30 March 2008

One for two

Saturday's ride went off as it normally does, and we had a pretty good group this week. We did the usual Eastover route and everyone stayed together, even through the fast spots. My stomach is still a mess. I think it must be due to my improved diet. I've largely cut out junk and started eating actual fruits and veggies. My body isn't accustomed to being fed food that's good for it and seems to be rebelling.
I still rode reasonably well and even managed a large, hairy effort on Double Homey to chase down Reed. I ended up with 90km in 2:45. Then we went and walked around the zoo for a while. The boys seemed to love it, so it's all good with me.
This morning, I awoke to 45 degrees and pissing rain. Considering I'm not getting paid to do this, I stayed in the house. #1 and I made a trip to Target and dropped the usual $100. Then we went to the bookstore. I got an armload of cycling mags and the boy got some Dr. Seuss.

As an aside, my carbon wheels came in and are pretty flipping nice. Nice finished and hella smooth ceramic bearings! The rear has a manufacturing defect and it's going back. No worries or stress though, and I'll tell you why...
I figured out the problem when I was installed the wheel on the bike. The bead/braketrack had a bulge in it from poorly laid-up carbon. I was a bit pissed off and called Williams Cycling...repeatedly...to no avail...or so I thought. About 9 p.m., my cell phone rings...it's Keith Williams. Yep, the man what own the joint. I tell him the issue and he listens, I mean actually listens. He apologizes and means it. He's sending me a new wheel Monday, via FedEx, on his own dime...before I send the other wheel back! He's even sending a call tag for the defect wheel.
Most companies wouldn't have called back until Wednesday or so, asked you what you did wrong, claimed it wasn't a defect and then made you send the wheel back at your own expense. You might get your wheel back in 4 to 6 weeks. ...cough...Mavic...cough...
Customer service folks...learn from it.


Oh, and another linky you'll appreciate...


28 March 2008


I can't decide if I had a good ride, or a bad ride last night. I felt horrible all day, and for most of the ride. My legs were okay, but my GI tract was angry with me. After we left the Fort, which included one of the quickest runouts on Hartsville Guard in recent memory, I had a hot, feverish, vaguely sick feeling. We rode tempo down Ridge while we waited on a few stragglers.
Horrell Hill was a quick paceline and then the pace went up.
We turned onto Airbase and Doogie jacked the pace. I slid into 5th wheel, right behind RW. I knew in my heart that he was going to nail it when he hit the front...and he did. Nothing like going 45kmh into a stiff headwind. RW is getting slight in the ass these days and his form is damn good right now, so I was forced to get as low as possible. Once I was as low as I could get, the hard effort started to pull my back, so I pulled through and sat up with CC Mark.
Everyone gathered up and rode in together. I tried to sprint on Shop, but just didn't get on top of the gear. It was a quick 55km before dark.

This morning, my legs are stiff, my back is stiff and my GI tract is still upset with me. The H.O. is coming home at lunch and we're taking the management trainees to the zoo. I'm sure that'll help my legs and back! Oh, and #1 decided he wanted to fingerpaint this morning. Normally, I'm down with whatever he wants to do, but this time, not so much. His medium this morning was his own fecal matter. Fortunately, his 'art' was contained to his little craft (crap) table. I was not amused. After a thorough cleaning with Antibacterial kitchen cleaner, everything is back to normal...well, as normal as it gets around here.

On the upside, my new carbon wheels are coming with brown Santa in a little bit.

See you fools Saturday morning.

26 March 2008

When a plan...

...gets shot in the ass. I was supposed to ride 6 days in a row...only got 3!

Both kids are sick, I feel like crap, the H.O. is out of town...

I'll be out Thursday night...hopefully....
I'll definitely be out Saturday morning!

23 March 2008

3 days in a row?

Crazytime around here...
I did the Thursday ride, as covered previously, and didn't feel altogether bad. Friday afternoon, Doogie and I met at 3 to do a spin ride. We rode, but it wasn't a spin ride. The wind decided it wanted to be a headwind in every direction we chose to turn. I ended up with another 60km in 2:15 and was way too tired when I got home to call it an 'easy spin'.
The normal group met at 9 on Saturday morning and did another windy loop down through Eastover. We started with a solid 10, which got whittled to 8 when Mrs, Der Kaiser and Corbett turned to do a loop. I think they both had people coming into town...or something.
It ended up being a nice tempo ride, albeit windy yet again. The sun ended up poking through the clouds enough to put a tiny bit of color on my otherwise pasty limbs. I ended with 90km in under three hours.
Considering the fact that I've taken the better part of 6 weeks off the bike due to injury, I didn't feel bad linking those days together. The only thing that really hurt was my tender bits. They just need to toughen back up.
The plan was to ride today (Sunday), but the H.O. decided that I need to go to her family Easter happening. Oh joy! I was planning to stay home and have a day to myself, but in the interest of domestic tranquility, I'm tagging along.

20 March 2008

Drano ride

Tonight was my first Thursday ride of the year and it was definitely harder than I've gone for a very long time. It wasn't a ball-buster, like they are in the middle of June, but for my out-of-shape ass, it brought me to the entrance of the Pain Cave(tm).
We went out through the Fort a bit quicker than usual and then headed out to the flats. Everything was hunky-dory until about 1/2 down Airbase. I pulled through and the line got fouled up. Somehow, Nick pulled through again...hard, and caused Trez to let a gap open. Instead of trying to close it (20 meters at this point), he says, "Go ahead", as if he was being so kind as to let me in. Thanks Jub-Jub, but I just took a pull at 40kmh into a stiff headwind! Gap closing just isn't in the repetoire right now. Give me a few solid weeks of training and then I'll think about it. NewGuyRob and I got gapped out and chased for the remainder of Airbase.
We all stayed together for the remainder fo the ride. As for the Drano in the title...my pipes got cleaned out tonight!
Rumor has it that one of the shops in town is offering to give Casey a bike...bad idea Casey. Nothing comes for free, especially from those guys. There's always a caveat and it's always after the fact.
Ride @ 3pm tomorrow from the Gate...The H.O. has the day off, can you believe it?

16 March 2008

First weekend in a while

Well, I got back on the bike yesterday. I met up with the normal group for the 9 o'clock ride. We did the usual Lower Richland out through Eastover loop.
I felt good on the bike, for once. No back pain, no aches, no radiating leg pain. I could tell that I'd been injured and that I've lost a great deal of high intensity fitness, but the action of turning the pedals felt good. It did feel a bit foreign for the first hour, but it fell back into place.
I probably rode a bit harder than I should have yesterday, but one has to swim following the jump into the deeper end of the pond. I can ride 30-35kmh all day. It was when the pace wicked up to 45kmh that I saw my lack of fitness.
I ended up with 90km and 2:45 on the bike.
Doogie and I met this morning for a 2 hour spin through the flats. I felt really good...surprisingly good, until we turned to come home. The good feelings on the way out were thanks to a stiff tailwind. The last 45 minutes of the ride were a headwind slog. It was pretty damn windy out in the country this morning. Another 60km and 2 hours on the bike.
Not a bad weekend for the first one back on the bike.
The ceramic BB is working properly, the ceramic bearings in the ROL wheels are smooth and I raised the saddle by 2.5mm. Everything was as it should be this weekend...

14 March 2008

Doug, Doug, Doug...(shaking head)

So I'm in Target this morning, doing my bi-monthly child supply run, and my phone rings. I see that it's Doug's number, which I find odd, since it's Friday morning. I answer and we exchange pleasantries.
Here's the rest of the conversation...
D: Hey man, are you riding this morning? Is there some secret ride no one told me about?
M: No, but I'll be out tomorrow morning for the group ride.
D: Was today's ride cancelled?
M: What ride today?
D: The 9 o'clock group ride
M: Um, dude, it's only Friday...
D: Oh, that could be the problem...
We exchange goodbyes and I wander through Target thinking that a whole lot of people are going to be unhappy with their audits this tax season (Doug's a bean-counter)...
Nutty, I tell ya, nutty...

I got the Ridley back together, save for the white hoods. I didn't feel like undoing the cables and housings. I'm pretty anti-Campagnolo, but it's would be much easier to replace the hoods if I was riding Record stuff. I am batting around the idea of retiring the Dura-Ace at the end of the season and putting SRAM Red on the Ridley...swank! We'll see what the new D/A looks like first...
See you guys in the morning (Saturday...Doug!) @ the gate. 9a.m.

12 March 2008

Looking good Billy Ray...

...feeling good Lewis!
Well, the back is feeling better by the day. I'll be out Saturday morning, but have no plans to get involved in the test-fest that I'm sure will ensue. My goal here is recovery and building back up. If I must do it alone, then so be it. Being hurt sucks balls, so I'm going to rehab slowly. The time off, trips to the chiro and yoga seem to be helping.
My ceramic BB came back today, slammed full of new bearings and high $ grease. It'll be installed in the morning. Big ups to the guys @ Superfly Cycles.
New BB, new chain, new white D/A hoods...too bad the same old schmuck is riding the bike!

Today is 3 years since my dad passed away. Seems like a long time ago and yesterday, all at once! Gone too soon...
I Love You Dad!!!

10 March 2008

Snow? In Atlanta? In March?

Yes on all three. The H.O. and I went to Atlanta for the weekend. Her company has decided to dip it's toe into the NASCAR sponsorship water. They signed a 6 race deal with Joe Gibbs Racing to be the main sponsor of the Nationwide (Busch) Series #18 car. Yet they ran the #20 this weekend...I don't know...
We went down on Friday and the weather was beautiful. Saturday morning rolls around and it's 35 degrees and the wind is howling at 30+ mph. As we're driving to the Atlanta Motor Speedway, snow begins falling. We get there, get our swanky, we're-better-than-you credentials and head to Joe Gibbs' personal motorhome. Motorhome is a bit of a misnomer, as it's a $1 million set-up. @10 a.m., it's snowing sideways to the point that we couldn't see the suites on the front stretch...and they were 250 yards away!
We hung out in the rolling palace until lunchtime and the weather broke. We went out and watched the Sprint Cup cars practice from the wall on pit road. Did I mention our passes kicked ass?
Back to the JGR bus for lunch and then out to the grid for the start of the race. The #20 started second and quickly went to the front and was there...all day...for 153 laps...until...
On lap 175, something in the right front suspension failed, the right front tire went down and the car hit the wall in turn three @ 170 mph. Kyle Busch managed to finish, but 24th is little consolation when you kick ass all day.
We watched the entire race from the pits. I've always been a NASCAR fan, but you gain a new appreciation when you are a VIP. There's serious money involved and the guys are deadly serious about their jobs. You just can't get the experience, watching it on TV. It's too visceral to translate. The sounds are insane. You hear it and feel it. The air and ground rumble like a warzone. The smells are almost overpowering. Rubber, high octane fuel, exhaust...
The visuals are spectacular. You watch it on TV and know they're going fast, but being 100 feet from a pack of 40+ racecars sailing past at 175mph is just out of hand.
Pretty great weekend, all in all!
Google isn't letting me post pics...I'll post some later...

06 March 2008

Off the bike...again!

Well, according to X-rays, my skeletal issues have been resolved. Now, all of my soreness and stiffness is muscular. It seems that I compensated for the back issues by using my hips and legs. My hip flexors, glutes and quads are achy and stiff. I feel like I have two pull groin injuries. Riding wasn't exactly helping the situation, so I'm off the bike again for a week or so.
No biggie though. The Ridley is disabled anyway and I won't be able to get to it until next week. The ugly sounds I heard on Sunday were, in fact, coming from the BB. I pulled everything apart and voila...! The driveside bearing in my high dollar ceramic BB were a bit rough, but the left side felt like someone poured kosher salt in it. I pulled the seals and the bearings inside were virtually dry. I fired off a note to the guys at Superfly and to their credit, they are replacing it! They even went so far as to hand pack it with the heavier grade ceramic Krytox grease, like they do for the pro dogs. Astana is riding Superfly bearings in their BBs and wheels this season, FWIW...
It's supposed to be here tomorrow, which is fine and well, but I'll be in Hotlanta until late Saturday night.

The crit is starting back up shortly. The first official date is April 8th @ 6:30. The time change means nothing in this case. Even with the time change, it will be too dark to run a full race and have those who rode to the course get home before it's pitch black. Safety is the utmost concern here people. The first Tuesday in April has been the start date since the beginning and will remian that way. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to email me or leave comments here...

04 March 2008

The day

Weather: rain
Bike: disabled
Back: hurts like a ....
Attitude: damn close to poor
Demeanor: general malaise

02 March 2008


Saturday was another race day in Greenville, so the ride was anorexic. God forbid the people who didn't go race show up for the Saturday morning ride. I did what was tantamount to a 2.5 hour solo ride through Lower Richland. It was beautiful out, other than a bit of a stiff wind.
Doogie, NID and I met for a loop this morning. Another perfect day to ride...
We did the normal Sunday loop. The wind was the exact opposite as yesterday. It's kind of nice to have a tailwind home every once in a while.
I'm still having some back/nerve issues that are affecting my legs. Time to go back to the Doctor...

Young Casey put on a show in the Women's race yesterday in Greenville. She finished a strong second, in front of a strong field that included a past national champion. Good looking out Casey!
I think a lot of male egos are going to be bruised this summer...
As for the females, she's easily the strongest in town, bar none!

I got some good riding this weekend, even though I still feel like complete shit on the bike. A halfway decent ride is always better than getting fat, watching TV and just talking about riding...

01 March 2008

A few words...

Het Volk 2008
Phillipe Gilbert
Attack w/50km to go
Rode to finish alone
Solo win
Definition of Big Ring
True Merckx style
Levi Leipheimer sucks