Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Desperately Trying To Burn Out

Kristy is due FRIDAY.  So I'm trying to get as much riding in as possible - burn my legs out and then recover on newbabydaddyduty for as long as that takes. 

So my 19ish mile mt bike commute loop on Monday took me through Weir Rd trails, Greenough Boy Scout Camp trails, and then Willow St.  A lot of the ride was with my laptop and clothes and food for the day all jammed into my camelbak.  Then an ez spin home.

Tuesday I had to drive. I hate driving to work.  Hate it. Hate it hate it hate it. (hate it)

Rode in again this morning - did hill repeats in the Greenough scout camp - it's a pretty good push with my stuffed pack.  Then on the way home I pushed it hard around the scout camp trails daydreaming of the race I'd love to organize there, and then the quick road home.  My "Mytracks" GPS said I did 53.51 miles in 57 minutes, an average that would have given Sagan a run for his money down the final descent of stage 3 of the 2011 tour de Suisse.  Mytracks also thinks my house is 100 feet under sea level (it's 60 feet above - pretty darn high for the Cod).  So basically Mytracks sucks.

Pumped up the tires on the road bike for tomorrow morning, assuming the "grand opening" doesn't happen overnight.

I'm taking 12 weeks off when Helena arrives.  12 WEEKS!  IFAW rocks.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thoughts that bounce around my helmet (ongoing)

The dumbest people I've ever met are the ones who think they have all the answers.

If you think a mom breastfeeding a toddler is in some way sexual, then you're the pervert, not the mom. 

It's funny how only the people who have beliefs different from the norm are accused of "pushing them" on others, while the people with socially acceptable views can babble on with impunity.

If another child is rude to my son, I usually let him handle it.  If he's rude to another child, I intervene.  Not sure if that's right or not.

The willingness to discover the truth about the origins of religion can take years to muster; but once willing, the truth takes only seconds to come by.

Children who have awful parents are usually doomed to be awful parents themselves.  The exceptions, however, often end up being exceptional parents.

A country is a concept, drawn on a map. Without its people, it ceases to exist. A government that promotes the agenda of its country at the expense of its people never survives.

The list of things I don't agree with my parents about is a very long list. And yet not a day goes by where I don't appreciate what great parents they are.  Indeed, it is because of their support that I was free and confident to carve such a different path from them.

I've found that any goal is reachable when I decide to fully commit to it.

In my experience, life is constantly giving us signs, nudges, and hints about which decisions to make and which directions to go. It's up to us to recognize the signs, and then follow them.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Commutations: Shock in Vancouver and Awe(some!) in Boston

I was slightly euphoric on my pedal to work this morning, delighting in the afterglow of the Stanley Cup returning to Boston after we let the rest of the league borrow it for 39 years (they were supposed to return it earlier, but they wouldn' we had to go get it!). 

It was truly awesome that they could pull it off - a team with one great line, a roster of tough and hardworking defenseman, and a 37-year-old goalie who lost the manual on netminding and so created his own spastic version.  Heart trumped skill in these finals, and proved once again why hockey has such a primal appeal.

But I was conflicted by the shocking sight of sourpuss fans in Vancouver destroying their own city.  Now I must admit that I don't know much about Vancouver other than it's said that at some times of year, you can be sunning on the beach and then 45 minutes later be carving turns down snowy slopes.  And if that wasn't enough to make you want to move there today, there are, of course, the legendary mountain bike trails, reportedly etched in the north shore woods by Norco the Greek god of mountain biking. 

Vancouver sounds like heaven to me.  So why would its own residents want to destroy it?  As I'm typing, I'm sure some psychologist is prepping notes to go on CNN to explain why, but if I were to sum it up, I think I'd surmise that it's because they're a bunch of assholes.  They took their cue from their whiny team of floppers.  I can't imagine Toronto or Montreal fans acting like that.  And, of course, Boston fans know better (plus they know that the Boston police are not to be f-cked with).  I bet the Bruins couldn't wait to get out of there and get back to Beantown. 

So those thoughts bounced around my helmet for about 30 minutes - which is about how long it took to ride on the road that led to the trails that led back onto the road and then back to some more trails -- the new-to-me stash with its fairly flat profile and wide winders with firm berms.  Had the race bike this morning - Stumpy HT 29er with 34/18 gearing.  These trails were made for intervals, and I did a loop that allowed for 4 sets of 4 minutes each.  Having had some easier commutes this week on the rigid Karate Monkey, it felt good to go fast again, even though I was feeling the deep hurt after having also done some weight workouts this week.

Finished up and hit the road again to get to work and arrived just before Mike on his Felt and from across the parking lot he pumped his fist into the air a la Bender in Breakfast Club, and the Bruins glee returned.  The fires on Vancouver's streets will die out long before the glow of euphoria from this victory fades from New England's collective smiles.  And as the B's were winning, Josh Beckett was finishing up a one-hit gem of a shutout for the first-place Red Sox.  So I'm guessing the Sox might be taking the torch from the B's in, oh, about 3 months.  Going to be an awesome summer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Get Lost, Mountain Biker

I'm lucky enough to have several trail systems between my house and where I work, so I get to commute on my mountain bike. I stuff my pack with clothes and food and leave the house between 5 - 5:30AM to get some pre-work training in.  This morning I rode a trail system that I haven't ridden in a long time -- so long ago that the trails may as well have been new to me.  

And those trails were amazing - well packed, seemingly groomed single track that weaved through typical Cape Cod forest.  The area is pretty flat - no hills steep enough to get me off the saddle of my singlespeed Surly Karate Monkey. 

The best part of the ride?  I got lost.  Well, I'm not sure I can say I got lost as that might imply that I accidentally took a wrong turn when I thought I knew where I was going.  This was no accident - this was all on purpose.  I just simply got on a trail and kept going until I saw another one and then followed that, and so on. 

I haven't been lost on my mountain bike for a long time.  And being so reminded me of days long past when I first started mountain biking on trails that I now know well enough that I could ride them blindfolded. 

I felt like a two-wheeled explorer.  I found a grove of older-growth trees that survived the forest culls to make way for farmland or to harvest building materials; I rode a trail cut scalpel-straight through a field of lightly bowing ferns; later, I rounded a corner at too high a speed and shouldered a pitch pine as a square foot section of bark exploded into the trail around me and I rode away laughing out loud for a full minute. 

It was euphoric, this ride to nowhere.  I was riding without purpose, except to have fun. 

I don't do enough of that - riding just for fun - especially now in the midst of racing season.  But I'm at a point now where I have to take a hiatus from racing as child # 2 is due in a couple weeks.  So I had hoped to do some long base-mile rides up until my daughter arrives, and then rest and hope that my fitness doesn't fade too much before I can get back on my bike again.

The pre-baby base miles plan took an exciting turn this morning, and I definitely plan to ride this rediscovered trail system again as soon as possible and maybe explore some others I haven't ridden in a long time or haven't ridden at all. 

I can't wait to get lost again.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Race Report: Domnarski Farm

Brian, Lukas and I piled in the team van (the Maguire Family Honda Odyssey) and traveled to scenic Ware MA for the Domnarski Farm race.  I texted Brian (The Falcon) earlier in the week to let him know that no Cat 2 racer had ever done the 10.41 mile lap in under one hour.  I thought it might motivate him.  Lukas, on the other hand, needed no motivation because his # 1 point series ranking put a target on his back and he was eager to defend! I was motivated by getting my butt whooped by Erik at Winsted. He's my main rival at this point (though he may not know it, lol) - great rider and guy and also 40 w/ young kids (ok, I'm 42 w/ one kid, and one loudly knocking on the door). 

On the ride up, Lukas was saying that he didn't remember the course having a lot of tough climbing.  I'm pretty sure he said that about Winsted too, so I didn't really believe him this time.  Turns out Domnarski has lots of climbing, of the steep and technical sort.  So my strategy going forward is to ask Lukas for his course description, and then plan for the opposite.

And we're off!

Actually, let me go back to the starting line, where I see a fellow I don't know lined up next to me in queue for the singlespeed Cat2 start line.  I inquire, and he says he's a Cat1 racer from another series - couldn't race Cat1 in Root 66 because he doesn't have his official promotion from US Cycling.  So a twenty-something year-old Cat1 dude racing down a category is about to kick all our butts.  yay.  Not his fault, just a weird USAC licensing thing. Anyway, guess it's a race for 2nd place between the rest of us.  Erik is there, as are the Nemba crew.  Good guys.  No Nathan this week as I guess he was working (according to wife Jen, who raced in Cat2 women).

Whistle and we're off (for real this time).  Erik starts ridiculously fast as usual, the Cat1 is on his back wheel, and very quickly I'm in 3rd by a gap of 30 yards or so. It was my best start, even though I felt way behind them.  The start was a technical Jeep road type track that turned into a very long hill.  I start picking my way through the rocks, trying to keep the top two in sight.  Towards the top of the climb I catch up to Erik.  He says "I knew you'd be coming" and gives me room to pass, and then says "go get him" - "him" being the Cat1 who's moving up up and away at a pace that I can't match.  I bobble a short time later and dismount to start pushing and see Erik riding up the hill but I think my hill training off the bike has helped as I'm not totally gassed pushing the bike like I was at Winsted.  I re-mount at a flat spot before Erik catches me and start chasing Cat1 dude again.

I pushed hard for the rest of the race but never see the Cat1, and never see Erik behind either.  For a while I was behind a Cat2 30-39 geared dude who lost his seat - he rode a couple tech features that I dabbed - awesome!  I had to get off on the powerline climb too - ended up running/walking behind another geared Cat2 who was spinning for all it was worth.  I encouraged him best I could and despite a football-sized boulder dislodging on his front wheel just before the top, he dug deep and made it up without dabbing.  I also caught an awesome pro or cat1 women's rider - she rocked the last steep, technical climb as I ran behind her.  Then she very kindly pulled well wide to let me pass as soon as I caught up to her on the DH.  Only one dude who wouldn't make space for me -  I'm very polite when passing but he didn't want to budge off the middle of the single track at all - so I had to pass through the woods around a tree.  He might've been gassing or zoned out or something (giving him the benefit of the doubt). 

The last part of the race is downhill through the woods and when I see cars I'm thinking "no way that's the parking lot." But it was.  I cross in 2nd in 1:01 and change.  Erik is 3rd a minute or two back. Cat1 guy finished in 58 and change.

Finn (L) and Erik (R) getting cash for podium from Matt Domnarski

I was really happy with my result, and loved the course.  Very tough climbing, lots of tech stuff, fun downhills and fast fire roads.  Launched a few small rocks and trail obstacles.    

The sub-hour motivation worked for Brian as he won Cat2 30-39 and became the first Cat2 to do the lap in under an hour.  The Falcon soars.

You guys plan this pose?
The most exciting moment of the race today came courtesy of Lukas literally roaring past the guy in 2nd place at the line.  I hope someone got a vid of that. So Lukas got 2nd in Cat2 40-49 and probably wore his medal to bed.  (Lukas is getting very fast...shhhh).

Lukas, ever the rock star
So a win and two 2nds for the boys from Cape Cod.  Not too shabby. 

The dude who organizes this race, Matt Domnarski, basically opens up his horse farm to it.  He lets racers ride on his property whenever they want (as long as they let him know) and lets people swim in his pond after the race. And he pays out in cash.  Awesome dude.  I think he's a pilot for the state police too, which is pretty badass (unless you have a pot farm).

Course description: start goes about 50 yards and then bottlenecks into a technical Jeep road  hill that turns into a steep rocky climb.  Then some single track and logging roads and halfway through there's a couple more climbs, the first a loooong and rocky fire road, the second a technical and steep-in-spots climb up the power lines.  There's one more section of very technical singletrack climbing and then it's lots of downhill single and rocky double track.  It was really fun, though I gather it wouldn't be quite as fun in the rain. 

My 34/20 gearing was good, though I did have to dismount a few times.  There were some long sections of flat stuff, though, so I definitely wouldn't go with a smaller gear.  Just need to find some bigger hills to train on.

Next up is Pat's Peak.  That will be 19 days before Kristy's due date of July 1, though, so it's up in the air if I'll race it or not.  Was leaning towards not, but Kristy said it might be ok.  May be an early Sunday morning decision.