Monday, October 24, 2011

TCC Mansfield video

I doubled up at Mansfield, so I'll use that as my excuse for the slow start...

Also, skip forward to 1:20 or so to see where we actually start racing.

Lastly, I didn't have enough battery life left to catch the whole lap. I missed two of the more enjoyable sections, the slightly off camber spiral turns and the uphill/downhill collarbone section that Colin Murphy has vivid and painful memories of.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

your loss

Last year I was a fool and sat in hours upon hours of traffic to race for 40 minutes at Granogue instead of driving 1.25 hours to the Thread City Cyclist's Mansfield Hollow CX race. This year I smartened up and stayed closer to home. This race is so much fun, and the promoters really enjoy hosting the event. I hopefully have some barcam footage still to come but in the meantime, here are some links to pictures and my lap info from Strava.

Not only is this race deceptively close to Boston, but you can eat your entry fee's worth of baked goods and wash it down with apple cider. And if you happen to be anywhere near the front at the end of the race, they pay very well, and give great merchandise prizes too. Heck, they hooked up DFL in the 1,2,3 race with a $30 multi tool. So next year, when you're sitting around listening to horrible music and not talking to all the unfriendly MAC people you don't know, you can remember that you could have been hanging out with #NECX and enjoying yourself in Mansfield Hollow. Maybe next year.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Single Speed World Championships of the World!

Waaay back in August, when the temperature was still above 70 degrees at all times, I went over to Ireland to race SSWC 2011.  Joining me for the race was Thom Parsons, Gerry Finnegan, and Rob Ide.  Of course my bike didn't make the connecting flight so I spent the first 30 hours trying to get updates of its whereabouts and having to stay close to the house. 

When it did arrive, the frame was sticking out of the cardboard box though nothing was missing or damaged
(note to self, look for packing material more than 6 hours before your flight).

I reassembled the bike on Friday night (yes, awesome way to spend my night in Dublin) so we'd be ready to go on Saturday morning.  Although I had free lodging with Gerry's family in Dublin, it was at least 2.5 hours away from the race sight.  We set out in two cars with bikes in the trunks and made it to the registration table about 10 minutes after they had closed.  Luckily this is SSWC, not a Verge race, so they were more than happy to re-open and get us squared away.  It also only took about 30 seconds per person because they don't have lengthy waivers and licenses.

Since it was SSWC, 90% of participants had a costume or bizarre attire of some sort and probably 50% were already drinking. 
We scrambled to change into cycling attire (we were all lame and without costumes) and get our race gear together in the 15 minutes before the procession out of town to the trail head.

Everyone left town together and we were escorted by local police some 6 or 7 miles to the trails.  It's comical enough to ride an mtb on the road, but to see a group of 500+ on single speeds with trail gearing was even better.  Beers were passed around, costumes got stuck in the spokes, and janky single speed conversions were failing left and right...and we hadn't even made it to staging yet!

Once at staging, we were told to leave our bikes and go over to the music/food/beer tents that they'd set up.  This gave people more time to drink beer and dance it up while the organizers disorganized all of our bikes.  An eternity later, we lined up under one of those inflatable arch things and were sent running up the hill to where our bikes had been left.  Slightly anaerobic from running, we all scrambled to find where they'd hid our bikes.  White bikes were all piled on top of each other (there were A LOT of white bikes).  Some were hung from trees, some were moved all the way from the front to the back, and some, like mine, were barely moved at all.  Despite my bike barely being moved, I still spent a ton of time looking for it because I expected it to have been moved.  Finally found it and set out on the two lap, roughly 20 mile course, behind at least half of the field.

We started with a long-ish fire road climb where those with janky single speeds that made it through the road ride began shooting parts into the air as their riders tried to grind the 34x15 up the hill.  Seriously, so many broken chains in the first .5 miles.  When I finally came to the single track, I had to dismount and wait as we funneled into the trail.  Not fun!  The single track though, was fun, and whenever possible I'd pass a rider or two and then try to pass a dozen on the next double track.  It went like that for the whole first lap until early into the second lap when I was finally clear of traffic for a bit.  Not much they could have done, but it did make for a less than stellar first half and reminded me how important it is to start well (and find your bike) if you want to take an event seriously.  Also, next year my bike will be neon pink so I can't miss it!

Anyway, the course was pretty fun, and it was impressively dry given that it's in Ireland where it is rainy and crappy 364 days of the year.  The winner was a local who apparently is in charge of mountain biking in Ireland and may well have built the trails.  Hey, I didn't want the tattoo anyway.  I did get a heinous neon orange shirt and stupid looking mismatched socks with leprechauns (seriously guys, save your money and give me a free beer or two instead) which were both used to clean my muddy bike before packing for the return.

Overall, I had fun.  We didn't get to immerse ourselves in the usual silliness of the event because we were staying far away and because we had to rush back to Dublin afterwards so I can't comment on who won the partying (though I know Thom won the pre-party). 

Next year is in South Africa which definitely is not going to happen for me.  It's ok because I think singlespeedapalooza and Dark Horse 40 are probably better anyway.

I didn't take many pictures, but there are some good ones here:

Quad Cross

Great job by Quad Cycles with the new venue.  Here's video of the first lap of the 3 race.  Yeah, I have some serious work to do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sutton mtb trails, aka, Matt Myette's backyard

Oh man, these trails are sweet.  They are almost reason enough to live in Sutton.  Maybe, if you ask nicely, you'll get an invite to ride them later this summer.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mill Pond mtb

I don't get to ride my mountain bike nearly enough.  Even though it's how I got hooked on bikes, I no longer make the time to ride in the woods as often as I should.  So this past Wednesday, when I had a window to ride new trails in Woburn, a little tornado wasn't going to keep me away.  If you haven't explored the Woburn trails yet, you should put it on your list.  Fun trails, close to Boston and pretty easy to navigate, even without a guide.  There's a link to my GPS file at the top.  We doubled back quite a few times because none of us knew the trails very well.  I'll be back.  From my office, it's only 10 minutes further than Bedford Paint Mines, and 15 minutes closer than Harold Parker.  A good alternative for a weeknight or early morning spin.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I think of any event/race put on without the constraints of USAC to be an unsanctioned event.  Maybe that's using the term too loosely but it feels right to me, so I go with it.  As of late, my interest in sanctioned events (excluding cx racing) has really decreased.  Road races seem the same every year and the time and cost associated with them doesn't rank high on my satisfaction scale.  MTB racing is fun, until you start sanctioning it and people take it too seriously.

I've really enjoyed putting together the Ronde the last two years.  I've also really enjoyed taking part in other unsanctioned events like the Rapha Gentleman's Ride, D2R2, and SSapalooza.  So, I challenge you, Boston area racers/riders, to create other fun, unsanctioned events.  Give me more reasons to put off buying a USAC license this year.

Some ideas:

- mtb tt (3-5 mile loops)
- 3-4 person ttt (50+ miles)
- invite only, mass start road race (60+ miles)
- 2-3 person cx style ride (like the Ronde, there are lots of trails out there yet to be exposed)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ronde v2.0 sponsors

We couldn't have raised $1300 without the awesome contributions from:

Chip Baker
Mad Alchemy
Mike Zanconato
M and M Racing
Wayne Dubb

Again, big thanks to both the sponsors and the riders.  I've already got some good ideas for v3.0...or maybe v2.5...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ronde v2.0 results

First, a big huge thank you to everyone who came out on Sunday morning and braved my less than ideal cue sheet and often-missing trail markings. I had a ton of fun organizing the event and riding it this year.

Second, a big huge thank you to the volunteers that helped out. Chip Baker who worked tirelessly in the background to round up sponsors, mark trails, spread the word, and be a helping hand in nearly every part of the planning. David Wilcox and Cary Fridrich, both on the IR with foot injuries drove all around the course, checking in teams, keeping riders going, and even sharing some sorely needed calories. Eli Levine for manning the checkpoint at the top of Prospect Hill Park. That water and those fig newtons helped a lot of people carry on after the climb. Gerry Finnegan (and his staff) for letting us take over the Washington Square Tavern as the host "city"

Third, a big huge thank you to the sponsors who made it possible for us to blow our goal of $900 out of the water this year!  You will get a proper post very soon, I promise.

The finish times are posted (complements of David Wilcox who stood at the Tavern to welcome EVERY team home). It's too early to declare a winner because the first team back has not produced gps proof that they (mostly) followed the correct route and there is some disagreement about whether or not their minor shortcut was valid. Oh, and they kind of sort of ditched their NH teammate to fend for himself so even though he was at the finish line with them, I think they are DSQ for not staying together as a team.

The truth though, is that Bikes not Bombs was the real winner on Sunday. Over $1300 raised which is awesome!

Send me your gps routes and I'll update the table below. Might even add some fun facts like who rode the furthest, longest time in the saddle, most lost, etc.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ronde v2.0 taking shape

I'm scheming, plotting, and inventing some challenging upgrades to the route.  More trails, more climbing, more suffering with your teammates.  It'll be your own little taste of Paris Roubaix, but without the radios and team cars and with some much more challenging trails in place of the cobbles.

We raised over $700 last year.  This year, we have some really great stuff from Raleigh USA and Lazer already committed for our raffle.  We're looking forward to crushing last year's number to once again support Bikes not Bombs.

Make sure you're reaching out to me if you plan on taking part.  I've got 25+ confirmed so far and the limit will be 100.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's coming

Ronde v2.0

April 10th.  Start training, find your teammates (3-4), and tell me if you're in for another edition.