Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just a few years ago...

I was racing collegiate C's back East at PennState. Found some old pictures while cleaning off the harddrive on my desktop. I know I'm probably wearing a few more layers in the first picture, but damn-I think I must have been pushing 185 back then.

First race weekend in Rutgers: 2003. Our best result would come from Mike Lahm, I think 4th (yeah, I take that gimkabo for memory, can't remember the name right off). Munas ended up making love to a curb... I wish I could remember what BS Lou was telling me at this moment.

Just a few weeks ago, digging the pre-fire clean air....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coffee Crew Ride turned Octagon Death Match

So this morning I went for my first group ride since the fires, and it turned out to be pretty dramatic. We took a different route that kept us away from where the fire had been just last week. Visibility was poor, thankfully due mainly to fog... I hope. At any rate, at one point in the ride, a dude sort of went real fast on a downhill to catch up to some homies up the road, and kept drilling it. Another dude on the ride wasn't too happy about this, and after coming back together in a mile or two, they started exchanging words. It was pretty unsafe how the first guy rolled off... sort of rode right through a group on a narrow road with poor visibility.... but what transpired was still flipping crazy.

They started exchanging more words, and even smacking each other on the helmet. Numerous times people said "come on ladies" or something to that effect to try and prevent the fight, in the presence of some women on the ride who probably thought... well fuck you! Then at a stop light, all hell broke loose. Full on swings, head locks.. you name it. Both of them laid their bikes on the pavement and went at it. It was so very middle school.

So if you're ever on a group ride in SoCal, don't fuck with a dude in a Disco kit. He really does ride for Disco... maybe he's just mad that his team is gone...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Training this week?

Probably not. I'm already taking off Friday - Sunday to go visit the Big Apple, which I'm psyched for. I'll be doing a good bit of work this week, catching up so I won't have to do a lot this weekend... but I still planned to do some riding this week until this happened....

D'oh! I usually climb up and over that ridge and ride through the canyon on the other side. But I can't even ride anywhere else around here because the air quality is atrocious. So hopefully these will clear up a bit by the time I have to take off from Long Beach on Thursday afternoon...

If you're bored check this site out. Shows all the fires, though its not updated all that often.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Damn Cross (UCI #2)

So today was the same race as yesterday. Some changes were supposed to be made to the course, but they weren't, but that was ok because there wasn't much that could be done to make the course any better, given the location with all the gopher holes anyway...

It was my cleanest cross race so far, and not surprisingly I got my best result, both due to that fact, and some poor luck of folks in front of me (that's cross!). So right from the gun I was in 2nd position, but couldn't hold the fast pace up the first grade, and got gapped a bit. 4 leaders with a 5-10 second lead, then me with another two guys. That was basically the scenario until the series leader, and my teammate Ted, who were both in that front group of 4, both had mechanicals. The leader got a flat, but had to ride a little bit to get to the pit before changing and getting back in- he would up just inside the top 10. Ted was a bit more unfortunate. He rolled his tubular front tire after hitting an odd corner, but was able to ride the wheel into the pit and get his spare, which he then flatted somewhere in the next lap or so. Bummer because he was looking REAL good up with the leaders.

Those two mishaps and I'm sure some surges a the front, broke everything apart. I was well behind the two riders up the road, with two different guys coming up towards me. One guy faded, and one guy made his way up to me. I punched it real hard going into the last lap, and he spent the whole rest of the lap clawing his way back to me. He then flatted trying to hop the curb to ride the last runup, so I had an easy ride in for 3rd.

Really looking forward to the next few races... next one is in two weeks, so I'll be on the road again for a bit...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

UCI (not UC Irvine) cross, #1

Cross racin.... pegged to 185 from the beginning, kept up there for nearly 45 mins, with a max at 195. Sahweet.

This weekend was the first ever UCI weekend for Southern California. UCI in terms of cycling has nothing to do with UC Irvine, for those of you wondering.... Union Cycliste Internationale is the global governing body for cycling- a UCI race usually means big names will show up, and the promoter will loose lots of money because they have to pay the commissaries a billion swiss francs per hour.

Anyway, none of that really matters for my Cat 3/4 races, so it was just a normal race. Attendance was actually a little low unfortunately, only about half of the top 10 on the series were present, so that was a bummer, but a good chance to move up I guess. I was 11th in the series going into the race, so no call-up, but that didn't matter much. I punched it hard on the opening paved section and cruised up the first big hill, and got into 3rd. My buddy Ted had the misfortune of unclipping on that hill, and lost a few spots, but he was quickly back up near the front. In the early parts of the first lap I did my usual first lap crash, just sliding out (despite the new tubies!). This not as bad as last week though, and I was able to quickly get back up, only losing 3-4 spots. After a few laps most of the race had shaken out, and the two leaders were well up the road, Ted was in 3rd, I was in 4th, and there were a few riders looking to come up, who never quite made it. I don't think I would have placed any differently had I not crashed. Maybe I would have been there when the guys took off and made their gap (my crash may have been what caused their initial gap....) but I don't think I would have hung with, and may have even blown up, so maybe it's a good thing.

So I should be looking at a callup for tomorrow's race, which I hope will feature more people, especially more from the top 10 who had been handing to us pretty well the first few weeks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Greenhouse Dollars

... no greenhouse dollars are not things that Republicans spend on the free market in order to fund the military by buying Haliburton contracts while also pissing off Al Gore.

They are a form of free money disseminated by the University (UC Irvine). One of my buddies Dave told me today that if you work for the University (which graduate students do) and you do not have a parking permit for parking on campus, then you are eligible to receive 10 greenhouse bucks for each month, meaning $90 for us right now. These can be used at the bookstore, or any place on campus to get food. So obviously we marched right over to get burritos with Dave's money, then walked over to get myself some "wad of cash".

Today just got a lot better... I have "85 dollars" burning a hole in my pocket. I'm trying to figure out the most efficient way for this money to make its way onto my bike. I think the best way may be to shop around on for a book that is selling for a decent amount of its retail value, and then try and buy it at the store, and sell it quickly online. Though I fear my timing for this might not be that great... with quarters starting later than other schools, and the fact that we are a third of the way through this quarter...

I don't really want to use the money for food on campus.... I mean my last post was an excel spreadsheet screen shot depicting how I'm counting calories. Seriously.

Suggestions are welcome. If you wish to suggest I wait and use it for my textbooks for next quarter, then don't even bother responding, that is deplorable. This is FREE MONEY.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm a dork....

So I dig excel graphs for some reason, don't ask. Spent a little too much time on this guy....Net calories calculated from basal metabolic rate (calculated to be 2700 KCal per day), my Polar output in KCal, and my food intake, estimated to within a few hundred probably. Not that I'm really manging my eating/training habits off this, but I think it might be kind of cool to watch how it goes.... Interesting at least. I've already noticed that I'll spike at least 1.5 to 2 lbs for a day or two after a hard ride (and presumably eating more, I just started "counting" calories now)... then it'll settle down in a few days. Sort of cool... body has a large time constant.

So spoiled...

So I was taking a look at the flyers for this weekend's double header of cross action, and I was thinking to myself... MAN I don't want to have to make this drive twice! An hour and fifteen minutes each way!? That sucks....

Then I remembered back in the day in good ole Pennsylvania where I would have driven about 4 hours to race.... damn I'm getting spoiled out here already. I'm already sulking the fact that I need armwarmers and kneewarmers to ride in the morning... wazup with that?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Major Jake, ready for deployment...

So the Kona is finally done up right. As I said before, the cross rig now features sram rival 10spd drivetrain, paul's touring cantis, and tubular race wheels (though I only have one 10 spd cassette that is crossworthy, so these will basically be training and race wheels). As shown, comes in at 18lbs. Legit!!

The front end... featuring the extra brake levers that I have not used much since I've gotten used to being on the hoods / in the drops

Paul's brake calipers. Sexy.

They feel just as nice as they look. I promise this bike won't be clean in one weeks time... have two races next weekend...

The picture below shows an extra washer I had to put in so that the calipers would work properly. The problem was that with certain calipers, there was an inordinate amount of torsional friction, which would not even be compensated for with high spring tension (which would have felt weird anyway). So it took a few days, a phone call and a few emails with Paul himself to get to the bottom of it. Actually Paul didn't know what was wrong (hard without see it)... it took me taking the calipers apart numerous times to realize what was happening. What happened was that if you accidentally overtighten the bolt without holding the nut the caliper down on the post on the frame / fork, then the sleeve, which is slid on top of the post, is pushed onto the flats (further than it was designed to go) and therefore allows the spring mechanism to be squished. Now this could have been avoided if AlphaQ and Kona had made the flats on these parts larger than the shank of the post, but that would be hard to fix now.... so what I did was add an additional washer to make sure the caliper didn't push the sleeve up onto the flats. Might be easier to see what I mean...
For those of you who don't know what the heck is going on, then you might not realize how Paul's brakes work, which I didn't either before buying them. It is actually really cool - they do not use the typical tabs which lock the torsional spring into place (in fact I took them out on the fork). The springs are held between the caliper itself and the nut that the mount bolt goes through. A really cool design, that you really need to see to get your head around I think, and even then it took me a while to realize what was going wrong with my particular installation.

Yes, I'm a dork for making up that picture. Excuse me while I go spend my Saturday evening recovering from a 90mile road ride by coding matlab and watching the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car".

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Also, check out this picture from the Redline cross race this past weekend...

This last one reminds me of the TTT from Bucknell, depicted below with artistic addition from Anna Kelso.

Eatin' good in the neighorhood

So I've been making a conscious effort to really watch what I've been eating the last few months. It's been sloooowly paying off (I'm down to about 165 on good days now). I've basically had a veeery simple diet:
cereal, bannana, OJ

sandwich, carrots, apple, couple cookies

salad, pasta or stirfry

yogurt with pretzels (don't knock it until you try it... but be ready to be addicted people).

Anyway, my main point is that today I was coming home from cross practice, and I stopped at Subway. Got a chicken bacon ranch on the cheesy bread. Not the best of choices, but I had just put in a good cross workout, and I was hungry. Probably the first "greasy" food I'd had in a while. I used to eat these things all the time... but let me tell you... I was not ready for the chaos this would have on me... I felt like I had just eaten a Big Mac or something!! I think I really got my body off the greasy food, and it didn't like going back.

Tomorrow, breakfast is oatmeal.

I'll also be posting some pics soon of new completly overhauled Kona Major Jake. Sram Rival 10spd group. Paul's touring cantis (funny story about these, and Paul himself later), and a new appropriately used left non-sti brake lever (instead of a right one). It feels faaaaaast.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

More Crossin

Did the 4, and the 3/4 today at the second race in the Cross series out here. The first race went pretty well, got 3rd place, and my future teammate took the first lap by storm and never got caught. The race split up very quickly, and after about 10 minutes in, I was battling with one other guy for 2nd... so it was a good result, but it wasn't the most competitive or anything. There were a decent amount of guys there... just blew to pieces real quick I guess.

The second race wasn't quite a race for me. I got the last callup spot from my 10th place finish last week, and got a decent start, into about 4th or 5th in the beginning of the first lap. My bud Ted dropped his chain over the barriers, and myself and at least 5 or 6 others flew by. I was pretty amazed when, about a minute later, he came absolutely flying by me... I mean totally different speed. Impressive, too bad he dropped his chain again, but still ended up 10th. We're going to get that 3rd eye chain watcher adjusted...then look out. As for my race... I slid out in a corner over some pine needles in one corner, and being a little too frantic to catch back on, overcooked a fast downhill grassy corner and landed pretty hard. I was a little shook up, but probably would have ridden it out, but my shifter was on the fritz.... so not even one lap into the 3/4, I was just hobbling back to get changed back into civilian clothes. Bummer.

Good news though, is that I have a new shifter, brake calipers and tubular tyres (if you are talking about cross tubulars, they are tyres, not tires, bitches) coming... so this cross bike is going to be raging.... just need to get more comfortable taking turns at speed... still feeling overall better each time on the bike though, and it's still fun as heck...