Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The best New Year's ever

...or at least in the last few months. Recall last NYE was the "sorry for partying" year that saw me donate to the Good Times Gods. Ah, good times. Good times.
Anyway, this holiday season I've felt fairly poopy-pants-ish and not really festive. I turned down a few Thanksgiving dinner invites, then drove up on Christmas day for the family bidniss. In keeping with my poopy-pants-ed-ness, I was explaining to my dad a few days ago that I didn't have any plans this year for New Year's and was quite fine with that. After running some errands today I spent much of the evening in the garage getting things cleaned up and organized. I've got 4 bikes and only one is built - This grates on me. In the continued eBay efforts I got a few cassettes cleaned that will get photo'd tomorrow and thrown out on the 'bay.
All in all, I timed it perfectly and turned on the tube with 30 seconds to go, watched the ball drop, turned off the tube and now sign off so that I can go to bed.

Gotta ride my bike tomorrow, you know.


-the ATM

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Really, it's just a small pain in the neck.

Seriously. Day two of the pain in my neck was a little worse than day one. Occasionally I get these near-debilitating pains in my neck from what I think is somehow ending up sleeping with my neck all twisted up. Two days ago I awoke with said pain. I generally deal with it for a day, trying not to look over my shoulder, etc then lay on some ice that night.
Did that, no help. This became a much bigger deal because I was headed out for a bike ride, and 40+ degree weather without rain in December was not going to see me skip it. The big problem this presented was that unless I nearly turned my entire body around on my bike, there was no way in hell I would be able to look behind me. I think I stopped maybe 4 times to stretch my neck in every direction possible. The last time finally made some progress so I could at least lift my head up high enough not to continually have to 'look up' just to see what was in front of me. Nothing a quick trip to the chiro won't fix. Too bad that's Monday.
Apart from my pain in the neck, every time I headed West during the ride I was maybe doing 11 mph in order to keep my HR where it should be for a recovery ride. The beauty was that heading east to come home meant I was pushing 25mph at that same HR. Score!

I'm heading up to Fort Fun tomorrow (yes on Christmas day) since Christmas is not what it once was in the Mexler household. I think we'll get together in the afternoon, then sleep, then wake up and eat more then go to bed. Friday is brunch at my Dad's then hopefully a ride with coach extraordinaire Don. Saturday will find me in our team meeting then Sunday is the return trip to continue with getting lots of stuff done around the house that is possible with a week off of work and no travel.

Anyhoo, no pics of anything exciting lately. I pretty much lead a boring life without bikes. I hope you stick around until racing starts up in the spring.


-the ATM

Friday, December 19, 2008

Masters Nats and Convenience

I've been struggling to find the motivation to post about my last race of the year since I've pretty much decoupled over the last week. I've gotten a few things done around the house but I guess I've taken this week of from everything except the bare essentials.
I wasn't getting great feelings about my legs for the start, but I was going to give it a shot anyway. At the gun, I passed several rows on the inside again but a pile up blocked me in to a solid 4th from the back at the first corner. According to the official at the start, that would put me at 98th.
As expected, it was more difficult to move up but I was still giving it my all. I wasn't feeling the flow and was extremely slow at the run-up as a result. I was ready to pull the plug a few times but cheers from Mike, Isaac, Ryan and Zach kept me rolling. I settled in to a group of a few that, on the whole, were matched up but had strengths in different sections - climbs, corners, etc.
I ended up 29th, which I feel good about. I had already kinda checked out and I knew it would be one of the harder races of the year so to pull out 67 places from the ashes is pretty ok.

SO, moving on... I tend to be a little slow on the blog updates which has been a bit troubling. I guess it gets built up in my head and devoting the necessary time to write a good post ends up dragging on, which I think ends up hurting my readership - which I don't like. I suppose I look at it as the more hits on my blog, the more people enjoy my ramblings and schtick - which is nice. As a whole, cyclists have fragile egos so any encouragement is good.
All this boils down to the great American progression of things. As in, we quickly accept the new as standard and look for the next new thing to provide some form of new/better/easier convenience. Take cars, for example. Keyless entry was barely used on ultra premium cars in the early 90s. A few years later even the $10k cars have it. Now we see convenience packages that don't require you to remove the key from your pocket. Are you really that lazy? No, but it's way more convenient to just reach up and press a button to start the engine. Silly if you ask me, but too many people HAVE to have it. egad.
So what does this have to do with blogs? Well, it's proven to be difficult for me to regularly post to a blog, even though I have lots of ideas pop into my head throughout the day. This is where I build it up too much and don't end up posting. After 'the moment' has passed, interest wanes and the chances of a post, much less a good one diminish quickly.
Enter the next new thing... Twitter. I've known about it for awhile but wanted to avoid it because it seemed silly. Of course, after I put some (okay, lots of) thought into it, it actually makes sense. The logic of it is such that you have to keep it short, so more frequent posts are essentially encouraged. It also helps for when random subjects that are pseudo-blog worthy, since one can send a random tweet and let 'er eat. You can see them at right or get really nutty and have them sent to your mobile. Because, you know, I feel like so many of your lives revolve around my randomness.
or something like that.

So that's a long-winded explanation of why I'm not jumping on the band wagon so much as improving my readership. Buy it?


-the ATM

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pics from round one

Zach was kind enough to snap a few pics from the race so I figured I'd post a few, since several of my last posts have been pic-less:

The first several painful run-ups:Sherer's probably online now looking for the neon pit coveralls

The frozen ground offered way more grip than mud:
Amazing how much a 32 spoke 3 cross rim rides like butter:

So we're sitting here in the hotel room, watching the first season of Californication, getting ready to head out directly after the races tomorrow. I'm in weird state of mind now, in that I want to do well and will give it my all, but I have no expectations for results since I'll be literally 12 numbers from the back of the grid of 152 dudes. Maybe I'll pretend I'm at the back of a MTB World Cup race where there are 250 guys toeing the proverbial line.

Anyway, all for now. Later.

-the ATM

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two for two

For those keeping score, that's two 2nd places in two National Championships - sort of. I guess the 2/3 CX Nats isn't really a jersey paying race so it's not really a National Championship, but it was marketed under the guise of National Championship so it's close enough.
I waited too long to register so I ended up getting the #88 grid spot. With no-shows taken out I counted an 8th row start. Luckily enough people were asleep at the wheel at the whistle and I quickly shot up to maybe 30th by the first corner. At the highest elevation on the course roughly a third of the way through the lap I muscled into 4th then moved into 2nd by the 3rd lap. I apparently dug too deep to get there because I just couldn't close it. Well, that and I'm fighting off a cold.
So there it is. Two Nats races and two 2nd places. Perhaps I'll make it 3 for 3 on Sat in the old man's race, starting from 140th place. That should be fun.


-the ATM

Saturday, December 6, 2008

the magic of silence

It's been a really long year, and I'm starting to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to pull strong rides together. Mentally, I'm good but it's still hard when my legs aren't putting up numbers I could do in the summer. I'm in somewhat uncharted territory since I've never done as many races in previous years as I did this year.
All of this adds up to what I would have thought would make me not want to ride my bike. Alas, even when it's 20 degrees out I can still take motivation from certain things surrounding me: the rhythmic whoosh of tires on the pavement, the silence of a country road interrupted only by the faint mechanical whir of a properly tuned drivetrain and, when I look behind me - my tire tracks in fresh snow:

Yep, I love to ride my bike.

-the ATM

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Those crazy Germans

I bought a belt tensioner for my car since the pulley bearings are shot, and there is no option to buy just a replacement pulley. When I opened the box, I saw one of the universal diagrams and laughed out loud after I decoded it:Apparently you have to have a set of overalls to work on cars. Mere mortals need not apply.
This presents a distinct problem because overalls go against every fashion-forward concept in the world today. Secondarily, I'd have to buy said overalls, and even if purchased at WalMart they'll be at least $20, which brings the overall price of the job up that much more. This is unacceptable.
I think I'll just close my garage door when I'm installing it so that nobody can see that I'm not wearing overalls. I will be wearing khakis since there are no rivets to scratch paint, but no overalls. Just don't tell anybody. Thanks.

-the ATM

Monday, December 1, 2008

Storm the Green

A somewhat fitting title since it did rain, but only in the hours before our race. This actually sucked because all the mud turned to peanut butter and made for a dirty, dirty bike. I'm fairly certain that chain is done. At least I didn't shred any other drivetrain parts from crashes and such.
During the pre-ride laps I took a few spills so I experimented with dropping the tire pressures until I was regularly bottoming out on the ground. I was feeling good before the start and got a good jump from the gun, but about mid-cassette the chain dropped down to the little ring and I got passed by about 5 people. Big dog restored, I settled in a good pace in about 6th. At the insane low pressures I was running, my Grifos were hooking up like college kids on Saturday night. Not that I ever did, Mom. I studied and got good grades. Really, I did. Anyway, I can only imagine what a set of Fangos would do in the mud.
I rode the race technically clean, and only screwed up a nasty corner-into-run-up section once which only cost me a few seconds. The head wind sections were pretty brutal, but not to the point that I was questioning my sanity.
King Ryan crushed it again and all but clinched the OVCX title, and I was able to jump another step up the ladder to hit 4th which puts me in 5th on season points. I just have to not have a bad race to get 4th since Mike Purvis got collected by a car while training on his road bike last week and now has a limp. Man, that sucks. He's definitely a guy that doesn't deserve anything close to that. I hope he recovers well for sure. I really need to have a stellar result this weekend to crack the season podium, but with the way the other Barbasol guys are riding that is a tall, tall order. No matter - I'll give it a good ol' college try, similar to my efforts on Saturday nights in college. Studying. Because that's what I did, Mom. I promise.

-the ATM

Oh yeah, Is it just me, or does the description "FSA compact 50/34 rings" not tell you the BCD is 5x110mm? After 3 questions from bidders I figured I should edit the post. If nothing else, go to their website and look it up, or better look at the picture I posted where it says '110mm BCD' Sheesh.
/end rant