Thursday, July 31, 2008

de 'Toona

No touring of Altoona this year. The race promoters decided that the only thing worth seeing in Altoona was it's downtown area this year's race was boiled down to a criterium.

I've been lacking race report inspiration lately, so I'm going to try to do the following report completely in iambic pentameter:

Aside from just a few big pulls I think
My racing style was too conservative
With three laps left I thought I'd get away
But did not lay it on the line. The end.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Some poems rhyme
Others don't

ps: In response to Chicken's Haiku Wednesdays ...I think I'm gonna start instituting my own iambic pentameter Thursdays ...we'll see how it goes
(photos courtesy of The Schalker)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wilderness 101

Big day for Trek at the Wilderness 101!!!!

Congratulations to Cheryl and Jeff!!!!

Last weekend I joined Jeff up in State College for the Wilderness 101 ....let me clarrify, I was up there as support ....Jeff was there to lay the hammer down .....and indeed he did. Providing him a feed at aid stations 2 and 4 I was surprised to find myself with a bit of the race jitters. Funny how you can get so nerved up for someone you care about.

Jeff set a course record with a time of 6:41 and won the race 7 minutes ahead of teammate Chris Eatough. Rather than try to give an accurate account of the race details I will direct you to Harlan's race report on cyclingnews>>>> HERE

Cheryl also had a fantastic day on the bike and won the women's race with an impressive 10 minute gap on Michelle. Together Jeff and Cheryl continue to push the limits of elite athletic performance in the 100 miler scene.

Some other photos from the day:

Is that an ice scraper that Ann is stirring with?!

Wes and his one speed

Straub suffered 3 flats: 1 in the car and two on the bike

Jacob: First local hero across the line!
Be sure to check out Ann's newest artwork!

Koglemann loads up at aid station #2

Friday, July 25, 2008

4 Square!

Yesterday afternoon's office picnic in Rock Creek Park was a real success. It is unfortunate that office picnics get such a bad rap. For me, the highlight of the day was the 2008 Box Ball Tournament. What better way to iron out cubicle frustrations? So metaphorical! Struggling to claw your way to the top in boxes of our own making!

Maybe it was my grade school days of box ball domination that conditioned me to a cubicle career? Still recovering from my recent shoulder injury, I was definitely missing the snap I needed to properly defend my title.

What began as a jolly game of box ball ended up as a ruthless quest for the hallowed 4th square. We're now making budget adjustments to include a box ball court in the 2009 fiscal year.

Official rule book of the US Box Ball Federation (USBBF)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Small Things

Speaking of aggressive women ....Kerry Litka, of Small Things Considered, is more or less the woman who inspired me to enter the blogging world (I suppose Gwadzilla also had his influence).

She knows not who I am, nor does she know the profound impact she has had on my cyber-life....

May her razor sharp tongue and eloquent prose continue to inspire the aggressive woman in us all.

Aggressive Woman

"powered by sweet aggression"

Monday, July 21, 2008

On 2nd Thought

My shoulder has been feeling much better than expected ....maybe it's only 2 degrees of separation? Last time I did this it took me a while to even be able to brush my hair.

So when I saw this forgotten bag of Sun Chips caught in the wretched claws of the vending machine I thought I was up to the challenge. Vending machine rocking is one of my special talents!

 luck, didn't even make a budge
My shoulder just wasn't up to it ....there was nothing I could do. Hopefully Sonja will help me with this in physical therapy ...otherwise, who will help Christina when her M&Ms get stuck?

Stormin's Bad Day

Looks like Friday at Superweek didn't go so well for Lorena either. After lapping the field in a 3 woman break, Lorena went down with just one lap to go. We all love you Lorena! You're a winner in our hearts! Be sure to keep lots of ointment on that sweet angelic face! I'll bring you some cookies!!!

Not to be a Debby Downer, but Sue also had a rough weekend after suffering a broken ankle in the xc race at Mt. Snow. Please send Sue and Lorena lots of get-well wishes!!!!
(photo taken from Lo-C's blog)

Mt. Snow

On the bright side, I did get to sleep in on Saturday and enjoy a nice leisurely morning with Jeff before his race later in the day. On the way back from Bennington, I picked up some butter which really enhanced our breakfast toast. Definitely a good move on my part.

Jeff, looking as refined as the sugar he craves in his snappy white gloves:

Some other photos from the day:

(clockwise: 1) Loretta, Randall, and Andrea, 2) men's pro xc 3) JoosMan! 4) men's pro xc)

As for my shoulder n' stuff. I'm still a bit sore, but quick on the mend. Hope to see my MABRA ladies at 'Toona next weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mt. NoGo

Well ....I don't really know what to say. I was pre-riding (yeah, that's right, I ate shit and wasn't even racing) the course yesterday ....hit something of a glorified water bar with a bit too much speed ...went down pretty hard ...which resulted in a 3rd degree shoulder separation, some butt road rash, and something that looks like a chainring mark on my back, no racing for me today ... (photo: I see dead birds)

What is it about Mt. Snow?! It is my most favorite race of the entire year. I absolutely love the descent (and even kinda like the climb) and somehow, every year, something crazy happens. The first year I blew a hole in my knee on the last lap ...finished the race and went home with a knee full of stitches. The second year my skewer kept wiggling open which afforded me a good 30 min. of riding before I had to stop and re-secure my front wheel. Last year I was completely exhausted and fatigued after taking care of a friend of mine who had been hit by a car the week before ....and then I got this psycho stomach parasite from the hose water which made for a long lonely ride home (I know all the rest stops between VT and DC fairly well now). (photo: got to watch a bit of the tour while waiting)

And now this year ....didn't quite make it to the starting line. It didn't even happen in a technical section ....completely caught me off guard. Hmmmmm ....well, there's always next year. Live and learn. Next time I'll be a bit more conservative on the water bars.

Gotta keep things in perspective; at least I dont' have West Nile virus!

Many thanks to Randall for giving me a ride into Bennington!!!! Turns out we're both virgos! What a small world.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Windham Mt.

This is gonna be short and sweet …just like the course at Windham:

We arrived in Windham on Thursday afternoon which gave us the opportunity to pre-ride the course few times before the XC race on Saturday.

I believe it was roughly a 5 mile lap, with slightly less climbing and fewer rocks than Mt. Snow. The descent was fast and swoopy with lots of tight corners ….which is something I need to work on. The trails were dry. The weather was great considering it’s late July. I like this course MUCH better than Sugar Mt.

The women’s expert went of just a little past 8am. I found myself in great position going into the single track and was able to hold it for maybe the first half of the first climb ….not being a great climber I started to lose places ….which were then reclaimed on the descent. Lap two ….hmmm, I don’t remember lap two all that well. (photo: Shepard's pie)

Near the top of the climb on lap three I caught sight of the fourth place woman just ahead of me. I tried to quiet my breathing and pass her looking confident and strong like the mighty cougar that once inhabited these hills. Unfortunately she called my bluff. She ramped it up a bit. I thought I’d be able to catch her on the descent, but I was a bit too accommodating when allowing another racer to pass …which sent me into a rock that brought a dead stop to both my descending and my internal ipod. Looking back it was a pretty good race; however, next time I think I’ll try to pass fourth place with a little more gusto.

Sunday afternoon we headed towards New York City were we sought refuge with my very best friend Maggie. As luck should have it, Jake, another good friend from the UGA days, is also living in NYC and together we all (photo: Maggie, Alex, Jeff, Jake, and me) dined at an establishment that was quite similar to the GRIT ….an Athens favorite. Almost felt like the old days ...speaking of which, we've gotta get serious about this Bulldawg reunion!

After dinner we began our search for the elusive NYC black/white cookie ....Jeff's favorite. Our efforts were rewarded ....Jeff bought three.

As always, Jake was there to capture the evening on film…

Today we leave for Mt.Snow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gator Collective

Speaking of old school, how about some stadium cleanup footage? See some of Penn State's top Gator riders tear it up in Beaver Stadium.

Old School

Hanging out with Dana and Joe last weekend reminded me of the Penn State cycling days. Joe and Lou were inseparable back then ...
Army Crit 2004
View video clip on Sarah's blog
Sarah's blog >>> CLICK HERE
(couldn't seem to lift it from her blog, so you'll have to view it there)
You just can't beat collegiate cycling

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Stage IV

The Crit:
I'm gonna have to keep this fairly short and to the point 'cause we still have quite a drive ahead of us. (photo: Jenette, Lesley, Gen, & Sue)

So, today was my best result at Fitchburg to date. I felt good. I had pretty good positioning coming out of the last corner and am happy with my 9th place finish. I also had a nice cheering squad out on the course, which really made all the difference. Lorena, Jeanette, Gen, Lesley and Sue all came out to show their support. I felt so loved! (The MABRA Crew: Amanda, Christina, Sara, and Me!)

The women's 1/2 crit started off with Lorena in the green points jersey. I think there may have been a few attacks here and there ....and then Sue put in a huge attack which launched her into a solo breakaway which she was able to hold for a good while. All the HPC ladies were working hard to keep Lorena in the green points jersey. Unfortunately Cheerwine also had similar ideas. Perhaps next year I will have moved up and can help HPC vie for the green jersey once again. (photo: Lorena, Me, & Sue)

Sue and Lorena might give a better account of how their race unfolded:

Sue's Blog
Lorena's Blog

photos from the women's 1/2 crit:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Stage III

Lorena got the points jersey!!!

and Lesley finished in 8th!!!!

We had dinner at Bangkok Hill!!!!

more details to follow....

more details...

The Circuit Race:
I must say, I really enjoy the circuit race course. It’s a roughly 3 mile lap with one short steep hill with a hill-top finish. (This is the hill I think of whenever I’m doing reps over on seminary hill) The remainder of the course is pretty fast, a couple dog legs, a fast straightway, and then a sharp 90 degree right turn into the hill. Leading into that hill it’s really all about trying to maintain as much speed as possible. It is for this reason that I prefer to take the outside line fairly wide. It proved to be a good move as I found myself up in the top 5-10 almost every lap ….it means so much not to have to chase back on at the top of the hill.

On the last lap I was feeling good; however, I don’t think I took in enough calories after the road race the day before because I was feeling a little shaky. From what I remember, I had pretty good positioning coming up the hill to the finish, but wasn’t able to hold ...still a better finish than last year ...I'm pretty sure. I crossed the finish line with nothing left.

In other news:
The women’s Cat1/2 race was rather exciting. A two woman break comprised of Cheerwine and Colavita formed about halfway through the race. Meanwhile, back in the main field, Lorena was racking up the sprint points that eventually landed her in the GREEN POINTS JERSEY!!!! YAY!!! Lesley, our top HPC finisher of the day, pulled off an impressive eighth place. You're an animal Lesley!

Oh, and I should also mention that Sue took very good care of Lorena throughout the race. She stuck with the Stormin' Mormin' like an empty Gu packet on a hot summer day ....succesfully leading her out for the point sprints.

Lorena's race report HERE

Stage II

The Road Race:
Yay! Penn State Proud! Joe and Dana were nice enough to pick me up yesterday for the women’s ¾ 9:30am start. It was a grey New England morning. A steady rainfall put a slight damper on the mood in the car. We arrived a little after 8am ….and sat in the car until the rain let up enough for us to sign in. (photo: crappy ass weather)

Dana and I finally found the inspiration to suit up and get at least a short warm-up in before staging. Staging took a while ….the officials were adamant in warning us about using EXTREME caution on the descent. I suppose it is fairly fast …much less sketchy now that the road has been repaved. Once the officials had successfully struck the fear of the Good Lord in our hearts we were ready to roll out.

Ok, so the long and the short of it is that I felt good the entire race. Not a very aggressive race save for the Australian juniors who tried to mix things up here and there. Aside from the Mt. Wachusett climb at the finish, the only thing that really thins out the field is the hill before and after the feed zone. I used to struggle here a good bit. This year I felt fairly comfortable and successfully stayed up in the front the entire time ….oh, except for that part up Mt. Wachusett. (photo: Dana & Joe) Yeah, that’s were things started to fall apart. I don’t do the long steep stuff so well. I am happy to report that I stayed with the lead group up Mt. Watchacallit much longer than I ever have. Looking at the results, I was a bit surprised to see that there were so many women ahead of me …funny, it didn’t look like that many at the time. Oh, well. Baby steps. I think I’m feeling stronger with every year I revisit Camp Fitchburg. Progress not perfection. (photo: Nicole & Dana)

Oh, and Dana’s back on the bike after she broke both of her arms earlier this year at a crit in Philly!!!! This is her first race back!!! She’s a tough lady. So glad you’re back to the races Dana!!!

In other news:

The HPC women's 1/2 crew remains strong. Sue was climbing well up in the lead group, but unfortunately suffered TWO flats. Although the wheel changes were speedy still sucks to have to chase back on twice ...loyal HPC sister, Jenette, waited for Sue each time and helped bring her back to the main field.

Lorena was very close to taking the points jersey after taking two of the QOMs. Maybe today's circuit race will give here the opportunity to wear the green jersey.

Speaking of which, I should get over there and see how they're doing. More on Stage 3 later....