Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
For the first time in the 18 or so years that I've been riding and racing mtn bikes, I finally have an injury that's keeping me off the bike. I pulled a hamstring in a skateboard incident. Wasn't a wipeout, or an accident, or even a fall, but it's done a number on my leg for a while.
I came off the board,
board still rolling slowly,
I jump back on,
front foot makes it,
back foot doesn't and drags behind.
Front foot pulls away and rips my hamstring,
putting me into a deep split
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Sunday, October 02, 2005
an unexpected shock blowout messing around on some hops the night before, meant
I'd be doing Buzzard Rocks on a SS and a rigid for the first time.
a good ride until we lost our mojo,
Joe endo'd and broke a spoke,
Pierre endo'd and broke his rear brake lever,
we had some tube issues,
our frames took some damaging rock scapes,
some legs did too,
we cleaned many of the sections,
Joe riding big!
we all loved it,
Pierre says he'll be back next week
Saturday, October 01, 2005
I was kinda bummed that it was today, 2 races to choose from,
Small turnout, big plans
We ended up getting a surprising amount done,
I even started suggesting additional things,
Was reminded of the low turnout,
Held my tongue,
No new responsibilities…..
No new responsibilities…..
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Venture Quest held locally in Clifton/Fairfax Station.
I was lucky enough to be invited by two of my Bike Lane
teammates, Anne and Laura, to join their team. Laura has
done all of the VQs, and Anne has done it once before.
Both are experienced multi-sport athletes, who like to have
a lot of fun too.
I'm always so impressed with EX2 Adventures' mountain bike
and running races. Jim Harman and his incredibly dedicated
army of staff and volunteers are always the tops in organization,
planning, and course work. I do a lot of bike races, all over
the region, and these are really some of the best run. I feel
lucky to have so many high-quality events like these so close
This race was a 31-mile mix of trail running, mtn biking,
orienteering, and canoeing. I know for sure now, that I suck at paddling. Man, that
hurts my arms and shoulders!! And I've never run anywhere
near the distance that we had to run today, which I think was
something around 10-13 miles. But, boy was it fun. A lot of
races I do, I don't really think they were much fun until a day
or two has passed, but, not this one. I guess I know
what that means...
The Bike Lane had quite a showing today:
Dr. Kathy, Pierre, and newcomer Frank Febbraro finished
1st co-ed and 2nd team overall. I love it when my chiropractor
beats me in races!
Lauris, 1st women's solo
Tracy, Mike, and Jeff were 2nd co-ed
Julie, Greg, and Paul were 5th (?),
Blake, Rob Howard, and my old Woodbridge buddy Bryan Sims
were 7th in a large Men's field.
Laura, Anne, and I brought in the last Bike Lane team. No doubt
due to my inexperience and weak paddling arms.
Monday, September 19, 2005
They tried to get me to go along, but leaving Kim and O for 10 days didn't seem like a practical thing to do. Real skiers, I guess, don't worry about such things. Mike, Barry, Tom and Julie got it on. Heli-skiing for $150 to boot!!
For those of you who think I'm nuts about mountain biking and single-speeding, well, that's nothing compared to how I feel about the glisse. Nordic, snowboard, backcountry, x-c, telemark.... I love it all, and feel the jones of missing out on this trip.
Monday, September 05, 2005
My favorite race every year!
What a perfect day, and a fun race. Everything is always special about this season capping 100-miler, but to have it in weather like we have now is a bonus. It was great to race with so many friends and experience different parts of the race as I yo-yo'd my way up and back through the pack on my singlespeed.
I had a completely uneventful race, my favorite kind, and finished 88th overall and 12th single-speeder. No flats, no crashes, no unusual pain. My smoothest 100 yet?
One of my more articulate friends, who I spent a lot of the race with had this to say about the race.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Just to keep this blog thing going, I'll say that I had a great Cranky race series. Raced the single-speed category, and was lucky enough to have won 3 races and the overall (for which I won a very cool set of On-One Mary handlebars). I've been wondering if I'm sandbagging and should go "back" to racing Expert. When I first started SingleSpeeding 3 seasons ago, I did race Expert at Wakefield (there was no Cranky then). I suddenly shot up the scoreboard with my big gear and big wheels. I think I was 3rd for the Overall Series, and usually finished around 4th or 5th in each race.
Last season, for some reason, I wanted to compete against my own kind and raced the shorter SS race. I have to say that the shorter distance did, and still does, bother me. Out of the 4 races last year, I don't think I finished higher than 3rd. Judd, Evan, and Jed I believe won them all. This season, of the 4 Wakefields and 3 Crankys, I did not win 2 races, and had a sprint finish at another one. If the SS World Championships had not pulled away folks like Nick, Steve, Jed, Dave and others, I likely would not have won the last Cranky either.
So, am I sandbagging?
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The short version is we took 2nd place in the 2-Man class. We made a smart choice on our way to CP-2 that no one in front of us had done yet, and we gained a lot of time there. But, we gave most of that time right back to several groups led by Chris Scott who bushwhacked a section on their way to CP-3. We took a longish route to 3 that contained the best singletrack of the race across Tea Creek Mountain. We rode to CP-4 with a group of folks from Kentucky and Ohio who had just been "lost" for about a 1/2 hour, and were none too happy about it. Andy knew a bushwhack to cut off the top of Prop's Run Trail which gained us a few places to the last CP.
We finished at 6:51, it was the fastest Wild 100 for either of us. Not sure how many miles we actually rode since neither of us carried any technology. We could've used a compass though...
a very pleasant Wild, one of my best. Congrats to all who rode that race! lookin' forward to the Shenandoah Mountain 100 and hanging out with most of those folks again.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
One of my favorite VDOTers died today. Mike Hamilton was hit by a dump truck pulling out of our VDOT parking lot in his orange truck. He apparently died instantly (as if that's any consolation to anyone).
Mike was one those old-school kind of guys. Lived and worked in northwest Loudoun County his whole life. Not many people do that any more. He was the Superintendent of the Hillsboro Headquarters. The Hillsboro office was always far and away the best performing VDOT area in Northern Virginia. This is directly because of Mike Hamilton. Lately, Mike had not been spending much time at Hillsboro because he kept filling in at other offices when their leaders turned over. Whenever we in GIS and IT developed map applications and software tools for the field staff, Mike and Hillsboro were always the very first ones to embrace them. When we sent out maps for the field to review and return, the first ones back were always from Mike. Not once in a while, but every single time. Mike was out front on everything we did.
The reason Mike was here at the main office today is that he was meeting with HR about applying for a new management opening.
He was going to retire in 3 years, and stay home to take care of his handicapped daughter.
He will be missed by many,
He will be missed by me.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Kim passed her Board exams months ago, but this week she received both her new CNM lab coat, and her first position. She took the job at the District of Columbia Birth Center where she'll be providing care to the underserved women of NE and SE D.C.
So, it looks like no Alaska for us (Kim certainly tried though), and the women of DC will be the beneficiaries.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Surfing for me, is 90% paddling, 9.5% waiting for waves, and .5% riding waves. I've been a novice surfer for about 25 years and the total amount of time I've spent actually riding waves is maybe equivalent in time to one bike lap at Wakefield. But I love it nonetheless and would be quite happy spending time every day trying to get beyond novice.
Jake, the 12-yr old
Surfing also has a "critical moment" similar to golf's (see golf blog below..), but with a more physical penalty for not succeeding. It's the moment of takeoff, after paddling up to speed, and after being lucky enough to be in the right spot to catch the wave. On small waves, the penalty is usually just a harmless fall, but on bigger waves, missing the takeoff can be quite painful.
Yesterday, after catching lots of crappy waves in the morning at Ocracoke, Jake, Ryder, and I wanted another session after we got back to Hatteras, and with a SW wind, we headed to Buxton to the Coast Guard Station north of the lighthouse. When we crested the dunes, we were amazed at the difference in size and quality of the waves here vs. those in Ocracoke where we had onshore winds messing up the surface. Tropical Storm Franklin was sending some weak pulses this way that weren't quite getting around the corner to Frisco and Ocracoke. There were only a handful of guys out, and all of them looked like experienced surfers. Ryder (the 10-year old) said he'd forgotten to bring a waterproof band-aid to cover up his stitches and so he said he'd sit out. I was somewhat relieved since it was a long paddle to get out to the break and I knew I'd have a hard time keeping track of all 3 of us in big-ish surf. Jake (the 12-year old) and I started the paddle out and it was tough. Jake eventually made it out, but I couldn't get through on my longboard. After struggling for a long time, I looked backwards and realized I was still closer to Ryder sitting on the beach than I was to the break. I headed back in and walked south around the groin and then paddled easily out right next to the groin. Should have thought of that the first time.
Anyway, the point of this now rambling post was to pat myself on the back and say that Jake and I each had 3 chances at the "critical moment", and we both made all 3. Good thing, cause it would've hurt if we'd blown the takeoffs, and we more than likely would not have been able to make the paddle back out. I paddled for, and caught 3 waves, all larger than anything I'd ridden in years and I kicked out of all of them before they closed out on me. I don't think I've ever been "3 for 3" before, and since we only had about 30 minutes for that session, that's all we had time for, and we were both quite happy to call it quits.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Thursday, July 14, 2005
I took 2nd place, a little ways behind Jason. For part of the last lap, I thought I could catch up and make an interesting finish, but I just couldn't get there, and passing was getting more difficult with several lapped riders between us at all times.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Friday, June 17, 2005
Sunday, June 05, 2005
The run went really well for me, I did the shorter 5-mile distance. Trail running is fun, maybe I won't quit running again after this race like I planned to do.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
Rain had been forecast for today as far back as last Sunday, and it hit right on time. I woke at 0500 to wet roads and wet air, but nothing really coming down. I got quickly out of the house without waking Oliver (always a challenge), and hit the road with lights on. After a mile I remembered I hadn't brushed my teeth. Luckily I also remembered I had my toothbrush/toothpaste still in my pack from last weekend's camping trip, so I pulled off on the side of the empty trail and did what I needed. Back on the bike, riding the trail along New Braddock/Braddock Rd. I had printed out an aerial photo and map from work showing an abandoned road which cut from Braddock Rd. into an old Fairfax neighborhood directly across from the entrance to Gov't Center. Sweet, I thought. Well, that abandoned road was completely gone so I pushed/rode my bike along a powerline cut for about 1/4 mile until hitting the neighborhood street I needed. My pants, socks, and shoes were now soaked through from the wet, tall brush, not to mention the many small hidden water holes I stepped in. Hopefully, I thought, my clothes would dry out some, or I'd be spending the next few hours standing around wet. Oh well, at least I'll be getting paid for it thought. I've certainly been wetter for less money before.
I made it there pretty dry other than my feet and pants and we had plenty of cover from the rain which had picked up by then and was quite heavy. The organizers were worried that no one would show up with this weather, especially since the Gov't Center area is not a very popular bike commuting area. But, it is the seat of County government, so they want to be a part of it, and they do a good job. Many County employees biked to work despite the rain, and it was evident from their bikes and gear that they aren't regular bikers or commuters. All were happy, not a one complained of the rain. It was interesting looking at everyone's bikes, and seeing their home locations pinned up on the map board. One guy rode all the way from D.C. on a 1950s-era Pee-Wee Herman style Schwinn. Two and a half hours, in the cold rain, in shorts. He won a prize. Surprisingly, many people did bike, and many even went out of their way to stop for a while at our pit stop.
The County Board of Supervisor's Chairman, Gerry Connolly was there. Folks from REI, the County Trails Coordinator (Jenny Pate), and a rep from Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) were also there. The lady from WABA started an argument with Connolly over some of his positions toward bikes, roads, or trails. She challenged him on something she had heard attributed to him. Connolly dug in like a pit bull and was appalled that she would question an elected official's integrity (without backup). He demanded to know what she meant, and I heard her stammer out a "..I hear things...." and a "...we look at things differently.." before a staff photographer friendly to Connolly pulled him aside for a photo op. Unfortunately, the argument was never resumed. Now, I'm all for confronting politicians and putting them on the spot, but the WABA lady was not well prepared and got flustered when challenged. In my opinion, she blew a good opportunity to get any messages across to him, and I wouldn't be surprised if WABA (the major sponsor of Bike to Work Day) weren't invited back to Fairfax Gov't Center next year.
My ride the rest of the way to work was in pouring rain and wind (not too worried about my shoes and socks now..). Luckily I was able to throw all my bike clothes in the dryer at the Health Club where I shower. Went and did a few hours of regular work, then dressed back in dry clothes and hit the road home in dryer air. However, the creeks were so high they were flowing over top of one of the bridges I use, so I was forced to take all roads home and stay out of the stream valley trail network, which was completely under water. Overall, 2.1" of rain fell. Just a day in the life right..... Sorry for such a long post (if you made it this far...)
Monday, May 16, 2005
O in the bike trailer heading back to camp after the swim.
Dave, Happy finish
Monday, May 09, 2005
The race was tough, I wouldn't exactly call it a single-speed friendly course, but I'm always glad I ride that bike regardless. The coolest part of the race for me was late in the first lap, climbing up the big climb near the back of the campground when I saw another Bike Lane teammate, Dr. Kathy, my chiropractor, up ahead, with me, Dave Crouse and Kathy's husband Pierre right behind me. Four Bike Lane jerseys in a row. I slowly got around Kathy near the top of the climb due to my bigger gear, and then shortly after that she passed me on the top of the descent. How cool is that?? To be passed by your chiropractor on a rocky descent. I know my body's in good hands with her!
Dave passed me for good on the 2nd lap after trying to pull me along, and Pierre pulled out the monster legs and passed me (and many Experts) on that big last climb on the 3rd lap. A 5,6,7 finish for the Bike Lane single speeders. Dave now has the crown of fastest SSer on the team. I'll see if I can work on getting that back soon. A fun day for sure, and great to see everyone.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
It's been a good week of bike commuting, 3 days so far, and with National Clean Commute Day tomorrow, I guess I better bike in tomorrow too. The weather has been dry, sunny, and cool. This morning, at the road crossing where my trail crosses busy Route 29 in Centreville, I had to wait much longer than I usually do. So, I rode circles on the shoulder waiting for the busier eastbound lanes to clear. Then I made my way out into the dirt trail which crosses the skinny median, and did a trackstand ("balancing", for the non-bikers reading this) waiting for 2 cars and a dumptruck to go by. The cars in this direction are going much faster than those in the eastbound commuting direction. The dumptruck went by at about 45-50 mph, a bike-length away from me. After making it safely to the other side and back on the trail, I wondered if this was a smart move, to wait out in the median like that? I've made several changes for safety on my commute over the years, especially after Oliver was born, but I still hang out in the median. I'm putting an awful lot of trust (and luck) in the hands of drivers, because in that median, I have nowhere to go if something goes wrong.
I wish that an inherent risk of death were not a part of cycling. Bicycling should not be an "extreme sport". I mean, I'm not BASE jumping, riding 60' surf, or skiing down Mount Everest. I'm just riding a bike! Sometimes that happens to be on roads made for cars and trucks.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
My neighbor Dave took up triathlons last summer as a hobby in his spare time away from his job and 2 kids. He's mainly done road riding (W&OD and some flat road tri's) and has signed up for the OAR off-road triathlon at Sherando Rec Area in mid-May. Since Sherando is a notoriously brutal mountain bike venue, and since his only previous mountain bike experience was a couple rides at Conway Robinson, I figured I could help him out by getting him on some rocks before he encounters them for the first time during the race.
We spent a couple hours riding the Yellow Trail at Gambrill, and he did fine, actually he did great, especially after a mid-ride saddle adjustment. His saddle was so far back, that he did something I've never seen anyone do on a trail. He lifted up the front wheel to clear a log with a pedal stroke, and pulled the bike right over onto his back, still clipped in with the wheels spinning in the air. After the fix, and a few clipless tip-overs, he began to smooth out, rolling silently along the last few miles, chanting his new mantra, "ride lightly, ride lightly...". He was hooked.
Saturday, April 30, 2005
I would guess Wil was about 50-55 when I met him about 8-9 years ago, and he was one of the fittest men I'd ever met. He walked and worked with a polished efficiency, and he wore out many a studly mountain biker with his full-day trailwork sessions. Often, we'd start hiking up at 9:30, break at noon, and start hiking out around 3:00 after a hard session. Those who brought their bikes thinking of a post-session ride, never seemed to bring them twice.
Everything Wil did in the forest was meant to outlive him, me, and the next generation. His work will forever lead to happy footsteps and pleasant memories for the wide world of trail users. I often wondered what Wil wondered about as he spent his long days in the mountains. Did he think of his former life as a gov't computer programmer (he was a programmer long before the Internet, he was even a reluctant e-mail user for several years). Did he wonder about his family? I never knew the circumstances that led Wil to the small basement apartment he kept in the mountain town of Mount Jackson. There just wasn't much time to talk about things on those workdays. Wil spoke mainly for the forest. I'll miss him.
Friday, April 29, 2005
After that excitement delayed the start, Joe P led 2 of us on a nice single speed jaunt through Accotink. Even though I used to live in the condos bordering the RR tracks, and rode here in the '80s, I don't know a single decent loop in this place anymore. Fun trails though. We later were joined by Ricky, and then Larry and the rest of the MORE rescue team for a fast spin through the new race course. It was great getting to ride with the group again. I appreciate the social aspect almost as much as the thrill of the singletrack.