Monday, May 31, 2010

Dead animals on the grill

Today concluded the 4 day Memorial Day weekend with the ride in Upper Marlboro put on by the "Hains Point Crew". This was my fourth time going out with the crew and as usual, we were up to some funny shanningans. Although the pace on this year's edition was the fastest courtesy of some of Artemis' big engines.

After the ride, V Day's captain and my good friend, Daniel, invited us over to his house for some "dead animals on the grill and some refreshing beverages". I'm not the one to pass on such an invitation and despite the fact that I was feeling tired, we headed over and had the usual good times in company of good friends and great food.

Since I'm on the food theme here, I can't seem to get rid of the 4 extra pounds I want to shed before heading home in a month. Not that I'm helping myself by consuming large amounts of food, but man, it's like I reached a plateau. There's no real diet going on, only smaller portions of all my favourites, but with the odd visit to a friend's house for some grub and refreshments, things are just getting to be silly.

Form is coming along just fine, but I have concluded, after riding with some young NCVC dudes that the youngsters have about 15 accelerations in them, while, and since I'm getting old, have about four at best. Fun times nonetheless.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Not much to write about. My third time taking part in the event and IMHO, it was pretty tamed. Two crashes (looked minor) and one order to stop by the refs were the main attractions.

Personally, my usual McD's pancake and sausage, a meal that I have consumed prior to many a race, failed me for the first time in my cycling history. Dumfounded as to why I was feeling so crappy, I could only pin point my diet as the main perpetrator for the lack of power I was experiencing. During the first lap, right out of the dirt and on the short steep hill, I almost lost the plot (and my breakfast). Thinking positive and hoping things would turn around as the race went on kept me from looking down at my gears and wondering, why I couldn't turn the pedals with ease.

On the S turn hill/false flat part, during the last lap, the elastic finally broke. My brain made a frantic call to my legs to go for maximum power, but nobody in the leg's department actually answered the phone. Knowing that the line was just a few minutes away, I was trying, in vain, to close gaps. Riders in twos and threes were trying to fight the side wind and just end the suffering. I finally found Nick's wheel and drafted him for a bit before jumping across to a lone Coppi guy. He quickly got on my wheel and drafted me until about 200m before the finish where he jumped away. A sprint was non existent for me since I didn't have one and I was not going to do it for 20 whatever place. Shifted to the 39, crossed the line, Nick came by and I thanked him for the pull, made a right by the school and saw a DC Velo guy collapsed on the grass with what looked like two huge cramps. OUCH!!.

That's it for me, no more racing until July 29th in Panama.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Back At It

About nine months, after my close encounter with the pavement and subsequent humbling butt kicking I received at the hands of my native friends in Panama, I reached the conclusion that my "racing" days were coming to an end. Not that I ever took the sport serious enough, after all, and as far as I'm concerned, it's a hobby. I never hung by the telephone expecting the bosses of Banesto or Saeco to call me to join their ranks. But my good friend Dani Meaurio FINALLY moved to cat4 and we talked of doing a few races together, just for fun.

So I entered Murad and Poolsville without the approval of the better half, but knowing full well, that racing with Dani is just an experience. It's not only the race itself, but the drive to and from, talking about how bad each other feels while navigating the back end of the pack, cracking jokes (mostly in spanish) and just having a grand time.

We got to Murad and the first order of business was to make sure Dani's upgrade was taking care of. A brief talk with the officials and he was pinning his number. Off we went for a warmup and then lined up with the rest of the pack. Murad is not a very difficult course, but the heat was an obstacle as well as the very few spots were one could move up, especially if you were riding in the caboose, like I was.

Aside from a few attempts of guys trying to break, the race stayed together, although I did see plenty of folks exit through the back door, because either the heat or pace. The crash on the last lap elevated my heart rate to uncomfortable levels after missing it by about an inch, and the subsequent quick, but well performed chase got me back to the tail end of the pack with enough time to recover. As the final approached, Dani moved me up towards the front as best as he could but it was a messy last kilometer and I'm getting up there in years to be mixing it for a $15 payout (it's a hobby, not a job).

I walked away knowing that I still can ride a little fast here and there, but most importantly, we had the usual good time. Now Poolsville is in two weeks, and I'm sure we are going to be jamming to AC/DC as we prepare for another fun day at the races.