Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We'll do it live.

Last week a little gem came across the interwebs for a brief moment that I wanted to share with the masses of badasses around these parts. Because, here's the thing, sometimes this stuff goes unnoticed.

This came across via the Fortunista list:

"Hi all,
I don't have much experience on dirt, gravel, carriage roads, or thelike... does anyone have recommendations for training rides with this in mind: ?
Many thanks."

When I read this message the first time and saw the "Rapha" brand therein, I naturally dismissed the entire message as SPAM for overpriced, excessively long, California Roadie Chachwear, and I deleted the message and moved on. Easy.

But curiousity got the best of me later in the day, and I came back and clicked the link and watched the video. Which you can do now if you'd like. Don't worry, I'll wait.

Yeah, you saw it there, right at the 28 second mark. I saw it too. And it was that amazingly perfect moustache that dismissed my original diagnosis of SPAM. No, no, a case of Mo-fection like that - the word Mofection being derived from the word PERfection and not INfection - can assure your SPAM weary soul that this is, in fact, legit correspondence. Dude just wants to hit some gravel.

For the masses, here's a little info on the matter. Because I feel like a sort of expert on the subject of local gravel.

Pantani Garmin Action:

Blog post with further details, though you might have to dig around a little.

Dig deep enough, and I think there's even a cue sheet and some maps. Don't quote me on that. Plus, other routes abound in the very same 'hood - Clark rd. Ballards Mill. Chapel Springs. Catterton.

But here's the thing, badass masses. Adventure awaits, but it also doesn't really care that it's waiting. That is to say, it won't come find you on its own very often. I can tell you which gravel routes I like the most, which ones are less likely to be patrolled by drunken hillbillies and pets-gone-wild, which ones tend to be smoother and which ones are more like a trail. But the spirit of gravel riding is to find your own way, not my way, and putting together your favorite loop in the wild world of dusty, quasi-road mayhem is not only a part of the process, it's almost the entire point. It's a little lonely out there. Dig that.

Plus, my recollection of the details of most rides doesn't tend to be very accurate anyway. My advice is to not take my advice and instead; go explore.
Take some extra tubes.

Moving on, in 10 days I'm going to try to get around the Wilderness 101 in under 8 hours. Nevermind the fact that this morning I could barely sustain forward momentum on a dawn patrol rally with Shawn and Kev29er. The bike is back together. Legs feel pretty good. And if all goes well, it just might happen.

Not that I think I could actually roll any other 101 miles at that moment in under 8 hours. Oh hell no. But I'm betting on the notion, like Bill O'Reilly accurately suspected, that sometimes the only way to pull it off is to pull it off LIVE.

A classic on that matter:

That race day feeling. Never gets old.

Last but not least, my training ride over the weekend consisted of a Bachelor party for our man, BigJohn, down at Wintergreen. Specifically, that meant a 3 hour training ride either way separated by 15 hours of heavy libations in the middle of things. Brilliant.

One thing BigJohn does very well - unhitch his current self from his future self. It's a brilliant skill. Think something to the effect of: "These five beers in front of me at noon are going to be 1 o'clock John's problem, not mine. And I don't care about 1 o'clock John right now. He's drunk and he sucks. These beers are delicious."

It is exactly that sort of mindset that I intend to carry around Coburn for about 8 hours. There's a lack of self-preservation in there that I think could be useful in the short term. Longterm effects? No idea. But that will be 3 O'clock Dave's problem, not mine.

Up, up, up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shawn's Magical Mystery Tour

Planning a ride is a science. Mostly I overlook this process because my focus is on the endgame: the ride. When you think about it this is how a ride develops, evolves:

1)You or the other person throws out the idea, the general amount of time the ride will take is stated, maybe a distance you want to accomplish, or possibly a obstacle to overcome.
2) the other person states whether they are in or out.

Lets stop here, for discussion. This process is usually done via the world wide web. Its easier to turn down the possibility of pain, sweat and tears with the simple push of a button. Truly a sad state of affairs. But that’s a topic for a different day.

3) With the in or out response may come some negotiation about the ride -maybe we should add 10 or so miles, maybe we should shorten the ride, lets put in a climb, etc. You’ve done this before, you know what I’m talking about.
4) Other people are added to the ride, rally points are discussed, others respond, finally
5) A time is set, a route is known, participants are accounted for.

I feel this is a pretty good dissection of how a ride comes to be.

And then there is the planning of a ride with Shawn.

Here is the conversation from last night:
Toph: So Kyle, when do you wanna ride tomorrow?
Kyle: Well, we…
Shawn (Interjecting): We leave from the shop at 4.
*Let the record show Shawn had no involvement in this ride up to this point
Toph (looking at Kyle, but talking to Shawn): So where are we going?
Shawn: Out.
Toph: Uh, about how far do you wanna go?
Shawn (shaking one hand): Neeee
Toph: Well, how long are we riding for?
Shawn: Maybe 1 hour, Maybe 2, Maybe 3…..Maybe 4.
*And with the threat of that 4th hour Shawn makes direct eye contact with me and simultaneously as the words “Maybe 4” are partially whispered in my direction I notice 1 eyebrow twitches.

And that’s what makes you wonder about this dude, but tells you everything you need to know. 18 Hours Scouts Honor, I get it. Return to endurance racing can start tomorrow. Topher, you can come along if you want to you.

Toph: Ok, maybe 2,3, or 4…
Jenny: Toph, you can always turn back when you want to. There will be plenty of spots to head back to town.
*Nothing tells you a marriage is air tight as finishing your partner’s sentences.

It’s about 2 as I write. Drink some water, eat something healthy, ride leaves from the shop at 4.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hot Twofer Training

Lot's of folks checking in here at BRC racing HQ (two acronyms in 3 words, like the military but with a bigger purpose) about the final results from Hilbert. I've been forced to repeat myself on the subject a few times, and I'll say it again here: I don't know, I wasn't there. But I do have selatious remors and outright lies to pass along that I dug up on the interwebs, so if that's good enough (and let's face it, it's more than good enough) then here you go.

Krod. 3rd place at the Hilbert Enduro. Jesus. Not just his happening good looks and Weezer-oriented sense of style, but JESUS, you'd think unplugging from your former life and plugging back into a bike-centric riding berzerk would make you a shoe-in to win a race like Hilbert. But apparently it's only good enough for third.

Must not have been enough downhill. Photo cred to Jude Monoco Ortiz, and by cred I mean street cred.

But apparently standing on your feet at the shop all day, racing 4 times/week, and generally exceeding the standards by which overtraining is usually defined has worked for Jay. 1st Pro. Pro as in Professional. Professional as in, gets paid to race, son. Time to cast aside those silly goals of education and learn yourself aboard the pain train instead.

Other stuff happened down there too, I presume, I'm just not sure what. I have a hard time keeping up these days. So let's check the haps from the mailbag in an effort to provide some sense of clarity to life away from reality, reality away from life, and so forth.

From: Big John To: BRC

The Col de Tourmalet

I can officially give that one an oh hell yes. While professional divas racing their speedcycles around Europe isn't always the kind of man shit worthy of this blog, The Tourmalet most certainly is, every single time. Tune in on TH. Let it snow.

From: Nolan To: BRC

Pump tracks kick ass.

Again, an enthusiastic and official, Oh hell yes. And also a personal note to check in with SOT2.0 about just what the hell is going on with our own pumptrack in the making up in Greene. I've got twins coming that I'd like to teach a few things to and learn a few things from, and it's possible that I'll need some berms and whoops to really succeed.

Personally, I've been training a wee bit, and by that I don't just mean peeing in the woods. Indeed, I've been doing some intervals, some long rides, thinking about what kind of mindset a person has to be in on the start line to really outperform their own ability and get around a 101 miler in under 8 hours. It's been hot. My latest training technique: thunderstorms. Nothing really strikes up a good interval cadence quite like apocolyptic thunder and an outright downpour. Plus, the days are never quite so cool as they are when the skies finally let loose and wet this place down. Brilliant, right? At least until I lose focus, reckon ahead to the days when I'll have a bob trailer of some kind (make, model, and acceptable riding terrain yet to be approved by my wife) and start power sliding singletrack instead of doing proper work. It's nice to have a dedicated mud bike, just for this kind of "training." God save my future children.

The soundtrack has changed only slightly, The Sweet Part of the City.

Good stuff. And somehow, perhaps by divine measure, The Hold Steady will be here at the Paramount on September 2nd, a critical and perfect 36 hours before the gun goes off at the SM100. Great potential looms.

Now if you'll pardon me, I've got a two-fer to attend to. And, at least for now, I'm not talking about my twins to be. So keep an eye on the sky for the next storm and you'll know where to find me.

Keep looking up, up, up.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Old Forge, NY

Sometimes you have to forget something to realize how good you have it.

--can you spot the missing item?

So, yeah. I drove 9 hours north of my home in hopes to ride my bike only to be thwarted by my own short term memory. Of course when I get to Old Forge I blame the Universe for messing with me. It wants me to be unhappy, it wants to ruin my trip. It only gets worse when the only real bike shop in the area (of which I have purchased a bike from in the past!) gives me the run around and my only chance to ride is now to rent a complete bike. I was frustrated with this because if I were in Cville Shawn would’ve had rented me a wheel if I needed it in a second. Or better yet, for the same price I paid to rent this tank I could have been riding a mother fucking Pivot!

And it’s about the time when I’m riding back from the rental place to where I’m staying to think about how good I have it in my life in Charlottesville. Don’t get me wrong the riding here is pretty rad. You can hop on singletrack out your back door. Ride extremely remote gravel roads and the average high is in the mid 70s with minimal humidity.

But there is no trail group here. Nothing like CAMBC. No one is getting up early to maintain or build new trails on the weekends. The trails are here basically because the winter brings throngs of snowmobilers to the area. And when I get slapped in the kisser with a tree branch or have to dismount to hop over countless downed trees, I’m thinking about how Dave is constantly clearing the trail with either a medieval grade folding saw or clearing debris with his front tire. A beautiful site if you’ve seen it before.

A lot of these thoughts are also compounded because today is my birthday. I get weird on my birthday. Every year I feel I have to go out and ride hard and prove something to myself. Today was no exception. 2 and a half hours of pain. It wasn’t hard to do, the first half of the ride I was chased and assaulted by vicious black flies on the back country roads. They were so bad today they forced me to ride on the road, scrap the birthday route. Grrr. From there I was chased by another cyclist about a half mile back for the last hour plus. Probably a roadie, those dudes are all amped up on the Tour right now. They wanna chase down the breakaway, you know. But I didn’t let him. Instead I put this rented clunker in the big ring and killed it. I know I’ve gotten stronger this year because I get to ride with so many strong riders back home. Always strong, always willing to push it, ride big miles with me. I’m thankful I get to ride with these people. I can see how my body has changed (for the better) from trying to hold their wheels the past three years.

When I get back from this ride my beautiful, smiling wife can tell it’s one of those days. She makes sure I’m alive, gives me water and cherries. I realize I can put her through ringer sometimes with this behavior. I’m out riding with a chip on my shoulder, alone in remote areas, more likely to run into a bear, a moose, or Chewbacca than another person. Cell service, forget it. It also occurs to me that during her first two weeks off from Med school in over a year she is spending her free time on this vacation trying to plan a birthday party for me.

The Universe does not hate me. It has put me in the perfect position for this time and place. I’m so grateful. I am so lucky. I have great friends. A great wife. Two amazing parents who still call me to sing happy birthday. I have to go, time to celebrate my birth with Labatt Blue and fried food.

--32 years down, 68 to go

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When sweaty angels show up

Monday morning, the 4th of July, I woke up with some problems.  A weeks worth of thunderstorms and nature-induced treachery had left the trail system out here at the rancho relaxo looking like a war zone.  So about 20 trees needed cut, tossed, cleared, and generally fought with in order to right the wrongs and allow the flow to, once again, flow.  

Also, having just completed my new office to make room for a nursery in my old office, I needed to move some pretty serious pieces of furniture.  A gigantic, heavy desk, etc.  So the door needed to come off of the wall, a dolly needed to be put into use, some sweating and swearing needed to happen, and then a huge amount of chainsawing and hellraising outside was going to take up most of my afternoon.  And I was on my own for this action.  Like most times when the workload appears more complicated and lengthy than I can stand to think about, I just sort of locked up in paralysis and stared at the job to be done.  Sometimes living in the country isn't so terrific.  
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my semi-catatonic state to see what was the matter.  And there, materializing seemingly out of nowhere, three angels did appear to help me shoulder the load.  Loose Bruce Almighty (topless), K-Rod (drinking bourbon at 11 AM, or at least considering drinking bourbon at 11 AM),  and Brer Bridge (with pliers in hand ready to remove the aforementioned door.)  I don't know how they knew, and really I don't know if they knew at all, but if there are three people on earth more worthy and useful for two such projects, I don't know them.  Unbidden, they just showed up.  Angels, I tell you, though admittedly and unapologetically sweaty, shirtless angels of questionable moral fiber.  

Within about 3 hours, the furniture was moved, door was re-installed, trails were cleared, a pretty serious shred had happened on the newly groomed trails, pond swimming had gone on drowning-free, they had eaten greater than half of the popsicles in my freezer, and I was out of bourbon.  And life was good again.  

Three things then occurred to me:
1)  It takes a village to raise a Kyle.  
2)  It takes a Kyle to have a trail.
3)  I takes a trail to have a village.  

And I like our village:

So, in the world of symbiotic win-win-wins, the score on Monday was Dave 3, everything else 0.  Now taking applicants for future trailwork to keep the local goods dialed.  Those intimidated by the bourbon-infused need not apply.  

On a not-so-quasi-sentimental and yet still moving forward note, is anyone down for another super D, but this time a chainless SUPER D?  

Let it rain, I say.
Up, up, up.