Sunday, April 17, 2011

Covered Bridge #2

Since I wrote a race report for the team, I thought I would post it here also. Yes, this will be the second consecutive entry that can be considered a "race report" on this blog.

No, I have not been kidnapped by someone who stole my Blogger password and likes to write race reports all the time.

Yes, the "clean set of wheels" part is meant to sound ridiculous and is a reference to a phrase used by a well known bike racing announcer.

Yes, the next post will be about someting other than a "race report."

I hope.

Aussie (Rob), Scott, Derek, Tom K., Brett, and myself lined up for Team Spin at the start of the “A” race at the Team Akron Valley Circuit Race, also known as the “Covered Bridge race,” on Sunday, April 17. Jane G. represented the team in the women’s field.

The A race is seven laps of a five-mile loop, the B’s and women do five laps.

The A race saw about 25 starters, including multiple riders from teams such as RGF/Cleveland Clinic, Team Lake Effect, and Stark Velo, as well as solo riders from Team Panther, Speedgoat, and a few other teams. In the A race, Aussie got away with Joe from Death Row Velo early in the first lap. They built a solid gap, which meant that the remaining Team Spin riders in the field had to cover dangerous looking moves and hope that the two breakaway riders did not get caught.

Near the middle of the race, after a tough half-Iap, I found myself in a group of five riders that managed to extract ourselves from the field. At that point, my job was to simply sit in the break and let the other riders try to bring back Aussie and Joe, who were still up the road.

We caught the breakaway with a little over one lap to go, which meant that we were now a seven-person lead group. I was not feeling very perky at that point, and I confirmed with Aussie that he still felt good.

I tried several attacks on the second half of the last lap, but they were closely followed by the vigilant group. Things were shaping up for a seven-person sprint, which is not my bag. At all. Thankfully, it is Aussie’s.

The group slowed down to a crawl in the last 2k, and I found myself with a small gap inside the last 1k. I took advantage of it and accelerated, knowing that I would either hold it to the line, or, at the very least, cause the other teams to chase me down and set up Aussie for the sprint.

At about 200m, I heard the group approach, and saw Aussie come around me. He held it to the line, and showed the rest of the breakaway riders a clean set of wheels. A win for Team Spin!

Great job to everyone who raced today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tour of the Battenkill 2011

There are apparently lots of Category 2 racers in the New England area who do nothing but ride bikes all winter long.

At least that is what it felt like at around mile 50 of the race on Sunday when the wheels came off the wagon and I began limping to feed zone 2 where I happily pulled the plug and accepted a ride to the finish from the "team car."

It was still a great weekend that involved nice weather and riding bikes...things could be much worse.

It is mind boggling how much planning and legwork must go into organizing a race that includes 35 separate fields, 2,500 racers, a 100K loop that goes through several municipalities, and racers on the course from 8:40 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

I would invite the amateur racers who complain about Battenkill's payout to try to organize something similar themselves and see how much work it entails.

In fact, I can think of several less annoying ways to make a living than organizing bad ass events for unappreciative bike racers.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Into Eternity

On Friday, Katie and I saw Into Eternity at the Cleveland International Film Festival. It is about the construction of a massive underground cave in Finland that is supposed to (safely) hold the country's nuclear waste. It is being built to last 100,000 years, and is an extremely long and deep cave. No one working on it now will be alive to see the completion of the project.

The part of the movie I liked most was how the officials in charge of this project were so concerned about the well-being of civilization 100,000 years from now. Specifically, they talked about the challenges involved in communicating to people 100,000 years in the future about the dangers that will lie beneath the earth in that spot. Will they speak our language? How can we even begin to conceive of the proper way to communicate with these people?

I am pretty sure that a massive undertaking such as this, which takes into account the safety of people more than 3000 generations into the future, would never occur in the United States.

And that is unfortunate.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

T Minus

Battenkill is eight days away.

This year I have the pleasure of doing the 82-mile Category 2 race, which includes the standard 100K loop plus an additional 18-mile loop at the beginning of the race.

I always imagined that the extra loop at the beginning was a flat to rolling stroll through the countryside taken at a conversational pace that allowed the higher level racers to talk about how much better they are than the lowly chumps who only race 100K.

Then I recently read the updated website that shows this loop consists of the first 16 miles or so of the 100K loop, after which we then head back towards town and then do the entire regular 100K loop. This means that we get to do the 18% Juniper Swamp climb at mile 11 not once, but twice.

It's good thing that I climb well for a guy with a beard.