September 27, 2008

New Beginnings

September has been quite a busy month for me. For starters, I recently joined the 53x11 Coffee cycling team which I am stoked about. I am really excited to be representing a great company with a great group of guys that share the same passion that I do. Next, I just started my new job as a bike tech. Cycling is my passion. I can now wake up every morning and enjoy going to work. I work for a great shop that has established itself as one the best bike shops in Pennsylvania. My first racing season has just come to a close. Unfortunately I didn't get any wins. I led quite a few races but just didn't have enough gusto to hold on. I learned a lot and look foward to next year to prove to everyone what I am capable of. Lastly I've been preparing for my first charity ride. I am participating in the Hershey's Tour de Pink. This charity ride has over 150+ riders with all of the proceeds going toward breast cancer awareness. It is a great way to honor those that have had or know anyone that has had to deal with this illness. The four day ride will cover over 220 miles as we will be riding from Hershey, PA to New York City. Each rider has to raise over $2,500 in donations. The local newspaper did a feature article. Feel free to check it out: . I feel very honored to be participating in this ride. Also I get to show off my kick-ass 53x11 Coffee cycling kit to all of the other riders who be jealous with envy! :) Ride hard fellas!

September 23, 2008

A Season Revisted

Fall has come to the Seattle area, or more accurately Fall, Winter, Spring and most of Summer. In other words we are back to cool temps, clouds and a constant chance of rain. No biggie as the first 3 weeks of September were incredible, the best weather weeks of the year. As a roadie my season is over. I don't ride track, mountain, or cross. The next two months will be devoted to meringue miles (as in nice and easy-fluff).
My last race was the Mt Baker hillclimb in Glacier, Washington on September 7th. I also raced the Blackberry Crit in Bremerton on August 31. Even though I was pulled 32 minutes into the 40 minute Masters race I was quite happy. I attacked on lap two to try and bridge to a solo break, and was stuck in no man's land for 1.5 laps. I could not bridge, got caught, then dropped, then lapped, then dropped again, then pulled. At least I tried. And the team's name was announced when I attacked. In the end the local cycling animal Kenny Williams went with another rider and almost lapped the field. Impressive! Kenny then went on to race in the 1,2 Pro race and took 6th. I was so honored to have been reeled in by Kenny in the Masters race. That is what is so cool about racing. I can toe the line with amazing riders and share the road, wind, and down and out thrill of it all with them. I did what I could with what I had and that was enough. I was quite happy.
The Mt Baker hillclimb did not go as planned as I was involved in the one and only crash in the 5 years the race has been held. It is a mass start for all races, including the competitive division, which includes pros and non cat racers. I was in about the 3rd group on the road at the 8 mile mark of the 24.5 mile race(about 20 riders) when someone touched wheels ahead of me on a slight uphill, couldn't save it and went down. I thought I got around him safely when I was suddenly taken down from behind. My right shin was gouged as if I landed on a chain ring, and my right foot and ankle were quite swollen and bruised with two puncture marks (which I did not discover til I was done and back at the hotel and changing). The first rider who went down was the worst off, and I stayed with him to make sure he was okay. The rider who hit me from behind was the first of us three up and away. By the time a car came to take the first rider back with sore ribs and I had readjusted my bars, I had lost close to 7 minutes. I took off like a bat out of (you know what), my adrenaline flowing at maximum. I overtook riders the entire way up the mountain, and ended up losing about 3 minutes over 2007 (1:37) by clocking 1:47. I was near the back of the field but my 2007 time would have placed me even higher than that year. I was quite satisfied but I could feel my foot and shin at the top. The 24.5 mile ride down was a challenge when it should have been a blast. I got down looking for sympathy from my girlfriend but was greeted with one very upset and distraught female. Even though I was only about 10 minutes late she had miscalculated the descent time and thought I was over an hour late. Too top it off my newest bike, a beautiful older C40 in naked carbon suffered a broken seat stay in the crash. I am looking into having it repaired. Here's hoping.....
Another positive was that I rode Mount Seymour (12 K) in North Vancouver, BC the day before for fun and was about 3 minutes off my 2006 race time. Not too bad.
All in all 2008 was a very good year. I raced in 12 of the Tuesday night series at Pacific and attacked in every one. I did not compete in the Elkorn Classic due to a training crash, but I did well in the Deschutes Rver Timetrial Festival and the Blackberry Crit, the Crystal Mtn Hillclimb and the Mt Baker climb despite a crash.
I also began commuting to Seattle, about 40 miles roundtrip. I began in May and probably willstop next week. A great way to put in miles.
Why do I ride? I have been riding since my sister bought me a used Nishiki from the lost and found where she worked in 1980 while I was a senior in High School. I could never state all the reasons why I ride as the list grows every time I straddle a saddle. Each time I clip in, turn a crank, shift gears or get out of the saddle is an opportunity for growth and amazement. And this is allaccomplishment on what is basically a toy anyone can ride.
Suffice it so ay that I am 45, and feel like I am a little kid each time I get pedaling. I will never stop and cannot wait for 2009. Or for the next time I get on one of my ever loyal and user friendly steeds.
To everyone who has ever ridden or wants to ride, to all my teammates and to Evan and Owen-
have an incredible rest of 2008, a most amazing 2009 and keep the rubber side down.
T Man out. For now:)