Sunday, February 28, 2010

Miscellany

The last week or so has left little time for blogging, so I'll do my best to outline the highlights. Last weekend, Julie, Mel, and I enjoyed ladies' night in Frederick. Oh, and I found a box of abandon cupcakes on the side of the road! Saturday night, Jeff and I headed to Great Falls for the MORE annual meeting. Congratulations to Joe on his new position! (Chris and Jeff at the MORE party)

Thursday night I swung by Conte's to pick up my new Cannondale Scalpel!!! I have finally decided to let go of the hardtail and embrace full suspension technology. Oh, and the Scalpel is an impressive 2lbs. lighter than my Kona (or Fauxna as Jeff likes to call it ....we have reason to believe it might be a Chinese knock-off)

Because the watershed refuses to thaw, this weekend's rides were all on the road. Right now I'm trying to scrape up the motivation to head out for an afternoon of hill repeats on Gambrill Park Rd. Last night Jeff and I met up with Gripped Racing for a team dinner at Dogfish Head. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so the logo will have to suffice. Looking forward to a season of racing with my new team!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Clemson Recap

Overall, Jeff and I both got in some good training in during our week down south. I got in a few good rides around Clemson in the beginning of the week before heading to 3 Gap in Dahlonega, GA. Climbing up Neel Gap, I was reminded of my collegiate cycling days as well as my tender high school years when I spent long hours doing trail work on the Appalachian Trail. That was back when I thought mountain biking was nothing more than a vicious assault on our vulnderable top soil.












Arriving in Athens later that night, I met up with my good friend Maria. Unfortunately, I was unable to fully enjoy her company as I was soon struck by a nasty case of food poisoning. Turns out, Jeff also spent the evening crouched next to the toilet bowl in Clemson, which leads me to believe that Super Taco is to blame for our illness. Friday's snow storm also put a damper on the riding conditions, so the remainder of our time in Clemson was spent nibbling on crackers and sipping watered down Gatorade. [photo: Jeff & Jeremiah (left), snow ride (ride)]













It was kind of disappointing to drive 9 hours south only to get hit with a nasty case of food poisoning and a fresh blanket of snow. Although, on the positive side, we did get in some quality training earlier in the week and, thanks to Super Taco, I'm down to race weight and it's not even March!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day Three

Today's ride took me on a tour of some of the steepest pitches in the area starting with Glassy Mountain (6% grade), then onto Holly Springs School Road (6% grade), and finished things up with with Upper Spring Road (7% grade). Not knowing the area, I was very pleased with the route I gleaned from MapMyRide. Again, Super Taco served as the perfect recovery meal. ("Road Ends" is country for "Steep-ass Road Ahead".

Tomorrow I'm heading for Dahlonega, Georgia to ride 3 Gap, which lands solidly on my podium of favorite rides. In addition to the breathtaking views and quad burning climbs, 3 Gap is also a relic of my college days. Located less than an hour from Athens, 3 Gap is something of a tradition for the UGA Cycling Team. Long hours of shared suffering seems to be the stuff that life long friendships are made of.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Exodus

Against our better judgment, Jeff and I decided to brave the roads and head south for a week of training in Clemson, South Carolina. Lucky for me, Snowmageddon happened to fall during my week between jobs as well as during my biggest training week of the year. Really, this was an honest coincidence. After a hectic few hours on I-95, watching SUVs swerve across lanes of ice and snow while talking on their cell phones, the snow eventually dwindled to nothing and we finally arrived in Clemson just after midnight.












Today's ride was a welcome reprieve from the snowpocalypse we left behind. Clear skies, near perfect trail conditions, and temperatures somewhere in the 50s. While in Clemson we're staying in a home located directly across from the Isaqueena Trail System in the Clemson Experimental Forest. With over 50 miles of trail on 17,640 acres of land, there is more than enough singletrack for a solid day of riding. Heading out with Jeff and Jeremiah, Ian and I soon settled into our own pace. Ian is a Clemson local and was kind enough to show me around the forest. Super taco made for the perfect post-ride meal.

Looking forward to a full week of warm snowless rides before returning to my government job.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

One More Car

Last week's week's One Less Car Symposium in Annapolis got off to a delayed start on account of Tuesday night's snow fall. Chanda and I arrived in time to catch the tail end of the morning sessions and then started looking for lunch. As luck would have it, we happened upon one of Maryland's most celebrated restaurants, Chick and Ruth's Delly, which was recently featured on Man v. Food. We were immediately greeted by the owner, Ted Levitt, who kept us entertained with countless magic tricks and zany antics until our sandwiches arrived. The deli was opened by Ted's parents in 1965, who's compassion for people continues to be evident in the strong culture of camaraderie.

Chanda and I returned to the conference where we learned more about all the exciting efforts in Maryland to increase the state's bicycle mode share. From there we headed to Automotive Direct USA, where I bought a 2000 Subaru Legacy. Soak in the irony. That's right, I bought a car after attending the One Less Car Symposium. It's as horrible as it sounds. But in my defense, I've been driving the same Toyota Tacoma since I as nineteen, and after 240,000 miles I have decided to finally let it go. From the mountains of Colorado to the beaches of Miami, my truck has been a loyal mode of transportation for the last eleven years. Thank you, Tacoma, for eleven years of countless adventures and many happy memories. You will forever live in my heart.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Groundhog Day

Due to the fresh layer of snow, I opted to ride the road into work yesterday. Leaving from Dickerson, Joos kept me company until the turn onto River Road. I stopped to take a photo of the anti-share the road sign that always cracks me up. Does this mark the spot where cars are no longer expected to pass with care, and may instead run cyclists off the road with impunity?

After work I joined Amanda at Nellie's for a few rounds of Drag Queen Bingo. I really had my sights on the badminton set, but lady luck refused to look my way.









Monday, February 1, 2010

Realign

Sometimes life is a lot like tiling a bathroom. Every now and then you have to stop and make sure you're lined up with your desired destination. But life is kind of messy, and what started out as neat rows of tile, some how becomes something of a mosaic. Needless to say, I've been doing some realigning, and making decisions that I think parallel my long term goals ...which isn't always easy to figure out. (photo: Sunday's snow ride)

In addition to my professional life, I've also been reassessing my plans for the 2010 mtb season. At first I was under the impression that, the Kenda Cup Series would be around again this year, but instead it's just a bunch of qualifier races that aren't really a part of a any kind of series. Then there's the US Pro XC Tour and the Triple Crown series, both of which take place primarily on the west side of the Mississippi.

2010 USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Mountain Bike Tour
March 27: US Cup Fontana - Fontana, California
April 18: Sea Otter Classic - Monterey, California
May 29: Mellow Johnny’s Classic - Dripping Springs, Texas
June 26: Subaru Cup - Mt. Morris, Wisconsin
July 10: Carmichael Training Systems International Classic - Colorado Springs, Colorado

This year, I think I have decided to reduce the carbon footprint of my racing season and primarily follow the Mid-Atlantic Super Series. In years past the women's fields have been quite small, but perhaps things will be different this season. I can't help but wonder if usacycling is at at all concerned with the future of the sport, particularly for the women.