Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's Long?

For some, 4.5 hours of steady, even hard riding is not long. I don't trust those people. Got all fired up for some reason today and decided to try to link to two furthest points of two of my regular rides. I've fantasized for awhile about a route that traveled through most of Nashville's Greenways and Parks in a "grand loop." Essential in this is finding the right roads to take... I've got it dialed in out to the J. Percy Priest Dam via Shelby Bottoms, and I've got it dialed in out to Percy Warner Park via several routes. So all I had to do to take the first major step was link Percy to Percy. No Problem, right?

View Percy to Priest in a larger map

That's how it went with one minor detour. I was pretty cashed out already when the sun started to set. Blue Dot was the location of the photo.


And that was still 1:20 from home. Notice my enthusiasm:


I got tired on this one. It wasn't dark when I got home but it was damn close and the temperature had dropped from around 40 to just above freezing. I calculated 54 miles on the map but it was probably closer to 56. Could have used some gears... or not.

Snowstorm's coming in, expecting several inches tonight. Planning to head to Johnson City for two days of racing but may end up scrapping Saturday on account of snow and sleep. Season's almost over, head out west for 8 weeks 7 days from now. No more riding for awhile, but that's why the header says "and other things."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gray (Grey)

It's gray.  It's always gray in Nashville this time of year.  Just 9 days until Ski Tour.  In the meantime we have the State Championships coming up.  I'd planned to wrap up the racing a lot earlier but Sarah's leaving town on Friday and my form is surprisingly good right now so I figure why not.  Adam Meyerson's going to be there and I expect some quick guys from across the State Line will show up so it should be fast and the competition should be fierce.  Right now only Adam and I are registered for the Sat/Sun races, but I imagine that'll change on race day.  That is unless the snow they're predicting comes. 

Last time I was in Johnson City, I was doing two nights at the DownHome and had planned to race at the MSG Races but bagged it last minute.  Woke up Saturday morning to a bunch of snow, so instead of watching the race and freezing my ass I hunted down the nearest AT access and went for a hike.  This time I'll be in the thick of it and I hope it shits snow.  In preparation (it's not training, it's preparation) I'm going to try to get out today on the cross bike and freeze my ass.  Can't wait for winter to be over...

Just in case you're wondering, training is still lame.  Hasn't changed over here at Camp Booksy.  I found myself on a run yesterday "planning" my "training" week and I had to stop myself and say, "hey, dumbass, you gave that shit up, remember?  Training is for professionals and weenies and you, my friend, are neither.  Stop thinking about training and start thinking about sun and beer."  This worked.  The run was much easier, I almost forgot to stop running at the appointed "cool down" spot.  Now, I will say, there will be some "intentional preparation" for the race this weekend.  I mean, it is the Tennessee State Superior Universal Cyclocross Stampede Championships of America, and I want to prove to everyone in attendance (both of you) that I am the best amateur bike racer in the history of that day.  So I'll eat well, ride twice, take it easy on Friday, do some yoga, and try to turn myself inside out two days in a row, but this will not be called preparation.  I will refer to it as "doing stuff," which, ultimately, it simply is.

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Tracks

In my former Ski Bum life, First Tracks were everything. Ripping untouched pow, in the trees or out in the open was always the pinnacle experience. I distinctly remember the day they would open the "backside" of the mountain at the Ski Area. 10-50 souls would show up early and stand in line at the high speed quad on the front side. Inevitably the skiers had an advantage on the traverse to the second lift but the boarders usually were fearless enough to stay in the hunt. Another lift ride up the mid mountain lift and a short traverse and we were there, blissfully bouncing through waist-deep snow; shamelessly giggling and howling as we ripped our first deep turns of the year.

Now that I live in Nashville, First Tracks has taken on an entirely different meaning. It snows here so seldom that the schools shut down days in advance in preparation for the 1/2 in. of snowfall. I knew the trails would be empty so I headed for my favorite trail this afternoon and got some First Tracks of my own. Cycling bliss. It's the simple things. That and trying not to think about how much more epic it would be to be hiking the ridge at Wolf Creek...

Tomorrow I'll be in Chattanooga racing for $185 in prize money at the first Cross-A-Nooga, my last cyclocross race of the season.  This season's been completely different than last; I think 'cross came along at just the right time for me last year and this year's been about letting go of expectations and gaining perspective.  Around Thanksgiving I decided that I was done "training" and that I was going to spend my energy doing.  It was a realization I was bound to come to eventually, aided nicely by Bike Snob NYC and Steevo's incredible Xtranormal Videos:

So it is with a heavy heart I prepare for my final race of the season. By prepare I mean pack my gear and don't drink too much beer, which is infinitely simpler than the previous plan which involved all kinds of dumb rituals. The good news is that the end of Cyclocross season signals the beginning of Ski Season. "To every thing... there is a season... and a time to every purpose under heaven." Or something like that.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


If you've ever owned a roof rack for your bike, you've had some jackass friend who's said you're going to drive into something and rip your bikes off.  I didn't drive into something, but someone else did and now my car is "totalled."  So I was going for a ride, stopped to get my oil changed, went for a walk and when I got back, this is what I see.

Apparently, they pulled it in fine, changed the oil, then John Q. Dumbass drove it out without putting the door all the way up.  Since my bike is sooo overbuilt (thanks Bianchi?) it ripped the factory rack tracks right out of the roof of my car.  Since Yakima is so stout, the rack dented my car... badly.  $1200-$2400 in damage depending on who you ask.  Totalled.  Sweet.

So I freaked out. They're paying for it. I'll probably take the money, fix my damaged stantion tubes on the fork, fill the holes in the roof with putty and get a rear mounted rack until I get my next vehicle this summer (hand-me-down 4Runner) on which I will boldly re-mount my roof rack and tempt fate again.

Kwik-Kar. Should have suspected something was up when I read the cleverly misspelled Quick Car...

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Paramarker

This is for all the ski bums, former ski bums and future ski bums:

love xtranormal. wish they made it for Mac.

"Rock the One Cog"

This is pretty funny. Ryan Bosio turned me on to it in his race report from last weekend.

Told myself I was going to stop blogging for awhile. Told myself I wasn't going to race bikes anymore for awhile. I was lying to myself. Here's another conflicted blog entry and I raced last weekend and might do it again this weekend. It was fun. I didn't have any competition but I enjoyed it and felt really good. I have to type in this style after watching the cyclo-cross videos. Seriously, I was going to give blogging up, but last week I had three people ask me if I'd changed the URL and if I was going to blog anymore. The answer at the time was "yes, and maybe," accompanied by a long explanation about doing vs. training and that sort of stuff. Turns out doing IS good training, racing bikes around a field even when it's by myself for an hour is fun if I feel good and blogging is a natural extension of my world-view. Also I watched Julie and Julia the other night and now I'm harboring the illusion that if I just continue to blog, eventually it'll get good and someone will offer me a book deal.

"Help is on the way..."