Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Concord mini-meet

I decided to take a rest week last week, but wasn't really successful. I was short on sleep after three days of going to a conference in Cambridge, plus I went to a few swim practices. Then I fell down and entered a swim meet, where I proceeded to miss most of my seed times. But it was good to get an idea of what I need to work toward for the big meet at BU in December. There were just a few mixed heats of each event, so handing off Elliot got to be pretty exciting. Ed and I were each in 5 events and two of them were the same. The meet organizer was very nice and put us in different heats but the same lane, which meant that I leapt out of the pool at the end of the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM and grabbed Elliot so Ed could get on the starting block. Good times.

MRC 'Cross

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I'm finally getting around to blogging MRC 'Cross.

Gorgeous fall day, excellent venue at the Bolton Fair Grounds. Ed's mom came to hang out with us (and Elliot, of course), which was very fun. Check out this gorgeous color!

Here are my teammates Mark and Robert riding strong in the masters' race.

First off, I accidentally rode on the course during one of the races on my way to registration, since it wasn't taped off. Oops! I did a couple of warmup laps. I liked the course except for the flyover, which was way beyond my skill/confidence level. I determined pretty quickly that it wasn't going to happen, so I ran down and decided to stick with that strategy.

Here's what it looked like. Way too steep for me. Because I am old and I type professionally. (This is Mike R. on his way to winning the masters' race.)

We were staged by points, which meant I was at the back, but there were only 15 of us. So there was really nothing holding me back from a strong start, which I sort of got, but then everyone passed me in the first turn. The turns were definitely challenging and there were a lot of them, but I kept pushing and finished ahead of two real people and two phantom people (apparently there were 2 DNFs, but I don't know who they were). I kept running the flyover. I met my goal of not getting lapped. The Cat 4s were 1 minute behind us and 5 of them passed me. It was a little bit demoralizing. But it spurred me to buy some new tires, which I'm totally sure will compensate for my lack of cornering skills. < /sarcasm > My handsome mechanic glued them on tonight so I'll be ready for the races this weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We now interrupt cyclocross season to present a few pictures of Elliot

I can't believe this kid is already 10.5 months old.

Elliot dressed up to meet our friends' new baby, Margot.

The curls were getting mullety, so Elliot got a haircut a few weeks ago. Ed has a real future as a barber. (Scroll to the end to see a good pic of the haircut.)

Elliot is a great napper as long as he's being snuggled.

Elliot loves ice cream, and I'm sure it's partially responsible for the baby chub he's put on in the past month. I think our pediatrician will be pleased.

I can't wait until he can tell us what he's thinking. (My friend Whitney says that he's clearly plotting his escape.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


When nationals came to Providence several years ago, I wasn't old enough to do the masters' race (the first year) and too out of shape to attempt it the second year. Ed was old enough the first year and did try to race, but his race was postponed due to extreme weather conditions, and we didn't return after it took us 5+ hours to drive home after which he spent 2 hours clearing knee-deep snow from our driveway so we could park. So I was quite excited to get a chance to race on the former nationals course this past Sunday.

I woke up at 4 to feed Elliot, then started getting ready so I could be on the road at 6. Ouch. I made it out in time to pre-ride before the first race. The course was pretty tough and long. The hardest section (for me) was right by registration and was the first part I saw. Very intimidating! But I managed to get things figured out during the pre-ride and was ready to go for the race. Il Bruce brought me some Fall River-style malasadas, which I saved for post-race nutrition.

I got a good start and then slowly lost places throughout the race. I felt okay though and was riding pretty cleanly, but I got tired the last time leading into the stairs and didn't clip out in time and botched the dismount, which allowed one rider to pass me right away and another to outsprint me at the line. I was still happy with my result (18th out of 67), and was so knackered that I had to sit down right after the finish so I could catch my breath and not boot.

I did a cool-down ride with my friend Aimee V., who is borrowing my old Redline and giving 'cross a try this season. Then I enjoyed my abolutely divine malasada. I was afraid it would be like the one I had many years ago in P-town, which was thin, oily, and a little crispy -- itwas more like fried dough than the malasadas I grew up with. The Fall River-style malasada was very similar to Hawaii-style, but around three times bigger. Amazing. Then I enjoyed a pizza made by my friend Jennyoooo's company, La Strada Wood-Fired Pizza.

I got to see Brad, who was in New England with his family for the weekend. I've known Brad since we were 16, and he accompanied me to the first time trial I ever did, in Mokuleia in 1997. I think I got about 100 pictures of him racing (seriously -- I had 430 pics total at the end of the day) in the 3 race. Here are a couple of my favorites:

The course was pretty solid when I raced -- it was in the 40s and I was having trouble clipping in because it was so cold (numb feet). By the time Brad raced, it was warm and sunny and the course was dusty. Also, do you see what I'm talking about with the size of that malasada? Amazing.

I saved the last two malasadas for Ed and I to enjoy at home. Elliot got a taste too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Night Weasels

This video, by David Deitch, pretty much says it all. You can just watch this and not read my post.

Night Weasels Cometh from David Deitch on Vimeo.

The team, led by Colin and Linnea, put on a really great race, the Night Weasels Cometh, last Wednesday. Hup was helping out, so I worked registration. The course was set up on the side of a shallow ski slope (Ski Ward) in Shrewsbury.

When I arrived, it didn't look too scary, despite the previous days' torrential rains.

Here's Chip hanging out at the Pedro's love van.

Here's a teammate I haven't met yet, spectating. As you can see, darkness is descending.

By the time I made it out to pre-ride, the course was muddy and the grass was super slippery. Everything was off-camber and the course was twisty. Also, it was dark. So this course was designed to exploit all my weaknesses. I made Meg give me a pep talk. I consulted Matty B on tire choice. (I have Tufo Elite tubies that I bought used from Mark A and Ritchey Speedmax clinchers, one bought used from CXM publisher/editor Andy Yee and one I bought new. So 3 of my tires are around 10 years old and all are more all-terrain than mud-oriented, but this is normally not an issue.) (Matty said to use the Tufos.) Then I made Cathy give me a pep talk.

I dropped out after one lap of sliding around, walking sections I should have been able to ride, and never really getting my heart rate up because I was riding so slowly. So, next year I think I will just volunteer. :) (Watching the video made me realize that my biggest problem is that I don't want to crash. Even gently onto muddy grass.)

But -- Night Weasels is what 'cross is all about. It was a great event. It was very well executed and everyone was out having a great time. The venue was great (nice comfy lodge for hanging out and registration) and the course was very spectator-friendly. I was proud that Hup was part of it.

Photo taken near the end of the women's race:

Monday, October 11, 2010


If you are here, you already know about the wonder of the Gloucester CX races and don't need me to say much about them. Or, you are a blood or calabash relation, in which case, the picture of Elliot is at the end.

I made it out for both days, with Ed and Elliot spectating for the first. The first day featured a downhill start, which made me nervous since I was in the 5th row, but I stayed on Cathy's wheel and made it to the sandpit in the top 20. This made it possible for me to ride all the technical parts without getting stuck in traffic. Woohoo! A longer-than-usual course meant that we only did 3 laps, although we were on the edge of being able to squeeze in a 4th. But the shorter duration was good for me, as I didn't run out of gas, and held on for 18th out of 99 starters.

Pre-race hoto by Chip. My super-tall teammate Joy is on the left and my other super-tall teammate Jen is on the right.

MegA and I were together for much of the race. This photo is by Todd Prekaski.

Ed took the next two photos.

I think you can get an idea here of how much I was suffering. I was about 30 seconds away from finishing and trying to hold off a rider or two.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out at the Hup tent. Hup is the best team ever and I am having soooo much fun doing 'cross this year because of my super fun, supportive, classy teammates.

Elliot didn't quite get the hang of cowbell-ringing, but I have high hopes for next year. This year, he chose to concentrate on cowbell-dropping.

The second day was a lot harder for me. We had the traditional uphill start, which I thought would work more in my favor (and again I was on Cathy's wheel), but we got stuck behind a big group of slower starters. We both tried to move up after that; Cathy was more successful than I was. My arms were pretty tired from racing and baby-carrying the day before, and my bike-handling really suffered as a result, so I wasn't going as fast through the turns as I should have been. 26th out of 88 on the day. But, there is no such thing as a bad day at Gloucester!