Monday, July 7, 2014

Kermesse Racing

My favorite style of racing is kermesse, which blends on road and off road portions on a loop course.  It's based on the rough and tumble early season rides in northern Europe. I see the popularity of kermesse racing growing steadily over the next five years.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Feeding the Long Haul

This past Sunday I took a ninety mile ride with two local hard men, Jan and Ryan; I knew that I'd need to fuel up during the ride and since I try to avoid prepackaged "energy" bars, goos, gels, blocks and the like I tried out some chocolate waffles.  These bad boys were killer.

An internet search on "chocolate waffle recipe" yielded all manner of complicated recipes calling for buttermilk or six beaten egg whites, dude these are waffles not a soufflĂ©, keep it simple stupid.  Finally I found a "mix all this stuff up and pour it onto a heated waffle iron" recipe.  The recipe called for way too much butter so I did a little modifying and came up with:

1/2 cup melted butter
4 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup  cocoa
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

Mix it all up, pour it onto a greased waffle iron close, wait a while and out pops a sturdy, energy filled snack.
I like to make waffle sandwiches as the hollow areas hold in the goodness.  For Sunday I used peanut butter and honey:
I stopped using Zip-loc's for my bike food as I can never get the zip unlocked while riding.  I've gone now to a loose wrap using Pan lining paper, it works perfectly.
Two of these bad boys got me through 90 miles and 7200 feet of climbing. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Flattsville


Steve, Chad and myself all loaded up into Z’s Ford for drive down to Buckley for the Kermesse race directed by our team mate Michael Pruitt.  A kermesse is a mulit-lap bicycle race that incorporates both paved and gravel sections – kind of a hybrid between criterium racing and cyclocross.  Most racers choose to compete on road racing machines equipped with heavier, more puncture resistant, and oftentimes wider than usual tires.  I elected to ride some old 25mm Continental Gatorskins that have been lurking around the back of my garage.  Tire pressure was a topic of wide discussion; I went with 80 psi.

I took two warm-up laps and was feeling pretty good about my tire selection – they tracked well through the loose gravel, I had no flats despite riding the gravel hard and I rolled good enough on the road.  Three minutes into the race I got my front wheel flatted; remembering my flat at Ballard I wasn’t about to quit so I jogged the mile or so to the finish line (which wasn’t the start line) and got a neutral tire.  I’d seen a lot of flats, and figured that I had a good chance to get back in the race by simply riding a steady ninety percent effort.  On lap two I flatted – rear this time – in roughly the same spot as before so once again it’s run time.

By the time I made it to the pits there were no wheels, no tubes, no nothing so I dejectedly remounted my flat front wheel and began the two and a half mile walk back to the car.  After ten minutes of walking I hit the pavement where the race director offered me a ride to the parking lot.  Back at the lot I unlocked Z’s car and started to change clothes when I noticed the spare wheels Z had brought along.  I popped on the two wheels and took off.

The question was should I wait for the pack to come around or would that be bad form.  That’s what you do in crit races, but this is only an eight lap race, I figured I’d better get moving and perhaps the lead group would catch me.  I rode until they officials told me to stop.  I think I was only one lap down as I only saw the lead group once, but I did take a ride in a car so I figure my DNF is justified.
Da Boyz post race- as bad as my kids with those phones
 

Friday, June 20, 2014

7/8 Pants

I'm thinking of adding a 7/8 Pants to my line-up.  I think it would look good and work great on the bike, don't know if it works off the bike.  They would certainly show off some cool socks.
Any thoughts?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Out With the Old




I've been wearing Knog leather biking gloves for about five years now.  I especially like my half finger Evil Knevil's but as you can see they've served their purpose and are ready to migrate to the bottom of my cycling bag.


I now realize that I jumped the gun on replacing my trusted leather friends with this Giro pair as Knog is back in the glove biz.  I know that they had stopped making gloves two years ago, but now they're back.  My next pair of full-finger gloves will come from Knog - now I know what I want for my birthday.
These Giro's are dang nice though, but they'd better be as they come with a $65 price tag.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chasing Points


The points race at Pacific Raceways definitely brings a different flavor to your typical bike race: starting on the second lap points are awarded for the top finisher of each lap - two points for first and one for second.  At the end of the race the winner is determined by who has the most total points and not by who first crossed the finish line on the bell lap.  If you can sprint a points race is a good place to be.

We had a points race at PR last night and even though it was a smaller than usual turn-out (probably due to the big black clouds hanging overhead) there was no shortage of strong fast guys willing to push it to the line.

I’m neither a strong nor an experienced sprinter, and figured that pushing hard in a points race would be a good way to improve my skills.  Early on I was sprinting from way way way too far back.  On several occasions I was in the front up until the final twenty meters when I would literally be engulfed by sprinting cyclists.  Okay lesson learned.

On the preem lap I grabbed the wheel of a big guy who I had tagged as a strong finisher, I had high hopes of him taking me all the way to the line, but he gassed early.  I had no choice but to go around; I almost had that one but was nipped at the line.

I got a little impatient at the sprinter’s habit of crushing it at the line and then rolling down the straightaway waiting for someone to come up front to do some work, so finally I decided to attack shortly after the finish.  I was attacking into a headwind, but what the heck it was worth a shot.  I took off and thankfully along came a young guy who seemed pretty dang strong.  After a short conversation we decided to work together and damn did we ever get really far off the front.  Thanks be to my teammates who did some messing around at the front of the peloton. 

As we approached the finish line my accomplice asked if I wanted to take the point, I said “no you take it.”  He rolled first over the line, looked back and saw that we were still out front and said “now let’s get you a point.”  I knew that the two guys from BikeSport could catch us if we didn’t work hard as a pair, so I took off and we managed to stay ahead for a second lap.

After the second lap my partner sat up and rode no-handed, I think he figured that the pack was on our tail and he’d let them catch us.  I looked back and saw a big, albeit shrinking, gap and said “hey man let’s make ‘em work for it.”  We drilled it for a while but we were finally absorbed.

A lap or two later one of my teammates rode away at about a kilometer from the finish and managed to hold onto his lead for a lap win.  I continued to sprint for finishes and held my own but didn’t manage anymore top two placements.

I’m glad that I made the long drive down to Pacific Raceways, I now know that even though I’m not a super sprinter at least I can get in there and make a race of it – if I use my brain as much as I use my legs.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rollercoaster


As I’ve mentioned before doing your own biz is a roller coaster ride: one minute you’re on top of the world thinking “hey man this might work,” and the next you’re in the dumpster wondering “why did I do this.”  Late last week I was starting to feel a bit of the doldrums coming on, but thankfully I got a big shot in the arm on Saturday.

My LBS – Veloce Velo - carries my products and Saturday afternoon salesman/mechanic Erin called saying that a customer was interested in some shorts but that they didn’t have the right size.  I threw a couple of pairs into the Subaru and drove to the store as quick as my four wheels would take me.  Once at the store I met Mike and Lisa, a couple of technical mountain bikers.  Mike was a pretty buff guy and it was good to see some muscle amongst the usually anemic biker crowd.  Lisa was buying Mike a father’s day gift and we got him into a pair of shorts.

“I love these shorts, I’m going to spread the word.”  That is awesome.  It’s a total rush when people see your stuff and appreciate what you’ve put your heart into.