Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sweet pain

Man, that was crazy. 100 guys lined up for a cross race and off goes the gun. I got shafted on the call up since I thought they would line up by reg number but when the mass of people surged forward I knew I was screwed. It actually helped tho since there was a pile up of about 20 guys and I was able to avoid it. The next 10 minutes were a blur of sprinting, pain and more pain.
The course was wide open but alot of sections were in deep grass that absolutely sucked any momentum I had. I was working the corners pretty well, even if the owner of Challenge tires told me after the race I had way too much pressure in my tires. No matter, I still got paid from dollar-hand ups. I grabbed $6 but lost one as I was just in front of two barriers on a run up.

Since I knew I was going to get lapped, I decided to gain whatever time I was losing by adding style points whenever possible. There was one section that was a perfect spot to air out a bit, so for the last 4 or so laps I was crossing up to the delight of the crowd. I sure hope I can find a few of those pics because that would be a hella-sweet blog pic.
So the final result is that I ended up getting pulled just over 50 minutes into the race, which is about 10-15 minutes longer than I expected to be in there. This was evident when at the start I saw no less that Thomas Frischknecht, Christoph Sauser - you know - current World MTB champ, Mud and Cowbells, plus the usual murderers such as Barry Wicks, Todd Wells, Ryan Trebon, J-Pow, current CX US National champ Tim Johnson. Oh, and Lance Armstrong showed up to boo's at the call up. Funny stuff.

With out a doubt, that was THE hardest race I've ever done. Period.

So Interbike is awesome so far, and I can only imagine it's going to get better!

-the ATM

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And so it begins

I've been destroying my legs since Sunday with walking around here in Vegas plus standing around during booth duty for work. As with any convention when you work a booth, you get to stand around alot then answer questions when people ask. Mainly they end up being semi-fluff questions that are easy to concoct answers, but there is the occasional know-it-all so it ends up being a time sink. This is both good and bad since that person is generally annoying but talking for longer periods of time tends to make the time go by faster. This is key.
I was set to work Tuesday morning then have the afternoon off. My intention was to grab some lunch then go talk to a few customers for max 1 hour, then come back to the hotel for a quick nap but things didn't go to plan so I didn't nap. This is unfortunate since I seem to be going to sleep on Pacific Time then waking on Eastern Time, which means I'm up at 6a. Sweet. It is what it is, and I'll deal with it.
Anyway, after the show I hooked up with some co-workers to head out to dinner in any number of highly over-priced restaurants here in dirty Vegas. After blowing about $100 each on dinner, we headed to some fancy 'bistro' for some cocktails. About 3 minutes before we were set to leave, I thought I recognized a guy coming down the stairs. As it turns out, I was right:

Perhaps he was a bit cheesed at having to be bothered for a photo and thus posed as such, but I like to think he thinks of me as a good buddy just hamming it up for a photo. Yeah, that's it.
Whatever, he was super cordial and talked to me a few minutes without seeming like he needed to be somewhere else. So JV is A-OK in my book.
Sidebar, that dude is always wearing a sport coat of some kind. Tres' stylish.

And so beings my 3 days of starry-eyed geekiness that is Interbike.

all for now-

the ATM

Friday, September 19, 2008

For to make Russian headache

My previous job was to support our mining engines for all world wide customers, which includes alot of mines in Russia. As part of that, the local engineers would ask questions and I would answer. Over the course of a few years I worked up a rapport with one engineer who, on occasion, makes it to the states for training.
Well, this week happened to be training and he was in town. He shot me an instant message earlier in the week asking if I was going to be in any of the classes. Since my group was presenting several modules on Friday, I was planning to attend and told him so. He responded that I needed to touch base with him as he had a Russian souvenir for me. I like presents, and since it was my birthday earlier in the week it was sure to be a wonderful addition to the birthday wishes I've already received. Sure enough, it was:
Now I can't read Russian, but I can guess as to the contents based on size.

I was right. Please note the lack of english letters on the label. I was most impressed by the felt-like texture on the bottle. This goes well with my souvenir from last year:
Now the reason I haven't tapped into the first was because I promised to drink the vodka in traditional Russian fashion: Do not replace the cap once opened. It is apparently bad luck to open a bottle then not finish it and I'm not a huge vodka drinker. Besides, let's be honest; if I could polish off a fifth of vodka I would have to admit I have a drinking problem. However, in the perfect timing department, I'll bring them out to Vegas so I can honor the other typical Russian method for consuming a fifth of vodka of one bottle for every three guys. That's more of a guideline but it'll be way easier to finish them off in Vegas.

Anyhoo, I'll be leaving in a few minutes to start my week+ adventure starting with a UCI race on Saturday in Davisburg, MI then beating feet back to Indy on Sunday to catch my flight to Vegas. From there I'll spend a few days taking care of bidniss, which is to say, the industry, then start my vacation with a few laps around the Desert Breeze Complex. I can't say I'm as excited as my boy Knapp, but I'm not far off.

So with that, I'm off for now

-the ATM

Monday, September 15, 2008

I am Specialized...

but come 2009, so is Todd Wells, which is awesome.
Two things:
Specialized better reuse the 'I am Specialized' campaign with Todd Wells:

I can only hope like hell he is able to use his powers of persuasion to have them make a white bike for him:

Anyway, back to me... I am diggin' my Tricross a bunch. Even though I got some course tape wrapped around my cassette (from 40+ mph wind gusts) that shot me to the back of the pack, I was able to claw back to a reasonable finish for my first cross race of the year. More importantly, I felt super awesome with 100% confidence in my rig so assuming I can put together a race without issue I should see some good results in the first part of CX season.
This is good because CrossVegas is a mere 10 days away. I know I'm going to get shelled but I don't care. This race is pure fun for me so even if I have a shit race it will still be awesome. Seriously, how many of you can say you lined up next to Thomas Frischknecht? Given his looooong career, probably alot. But I don't know any of you. Not that I'll really line up against him, but we'll at least be in the same 300 meters for at least 10 seconds. Whatever. It's still cool. Mr Colorado Cyclocross himself, Mud and Cowbells will be there, too. I hope he will appreciate my collection of white sex. No Sidi's for me, tho. I have wide feet and I think they only make Mega in black. Ack! No matter, Specialized is getting righteous for 09.

Enough giddy babbling for now.

-the ATM

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cankle: A photo essay

As an addendum to my post yesterday about getting stung on my ankle, I now have a cankle.

It feels (and looks) like I have about a gallon of water in my ankle, so bending it is not what I would call comfortable. Sitting all day with my foot as the lowest part of my body does not help things, either.

This is awesome.

-the ATM

Monday, September 1, 2008

Much to Blog about nothing

Yikes, it's been a while since I posted. Like I always say, though, you can't force a blog post.
Anyhoo, I wrapped up my summer campaign on the road with a 2nd at the Warsaw crit. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Er, well, groomsman anyway. I'd like to think I played it smart since a teammate of mine was off the front, then when the group brought him back I countered. From that, a two man break formed and we worked well together. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 but I figured if I kept attacking from maybe three laps out, he was strong enough to hold on such that he'd either just sit on or we'd slow our pace and the peleton would catch us. I continued my error in judgment by letting him come around before turn three, thinking I could come around after turn four. Wrong answer... there was just not enough road. That and he was pretty strong. So I punked myself into second. Idiot. Good thing is the cash was still green so I'll take it.
Did the 1/2/3s race after that and managed to be at the front a few times, then mid-pack the rest of the time. I was really only interested in finishing in the group anyway, so job done there. On the way out of town I think I kinda hit the wall of both sleep and energy depletion. Conveniently, there was a Mexican restaurant on the way home which was crucial in providing much needed instant gratification.
The reason for my lack of sleep was that I got my new cross frame the week before and finally got to build it up on Thursday. I finally stopped at what turned out to be 3am, which is funny since it felt like about 1. ugh. No matter - the bike is sweet!
At the time of the pic, I still had my road tires on so you'll just have to imagine knobbies on the wheels. Also, I have since cut off the steer tube, just needed to get a shakedown run to make sure the cockpit would be positioned correctly. Once I finish with the gluing of tires, expect a new pic.
I was smart enough to snap a pic of my road bike with the sick wheels since I had yet to do that.Looks pretty PRO to me.
Let's see... just finished about 10 hours on the bike in the last 3 days, so that's pretty sweet. Probably went too hard a few times, but it's all good.
Sunday found me on an exploratory CX ride over hill and dale. I had taken a few different turns on my road bike about a month back and stumbled onto a gravel climb, so I decided to revisit it.Turns out it was a good thing. It maybe went up for about a half mile but at the next intersection (still gravel) it kicked up again. I went right and climbed again then started to descend. It was naturally sketchy since 25-30 mph on loose gravel with turns at the bottom were the order of the day, but I managed not to take a digger. I think all told, there was about 5 miles of gravel. Pretty damned cool.
Towards the end of the ride, I stopped at a friend's house since he was outside. Naturally the talk turned to beer and how he didn't like a porter in the summer. When I said I liked them anytime of the year he handed me a few. Being a little slim on capacity, I did what anyone would do in my position - enter Super domestique mode.
What the pic doesn't show is that I still had a few Clif bars left plus a water bottle (and no cages on the bike) so I shoved everything non-beer related down my back under the bib strap. I made the last 20 minutes home without so much as a hoot from any rednecks, which almost makes me think they weren't paying attention. Surely a redneck would appreciate a long neck or two sticking out of a jersey pocket, no?
To wrap things up, I finished my long weekend with an MTB ride. Just as I was ready to roll out, a few cats from Louisville pulled up and we started chatting. It became quickly apparent they were not slow, so we set out together. Not 10 minutes into the ride, I got stung by a bee. This mostly sucks since I'm allergic to them, but also because it was on my ankle where there is no meat so it really flipping hurt. There was not a whole lot I could do, so we rolled on. Ended up with just over 2.5 hours of ultra dusty trails that capped off a fantastic weekend. We even tried to eat Mexican but the place I was headed was closed. WTF?!? Terribly pissed, I pulled into a Wendy's since the guys had to head south sooner than later and driving across town to find another Mexican place was just not in the cards.

So there it is, I'm all up to date. Later.

-the ATM