Crosstube.

Fair Hill (Wayne Scott Memorial) 'Cross

Wayne Scott 'Memorial' Cross at Fair Hill
Masters 3/4

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Normally a thorough course inspection to dial in the good lines is one way that I can make up for lack of talent and training time. Learning the best speed and lines through turns, proper tire pressure, and the spots on the course where you can rest or attack is a fun challenge and it can make a big difference in my racing.

However, if time is tight or circumstances dictate you do the best you can with what you have. That was my story on Saturday morning. I arrived in time to get one lap on the track so that it wasn't a complete surprise. On many courses this would have been ok, but on a Tom McDaniel track it's not enough.

The course was outstanding with many technical turns, a soul-draining sand section, and some tricky dismounts to test your CX skills. There wasn't a lot of climbing, but the wind made up for that.

Starting on the front row I got off the line quickly establishing an immediate gap. I kept the lead for a while but I didn't have the course dialed in so I wasn't riding the course all that cleanly. I was slowing for turns where I would normally go a lot faster. Bike driving is usually one of my few strengths but yesterday I couldn't figure out the correct line and speed for many of the turns.

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The chasers caught me, but not before I got the lap 1 prime ($25 cash and a bikereg t-shirt!). That was a nice bonus!

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I settled into second place on the wheel of der Jan. I felt fine since I had stayed within my limit for the start and lap 1. In my mind we were going to work together to establish a gap and then battle it out.

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Then I f-ed it up. Jan gapped me very slightly when I flubbed a turn but I wasn't worried as it was only a gap of a few feet. But then I had to slow for the next turn while he flowed through without touching the brakes.

Now the gap was about 5 seconds. That doesn't sound like much but in a 'cross race that's a real gap! I kept the gap in check for a while until I crashed coming out of one of the horse corrals. I tried to go fast through a loose turn and found myself on the deck. That sucked. Now I was really sketched out about turning my bike. I was choking worse than a rookie pole smoker!

3rd place (course designer Tom McDaniel) passed me and I had a tough next lap as I was frustrated from the fall and my inability to drive my bike! Then a group of 3 caught me...all strong dudes: Roger Masse, John Miller, and Kelly Cline. Behind them there was a big gap. I sat on this group for a while but then 2 of the guys attacked after I messed up yet another turn!

I ~did~ manage to stay with the wily Kelly Cline and we had an intense battle the last few laps! We took turns marking, attacking, and counter-attacking. I was feeling good now, but I was still a little hesitant in some of the turns.

Early in the last lap I got in front and attacked him again and again! I was sprinting out of every turn and letting it all hang out. I figured he would crack, but each time he rode right back to my wheel.

It was going to come down to a sprint and the finishing straight was a short stretch of road out of a tricky 180 degree turn. I wanted to lead it out but he made an agressive (and awesome!) pass just before the last turn. When he came by his rear wheel fishtailed as he avoided a tree but he kept it upright. It was impressive.

I stayed on his wheel out of the 180 but there wasn't enough road for me to even attempt coming around him. I got beat by a strong dude that is also a very smart bike racer. He played me that last lap, but I learned a few tricks in the process. It was excellent racing and yet another reminder of why I love 'cross. Yeah, it hurts, but it's strangely satisfying.

So I finished in 6th, one spot off the podium. That's probably a good thing because I had to head home immediately so I would not have been able to stay for the podium anyway. Jan took another impressive victory. He a strong dude and a great guy. I owe him a thank you for hooking me up with a cup of coffee pre-race. Without that I probably would not have finished the race. 8-)

I'm happy with my race. If I had arrived earlier and gotten more time pre-riding the course and learning the lines like I normally do I would have been a lot more comfortable in the race and perhaps would have been able to stay out front a while longer or at least held onto Jan's wheel. But that's neither here nor there. I'm just glad I was able to get out and race my bike!

Congrats to FSVS and the DCCofD for another first class race. That's two in one season. My hat is off to them. They do a ton for the cyclocross community and it is appreciated.

Next up...I don't know, but I'm racing somewhere this weekend!

Results

Narcissistic, vanity photo spread courtesy of the talented Kevin Dillard!
The other photo links are from Anthony Skorochod.
Thank you to all the photographers out there.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Parade


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

Firefighter Thor


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
Happy Halloween

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hay ride


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
nice day for a hay ride

Batteries on the charger


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
No racing for me this weekend but it was a good one nonetheless. Fun rides, good friends, tasty food, and cold beer...and most importantly, family.

On Saturday I headed out on the fixie to put in some work that will hopefully help me out over the next couple of weekends. Between the wind, the hills, and the no-coasting I made myself suffer. It felt good.

That evening we met Team Poz (Jon & Tracy) at Frisco for a feast of chips, guac, salsa, black beans, mahi-mahi tacos, and tasty beers. Thor was in usual form putting away an epic amount of guac and black beans. He was also parroting back our descriptions of past mountain bike crashes. Good times were had by all.

Sunday we had a fun ride with Mel's girly friends Patti and Tracy. It was mostly social, but the pace was steady and we had a few frisky moments that allowed me to get in the sprints that I had skipped earlier in the week. After putting in some windy miles we stopped at Bean Hollow in EC for much needed fuel in the form of delicious coffee and muffins.

On the way home we ran into endurance mountain bike kahuna and the nicest pro cyclist you could hope to meet, Trek/VW Pro Chris E. (pictured at right). He was out for a mellow road ride around the EC hills on his mountain bike.

His season is done so he was nice enough to ride with us and discuss domestic things like kids and new homes. We also talked about the "No Dab" trail from 24 Solo...the one that is more hike-a-bike than ride-a-bike (and that's going downhill!). Of course, he can ride the entire thing sans dabs (thus the name). He gets a lot of praise for his endurance and meticulous preparation, but he's also an incredible technical mountain biker.

One thing I'm trying to get more consistent about is stretching and massage. I am not a good stretcher. This weekend I was excited when I was actually able to touch my toes. It's that bad. I'm going to do my best to make daily stretching a habit. I don't know if it makes me any faster, but it can't hurt.

For massage, I can't afford to get real massage so I rely on The Stick. It's cheap and kinda weird, but it does a good job of working out the kinks in the legs and lower back.

Now I'm going to rest up and recover this week in hopes of fresh legs for the Fair Hill race on Saturday. After getting spanked at Granogue I need to get my mojo back.

On Sunday afternoon Thor and I headed over to Rockburn for the haunted hay ride. He's been talking about this for over a week. Little boys are instinctually into tractors. I think it's programmed into their DNA. Anyway, we had an awesome time doing the hay ride, climbing on the tractors, and doing a ton of runs down the slides in the playground.

Nice weekend!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Granogue


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Originally uploaded by camp9
Granogue
10/20/07
cat 2/3 (killer B's)

Beautiful day of racing and spectating.
Unfortunately I pretty much sucked.
Flat legs, sore back, no fire in the belly.
I should have accepted that cup of coffee that E-town offered.

On the bright side I rode a clean race on a very technical course.
But good bike driving isn't enough on that track against that field.
Granogue is not a course where you can fake your way through.
There's just too much climbing and too little recovery.
After a lap I was thinking.
And thinking is bad in a 'cross race.

I'm glad I kept fighting,
Even though I didn't have much to fight with.
27th place
Two spots out of the points
So it's back to scrumming.

At this point I'm just happy that I can get out there and race my bike from time to time.

photo courtesy of Rob Campbell

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The boys


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

Ouch. boo boo.


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
Who the heck goes over the bars on an uphill?
Umm, that would be me.

While doing some short sprints last night on the mountain bike I hit a rock while jamming an uphill. I actually saw the rock and thought my front wheel was going to clear it, but my timing was a little off.

I was out of the saddle in mid-sprint so when my tire kissed the rock I was immediately launched forward.

My hand took the impact as the meaty part of my palm slammed a pointy rock. That sucked. My immediate thought was 'broken hand, no Granogue, boo hoo'.

After some ice and a bunch of ibuprofen it's feeling better...bruised as hell, but not broken. I think that by Saturday I'll be able to hold onto the handlebar but it'll still be sore. Ok, enough whining. Time to HTFU!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

date ride

Some people get a babysitter so they can go out to dinner.
We get a babysitter so that we can ride.
I wouldn't have it any other way.

Cool temps, perfect trails, and the beginnings of Fall foliage made for a really nice ride.
I was expecting a mellow stroll through the woods, but we hit some of the bigger climbs in the Park, including this one that runs from the river up past the Convent. It's steep, somewhat rocky, and long (by Patapsco standards).

6 weeks out from giving birth and Melanie's legs are coming back quickly. I was proud of how well she rode. We had an awesome ride and some quality trail time together. I'm a lucky man.


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Originally uploaded by cbnystrom