Sunday, March 26, 2006

Southern Comfort

I spent a long weekend at an undisclosed training location south of the Mason-Dixon line. The weather was nothing great to write about and the company was beyond blog description, so this entry might be a bit short. I did discover that I have quite a taste for Bush Mill whiskey (must be my southern heritage coming through) and damn they pour tall shots down there!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Too Sexy...

to ride outside! I am lusting over my bike again. Haven't ridden it since Green Mountain, after which I trained on my cross bikes. Now I can't bear to bring my shiny new drivetrain out onto crappy New England roads. The new gun metal gray colored FSA chainrings are hot! Nothing is finer than fresh white bar tape. But I do fear the pretty new hollow-link chain with its drilled out links! I bet its beauty will also be its curse by acting as a repository for road grime.

Every day now when suiting up for my rides, I look longingly at my Stevens steed, lift it gently and flirt with its 16 lbs, flex its levers, then cold-heartedly pass it by for my crappy, heavy, grungy, grit-caked, cyclocross pit bike. Tough love, but I'm doing what's best for it. Breaks my heart every time. Maybe one day I will live somewhere I can ride a nice bike year-round. But I guess I can't complain - at least I can ride outside most the winter! If I could nordic ski reliably, I would be happy.

Today I went on a testosterone-charged group ride through the hills of Clinton, Sterling, and Leominster, Mass. Luckily, the rain stayed away and temperatures were mild and comfortable, probably hitting 50. It was almost epic, as we cruised over sandy, chopped up asphalt, and even some dirt roads and climbs. The ride began like doing interval training, with moderate pace on the flats and rocket speeds up every hill. Later the ride evolved to hammering along the flats into incredibly hard wind, sprinting out every town line as if it was the finish of the Bank of America Invitational, and also thrashing up every hill. After 8 hours in the saddle the past 2 days, my legs were hamburger and I suffered. I also had to drag the steel dinosaur beneath me while all the boys rode their Litespeeds and carbon Treks, some with fancy pants wheels. There were times along the windy flats, never mind on the descents, that I could barely hang on the wheel in front of me in my top gear (48x11). I fantasized about the 53 gunmetal gray teeth in my agony. Uphill, the strain and burn in my legs was bad enough to convince me I was pulling muscles. But as much as I groaned about it during the ride, it was good for me. I'm sure that after saddling up the lead dinosaur all winter my road bike will feel like a rocketship.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Sweet!! A ride without booties and winter riding jacket! Yes, folks, it hit 68 degrees here today. I rode to work today, and on the way home I was positively sweltering in my winter sidis, wool socks, verge tights, craft base layer, and long-sleeved jersey. I had no idea how warm it was until I got going. I almost stopped to strip the tights, but waited until I got home, then changed into knee warmers, arm warmers, a short-sleeved jersey, and went back out. No gloves, no shoe covers, no windstopper headband. I rode until dark. Just felt awesome to be out. I didn't want to stop, but it got dark and I was getting hungry. So I rode about 3.5 hours today. Not bad for a rest day when I didn't need to ride much at all! I can't wait for this weekend. Long ride tomorrow and again Sunday, or maybe even Wells Ave. Maybe, since it's often a crashfest early season, and I don't want to get tangled up with hairy-legged guys...

So I dropped 8 bills on my bike this week. But now I don't want to use it!! I don't want any grit in the new drivetrain or cabling! It's all decked out with new cassettes, chainrings, tubbies (and a spare set), derailleur pulleys, cabling, chain, etc. God, this hobby is friggin' expensive. I also got training tires and a campy cassette body so I could switch my shimano-compatible cyclocross Ksyrium wheels to Campy to use for road season. I can't even remember what else I ordered. Hopefully I won't actually need anything else all season! I can't bear to ride my road bike until the streetsweepers suck the sand up next month, but my cross bike only has a 48-tooth front chainring and different sized crankarms, and I can't train on that much longer... besides, I probably shouldn't race Wells with cantilever brakes...

Monday, March 06, 2006


Life has been good lately! This weekend was truly epic. One of the best weekends all winter. (The other great one was a day trip up Mt. Lafayette.)

I got an invite to head up north to ski with some ski bum bike racers. :) I left the bike behind (although yeah, I felt guilty that I'd be missing my long weekend rides, so I at least got in an additional hour-and-a-half on Friday afternoon after my sprints). I packed nordic and alpine skis, and my snowboard.

Leaving Boston early Saturday, the skies were clear, sun shining, so I expected a fun but potentially icy day on the slopes. The sun was out until I hit Plymouth, but windblown flurries whipped around through Franconia Notch. By the time I got all the way to Matt & Martha's, it was clear there was much more accumulation. Having missed out on good times on the slopes (or nordic trails) due to mother nature's torment this year, I got really excited!! We arrived at Bretton Woods to find tons of powder!

Damn! These Northlanders are FAST and SMOOTH on skis. (Another video of Martha coming - technical difficulties...) Being a novice skier (I'm more of a boarder, but not even too skilled at that), I was a bit nervous skiing with such experienced skiiers, but after burying myself face first (and actually, backwards more than once, I won't try to explain that) in the pow a couple of times I mostly kept up ok, just much less gracefully.

An amazing day on the slopes was capped off with a beer in the lodge, good company, and the brassy riffs of a good cover band's horn section. Life is good, well, except that I regret forgetting to have my picture taken with Captain Morgan before leaving the lodge, and I fear this blog entry may have suffered in its absence.

It kept snowing all night, and the next morning we enjoyed more spectacular snow on the slopes before 8:30. It snowed until Sunday afternoon, and I think they got around 2 feet of snow! Clark Kent - yes, I am convinced he is Superman in the flesh - how else do you get on a cereal box? - although we couldn't convince him to get out the red Speedo... wait! maybe it was Matt who had the red speedo... well anyways I digress... we hit the nordic trails for awhile to get some skating in, but then put the alpine gear back on to get even more runs in! Like I said, it was just epic. Like I said, life is good.

By the way, have you ever seen synchronized ski dancers??

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Pink Chucks

I can't understand why these sweet new kicks were only $5 at Marshalls! These aren't in high demand?? Well, I dig 'em.