26 September 2009

not much, but it's a start

Dear Richard,

The following request to change your USCF category has been approved and processed by USA Cycling:
r$millionaire - 2009-09-14 17:17
Member: Richard
License: Road Racer
Request to change category from Cat 5 to Cat 4

Member Explanation/Resume:
4 5 09: Tyson's Corner Circuit Cat 5 - 9th/41

4 17 09: Carl Dolan Circuit Cat 4/5 - 22nd of cat 5s, 26th overall

4 18 09: Syn-Fit Crit Cat 5 - 35th/42

5 9&10 09: Tomato Head Omnium Cat 5 - 8th/17 (Crit), 7th/17(Crit), and 6th/17 (Crit)

5 17 09: BikeJam Baltimore Cat 5 - 17th/24

5 24 09: RFK Crit Cat 5 - 27th/34

6 14 09: Murad RR Cat 5 - 16th/30

7 18 09: Giro di Coppi RR Cat 5 - 31st/40

9 13 09: Bobby Phillips Turkey Day Crit Cat 5 - 24th/40

Request was approved on 2009-09-26 19:27 by Tracy Rankin

If it can clean a car battery

it can clean a pair of pedals. I'm going to give the egg beaters a shot for one more race weekend before I give up on them. Unfortunately that race weekend isn't this race weekend.

I spent the day today in a class on microfinance lending. It's a great class (would someone please give me a job in microcredit starting next spring? please?), and it's taught by one of the real pioneers in the field. Again, great class, but the second half of the workshop will be happening at the same time as Ed Sander tomorrow. Bummer. The Lilypons race was my first ever bicycle race last year.

And the whole workshop weekend happens to be the same time that a bunch of the GW kids are up at the Barn hitting some of those WV rollers. Bad timing, but if it helps me narrow down what I actually want to do with my life (be a tour guide by day and focus on racing? nah...), all the better.

Get a little extra muddy for me tomorrow.

Listening to Rocky Top before the UT-Ohio game comes on espn360.

21 September 2009

Charm City director's cut (with pictures)

If you're only here for the pictures, go to my picasa page. But c'mon, humor me...

Baltimore—specifically Druid Hill park—puts on some pretty good bike races. BikeJam back in May was probably the site of my favorite crit this season (though RFK certainly gave it a run for its money).

The Charm City Cross course was pretty standard for the cross courses I saw in the Mid Atlantic last fall/winter—rolling grassy bits, some off camber, and creative use of a Home Depot gift card in the lumber department. Being that this is going to be my second season racing, I thought I'd give it a shot at racing both the C and B categories.

My plan for the C race was to stick with the main group as long as I could, then pick people off after a few minutes of recovery. That went more or less as anticipated, but I failed to take into account the inevitability that 1) my start line “sprint” would put me in the back of the race right off the bat and 2) the main field would splinter in front of me without my knowledge. So one minor crash and a few minor mechanicals later, I finished 60th of 103ish finishers.

For the B race, I had a totally different strategy: 1) don't die and 2) finish, in that order. I accomplished the first, which is really all you can ask for in amateur bike racing. I lost the field almost immediately, even as I could feel my intensity hit peaks its never seen before in a cross race (except for maybe once). I had the same mechanical issues in the second race as in the Cs, because I don't learn lessons, but this time they were nearly crippling at a rate of 2 or 3 dropped chains per lap. I should qualify that; on the first lap, I dropped my chain twice, on the second three times, and another three times on what would become my final lap. DNF on my first B cyclocross race. Dammit.

Some other observations I've chosen not to weave into the above narrative...

* Crank Bros' Egg Beater pedals call themselves “self-cleaning.” This seems to be the case with dust and is probably the case with mud, but when you introduce sand into the fold, we can safely call Egg Beaters “self-seizing.” I spent the entirety of my last lap riding ON my left pedal, not IN my left pedal. It's all in the proposition. Or the preposition, whatever. I spent fully 1/3 of the race trying to wiggle one or both cleats into its pedal. No surprise: I discovered between races that the “beater” portion of the egg beaters was almost completely immobile. No wonder I couldn't wedge my cleats in.

If any of the brothers Crank are reading this, how can I fix this and prevent it from happening in the future? Note that I do enjoy racing on the sand.

* I hope, which is not a method, that the B racers outclassed me so in Baltimore because there were Cat 2s in the mix. I'm looking forward to racing with just the MABRA 3/4 guys in the coming weeks/months.

* I need to tune my single ring setup. The purpose of going with one ring in the front is to keep the chain on the drivetrain, not to have it constantly fall off. I mean for fuck's sake.

* I don't think I'll be a competitive bicycle racist, at least not at the level that I want to be and that I know I can be, until summer/fall 2010. It's just too damn hard (meow) to juggle a full time job (meow meow) with being a full time student (meow), and still find the time to balance maintaining at least one personal relationship (meow) with a bike racing habit. That was me whining.

Ok, now go check out the pictures on my picasa page, courtesy my small hipster friend and her big fancy camera. Listening to Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros' "Home." I just stumbled across this one, and I dig it.

20 September 2009

Charm City teaser

Beautiful day, good course, mediocre legs, bad bike setup.

Raced Charm City this morning (and this afternoon), and I'm beat. Placed 60th in the Men's C after a crash and two mechanicals. DNFed the B after losing my chain six times in the first two laps.

More to come tomorrow or maybe Tuesday or maybe Wednesday, including pictures from the B race.


19 September 2009

Fast is slow, slow is steady, steady is fast.

First cross race of the season tomorrow (for me). I'm zazzed. My bike is shiny and waxed, my wheelsets are trued, and the tires are ready to roll at 45 PSI. Two wheels good, four wheels better, right?

See you tomorrow.

Listening to my cousin's new band. They're called The Great Collide.

04 September 2009

Crash, and crash again

I love (to crash while) riding my cross bike. It handles so well (when I'm not slamming into chain link fences), and my remount is (still far from) flawless (--so much so that I think my new Egg Beaters put a hole in my tibia). I'm looking forward to (trying not to kill myself training for) the start of cross season.

Have a good weekend, friends (and try to stay wheel-side down).

01 September 2009

I get so jazzed

when I talk about Africa and development. Tonight was a big night.

Classes at GW started yesterday. I had a class yesterday evening--a history of military strategy and policy course--and that went well enough. Tonight though, tonight's class was good. The class is called Development in Africa, and it's taught by a professor who's big on statistical modeling and conflict/reconstruction. These are all fantastic things. To put it into terms we can all appreciate, when I talk about development, I get the same feeling as I would going off the front with a teammate with 1km to go. I'm energized; I know I've got a hell of a lot of hard work in front of me, but I'm energized. Bring on semester number three. Also fun: the class is 18 women and 6 men. I would like my odds, were I still a gambling man.

In other news, I did my second cross workout of the "fall" over the weekend, and I've got the hitch out of my step on my remount. It's about damn time. I took a little bit of a spill unclipping about an hour into my workout, so I've got the first crash out of the way.

Note the indications of a textbook tuck-and-roll.

Pimp my ride: cx edition
I've also got some fresh new buff & blue (I still don't know what the hell "buff" is) bartape, some new egg beater pedals with blue anodized spindles, and an anodized blue BBG chainguard. It's 4 grams heavier than the FSA carbon guard, and costs $12 on the BBG website. Buy one. Actually buy 8, and tell them where you heard about them. Maybe I can score some free.... chainguards. Because I totally need more than the two I've already got. Whatev.

For those of you in school, I hope your fall semester is getting off to a good start. For those of you who've got a full time job and nothing else to pull you off of your velocipede machine, I envy you. Also, I see you bragging from the other side of the internet tubes.

Listening to Atlas by Battles. Really gets me through my core workouts. See if you can do a plank all the way through the track.