Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Solstice...

Shortest day of the year,
going for a ride means pulling on the winter gear...
Rush home like a jerk,
spent my whole day at work...
Railroad pays the bills, that's good for the bottom line,
but my passion is in the mountains and that's good for my mind...
Wearing lots of clothes cause it's cold outside,
I mount my steed for what should be a 2hr ride...
I little bit of road before the trails,
the wind is brutal and not at my tail...
Come Hoeferlin, Plymouth, Banker and Rock-a-dendron...
Then Cherry Ridge, Lookout and Hemlock-n-load...
I'm killing it today, just totally in the zone,
In spite of how the wind beat me on the road...
Daylight is running short, do I have time to reverse?
"Eff it! Just do it". I mumble with a curse...
Because I know without risk comes no reward,
Today I won the race against daylight, Thank you Lord...

Happy Holidays....Y'all

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I now know how Jan Ulrich feels...

Sweet photo, Gtluke strikes again

While many of you are enjoying the highest level of fitness so far this year. I'm enjoying the last week of my off season....
Nahh, I can't say that. Truth is I can't wait to get back to training, the off season thing is driving me crazy. Don't get me wrong, I know that in order to improve you need to step back a little. It's just that holding down the couch is not my thing. Last night I had a dream about racing and this morning I awoke wanting to go for a ride. This is a departure from the last few months where I would often awake dreading a ride that day, and even though I had no ride scheduled would feel guilty at the end of the day for not working out. Crazy, Huhh? Mi vida loca!
Originally I was not gonna start training till December. To tell the truth if I wait that long I may never get off the couch, or I may weigh so much that I won't be able to.
Being a endurance racer is great. Training for hours a day not only keeps you in great shape but when you do overeat you see no weight gain at all. Hell I've actually gone off the deep end at times only to wake up the following morning to a three pound weight loss!!!
But when I'm in the off season "I'm fucking ravenous". I can't seem to get enough food. It sucks, and I'm not working out enough to burn it off.
I don't know what I'll do when I decide to retire from bike racing but then again being a fat ass won't matter then anyway. I'll just take my blood pressure meds and blend into society.

In a attempt to "up my game" I hope to be racing some larger fields in faster races this year. Maybe a lot of M.A.S.S., and with H2H guaranteeing payouts 15 deep I'll have to see how things pan out on the local scene also.
March 5th looks to be my first race at Estrella Mountain Park in Goodyear, Arizona. Estrella is one of the more technical courses in the M.B.A.A series. I raced here two years ago and finished in fourth. A pretty good result for a snowbound easterner. The race was four laps. Two long laps followed by two tech. I remember only getting to preride the tech lap and thinking the long lap was way more technical. Oh well, fun race anyway.
March 19th I'll be at Sierra Vista. It's a new venue from 2010 and I've never raced there. I hope it's nothing like Gardner Canyon that I did in 2008. That place just had way too much rubbly ass fire road. Not to mention I finished 17 out of 17 in the pro field. My worst outing as a pro ever.
M.A.S.S. hasn't posted their schedule yet but I'm almost positive I'll be at Fair Hill. It's always in early April and a blast to race on those super buff trails.
Root66 is a early April option also. Hop Brook and Winding Trails are always super competitive.
Back to New York for singlespeed-a-palooza on April 17th. I'm the two time winner of this event and I wouldn't miss it for the world. At this point I probably won't have even been on the single much so the racing will most likely be the most competitive yet. Can I pull a three peat?
Wawayanda comes next. The H2H opener usually has a good turnout and it's right in my backyard. Recipe for disaster?
After that I'm gonna work on the endurance game for a while. I'm a possible for Mohican again. Maybe focusing on the N.U.E. series for a while or possibly chasing the fifty's. I'll keep it pretty loose after May to avoid burnout while I take another run at the all elusive Dark Horse 40....

Sounds like a plan....Kind of..

Monday, November 1, 2010


Six Two Eight.... Those three little numbers alone mean almost nothing but coupled with a punch card a bunch of bikes and two dozen of your closest friends they make for a great day. The underground event was put together in the diabolical minds of the Mayor and Sir Raveinator and was meant to be finished in under three hours. Three Hours? No way, try 55 minutes....Killers we are.
We don't need no stinking maps!!

When George asked me who I wanted to be teamed up with I jokingly replied C-dubs. The Mayor would never allow such a stacked team for sure? But he did, and we proceeded to kick some major ass. Learning from last years beer cross that the "chill approach" will only get you tackled by a drunken fool. C-Dubs and I devised a plan to pick up the five points as well as the bonus point in one big loop.

Apparently a guy from North Jersey coupled with a guy from New York City should have no chance against the local boys in the forest land known as Stewart, navigationally speaking that is. What they didn't count on is that in my many failed attempts to win the Dark Horse Forty I've actually acquired a massive trail knowledge of this area. I'm like a Tom Tom of the woods. Hell, If I say so myself I'd like to consider myself a bit of a explorer. I've sucked up trail locations like Google maps. It's fun to me, and the bike makes it super easy to cover massive ground in a relatively short time. Like Lewis and Clark. Only Lewis is me and Clark's wife won't let him come out and play anymore. You get the idea. Or maybe you don't, oh well.
We came, we saw, we kicked ass!!

The non-race was super competitive with Webb's team giving us a scare, as well as Walter's team providing some last minute pressure.
My teammate C-Dubs gets the major award for hanging in there way longer than he should have and rumor has it we will be training this winter together. Should be fun....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Season closer...

Photo courtesy of Gtluke
Sunday at Ringwood brought my mountain bike season to an end. I say this with relief and sadness at the same time. Relief from the daily grind of training rides, naps, early bedtimes and travel. Sadness because it just feels like this season could have been so much more. Sure I won a couple big races. Singlespeed-a-polozza for the second time was huge, the Mohican 100 was great too as well as a shit load of podiums. Until recently, I felt like I just never got myself going on the shorter stuff. Maybe some intervals would have helped, maybe it was too much emphasis on the endurance stuff. Not enough time in the gym? Distractions? Who knows.

Changing from a single speed 29er to a geared 26er was a bit of a shock and took some time to get used to. I still feel like I'm learning and I continue to get better each race. That's encouraging and I look forward to further improvement. Every ride is a new adventure for me again. Old trails seem new on a different bike and trails that previously were unridable present a new challenge. Improvement feeds the fire for me and every year I seem to get better. So with that I look forward to next year. Many changes will be made and rest assured I'll be back with a vengeance next year.

So whats next? Nothing scheduled for sure. I plan on some off season cross races (gotta work on getting that cx bike together) and I look forward to trail running again as well as beer cross and the 628 challenge. Basically just lots of rest and decompression for me, nothing serious for a while. December base miles will be here soon enough....
See you then....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't believe the hype!!! The Vt50 recap.

All year long I've been hearing how this was the easiest of all the endurance races to win. My confidence was high coming into this race. Despite the fact that I've only ridden gears in three races leading up to this, I felt like the distance and lack of any "real pros" showing up in the past could lead to a win for me. Boy I was wrong. Andrew Freye is here, Adam Snyder is here, Jason Sager is here as well as a full cast of familiar faces from the pro class at the Root66 series, all licking their lips seeing me on gears for the first time. I almost expected Jeff Shalk himself to pull to the line at 6AM to jam his pump in my spokes (breaking away style), but he didn't, Thank god.
Start was in the dark at XC race pace, No scratch that. The start actually felt like a Cat5 crit, until the first climb where Jason Sager (Jamis bikes) took the lead followed by yours truly. Going out this hard in a endurance race is normally suicide and this was no exception. After about 45 minutes I was unwilling to hold Jason's wheel for any longer and was quickly gobbled up by the chase group where I came to the realization that I'm the only 170 pounder in the bunch. Hell I might be the only one over a buck fifty. After a long climb and a rubbled decent I was dropped from the chase group. Dropped on the downhill? Effing full suspensions and effing New Jersey. With the lack of any sustained downhills at home how do I develop this skill? I would eventually find my groove after a few miles alone and thanks to the ginger ale refill at one of the many aid stations would begin the laborious task of pulling cracked riders back. Working my way past Adam Snyder with 5 miles to go gave me a boost and I cruised to the finish. 5th overall and second in my age only to Sager. Not bad considering my tactical errors at the start and a victory for my continued development on the gears. I started hard, cracked, came back, cracked again and still finished, all the while not making too much of a ass out of myself. A victory!
I only have one more endurance race on my calender and after that I'm gonna take a year to work on speed. So don't look for me at anything over 2 hours next year and don't look for me on the single....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Northern bound...

Team Dark Horse heading to the Vermont 50 this weekend...
Loads of shenanigans I predict...
Little wheels and gears on tap for me...
Long Trail on tap for others...
Should be a hoot...

Monday, September 13, 2010

The bestest hamburger....

"Wow check that out, the rain totally straddled us at blue, bet it rained north and south of us. Awesome! Looks like we are in the clear!" (gtluke)
Blue mountain is awesome. I can't say this enough times and frankly I never get tired of hearing it either.
My plan for the race was to start slow and build into the pace picking as many off as possible. Usually a good strategy when you have little confidence in your anaerobic endurance. Good plans go by the wayside very quickly when you find yourself in the lead group five minutes in.
Recently I decided to wear my HR monitor on my wrist instead of on the handlebars like I usually do. Good choice today because I hit some heart rates I don't want to ever see in a endurance race. I surely would have slowed down when I hit 184 no matter how I felt but not being able to see it I went off of my perceived exertion. I think this was a success today.
Looking at the start list I believed it could have been anyone's race. Jordan has been strong, the Alesio brothers are always a threat, Sean and Johan from Bethel have been coming on lately, James and Josh always give me trouble, Brian just won some big money race in Ct. and Greg Waggoner has found his stride this season. This race had like four different leaders in the first two laps with a chase group only about 30 seconds back. No room to make any mistakes. Lap 3 I lead with James on my tail and Eddy dangling about 30 seconds back, on lower stinger I could feel my legs start to go and in a technical section I bobbled, begrudgingly letting James take the lead. This would be the winning move for him. I gave chase but could never catch on again. Making a few more technical errors in the process of chasing let Eddy catch me right before the final ultra technical section. I knew I would need 30 seconds or more to hold Eddy off in that section but with him on my wheel my fate was sealed. Third place, a success on the gears for me. A success because I was in contention the whole time and even in control at points. Much improvement over the last few outings.
Afterwards, my good friends took me out for my birthday dinner. That made the day special. The Birdsall house in Peekskill may have the best hamburger EVER....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thank god for fall....

Blue Mountain in Peekskill, N.Y.
One of my favorite places to ride and race. Fast and tons of flow would best describe these trails that were made by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. No hike a bike sections here, every one of the challenging technical sections has a way through (on the bike). You just have to find it.
After somewhat of a summer sabbatical, I'm racing on Sunday. And I can't wait. I'd never ridden a geared bike at Blue and quite frankly wasn't sure if it was the faster option. In the past the single had been quite good to me at this venue. The way Blue is set up it favors a single (very little flat) so last Sunday with the Bethel boys I head off for a preride.
Bottom line is; "It's scary effing fast on gears". That's a good thing, I think.....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Windham world cup

Just a couple notes...

These guys are effing fast...

U.S.A. cycling girls are a force to be reckoned with...

U.S.A. cycling boys are way behind...

Lots of 26er hardtails... Hmmmm...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Much more like Bruce Leroy...

There's something about riding gears that makes you think it's gonna be easier than riding a single speed. It is, if you want to be slow, but if you want to go fast it's actually harder. Much harder. A single speed bike is forced pacing....
Sunday 909 Pleasant Valley, N.Y. (while on the first trip up the infamous bulldozer climb) Aaron Snyder (Scott Bikes) decided the group we were in was too slow for his liking, so he jumped. Like a well heeled roadie, I followed.... Right move? Wrong!! Sean Cavanaugh (Bethel Cycle) would later tell me that there was no way he could keep with that acceleration and was amazed that I did. Well my single speed brother, I couldn't either. Sean caught me on the downhill after the ridge and then shortly after I took a spill. Like a pickpocket on the train he then stole 4th place from me, never to be seen again. No longer in contention and a little shook up from my tumble I began to look for the easier gears. Riding like this for a while Johan passed me followed soon after by Greg Waggoner. Not yet recovered from the early heroics I could grab neither wheel. Then It was Scott Feltmate's (Bethel Cycle) turn. Scott says "Monte, lets work together to bring these guys back". Sounds good to me and I jump on Scott's wheel. Scott sets the pace for a while then falls off, so I'm back in no mans land. On the final lap I can see Josh Wilcox (503 Cycleworks) making his way up to me. Shit!! Josh takes the lead on the descent off the ridge and I follow. He's trying hard to get rid of me but I dig deeper than I should and end up mounting a last minute attack to take my 7th place back. Three hours four minutes and change, 42min first lap, 45 second, 48 third and a 49 on the fourth lap. Not good, but better than last week.
So what went wrong? First of all I knew prior to the race I was gonna cover every move I could. This type of race plan is normally a mistake for me, I just don't recover after going that deep. Constant pacing is the way to the podium in a three hour plus race, but constant pacing often puts you alone in no-mans-land. Not knowing how to ride gears, I need someone to copy off of, "bootleg their style" so to say. Plus one of the reasons for me riding gears is so I can make that front group and you can't do that from 15 riders back with a "I don't want to blow up" mentality. The second mistake is that while alone I tend to get into a mindset of "oh, just finish now". This never happens on a single because of the sit stand or walk principle. On a single you either go fast or go home. Forced pacing, right?
I need to find the perfect balance on the gears, Neither too hard or too slow. So this weekend in a attempt to find some flow, I'll do what I know best...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Norcross Scurry and the 909

Keith Stone is smooth...With gears...I'm not!

With my mountain bike season officially over at this point it's time to have some fun. Knowing I'm gonna be racing geared next year I've decided to start paying my dues early. With the exception of experimenting with a one by nine setup (34T and a road cassette) for a race or two last year I haven't ridden a geared bike since 2005. Back then I was a sport class rider, now I'm a pro with sport class geared skills. Let me explain.
Shifting is not a natural thing for me in the trails. Normally I pedal hard and when I see a hill: I pedal harder, when I see a steeper hill: I sprint and when I see a hill that's to steep to ride: I run. Sit, stand or walk that's the three gears a single speeder lives by. On a geared bike it seems like you need to plan ahead (way far ahead) because if your going mach 1 on a flat section you most likely have to slam on the brakes, dump a bunch of gears and spin like a madman to get going again.
Repeating this like a million times in the first two laps I was completely spent. Normally my lap times are very consistent with not much difference between the first and last, I pride myself on this. Not today though. Losing the lead group because I drove the front wheel into a sandy downhill corner causing a complete yard sale at about mile one. I was now left to figure out the geared thing on my own. My plan was to ride Josh's wheel for a while to see how it's done but instead I resorted to riding my geared bike like a nine speed single speed for a couple laps. Thirty one minute lap followed by a thirty three followed by a thirty six. Do I need to go further? you get the point? Thanks to the granny ring I didn't have to DNF (it may have been less embarrassing). Around lap 4 I was off and smelling the flowers as the top expert guys started coming up on me. I would try to jump on but it didn't last and would fall off after a few minutes. Amazed at how fast everyone can spin I knew I needed to get going again when a couple sport class riders (on a preride) bridged up to me and shouted words of encouragement "He's just ahead, go get him". Demoralizing to say the least. I finished the race in 2hrs 16min. Fifteen minutes behind James who I beat by five minutes last week on my single at the 40. Hmmmm. Much room for improvement.

Sunday I went to the 909 to try to learn this geared thing again, only this time I enlisted the help of Jane Pearson to show me the ropes and the Kelly brothers to set the pace. Riding Jane's wheel I learned where and how to shift and keeping up with Brian and Rob I actually learned how to ride. At the 909 that is. I don't know if it will translate to other venues but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for me and this geared thing. Stay tuned..

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dark Horse 40 race report

Jocelyn had a great day, winning the womens single speed. (as if there was any doubt)

The week before the 40 I was completely relaxed. My fitness is good, my speed is good and I feel totally comfortable with the course. There was only one thing that worried me about this race. It's something that is a issue for all of us that ride a single speed against geared riders. The downhill start....
Thirty seconds in I realized I was in trouble....
Doing my best Robbie McEwen impression (sprinter with no leadout train) I grab what I think is a good wheel only to have him sit up. "Going on your left!" I call...No, not move to your left, on your left... Now I'm in the weeds... Totally boxed out I slowly enter the single track at a near standstill, in about 15th place. Holding Harmon's wheel someone tries to go by on my right so I throw my elbow out and rest my shoulder on his. I'm not quite pulling a Mark Renshaw, but letting him know this is not a move I'm gonna let go. Oh shit! It's Rob Stine. It figures, one of the only guys in the field I wouldn't want to put into the bushes and I do. Sorry dude. Busting my ass to gain some spots on the first road section puts me in the red for the first time. Hammer the roads and sit behind slower riders in the single track. This would be the theme for the first 12 miles where I would finally make the lead group. After some pleasantries were exchanged (eventual winner) Terry Kolb (clockwork construction) proceeded to put me into the pain cave for a while. Not that I wasn't in the hurt already but he seemed to know just where and when to hit me. The next 20 or so miles were spent dangling off the back of Terry's wheel. Bridge up on the climbs, get dropped on the roads and just survive the downhill sections was how it all went. I was never in any kind of control and in constant threat of being dropped completely. Patiently waiting for this war of attrition to sort itself out I was the first to pop. Feeling like I'm moving backwards now, I do all I can to hold off third place James Harmon (503 Cycleworks).

This race was supposed to be the finish of my mountain bike season but reflecting upon it I feel depressed and somewhat unsatisfied.... Wendi: enter your comment below.

Gonna race gears at Norcross this weekend and all of next year, should be fun. I haven't raced gears since I was a sport rider and will probably make a total ass of myself. More on that later.

Dark Horse 40 results

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Training partners needed! Will train

Seems a little early to start thinking about next year already but I am, so here goes. If I were to place an ad in the local mountain bike newspaper in the search for training partners, it might look like this...

Training partners needed. Must have road bike, mountain bike, trail running shoes and a love of the cold. Knowledge of local trails and roads (N.J. and N.Y.) a plus, but not necessary. Light work starts mid November and progresses thru spring with superior early season kick ass fitness as payment for your services rendered. A high level of technical skills are a must as is a mid expert level of base fitness (or higher). Riding locations vary, with Northern N.J. and the Hudson Valley being the core training grounds. If your looking to get to the next level and would like to share in the pain it takes to get there, shoot me a e-mail ( and we'll get started on our best seasons yet. -Monte


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bulldog Rump

Kittatinny and I have this love hate thing going on. Preparing for the Bulldog Rump in the weeks before has always went well. Race day has always been another story. Three years ago, after the race I had to sleep in the car before driving home (yes I was that beat up). Two years ago, my crank arm fell off (DNF). Last year I flatted in the fifth lap with about two miles to go, only to fix it and flat again about fifty feet later (DNF). So when my Saturday morning road ride was rained out and against better judgement I decided at the last minute to try my fate again. Jocelyn's mom was visiting, so with no idea what time the race was even starting, how many laps, or even a inkling on what gearing to run I head out alone. The drive over had a weird feel to it, kind of like when I drive up to Phoenix to do a race (from my moms house in Tucson). Radio blasting and not a care in the world, It felt like I'd step out of the car and not even know anyone. Just like the early season races in Arizona. I had no anxiety about the race at all. How could I have anxiety? I haven't done a race in over a month, haven't even thought about it, and definitely have done zero prep work for this one. Hell, if it weren't for the rain I wouldn't even be here.
Feeling way relaxed, I pulled to the line. Looking across I see there's a dozen or so pros lined up. The gun goes off and the pace seems slow but I'm not complaining. I follow Brian Lariviere's (Team Bulldog) wheel and am sitting about 6th. Watching a small group float away, I don't chase. Before long I see Maurice (MTBNJ) flatted as well as a short time later a Scott bikes sponsored rider. Cool, sitting 4th with 3 laps to go is good. I pull back Matt Miller (Giant bikes) and we go back and forth for a while. Feeling good, I take the lead from Matt and begin to chase for 2nd place. I catch the Alan bikes rider going into the final lap and don't even hesitate to dispatch him. It seemed like everyone was cheering going into the final lap so I get a little shot of adrenalin and now believe I can win. It's all up to Jordan. If Jordan Kahlenberg (Giant bikes) cracks at all I will catch him. I dream about sprinting it out at the end with Jordan. I'm on a mission. I feel like I can not lose....
Unfortunately I only got a look of Jordan in the final field. He finished about a minute in front of me.
The weather was great, the course was awesome and second place was a lot of fun today....

Jordan's write up on the giant site

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dark Horse 40...

My ride is payment for my gluttony and my sloth...
My ride is 40 miles of punishment and pain...
My ride is my eventual salvation...
Embrace the pain, for you can not hide this year...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Maybe I'll get lucky....

As if the gods answered a prayer. As I launched my attack at Mohican it started to pour...It's no secret, I'm good in the slop. A mudder they call me. A favorite to win any race that's is cold and snotty. Unaffected by the cold and wet has its benefits, but riding in August is not one of them. Tired of watching others (seemingly unaffected by 95* temps) just float away, I'm gonna make a bold statement. I know I'm not gonna make anyone happy when I say I hope it rains at this years 40. I'm not talking about a little sprinkle here and there. I'm talking a category 3 (or better) hurricane. Ninety mph winds and horizontal rain would feel nice about now. Just close your eyes and think about it. You can keep your dry sunny days, I'll embrace the slop. Maybe, just maybe I'll get lucky...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just playing around

The perfect flickable machine...I forgot how fast you can ride on a geared bike, and how much fun a 26er can be.
"Borrowing" Jocelyn's Vicious Cycles Metal Guru for the last couple days has been fun. Flying through rooty corners on the Vicious with it's telepathic handling and nervous trail manners makes me wonder why I ever went 29er. Coming home with a smile on my face I told her "It's just a super fun machine to ride". She agrees. The Vicious is definitely a East Coast bike, built by a local frame builder from New Paltz N.Y.
Guess what kiddies? we live on the East Coast, not Marin County Ca.
Just wondering what ever became of Vicious Cycles. Lots of rumors floating around, hope Carl can pull it out and give us a alternative to the big three. I'm getting kind of tired seeing the same bikes over and over...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Keeping it local

Pennsylvania... Home of Pump-n-Pantry
Pump-n-Pantry... Home of sausage, egg and cheese pizza...WTF?
After the last few weeks I'm fried.
Fried from the racing but mostly fried from the travel. Vermont three weeks ago, Ohio last week and Pennsylvania (for the Stoopid 50) this week have left me depleted. I just can't drive that much. It wears me out....
Not to mention the car....
Three years old and 74000 miles later it's time to give it a rest. The check engine light is on and my clutch has developed a leak so I've decided that there will be no unnecessary car trips in the near future. I won't be at Lewis Morris either. Two weeks away and I'm looking forward to blowing this one off. Call it a vacation from racing. Instead I'll be out getting reacquainted with the Ramapo Mountains. Just riding my bike and trying to recharge before the Dark Horse 40. Want to ride? leave me a message. Or just jump on if you see me in the woods.
Till then....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Change of plans

flip Flop
flip flops
Friday eleven P.M....Winsted is out, Tymor in.....

Jocelyn is used to it by now....The flip flop I'll call it. Why you ask? With the Weeping Willow in Massachusetts and Tymor in New York it was looking like Winsted was gonna be the sacrificial lamb (all three on the same day) and not pull a good field. So the decision was made and off to New York we go.
I haven't raced here since my first year as a semi pro. Then I was happy to beat anybody, now my expectations are higher.
This course has two heads, first is basically a fun section of single track around the lake (twisty and flowing). Going way hard not thinking of what's ahead I get blocked and miss my opportunity to make the front group almost immediately. Only thinking of picking off the stragglers now, we get to the infamous climb, (head #2). At 175 bpm I can't go much harder but if you don't want to walk you will, so I do. I saw 183 at one point but refused to look after that. A sketchy off camber desent offers the only "recovery" on this course. Four laps go by like a blur and I finish fifth.
I must be getting better since those first semi pro races because I didn't walk nearly as much as I did back then and dare I say, "I actually found the course to be quite enjoyable". On the fitness front I know where I need to improve and plans are being made already to do so. A course like this will expose you for what you are or are not. Could I had gotten the same eye opening experience at Winsted? Maybe, but at Tymor I was guaranteed to be exposed for what I am right now.... pack fill....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

UCI international license...$150 please

Because I don't have one of these..
I won't be going here..
So instead I'll be here....

See you there....

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Ramapo Mountains

Long technical rides, lugging stones off the hill and splitting wood. That's how my weekend was spent. No race at French Creek for me. I just spent some time getting reacquainted with the Ramapo mountains and doing some neglected strength (yard) work. Five and a half hours in the saddle on Saturday, followed by dead lifting logs into the back of two trucks then a hour of weed whacking left me throbbing on Saturday night. If that wasn't enough I also did a five banger on Thursday and on Friday constructed a rock wall to line my driveway. Cross Training....I LOVE IT..
Sunday I went to Stewart for a short three hour tempo ride...It felt like a cake walk. This week is done and a season high of twenty three hours were hit. Shouldn't tell you that, Right? It doesn't matter, nobody reads these blogs anyway.
On the way to work this morning I saw a huge black bear. He must have been 500 lbs. As he was sitting in my neighbors driveway (waiting to get back into the garbage can he was eating from) I wondered how many times will your garbage get tossed before you wait till morning to bring it out?
This coming weekend is the Rob Stine north south ride in Rhode Island. I'm quite sure Rob isn't bringing us up north just to ride some rail trails. Should be fun...
Ike, enjoying the new rock wall...

Ike, Not liking the truck in the yard...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fork you...

Change can be good... but not in this case.
After riding with T.J. and Roger on Thursday at Wawayanda I decided to run a 35x20 to "kill it" in the singletrack. Roger was riding easier gears and seemed faster today. Riding the singletrack like a superstar was great but spinning like I had no chain on the fire roads while everyone dusted my ass was not fun and left me exhausted. Ultimately I ended up dismounting the same sections I would have run anyway. Lesson learned!

Suspension forks are heavy, climb like shit, track even shittier and late in the race make me even more tired. I know I'm gonna hear some flack over this one but the 3 seconds you gain on the downhills are lost immediately on the climbs (and much more). I like to go up hill fast and the sussy fork doesn't. Not to mention my fastest lap on Sunday was ridden (unintentionally) locked out. Wanna go fast uphill? leave the squish at home. Lesson learned!

I have a riding style and when I take others advise on gearing, lines, strategy, etc. it hardly ever works. It seems like I need to relearn this every year. From riding alone Ive taught myself to ride efficient and fast. Maybe not as fast as you on a given section but an overall fast that equals a good race performance. Good race performance was no where to be found this week at Wawayanda. Sure it was hot but that's not what the only problem was. I listened to too many others. So don't be offended from now on if I don't listen, cause your wrong....For me that is.

Feeling like a overheated Chevy Nova on a hot summers day
I must admit I have a weakness. Finishing races in the blazing sun has always been hard for me. It saps the energy from my legs reducing me to a pile of no powered poop. Normally on these occasions I would do a lap, drop out and live another day. Not today. Why you ask? Because I D.N.F. too many races only to realize I would have done well if I had just stuck in there. I promised myself I wouldn't drop out of races this year just because I'm hurting, Stupid promises. I can't say I wasn't aiming recklessly into rock gardens to try and puncture my front tire but no such luck. So I finished, and I'm happy...I think.
I'm looking forward to the next few weekends to just go out and ride my bike. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and the temps will stay mild. See you out there...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Come over here big boy....

Happy Birthday to you...
Happy Birthday to you...
Happy Birthday to the Mayor...
Happy Birthday to you.....And many more..

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Closet single speeder?

After not riding a Singlespeed since last years SSAP, Josh Wilcox (503 cycleworks) laid major smack down on many New England bigs.
Whats up with that?
Conventional wisdom would tell you that even a gearie as talented as Josh when thrown into the biggest Singlespeed race on the east coast should not do as well as Third. Not against the Mighty SBC. Surely not against Foco or Stine. Not to mention Dejay Birtch. But he beat them all.....Hmmmm
I tried to get info about this phenomenon after Singlespeed-a-palooza but Josh just smiled. Has James rubbed off on Josh like some kind of osmosis or something?
Na, I'll tell you what I think....Josh is a closet Singlespeeder, riding his single all winter and probably as much as possible in the spring, Josh has developed into a Singlespeed threat. Coupled with James a possible double threat...probably not a good thing for me since I race these guys often. Put this guy on a 29er and we may all be in trouble. Will Josh be racing a single in the future? Any thoughts?

Monday, April 26, 2010

What happens at Singlespeed-a-Palooza

Typical East Coast weather was in store for this years race, Sorry Dejay.
Call ups are cool. Not having to sit at the start line for 20 minutes in the rain allows us to maintain a sunny disposition. Just a little tip, Leave the trainer at home and invest in some rain gear to warm up in. It will keep you nice and dry while warming up on the greasy trails.
Nice pic, I think this was first lap. James was just off to my right (taking the wrong line), I kept my mouth shut. Do you blame me?

This was the flavor of the day. No it's not my bike, my bike was completely clean due to my excessive use of lemon pledge the night before.

Suck in that gut for the cameras. This pic makes me look like a real cyclist (big ass). Don't ya think?

1st place on the day and lots of fun had by all. What more can you ask for? I'm actually having a hard time finding the words to go along with this story (the mud must have seeped into my brain) so all I'm gonna say is "What happens at SSAP stays at SSAP." If you want to know what its all about, cobble a bike together and sign up next year. You won't be disappointed.

Note: Photo credit George, Talented guy..check it out....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Series leader

Looks like after 2 races in the root66 series I'm now the series leader. I was in this position last year after Winsted woods and decided not to contest. I will not be contesting this year either. That series is brutal. With the points going 10 deep and only 5 points separating most positions it's the hardest series to win. No dropped races in this series means you'll be full bore into the fall, traveling all over New England. Often the men or women who go for it (after winning) never make it back the following year. Not cool.....

Winding trails is a drag race. Start is fifty yards on hard pack then right into a sand pit. I got pushed off the good line and ended up on the right. Good thing since on the left there was a crash tangling up at least a few riders allowing me to get to about 15th place, a good spot on this fast and largely untechnical course. Working my way through the field on the first lap I can see Sean Cavanaugh and Johan Koserius (both of Bethel Cycle) ahead. I bridge to them and hardly pausing set my eyes on John Foley (GF29er crew). Foley is a very consistent rider and normally he is a great wheel to follow but on this course the dual suspension seems to be hurting him. Looking past Foley I can see Harmon in the lead group about fifty yards ahead and slowly work my way up to him. He's drilling it and not backing off much so it takes me the better part of the whole lap to close the fifty yards. I caught James when he took the smoother but longer line going into the second lap. Sitting on James wheel I was feeling good and started to think of bridging up to 3rd place Kevin Hines (Favata and Matt O'Keefe had checked out never to be seen again) so going into a small piece of singletrack I took the lead. Chasing Kevin Hines for about a lap. Bridging slowly but surely I catch him and in about a half of lap he's dispatched off the back. Going into the 5th lap I start to feel my cadence on my trusty 35x16 is starting to slow on the power climbs. James is coming hard and with less than 3 miles to go I just put my head down and grunt it out, Finishing 3rd place.

Anyone who says Winding trails is a easy race has no idea what they are talking about, My average heart rate was 2 beats below threshold (bleeding through my eyes)and I could have gone no harder. Someone once said "If the course is so easy, Let me see you win." True that, message board man..

With Jane winning the women's race and most notably Jim winning the expert SS in a sprint it was good day all around. Chris also won his class at Tour De Tykes. Congrats to my friends and training partners. It's shaping up to be a good year.

Jim, Top step of the podium..Sweetness

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ike's (Winding Trails) statement

Enjoying a good swim at Blue Mtn.

Translated to English....

Hi, many of you know me from the venues of years past. I've been coming to races for as long as my parents have allowed me to. I have never been a problem. Getting along with everyone has been my thing. Recently I discovered that if I show up at Winding Trails I will be asked to leave. WTF? You can't choose who your parents are. Is this racist or just a feeble attempt by the man to keep me down (literary). I've been to this venue before without problems, begrudgingly putting up with the uncivilized mutts that reside there. My mom always cleans up after me and quite frankly I'm a lot cleaner than most of the heathens that call the woods at winding trails their home.
I begged Mike to go to Tour De Tykes this weekend but my whines fell on deaf ears. He keeps talking about James and how he needs to redeem himself, or something. I guess they had a battle last week and feels he needs to face off with him again. Sometimes I don't understand this whole racing thing but apparently I will be staying home this weekend, holding down the couch and keeping the bears at bay.
Anyway I guess I'll see you guys soon....Ike

Monday, April 12, 2010

Le Tour De Monte recap (Fair Hill)

M.A.S.S. Bikeline at Fair Hill...(results)
Woke up Sunday feeling rather chipper, Must have been the extended cooldown I did after Hop Brook the day before. Loaded the car (Jocelyn and Ike in tow), picked up Chris at Home Depot and we are on our way. The M.A.S.S. series is so popular that while I was talking to Chris in the rest stop bathroom the guy in the stall next to us started to tell us about how he races expert SS and he's going to Fair Hill also. Not wanting to make acquaintances in the men's room at a rest stop I politely sneaked away, leaving Chris and his new friend. Shortly after, while washing my hands Chris tells me "I think that guy just peed on my leg". Oh My! Well that must have been the good luck charm he needed, Chris went on to win his class. Congrats. Add a stolen (sport class) 1st place medal and a bonty 29.3 tire to your pee stained sock and it equals a win. Who would have known? What an equation.
For me there was no urine soaked sock to propel me past the super fast Aaron Snyder (Scott bikes). Just a pretty good day on the bike. From the warm up I felt like I was firing on all cylinders. Heart rate in check I pushed myself to the front row. Front row at a M.A.S.S. race. Big balls? Of course the second the gun went off I was dropped to the back (couldn't get clipped in again) Shimano pedals suck! I want my ATAC's back. Working my way through the field on the opening lap I must have passed about 30 riders. On your left! On your right! The passing is so aggressive in a field this big with nobody wanting to relinquish even one spot. Super fast and tons of flow at this course put me in the groove and going into the final lap I could see Andrew Alesio and Christopher Beck (GF29er crew) ahead of me and I set my sights on them. Beck seemed pissed to be getting passed by a singlespeeder, Yelling at Andrew telling him to "go faster, a singlespeeder is about to pass you". By mid lap I had gotten rid of them and concentrated on my kick to the finish.
5th place and after a lengthy wait for awards, a c-note for my troubles.

I won't write much about the traffic on the turnpike or solar panels. I'll leave that to Jocelyn.

Hop Brook Dam....(The day before)
Feeling way too relaxed at the start is never good. I knew when James Harmon (503 cycleworks) cracked a smile as I told him I haven't raced since SSUSA it was gonna be a long day. The gun goes off and like usual I can't get clipped in. Front row to nearly dead last at the drop of a hat. Fortunately Seamus Powell lead the first twenty riders in through the out door (going up the wrong trail in the first piece of singletrack). That allowed me to reestablish my place in the pack (6th at the time). Seamus would later motor by us like a man on a mission to capture the win. He has changed his coach and made improvement over the winter and man it shows. Nice Job Seamus.
This race for me was about keeping James in sight. He's on a single speed also and my whole purpose in the pro race is always to win against the other singles first then work on picking gearies off. It's been working for me for a while so why change. Only this time James was working me over, apparently the preparation for his race in Cali coupled with my lack of racing has closed the gap between us. Digging very deep to keep him in sight I made my move on the last lap managing to put about 30 seconds into him on a very steep part of the course. Riding like a maniac to keep this gap (barely keeping from crashing) I nearly managed to bridge to John Foley (GF29er crew) but I ran out of real estate before I could make a move. 4th place and in the cash not too shabby for the first real race of the season.
It was way too hard of an effort, considering I was also registered at Fair Hill the day after. Or would it be?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Le Tour de Monte

It's like my own mini tour De France (only I'm the only one going for the G.C.)

Yesterday the thought crept into my head. Why not do them both? So sometime on Tuesday I hatched a plot to do just that.
On Saturday morning I'll be hitching a ride with Gerry up to Connecticut (Hop Brook Dam) Banging bars with Stine, Harmon and Parsons only to come home, wake up on Sunday morning to drive to Maryland (Fair Hill) with Jocelyn and Chris. What a weekend. How will it go? Okay, I think...I can't be sure but I think I have decent fitness this year.
When I told Jocelyn about my plan she immediately replied "I'm not going" but I didn't expect you to I told her. I understand that even one cross country race in a weekend is sometimes too much (especially in April) but understand I'm hungry and I don't want to miss a thing at this point. Of course I may not feel this way come August. I'll probably be fried by then. Who cares, It's all about the now... Right now at least.
Experience tells me that I need to conserve somewhat on Saturday to have enough left over for Sunday. You only have so many matches to burn and unless the race develops into a legitimate shot at winning at Hop Brook for me, I will be burning as few as possible.

Fair Hill is awesome and there will be top level competition but Hop Brook brings out the best in New England. Neither one are key races for me, so with a eye on Mohican I'll do both....Should be fun.

Monday, April 5, 2010


This speech is my recital, I think it's very vital
To rock (a climb), that's right (on time)
It's Tricky is the title, here we go...

It's Tricky to rock a climb, to rock a climb that's right on time
It's's Tricky (Tricky) Tricky (Tricky)
It's Tricky to rock a climb, to rock a climb that's right on time
It's Tricky...Tr-tr-tr-tricky (Tricky) Trrrrrrrrrrricky

In New York the people talk and try to make us climb
They really (hawk) but we just (walk) because we have no time
And in the city it's a pity cos we just can't hide
Tinted windows don't mean nothin', they know who's inside

Stewart is flat, Right?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fair Hill....

The M.A.S.S. opener is on the horizon, Bikeline's race at Fair Hill. Fast, Relatively flat and short (Only 22.5 miles), Fair Hill offers a formidable challenge. The challenge will be in the form of 50+ riders to start the elite race. With names like Eatough, Schalk and Price the race will be competitive to say the least, with me most likely not even sniffing the front.
So why would I go you ask? I love the big fields. the feeling of racing wheel to wheel in large packs of riders is exhilarating. Back off one pedal stroke...Bam someone goes by. Plan your attacks wisely because cracking will leave you at the back. Drop a bottle? Forget it... Who has time to drink anyway?
Two years ago I was 27th, last year 9th, This year who knows? But I will tell you, it'll be fun.....

P.S. Fair Hill is a fair weather race only. So if it rains I will go to Hop Brook (where it will definitely rain) See you somewhere soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It came to me in a dream...

I woke up the other day with a new training loop in mind. It would include all of the elements that make up many of the races we do. Fast swoopy doubletrack, fun technical singletrack, a steep and long access road climb, some super raw hike-a-bike stuff and of course some low lying swampy areas.
So this week I made some calls and set up a ride for Saturday. After applying mucho amounts of peer pressure (often relaying false trash talking between them) Chris, Jim and Gerry joined me on this beautiful day. I warned everyone to bring supplies because although I rode the loop in four hours the day before, with a group this large you never know. Fortunately there were no issues to slow us much.
Anyway, without giving away too much... The first real mountain bike ride of the 2010 season went off without a hitch. We all learned in what areas we need to make improvements, and adjustments will definitely be made before race season starts.
Soon it will be tough to get people out on rides like this. The race season will be under way and everyone will be protective of their fitness, not wanting to stretch it on a long adventure trail ride. I for one will continue to ride my monster loop, because I love the epic days...It's what I live for...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Working on the mud skills!

When you go for a mountain bike ride the day after a Nor'easter, only one thing is for sure...Your gonna get wet...Mud flavored Heed...Yummy
Jars Of Clay

Rain, rain on my face-
It hasn't stopped raining for days-
My world is a flood-
Slowly I become one with the mud-


But if I can't swim after forty days
And my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall
Lift me up
Lift me up - when I'm falling
Lift me up - I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up - I need you to hold me
Lift me up - Keep me from drowning again