Monday, July 28, 2008

What do I do now?

Now that this year's TDF has ended, I think I'm going to start a support group for folks like me who find themselves hopelessly channel surfing in search of more cycling. Why is that three weeks straight just isn't enough?

The Olympics can't get here soon enough!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Refresh, Unwind

There are so many places to see in this world that it's mind boggling. I lived in Western Pennsylvania for the first 21 years of my life and it amazes me how many great attractions that I didn't even really know existed.

Case in point: Ohiopyle State Park. About 60 miles from where I grew up. A real gem of a park.

The falls were raging, full of the rainwater from the recent storms that dumped on the entire area. Pookie and I need to spend a week in this place, not just a couple hours! The Great Allegheny Passage rail trail goes right through the park. If you've never heard of it, it stretches from Pittsburgh in the north all the way to Washington DC in the south. Yes, you can ride your bike on a rail trail 300+ miles on one trail!

A day after discovering Ohiopyle, Pookie and I played Meadowink Golf Club, just 5 miles from my folks' house. I never even knew it was there growing up.

Pookie and I both played like a big giant pile of doo-doo, but we looked good doing it.

I took a break at my sister's house with Swifter and Steve... some really good landscaping ideas in her back yard...

...and had a great time relaxing and recharging my batteries!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beat the heat

Wes Best, owner of East Coasters and genuine good guy gets the "water-shock treatment" from the Grandfather of Mountain Biking in the Roanoke Valley, Dick Howard.

Monday, July 21, 2008


This past weekend was supposed to be a dual race extravaganza for me. It didn't quite turn out that way.

Saturday - The Mill Mountain Hillclimb - Mountain Bike Style
The first of two RCO races was a 3 mile climb to the top of Mill Mountain, right in the city. About 80% singletrack. This year was my third year in a row. I warmed up for an hour (by riding the course, and a bit more singletrack, then some roads) and felt pretty good. I remembered to take my Hammer Nutrition Race Caps at the proper time, I remembered to hit my asthma inhaler, and I was feeling ready.

Then things got weird. The race starts with a fairly steep climb on a partially paved alley through a residential area. One of the residents decided that it was the perfect time to trim his overgrown bushes (12 feet high at least) with a gas powered line trimmer. Leaves and organic debris were flying everywhere. Racers were starting one-by-one every 60 seconds. The screaming two-cycle would putter along as one went by, only to go full-throttle as soon as the rider would pass. Interesting. I wonder if stuff like this happens at time trials in Europe...

Long story short; Not my best time ever, not my worst. I was a full minute faster than last year, and 20 seconds slower than my personal best. Not bad considering I really haven't started "training" yet this season. I've just been riding here and there, with no real structure.

Sunday - Carvins Cove Cross Country
I woke up Sunday morning feeling rested and physically ready to race. I was carbo-loaded and hydrated, but something wasn't right. Not with my body, but my mind. (I know, I know! When has my mind ever been right?) I wasn't at all, not even the slightest little bit, motivated to race. I just didn't want to do it. So I sat this one out. I handed out water and was the second most popular person at the race that day. (Dick Howard was the most popular due to the fact that he was dousing folks with cold water on the extra-hot fire road climb).

Now, it's a short break from riding all together, then it's time to put together a couple solid months of real training to prepare for the second half of the VA Derailer Series, and cyclocross season!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008


I just realized that tomorrow will be my first race on my stylish Niner One 9. I've had it for a month now, but I haven't raced since the Burn 24 hour in May when I was still on the trusty ol' GF Rig. I hope I remember how. Sometimes your body forgets how to push itself beyond it's normal limits. I hope that's not the case tomorrow and Sunday.

Back-to-back events are always challenging too. How well will I recover? Will my legs hurt Sunday? Will my lungs hurt? Will I sleep OK Saturday night? So many factors, so few answers.

One thing is for sure, the bike is ready. Fresh rubber and Stans for both wheels. 32x19, ready for the pain! Climbs will hurt worse than the 32x20, but I'll have a bit more top-end on the flats. I'm really surprised by how smooth the Niner steel fork is. It gives the bike a very cohesive feel, and is a real joy when climbing.

So it's off to the races; Mill Mtn uphill time trail Saturday, Carvins Cove XC Sunday.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Help me to understand...

Why is it that someone will sit and wait an extra 5 minutes for a parking spot closer to the entrance of Wal*Mart when there are tons of empty spaces only 25 feet away?
I've already parked, walked by them as they're waiting for the spot, and in the store before they even get parked...and I arrived in the lot after they did.
Am I missing something?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Improvisational Gourmet

I was hungry. Instinct took over. We Italians are inherently chef-like in our ability to look at random ingredients and turn them into deliciousness.

I started with a pat of margarine in a non-stick pan. Cracked two eggs right over it while it melted. Topped them with about two tablespoons of shredded asiago cheese, a shake of oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

On went the lid and I waited about two minutes. What I got was glorious. Mmmm, Eggs ala Skmeetz.

Serve over pasta that has been tossed in melted margarine or butter and lightly seasoned with oregano.

Try it. It's fast, simple and hits the spot after a hard ride.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Continuing Adventures of Warren and Pookie

When we last checked in with our dynamic duo....blah, blah, blah. It's always the same story...ride at The Cove, race here or there, ride at The Cove, repeat. I was ready for something a little different. An epic adventure was not on my wish list however. I felt like exploring, but not a ride so remote and uncharted that we could get lost, hurt, or exhausted. A mini-adventure, if you will.

I dug out the trusty Jefferson National Forest map and looked into some short (18-20 mile) loops that would be about three-quarters fire road and one-quarter trail. What we found was a real gem.

Dragon's Back is infamous for chewing mountain bikers up and spitting them out. The ride that is the back of the dragon is home to more than just some of the area's most technical single track. The fire roads are seen by many as simply a way to connect these awesome trails, but they can be a heart-pumping training ride by themselves.

Pookie and I parked at the base of the mountain on the opposite side of where the Dragon's Back race takes place. We climbed, on singlespeeds as usual, to the summit and partially down the other side on. This is usually a pretty tame ride, albeit a leg-burner. On this occasion it was a little less than idyllic. In fact, I would prefer to use some rather tasty adjectives, but this is a G-rated blog, so I'll refrain. The roads had just recently been buried in a two-inch thick layer of gravel. Now I know what purpose this serves, and I realize that these roads are open to vehicular traffic, but it's really a kicker when you're expecting hard pack like this...

...and what greets your climbing legs is a soft gravel bed that eats your momentum like the purple people eater eats people. It was not fun, and Pookie reminded me of this fact more than once. I have been a happily married man for almost 13 years, but I'm afraid that someday she's gonna kill me for dragging her one of these rides. As you can see because I'm able to write this post, fortunately this was not one of them.

We did reach the summit and descended partially down the other side before hitting more gravel. "I don't want to climb up this side in the gravel too." I was with her all the way on this one. We turned around and headed for the valley floor and some rolling pavement. We rode about six miles to where we picked up a trail that I had scoped out the night before on my maps.

We stopped and talked with the mini-horses on the way. They didn't seem too fond of our helmeted noggins and our shiny bikes.

Once we made it onto the trail, we were treated to a bit of everything. The first mile or so was well-worn double track that looked as if it was used quite regularly. The trail narrowed the deeper we ventured into the woods and became rocky and more technical. An open area revealed the reason for the trail's well-worn condition; fire. Crews had used this bit of trail to reach this area of the forest to battle a recent blaze. My guess is that this area had been burned in the last six months.
Eventually, our loop concluded back on the fire road just a short stint from where we parked. I immediately started looking at other possible loops in the area that we could try on future mini-adventure trips. This area is just full of possibilities and begs to be explored, which is exactly what I intend on doing.
Join us next time when you'll hear Pookie say "I didn't know we were riding at race-pace!"

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The ID3 races held over the 4th of July weekend were a huge success!

Thank you to all of the racers (300+) who participated.

Thank you to all the sponsors.

Full blog story on the joys of set-up, marshaling, and break-down is coming soon.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the Roanoke Star-Sentinel for the race summary!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

FOR SALE - 2008 LeMond Poprad Disc

Smooth riding steel 'cross rig with disc brakes!

The frame is supposed to be a 52, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that it measures 55cm from the BB to the top of the seat collar.

I'm selling b/c I'm 5' 8" and it is too big for me. I just can't seem to get my position correct on this frame.

Complete specs and geometry can be found here.

The bike has a list price of $1649.99.
It is less than a year old, has not been abused, and I'm selling it for $1000.

Pedals and bottle cages are not included.

Shimano 105 shifters and derailleurs.

Bontrager external bearing cx crank. 38/48

Upgraded Bontrager Race saddle. ($80 value)

New Ritchey Speedmax 32c tires.
It's July...that means 'cross season is only a few months away. Get yourself a fine 'cross rig for a grand.
If you're interested, please leave a comment with your email address and I'll contact you. Pick up here in Roanoke or I am willing to package and ship via UPS for another $50.

If there are no takers by Wednesday July 9th, she goes up for bid on ebay.