August 28, 2009
I myself have a terrific squad (though I miss Jens Voight). Just look for riders sporting kits sponsored by BEATRICE THE CAT LADY'S ALL STAR POLE REVIEW:)
Ty (aka Saddledancer)
My TDF Team was sponsored by Lyle's Lapdance Emporium and Chico's Bail Bonds
August 26, 2009
The Cranky Monkey is a three race series of MTB in the Washington, DC area (USA Cycling D20) promoted by EX2 Adventures. The first race of the series was this past Sunday, July 26, 2009, at Wakefield Park in No. Va. Wakefield Park has some very non-technical single-track trails including some paved road sections as well as some gravel road. There is very little climbing to speak of so I would say it is somewhat rolling with no major climbs. I am signed up for the Sport 45+ series so my race started at ~9:49 a.m.
Given that it is 2009, it wouldn’t be a MTB race if there wasn’t rain the day/night before the race or during the race. This race was no exception. There was even an e-mail by the promoter advising racers to check the race website in the morning to see if the race was cancelled. In the morning the race website said that the trails were a little wet but that the race was on. Cool!!! The race start is on a gravel road that climbs up a short steep hill to the paved park road which takes you to the “bowl.” The bowl is a 2-2.5 mile single track section of the park with quite a few log obstacles but nothing too difficult. However, it was still rather wet with a slick .25” layer of mud on top in some places. Of course about a quarter-mile into this section I leaned into a turn and my front wheel slipped out and down I went. It seemed like 10 – 12 guys went by me while I picked myself up and got back onto the trail. I decided right then I would take it easy in this section. The “power-line” area and “berms” area of the trail seem to have more sandy soil and were hard and fast so you were able to ride normal there. Anyway, the rest of the race was fun. I looked forward to the climbs especially the powerline climb and the switchback climb up the berms. I ended up 18 out of 24 in the Sport 45+ group. On to Fountainhead!
Unfortunately, the Mother Nature decided to dump over 2” of rain in the area the day before the race so I was expecting the race to be postponed. I woke up early to find that the promoter said the trails were good and the race was on. The temperature was forecast to be mid-eighties and not too humid which is all you can hope for in the middle of August in No. VA. This year the race start was at the bottom of a fire road that we bombed down on last year’s course. This suited me fine because it was a white-knuckle descent last year and it seemed in worse shape this year. The trails were actually in perfect shape for the race. Unbelievably, there were no puddles or mud anywhere on the course so my concern about trail conditions was misdirected. Last year I seemed to be having a good race until I broke my rear derailleur cable and ended up DNF. The race started very well for me. I was not really concerned with where I was at the start so I cannot say what place I entered the trails after the fire road start. Right away I noticed that I was engaged in a battle with three other guys that I would pass on the climbs and they would return the favor on the descents. There were quite a few climbs so I think I had the advantage and was able to pull away by the end of the first lap. I had no crashes to speak of except for one close call. There was a descent down a creek bed that was muddy in the middle but dry on the sides. The notable feature was a big tree trunk laying in the middle of the creek bed the entire length (~80’). I was going pretty fast down this area when I recognized the danger. Gravity was pulling you toward the middle of the creek bed and the sides were steep enough to make it difficult to stay there, but you didn’t want to get near the tree trunk because of the negative ramifications of crashing on it. I was fighting this situation the whole way down when I realized I was going to not be able to miss the tree trunk. I ended up clenching my teeth and closing my eyes as the crash loomed. A quarter-second later I realized that I was still upright and not going to crash. I had somehow skipped over the tree trunk to the other side of the creek bed. I felt very fortunate and made a note to avoid this mistake on the second lap. The second lap was good except that I started cramping towards the end of the raced. I backed off a bit to recover and ended up getting passed by one of the guys I had been swapping places with on the first lap. I kept him in sight knowing that we had one last climb before the final descent to the finish. I caught him and passed him on the climb, he was very gracious about giving me space to get by, and gassed it down the hill and over the line. I ended up finishing eighth out of nineteen for the race and ninth in the series for Sport Men 45+.
I want to give a couple of shout outs here. First to all, to those who have given me encouragement during the races I thank you very much. It always provides a mental boost to hear someone call out your name and it is most appreciated. To Greg Massey and all the other Sport class racers who shared the trails so sportsmanlike, it was a pleasure to race with you this year. And finally, Mark Thompson, thank you for sharing your experience from the beginner race earlier in the morning. Your information was pertinent and really helpful. Good luck to all. See you next year!
The weather leading up to race day was relatively dry for 2009, and compared to last year the course was in pristine shape. The temperature was forecast to be hot and humid (mid-nineties) but what do you expect for the middle of August in No. VA? This race start is a one-mile loop around the park on the park road before diving into the rooty trails. The roots and undulations of the trails at Fountainhead always seem to surprise me. The trail seems more technical than those I usually ride (Rosaryville) so I always seem to take some time to adjust my riding style. Regardless, I felt good entering the trails after the road loop probably about mid-pack. One other thing I like about Fountainhead is that they name their climbs/descents, so you see signs with names like Holy Grail Hill, Lung Buster Hill and Shock-a-Billy Hill to name a few. Anyway, the first lap went really well for me with no crashes or falls and I had passed a number of folks in my race, so I had to make up for it on the second lap. I had my first crash of the day on a sweeping descent where I was paying more attention to the rider I felt behind me rather than the trail. My front wheel rolled over a branch or root mid-trail and slid out on me. I went down on my right side skidding into some leaves with some minor scrapes. My last crash of the day occurred just before the finish line. I had just descended Shock-a-Billy for the second time and had just a quarter mile to go. I knew from the previous year’s race that it was all uphill to the finish line. A guy had just passed me on the approach to Shock-a-Billy and I saw him not too far in front of me catching/passing another racer. The gap to these guys was shrinking fast and I was thinking that maybe I could catch one or both before the line. As I approached this little stream crossing (bridge), I was looking up the trail still gauging my chances when my front tire hit the bridge and slid out. I went down quickly and shot across the surface of the bridge on my back. I must have been spinning slowly because my left side left the bridge surface all at once and I dropped a foot or foot-and-a-half into the creek bed which was dry. Unfortunately, there was one big rock there in the creek bed that I took right in the small of my back. Ouch! I jumped up, thinking how that crash had cartoon implications, and remounted my bike only to discover my chain had dropped. Seeing that I had only about 50 yards to go I decided to run rather than futzing around with my chain. So I ran as fast as I could up the hill to the finish. I ended up ninth out of twenty-four Sport 45+ competitors. Needless to say, I was happy with my race and looking forward to race #3 at Quantico.
August 25, 2009
I have an older steel (Reynolds 531c) bike equipped with Campy Record 9 speed I bought a few years back on ebay. It was built by Gazelle for an amateur Danish squad called De Zwalew. I know nothing of the team and have not found much on the internet. The bike has a frame number hanger on the top tube and I have made a number of my father's motorcycle racing days. He raced motorcross and desert events when I was a youngster. The bike also has a rider's name on the top tube (Tiny De Van). I picture Tiny as not so tiny, but some brute of a Danish monster. One who could pull for hours on end through the flat windy countryside. The bike weighs about 22 pounds and I use it as my trainer bike and horrific weather ride bike during the winter. Just imagining what it has gone through helps me muscle through the wet and nasty days.
Tonight was the last Tuesday night event at Pacific for 2009 and I decided to end it as Tiny. I had not ridden the bike on the road in some months and wanted to have fun. Plus I am suffering a slight cold so I figured any handicap couldn't hurt. We raced the flast for just 40 minutes as we had cake and awards afterwards. A good showing as the weather was rather nice after a wet morning. About 30 in the 4/5 race. It was mostly sunny with mild temps. My legs were heavy after a 2 hour hike/run on Sunday, plus my lungs were suffering some and I was dealing with the cold. There was no way I was missing the last race, especially as we had team swag to give out. I had to REPRESENT!
I knew I couldn't do a whole lot in the race so I decided to go at the start and attacked near the end of the first lap. They would not let me go and I pulled the whole train across the line to end the first lap. Felt good but I was hurting. I yo yod for most of the race, attacking two more times but getting no where. My bars were also loose for some reason and every time I hit a slight hole they dropped a fraction. Scary feeling. I did not feel all that confident attacking like that so I hung back for the last lap finishing almost last. No biggie considering. It was a very fond farewell to my competitors and the course for a year. The carke was delicious and I also got a pair of Bike Hugger socks for racing in more than 10 races. They had 21 total this year and I did 14. The 53x11coffee bottles went fast as did the espresso. Thanks Evan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Enough for now-it is 10:30pm, the adrenaline is fading, the pizza is getting cold and beer warm, and my radio station (KBCS-91.3fm) is playing very cool folk music. Plus my cats demand some attention.
Night teammates. Stay safe and keep the rubber side down.
Ty (aka Saddldancer or Tiny)
August 24, 2009
I did do the Crystal Mtn Washington State Hillclimb Championships last Saturday, and my lack of quality training showed BIG TIME. My legs felt good and the weather was very nice. I didn't think I could PR but I did think I could beat last year's time when it was very hot and windy. I started 2nd in the Masters C group and kept my 30 sec guy in sight the whole time. I was slightly faster on the steeper sections but could not gain on him. I did get caught by the 3 who started behind me though and that was a real shock as I have only been caught once before out there. My time was almost a minute slower than my previous slowest (2004). I did enjoy the ride though as it is a gorgeous setting just a few miles from Mt. Rainier. I also saw some guys I had not seen in a long time. MY lungs are still burning some.
Tomorrow night is the last Pacific of the year and they will have awards. They are giving out 53x11 Coffee swag which I am very excited about. So cool to be associated with two great operations, 53x11 Coffee and BUDU Racing. I also get to give a little back by volunteering at next Saturday's Lake Sammamish Triathlon here in town, also put on by BUDU Racing. I get to pace the runners on my single speed cross bike.
Enough for now. Time to go and train. Sort of:)
Ty (aka Saddledancer)
August 22, 2009
August 21, 2009
August 19, 2009
Then we raced last night at Pacific and rode the flat course for 50 minuteswith points every lap. It made for a fast fun night. I attacked on laps 2 and 3 and then played around for the rest of the race. I felt very strong.
Just a few races left in 2009 (one more Pacific, Crystal Mountain, the Blackberry Crit and then Mt. Baker).
I would like to second Casey's well wishes to Evan and my teammates. It has been a blast being on the squad for a 2nd year. It has grown a great deal, and so has the company. I can't wait to see what lies in store in 2010.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)
August 18, 2009
The order of the three typical stages (a mass-start hill climb, time trial, and road race) was slightly altered this year, with a 20km time trial on the final day to maintain an air of uncertainty over the final GC. I managed to take the opening hill climb with a 3 and 7-second lead over the next two cyclists - and with a pack finish to the road race, carried that slim lead into the final day. Conceeding just 2 seconds over a wet (yes, this is SouthEast Alaska), rolling 20km, I also took second on the time trial and maintained my position atop the GC.
For all the rest of you contributing here, it has been a most enjoyable year of following your accomplishments. And Evan, it's been a blast to watch your business grow, and the team with it.
August 7, 2009
Our July commuter challenge winner is Doug S from Mansfield MA. He commuted a total of 862 miles in July.
Inspiring others to ride is one of my goals. It’s a tough sell most of the time. Whenever the topic comes up with potential recruits, I offer to meet them and ride with them, no takers yet. Once I even offered to bring my tandem in and pick them up on the way, (that was kind of whacky, in retrospect, Im glad they declined). At work I am known at work as the bike guy, out of about 1000 people here, there are only a couple who ride in, and they only do it a few times a year. In one way, its cool because on more than one occasion co workers have actually said that I was their hero when they saw me setting out to ride home in the snow or in the rain. One day I was in a store miles away from where I usually ride and a guy came up to me and said, “Are you the guy I see riding in Sherborn in all kinds of weather?” I said yup!. He thought that was awesome, I said he should try it too. Another time someone else from a car said he thought it was great to see me in all weather, nearly every morning at the same intersection. Once a coworker said, seeing me on my bike riding home made him think that all is right with the world. I was riding to work during a light snow storm and someone drove up and slowed down to ask me if I noticed that it was snowing, I said, yeah, so what?. Of course, others have made various negative comments regarding the wisdom etc of riding in the snow. I turn it around and ask what they are doing in something that will kill someone.
July commuting: my usual route is 28.5 miles each way. Typically, I ride about 4 days a week. On a good day, it will take 1 hour and 1/2 each way, usually it takes me about 1 hour and 40 minutes each way. Some days, I only do one way, in this case I will drive in, leave my car at work and ride home, then ride back in the next AM. Fortunately, we have showers and a gym at work so I can shower when I get in. I ride year round, except if the temp gets below 20F or if its raining at night. Below 20F, no matter what I do, my hands and feet cannot stay warm enough to survive the ride, if I only had to go a few miles it would be OK. When its raining and dark, even with good lights, I think the visibility from cars is too low. In the dark I use some good lights. I believe its most dangerous at dusk, when Its pitch dark, as long as its not raining lights really make you show up, whereas in low light levels, its much harder to be seen.
Some of my commuting miles this month were accumulated riding to and from bike races. The most recent one was the Norwell Circuit race in
(As you may know, these races are not for sissies, in the 35+ race the local retired pro, a former
Some might say gee, that’s a lot of time on the bike every day. Sure it is, I just think Im lucky to be able to do it, its like a bonus that no one takes. Its accomplishing several things at once, Im saving gas and money, not contributing to global warming, staying fit, setting a good example for my kids….. I just don’t get why more people don’t see it this way. Sure, some cannot because of health issues, no showers at work, etc. Like, I don’t get why people who are out of shape decide to take the elevator up one floor.
Whats the real time cost? If I drive it is at least 45 minutes, sometimes an hour and 10, depending on traffic. Driving every day, that would be 1.5 to 2.3 hours every day vs. 3 to 3.5 on a bike? By my math, that’s an extra hour and a half to 2 hours. Its funny, much of my thinking about commuting revolves around rationalizing why people should do it. Sure riding can be hard work, but how hard do people work to afford their cars? How many hours a week do you work just to own a car?, most do that w/o thinking, how hard did you work in school to get into your profession?
Its too hard is not an answer. I think its the same stupidity that reigns where a developer clears off all the trees even the big ones, builds a bunch of mcmansions, then gets landscaper to plant all kinds of little trees that need all kinds of attention…..
August 5, 2009
I was relatively happy with my performance as my mental state was down. We lost a 19 year old Siamese cat to the recent heat wave, and had to have him put down on Sunday night. I had only known him 2 years, and had not owned a cat til 2 years ago, but we had bonded instantly. It was a real loss. I did ride with an angel pin given to us after the procedure but my heart and mind were not all there. I almost did not go to the race, bu we only have a few left and I do so love racing, so I opted to try. Riding with the 1/2/3s did help a lot.
Evan also sent me some "swag" to share which I did. The organizer took some espresso home to try and is waiting til the last race to distriubte the rest of the goodies. Really a good thing Evan. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On a side note-As riders we have all had encounters with inconsiderate, irate, and just plain thoughtless drivers. Under Washington law a bicycle is a "vehicle" and is subject to the rules of the road. Unless specifically prohibited and unless a bike lane is provided, bicycles are to ride in as far right a position as is safe in a lane. If necessary aq bike can take a posiiton in a lane like a motor vehicle, and this I have done many times wen my speed equaled or was greater than the motor vehicles around me.
Anyway,I have had numerous encounters since I started riding in 1980, in California, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Illinois and now in Washington state, with drivers who are just ignorant of the law or are to dumb to know better. Fortunately I have never gone down as a result of these encounters, though one time in college in Illinois I was truck by something as a car passed me.
Today I was on my recently purchased Giant TCX Cross bike equippped with Campy Record 10 (she is strictly a fun and commuter ride as I don't race cross) that also has a Bike Buddha on the seat post for good karma (purchased from Borders), when a driver called me an explitive for no reason other than I was in a lane of traffic. This particular stretch of road has no bike lane or shoulder (only a bad sidelwalk) , and has 4 lanes (2 each way) with a 40 mph limit. I can usually ride this 1.5 mile stretch at 25+ mph and usually don't have issues with drivers but tonight was different as I was riding in rush hour traffic.
I did respond with a vulgar yell and finger gesture (I was not riding in team kit but was wearing a "Bike Hugger" jersey) and so wanted to catch the vehicle at the next light to instruct them on the RCW and rules of the road. But alas they made the lights and were long gone.
Anyway, I just wanted to take a stand on my soapbox and say that despite all the "alledged" advancements and achievements mankind has made, we are as stupid and ignorant as we were when the bicycle first was invented. I hope someday there is a species worrhy of the bicycle;s respect.
Be safe and keep the rubber side down.
Ty (aka saddledancer)
August 2, 2009
Anyway, as I signed in I was asked about the kit and got to spread the word again about the team and company. Someone said they had seen another rider in the kit and I only knew of one other in the area, a friend who rides for the local team called Double Digit. He has purchased a couple of our kits as extra training gear. As I lined up (I was 4th to go out of about 180), I saw a stranger in the knew red bib shorts. I had never seen him before. He had some other white jersey. I did yell out a greeting as he rode past.
I definitely was not ready for the race, and due to my lack of training and very hot and muggy conditions I took it pretty easy. We started on a side residential street every 30 secs, and after a quick slightly downhill start we immediately made a sharp left hand turn on to the climb proper. There were no other real turns. There is a severe and oh so steep right hand switchback turn ALMOST halfway up, and I did catch two guys just before the turn. I was almost caught by my 30 sec guy but I beat him to the line. One guy I did pass threw up A LOT after the finish. I knew I had not put that type of effort in. It was a slow time for me but I was happy considering the conditions. It really is a fun and tough climb. I have ridden it in very hot conditions, rain, snow and beautiful fall conditions. I never get tired of it and it is just down the road. I am fortunate in deed.
On another note, the last few weeks have meant SEAFAIR for the Seattle area, an annual summer celebration, capped off by a weekend of Blue Angels performances and hydroplane boat racing (this weekend). The Blue Angels have a practice session on Friday, and I was able to ride to the I-90 floating bridge and Mercer Island on Friday to watch the practice. Amazing!!!!!!! One benefit of riding is the option to go places other than by car. We two wheelers have it so good.
All the best to my teammates.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)
PS-Results just came out. I was 54th out of 110, and beat one of my training buddies by 20 secs.
For more info, photos and a graphic course profile (earthquake seismographs usually don't look this bad) go to http://www.climb4cancer.net/