Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2003 Kona SS Photos

For my team mate Alex who I posted before is selling his custom built SS Kona. This bike is SWEET! See link for more information.

2009 Pittsburgh Sprint Triathlon - In words

You all already know I had some decent results Sunday at the Pittsburgh Triathlon, though I'd guess you're thinking I did better then I really did. So no, I did not win the overall race. I came in 6th overall but 1st in my age group, so a podium spot was mine none the less.

On top! (of the age group...)

The race was pretty fun for my first tri of the year and Cole and Teddy's first ever despite swimming in another river that the mere mention of brings cringing and questions of sanity (I really don't think its any worse then the Potomac). Standing on the shore watching the Olympic distance racers was pretty tough for some of the 1st timers out there. The long swim course went up river before turning around and heading back down to rejoin the sprint course and down river further to the water exit. Unfortunately the up river swim did not hug the shore as I would have expected but went right up the middle of the river.

Ever seen one of those swimming treadmills where the water flows and you swim to stay in place? Yeah, it was like that for a few poor souls.

Our start was good though. I got in quickly and got a very brief warm up in before the race started and we were off with the flow. I could tell I hadn't been swimming enough, but I also could tell I could have used a better warm up. Once I got settled in I swam consistently down to the exit. I drifted a bit swimming back across the river to the exit and probably lost some time trying to walk back up the slippery rocky ramp to the official exit area but overall I had a pretty good swim.

31st Overall

Transition was quick and uneventful.


The bike was pretty cool, following the same highway I used to drive to get out to my old job at the home depot when I lived there, only in the HOV lanes. Going out was basically a false flat uphill +. I felt pretty good keeping a good cadence but still putting pressure on the pedals, and passing scores of people on the way. I battled a few people along the way, coming out on top of each one, though admittedly at least a few of them were out for the Olympic distance race which was two laps of the course. Coming back in we all were picking up some serious speed and a passing rain cell dumped stinging rain drops on us all as we topped out in the mid to upper 30's. I passed Teddy making a hard pass with a guy right behind me while going close to 40 on the aero bars down hill in the rain. I gave the slightest of a nod at that point.

10th overall

Very quick T2, felt like I was forgetting something and stalled a moment while I decided if I was.


The run was up river along the river trail we used to run on for Crew back in the day, almost up to the island and then back. I kept my leg turnover high and just worked to keep my effort high. From the start of the run I could spot the racer ahead of me, a Pro Bikes guy (sponsors of the race) and so I set my sights on a steady catch. After about a mile I caught and passed him and shortly there after saw the leaders heading back in to the finish on the out and back course. I counted four and thought myself in a pretty comfortable position, though far enough back I wasn't catching any of them and I settled into a quick but sustainable pace. At the turn around I realized my previous pass was also being passed by another guy I'd battled on the bike. He was cruising up the path so I picked up my speed to try to hold him off as long as I could. His long gait and smooth running style got the best of me however with probably a mile to go and though I tried to stick him for the final mile he was way too fast. I settled back into my pace and finished strong without a sprint for the line since I was all alone as far back as I could see. I believe I was the 5th finisher but another competitor from the next wave I believe was faster to place me 6th overall.

16th overall

Cole and I enjoying the view from the podium!

It was a great feeling coming down into the well stocked lines of fans at the finish along the river, especially being so high up in the finishing order. Hearing everyone cheering just for me as I finished all alone there was pretty cool. I spoke briefly with the guy who passed me on the run and told him he did a great job and went back to watch for Cole and Teddy to follow. Cole came in super strong for 21st overall and Teddy came in a bit later for his first tri finish as well. All things considered here, they both did awesome! Next time Cole's going to be VERY hard to beat and well, if Teddy will actually train a little bit he'll be right there as well. The only thing that would have made this race better would have been a sweep of the podium for us Duquesne Crew boys. There's always next time...

Acknowledging the Duquesne Crew shout out from Pat's father who competed in the relay category. Sweet!

Oh yeah, and Cole at least is all about next time... Another convert.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pittsburgh Tri

Me, Teddy and Cole post race.

No words yet here on this but here are some shots for a general idea of how the race went.

Cole and I representing the Duquesne Crew team. Yes, there were a handful of Carnegie Mellon rowing alumni in the race as well. Just like the old days of kicking their butts.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I haven't been back to the burgh since the Head of the Ohio in 2006, missing it last year due to the Jersey Man Half. Considering some of my best friends are here, that time seems even longer to me. Got in yesterday and was greeted by Cole and Teddy at Cole and Teresa's beautiful house in South Hills. Driving in I was taken by how beautiful the entry on 376 is in into the city. I forgot how cool this place is.

Today after a relaxing morning Cole and I took a moderate little maintenance run down along the river with Cass. Got the legs moving and the blood flowing and just got to realize how much I miss it here and miss hangin out with these guys. Tonight we're heading over to Teddy's for dinner and we'll catch up with Webster who coaching the crew team these days. Good times, good people... good stuff.

Looking forward to the race on Sunday morning; I think we're all pretty ready for it, and Cole is saying he's definitely interested in doing more races, including some Xterra races... Sweet...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back to the (attempted) start

This coming Sunday, the 26th I'll finally be participating in the Pittsburgh Triathlon. Two years ago I made a big fuss over signing up for the race that year for what would have been my first triathlon. Then, playing bike polo I crashed, hurt my shoulder and fell off my swimming and training in general pretty hard and gave up on that race.

A few years ago a couple of my closest buddies from college and I headed down to Virginia Beach to run the Shamrockfest Marathon. In the same spirit I invited them to try out the Pittsburgh tri with me this year and they were game. Their training got a bit waylaid by life (school, impending doom marriage, work, etc...) and we collectively decided on the new sprint distance.

While for the marathon we intentionally stuck together for the majority of the race, this time we'll be on our own once we hit the water. I'm feeling pretty good on the bike and running right now so I think I should be able to do fairly well. The swim is only 600 meters too so a sprint it truely is. Hopefully my buddies will enjoy the tri as much as I have and will be hooked and joining me for more down the road.

Charactor in question

Jim put up a really good post yesterday that basically covers what I wanted to say today after stage 18 yesterday. I'm not quite as skeptical of the riders being clean, though once again I'm likely being naive. I prefer to believe things have changed, though still, we're seeing riders fall.

Basically, I've been a fan of Contador since the 2007 Tour when he showed up as an inexperienced young rider who was expected to earn the white jersey of best young rider but basically was not seen as a threat to the overall. It was cool to see him tearing people's legs off (though slightly dampened by his inability to beat Rasmussen, and only winning after Rass was kicked out of the tour) with such a punch.

Last year I was dissapointed when the Astana team was left out and was impressed when Contador went off and won the Giro and theVuelta a Castilla y Leon and Vuelta a Pais Vasco. The total domination of the "secondary" races showed he deserved a shot at the tour and this year I was excited to see him in action again at the Tour.

As I've mentioned before, I've never really expected anyone to beat Alberto in this race but I was excited about the prospect of a possible podium sweep and even better a top 4 or 5 sweep. How incredible a show of domination would that be?

Contador apparently has other plans though and showed the world the huge gapping hole that exists in his character. Chavendish, who early on in the tear and this race was an unstoppable power who had the respect of millions of people seems to have done the same. Thor on the other hand has just added to an already towering reputation and list of accomplishments with his incredible and silent answer to Chav's BS.

I for one hope to see LA and Kloden attack the crap out of the remainder of the race to try and get back on the podium. I know it can't happen but it would sure be nice to see. Lance has also earned a bit of respect in his willingness to obey team orders and ride forTHE TEAM as opposed to his usual high ambitions.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I'd say that in general, I'm pretty fond of tradition. I guess I sort of like the romanticism and comfort associated with it. For me there's a family tradition of puffed pancakes every holiday or our lunch at Taco Bell every Sunday after church (ok not all traditions are actually good ones) or even just that Saturday morning coffee to kick the weekend off right. While I don't necessarily like the high class, hoity toity pageantry often affiliated with our political system (political ceremonies should be an honor TO elected officials not in honor OF them, they are civil servants mind you... I'm getting off topic here aren't I), I generally have a soft spot for tradition.

I think I may have just found myself a new tradition.

Sunday afternoons are always a bit tough, at least that's what I think. I never quite know what to do with my last remaining hours of freedom before heading back into the prison cell they call a cubicle to stare at a computer screen for hours on end. Generally, especially on a weekend as nice as this past I'd be afraid to throw the time away inside somewhere or head out somewhere that'll keep me from getting to bed at a reasonable time, which if that happens then my entire week is screwed when I wake up tired and groggy on Monday morning. (I know, I've gotten old quick!)

The last two Sundays though, I've done things a little bit differently. The days have been generally filled with the Tour and house work leaving me itching to get back outside a bit and for some enjoyable physical activity, as opposed to cleaning, house work, moving stuff etc... So, around 4 or 5 both weekends I headed over the Greenbelt National Park to do some trail running with Cassie.

GNP has in the neighborhood of 9 or 10 miles of marked trails in it with some surprisingly varied terrain, for the location. Throw in the fact that that location is a mere 5 or 10 minutes from my house and it makes for a pretty good little wooded escape when the trail system across the street from my house gets a little old.

Cass and I headed over there the past two Sunday evenings, marking my first two times entering the park for a reason other then racing the Wednesday night Route 1 Velo training races and were pleasantly surprised by what we found. 8 miles later sweaty and happily tired we returned home for a calm and quite dinner and all in all a great end to a weekend.

Unfortunately the satiated feelings didn't quite last for Cass as I came home to a shredded Economist magazine and pepco bill on the floor. Am I just building her endurance and energy levels too much here?!!?!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A sad day for DCMTB

It appears one of the other new guys for DCMTB will be a short lived teammate. Alex whose a really cool, not mention fast dude is heading back West with the wife to the sunny little town of San Fransisco, California. Aside from some of the best governing and budgeting in the country, I'm not really sure at this point what draws them there but I'm sure they'll be very happy after leaving the coolest team, not to mention coast behind.

So, what does this mean for you? Well aside from not having the opportunity to get your butt whooped by one of the most unassuming and consistent riders I know in the local race scene, it means you might have the opportunity to own the custom built and painted Kona Unit Alex rode to victory in the 3 Man Single Speed class at the 2009 12 Hours of Lodi Farms! How cool is that???

No but seriously, this bike is nice, really nice, and Alex is unloading it for a song at $600 to lighten the load for the move. If you don't know him, Alex is a freak about bike cleanliness and maintenance. This bike has been weel maintained and loved, and Alex's smooth flowing riding style and maybe 160 lb frame mean any abuse this bike has taken has been minimal.

In Alex's words:

I'm throwing the SS up on the block, so if you know anyone that wants a SS for a good price let me know. It's a 26'in bike that's been ridden hard ('s got some scratches and it squeaks in spots), but for $600/obo should be a sweet ride.

Basic breakdown is as follows:

18 in Kona Unit Frame (2003'ish/True Temper Plantinum OX repainted solid white)
Pace Carbon Fork
King hubs laced to Mavic 717 rims
King Cogs (16/19)
White Bros Eno crankset
Thomson stem and post
XTR rear V-brake/Avid mech disc front (have mounts for a xtr v-brake up front as well).
Shoot him a line at apebright at gmail dot com if you're interested and I'll throw up some pictures if I can get them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Just keep simplifying it...

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski rides a 1 x 10 setup on his Gary Fisher Superfly. Pretty cool, though somewhat surprising considering. Doesn't appear to be treating him too poorly though. May he'll keep moving in this direction and start rocking the limited edition Superfly SS next season.

Too bad it was my rear derailluer that busted and not my front even if there's no way I'm picking up Sram XX anytime soon.

Friday, July 10, 2009

W@W #3 - Ain't got no time

After showing up what I thought was fairly early last week I left work at 4 to get my car from Hains Point and head to Wakefield even earlier. Upon hearing about all lanes being closed on 395 S I decided to jump on the GW Parkway and ride it down to where I assumed it met 495. 1 hour and 45 minutes later I pulled up to Wakefield threw on my kit and rushed to registration. Guess the elevated heart rate sort of counts as a warmup right?

Despite my last row starting position for the second week in a row I managed a decent position coming out of the climb and into the single track; probably around the front of the mid-pack. I felt I was racing fairly smoothly and well, not as fast as the faster SS riders by far but better then last week. I was passing a few people here and there and consistently rolling people in.

Somewhere around half way through the second lap I took a spill topping out the power line climb before the woopty doo downhill section the photogs love. Not too big a deal in it's own as I was only passed by a couple of Masters racers in the field behind SS but the fall knocked the old single-ator loose and after about 5 minutes of tentative riding the chain lost all tension and fell off. From this point I worked my way coasting and scootering my way down to the creek crossing where I managed to borrow a 5mm to tighten the single-ator and get myself back on the bike.

Passed some folks, including at least one of two other SS'ers but definitely lost more then I regained. In reviewing Gary Ryar's pics from the evening I feel like I was an even better position before the issues then I realized though still that would only be maybe top 15. Once the results come out I'll be looking for the placement of rider # 407 since he was the last rider I passed from the SS race before my problems. 423 was just a bit behind me and I believe was the second SS rider to pass after I pulled off with my dropped chain.

-Photos courtesy of Gary Ryan - Another great set of shots for all of us to oogle over how cool we look in our superstar tights!
See the results and more pictures soon here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Le Tour or the ultimate game of chess

The Tour is well on it's way now and boy has it been exciting. I followed yesterday's events on VeloNews' live coverage feed and found myself breathing heavy for that finish; and that was just reading the updates!No matter what you think about the condition of pro cycling or Lance Armstrong, you'll have to admit this is and will continue to be an exciting year for this race!

Most estimations I've read about this year's tour, and more importantly the Astana team including Lance, race favorite Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer AND Andreas Kloden pit Lance and Contador against each other with the likely end result of an implosion of epic proportions. They paint Contador as a brooding angry child who, when he does not get his way will throw a tantrum and recklessly fight against his own teammates. Lance on the other hand is just the same old Lance who won't lay down for nobody and will never give up his fight for total domination.

One theory I haven't really seen is that the TEAM Astana really has some things figured out here. They're playing up the rivalry by not playing it up, allowing the rest of the world to grow the speculation into the frenzy that it has become. Yesterday's break and tact full or lucky (whichever you prefer) riding by Lance therefore is suddenly a balls out attack on Contador. The world sees the pot beginning to boil.

Now how about what's happening within Astana for real? Well they've got 4 guys in the top 10 going into a team time trial they are likely to win, possibly to win big. Bump up times 4.

Then, here come the mountains and Astana has 4, count 'em 4 GC contenders lets say all stacked up right in the top 7 or 8. All 4 can climb, all 4 can attack, especially if the teams hopes aren't resting on their shoulders for the remainder of the tour. Bruyneel can send whomever he likes up the road and the rest of the contenders will be forced to react. They can't chance giving Levi a free shot up the mountain, even if he isn't the strongest rider on Astana. The team has enough fire power to make things work.

Maybe I'm naive but maybe they're playing this stacked set of cards a bit closer to their chests then people really realize. I'm not saying Contador would be happy to give up the overall on the strength of his team, but when the rest of the big boys have to respect your 4th big boy as an honest threat, it seems to me you should be sitting in a pretty sweet little bit of comfort.

I can't WAIT to watch this thing unfold. Be it I'm completely wrong and Lance and Alberto fight it out to the end or the two play to team to thie finish, taking 1-2 with Levi and Andreas sitting prety just behind within the top 10.

Friday, July 03, 2009

W@W #2

I unfortunately missed the first W@W race this year since I was slacking on getting the Scalpel fixed up and only walked into The Family Bike Shop Tuesday night at 6:45 hoping to finally fix the rear brake on the Jamis... Tough luck in that the guys couldn't hang around late and the move to an Avid BB7 from my problematic Hayes Sole proved a bit more difficult since the two mounting brackets that came with the brake did not work on my frame. Things got sorted out the next day but instead of trying to rush to make the Sport race after work I rode at Patapsco instead with Bri and Cass.

Anyway, this week along with Darren and Mike I raced the Single Speed cat at 6. Got lined up in the back of the 20 racers began to wonder whether I'd be able to get by any of them before the finish of the race. My placement at the start gave me a swift kick to the shins as I got redirected by the traffic ahead into the gutter on the gravel road climb on the way to the single track. Eventually due to some bumping and brushing I even had to put a foot down and get going again about mid way up the hill. From there I took my spot, somewhere in the front of the middle.

Throughout the first lap or two I managed to pass a few other single speeders. I could feel the wear on my legs from the 20+ miler Tuesday at Rosaryville with Eric but still tried to pull out what my legs had. There were definitely times when I backed off and times when I didn't give it everything due to fatigue that could have been avoided, but overall I think I rode pretty well.

Kent came up on me pretty fast in his winning ride, followed shortly by Brian P. I saw and heard Brian telling me to keep moving and definitely picked up some motivation from him. We actually caught the SS guy in front of me together and as he let Brian pass I announced one more, though at that the guy grabbed Chris' wheel and didn't let me get around. For the remainder of the race I worked back on that guy over and over only to get dropped again, generally by my own doing by the way of sloppy riding though also some due to lapped traffic.

In the end I was all alone coming into the finish line, mostly relaxed knowing I wasn't fighting for any positions, just ready to be done. As I've said before, my technical riding skills are my biggest weakness since for the most part my fitness is there. Aside from my tired legs I never felt myself much at any kind of aerobic deficit but my cornering speeds and technical abilities were suspect throughout the race. I could definitely tell I've gotten faster and better technically from the last time I raced this race though 2 years ago so I am at least coming along.

In the end I finished in 10th place (out of 20 starters) though at least one person DNF'd that was in front of me (Darren dropped out after his rear hib slipped in the dropouts and caused his tire to rub constantly). About where I hoped to be, though after my terrible start I expected worse. Hopefully next week I can improve on this and actually beat Darren in a race we both finish. My goal for this week was simply to beat Darren... Mission (sort of) accomplished.

Congrats to Kent and Brian for going 1-2 in the Masters 35+ and currently standing 1-2 in the overall. Kent told me it was his first win there after racing W@W for 10 years. Pretty sweet; especially if he can hold on and take the overall in his 10th year as well.