Saturday, January 31, 2009

Inaugural Snotcicle

Or was it the ice-cylce? Maybe the skid-cicle?

The inaugural Snotcycle race today in Leesburg was, when all was said and done, a blast. I can't say I loved the riding conditions nearly as much as everyone else out there but really it made things interesting. Also the freeze thaw that was going on throughout the race made each lap a whole new experience. One lap one section was solid fast and sticky, the next it was slick wet ice.

Only one crash on my part to report though many, many near wipe outs and even more foot downs and side ways skids. I think I ran the tires at too high a pressure on the Scalpel but I had no idea what 26 inch wheels can take since I'd never messed around with tire pressure before getting the 29'er which I can ride down to the mid 20's and lower probably. 30 on the front seemed a bit risky setting up and the rear I left even higher. Probably could've at least taken both down to the high 20's.

I started off in the front 1/4 of riders probably and lined it out into the woods. I made a pass of two guys leading to the hole before hitting a straight out icey patch skidding out and then getting passed by a half a dozen guys. That, as usual was the story of the day. One small error and 5 or 6 guys passed. Down the same hill Ricky said he crashed on I slid right off the trail on the second lap past the tape and crashed fairly hard on the third.

One thing I noticed with the conditions was how much my confidence would swing. One little slip sideways of the rear wheel tended to drop the confidence much more then I would generally expect. On the other hand passing another rider gave a solid boost, while getting passed even by just one rider seemed to noticably slow me down with caution. I know a large part of that was my uneasiness on the ice andd unwillingness to trust my tires and technical skills but as the season progresses my ability to stay on an even keel would be a huge help. Especially in longer endurance races of course.

In the end I'd take a guess that I was somewhere around mid-pack, maybe a bit lower. Not great but not the worst thing ever. The guys running the event as expected put on a first class race with a great laid back atmosphere. Next year, I likely won't plan to race this one, but for this time, it was a good time. Adam had raving reviews along with a number of other guys over on the MORE site so I'd say my opinion is in the minority and the race has nothing to fear for future success.

Photos courtesy of Brian.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Wrap-Up in a Jiffy

Another day another missed opportunity to blog. I still have things to say but I'm not interested in saying them right now. I just want to crawl in to bed and imagine that tomorrow's Snotcycle race won't really be that bad. Maybe Leesburg isn't coated in the sheet of ice that covers my yard and the sidewalks of 90% of my neighborhood. Maybe I won't fall twice for every pedal stroke I take. It's doubtful, but I'll try and remain hopeful.Another shot from Thursday evening.

The Scalpel is ready to go. I was thinking about taking the Jamis Dragon 29'er converted single speed, but in my preparing it to use tonight I cleaned it up way to thoroughly to throw right back in the muck tomorrow. The Scalpel on the other hand needs a thorough cleaning and fine tuning. For tomorrow it will do the trick.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Some images of the day

Great sunset over the tidal basin today.

Have a few things to say today but today just isn't the day to get them down. I'm tired now so I'll just leave you with these shots from my day.

Haines Point appears to have a new family living there.

The tidal basin area produced a bunch of cool shots tonight. Hard to choose my favorites but this one is pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Duty Served

I'm done, for the next three years. It was a tough day of discussions and deliberations; at least I'd imagine it was for the people who decided the fate of the jurors today. Once the PG County schools were announced as closing two and half hours early it was essentially a given they'd have to let us go. Too many people claiming the need to pick up their children or be home with them for the second half of the day. Who knows if they all have children but I don't think it was within the power or interest of the court staff to figure that out.

So, with a dusting of snow across the grass and wet roads I headed back to Aimee's in DC where Cassie awaited. The drive out PA Ave seemed substantially easier then down 495 during morning rush hour so she allowed me to stay. Even better, some personally made wine (through a vineyard in California) from my Uncle was just delivered to Aimee's since MD does not allow Alcohol to be delivered to homes. Had I not gotten out early today we'd have been trying to figure out how and when and where we could go pick the wine up. Thanks PG County government for lending a brother a hand.

Now if I can just get confirmation on the Tuesday night Rosaryville ride for tonight. The I can officially state the cards are falling my way today. (Knock, knock on wood)

Forget the Litespeed!

Today it's a QRoo Tri bike for 50% off! Now THAT I really do want!

Oh and Chainlove has been displaying some pretty decent looking all mountain and downhill style bikes like the one today with 6inches of travel front and rear with full XT. Nice. Don't know anything about Commencal but it looks like a steal to me.

Civic Duty

Today for the first day of snow for the season I'm sitting in the prince georges county court house waiting, likely to be sent home because of the weather. Worst thing is I'm just down the road from rosaryville and my bike is calling my name. "come on Kevin, snow ride! You know you want it!"

Yes, yes I do. Hopefully something happens soon. I'll at least make the tuesday night rosey ride...
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, January 26, 2009


This is for real...

That is 51% off a full Dura-Ace Litespeed, originally $8000. Damn! I don't really need or even want it that bad, but just dangling something out there like that is rough no matter what!

GamJams Survey: Embrocation

This weeks survey is slightly obscure at this level of cycling I'd say. I had no clue what the stuff was until reading some reviews last year on Belgium Knee Warmers on some brands of it. Don't really see myself trying any out at this point, though I also don't even use chamois cream yet either. Chamois cream though seems a lot more reasonable and necessary then a lather of skin warming goo.

Anyway, whatever your feelings are on it, take the poll on my side bar and let the world know how you feel about it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A fountain of riding goodness

It may look like I'm about to ride off the edge here but this is one of the complete log rides I pulled off.

This is partially the way every weekend should be. Saturday and Sunday mornings were both spent on the mountain bike. Love it.

Balancing before the fall. I love these things!

Today Adam and I headed down to Fountain Head park down in Fairfax Station, VA; my first time riding there. We skipped down 295 and onto 95 for the longish drive and ended up hitting the park sometime a bit before 10. Hitting the trail at first I was completely shocked by the rootiness of it. I started bombing down the hill and before I knew it felt like I was loosing it all over the place. I managed to get a grip and got used to it pretty quickly.

The skinny totter flattened out.

The park offered a bit more climbing then Rosaryville, nothing too serious but enough to get the breath moving. After the entry roller coaster trail we came out to a pretty sweet little play area in a "valley" opening. There are two teeter totters and a decent long and straight log-ride along with a bit of a busted picnic table and such. The teeters were the first I'd ever seen or tried and with a couple of tries we both completed the log ride.

Pretending to pull off a jump.

Through out the rest of the park the trails remained pretty technical but completely fun. Cleaning some of the more difficult areas feels great and really working over some of the technical features and short steep climbs is a great change up from the flowing smooth Rosaryville trails. Never really seen trails marked as well as those in Fountain Head either which was great. Rosaryville doesn't really need much signage while at Patapsco it would just be impossible.

Adam riding the drop.

In the exiting section of rollers I did some attempts on a side entry log ride but couldn't quite get the rear wheel up on it. At some point I'll have to get out and just spend some time on the log rides; I know the handling skills from that would greatly benefit my riding abilities. As I told Adam today, I think I'm lacking a bit in the technical skills category, I tend to just try and muscle my way through the technical stuff. Good for a bit but probably at the expense of endurance and it won't work on everything.

Leveling it out.

Afterwards a couple of burgers and some fries was the perfect ending to another great ride.

Up the teeter.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Early morning high's at Rosaryville

This morning I got up early (on a weekend? wtf?) and headed out to Rosaryville for a couple of moderate laps on the new bike. I met Chris and John a bit after 8am (we were all a bit late) and the three of us plus Cassie headed out for a lap. I led the way and kept things moving and flowing pretty well for Chris on his cross bike and John riding for the first time since mid season last year.

I only got one picture today despite carrying my camera the whole time. Stopping for pictures just wasn't in my mindset this morning.

Everyone was having a good time and both guys loved the trails and inner loop especially. We stopped a few times, mostly so I could give Cass some water and otherwise made great time through the loop. Chris is impressive on the cross machine and really seemed to get a lot out of the ride. John was also really enjoying his first time at Rosaryville and if a wife's tapping toe wasn't waiting around at home would have stayed for the second lap.

After the first lap we talked for a bit in the lot and I got Cass back in the truck. The dropping temperature was being felt pretty quickly so I decided I needed to get moving quick. I jumped back on the bike and rode smoothly back onto the trails. I kept the pace moderate and just kept riding. No breaks, no serious hammering, just smooth quick riding.

I did a million times better with the nutrition today and could really tell the difference. I even remembered to fill and bring my water bottles full of Accelerade to help keep me going. I rode the inner loop, this time a bit smoother and with more of the natural flow of the area and finished out the loop with energy to spare. Towards the end of the ride I saw one of the DCMTB groups for the day getting going. Would have liked to have turned around and joined them but after 2 laps (or considering the group after 0 laps for me) keeping up with these guys would be a serious challenge for me.

The trails had frozen with a little bit of water in some spots but mostly those spots were just damp enough to see the tire treads. More surprisingly to me was the relative leaf cover in a lot of areas. The wind was up today and likely last night so I guess it blew a bunch of leaves over some areas of the trail. While riding spot on in the middle of the trails a few times I felt my rear sliding out on me where it hadn't last week.

Another great ride at Rosaryville though all the same. Tomorrow Adam and I are planning to head down for my first ride at Fountain Head. Should be a blast; I've heard only positives about the trails there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Bagel Ride

I wasn't going to ride today but with highs reaching up near 50 it was a hard sell. Leaving Aimee's this morning (still there for inaugural week and after yesterday's Pro-life protest crowds I'm very happy about that) I threw in my knickers an under armour top and a jersey just in case. Next thing I knew I was emailing Chris and Scott about riding during lunch.

Scott felt he was over dressed so he decided to put on a show for the new President.

He also went to the river and threw ice at Chris and I. I think he was just so happy to be away from work today that he lost the majority of his remaining sanity for a breif period of time.

We ended up doing a somewhat "special" down day ride that we've been doing on occasion the last few years which is named simply the bagel ride. As you might have guessed we ride to a bagel shop and back. Whoaa, teh crazy. Unfortunately as Scott likes to say DC is a complete bagel wasteland so our beacon of light shines from the downtown streets of Bethesda, Maryland, just off the Capital Crescent trail.
Riding out PA Ave.

The ride was comfortable with some chilly breezes. No hard efforts and lots of conversation. A great way to end out the work work week with a smile. An even better way when you return to the office close to 2 pm and cut out a half hour early at 3. Sure hope the Boss man didn't stop by looking for me today.Scott takes it by a nose... or maybe Chris takes it by a helmet brim... What's the call on this?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How do you title a day?

Who knows, but I wanted to write anyway. My pictures do not match my words; just my day.

Today's Gamjams Review was for bar tape. I tend to buy whatever is available. I'm just not too specific about it. Maybe some are more comfortable then others but I find basic cork tape works just fine for me and doesn't get slippery on the hot and sweaty summer riding around the soggy DC Metro area.

Cassie must be one of the happiest (and happiest looking) dogs in the world!

Did the noon ride at Haines again today, this time with a much larger group of riders. I hadn't seen Chris G in a long time so we spent the majority of the ride sitting on the back just chatting. The pace was decent and I once again felt pretty good just sitting in. Also like yesterday I probably wouldn't have been able to do too much more, though after some vehicle issues and some fairly large seperations I was able to drill hard and long enough to bring myself back onto the back of the group. In the past I know I've struggled, maybe just mentally with the group seeming to be just barely out of reach.

She got a little play time in over at a park in Capital Hill today after work.

Now to one of the biggest issues with cycling and training. I STILL don't have enough gear for all this riding! Cold weather riding is especially bad; I have to wear so many layers that after a couple of rides I am out of clean riding clothes. Today I wore shorts under the fleece tights simply because I wanted to keep the tights relatively clean so I could get out again tomorrow. That's kind of gross considering I did the same thing yesterday and I tend to sweat pretty heavily no matter what.

Homer got some park time as well though the small children who he is a afraid of kept him on his leash at all times.

I think this method will work up to a point though at some time I'm going to need to think about getting another pair of fleece lined winter tights. The second under armour shirt helped a ton so if I can continually use the jacket over and over I'm probably golden. It's tough being a cycliste, there's always more stuff to NEED (want)...

For all the cross-heads out there

This is big news:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Today was a good day

To borrow the words of a great orator of our time, today was a good day. Really, it was just an ordinary day with a bit of a different feel from even just last week. At this point it's just mental but I feel better. I was surprisingly happy considering it was essentially a Monday morning back at the office after a long weekend. Who's up for a case of Moondays?

Did the Haines Point noon ride today for the first time in probably well over 6 months. It was good to finally get myself back out there and get back the feel of riding in a group again. I felt like I threw off the rotation every time I tried to join in but I didn't try too many times since I knew in that wind I wouldn't last too long even on the back of the group. I managed to hang in and ride the few laps Scott and I were there for which felt pretty good despite the pretty slow and easy pace of the group.

Hopefully I'll manage to keep enough clean gear at the office so I can start riding more at lunch as I work to build the base back up. I think I'm most excited for warmer weather right now so I won't have to wear and clean as much gear whenever I ride!

I've got a long way to go this season but I think I'm off to a pretty good start so far.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The times they are a Changin'

The Eastern Mall crowds were huge, at least that's what it looked like on the J-Tron from the WWII Memorial...

It was a near perfect day today for the inaugural ceremony (despite the cold) and Aimee, Brian and I all headed down to see the swearing in. The crowd was enormous and jovial and happy and just every thing you could hope for. Despite my general distaste for the pomp and circumstance and traditional "stuck up-ness" surrounding political events I felt truly caught up in the ceremony. The crowd was electric and when Obama came out they exploded into cheers and clapping and general giddiness. Very cool to see it all.

Aimee and Brian just below the Washington Monument.

As could be expected Obama's speech was moving and inspirational and all around phenomenal. No matter your feelings on the campaign buzz words of the year, I can honestly say that Obama's speech gave me hope for the next four years in our country's continuing journey.

President Barack Hussein Obama - the 44th president of the United States of America. I have very high hopes for you Mr. President, please don't let us down.

I'm glad I was apart of today.

Beers afterward at Matchbox.

Uh, Did I miss something here???

Monday, January 19, 2009

Riding Rosey but where's the snow???

I had high hopes and expectations for snow last night and today so I was pretty happy when the flurries started to fall around 9:15 leaving my house for Rosaryville. 5 Minutes later they were finished and that was the last snow we'd see for the morning. So much for calling it the roses in snow ride.

Brian and Adam decked out for the chilly ride. We've got to get Brian some new gloves already!

Anyway, Brian, Adam and I all met up for the chilly ride in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day and for my first ride on a geared "26'er" in probably a year. I was pretty anxious to try out the new bike; it'd be my first experience really riding any kind of a full suspension bike with it's minimalistic 2.5" rear squish.

Pre-ride rig shot.

Short report:

It was awesome! It tracks like a dream and goes exactly where I point it. I didn't quite recognize the lose of complete precision in switching to a 29'er I'd had. Granted the 29'er allows for that with it's rolling capabilities but with the light weight Scalpel set up I think I'm pretty happy with the bike. I need to get a full run down of the bike and I'll add a full report on my initial feelings as well but for now I'll just say it is perfect for me.

Rollin' the Boardwalk, we'll be havin fun...

The ride itself was great. The trails were perfect aside from the deep ruts (probably from people riding last weekend after the 1" plus of rain fall) that were frozen and somewhat hazardous if you didn't hit them just right. Cass came along and did her usual follow the leader deal.

Cassie following at low speed (so I didn't crash while trying to take the picture).

I did some pretty hard efforts through some of the fairly tight and twisty areas on the trail and I think I rode some of those sections harder and faster then I ever have before. For a majority of the ride though we rode pretty moderately steady and took a few water and talk breaks throughout.

Adam was highly impressed with the inner loop in general and the boardwalk specifically.

The inner loop was a blast and Brian and Adam were both riding it for the first time and were very happy with it. I couldn't believe how hard I could rail it through there. I need to work on getting my speed up going over some of the bigger steeper logs but once again with the low weight on this bike I feel like I can do so much more.

Brian has helped move the boardwalk boards around but had never riden them before today. Totally gratifying I believe.

Post ride we got beers and BBQ at a Texas BBQ place in Clinton (highly recommended) and then went our separate ways. A perfect way to spend a morning off. Thank you Dr. King! :) Well for that and everything else of course!

We all looked this happy after our beers and BBQ. Yum.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My disease

I've got one. It's obvious to most people that know me pretty well. I know lots of people with the same disease. I tend to surround myself with these people. I try to transfer my disease to those around me who do not already have it. I am very, very contagious.

Only one of the six bikes in this picture does not belong to either me or Aimee. I bet you can tell which it is...

Aimee decided she didn't want me to wait until February for the bike I was planning to buy used from a guy off of the MORE forums. So, she loaned me the cash for the new purchase. I, similarly to a crack addict, did everything I could to make sure the purchase could happen. I needed my new bike fix.

I woke up early, stole Aimee's car (approved thievery of course) and headed out to Wakefield Park to meet Jason on his way down to ride Laurel Hill. I did more then my fair share of over loading in cramming a couple of bikes into Aimee's tiny Kia Sephia. A crack head will do whatever they have to to get their fix. I got my bike.

Later in the day Aimee was starting to get the itch. The signs were obvious; I knew exactly what was happening. I could see it in her eyes. Aimee, with just the first taste of a sweet ride back in October at Revolution Cycles, had caught the bug. We need to go, I want to go, we HAVE to go look at bikes she says.

Who am I to judge. I oblige.

While I replaced the tube in my new rear wheel and swapped out my spd pedals to the new cranks, Aimee was busy checking out all the latest goods in the shop side at Capital Hill Bikes. Next thing I know she is telling me to get my bike back together, we're getting a quick fix.

A sneak peak.

Tour de Eastern Market, ended with two new bikes in the bike room of Aimee's apartment building. At the moment, 5 of the 12 bikes there are ours. The remainder ALL have flat tires and have not moved in over 6 months.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Inaugural Roll Out

This afternoon, after it warmed up a bit and I got some hot coffee and food in my stomach I headed out for a ride in the still chilly DC weather. The Weather Channel said something like 21, feels like 5 or 10 so definitely a cold one. I wore my lobster gloves, new under armour top, under armour tights and castelli 's over top, a wind vest and my Campy jacket and surprisingly felt near perfectly dressed for the majority of the ride. Only things that was cold during the ride were of course my toes.

The moto-cops looked like they were lining up for a parade of their own.

The street lights lining Pennsylvania Ave decked out in their Inaugural best. DC and American Flags and all topped with golden Eagle statues.

I swung down to the Capital area first to check out the scene down there, stopped for a few pictures and generally puttered around for a bit before heading out towards Georgetown. Things were being their crescendo for the festivities and everywhere I looked there were police officers with lines of cars stopped to ask them directions on how to get here and there. Essentially the place was over run with police and tourists. Craziness.

The President's Parade viewing box. I guarantee it's got a great heater!

Made my way out to the Custis trail assuming it'd be nice and empty in the days' cold and road moderately hard out to the W&OD trail and out a bit into Vienna and back. Saw a decent number of runners and a handful of cyclists but for the most part the trail was mine.

66 Appeared fairly loaded heading back in to DC in stark contrast to the near empty trail.

Riding back across the city I was getting more then my fair share of stares from the wandering tourists. Getting to Aimee's front glass door I realized why. I'm so glad I have my beard.