Wednesday, December 27, 2006

First Ride

Liam's first ride

Guess who got a bike for Christmas?

Liam doesn't like going fast.
Liam insists on wearing protective padding every time he gets on his bike - he will not ride otherwise.
Liam is uber-cautious and courteous.

I sometimes wonder if he's mine...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Nora is a bitch

After Nationals I got sicker and sicker, and pretty sure it was the Nora virus, and it was ugly. I'm pretty sure it was the same thing Liam went through a few days prior. Luckily the worst symptoms didn't hit until an hour or so after landing at SFO - that would have been a tough trip. The next 2 days were spent no more than 30' from the nearest potty...ugh.

Happily recovered, tho.

The bikes are still in the box in the garage. If I didn't have to return the box to my teammate, they'd probably be in there until July - no joke.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Riding the Rubber Band

First Day Natz Norcal Wrap-Up

Providence, RI

Dec. 15, 2006

Actually, I'm pretty happy about getting 6th at 35+ Nationals, which may come as a surprise to some of my friends considering how frustrated I was after finishing in roughly the same position in 2003 and 2004.

First of all, the course was frickin' awesome and I would have loved to race it at 100%. No, actually, it was PERFECT. Fast, wide open, tacky, but still techy if you were going fast enough. 3 runups per lap and one set of (very tall) doubles, plus lots of little short climbs on the bike. The ground was moist but just firm enough to hold except for a couple of marginally slipery corners. Three good long road sections. Some great up-and-downs. It was a VERY fair course, lots of passing lanes.

Anyhow, on to the racing. I'll get to my condition and race later but first I'll wrap-up the earlier races.

Noble, Black, Hoefer

Got to the course and saw Lauren out racing already (Women 35-39) - I cheered her on and she looked great, but because her group was racing the same time as the 30-34 group I couldn't tell what place she was in. I was tempted to ask her as she went by - would that have been bad? ;-) Anyhow, she finished 3rd which is great considering this is not a Costantini-style (i.e. slathered in mud) course, and 2nd place was only a few seconds up on her. If Lauren ever gets her starts down she should be ready for jersey fitting, she never saw winner Wendy Williams who did a great ride for a comfortable victory.

At the same time the 30-34 group was out there including the recovering Josie Beggs and former champ Sarah Kerlin - both were solid in 6th and 7th, respectively.

I got a re-cap of the 50-54 race from Mr. Kramer himself - it sounded like he had quite a nice little ride with Ned Overend. At about 2 to go Ned managed to kill it on a couple of the windy road sections to get a buffer over Henry and stretched it out for the win. Great job Henry...remember that guy's a legend!

Tilford crushed the 45-49 field.

Also heard that John Elgart killed it earlier in the 60-64 group with a convincing win. John's wife Linda got 2nd in the Women's 50-54 race

On to the nailbiter of the day, the 40-44 race. Damn, that was some fine racing. I saw Gannon Myall before the race and was amazed how stoic he was about his #99 starting position - he had his work cut out for him. Gun goes off and Todd Hoefer drills it and immediately the decisive break forms - Todd, Mark Noble, Will Black, and Dale Knapp - a star-studded break to say the least. These four basically stayed together the whole dang race. Alan Coates was just behind but seemed to be having some problems (back problems?). Meanwhile, Gannon had managed to move up to about 20th in about 1/2 lap, and continued tearing through the field even while the lead four opened their gap. By lap 2 I think Gannon had passed everyone but had a sizeable deficit to the leaders. It was sooo thrilling watching the lead four come thru and then watch Gannon just gobble up ground and seconds in pursuit. Todd was aware of the situation and was sitting in the group, hoping that Gannon could close the gap. He was so tantalizingly close but never quite made the juncture, and the lead four were destined to finish it off. Todd attacked the run-up before the finish but Mark Noble somehow managed to get by him on the descent to the pavement, and sprinted in for a tight victory over Will and Todd - announcer Richard Fries was going CRAZY! Congrats to Mark, but I still have to give the ride of the day to Gannon. Great ride by Todd, too, who proved he's not just a "mudder".

Fast forward past my race (save the fluff for the end, right?), and on to the 30-34 race - defending champ Justin Robinson put on a valiant effort, leading for the first 1/4 lap and then tenaciously hanging tough for a number of laps in the 2nd group behind a fast-starting Grant Berry. Justin eventually faded, though, and started losing spots finally ending up 8th, just a couple of spots ahead of Simon Vickers, who also had a solid race. The finish of the race saw the remnants of Justin's group - Ryan Leech and former Nor-Cal rider Chris Pietrzak catching Berry and then sprinting it out with Leech taking the spectacular win by 1/2 a bike length over Chris.

Now on to my own personal account and the 35-39 race rpt.

I've been riding some fine lines lately...

Fine line #1 - somewhere between in-and-out of the doghouse - my wife is super-busy as a full-time mom and trying to promote her amazing children's CD (no more plugs I promise), and my racing has been a series of compromises and my training a few stolen sessions in the dark in Golden Gate Park after Liam is snug in bed. Occasional bike maintenance in the wee hours of the morning, and then up at the crack of dawn with Liam until I'm off to work. Sleep be damned.

Fine-line #2 - not surprisingly I've been teetering between health and sickness for about 1 1/2 weeks, and I think the early flight out Thursday AM after about 2 hrs sleep the night before did me in, and this morning I awoke completely congested and my head was in a fog, hacking cough, the whole nine yards. Warming up, I actually felt dizzy. Julie Barrot told me I looked like shit. Not good.

But there I was, 3000 miles from home and sitting on the 3rd row behind a strong field of riders, no choice but to race. My first goal was to put myself in the lead group, and thankfully the course allowed me to make up ground pretty handily and by 1/2 lap I was with '05 champ Shannon Skerrit and Brandon Dwight. Chris Peck (I think) hit the pavement hard in a corner which helped open the gap to Matt Kraus (who was absolutely drilling it off the front) and Richard Feldman ahead. By the end of the lap Brent Prenzlow bridged up from his 5th row spot and rode right thru us in pursuit of Richard and Matt. I was absolutely on the rivet from there on out, and basically just switched from holding Brandon's wheel to Shannon's - I felt a little guilty NEVER putting my nose in the wind but the only thing holding me there was my pride and that invisible rubber band that I have always been adept at clinging to. Shannon and Brandon hauled back Brent and were on the heels of Feldman with Matt a little ways up the road. Curt Davis joined our group and the race was still very much up in the air. The leaders were so tantalizingly close - always 10-15 seconds - yet I was completely unable to do anything but suck wheel, occasionally even getting gapped off as I started getting sloppier as the race progressed and my power faded. Up ahead Matt's carbon chainguard (and hence, his lead) was deteriorating and his gears started skipping - he started an unfortunate slide backwards as we passed him while he did his best to get to the pit. Feldman pounced on the opportunity and opened a gap, though Brent made a super effort to catch him. Inside 2 to go Shannon stands up and puts in his final bid leaving me, Curt, and Brandon behind. Shannon charged and caught and then outsprinted Brent for 2nd, but he was too late to catch Richard, who stormed to another National Championship. Shannon's attack put me in difficulty and just inside 1 to go I flubbed a re-mount and the rubber band broke - I was suddenly painfully aware of the snot pouring from my nose, and the burning in my lungs and legs, and though I tried to stay focused on catching Curt for 5th, the gap wouldn't come down. I could not sit up, though, because Matt was charging back from his mechanical just behind.

I was a little bummed for Matt because I think he may have pulled it off if his bike hadn't failed - he's a friend-of-a-friend of mine from Boston and has been really turning it up the past couple of years, narrowly losing last year's 30+ race to our own Justin Robinson.

I was actually pretty happy to finish where I did, I definitely rode over my head today even to be in the hunt and only 40 secs off the win. I would have loved to race this course on a better day - this was my ideal course and that was probably what saved me from losing the front group altogether - throw in some mud, snow, or a long hill and I would have been 30-something...easily.

Anyhow, I want to say a huge thanks to Mr. Paul (Rock Lobster) Sadoff for being my (happily unnecessary) pit crew - it took a major load off my mind pre-race that I could count on you if anything went wrong.

There's no more racing for me this weekend (or this season, for that matter), my cold is worsening and my thoughts are back home with the family - I changed my flight plans and I'm heading home tomorrow. I really wanted to see the Elite race and jump in the Sunday race but Fran is flying solo with the boys so I'd best get home and get started on working my way out of the dog house.

Anyhow, it just started raining here in Boston, so perhaps a few changes are afoot for tomorrow's Elite race.


PS Full results are here.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

So Much Fun It Hurts

Surf City #3
A Race: 7th place
Teammates: Aron

Photos stolen from Chris's Flickr collection. Thanks to Chris also for trying to help me out pre-race.

slurp splosh splash splosh...

I came out with two goals today: get the cobwebs out after my cold this week, and dial in my tire choices for natz should the forecast look muddy. Pretty much nailed my goals but managed a few more shennanigans mixed in there.

On Tuesday I felt myself fighting some sniffles off, and I was scared this was the beginning of something major that would pretty much be the end of my Providence trip. On Wednesday I was out for the count with a snotty, achy, and drowsy head and skipped work along with my mid-week ride. Luckily by Thursday I was feeling better and did a light spin and felt ok. On Saturday, tho I was still a bit congested, I decided to go race and I'm glad I did.

Showed up and did some laps in my spare shoes, to try and figure out which of the 3 tire choices to go with: (1) my new Tufo Flexus (2) 28mm Tufo Pros (yes the black cheapos) and (3) a set was a brand new set of Maxxis Larson CX clinchers. After 1 lap of slipping and sliding around on the Flexus tires I pretty much decided they are no better than the yellow LPS tires I swore never to race in the mud again after 2004 Natz. The Tufo Pros were GREAT - the narrow tires cut like a knife in butter. The Maxxis tires were pretty sweet too - felt similar to the Tufos but I only did one lap on them thanks to some severe chain suckage on the B bike.

10 minutes before the start I went back to the car to change my shoes (my POS backup shoes don't have spikes) and when I got out my Sidi's I noticed the clip that holds the ratchet on the shoe was GONE. Dug around in my bag and found it and the teeny tiny screw, but after messing with it, and even trying another guy's (thanks Chris) screw from his shoe decided the thing was stripped out properly. Went back to the start with 3 shoes, and Chris Dougherty found some duct tape - had to delay the start while everyone heckled me while I taped my shoe onto my foot. Worked well and I'll probably do that in Providence this weekend (if I actually go) in lieu of actually fixing the shoe. Yes, I know this is par for the course - I don't care.

Race starts and I work my way towards the front in the second group. Did the first lap with Josh Snead, Justin Robinson, and Dave Wyandt battling for 4th place (behind Wicks and the J-M bros) but then while placing my bike down after the barriers at the end of the lap my front wheel fell off - doh! I think I knocked the QR on one of my not-so-graceful dismounts (yes, I know I'm an idiot, thanks very much). Lost my group and a good 25 seconds trying to get it back on and re-center the brakes - funny, though, after 1 lap the gaps were already big and only Simon caught me. I think it was a blessing in disguise because I was pushing plenty hard NOT trying to keep up with the 2nd group and that's about all I had in my cold-ravaged lungs. Rode with Simon for the next couple of laps - I know he is in some good back pain right now. I noticed he was having troubles in the deep mud (when you really have to pull from the lower back) and of course on the running sections - I feel your pain, brother. Anyhow, after a couple of bike changes (thanks again to Chris Dougherty) I was back on my A bike with properly functioning brakes and was able to just have some good hard fun and toiled away in 7th for the rest of the race. Towards the end I was contemplating quitting on every lap (mostly while I was running up that damn run-up) because I was wondering if I was actually doing myself harm 6 days before Natz with a cold already. But I stuck it out, though I just tempo-ed the last three laps, mostly to avoid the humiliation of hearing Hernando heckle me from behind the microphone.

Wicks was on another planet about SEVEN FRIGGIN MINUTES ahead. BJM was solid and AJM was impressive especially considering he flew in from Asia that morning.

I think the course was incredible, it wrapped around on itself and the muddy barely-rideable sections were great, as was all the snaking around, the off-cambers (we don't get enough off-cambers in Nor-Cal), and the fun little descents. My only complaint was that the two long running sections were back-to-back - you only took about 20-30 pedal strokes after the gruelling corral run only to go into that killer run-up that was followed by the false flat at the top that pretty much required another 50 meters of running...ugh, I dreaded that section every lap and looked forward to the rest - it would have been nice to break that up. And yes, I was pretty much doing a brisk walk on both these sections by the end of the race...S.L.O.W. BUT I was having fun the rest of the way around the course and after 2 years without racing in the mud it was a great clinic for me in the goopy stuff.

BTW this was the ultimate spectator course - you could see probably 90% of the racing from one vantage point. Too bad there weren't more folks out there. It's kind of a bummer to hear how everyone seems to get so amped up for "real" cx conditions and those who come have so much fun and yet, when it actually happens, only a select group of folks come out for the race. I know it's easy to hit the Snooze bar on a rainy morning, but COME ON FOLKS, it's not like it's a crit in the rain or something...

Anyhow, thanks so much to the Surf City folks for braving the conditions and putting on another top-notch event. You deserve so much more than just the hard-core riders that showed up.

So, as a final note I'm on the fence for Providence once again. For one, I'm still in the throes of this cold, but really it is my son Liam who seems to have gotten a vicious stomach virus and that's too much for me to leave Frances for 5 days with a sick 4-year-old (oh yeah his b-day is Wed) and a hungry 4-month-old. Liam threw up for the first time in his life (well, since the spitting up milk days of infancy at least) and he didn't know what the hell that was all about - he got scared and started bawling. Also, he's up at all hours of the night with diarrhea and that's not only hell for the boy, it's hell for the guy holding the TP.

Real life beckons (sigh)...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fascinating Creatures Update - Awards and a Video

It has been a busy few months here with some great news and developments for Frances England's Fascinating Creatures children's CD. For those of you who don't know, earlier in the year my wife created a CD of songs to raise money for our son's cooperative preschool. The CD was so well-received that Frances started to market it to the general public, and it has since received glowing reviews from publications and music reviewers around the world. I think Cookie Magazine put it best:

If some genius concert promoter ever puts together a Lilith Fair for 5 year olds, Frances England should be the headline act. The singer-songwriter brings a little bit of Sarah McLachlan and a little bit of Norah Jones, yet manages to create a sound that is distinctly her own…And while the songs may be about tricycles and picture books, England's airy voice and sophisticated songwriting have definite adult appeal.

Fascinating Creatures was recently selected as the sole winner of the 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award for Audio. This is HUGE news as the Oppenheim is generally regarded as the source for independent reviews on children's toys and media, and she was going up against some of the best established children's artists out there. Also, a couple of music critics' polls were recently released with Fascinating Creatures consistently ranking in the top 5 albums of the year.

All this attention for a home-spun CD that started as a humble fundraiser for Liam's preschool, and to date has made its way into people's homes across the country and as far away as Ireland, the UK, and Australia – mostly through word of mouth of friends like you.

The CD is now available online at CDBaby, The Land of Nod, The Poky Pup, Amazon, and for download at the iTunes Music Store. Additionally, it is available at Stumasa in the Cole Valley in SF. We would like to get the CD into some more brick and mortar stores but it is a incredibly time-consuming task.

Finally, we are proud to announce the launch of the new Frances England Website including our first Music Video for the song "Tricycle". Links to the above reviews and awards plus more information on the CD and artist can be found there.

Tricycle Music Video from Fascinating Creatures

Also, check out this great slideshow by Australian Photographer Barb Uil set to Frances' song "Blue Canoe".

Frances will begin recording her second cd in the New Year. Liam, Rowan and I have heard all of her new songs and we all agree that CD #2 will be HUGE! :)

Thanks so much for all of your support -- wishing you a very happy holiday season!


p.s. a number of people have asked about getting multiple copies for friends and family for the holidays, if you would like to order 5 or more CDs, please contact Frances at the below email address for a special discounted rate of $10 per CD.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

...Finally Won Something

Tho it wasn't a race.

CCCP and District Championships
Cat A, 5th Place
BASP Overall: 1st place
Teammates: Aron (7th place overall, yeah!), Blanco (SS - 3rd place overall, yahoo!)
Photos stolen from Lauren H's Flickr collection

Well, consistency counts for something. I actually had a pretty good race today.

The course was pretty cool actually and I think it had a decent mix of power, speed, and technique required. Incidentally, when I think power, speed, and technique, I think Ben Jacques-Maynes...but cool? Da J-M-iac was uber-cool sporting some nice lamb chops and 1980's-style shades, he looked like something right off the set of CHiPs. Barry and Andy were no-shows which pretty much turned it into a one-horse race for the title.

Caught the end of the M35+ race a bit while warming up - Mark and Todd had a nice little battle to the end. Congrats to both, Mark for the race, and Todd for the District Title.

Brought the family along and hence only got 2 laps of warm-up (which, incidentally was 2 more laps than Justin got). The course was cool - pretty fast up the hill, some nice flats at the top, bumpy downhill, hairpin into the beach run/ride, then the flat section which required a fair amount of power thru the grassy sections. Lots of S-turns... everything was straightforward except the beach, which I'm still not sure if it was better to run or ride - every time I rode it I felt it sucking the life from my legs and I felt better running it - this in spite of not doing any real running this year. Oh yeah, and there was a killer playground for the boys who never saw Daddy pedal a stroke...

Felt like poo in the warm-up but luckily I have a short memory.

Race starts and we fly up the hill pretty sanely - Ben and Justin leading. After the descent I was back in 5th or 6th and going into the beach all those knuckleheads try to ride the first time thru so I dismount and sprint past them all and get back on with a nice little gap on the field.

brief moment of glory

BJM and Josh hook up with me and we roll the next 1/2 lap before Ben ups the tempo. Josh follows but crashes in the dust near the top and we're back together with Chris McGovern coming up. Dave Wyandt joins us and I'm pretty sure these seasoned racers will all be dropping me soon. Next lap Chris flats and is never seen again near the front. I yo-yo off and on the Rock Lobster duo and even promise to do some work if I ever start feeling good. Ben didn't really ever get too much time on us, but I think he was just doing enough to win the race without messing up his road training. I was actually starting to feel back in the game with about 4 to go, but then on the descent my rear wheel hit something I couldn't see and heard the rear going flat. Tried to signal ahead to the pit but it was like in the middle of crowd so I got there and hollered to Dan (the neutral man) and he got my bike (thx Dan), losing probably 10 more seconds or so in the transition. Got on the new bike and immediately noticed the tire pressure difference (higher) so I had to start taking corners a little more gingerly. Dave and Josh were slowly pulling away and I was in limbo with Chance and Chris chasing from behind. I thought I had a good gap but inside 1 to go Chance must have put in one hell of a surge because he caught me just after the beach, and immediately attacked and gapped me afterwards. Honestly I wish I tried harder but really it didn't matter at that point - I had the overall sewn up and didn't feel much like fighting any more. I did manage to shake my fist in mock defiance at Chris in the hairpins - he probably would have caught me if the race were 1/2 lap longer.

I was really happy that the day went fairly smoothly and I was able to win the overall pretty comfortably.

After the race I went back to the pit to get my bike, and found that once again I had become the butt of more bike maintenance jokes. This time it was my chainring bolts - THREE of FIVE were missing and the chainrings were just hanging on. I can't believe I didn't notice it during the race. Anyhow, I'd say I was lucky I flatted otherwise I could have had a catastrophic mechanical somewhere out on the course. Though I did flat a brand new Flexus that I glued on Wednesday - merde! I'll try and work some more sealant in and see if it holds...fingers crossed...

Just for the record, I *do know how to fix bikes*...I'm just having a hard time finding time for it these days, for some reason.

Congratulations to Ben for winning the District Championships, and thanks to all the really fast guys for missing most of the races so as to allow me to walk away with the overall booty...just in time for Christmas.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Photo I forgot to post from our trip to Yosemite a couple weeks ago...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I could get used to 45 min races

I mean, it's not like we're going any slower...really, we weren't.

CCCX Prunedale
M35+ A - 3rd place
Teammates: Mike Morgan

Today Fran wanted me home at a reasonable hour so I thought I'd give a Masters race a try - I've also forgotten what 45 minute races are like so it was a good pre-Natz reminder. Headed down to Prunedale for the CCCX race at 11AM. Prunedale hates me, that hill always seems to whip my butt and the neverending S-turns always seem to slow me down more than the others. Oh, and they made the course go a little further up the hill at the end, which I didn't think was possible. They also removed the log-hop and change the run-up (well, apparently it was a ride-up for Wicks a little later)

Anyhow, basically achieved my goal of getting a good workout AND had a damn fun ride with Henry Kramer, Rich Maile, and Todd Hoefer and we pretty much all stayed together in spite of a few attempts by the Cal-Giant duo to break us up - especially Todd who hit it pretty hard a few times. I think Gannon Myall was also at the start as well and I think he got a mechanical in the first dirt section...bummer. I was way under-warmed-up so I sat on (not by choice) for a couple of laps which pretty much left Rich to suck down all the early attacks. Towards the end I made a couple of lame attempts to lift the pace but we all pretty much stayed together. Going into the last couple of sections I was trying to stay on the front but Henry got around me before the run-up and coming off the final barriers into the home straight I stupidly tried to re-mount a little too close to Henry's rear wheel and just a small twitch to the right from Henry caused our wheels to touch and me to bobble the remount - by the time I re-re-mounted Rich came by and I was racing for 3rd - doh! Oh well, not gonna beat myself up about botching another finish, may not have had the legs to come around Henry anyhow, the stud.


Anyhow, I enjoy riding with these boys and it's so nice to ride with folks who have so much genuine respect for one another that racing is downright enjoyable...hmmm maybe I'll cash in the old age card for good soon...

Rich was solid once again on his SS, and now I'm thinking next time he rides gears (Districts?) we all better look out, especially if he remembers how to use those shifters.

I did notice that 45 minutes seemed to go by much quicker than 60 minutes (funny how that works). It seemed like 4 to go came in no time. Also noticed I didn't start feeling good until about 35 minutes into the race...don't think that's good.

I've been on and off the fence about giving up my plans for Nationals given the fact that I don't feel like I have any top end this year - thanks to craziness at work (deadlines) and home (kids), I haven't been on a training program for the last 1 1/2 months and I'm lucky if I get 2 rides between Monday and Friday and luckier if I get 3 races out of 5 weekends at this point. I'm still gonna go since I already cashed in the miles and it'll be a good visit with the fam in Beantown. I just need to pray for dry-ish conditions - which is probably like praying for snow in Hell.

BTW Thanks to Keith and all the CCCX folks for another nice day of racing. Oh, and Julie I saw you holding that bottle for me...thanks!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Who Was That Guy?

Pilarcitos BASP #4 - Golden Gate Park
2nd Place, Cat. A

(photos stolen from Lauren H's Flickr collection)

Everyone was asking me that after the race. That guy is Brian Astell - Pro XTerra and MTB racer turned newbie-crosser. He's been there at the other races, just off the pace from the winners, so I figured it was a matter of time before this kid got his due. Of course, it had to come on what may have been my last chance to ever win an Elite race in my life. So, in the end, I got beaten at my own game by this fast kid, and barely beat Mr. Rich "tough-as-nails" Maile on his friggin' Single Speed.

the king and I

I've been getting amped up for this race, being in my back yard and knowing the big boys were up in the Northwest getting muddy. I did well here back in '04 (2nd behind AJM) before the back injury, and I love these fast courses.

Saturday I went over to the course and did a few laps. Fast and tacky fun. No run-ups. Practiced hopping the single barrier with no problems, although it was a little terrifying that it was a pretty fast approach - it's always a little unnerving approaching a barrier at speed.

Well, rode the 15 or so blocks down to the race on Sunday - got some funny looks since I was riding TWO bikes. Got to the race and did some warmup laps, and watched some of the Masters race. Steve Reaney and Alan Coates were embroiled in another battle, and Steve seemed to be holding Alan off by 15 seconds for what seemed like an eternity - it was quite a battle of wills.

Finally brought my spare bike to the pit, and decided to do one last practice on the hoppable barrier. Came in with a good head of steam, wheelied up, and...oops my right foot came out of the pedal...and...


Slammed rear wheel into the barrier and head-over-heels on the gravel. Good thing I know how to fall off a bike.

Ugh, ok I'll admit it's been on my to-do list for weeks to replace my cleats and now I've paid dearly for it. The suckers have been ready to go for months - I've been popping out of my right pedal from time-to-time lately, but never at such an inopportune moment (god, it's so hard to find time to fix my equipment these days...). So now a good part of my strategy is shot, because there ain't no way I'm gonna risk doing THAT during the race. Spent the last 20 minutes before the race (a) letting Lauren console my broken ego (she saw the whole thing) (b) letting Cameron true my rear wheel and (c) letting the medic dig gravel out of my hand (thanks a ton Lauren, Cameron, and medic-lady!).

Tried to forget about it and got a decent start and sat on Robert Mau while he did his Kamikaze first-lap thing. By the early part of Lap 2 Rich Maile and Brian Astell had both joined me and the game was on. Heading into the single barrier on lap 2 Brian comes by and cleans the barriers, probably a good 1-2mph faster than I was doing it in warm-up. Damn! Rich and I dismount and dig deep to get back on him. A couple more laps of that and I'm trying not to curse myself for not getting those new cleats, because it was a good advantage and Brian would open up 30M every time on us. Rich and I managed a few times to keep Brian behind us into the barrier, but for the most part we just resigned ourselves to digging to catch him over and over again.

Brian Astell schooling me 'n Rich

Oh, and a word about Maile - superlatives don't do the man justice. I used to enjoy watching him kick M35+ butt in Clif days a few years back. He is so strong, so skilled, and truly a class act. Rich and I have never been able to finish a battle before and the only reason I got him in the end was because of the SS - I attacked with 2 to go in a place where I knew Rich's gear was his weakness, and I was hoping I could get Brian caught up behind him. Well, Brian made it back up to me quickly, so quickly, in fact, that I missed the bus and was already a bit behind when we hit the single barrier - where he opened up the final decisive gap and held it for 1 1/2 laps to the finish. It was impressive to watch this kid race. I tried not to look back because I could feel Rich breathing down my neck.

So, I got 2nd, I guess I should be happy, but it would have been nice to win a race and get this monkey off my back. I think Rich knows this monkey (the Funke Monkey?), because he actually tried to offer his help to me during the race, but I guess I really wanted to win or lose on my own terms.

As consolation I increased my lead in the series. The final race will be very interesting, though, because it is Districts and I don't think there are any major races that day so the big boys should be on-hand to fight for the district title, and I'll be back to fighting for a top 5.

After the race I cheered Lauren on in the Women's race, where Shelly Olds rode off into the sunset, holding Stella and Lauren off at ~0:30 and 1:00, respectively.

Congrats to the Sycippers for great rides. Rich Blanco did a great ride in the SS race. Mattias won the 35B race again AND got 5th in SS. Lauren was solid again for 3rd in the Women. Oh, and Aron just missed the top 10 and moved into 9th overall in the A's - yay team!

Thanks also to the Pilarcitos crew and the Roaring Mouse gang for puttig on a great event. Thanks also to Julie Barrot for the feeds!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Deja Vu All Over Again...

Pilarcitos #3, McClaren Park, SF
Cat: A
Place: 3rd

I had a boat-load of excuses coming into today's race, including, foremost, the fact that I have only done two easy rides since the last Pilarcitos race. In spite of that, the absence of any of the big boys should always present an opportunity to actually win a race, and today I had the opportunity, and, as is usually the case, I completely botched it up.

The course was pretty tough - flat finish stretch (really nice location, actually) and a great run-up followed by a butt-busting climb to the top of the hill. Bumpy descent and a little climb to the big log, then a really gnarly descent to the bottom followed by another tough little climb (which would prove to be my nemesis). Then a little downhill and back to the flatlands where they put like 8 of the tightest S-turns you could imagine (they were actually faster to run if you wanted to).

So...anyone notice how damn exciting the Masters races have been lately? I truly think they're going faster than the A's, especially on days like today when it's just us local hoodlums...I really hope people appreciate how awesome the weekly Masters races turn out with D'Aluisio, Reaney, Myall, Maile, Coates, Kramer, and Howie going at it week after week. BTW Maile rode his Single-Speed to 2nd place in the M35 race which is pretty amazing considering the range of gears the rest of us were using. There is going to be some big-time Nor-Cal firepower at Masters Natz.

Anyhow, our race starts and I slide in behind Pat Rocchi on the first run-up. Pat slides out in a corner and I hit the hill in first and tempo it and hold the lead up to the big log. On the descent I was trying to decide whether to try to hop the log on the first lap, which is generally a bad idea, but I figured even if I messed it up it was all strung out so I wouldn't lose many spots. Did the hop pretty well and got to the top of the hill with a big gap. I wasn't ready to push it yet so I just tried to dial in the sections to the Start-Finish, allowing Brian Astell and a few others to catch me from behind. The hop seemed like such a huge advantage, on the next lap I made the point of riding the front over the top and down the hill, and on the 2nd lap opened another gap and decided I'd be better off alone, and started focusing on riding a clean fast race. Over the next few laps my lead increased and I was probably 30-40 seconds up on Aaron Kereluck and feeling good with about 4 to go. Lots of cheers from friends (like Scott and Gail) and a couple of hand-ups from Julie Barrot and I'm feeling pretty confident.

Photo: Jon Suzuki

...then I botched a shift and the chain goes into the spokes on the tough little climb before the descent to the S/F. ARRGH! I think everyone within a mile heard me... Had a really hard time extracting my chain and lost probably 30-ish seconds and now Aaron and Troy Barry (who bridged up from behind) were just a few seconds back. Then on the next lap I DO IT AGAIN, losing the remainder of my lead and now it's me Aaron, and Troy in front. I still felt in control and we stayed together 'til 1 to go. I lead up the run-up and try to hit it hard on the climb - SNAP! something goes in the rear end, and Troy gets by. Tire is hitting the chainstays and I tell Aaron I'm out and give him room to get by. From then on I just ride as hard as my rubbing wheel will let me, and just prayed nobody else was catching me from behind. Luckily I had a good buffer back to Brian and I was able to hobble in for 3rd.

Aaron was able to outsprint Troy for a great win on a tough course - there's proof that you never give up...congrats to Aaron and also to Troy for a great race.

I ripped the nipple clean out of my rear Helium...trashed. Dammit I just glued those with a fairly permanent tape/glue job. Think I'll try to replace that rim with a Reflex this week...wonder if I can get that Flexus off there...

I noticed there were a bunch of DNF's today so I suppose I'm lucky I got to finish. Not sure what happened to Hernando and Kid Cam, I expected them both to whup my heinie today. Only other noteworthy thing is that Mark Noble didn't show up today so I took over the lead in Series, though Aaron is not far behind now with the taste of sweet victory on his lips...

I really need to spend a little more time on bike maintenance - damn stupid to have such poorly-adjusted derailleurs that I can throw it into the spokes, though I can't say I've ever had that problem in the past. Ugh, and only this morning did I find the time to replace the seatpost that fell apart last Pilarcitos that my head is above water and visiting relatives are gone perhaps I can get the bikes running smoothly again...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A week to lose it....

...and a month to get it back.

a saying my tri-geek ex-girlfriend used to say and it's been ringing thru my head all day today, thinking about the 90-ish hours of work, the 25 or so hours of sleep, and 1 or so hours of riding time I've had in the last 7 days. This was going to be my only 2-race weekend of the season and it turned into my first ZERO race weekend.

Add to that my sister is visiting from Brooklyn and it's her birthday...not only did I not touch a bike this weekend, I had gobs of cake and ice cream.

Now it's back to work for that deadline.

Sorry I missed the gang at Surf City, and that new run-up Sabine picked out especially for me.

Somebody send me a race report...wait I don't have time for a race report, I shouldn't even be writing this...

Another Insanely Incredible Review

...for Fran's CD. I know she wrote some great music, but hearing other people gush about it just gets me all choked up. This is the kind of biased review someone like me would write...only we've never met this guy. do we start selling this sucker? I mean SELLING it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Flavor Flav Interviews Bettini

I just spat milk out of my nose reading this...

"Keep your stank ass yellow jersey!"

Thanks to Brian for brightening my day.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fun on a Stick

BASP #2 - Candlestick Park
A Race, 5th Place
Teammates: Aron, Rich (SS), Brett (SS), Brian, Matthias (SS), I missed someone...

Photo courtesy of Tim Brennan

I felt like a bike racer again today...

Another freakin' scorcher out there and no place to hide at Candlestick Point Park. The Pilarcitos crew laid out a dandy of a course - I swear the Stick just keeps getting better and better and it seems a lot of people share that sentiment. Lots of pavement, good fast dry grass sections, some good bumps, and some tricky corners and re-mounts.

Big Boys Justin Robinson and Josh Snead were on-hand along the with the rest of the boys from the Hellyer race, including Mark Noble, who decided some overall booty might be worth the drive up from So Cal - oh and he brought junior along (Chance Noble). Hernando was conspicuously absent from the front of the race today...think he had a few woes. Gun goes off and got another excellent start and slide in behind Josh (or maybe it was Hooptie) for the first sections. After a lap or so we already had the first selection: Justin, Josh, Mark, Chance, and me. The five of us stayed together for a few laps, and nobody pulled very hard on the paved sections and we even waited up a bit for Chance to catch back on after a bike change. Anyhow there were a few times I was on the rivet especially when Justin would get on front thru the technical stuff. At about 6 to go Justin came to the front after the Finish area and I knew the game was on. He nailed it onto the paved sidewalk and was off. I tried to up the tempo but wasn't ready to bury myself to bring him back. After that we were ALL on the rivet and mistakes started coming fast and furious. Josh tried to bridge and crashed, Mark came by and crashed in front of Josh, I had some dabs and got a little sloppy. Next Lap Josh picks it up and we're putting some time into Mark and Chance, and it seemed Josh and I would be duking it out for 2nd...

...then the wheels fell off...

...well actually it was my saddle. It started moving around just after the finish with about 4 to go. I saw Evan and called ahead and he had my bike ready at the Bianchi Barricades (thx Evan), but I still had to get there and I lost Josh while riding gingerly on my saddle as it moved all over the place. Finally just before the barricades it fell off.

someone yelled "you lost yer saddle"...duh

I should have ridden my B bike for a test lap (usually do). Way too much air pressure and the gears were a little messy. Get on it and immediately screw up the big run-up (almost taking out a photographer in the process...sorry). My chain is dropped but it's on the 3rd Eye so I remount and stand on it and the chain jams in the back. I get off and mess with it and it takes way too long as Mark Noble flies by. I clear my head and fix the problem but now Mark is a good 15 seconds up on me. That whole ordeal really messed me up and now I was way back in 4th and starting to lose the mental race - I felt really slow on the B bike and really sketchy in the corners. Also started to get a little woozy from the temperature. Anyhow, a fresh face caught me with 2 to go - Brian Astell (some XTerra stud from Mendocino). He started killing it and I was pretty much a mental mess at that point...all the fight was gone and I was getting the chills (I got one tiny swig of H20 the whole race - thx Larry). Brian gets away and I roll in for 5th.

I'm a bit bummed because I thought I was gonna get some payback on Mark after the Hellyer beating...oh well, that's racing.

It seems like everyone at the pit came up to me and gave me sh*t for riding an American Classic single-bolt seatpost, and in retrospect, it was pretty dumb now looking at that thing. That's going on my road bike tomorrow...

Kudos to Justin for riding a great race. I keep trying to pinpoint what it is about this guy that EVERYONE likes - can't really put my finger on it but from racing with him I have to say he's the best and worst guy to ride with. The best being that he never does anything remotely sketchy, always takes a turn on the front, and respects his fellow racers (this can't be said for most other riders and I fear, myself included). And worst because if there's a win within his grasp he'll pretty much go home with it.

Kudos to the Pilarcitos crew for putting on an excellent event and absolutely making the best of the Candlestick wastelands.

Also, thanks to all the clinic attendees on Saturday - hey, one of our clinic students won his race (Dave Libby, 45B's) - that's validation, man!

Oh my, there was a crowd of Sycippers on the SS podium today!

Oh, and ONE LAST BIT OF STUPIDITY - I tried to drive into the garage with the bikes on the roof today. Usually I grab the garage door opener and throw it on the floor to remind me not to do such silly things, but today I spaced trying to hurry home to the fam and heard a crunch on the rooftop - eek, my heart lept out of my chest. Luckily, I was inching forward at the time and only ended up sliding the whole assembly backwards on the roof. The point of contact rear Helium wheel, which was still true! No damage was sustained to the bikes. The car has a 'lil dentage above the back door where the rack slid...vy minor. Dodged a bullet. I've been dreading the day that I do at least I got it out of the way.

What a dumb-ass...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Someday My Wife Will be the Breadwinner

...and I'm counting the minutes...

My lovely wife Frances England recently released a CD of indie-style children's music (Kindie Rock?) entitled Fascinating Creatures. It was a little homespun thingy that she and my cousin Billy Riggs put together on his computer. Fran wrote and played guitar on all the songs and Billy added additional guitar work as well as some percussion, bass, etc.

Think: Kids music that won't drive parents bonkers.

Frances and her main inspiration

Anyhow, this little CD of beautiful songs has been reviewed by most of the heavy hitters in the kids music business and every single review has been glowing to say the least. Last week it was announced that Fascinating Creatures was the sole winner of the 2007 Oppenhiem Platinum Award for Music - for those of you who don't know, the Oppenheim is THE "independent consumer review of children's media", and this is quite a coup for a non-established artist.

It's even more amazing that she wrote and recorded it while raising a child full-time and working towards her Master's Degree Libary Science Degree.

Anyhow, I don't want to gush about it, I think it speaks for itself.

We are currently trying to get the word out to the masses, which seems to be the hard part - everyone who hears it, wants it, so we just need more people to hear it.

If any of you have children or have friends with children and would like to get a great gift or just pass along a great tip, check it out.

Listen or buy it on CDBABY.COM.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE spread the word. I want to quit my day job...


PS check out the user reviews on CDBaby (scroll down)...very telling!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Once Bitten Twice Shy

After last week's season opener, when some of us had aspirations of victory, this weekend I find myself taking on the humbling role of "regional racer", bowing to the powers that be - the big boys were back in town...

Frances and I made a weekend out of my Sunday race plans, heading down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with Liam and Rowan on Saturday. Liam (3 1/2) is sure he's going to either be a diver or an astronaut when he grows up - in spite of the fact that he's terrified of water and darkness. Anyhow, Liam's been devouring 1-hour episodes of Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Adventures and I think he knows more about sharks than I do. Speaking of sharks, we were fortunate to get a few good looks at the 1-year old Great White shark who is visiting the Aquarium right now.

What a truly magnificent creature. He's not any bigger than the massive tuna in the tank, but he's a mini replica of the monsters we've all seen on TV. If he's lucky he'll be the 18 ft warden patrolling the waves off Ano Nuevo in a few years - I'll try not think about that next Summer when I'm wavesailing off Waddell Creek and Davenport. As expected we had a wonderful time, Liam running from tank-to-tank and Rowan sleeping and cooing peacefully in his stroller.

Next we drove up to Soquel to stay the night with Dave and Gina, they live about 2 miles from Soquel HS so I decided to do my open-up ride on the course. Hernando was working hard there making sure the course was as bumpy and technical as possible so he'd have an excuse not to race the next day. My theory is that he threw his back out digging the holes that made remounting your bike after the double-barriers nearly impossible. Anyhow, got a pretty lousy open-up ride considering I was more worried about staying upright than getting my heart-rate up. I should have just headed straight up San Jose-Soquel Rd for a better experience.

Stayed up good and late with Dave and Gina and their wonderful friends (mmmmm cookies and beer) and hit the hay around 1AM. I got to share the air mattress with Liam, who for some reason wanted to sleep with his feet on my stomach, back, or anywhere else he could put them. Finally at 5AM I asked him what he was doing, and he whispered "I'm warming my feet, Daddy" and then rolled over and slept for another 45 minutes before he (and I) was up for the day...ugh, the joys of fatherhood...

Sunday we had a nice morning walking/scootering the bike path near Pleasure Point, and were off to the race. We parked next door to the Soquel HS at this huge playground - Liam was sliding down the hugest slide I've ever seen, and I half-wished I could just play there with him rather than participate in the wild ride next door. But I reluctantly made my way over to get my spanking.

And what a spanking it was - a 5 1/2 minute spanking by Barry Wicks...bloody hell. Got on the course while Rachel was making mincemeat of the Women's field. Couldn't really open up there so Cam and I did a little warm-up on the main road.

So, for some reason I felt completely devoid of cornering skills. I could ride everything fine and I didn't crash, but I lost the fast guys on the loosey goosey corners and not on the pedaling parts. Had a decent start and followed the leaders (Barry, BJM, AJM, Justin, Simon) until I started to lose them on the left-hander after the gnarly downhill to the tennis courts. I hit the pavement and was off the back of the leaders and already in the wind by myself (in exactly the same position I would finish). The only noteworthy happening after that was Simon getting tangled up in some netting so I got to ride with him for a lap or so. He almost brought me back to Justin but once again I couldn't hold him in the gnarly stuff. This is a little annoying because I like to think I'm a technical rider, but I guess it's all relative to the guys you're comparing yourself to. Also, I think I need to finally try those Tufo Flexus tires I glued last week - those yellow Tufo's don't seem to grab like they should in the loose stuff. Ah well, live and learn. From then on, I was on my own with nobody that I could see chasing me, and Simon and Justin slowly inching away every lap.

One other thing that was tough about the course was the flow - Lauren (Costantini) said she had a hard time recovering, but I actually felt I had a hard time hammering - after 5 or 6 pedal strokes to get up to speed you rarely needed any more because you were preparing for the next corner, obstacle, or technical section, and the only place you could really open up was on the gravel section. People were comparing this race to Hellyer but I think in spite of the bumps Hellyer was much more flowy - in-between the technical sections you could really peg it. Anyhow, in light of this and my inexplicable inability to corner I lost massive amounts of time. I wasn't alone, as everyone outside the top 7 got lapped! I ended up 6th - about where I expected, but 5:29 down??? Ugh.

Still had a lot of fun, especially hearing Liam (and Frances) scream "Go Daddy!", it made the run-up more enjoyable.

Kudos to the Bellas for a great time.

Oh, and on the way home we made the HUGE mistake of going up Rt. 1. We had forgotten about the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. It took almost 2 hours to get thru town. I was livid - it seems really unfair for a town to virtually shut down a major road like Rt. 1. The boys took it all in stride, though, so we made the best of the situation with a little "family time in the car".

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Dirty Old Men

BASP Race#1, Cat A, 3rd place.
Teammates: Brian, Aaron, Scott in SS...

Photos c/o Tim Brennan (see more).

Pilarcitos numba one took place at Hellyer Velodrome, which was sorta cool. Pre-riding the bumpy-ass course I was worried about the technical spots and of course those damn bumps on my lower back. Most of the heavy-hitters were in Gloucester so it was a nice local race, except that Old Man Noble made the drive from So. Cal to put the hurt on us. Picked the wrong day not to wear gloves - got a nice blister on the right palm.

Mark Noble schooled us all

Anyhow, youda thunk it was the M35+ race with Mark Noble, Rich Maile, and Mike Hernandez, and myself duking it out (how old is Hooptie?). Got a good start behind Rich and plowed up to the first barriers into the first U-Turn - oops rear tire slides out and Hernando barely misses me. Hop back on in 6th or so and look up and Noble is already powering away - good, I didn't want to ride with him anyhow. Henandez, though, I had plans for him... So I resigned myself to getting back up with him and Rich, so I settle in with Cameron, and Hooptie (having a good ride) to try and bring them back. Rich crashes and joins our group. I sit on for a lap and take a pull and somehow we drop Cam. Rich, Rob, and I set our sights on Hernando. Then Rich flats and somehow Hooptie flies the coop in a mad bridge up to Mike. Schnikies, all of a sudden I'm alone in 4th and the Hernando-Hooptie duo is taking pulls about 4 sec ahead of me. Over the next few laps I slowly pull them back and was about 10M behind entering the track, and Hernando decides he doesn't want me to catch so he flexes his Cat 1 legs and does a textbook 200M track sprint leaving Hooptie and me to fight out 3rd place. Lucky for me, Hooptie drops his chain on the next lap and I just ride a hard tempo in for the last 3 laps for 3rd.

Anyhow, it was a good ride for me and my undertrained and underslept ass, and my back seemed to hold up ok - which is pretty amazing since that was the bumpiest race ever. Mark was untouchable and rode a fine race. Kudos to him and to Mike who was damn fast as well. I have some work to do...

Oh, and Hooptie gets extra style points for doing cross-ups into the wood-chips every lap. BTW I wonder if he recalls the good old days when we used to battle it out in the Surf City B's (circa 1999)...

Congrats to Matthias for winning the Master B's - I think he's found his new calling.

Next stop: Soquel High with all those boys home from Gloucester...yikes!

Oh, and much thanks to Julie Barrot and Eric Sterner for the hand-ups - was a pretty hot day and it was much appreciated.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

DFL Three and Four - Spanked by the Kid

FYI photos maliciously stolen from Bici Girl's Flickr collection

Oof whatta week. My butt was thoroughly kicked before I even put my shoes on and then it was time to get kicked all over again. Basically both DFL races this week went the same, Cam and I rode out for a little jaunt off the front, and then Cam drops me with 15 minutes to go.

Wednesday's race was another crazy Crocker-Amazon course, and this time they put us on the narrow sidewalk on Geneva Ave then right thru the middle of the parking lot - totally nuts. Anyhow, you know how it went, but man those "little" hills hurt over and over. You can't do hill repeats like those on your own.

Does this dress make my ass look fat?

Saturday's race was the DFL finals, a terrific little twisty jaunt thru the trails of GGP, followed by the splendid little affair that was the BBQ and awards. I arrived Saturday AM a little worn out - my week of riding somehow got derailed by a 80-somthing-hour work week that kept me busy right up until 3AM Saturday. Anyhow, Cam basically toyed with me all race - he even slowed down to wait for me when I dropped my chain. Then he dropped me with a couple laps to go, and I don't know if he was even trying to. It's fun riding with Cam, the kid's got serious skills...but lord knows how he can keep his body temp down with that shrub growing on his chin.

So, check out the trophies for the DFL series - these things are sweeter than any cash payout from any event in the area.

DFL Series Winners Cameron Falconer and Rachel Lloyd

Rachel is back, by the way. Look out girls...

Props to Herr Snodgrass and the DFL crew. You guys are THE BEST!

Sleep is Good

We are so frikkin' lucky to have a newborn that sleeps. Fran is pretty sure Rowan slept from 10pm-7am last night (then went back to sleep 'til 8:30), which makes photos like this possible. Rewind 3 1/2 years and you'd be looking at 2 sleep-deprived Funkes arguing at 4AM whose turn it is to get up and bounce a screaming Liam.

Of course Liam is the absolute dream-child now, so I can only imagine what Rowan has in store for us...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

First Stop Hell, Next Stop Hellyer

CCCX #1 went down today.

Simon puts the hurt onIt was baptism by fire today - I competed in my first real race since 2004 Districts and teammate Brian Rogers did his first race with the big boys. Adding fuel to the fire was...umm....heat - it was a fukin' scorcher out there. I sucked down two bottles warming up and another during the race thanks to Hans and Roaring Julie. So...I guess I have to be careful what I ask for - I wanted to finally have a trouble-free race to gauge my fitness - I got my trouble-free race allright, and wasn't really happy with what the gauge said.

Prunedale is always a tough course for me - hitting that hill at 0mph followed by the long false flat over the top was killing me, and I pretty much would spend the rest of each lap recovering and fearing the next ride up the hill. Ugh. Anyhow, race started I was dangling off the front group for a lap, but was totally maxed so I got gapped and plodded on until Cam caught me. We rode together but Cam was killing me and then Aaron Kereluk catches us. Aaron was riding well and hitting it hard and I pretty much hung on until 3 or so to go, when at least one piston stopped firing and I went into damage control. Some guy on an MTB named Jason caught me before 1 to go and I hung on to him for a while, but all the fight was gone so I just kind of tempo-ed in, a little dejected. Hernandez almost caught me at the finish, but I held the bastard off.

The A group is looking pretty deep this year - even without Wicks and the conspicuously absent J-M bros, it seems everyone is at it this year, except I hear Aaron O'Dell isn't really doing CX this year. Simon and Chris McGovern seem to be stepping up even a little more this year.

McGovern looks freaking badass this year. I saw him hitting it hard and even trying to drop Wicks. He might have had a shot if he didn't flat. Of course Barry won, and Simon was an impressive 2nd. Mark Noble got 3rd - the guy is 43 fer chissakes (I can't really whine about being over the hill with Noble around). Also, Justin was solid and Chance Noble is looking like more and more of a powerhouse every year.

The ride home was pretty long with 2 dejected Sycippers sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on 101. There was a little soul searching going on...

Anyhow, I gotta keep this in perspective - it's only September and I only got on the bike in July, so I definitely (hopefully?) have a ways to go. This was also a tough training week what with plenty of intervals and 2 sessions of what I call my puke-sprints. This next week is the hardest in my program and then it's on to a rest week and the REAL season. Look out boyz, I'm coming for you...ummm maybe.

On the last lap I also strained something in my upper back - which is an entirely new area of the spine for me. I got home and was trying to hide it from Fran but she noticed me wincing and got all bent out of shape at me, saying I'm too old for this crap. "Too old?", said I, "I just got my clock cleaned by a 43-year-old...oh yeah, and his 18-yr-old son."

Besides, she's the one that got me a new skateboard for my birthday.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I Think My 3 Year Old is on Drugs

Liam's words this morning, verbatim:

"Last night I dreamt that Marco jumped into the water and changed into a funny-looking blue frog. Under the water, all the fish looked like seahorses. Then, all the fishes jumped out of the water and started walking on the grass. Then the fish started eating fruit off all the trees. Then Marco jumped out of the water and changed back into a real dog. It was so crazy."

Marco is our beloved dog who died of cancer last year.

33.5 lbs of Butter!

Mmmmm I love the smell of new bike. Here's the insurance replacement for my loaded stolen Santa Cruz Heckler - a loaded Santa Cruz Nomad. Got a nice little ride up and down West Ridge w/ Dave before dusk yesterday - it was super sweet. VPP feels a little different out-of-the-saddle but ~6.5" front/rear makes it all worthwhile. Fun factor of 10.

DFL Numéro Deux

Jeepers that course was a bitch. I got there just in time to put on my (same old boring) dress and number, didn't see the course. Freaking hilly and bumpy-ass course and right away my chain starts skipping. Watched Cameron then Rich ride away as my cog skipped every 3rd pedal stroke, couldn't stand on it or it would skip more, so I basically tried to hold off everyone from behind, which I barely did - Rick Hunter almost caught me at the line. Next race hopefully the planets will align and I can start hammering again - I kind of want to see where my fitness is vis-a-vis other riders but I guess I'll have to wait. Probably better off anyhow, when it happens I'll only be left with one excuse: old age. Christ, I'm 38 tomorrow.

Didn't have any time for chillin' with the grrrls post-race. It was great to see Mattias out there on his shiny new steed!
My problem was an uber-stiff link which took like 20 minutes to loosen up.

Might try CCCX this weekend if I can get away. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Boyz

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

DFL Numero Uno

DFL Urban Outlaw Cyclocross Race #1

Yes, it's that time of year again. This series is such a hoot I can't seem to stay away. Dylan and Ducky and crew are such great guys and the vibe is always fun, regardless of skyrocketing heartrates.

Last year DFL #1 was the first and last race of my season. This year, hopefully that won't be the case - a whole year off plus a healthy dose of Pilates may save my cx "career" yet.

Anyhow, the wife got some 48-hour bug that she passed to me yesterday. I've been feeling woozy all day and almost dozed off in a meeting today. Didn't feel much like riding hard tonight but thought I'd start the race to see what happened. Hung with Cameron and Simon for a lap and a half and had to let them go, I just couldn't push it. Rode with Rich Maile in 3rd until he cramped up and then Ginger (who looked FABULOUS in his long golden braids) caught me and I sat on his wheel until he dropped his chain. This was perfect since I didn't have to ride that hard to preserve my spot so I tempo-ed in for 3rd place - which will keep me high in the standings for next week when I'll be (hopefully) healthy again. I don't even feel that tired tonight, thank goodness. Even though I train right thru DFL (hella hard workout last night) I still like to give it my all if I can, get a good workout, and maybe even win it all again.

Was good to see all the folks out there again after such a long time off. I even noticed Barry Wicks was out there (but he didn't race). The course was really single-tracky and fun, and I liked that you could ride most of the it. Lapping riders on the ST was hard but everyone was cool. Bunny-hopping the big log was fun and good practice. I didn't enjoy the downhill run, though - a bit hard on the back. Not a whole lot of teammates in the race (Ron, Dennis sans dress!, Aaron) but a lot showed up to spectate (Hans, Brian, Jeremy Sycip, Erika, more?).

Never made it to Thrift Town this week, so I had to recycle an old dress from, jeepers, 4 years ago? This dress is the most functional dress ever - basically looks like a long floral lycra tank top on my long torso...but really I need some style so maybe this weekend I'll head over to the Mission.

Got home this evening and Liam pointed out to me that I was wearing a dress, which didn't seem to phase his 3 1/2 yr old mind, but only time will tell if there will be any long-term effects...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Liam and Rowan

Photo says it all. Liam is a great big brother. When Rowan cries, Liam comes running from some remote corner of the house with a pacifier in his hand. He puts it up to Rowan's lips and smacks his lips just like Mommy to get Rowan to start sucking. It's just too sweet.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Oh Boy!

I'm breaking an 11-month sabbatical from my personal blog for a very good reason - this morning at at 3:12AM, Rowan Brennan Funke (a.k.a. "Speedy") came into this world, barely two hours after arriving at the hospital.

Frances had a few hours of contractions, we spoke to our pal Krista (also, our Doula), and when they started getting uncomfortable . After cutting it a little close with Liam's birth (Fran was in very intense contractions en route to the hospital), we decided we'd be more conservative this time. Turns out we weren't conservative at all, had we waited any longer I think we would have been in trouble. After two intense hours, Rowan came out strong and screaming (just like his Mommy). He is utterly perfect.

I'm so proud of our new little one, who thus far has shown himself to be a good eater and sleeper...we'll see how that goes in the coming weeks.

I think Liam is gonna be a great big bro...