Crater City Cup Recap

What’s that adage about legs, skill, and a little bit of luck needed to win a bike race? Well I definitely had two of those
on lock this Sunday.  By the 4th lap or so I’d figured out how to aggressively navigate all the turns in the Crystal City Cup. I know, why so long you ask? Yougotdropped had it best with this description of turn 3.
Which after 3 or 4 laps it became obvious this was the ideal line to take:

Turn 3 line.jpg

Turn 3 like a BOSS

With the cornering figured out and good legs thanks to meticulous planning by Bill @PyramidTrainingSystems   I was on my way to at least a podium…until the crater I’d managed to avoid the entire race on turn 2 ate my face with 4 laps to go (naturally just outside the free lap rule for added calamitous effect).  It turns out those bastards claimed 2 of my teammates within the last 4 laps too.

The rest of the day was spent with Tasha patiently picking crater debris out of my hip. Whatever, I still love this race.  I’ll be back next year with solid rubber armadillos and an anti-pothole navigation system….oh I’ll be back.


Why I don’t have a “marriage equality” avatar

Some people may be wondering why I don’ t have a “marriage equality”  avatar.  “You DO support equal marriage rights don’t you” they may be wondering.  Well quite frankly, I just don’t see the point of making overt gestures to support common sense thinking. I mean you don’t see bunch of people posting “Don’t murder kittens” memes and jumping on the “Kittens shouldn’t be needlessly slaughtered” bandwagon.  I’d have to image if there was such a movement, you’d see a fraction of the population rise up in protest: posting pro-kitten pictures, waiving “Keep your hands off my Pussy” posters, and sharing thousands of articles deploring the senseless dismemberment of felines, but the overwhelming majority would be like “Who the fuck is killing kittens?!!”

It’s kind of like marching to extend the Voting Rights Act (which btw doesn’t give blacks the right to vote, but rather provides for enforcement of that right).  Something that was necessary during the Jim Crow era, but you’d be hard pressed to convince most Americans that black voters right are under threat.  Which brings me back to my point, we’re finally at a point in society where we should have been all along. Where this shit is just plain common sense.  So yes, I’ll adopt a “marriage equality” avatar, when you adopt a “Let  blacks stay in America” one.

Why public bathroom stalls were designed horribly wrong….it’s Hollywood’s fault.

Ever wonder why public bathroom stalls made in the 80s and late 90s have a 2 inch gap between the door and the stall? C’mon, how did that make it past the engineering review board? I can’t imagine it did. As a matter of fact I bet the first stalls were probably fully-enclosed units.
That is until a flood of movies came out in the 80s featuring the ceremonial public bathroom assassination. You know the scene. A tall menacing figure strolls into a public bathroom sawed off shotgun in hand, kicking all the bathroom doors in, until he finally blast away at some unsuspecting Joe taking a smash. Don’t believe me? Go here , It’s the gold standard for all movie bathroom scenes.


So I have to believe that when it came time to reveal the designs of the next modern generation public bathroom facility it went kind of like this:

Scene: Stuffy room at the American Restrooms Head Quarters with 10-15 execs and a couple of engineers. <side note: Why are institutions of piss and shit the only ones that proudly preface their company name with “American”?>

CEO:  <through puffs of cigar smoke> Well Jim what’dya got?

Lead Engineer: John Sir. It’s very similar to your private bathroom, the stalls are fully enclosed and…

CEO: Now hang on Jim, you watch any movies?

John: Uh well yeah

CEO: How many countless times do you see some tough nut rolling into a public bathroom and blowing away some poor sap who had no clue what was Wednesday before he got the last rites?

John: Huh?

CEO: Now suppose I’m at the local highway rest stop late at night and I gotta go. I get in there and proceed to do my business when some crazy looney burst into the bathroom fully intent on lighting me up.  How the hell am I gonna see that coming with that door design you got there? I’m a sittin’ duck in that thing.

Other Execs: <nodding heads>

John: Well I’d suppose you’d hear..

CEO: What we need is some kinda assassination prevention mechanism. Tell ya what, put a 2″ viewer all the way down that thing.

John:  <perplexed> You mean you want a 2″ gap between the door and the stall?

CEO: Damn straight. That way I’ll never be surprised.

John: But Sir, in all likelihood by the time you saw a killer from the stall it’d be too late.

CEO: <long pause> Your right.  Better give me 3 feet on each side in case I need to make a quick getaway.

Other Execs: <strong head nodding>

John: ….


Hey mister super-secret training route man…

You selfish bastard.

Are there really that many of us on the road that you can’t risk letting anyone know about that cool little curvy sliver of asphalt you stumbled upon? Afraid it’ll turn into Beech drive on a Sunday (that’s West river drive for you Philly folk)? Or is it that you don’t want to ever see another rider on that stretch….period?  Does it break your concentration when you do? Do you veer off suddenly into the bushes in a Lindsay-lohan fake rage? Or is it so  Billy McBadass doesn’t take your last stinkin KOM?

I never understood the compulsion to keep certain routes and roads a secret. If anything I take comfort in seeing fellow riders on roads previously thought barren.  I remember when I was stationed in Biloxi Mississippi for military training and I took my road bike with me.  I rode those hot sticky bug-ridden byways for 3 whole months and didn’t see ONE cyclist. Not a tandem, a walmart bike, trike, a damn penny farthing…nothing! It was a pretty lonely feeling. Look I get wanting to occasionally clear you head on a solo ride, or the joy gained from “discovering” a new road (never mind how the asphalt got there in the first place), but hoarding that knowledge to yourself is like not telling anyone about the Joseph A Banks 5 for 1 deals for fear that they’ll run out of suits. It’s just not realistic, frankly there aren’t that many of us there for it to be much of a crowding concern and unless your riding on closed roads you still have to deal with zee automobile. So c’mon man, share the road and share the route.


Why the Snobbishness?

The roadie snob, we’ve all heard it.   Too good to wave, not welcoming in a group ride, glaring profusely, speedy with no purpose, disdain for anything unkempt & unkit.  All reasons we’ve earned the rep. What’s not discussed is the root.  At the heart of it all is a fundamental difference in our motivation to ride. To the commuter, tourer, or leisurely two-wheeler, your’s is a passion for the outdoors and general desire just to be out. To the roadie it’s a desire for speed and it’s evil by-product, suffering.

Neither motivations are wrong or more right, just different.  Let’s address the unwelcoming bit.  In a group ride two things are of concern, speed and safety. When you’re riding inches away from someone at 25+ mph you’ve got to be able to trust them.  Short of knowing them personally we’re forced to make snap judgements based on appearance.  Does he look the part? How’s his form? OK, I’ll let him in until he proves otherwise.  So yes, there’s an assumption that’s made that if he’s assimilated into the “roadie way” then he’s been riding for a while and might know what he’s doing. We don’t think we’re better than you, we just don’t want to crash.

Once we’re comfortable with the skill of the group, we can move onto the matter at hand, speed.  A roadie respects one thing and one thing only, speed.  It’s at the heart of why we ride.  All things being equal if you take two riders and place one in a racing bike and the other on a touring, the guy on a racing bike is going to be faster.  In 1937 they introduced geared bikes in the tour,  the last placed rider that year was faster than the winner the year before.  Fact. That’s not to say if you’re rocking mtn bike shoes, a primal jersey, and a 1980s helmet, you won’t be welcome.  You just need to be fast.  Everyone remembers that guy on folding bike with hairy legs that killed it on the 7AM ride or the dude on a mtn bike that dominated Tuesday night Worlds.  He’s got a ticket to the front of any local ride after that.

What about when we’re riding solo, surely there’s time for a wave then right?  Back to the speed by-product bit. Chances are our oxygen deprived souls have just finished some interval designed to make use 30 seconds faster at the Cat 4 Northern Idaho TT championships. If we’re out on a casual spin, which if you go by the average roadie’s training log is 1 out of every 5 rides, then most likely we do wave back or offer a smile.  And if we don’t, then yes, we’re being snobs.

Yup…time for the wrap up

Now on to other stuff.  With the season more than a few weeks over (for me at least) and fall fitness rapidly setting in, it’ s time to reflect on…well everything.

Sleeping in, who woulda thunk, is fun.  Needless to say I was a bit hesitant to take my prescribed two weeks off for fear of exactly such self-revelation. Since I started racing…well racing seriously, I’ve never taken more than a week off the bike in 4 years.  Yeah, turns out its not that hard.  While I’m only 1 week in and admittedly already cheated with an easy one hour spin today, it’s not feeling as hard as I would have thought.  I’m headed to Vegas next week for work so the second week shouldn’t be terribly difficult either.

The end of the season was somewhat anti-climatic.  With the much anticipated and oft peaked for Turkey Day cancelled, Irene overwriting Claymont, and the Capital Crit capped, I frantically sought after a way to expend last minute racing stores.   So I found myself traveling 3.5 hours to a bodunk part of Suffolk to shell out a few laps of a southern hains point style throw-down.  With 25 guys in the 1/2/3 it wasn’t a sit-in-and-sprint-at-the-end fest that I was waiting for. I deliberately didn’t take a single pull in anticipation of the break until I, well, took a single pull and missed the resulting counter.  With 6 guys staying away it amounted to a race for 7th and I ended up 9th.  Not the field sprint I was hoping for but it didn’t matter.  I had more than achieved my season ‘s goals and the rest was just icing on the cake.  The impromptu alleycat style race at HP was fun too, a little birdie told me about it just an hour before the start (thanks).

The only thing left to train for now is Octoberfest and watching friends race cross while gleefully heckling them from the barriers, dubbel in hand.

On that note, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Fat Tire, Hoptoberfest, New Belgium Trippel…..what the hell took them so long?

Dirty Bastard, really good scotch ale, not as good as Old Chub perhaps

Dogfish 90 Minute IPA, finally got around to paying $12 for a 4-pack….worth it…at least once.

Now for the totally random card of the day: - My most marketable office skill is being able to conceal the fact that I'm bringing reading material into the bathroom

And with that I’m out!

Penultimate Race Weekend

With Church Creek on Sat and Dawg Days on Sunday it was sure to be an exciting weekend.  One, I get to do my first 40K and two after Luray and Iron Hill I finally got do an easy crit.  So everyone says your first TT is a bitch and surprise surprise…it was a bitch.  As I was striving for maximum punishment I borrowed a friend’s TT bike that was 2 sizes too small and test rode it two days before the race.  Fiddling profusely with stack height, saddle angle, and aero bar width something still felt a little…off.  Ah, the cranks were 1 size shorter than I normally ride.  Sweet, so with my excuses all set, I headed off to the TT on Sat to battle 14 other guys that actually “like” to do this.  In a TT, with all the race variables accounted for you can actually predict with probable certainty, your placing.  I knew I wasn’t going to beat Shelby, Gus, Wagner, or el Jeffe so the best I could hope for was 5th.

The Experience

The first 20 minutes felt supa-steller. All bike fitting oddities aside I was night and day faster than I would have been on a ghetto-TT rig (ala road bike with aero bars), BTW big thanks to Peter Nicoll for making that happen.  At 21 minutes though the facade wore off and I began  feeling a numbing sensation in my gonads.  At minute 28  it was if an army of Siafu ants were unleashed in my chamois….at 35 apparently I rolled over their ant hill…this can’t be normal? OK OK so everyone and their mom says “Don’t mess with your bike right before a race”  which I guess would also mean don’t ride a brand new bike before a race, but somehow I was hoping for somewhat of a muscle confusion effect and by the time my body realized what was going on I’d be powering through the last 1K.  Hmm more like a taint conundrum.  I got passed by my 30 second dude but managed to shadow him for a 5 or 6 miles before I passed him again (no I wasn’t drafting).  When we turned onto the finishing stretch back into a head wind the army of darkness in my chamois was a bit overwhelming and I tried all sorts of evasive maneuvers to subdue the pain.  My 30 second man passed me again but when I told him I really needed the BAR points he conceded the position (or he flatted on or the other).

My Friend o' Misery

After the finish my right quad was in full seize and I was walking around like a hobgoblin.  Asking some friends whether this was a “normal” feeling the overall response was “pretty much.”  Really? And you buy bikes JUST for this? Isn’t that like buying your own proctoscope?

Dawg Days

Ah, back to good clean fun.  Fast, no crashes.  When Rugg got brought back twice that pretty much sealed it for a field sprint.   Lady luck wasn’t on my side so I bagged it in for a pack finish. but on the bright side we didn’t get rained on and my quad about halfway un-seized from yesterday.

Next week’s the last race of the season for me, Claymont…w00t!