Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tour de Syracuse: Part Deux

So if you’re a good follower, you remember I left off with us finishing the Tour de Syracuse Crit. If you are not a good follower, please refer to previous post. But do not let it happen again!

Now that the day was done, it was time to retire to our hotel and find somewhere to eat. We should have known from last year that this would have been more difficult than we thought it’d be. Orginal plan: Check into hotel and eat in the Italian restaurant next door. Plan failure: four to five major hotel chains surround this restaurant. So being seated wasn’t going to happen until 8:30pm. Therefore, a mob of hungry cyclist paced lined it to the next restaurant, Ruby Tuesday’s. Thirty minute wait, not to bad. But engines in need of calories, not soon enough. After visiting a third restaurant, the pattern continued. Apparently, restaurants in Syracuse don’t understand that six skinny cyclist can eat well over $100 worth of food. Finally we came upon a nice little restaurant, The Green Onion, which looked more like a home than a place to go eat. It was fine dinning, and indeed the food was fine. This would be another recommendation if your every near the Carrier Circle in Syracuse.

With our bellies full of pasta and all other sorts of delicious calories, it was back to the hotel to wind down and watch the finish of the Tour de California. Oh, did I mention out hotel room was on the second floor. That was a fun time getting several bikes up the elevator. But we can safely say that you cannot fit anymore than three bikes, three riders, and small bags into one elevator.

For me cycling trips are amazing, simple because I get to sleep in. I usually wake up at 3am, so a 6:15am wake up, is simple amazing. Unfortunately food still needed to be found. Seeing I was up a little before everyone else I went to the hotel market. Potato chips, cookies, beer, popcorn, and nothing editable. We would have eaten at the hotel, but their complementary breakfast, just gets many complements. It’s not included and it started to late for us to eat. Off to Dunkin Donuts it is.

Making a short trip to Tully, NY for the Road race, we all pounded our breakfasts. With an hour and a half before our start times for the time trial, it was perfect timing. Unfortunately, due to prepping I lack media that would have been nice for show us warming up for the TT. Mike and I were off first, and decided to go Pro with our warm-up and listen to music. His choice was a little more conservative, may even been some Phil Collins in there, me on the other hand got the Metallica going. Mother nature was not kind to us this year and the wind picked up for the TT. Doing a little research I noticed that my time this year was slower than last year when I was a Cat 5. Stupid wind.

It was only a three-mile course but the wind made it feel a lot tougher. Everyone put up good times, having never done a three mile time trial before, but some racers manages to get in the six minute range, dropping us in the standings. Kyle’s field was sandbagged a little in this event for the winner of the cat 5s TT would have placed 2nd in the cat 4s or 7th in the cat 3s.

Once everyone’s TT was done, there was about a two-hour time gap before the road race. Mainly this time was spent, getting some calories in, cooling down, getting bikes ready, and trying to dry out our kits. With all the wind, that didn’t really take to long.

As the race got underway the wind didn’t change a bit and may have even got a little stronger. I wish I could have seen some of the other field flying down the flat section of the course. The 4s were flying at 36mph at times, and I wasn’t even breathing hard. But this wasn’t the problem; later in the course we’d be going into the wind with hills and open fields. I was slightly dropped on a major climb and almost caught back on, I could just about hock a luggy at the back of the peloton, but the wind said "NO WAY." Pegged at a questionable 175-180 heart rate, they weren’t getting any closer. Enter the lonely ride into the wind. Miserable, heart breaking, soul sucking are just some words to describe the feeling of being caught alone in that wind. In fact it made several riders not even want to take the second lap. If I hadn’t been picked up by a group of other riders, I to was on the brink of pulling out of the race.

The only laughter from this race came right before the start of the race, at least for the 4s. During staging a cat 3 rider we knew came down to the front of the line and asked, “did the cat 3s already leave?” An official said “yeah like 15 minutes ago.” Responded to by a simple and disappointing statement of “oh, I better get going then.”

The day was tough and as soon as I got back to the car I flopped on the ground and pondered why do I do this to myself. But sadness was soon turned into happiness, by an American treat. DONUTS! Shannon had brought us some delicious donuts. Okay so not the healthiest of foods, but I just burned 2,000 calories, I think I deserved one....or two.

To no surprise the beautiful weather, besides the wind, we had for the weekend soon came to an end literally as we got the cars packed. It started raining. All we could ask was how long would it rain for this time? As a tradition after the Tour we went to the Dinosaur BBQ, need I say more? Unfortunately Eric and Phil had to get back and couldn’t join us, but for Mike, Kyle, and I we all ended the weekend with a beer. Well Mike and Kyle did. I couldn’t finish mine; it was a little two dark for me. I know I’m such a sally.

Having to push through the food coma, we made our way back to Potsdam. While Mother Nature again treated us with heavy rain.


Racer (cat) – Crit – TT – RR – GC(#racers)

Kyle (5) – 19th – 8th – 12th – 13th (33)

Eric (5 35+) – 18th – 11th – 23rd – 20th (48)

Phil (5 35+) – 29th – 19th – 27rd – 40th (48)

Mike (4) – 32nd – 19th – dnf – 47th (73)

Jeff (4) – 34th – 21st – 37th – 55th (73)

Until next time!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tour de Syracuse: Part Un

So let me just start this post off by saying, making blogs is harder than it looks. I have dedicated this season’s blogging to more creative posts and not just rambling of play by play. Brainstorming has not been a problem; rather the actual implementation is the problem. This post was suppose to be a slide show of the weekend, but being a racer it is so hard to get the media I need. A lot of time is spent getting ready for the race, then participating in the race, and finally cooling down after the race. Just by cooling down from my race, I practically missed 1/3rd of Kyle’s race, so there would have been huge gaps in the time line of the weekend.

Yup you counted right. Five bikes and two wheels. What does this equal? More worth in bikes than actual car. Funny thing is, we still didn’t have everything we needed in that car. Tim had to take a few wheel sets with him, just so we could squeeze everyone in. It wasn’t going to be a long trip down to Syracuse, only about two and a half hours. However, the weather didn’t look to good with a “low ceiling,” (pilot jargon, aka fog)

Our goal was to get to the Upper Onondaga Park, in time to see Tim’s first ever p/1/2/3 race. Literally as we walked to the racecourse we saw Tim warming up on the course. Not bad timing. Before we could start cheering for Tim, we had to do some investigating first. Last year at this event, some guy over cooked a turn and went right into a young tree. His chain ring cut about a forth the way through it. We here at WOE are happy to inform you that the tree pulled through, but with an everlasting scar. I think it just gives it a little character.

Perhaps we were all to excited to see Tim suffer, but at the same time hoping he had a good showing. He was up to his old tactics of moving around the bunch and even ending up in the front of the peloton. Not really sure what he was doing there, Tim hates being at the front, let alone in a p/1/2/3 field.

We could see a few times on Tim's face he was enjoying himself, with an ending average pace of 27mph. But he held in there and came out with a top ten finish, in tenth place for the cat 3's.

Even though Tim was racing with the big boys, he was not racing in prime time. Rather the race after was perhaps the biggest event of the day and one all came to see.

These future cyclist participated in what the promoter put on to help bring about interest of cycling/racing to young children. They had smaller fields, broken down into age groups, from two years of ago all the way to nine years. Some still had training wheels and some I’m sure didn’t have UCI legal bikes. But who cares the kids were having fun.

Once Tim’s race was done, we had three and a half hours to kill, before the cat 4 race. Obviously food was a priority, so we went to the Brooklyn Pickle. If you are ever in Syracuse, you must try this place, awesome deli! To sum up their sandwiches, go to the kitchen and make two sandwiches and then put them side by side. That is their full sandwich, not to mention they have some pretty tasty homemade style pickles.

Once back at the park we still had time to kill. And what do cyclist do when their bored? They juggle whatever they can.

*sorry about the video format, thought I'd be able to rotate the image but apparently not with my software*

Also during our time of boredom we started chatting it up with other racers. We found a racer we remembered from last years race and met his pretty sick team. He said their goal was to bring the fun back into cycling/race. I can say they were doing a pretty good job and our teams mixed well. However, I can easily say they put our set-up to shame.

Finally came the Cat 4 race. Everything started off well, with Mike and I in the front row. However, it seemed like clipping in was a big problem for many racers. Nerves must have been riding high in a 60-man field. For the rest of the race nerves continued to run high, riders were bumping, touching tires, and one guy kept screaming “HOLD YOUR LINE!” I think when you say that to everyone, by default it might not always be the other guy. Mike held pretty steady in position throughout the race, I however was all over the place. Front, back, right side, left side; you name it I was there. Things were looking good for me going into the final lap, and Mike was going to use me as a lead out, but again the bumping continued and I had to lean into a rider pretty good, but while we were fighting on the right, the left side took off. Meaning, with the bottle neck just ahead, the day was done for placing well. At the end of the race we had a pace of 25mph (approximate, seeing there was cool down lap and I forgot to stop my computer).

Now that we got the ball rolling with the cat 4’s, WOE had individuals in the remainder of the races. Unfortunately having to cool down from the race and find water, I missed quite a bit of Kyle’s race. Once I got set up to watch the race, I immediately notice two things. One there was a solo brake that was probably going to stick, and two Kyle was in excellent position. Then as we were talking to the Rogue Cycling Team, one of their members mentioned their guy didn’t come around. Immediately we noticed the same thing, Kyle was MIA. The result, Kyle’s first crash. Guess there was a guy on the floor and he could do nothing, but fall on top of him. He made it out all right though with just some minor bumps and scratches. Seeing the rubber didn’t stay down, Kyle had to settle for a 19th place finish. A finish that should have been a lot higher.

As the day was winding down and the Rapture was upon us (some guy predicted the rapture for 6pm on May 21, 2011), the Cat 5 35+ was the last race of the day.

Both Eric and Phil stayed with the field for a while, but then Phil fell off the back. Here I must give credit to Phil who never lost a smile throughout the race and always kept pedaling! Eric remained in the pack and finished with the group at the line. From the race I can tell Eric is becoming more and more aware of where he needs to be. For must of the race he was tucked in and out of trouble.

Once everyone had returned to the cars and cooled down, it was time to start repacking the cars. The following photo will sum up the fun we had with that. Eric and Phil were relatively neat, where Mike, Kyle, and I...well we might have to work on our organizational skills.

Stay Tuned for Part two of the Tour de Syracuse!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Potsdam Time Trial Tonight in Raymondville

Tonight is the first TT of the year!  We had to cancel the last one due to weather.  Ok Ok so officially this TT is called the Potsdam Time Trial (USA-C event permit- 2011-603), but it is in Raymondville.  TT begins at 6pm (as in ready to ride the course for time at 6pm).  You can park in the dirt lot across from the gas station or in the gas station itself.

Course-  It is a 10 mile TT.  The loop is just over 10 miles so the start/finish line will be different, this will be pointed out and marked.  The course is all right hand turns, quiet roads/big shoulders (on busier roads).  Also as flat as we could make it, a classic north country TT course so many of you know it already.  Riders will be sent out at 1 minute intervals. 

Registration-  Cost of the event is $5 per rider.  If you are a paid member of Team Wear On Earth then it is free for you to participate.  Everyone else it is $5 (for insurance only, we are actually loosing money on this but want to keep cost low).  There is a waiver that you must sign so please come early to fill it out.  Juniors always participate for free. We will have team membership forms at the event as well if you want to join the great club.  Feel free to spread the word, all are welcome. 

Besides that I hope to see everyone nice and early.  I would recommend arriving at 5pm so you can register and warm up.   This is a race against the clock so come on out no matter what shape you are in.  These events are great motivators as we move through the summer and you see your TT times drop.  Additionally a group of us will be meeting up afterwards for dinner if you care to join us.

More information including a map can be found here-


Monday, May 2, 2011

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

The Bennington Race Weekend: Tour of the Dragons is a new stage race based out of Bennington and Manchester, VT. It was a two-day event that consisted of an 11-mile individual time trail, crit, and a 100k-road race. I can remember hearing about this race last season at the Capital Region Road Race and the many fliers they left on peoples cars. However, I still have no clue why they called it the “Tour of the Dragons?” Is there some sort of background or history I am missing? The organizers seemed to enjoy the theme though by putting phrases such as “can you survive the dragons?” and designing a dragon onto the yellow, green, and polka doted jerseys. For all I know the organizers are just “Dungeon and Dragons” dunkies who thought it would be a cute name for a race.

As the journey to Bennington got underway our only concern was if we actually could get there. With all the flooding that has been occurring in the region a lot of roads have been closed, and for our teammates coming down from Potsdam and Massena, they found out in the Tupper Lake area it was going to be a lot longer trip than expected. Police stations had to be called just to make sure alternative routes were open. The only problem Kyle and I ran into was just northwest of Cambridge, NY where the road was down to one lane of traffic. Later our teammates that had been turned around before were once again turned around at this location seeing later that day the road was closed down. So 5pm arrivals turned into 7pm arrival to Bennington.

Our first order of business was to get ready and go check out the TT course, which according to the organizers was to be very technical, and indeed it was. There were some turns that if taken at full speeds from descents would have led to some road rash. Other than that, the only difficulty was the constant rollers that didn’t allow a good tempo, and some badly placed arrows that during our pre-ride almost had us turning into a driveway. With the difficulty of the course I spent the remainder of the night deciding if I wanted to use aero bars or not. At the starting house I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one that decided not to use them. I was also kind of disappointed the organizers didn’t have someone holding the bike for you at the starting gate. I know I was a victim of a bad clip in.

Waking up the next morning at 5:30am to get ready, we noticed that no other racers had taken advantage of our hotel. We literally could just role out from our rooms and be at the TT or the crit course in less than 5 minutes. To no surprise our crappy spring weather did not fail to surprise us once again with frost on the cars and rain in the air. It seemed only to really rain it’s hardest when WOE racers where on or about to start the course, go figure. Once we were done and back to the hotel, I think it took me less than a minute to stripe and jump into the shower. On the way back my legs just wouldn’t stop shacking. Then curled up under 5 layers of blankets in my bed and a coffee run made, we found out that we had some pretty strong riders and possibly some sandbaggers in our field. For some riders beat us by 5 minutes and I was in the best position in 27th place.

Next on the list was the Crit. I hate to say it, but it didn’t start off well for the organizers and officials. Results were backwards and they couldn’t keep track of who was who, in combining the under and over 35’s. Then their second mishaps was giving the cat 4’s a huge speech about not going to pull anyone and then pulling half the field after only 8 of 27 laps, with some still not being in trouble of being lapped. There were gaps, but dew to a crash, not weak riders. I was right behind the first rider who crashed. He simply took a turn to fast and went head over handlebar. He was okay, as I saw him walking around later, the bail of hay he crashed into……not so much.

As any roadie would do following their race, we found a very good cafĂ© and made camp to watch the remainder of the races. We chatted with some locals, met a few other racers, and let the caffeine raise our spirits. And just having a good time. Once our results were posted our brains started working to figure out how fast the winner of the cat 4 was. Tim’s calculation was 27mph, but after I had a pen and paper I got 26.5mph (not bad Tim for doing the rounding in your head). Still pretty fast. Again I thought sandbaggers. Then the next day we found out that we had a pro-cross racer in our field, and everything started making sense.

For the road race it was again an early start and off to Manchester, VT. But not without a trip to Dunking Donuts first, where there had to be about 40 grand worth of bikes in the parking lot. Fact: roadies love coffee. So we got to enjoy our coffees and enjoy the scenery on our way to Manchester. Great training area with lots of mountains to climb.

Going into the day we knew it was going to be an epic ride and one that gear choices would be a factor. In the staging parking lot, you could do a 360, and realize you were in for some hurt. Mountains surrounded us for about 300 or those 360 degrees. With that said, here is the profile of the course:

The only gearing I had was 39/26 and I paid for it. Dropped on the first major climb and missed out on the chase group because my legs were burning. I’d look around and riders would have small dinner plates for cogs, and I’m there grinding away.

Overall for the road race everyone rode strong. Kyle led the way getting 9th in his categories race. While Eric and Phil put in solid efforts. So all in all this turned out to be a learning experience, a really expensive training weekend, and all for a little sunburn. Figures for the road race, it would be really cold for the start and then become really warm for the finish.

Results for GC:

Kyle - 6th out of 10 finishers (15 starters) Cat 5 <35

Eric - 7th out of 12 finishers (13 starters) Cat 5 35+

Phil - 9th out of 12 finishers (13 starters) Cat 5 35+

Jeff - 33rd out of 44 finishers (55 starters) Cat 4

Until next time