Wednesday, October 31, 2007

spooky, spooky

A little bit of Halloween tonight. Not too many trick-or-treaters visited the casa this evening. Owen ventured forth, dressed as a skunk, in search of animal crackers. He pulled through like a trooper, especially given that he lasted 10 minutes in his costume last year. I went to school dressed as a rock star. The beard I've been growing was all in preparation for the trucker 'stache that served as the foundation of my costume. I also had a wig, but couldn't stand to wear it for too long. I don't see how people deal with hair; I think I prefer being bald...

Alright, cyclocross comes to Lenoir this Sunday at Zack's Fork soccer complex starting at 10am! Here is the homepage for the NC Cyclocross series where you can find the flyer for the race. Don't forget that you can register online!

I'm a little more interested in getting pumped up for the race than just reading the flyer over and over. I highly recommend checking out cyclofile.com a weekly cycling update that focuses on all the major domestic cyclocross races and has some well produced video clips to show the action! See you Sunday for the race! Last minute 'cross practice may be at 4:30 on Saturday, but since we will be setting up the course - I'm not sure...

Monday, October 29, 2007

wakey, wakey - wow I'm achey




Round 2 of the NC Cyclocross Series is in the books. Fall made an appearance for the stop in Salisbury and for the first time in a long time, there was a debate as to whether or not arm warmers should be worn during the race. The day started off with the short drive from Lenoir to Salisbury. I was accompanied by mi familia and everyone was ready to watch bikes and ring some cowbells!

The CX4 race got off to an interesting start and I wormed my way into the lead group from the gun, but didn't have the power to stick it through to that sweet relief point that occurs in a 'cross race. You know, when the drill-fest tones down to a manageable pain level. I rode like crap for two laps and then started feeling decent the last two laps, but it wasn't enough and I finished 20th.

A brief respite and it was back to the line for the Master's race. Now last week I just rode the master's race as extra training miles, but this week I wanted to make a hard effort and see how long I could stick. To aid this endeavor, I downed an Enervit Cheer Pack shortly before lining up. If you have never heard of this product, we affectionately call it the "crack pack" for the extreme rocket fuel nature of the day-glo green liquid inside. The cheer pack's effects last for about a half an hour; too bad the Master's race is 45 minutes. In short, I felt like a rock star for 3 and a half laps, but totally shut down the last two and a half. I could hear Scotty yelling at me, "I'm givin' 'er all she's got!" At least I actually raced for a while...

The weather has taken an excellent turn as we head towards the Lenoir 'Cross Race this weekend. Jeff is putting in overtime making sure that everything is as perfect as possible. The course has the flavor of the Winter Cup course, but there are a few surprises in store for everyone, too. I want to encourage all the spectating I can, so bring your cowbells and a drink to keep you warm!

Just a reminder that the "Carbon Fiber Love" sale is going on through the end of this week, so if you are interested in anything from carbon bikes to carbon bottle cages or anything in between, make sure you stop by and check it out!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Soggy and groggy

The new Luna Cycles' Cyclocross Pit Kit

I can't believe that it has been steadily raining for 3 days! I know this will barely put a dent in our drought situation, but it's much better than the weeks and weeks of dry, hot weather that have been the norm. The downside is that the cold and the wet have made me forgo my usual nighttime run. That's probable a good thing considering how sore and tired I am today.

As the time change is coming up and the weather seems to be making a permanent change towards Fall, I wanted to find out if there would be any interest in group trainer rides at the shop. If you would be interested, give us a call at the shop or drop me an email.

Tomorrow I am going to Charlotte with all of my students for a field trip to Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. We are working on a Nascar Physics unit and the trip should provide some pretty real world examples of how physics is used. The kids are pretty stoked and have been thanking me for the trip and we haven't even been yet! I'll post some pics soon.

Last, but not least, Deb Venti (owner of Venti's Casa and Chicks with Sticks) is running a write-in campaign for Mayor of Lenoir. She is running against the unopposed incumbent David Barlowe. If you are interested in an alternative, drop by her store and see what she has to say!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

wetter and wetter

It is still raining! 3 days in a row of slow, steady, soaking rain. What more could you ask for? Conditions for Salisbury this weekend should be slick and slippery if the course has some of the same elements as last year. One thing is for sure on that front this year: the Maxxis Raze tires that I'm running this year will be a dramatic improvement over the Vittoria Evo Cross's I rode last year. The Vittoria's are a tire that we have affectionately dubbed the "slip and slides". Last year in Salisbury, I ate it pretty hard in a slick, muddy turn during my last warm up lap. Nothing like showing up to the line with your whole left side black with mud! I was the guy that nobody wanted to line up beside at the start and who would blame 'em?

I got absolutely drenched on my commute from school today. It's hard to complain about rain, but man, I got that cold, wet body thing that seems to contract your bladder and for like the last mile or so of my commute I had to pee like nobody's business! I ran into the house and tried my best to get out of wet clothes as quickly as possible without making a mess, all with the urging of an unhappy bladder. Such is the fate of the commuter...

We are in the process of building up the Argon 18 Krypton and the Arsenic 'cross bikes. They are, as Jeff put it, "Bad-mobiles". I can't wait to take them out for a test ride to get a feel for them. They have some unique design characteristics and we're eager to see how that translates into ride feel. Stay tuned for pics and reviews.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Weather Channel

It has rained two whole days in a row! While that doesn't do jack for the drought situation we are experiencing, it is certainly a step in the right direction. The weather is weird though. I dragged myself out for a run this evening and it was kinda muggy and warm. It's weird to get the humidity sweats at night at the end of October, but that's exactly what happened. I ran in shorts and a t-shirt, too. I'm ready for Fall, but it looks like we might just bypass that and go straight to Winter.

Jeff is predicting that we may actually have to race in arm warmers this weekend. He has his own little weather report that he calls "The Real Deal". All I know is that he is pretty obsessive about watching weather radar on the internet and he likes to argue with the written forecasts that get posted on some weather sites. It reminds me of Golden back in her racing days when if the tv was on, it was on the weather channel. I mean hours and hours of the weather channel. I mean shoot yourself to end the misery kind of situation. There have always been certain aspects of science that have just never grabbed my attention. Weather, geology, botany have just never been my thing. Oh yeah, and Chemistry. I suck at Chemistry. Ironically, now I have to teach Chemistry. I don't think that that is entirely bad since I can empathize with the students and maybe help them through my own life experiences.

As you can probably tell by the rambling nature of this little entry, not much went on today. It didn't start off with much promise since I have managed to develop the very bad habit of turning off the alarm clock in my sleep. Yep, I have absolutely no recollection of doing it, but it was off and I was dead asleep. Nothing like starting your day off in a panicky scramble to set the tone...

There was, however, one huge bright spot:

From: Shelli Welch
To: Shawn Moore (and a whole bunch of other people)

Greetings Friends and Clients:

I am happy to announce that Brian Pleasants of Pleasant Results Bodywork will now be in residence at The Perfect Fit in Lenoir!

Brian graduated from the Edmund Morgan School of Massage Therapy in Cornelius, NC. http://www.edmundmorganschool.com/ and comes highly recommended by my friend and massage therapist, Scott Herman (former owner of Muscle Works in Hickory and now in private practice in Boone). The Edmund Morgan School is one of only a few massage therapy schools in the state that offers special certification in neuromuscular release massage. (Scott has taught classes there)

Brian is not only capable of performing neuromuscular/myofascial release massage therapy but is also trained in performing regular deep tissue, swedish and will also be offering hot stone therapy.

To start, Brian's hours will be as follows: Wednesdays 7:30 am - 2:30 pm and Fridays 7:30 am to 6 pm. Brian will be available as of Wednesday, November 7th. You can call to schedule an appointment with Brian at (704) 895-2360 or by email at bnginnc@bellsouth.net. If you have to leave a message because Brian is in session, he will respond to you before the end of the day. Hour massages rates for personal training clients will be $60 per hour. $65 for the general public. Rates for a half hour massage will be $35 for either party.

For those of you that are not familiar with where my personal training studio is located, we are in the Russell Banks State Farm Insurance building on Harper at 520 Harper Avenue, Suite B. If you are coming into town from the crossroads, we are located right past the Sonic (our building will be on your right), located in between the old East Harper School and the American Trade and Loan. Russell's office space is on the left side of the building, we are on the right. We have plenty of parking available.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 828-729-1233.
Regards,
Shelli Welch
The Perfect Fit



If you have never had a good sports massage, then you owe to yourself to try it. It is one of the most significant things that you can do to improve your athletic performance, to recover from hard training or racing, and to help prevent injury. It will be money well spent!

Monday, October 22, 2007

How 'bout just listing what isn't sore?

On the line at Meredith College

I fought to not drag around all day. After yesterday, I don't want to have to stand up and accelerate a bicycle for a while. Someone said that there were like 50 accelerations per lap. I have no idea, but it felt a little more like 500 or possibly 5000, but who was counting. The results got posted today and congratulations to Jeff for finishing 3rd in the 35+, Chris Behrman for 8th in the CX4, and Howard Hesterberg for 4th in the 55+ categories. I know that more of the team was there, but I'm not sure of how they finished since only numbers (no names) are listed for the larger categories. I finished 32nd out of 96 finishers in the CX 4 and then pulled out the big last place in the 35+ race!

In other 'cross news, Czech rider Zdenek Stybar pulled out the BIG win in the first world cup in Kalmthout, Belgium on Sunday. His analysis of the race was that he attacked at the beginning of lap 2 and rode as hard as he could without looking back. He went on to say that his watch alarm went off signaling that one half of the 1 hour race was over. He thought, "I don't know if I can last." I know exactly how he feels, only when I get scared about that last 30 minutes of the race I'm only about 30 seconds into it! Anyway, leave it to the belgians to be so sure of a Sven Nys win that they didn't even have the Czech national anthem to play for Stybar! Watch out for Stybar and Lars Boom to make life uncomfortable for Nys this year.

Big news at the shop: we just received our first inventory from Argon 18! Argon 18 is a French-Canadian company out of Montreal that has some great carbon bikes. We have a carbon-aluminum Triathlon/TT frameset called the Mercury, 2 of the all carbon cyclocross framesets called the Arsenic and the entry level carbon road frameset called the Krypton. Since we bought in at the end of the model year, we got some special deals on these framesets that we want to pass on so that we can get some of these bikes out there! Speaking of deals, we will be having a Carbon Fiber Love Sale this week. If it's carbon, it's on sale! We have bikes, Adidas carbon soled shoes, Ritchey forks and seatposts, Look Keo carbon pedals and a bunch of other carbon goodies on sale. Give us a call or email me if you want more info - or better yet, why not come by and check it out yourself?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The magic number

Jeff, Big E and I headed out for Meredith College this morning for the first 'cross race of the season. Jeff and I stopped at the Barrel for a little pre-race grubfest. I tucked in to a massive plate of sourdough french toast with blackberries, two eggs over easy and some turkey sausage. I washed it down with hot coffee which tasted like brown with a hint of burnt.

We got to Meredith College and did an initial survey of the course. You needed at least a graduate degree in trigonometry in order to fully grasp every twist an turn in the course. There were two extended switchback hookylau sections plus a decreasing radius spiral that somehow spit you out into another section of the course through some rent in the space-time continuum. There was a tiny bit of brick paved section that dumped you into a very deep, descending leaf-mulch mix that was akin to a sandpit only browner and with bigger chunks.

Now Big E swore up and down that he didn't think that many people would show up. I think he needs to start deciding how he wants his crow prepared because the CX4 class saw a record 106 starters. Let me spell that out for you: one hundred and six starters in a CX4 'cross race! I found myself about third row in the middle of the mass on the start line, conveniently located at the base of a 4 tiered, grass-covered hill. It certainly seemed in my appraisal that a good, if not great, start was going to be the only way to even dream of contending. The whistle blew and I proceeded to zig and zag, bob and weave and any other thing that I could think of to get to the outside and start shooting up the mass of riders. I fell into line somewhere in the teens as we headed for the first skill required twisty section. The sheer volume of riders was incomprehensible. We went up a climb, took a right hand turn, went down a 200 meter straightaway, u-turned, went down a companion 200 meter straightaway, took a left hand turn onto a section that ran in the opposite direction to and parallel the initial climb and THERE WERE STILL RIDERS RIDING IN A SINGLE FILE UP THE INITIAL STARTING CLIMB! I could not believe how far ahead I was from just being heads up about the start. The race is just a blur: people passed me, I passed people. It was the hardest 'cross course I have ever raced and the hardest I have raced in a very long time. I think I finished somewhere in the 20's, but I honestly have no clue.

After crossing the finish line and riding into the finish chute (to aid scoring), I felt the immense and pressing urge to throw up. A little rest, a little small talk with some teammates and I made my way towards Jeff who was lining up for the Master's race. Now earlier that morning, I had registered for not just the CX4, but also the 35+ race. One was at ten, the other at eleven; seemed like a good idea at the time. But at this point, it seemed like a stupid idea to race back-to-back on this brutal course. I was going to tell Jeff "good luck" and inform him that I would not be racing the Master's race, but somehow my calorie-deficient brain got into the group at the line and thought "screw it" and I decided to race anyway. I begged some water off some people on the sidelines and mentally prepared myself for 45 more minutes of pain. I admonished myself that if I started, I would finish. DFL maybe, but not DNF! Long story short, Jeff took 3rd in a smoking fast race and I pulled out the Lantern Rouge finish in limping, muscle aching style!

Congrats to all of the Sledgehammer Charlie's team: Jeff, Big E, Bob, Chris, Bobby, Howard and all the others that I met today, but was too brain dead to fully grasp their names. See you guys in Salisbury! I'll post results and pictures as they come in...

and so it begins

Dawn is creeping up on me this morning as I prepare to take off for Raleigh and NC Cyclocross race #1 at Meredith College. There is more than a bit of anticipation for this race among the Sledgehammer Charlie's team. 'Cross practice yesterday was a good way to make some efforts and clear out the legs in preparation for today.

Not many of us are making the trek from Lenoir, but we will be joined by teammates from Hickory, Charlotte and T-Vegas. It'll be good to see the whole crew again. Good luck to everybody and I'll post the low down soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

going down

Our mechanics have a lifetime of experience!

The first 'cross race is in the books. Two top 5's for the Sledgehammer Charlie's team in the Master's race: Jeff took 2nd and the Preacher took 5th! Jack was giving it a serious amount of what-for, but multiple dropped chains took him out of the head of affairs. I opened up the season in the CX4's with a decent race, hovering in the top 15 until a serious moment of introspection brought on by a sudden drop to the ground coupled with a violent kneeing of the stem bolt. I gathered my thoughts for a few minutes, gamely managing not to throw up from the sharp pain in my knee. I got up and got back in it, but the damage was done: 24th place. Not bad, not great, but a definite improvement over the start to last season. This weekend marks the start of the NC Cyclocross series in Raleigh. See you on saturday for 'cross practice!

And with that subtle reminder to come ride Saturday afternoon, a little heads up that the Saturday morning ride is going to be starting at 9am due to the shift in morning temps toward the bluer end of the thermometer. But don't let the temps scare you off, now is the perfect time to ride. The weather is fantastic, the pace of the rides are conversational and relaxed! What more could you want? Don't let Bridge to Bridge define you as a cyclist! There is a whole wide world of cycling out there and some of the best riding in our area has just begun! There are people who pay big money to come ride the Blue Ridge this time of year, so don't squander it just because it's free! And if the weather or time isn't conducive for making the ride, be sure to pop your head into the shop to check out what's new and shoot the sh*t with us for a while!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The eve of pure, sweet hell

'Cross season officially gets underway here this Saturday. I haven't ever raced the Bristol course in the MSG Cross series, but it looks like fun from the aerial picture they have posted at their website. We raced in Johnson City last year and it proved to be a very cool atmosphere and a fun race course. I have no clue what kind of shape I'm in right now. Some days I feel good and strong, others I feel like I can't get out of my own way. We'll see... One thing is for sure: the weather is cooperating to make it feel like 'cross season!

Be sure to check out the flyer for the Lenoir 'Cross race to be held Nov. 4th. Check out the purse for the Pro race! Jeff is working his butt off to make this a race to remember! He is already topping himself from last year and he has some surprises in store for the winners of various classes; surprises in the truest Belgian 'cross racing tradition!

One thing I know for sure is that Owen is getting ready for the Lenoir night criterium next year:


video

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Cookie Monster

Much love and big ups to Charles Bennet for laying the smack down on the field at the Tour de Pumpkin, Saturday. With 60 km to go, Charles decided that the field wasn't working together well enough and so he accelerated on a long climb and soloed the last 60 km. He made the move and stuck it! F*ckin' spot on, Charles!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Un-fricking-believable

I can't believe that I actually have to respond to this. You may or may not be aware of a certain rumor being bandied about with regard to the Lenoir Cyclocross race on Nov. 4th. The rumor is that if you do not come to one of our Saturday 'cross practices, you won't be allowed to race on Nov. 4th. This is utterly and completely stupid, let alone being asinine and nonsensical. The reason offered for this supposed little "rule" is that so many people were injured during our winter cup race, that we, the organizers, felt compelled to check everyone off as being competent enough to race our course.

I-call-bullsh*t No. 1: there were not a lot of injuries at the Lenoir winter cup race. Besides the usual scrapes and bruises, there really wasn't anything in the way of injuries. If you are afraid of the odd slip-and-fall or shin banger from the barriers, don't race 'cross 'cause minor things like this can and do happen. But, any of the myriad of criteriums in NC is far more dangerous than any 'cross race.

I-call-Bullsh*t No. 2: since when do we, as grown-ass adults, not enter any cycling event (even cookie rides) without signing a waiver that says we accept responsibility for anything that could befall us during the event? Anytime you are upright on two wheels, you have some risk of injury. But what are you going to do, sue your driveway because it reached up and popped you on the noggin while you were showing off your no-handed riding ability? If so, you're an idiot. When have you ever heard of a cyclocross promoter requiring some sort of pre-race safety check-off? Never. We have 'cross practice every saturday to work on the skills required for 'cross, like dismounting and remounting at barrier sections. We are trying to build the sport of cyclocross in our area, not pretend to be the keepers of the holy grail.

If you have not heard this rumor, then disregard what I have said, but if you have, understand that it is a pure fabrication and is out of touch with reality. As we strive to build our cycling community, we have dealt with many idiotic rumors of similar ilk to this one. If you ever want the straight truth, just call us at the shop, we'll be more than happy to set things right for you.

And with that, why not join us for the first shake out race of the 'cross season at Johnson City, TN next saturday? They have great courses and a laid back atmosphere, perfect ingredients for starting the 'cross season. To all our Sledgehammer teammates to the south of us: give us a ring at the shop to coordinate this little jaunt and let's make a strong impression in TN this weekend!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The road to recovery

Lack of sleep and jet lag caught up with me and made for a slow and sleepy Monday. I definitely had that bleary-eyed, out-of-sorts, wake up call at 5:30 am. The shock of it all was almost more than I could bear, but I soldiered on.

I'm still processing all of the sights and sounds of Interbike. I saw a lot of really cool bikes, many bad-ass 'cross bikes (usually full carbon and tricked out with SRAM Red), interesting accessories and a whole host of lost souls pedaling some strange widget that is supposed to revolutionize cycling as we know it. One of my favorite bikes at the show was the commuter from Civia. They were very clean and modern bikes that harkened back to a certain mid-century European utilitarianism. There were several things that we got excited about with respect to the shop, but I must remain coy about these potential additions for now...

'Cross practice was definitely the last nail in the hurt locker for Jeff and me. By Sunday, I was dragging something fierce. To shake it all out, I went for a run this evening. It hurt like hell at first, but moved through tolerable to enjoyable in due time. I've been commuting on the 'cross bike to get used to it.

The turnout for 'cross practice saturday was the largest yet and I hope that it will continue to grow in our area. Golden brought Owen out to practice and he was able to work on the finer points of cowbell ringing. Look for the littlest 'cross fan at the NC Cross series this season! If you have never experienced the fun of 'cross, but want to, come to the 'cross practice this Saturday at the Zack's Fork Soccer complex at 4:30 pm. We provide the barriers and advice, you bring everything else! For those of you that have been procrastinating: 'cross season starts in 2 weeks! Yessiree bob, the MSGCross in Tennessee begins Oct. 13th in Bristol. This will be the perfect warm up to the NC Cyclocross Series that starts Oct. 21st in Raleigh, NC! Get ready to break out the Belgian Knee Warmers and race some 'cross!