Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fast Masters?

Fast Masters This would never happen in New England.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gooseberry Mesa on the Edge Video

Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyUiFyB6h5A&feature=youtu.be

In early January,  Ed and Mark clued me into their grand plan: ride for a week at the mouth of Zion National Park in Hurricane, Utah and on Gooseberry Mesa - guided by Western Spirit. I hemmed and hawed, wondering if I could ride for a week effectively after riding snowmobile trails and spin bikes for the winter months. The lure of a good solid western desert ride lurked under self-denial until I finally pushed the button. Guides? Group riding with a dozen others? Was I going to be a slave driving middle management sahib? Yabetcha!

We ended up with a private tour- just the three of us, two guides and a trainee accompanied by Western Spirit's trailer full of food, beyaa, and goodwill ... shaken, not stirred - delivering a five day flowfest behind solid guides Josh and Simon on ripper novel slickrock- red and white with petrified wood eroding from the red layer and Anasazi ruins, petroglyphs and spirits seeing us whiz by. (BTW- they hand pumped a tire back onto a Stan's rim- a exhausting feat worth a tall one, with the evidence here:

Sony's new HD Action Cam ran for three hours at a time ( no battery issues like a more popular version and a big ol' button for turning off and on at will - highly recommended versus a HH ). An 8G card was plenty for 9 hours in maximum resolution and shake control on. I could go on... but I'll let the video speak for itself. Hopefully youtube will still show the incredible resolution.

Everyone should ride there one day... ultra-grippy sandstone and dirt singletrack through 15' alligator juniper forest with the aroma of sage and juniper as the suns rises, sets, and soothes, while rolling rolling rolling...cliff edge urging your MTB soul to fly...

Friday, March 8, 2013

SA Crossing

Anybody wanna ride across Patagonia and the Chilean Andes to the Pacific?    

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Every Once In While

Every once in a while amazing things happen. Sometimes we are there and maybe even lucky enough to be the source. Think of that moment when you had to make the big judgement call - left-across-shift weight- power on- tuck under and surge. and you saved your as* navigating some ridiculous narrow line across ridges of rip you to shreds ultra steep...and the guy behind you was genuinely appreciative as witness. Then multiply that by a factor of 10:


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Long Live Deception

As mentioned in a earlier post, MLW and I traveled in Spain and France during the 2004 Tour de France and witnessed four stages. In light of recent developments, Experts agree: "It was a great ride while it lasted." 

Floyd Landis before the start in Valreas, circling and pissed off, wrapped in red white and blue and reporting for duty. A few days later he rode a dramatic lead out to set up Armstrong's win on Stage 17 from Bourg d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand.
Thomas Voeckler rocks the crowd. Basso lurks.

We watched, amazed, as Basso and Armstrong flew by on Plateau de Beille, superhuman and with a withering Ulrich dropped close behind along with polka dotted Richard Virenque, diminutive Oscar Sevilla, Rabobanked Leipheimer, et al, motoring at 20mph, on a 9% uphill grade, at 90+ degrees on the sixth Pyrennean peak of the queen's stage. Braaaaapppp! Braaaaaaaaaaappppp!!!!

The Notorius Climber, Richard Virenque
Levi, whose family we met a few minutes earlier.

 Tyler was absent, sodden in his own tears after dropping out following a bad bag of blood that nearly killed him the day before.

George Hincapie and Floyd Landis in the shadows on PdB

 MLW and I bought Livestrong bracelets on the Champs Elysees, thinking of each person we'd hand them out to when we got back, sensing that somehow the buzz we had then would transmute into them later.

Tom Boonen won in front of us that afternoon, soon mobbed by his teammates and press after hurtling headlong at nearly 45mph and winning!

Then we went home, along with numerous copies of L'Equipe featuring Lance on the front page- passing Jan in the final TT, crushing everyone, conquering all the greats, wearing yellow. IT was unbelievable. IT was on the faces of the Frenchmen I sat with in dark bars cheering TVs in the evening and afternoons on stages we were too distant from to attend. Everyone was thrilled, respectful. Awestruck. Deservedly so. Long live deception.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Psychosis Grows OMG NFW

I saw a post last week claiming this product yielded a great local CX finish. I thought there was only one guy who would do anything to win win win here in New England. See how naive I've been!
The mere act of posting this may lead to more folks thinking this sort of aid is now warranted if you want to be at the front. IT'S NOT!!! It's an artificial aid and anyone using it should be guided back into the light. DON"T USE this crap. It's unacceptable.
Race head to head and see how you do. Train to become fast. Using BS products that tempt but clearly cross an ethical line is cheating. CHEATING. It's not your accomplishment, it's an embarrassment to use that stuff. It's shameful. Legal does not equate to ethical.
Feel free to slap your close friends who are entertaining using BS products.
Got it?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Ego is Gonna Complain

I began racing in 1998, in white cotton socks and blue jean cutoffs. Sexy, huh? The race was the Mud in Your Eye at Fort Rock. My finish wasn't exactly inspirational, but I thought “Hey. I can do this!” The second race was at Mt Snow in 1999- on the expert downhill course on a fully rigid XC rig. The result:

A. No one was injured

B. People pointed at me

Then came my first jersey, a front shock, and by October’s Second Start Enduro, a pair of Carnacs and clipless pedals. When promoted to Sport, it was under duress. At the time, my “training” rides were 30-45 minutes long. I even wrote a letter to EFTA begging to stay in Novice class. It didn’t work. The response I got back was “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

Fast forward and I have earned a handful of Expert NECS season titles, served on EFTA’s board, stepped onto the podium at the Nationals, and been fortunate enough to ride in some spectacular places. I have always enjoyed head to head competition with like-minded racers. MTB racing has been a pleasure and competitively successful indulgence.

Simple Stuff

Training has always been about what can be done in balance with other aspects of life- a job, a wife, a family, a home, and a garden. In the earliest years that meant 2-4 hours/week, 4-6 hours as a Sport, and since; 4-6 in the winter, and 7-10 during Spring and Summer with less in the fine cool months of Autumn. Throw in some tempo blocks, big gear climbs, trailclimb intervals and races… shake well and BOOM, race on.

I eat well, stay hydrated, and try to get enough rest. This is largely enough regarding nutrition and recharging my batteries. Of course I try to load some carbs before long races and get plenty of protein after hard rides. I keep it natural and avoid long names on ingredient lists. I put a couple ounces of rice syrup in my water bottles. It’s been available in health food stores since the seventies. Gels give me gas. GNC and branded uber-products give me the creeps.

Bikes? They have evolved rapidly and I’ve always been slow to spend. A rigid Jamis gave way to Homegrown hardtails until I finally got an Trek Top Fuel in 2008 as part of collective physical and mental healing after a MTB induced hospitalization. The HTs are faster, but the FS is easier on the body although it needs constant attention and spontaneously combusts.

I generally stick with what works, resulting in a tendency to wait and see rather than being a leader when it comes to training, nutrition, and bike innovations. It is an economical approach and keeps the focus on the experience rather than on enticements by manufacturers.


A few years ago, I watched as some local pros and a few experts sprouted wings when they saddled up on carbon 29ers. Remember when Superflys appeared? The pros with these trail-leveling craft almost always beat the ones with square wheels. Like a magic pill, 29erized experts catapulted ahead. I have struggled to find the fitness to keep up, occasionally overcoming but most often I am left scratching my head. At $4K-$8K each, there are a lot of them at races now.

I began seeing posts on amateur blogs exclaiming about winter training camps in warm sunny places designed to get a jump on the local competition here in New England. Training camps? We’re local amateurs, right? OK, so it’s an excuse to ride too and we all understand that. Cool or freaky? Definitely geeky.

Commercials during the Tour de France, neatly inserted between segments during the morning live broadcasts every hour or so, urge me to “Ask your doctor for a Little T”. “Combat fatigue.” “Restore vigor.” “Increase libido.” Each slogan-y 30 second spot is used to entice competitive cyclist viewers, especially aging cyclists. Last week I heard an ad for testosterone on the radio during my morning commute. Heck you can go to The Mall and on-line and load up on all sorts of eccentric and prohibited temptations. I wonder how many times I am seeing the results of these products locally. Muscle mass and spectacular results speak louder than words. Most of us have just become older.

“Hey, look at that!” - cars trunks brimming with before, during, and after enhancements. OK, I took some Endurolytes™. I’ve since gone to drinking a can of chicken broth at the mid-point of a 100K race. Four years ago, we never saw the omnipresent white bottles nor heard the telling sound of pills. In the old days sonny, people got cramps while racing and if you rode evenly enough, you would not get cramps. That’s managing racing – not managing the correct supplement blend.

Recently I heard an amateur racer, here in NE, get ready…. uses an altitude tent. OMG- a tent!!! Are you kidding me? Go ride in Tibet for a month. That’ll work. Just do it when there is a race immediately afterward so the effect shows. Sheesh! You have definitely crossed a line and need a greater purpose to serve.

Anyone else seen tossed 5 Hour Energy™ bottles on course this year? Every time I see them, my thought is “Is that what people are taking?” …a conglomeration of chemicals in more small white bottles? I thought a wake up coffee and a mid race iced tea in a 100K race was radical.


I ride and train locally. I don’t consume jars of supplements. I don’t wear hormone dispensing patches nor do I take precursors. I don’t see myself sleeping in an envelope. I don’t see myself “investing” in training camps. I don’t see myself borrowing against my home to buy the latest race machine. I don’t see myself gulping down concoctions to keep the pace.

I race a couple of bikes that don’t roll like 29er ceramic bearing hardtails with sloshing smooth treaded tires. I recently raced and found myself hanging on for dear life in the grupetto until I had to back off… while drafting …on a road section. That was a first.

In 2012, I’ll be doing more riding alongside friends, ripping it up and throwing down a few beers afterward. I see myself paying off my mortgage and riding something I got on a deal. I see myself a little less obsessed with racing and I expect my ego to complain. That is something I can live with.