Monday, April 30, 2007

Time for a blog?

Yes, I would say I'm a little past due kids. Sorry about that, April has turned me into a busy little bear who also struggles with an extreme bought of laziness.

This may sound like a contradiction but it isn't. You can be busy and still be lazy, or at least I somehow manage. When I am lazy, I don't just mean a little down time. I shut down everything. Blogging, working out, concentrating on my fitness. everything.

I'm trying to shed the laziness this week. The busy month of April is behind me and I can concentrate again.

So what have I been up to? . . .

  • Well, Vegas was 3 weeks ago. But still very much in alive in my heart. A certain T-Pain song comes to mind.
  • Lower Providence Criterium was two weeks ago. Tons of fun. I was off the front for a lap in my effort to grab some T.V. time. Then I went to the middle of pack to recover. Sure enough a crash happens at two laps to go. Good News: I moved around it despite being two riders behind it. Bad News: Everyone in front of it saw that as the chance to sprint away from the rest of the field. I finished 29th.
  • Travelled to Florida for a wedding and a little relaxation. I went water skiing for the very first time. It is awesome and a lot of fun. Definitely do it if you get a chance.
  • I severely need to start swimming for the cross Chesapeake Bay Swim. I've got a month and a half. DOH!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Where does all the money go?

Beers, bikes and boobs.

The first and the last are obvious considering where I spent my weekend. Yeah, Vegas!!! But a bike?!?! Thats right kids, I've been holding back details.

The crash from the Pineconce Circuit race totalled my Bianchi. (There was a large crack in the top tube.) However, I lucked out. The team had a frame in my size so I purchased it and they are throwing my components on a lovely new Cannondale CAAD 9 frame. I pick up the new frame today along with a new set of Bontrager Race X Lites.

I'll post some picks of both bikes in a few days.

Monday, April 16, 2007

"A Man Returns From Vegas" News at Eleven

All right kids, gather round and let me tell you about everything that I did in Las Vegas this weekend.

PSYCHE!!!! What do you think I'm crazy? Whatever pops in your imagination will no doubt surpass any stories I tell.

I would like to declare a new term. Earlier you may have read about my Parisian Hangover, which was induced by time change and too much espresso in Paris. Well, here it is to no ones suprise, The Las Vegas Hangover.

What causes the Vegas Hangover? Well, I'm sure the cause is different for everybody who leaves Las Vegas, but it feels no different from a regular hangover and generally last 12 hours from the time in which your plane (which was most certainly a red eye flight) lands.

In other news . . . man loses money at the craps table. . . and gravity still holds everything to the earth.

Finally, I almost died driving home from the airport at 2:30 am on Monday morning. The Northeaster was in full affect. The cross winds were incredible. I need to give some props to the captain for landing the plane, because that could not have been easy.

Actually, let me rewind the tape.

I decided not to fill up my gas tank before driving to the airport because I saw that my tank had 57 miles left in the tank and the trip to the Phily airport from my place is ~25 miles. No need to fill up. I drive to the airport and park the car with 30 miles of gas left in the tank. When the plan lands I hop in my car and start driving home. 30 miles of gas, No problem. I did not realize that the cross winds were going to be as bad as they were. My car was being blown across the high way at times. This of course affects fuel efficiency. I'm 5 miles from home and the car says 0 miles of gas are left. Great. So now besides the rain, winds, and what appears to be snow, I might run out of gas. AWESOME!!!

As I pull onto the on ramp for route 202, my car starts sliding all over the road. Apparently the ramp had iced over. My car head right for the barrier. I thought for sure it was going to hit it. I managed to slow the car down enough to grab control of it. All of 202 was ice. My car was swerving through two lanes, I just put on the hazard lights and kept driving. I could not slow down too much either because I didn't want to run out of gas! It was not pleasurable.

Luckily, I made it home with the car running on fumes. More importantly, I didn't hit anything.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Las Vegas!!!


Ummm, yeah, I'll be in Vegas for the weekend. Don't wait up for me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

One Last Note On Jan

What Up? Long time, yada yada yada, No post. My apologizes. I know some of you out there were wondering when the next update was coming.

By now I am sure you have all heard the news about Jan Ullrich. If not, I feel bad being the one breaking it to you but his DNA matched that of a bag of blood found in Dr. Fuentes' fridge. You can read about it here.

When I read the news at work, I nearly started crying. I definetly put my head down for a few minutes. I am a sentimental guy. I like to beleive that my heroes are honest hard working people who have the extraordinary talents and maximized them through hard work. So now when I watch the 2003 Tour de France on DvD and I see Jan stomping through the time trial, I have trouble feeling good for him. I wonder? Was he doping? Is that why he won? It sucks.

So for while after reading the news, I wasn't sure how I should feel about the whole thing. I ignored it. But then I read this. Jan denies the whole thing. WTF? how? I don't like when a hero gets caught cheating. I hate it when the same "hero" calls me an idiot. PezCyclingNews said it best. They said that he needs to keep his mouth shut and not talk anymore. I agree.

I would have felt much better if he just admitted to it. Something to the tune of, "I cheated. I wanted badly to go out a champion in 2006. I regret it deeply." No one can blame Jan for wanting to win after coming in 2nd for so many years. It makes him more human. Almost as human as cheating.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Pinecone Road Race

Whats up kids? I'm introducing a new feature on Leave The Fan On. We ( I ) will call it the Tuesday Top Ten. That's right, I'm gonna make some stupid list of ten things, and you're gonna realize how stupid my blog really is. With out further a do . . . .

Tuesday's Top Ten:

10 Reasons the Cat 5 Pinecone Road Race should have been called the Pinecone Crash Fest.

  1. The first lap! The first lap was like riding my trainer to a Coach Troy Jacobson DvD. Every fifteen seconds we would speed up then be all over our brakes to slow it down. Fortunately this behaviour stopped after first lap and the pace settled into something a little smoother.
  2. Despite a somewhat hard right hand turn on the course, there were no crashes during the turns of the Cat. 5 Road Race. That's right all the crashes took place during the straight wide open roads.
  3. It felt like riding in the worlds longest criterium. The pace was not really hard enough to put anyone into serious pain, so the group remained together the entire time. I felt like I was riding in a criterium for 42 miles.
  4. "thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, pffft" There is very specific noise that is made when to wheels touch each other. During the second lap, I thought to myself to move up near the front of the pack. No sooner did I move up then I heard the specific noise of two wheels touching behind me. A fellow racer pulls up next to me and calmly states, "rider down." At that moment I thought luck was on my side.
  5. 43 of 75 racers officially finished the Cat. 5 Road Race. I would take a guess that 10% of the starters were out of shape and got pulled from the race. I am willing to say that the rest were DNF due to a crash.
  6. Seeing the carnage at the ambulance. I walked past the ambulance when I finished the race. One guy's hand was gushing blood. I looked closely to see if the all fingers were accounted for. I think they were. One guy had left his team kit on the pavement from his thigh to his shoulder. Another claimed that his shoulder hurt so bad that he could not remove his jersey to have the medic look at it. The medic told him he would have to cut open his jersey if that was the case.
  7. Really learning that riding in the front 15 is where I want to race my bike in the pack.
  8. Never say "Keep the rubber side down" during a race. You will crash, and deservingly so.
  9. The giant hole section on the course created chaos. On the back stretch of the loop, the course went on a back road that had lots of pot holes and water damage. It was rideable but no one wanted to risk the flat. Which meant that the entire field would squeeze onto about 1/3 of the road. After the first few laps, everyone got used to it.
  10. I was involved in my first crash of the season!!!

So the crash . . . . It was the second to last lap of 7 on a flat course. I was stoked because I was in the middle front of the pack and I figured I could hold on for the sprint finish. I felt good. Then all hell breaks loose . . . .

There is some screaming in the front of the pack. Hmmm. No one screams near the front? I see a rider sitting up. Why is a rider sitting up? He pulls over to the left side of the road. For a second I think that everything will be fine. I am on the right side and all the rider has to do is control himself because the yellow line rule was in effect. He has the room he needs to calm down and relax. But oh no, he couldn't do that. . . He goes flying to the right side of the road. Everyone slams on the brakes. One poor rider skids his bike 90 degrees to the pack. Now everyone is really screwed. The rider to my front left is pulling right. Bad idea?!?!

Before I know what happens I am air born. Luckily the last thing I did was pull to the right, which put my airborne trajectory torwards the grass!! I do a complete forward flip. At one point during my flight, I open my eye's only to have my handle bars hit me in the face. I land on my back in the grass. I stand up. The first thought in my head is . . . "Can I catch the group?" Luckily, no serious injuries we sustained by me. I don't think other's were so lucky. One fellow was laid on the pavement. Another rider is screaming at him that he should never be allowed to race again. I don't have time to deal with that B.S.

I look at my bike. Hmmm. It seems to have gotten the worst part of the crash. I put the chain back on only to see that both wheels are horribly out of true. The rear wheel travels about an inch left to right as it spins. I did the last lap and a half because I wanted to be an official finisher, but my race was over. Somehow I finished ahead of people? who knows?

The sprint finish must have been chaotic, because I say three riders at the side of road. None of them had smiles on their faces. Ahh, I guess this is how Cat. 5 races go.

Finally, I would like to make one thing very clear. I know that this post may come off very negative about the race, but this race was a lot of FUN! I had a great time (yes, despite crashing.) Hanging out with teammates and racing with them is great.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Kirkwood Race Report

How was the weekend kids? I got some race reports for you! This is Kirkwood's Race Report.

Earlier I said think of this race as Strasburg Part Duex, and I think that description hits the nail on the head. A seven mile loop that consisted of rolling hills for the first half followed by steady risers to the finish. Cat 5. does 3 laps. The corners were fairly clean with exception of gravel here and there. None of the corners were all that tricky with the exception of possibly the downhill into a sharp left hand turn, but even that corner was manageable.

I get to the race with an hour till start time. I ride over to the registration tent and proceed to wait 15 minutes in the registration line. This is rarely a time kill. I think I just got to the tent at the absolute worst time. After getting the race kit on, I had about 10 minutes to warm up before it was time to ride over to the start finish area.

This of course is the big joke that gets played on racers. We wait 20 minutes for the previous race to finish. Granted the organizers have no way of knowing how fast or slow the previous race is going to be ridden, so I don't hold them too responsible. We all wait in the cold air for the race to finish. Wondering exactly why I even bothered warming up?

Someone yells out instructions as always and the race begins. The pace is nice and gentle in the beginning. Everyone is chilled. There is the regular sprinting out of the turns. All the fun stuff of a Cat 5 road race. I'm thinking that I should be able to finish with the pack.

There was a close call to me crashing. Coming out of one of the turns, I start sprinting because that is what the group has been doing. Apparently the group didn't feel like sprinting too much this time because I am on top of the guy in front of me. With my hands on the hoods of my bars, I ended up giving a little pat on the hiney. If my hands were not on the hoods, I would have probably went down cause his ass would have pushed my bars in one direction or another. I pull off to the left a little to avoid taking him and myself down. A second later I jokingly ask him if he wants to play grab ass. He laughed.

At some point during the first lap, I went from riding in the middle of the pack to riding in the back of pack. How did this happen? Because about 8 guys peeled off the back.

Finally, coming up the risers of the 2nd lap, There are some serious efforts being made. I know it is time for me to do work. A gap open up between me and the pack. I know I need to close this gap. I don't. I ride behind the group for about 2 miles trying needlessly to catch back on. I finish the race all by myself. No sprint to the finish.

So where is the weakness kids? What do I lack? Coach Matt pointed it out to me. Anaerobic power output! The short power climbs are my weakness. How to ride them efficiently and recover from them is currently my kryptonite! So over the next two weeks, I think I'll be focusing on trying to improve my anaerobic power.