Monday, May 18, 2009

Oh It's Just So Funny

I'm sure like a bajillion people have this little number embedded in their blogs somewhere. But it's just too good.

Not to mention that Clif is one of my and WW-MS's sponsors. And they have some of the best tasting energy nutrition out there. Try the Maple Nut, Iced Gingerbread and the White Chocolate Macademia. Kimmy says the last one is just like eating a cookie and she really like the Cool Mint
Chocolate. (Banana Nut Bread and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut are also good) Humm kind of a nut theme huh?


Here are a couple of shots from IM Aus.

Hughie having a good ol' time.

Paddie the American quasi-Aussie bloke.

Note the big ass tube of Vegemite. Gross.

Hughie in the hurt box.

Hughie on the seawall.

Spectating at the hill.

Swim start.

Training Weekend

Well it was another good training weekend. I guess this is only my fifth year on the team and third training weekend. Missed one year to Asia and I'm not too sorry about that because apparently the lodgings were unheated cabins at it rained all weekend. But, on the bright side every year from now on you'll get to hear people complain about what a miserable weekend it was!

I was lucky to catch a ride up in Sherman's '98 2-door Civic. Only 52k. Tape deck. (And tapes) Crank windows. 5 speed. And a bike rack of the same vintage. Except in those pictures you'll see two straps coming down from the top and one attaching bellow the bumper. Sherman didn't have the latter. Well, he might have had it, but it sure wasn't working. After being the bologna in a three bike sandwich I'm amazed that my new P3 didn't come away with more paint missing. And yes, more, not some paint missing. More paint missing.

We grabbed Matt and his two tons of cargo; Temperpidic pillow, ab wheel, yoga mat, foam roller, three bags of clothes etc. And then we were on the road.
Sherman has a bum ITB so Matt and I drove. I on the way up, Matt back. Which was actually a good thing because we got to avoid Sherman's self proclaimed NASCAR inspired Caracasian bred driving style. It's surprisingly aggressive for such a venerable gentleman. (Is that still being ageist Sherman?)

It was so nice to have company and conversation for the three hour drive. We managed to cover a lot of topics; chiefly ageism and gender gaps as well as the efficiency of our carpooling. Sherman was touting our minimized carbon output and ever the Wells I was touting the minimized monetary output.

Once we got to Echo Lake Sherman and Matt had planed to met Sunny, Tom, Jen, and Beth for a 5:30 swim. Unfortunately it was my day off an so couldn't join them in their 50 degree paddle. Sherman got a few minutes in before the rest of the crew pulled up and all tolled logged an impressive 3o minutes in the water.

The Franconia Inn served as our base camp again. It's very cozy and hospitable. We got an all you can eat breakfast both mornings and an impressive (although way too long) 4 course meal on Saturday night. Heated pool, hot tub, real fire place, bar, comfy rooms, big porch, there's even a bike shop on the premesis.

On Saturday we mounted up and headed for the four notches. Of the 5000' of climbing we did the Cank is by far the longest climb. A short part of Crawford is probablly the steepest and coming down from Kinsman is the sharpest drop. This year I only topped out at just under 51 mph. A strong headwind and the P3 kept me from the 58 I hit last year.
It was breezy all day on Saturday but once we got over Crawford there was an amzing tailwind down 302 to route 3 and then on 3 for a while. However the last uphill section of 3 was blessed with a substantial headwind. Enough to almost stop me as I was grinding out of the saddle at a moderate grade.
I passed the girls doing 68 miles shortly before they had a crash resulting in this:

It actually looks worse than it is. Sara's face was pretty scraped up but it's pretty much just soft tissue damage. No stitches even! Read her report here.

After passing that crew I realized I didn't take the shorter way home then went by Echo Lake, crossed 93 and got blown sideways, dropped 800 feet in two miles (part of it at 11%+), got blown sideways at 45 mph+ (my speed quickly diminished after said gust) and made it back to the inn and my burrito. Kim had some and then went for a jog. Tough choice on that one Kimmy, but good on ya.

This year Sunday was a bit mellow. I think spirits were hampered by some morning rain. I had planned to brave Echo but couldn't be bothered. Instead I did a ballistic run around Wells rd (aptly named I might say) into Franconia and back to the Inn.

On the way home Matt displayed his ability to eat and drive and I made it back to M-Head in time to do some laps, eat a delicious dinner and watch the Celtics not even show up to Game 7. Seriously guys not you too? Two game 7 losses in a week at home in Boston is too much. What's Bean Town to do? Cheer for the Revs? They're not even doing that well....yet. Oh yeah...right.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Walden's Still Pretty Cold

But bearable!

I had a really great swim there yesterday. I took my new Zoot Synergy wetsuit out for a spin. What I love about the Synergy and the Zenith is how stretchy and flexible the neoprene is. It allows for a ton of movement in the shoulders but what's even better is that it makes them easier to put on.
You can grab a whole bunch of rubber and pull it up the leg. By far the easiest suits I've ever put on.
Since it was drizzling and gray and pretty cool yesterday I put my suit on while sitting in the comfort of my dry front seat. Well, I got the bottom third of my suit on. After that it was a little hard to maneuver.

Putting your face below the surface is by far the worst part of swimming in water that's optimistically in the high 50's. Feet, not so bad. Hands naw. Face...oh man you just gotta do it.
And once you get in you just have to go. Blaze through the cold and after a couple minutes you'll be alright.
Of course I don't think I'd be talking with so much confidence if I didn't have my Zoot neoprene cap. I picked mine up at Wheelworks for Mooseman last year. And it's become pretty invaluable. They look totally goofy and old school. But it's amazing how well it seems to work. Of course I don't know how cold it would feel if I wasn't wearing it.

I also swam at Walden last Saturday and there was a Tri club of 12 or so doing some open water race drills. For the brief couple of minutes I was on the beach I saw them run/swim to a few friends standing chest deep in the water and then run back out. Practicing starts and exits I suppose?
When I was getting out I saw they had formed two sides of a lane/gauntlet into which a couple of swimmers would enter. As they swam through they jovialy got spalshed, batted and pushed around. Practicing starts and triathlon commotion I suppose?

As a final note: The second hardest thing about swimming in such cool water is getting out. There's an amazing amount of dizziness. Cold water in the inner ear I suppose? It's fun/scarry.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Don't walk for long distances in your bike shoes avec cleats.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Burnt Out

Back in February Victoria Australia was hit with devastating bushfires.

The fires were long gone when I took a ride up into the recently ravaged hills. But the damage was ever present when I rolled up. Pretty tragic too. Aprently the worst natural disaster in Aussie history. (Or something like that. That might not be entirely true.)

Here are some Shots of it.Here is a little bit of new growth showing through.
You can find some good deals out there now. It's a pretty tragic.

My Crank Fell Off...Again...

...And now it's broken. 63 miles into my 80 mile ride yesterday my left crank just popped off.

Now, the last three times that it came off it was more of a slow wobble and I noticed it before it was dangling from my cleat. Not yesterday.
It just seemed to drop off. It probably was getting a little wiggly and I didn't notice, but it happened much quicker this time.
I'm guessing this is because the threads are worn off. Which means the left crank won't attach to the 'drive spindle'. (These are SRAM Red cranks...sigh)

The last three times this happened I saw that my tool had a large 10 mil Allen key. But was pretty disappointed that it didn't have an 8 mil. I mean what's up with that?
But since then I've discovered that if you take off the big 10 mil part there's an 8 mil hidden beneath it! Genius! Well, kind of.
So, yesterday, I was pretty jazzed about whipping out my 8 mil, tossing the cranking on and being on my merry way.

But when I pushed the crank snug and started tightening the nut it kept turning and turning and turning. At first I thought the nut wasn't catching and tried to firm the crank down on the spindle. But then I realized that the nut would get a bit tight and then slip. Over and over again. Sure sign that something in there was stripped.
I hoped the problem was some junk in the spindle so I wiped my pinky inside to check. But besides from a little bit of grease the only thing I found was a coil of the treading that come out around my finger. Not a good sign.
After that I tried standing on the crank to get some of the deeper threads to catch. No such luck.
It was becoming aparent that this crank was jacked.

Being out in Stow, calling someone to come get me wasn't really an option. So I resigned myself to single right leg drills on the flats/downs and walking the ups until I could find a busy road and hitch back towards Walden and the High School.

I did make it to 117 without too much trouble. Albiet a lot of cursing. And I did catch a ride with a very talkative 20 something carpenter named Branden without too much waiting. Thanks Branden. But my ride only got me to nine acre crossing. Alas, I had some more single leg peddling and walking ahead of me.
When I was walking I tried to thumb a ride the rest of the way. One nice guy stopped but he had an SUV with two kids and little room in the back, plus he wasn't really going my way. Other than that nothing doing.

But I did finally make it back to my car and I like to think that my right leg has a better pedal stroke because of the whole ordeal. Silver lining?

The other good news...well kind of...wait it's not good news at all it's just convient. Is that I have to disasemble my BMC because the BB shell is coming loose from the carbon. Then the frame has to go back to BMC and with any luck I'll be getting a freshie. So, at the same time my crank set can head back to SRAM with similar results...with any luck...
Guess I'll be riding the cross bike avec slicks for a few. Boo Yah.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I went to the Formula One race while I was in Melbourne. The cars are very very cool. Technologically impressive. The wings, the down force, the KERS, the Redbull nose, the noise.

Unlike the American Lemans series that Jesse and I checked out at Lime Rock Park there's no way I (or any spectator really) was getting any where near these cars. Did get to check out some other cars that would race periodically between or before the F1 cars would practice. Still cool, but not of the same caliber.The bummer thing about watching car racing is that you stand in one spot and watch cars do the same thing around the same corner of track. Pretty much all the cars go through the corner in the same fasion so after half an hour the excitment wains. Plus they're going so fricken fast your head tic tocs back and forth worse than a tennis match. They're really loud.

But still really cool

Mechanincs and Rain

There's no better feeling then getting on a bike that's just come back from the shop and is working smoothly. No noise. No skipping chain. No slow shifts. Breaks recoil correctly. Ahh it just feels suburb. So thanks Daq and Kevin for smoothing things out this past weekend for me.

On a more somber note. Riding in the rain is the worst. I can think of few thinks that are as uncomfortable as riding in the rain. Perhaps canoeing in the rain edges out riding (But it has to be a cold rain. Biking in a warm rain is still little fun.) Swimming in the rain is good. Running in the rain is good. Fishing in the rain is good. Planting veggies in the rain is fine. Biking in the rain....not so fine. So, that's how I feel about that. Plus it is inevitable that the day after you clean your bike or put on a new chain you're going to get rained on....and everything will be wicked dirty again. Sigh...

On a more positive note. I stopped by the October bikes 'factory' yesterday. Wicked cool. Andrew has a sweet little setup some very cool machining tools. Plus he's got his factory team riding in some pretty kits.