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...