Archive for December, 2008

A couple of rides

December 28, 2008

Not much going on except Household 6 is walking around whining about her hip. She fell walking the dogs yesterday and is still seeking some measure of sympathy. Hope she heals up fast.

But on my personal front I have done some riding, mostly to no effect. Just cruising with friends for a couple of hours mixing in trails, gravel and just a bit of road. It would be depressing, the time I have ridded, except it is cold. Like colder than expected and the roads and trails are covered in ice. Well the gravel is too, but it is very rideable and kind of fun. I miss the gravel roads of mid Mo.

Other than me whining about the cold, and getting a new bike for Christmas, which was a surprise, not much is going on. Just trying not to gain the usual 50 pounds over the holiday season, BTW so far pretty good. Haven’t gained any weight however haven’t lost any either.

I had hoped to race a bit of cross over the weekend, but roads and my personal aversion to freezing my rear end off have put a halt on that. The roads, as mentioned, are covered in ice, and the Italians don’t seem to work over holidays, so the roads are not being cleared, plowed or salted. They are being left as is until Monday, strange. That is okay, gives me reasons not to race, but reasons to ride for fun. That all stops, well mostly, in just a couple of days.

I need to get working on riding more than 2 hours, March is the first 24 hour race and it is in Sicily. I won’t drive 8 hours to get worked over and finish in the lower half of the field, too far to drive. Motivation, I need some. I need to find a reason to suffer in the cold, maybe this race is it, maybe not, but I need to find something.

Hope all is well and stay warm. Ed

I had hoped to add a couple of pictures but am challenged by technology, so maybe later.


Few words about a race

December 22, 2008

I went to a cross race and was not banned this time, in fact they took my money so fast I think it might have been a set-up.  But I wanted to race and the venue was close, so I was really happy.  Riding the course before the race was also cool.  This was a real life, true blue cyclocross course.  Even if I did disagree with the placement of the barriers, it was a really well thought out course.

My last race was in November and that race was flat like a pancake, one climb, and one really goofy run up.  In Monteforte in Alpone, where I just raced yesterday, there were four separate climbs, all of which were ridable for an out of shape not very handsome guy like myself and three sketchy descents that required just a bit of skill to get down safely.  Although I may lack the skill, I did make it down all three, every lap.  I wish I had some pictures, but it is hard to take them while riding down some pretty nasty off camber descents into switchbacks in the mud.  So, I didn’t get any of myself or the other racers.

As with most races that I do there was one glitch in the whole day of racing, and as per usual, it was one of my own making.  Having given a quick glance at the race start times I saw that the race began at 1300, so accordingly I warmed up for a 1300 start.  When 1255 came I still had not heard my name or number called to verify that I was at the start/finish area I went up to the front of the racers grouped there and began to look around at the guys with yellow numbers on there jerseys.  It all was a bit odd as they guys looked like 60-70 years old, all of them.  It dawned on me quickly that I was not starting at 1300 and that i had at least an hour before I was going to be racing.  Well that was no good.  I had warmed up, gotten all mentally tough, and I wasn’t going anywhere for an hour. I returned to my car and promptly fell asleep in my car.  

Finally the my race began, and I could give you a blow by blow, how I won the race on principle because I was the only guy riding a real bike.  You know one with only one gear that makes it all about the man and the bike, not about the gears and the man and the bike, but not is not how the story really goes.  I got schooled by the winner, he lapped me with three to go, the 2nd-10th lapped me with 2 to go and I think that was it.  I hate getting lapped, but it happens.  

The only bright spot was that I was in a duel with a fellow and we spent three laps fighting for 1011th place.  Okay, really he was fighting for that place, me, I was asking for beer again, this time to much less effect than  at the last race.  At least I got a few course marshals to laugh, as I rode by asking for beer or just saying hi.  One guy kept (I am pretty sure) telling me to go faster, if I could talk I wasn’t going fast enough.  I found that pretty funny, really.  

Oh, yeah, I sprinted for 1011th place and won, so that was nice, little victories.  At this race I met several people who asked about the bike, was it really single speed, was I able to climb all the hills, was I still able to walk?  I assured them that yes I could all those things and have fun too.  Maybe I will see some more single speeds racing in the future.  Ed


December 17, 2008

It may actually become sunny here and allow me to leave the house without getting drenched. Accuweather, which is always way to optimistic in my opinion, predicts 14 days of good weather. I will believe that when I see it. Otherwise life is normal. I hope to ride today and maybe not get wet. Oh and if I don’t feel like my legs are stuck in concrete then all the better.

I have not felt good riding since getting back from vacation. Maybe it is a lack of people to ride with, the fact that riding the same old roads is getting boring or that I really want to go for a mountain bike ride, but can’t, because the trails are under water. Whatever it is, sure hope it goes away soon. I want to have fun while riding soon or I may have to find another hobby. Maybe running, heaven forbid.

I went for a ride when the rain stopped and found a Bug

December 16, 2008

Well title says it all. The rain stopped for about 5 hours on Sunday and I found this little guy. Really skinny and really friendly. Last night he slept almost all night, night before he would keep waking up whining. I guess he was tired or maybe he is a bit more secure.

We are looking for a new home for him, but if that fails, we sure could have a worse dog. He is ugly but very friendly and hungry.

It has poured non stop since I got home Sunday. I may ride today in the rain, I have to do something. dsc03782

A little about Gran Canaria

December 13, 2008

So riding bikes is fun, or so I have been led to believe, that is unless you ride with Frank, Michael, and Uwe.  That has been my last two weeks, pain and agony, chasing and not catching any of these three people.  Maybe next year, but that is really doubtful.


The Canary Islands is the setting for the abuse by these three and it a lovely place to hit yourself on a head with a hammer.  Most days have been sunny with a light breeze, which is a welcome change from the virtual deluge that Italy has been having.  I am hoping to return again next year and ride a bit better.  Hope is a great thing to have, and I seem to have bunches. 


The rides all start the same way, me chasing what it the equivalent of a 500cc motorcycle on one of two roads that lead out of Maspalomas to the mountains, big scary steep and death dealing mountains.  At least that is how I see them, the other three see a nice climb followed by a sweet and fast descent to another climb.  Rinse and repeat. 



I am not complaining, really, well not that much, I feel faster and stronger and the motivation from riding with the boys will get me through until March when the real racing starts, my first 24 hour race in Sicily.  I need these miles and motivation to keep up riding in the gloom of northern Italy.  Hopefully my early racing will be as good as last with a couple of top 15 at 24 hour races and I hope to do a little better this year. 


So long story short, and this is really short as details have been blurred into my mind into one 1000k long ride, I have had a good time riding, great time riding with my friends and better time hanging out after the rides with friends.  I have had a couple of real low days and rides, however I shouldn’t remember those by Friday when I board the plane.  I will remember the tan and the great rides.  Hopefully next year I will be a little faster and maybe a few others will join us so I am faster than someone.  Not likely.  Ed