Friday, August 20, 2010

Our little nerdling

"I TCP/IP, but mostly IP" onesie from Auntie Kris. Proof that Elliot doesn't always dress in Daddy style. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Amazing Bike Race

On Sunday, Ed and I did The Amazing Bike Race, which totally lived up to its name. (In addition to being amazing, all proceeds benefitted a team doing the Pan-Mass Challenge.) It was about 62 miles on an unknown course, about 30% off-road, with a start/finish about 5 miles from our house. Perfect! Only 10 people entered, which was too bad, because this event was soooo fun. We broke up into 4 teams of 2 or 3 people.

Here's the pre-race meeting.

When we heard that the prologue was a trivia question designed to really make us think and spread the teams out at the start, I turned to Ed and whispered, "I hope it's a math problem." It wasn't, but we rocked the prologue anyway (we had to write down all the TdF winners since 1990 in order). However, our lead was short-lived. We missed a course marking about 1 mile from the start and were in 2nd place heading into the first off-road section in Lexington.

We rode through some choice trails in Lexington, including the Landlocked Forest, where I fell off a plank bridge. My tires were at 50 psi, higher than I would normally run because of the road riding, so my lack of finesse getting on the bridge ended up launching my front wheel in the air and then me, plus the bike, over the side. Fortunately I escaped with some small scratches and bruises. Then we rode a great dirt bike path in Lexington that I know I've been on before but probably can't find again before arriving at the first checkpoint. I think it was in Billerica. We opted for the crossword challenge over the riding-an-obstacle-course-with-an-egg-on-a-spoon challenge. One of the crossword answers (local bike race announcer) was Richard Fries.

Waiting to have the crossword checked.

We rode the powerlines in Burlington (sandy and difficult), the Mill Pond Reservoir, and the Middlesex Canal towpath. We briefly caught up with the first place team (3 guys) on the trails, but they got away from us before the towpath. Then we missed a turn off Rt 38 and ended up riding an extra 4 miles to get back on the course. Up to this point, I think we were never more than about 5 miles from our house. Awesome. Halfway stop on Rt 62, near the North Wilmington commuter rail stop:

On the third leg, we rode some great trails near the Ballardvale commuter rail stop in Andover and in Harold Parker State Forest. I saw this view for many hours, since I only pulled through for about 10 seconds.

By the time we reached the challenge at the end of the third leg, we were in third place. I think we took a wrong turn (possibly in the Pomps Pond section, where we couldn't find the route markings and had to call the route master/promoter, Michael Good, for directions), because the team behind us passed us but we didn't see them. It was probably a good thing though, because we might have been tempted to chase, and I was COOKED.

The second challenge was a choice between eating 10 marshmallows apiece or doing a word find. We chose the marshmallows.

More Harold Parker trails (rocky, but still enjoyable), then 15ish miles of road back to Burlington. Sooo much fun. Ed was a wonderful teammate and didn't mind my relentless wheelsucking.

Neither of us had cyclocomputers, but we think we did about 67 miles due to the wrong turns, and we guessed that it was about 5 hours of ride time. Michael Good and Kurt Johnson put together a tremendous route. We ended up third and scored some nice mini-pumps. We also had the winning poker hand -- we got a card at the beginning of each leg, and ours were all spades. At the finish, the community card was also a spade -- flush! So we got to take home two boxes of brand-new flavors (no labels yet!) of Odwalla bars. Yum! We'll be back next year!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Long crawl

I just couldn't resist sharing this with those of you who are not on Facebook. Click to embiggen.

Friday, August 6, 2010

July catch-up

Ed's mom came to visit:

We went to a friend's BBQ, where we introduced Elliot to the classic Tiny Tike Cozy Coupe (and he now has one of his own -- free!, thanks to Craigslist).

I'd given him bits of watermelon before, but it turns out Elliot really prefers to chow on whole pieces, lamprey-style.

When I returned from an afternoon of errand-running on Saturday, my two guys were enjoying a nice summer breeze in the front yard.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mass State Tri

The day after the Grand Fundo, Elliot and I got up waaaay to early to go cheer for Ed at the Mass State Triathlon (international distance).

Aero baby!




Ed got third in his age group!

Elliot was pretty squirmy, which is understandable given the heat and his lack of interest in being confined to a stroller with minimal toys. (But wow, it was sooo hot for baby-wearing, though I did it to keep the peace.) So with that experience fresh in my mind, we skipped Ed's last triathlon, a sprint this past weekend attended by half our swim team. Sadly, we missed watching Ed win his age group and beat two of the male pros. Next time...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grand Fundo

More than two weeks ago, I headed out to western Mass to ride the excellent Grand Fundo, so called because it was more grand and fun than a Gran Fondo. (It has been so hard to find time to blog!) Hup United was out in full force and it was sooo much fun.

I got there nice and early to enjoy breakfast with Meg and JD. They live right by Mt Tom which was quite misty that morning -- it totally reminded me of Hawaii.

Here are some of my teammates before the start:

Meg and me, blanco and noir:

Meg has the coolest nom de course:

Here's everyone getting ready to start:

After that, we rolled out. I was a little freaked out being in a big pack for the first time in almost 2 years. Meg got a flat after about a mile, which was fortuitous: it gave me an excuse to stop trying to keep up with the pack. :) After she got a sweet neutral wheel (Zipp), we rode with some other Huppers. Eventually it was just me, Meg, and JD. I think we were last for a long time, though we start to catch up with other groups on the road. I was feeling pretty frisky for the first few miles, and then the dirt roads (yeah!) and climbing (no!) started.

I'd perused the Grand Fundo site in preparation. I registered that it was 64 miles, 20% on dirt roads. I noted this sentence and then did no further investigation into the course profile or description: "The Grand Fundo route isn’t that difficult." The organizers suggested that it would take about 4 hours to complete.

And looking at the site again, it wasn't super difficult -- only 3000 feet of total climbing. But when I was on the ride with my out-of-shape ass in the saddle, it felt. quite. difficult. (Also, our teammate Chip's Garmin recorded 105-degree temps. It was probably more like mid-90s, but it was HOT.)

Chip had left his shoes at Meg and JD's and had to go back for them, then take a shortcut on the ride course to meet up with us at the first water stop. (The water stop was awesome. Everything about this ride was very well-organized. Good route markings, good route, etc.) Shortly after that we met up with Cathy, who had gotten a flat, and our merry band was complete.

The halfway point was the ice cream truck stop. I was incredibly bummed that the heat was doing a number on my stomach and I felt too icky to eat ice cream. Can you imagine? Here's my teammate Mark with ice cream:

My teammate Stephen's special Hup edition Sketchy cyclocross bike:

After a while I started to feel better and pushed on through to the finish. At one point there was a shortcut, which I'm glad Meg didn't point out to me, because I would have taken it. :) At the finish, we all enjoyed a yummy BBQ (though I felt it was too hot to eat pig parts, personally) and I finally got my ice cream! It ended up being really fun and I'm sure I'll go back if it happens next year. There is just something about riding on dirt roads that makes me really happy, and this ride is definitely easier than the 100K D2R2.

Here's Meg's ride report and Chip's ride report. For really great pics, check out Podium Insight.