Do you want more, or should I move on and forget about it?

•November 19, 2010 • 2 Comments

Started this poll because it has been ages since the ride. I just didn’t know if anyone still cares or if there was anybody around here. A lot has happen to me since we finished and I’ve hit a rocky patch of my life. I lost touch with most people I care about, so I figured I might as well finish. But if no one is reading, I’ll just wait until next race season. That is if I can get me a bike before then. Anyways I’ll make this short. Just tell me what you think. I love reading your feedback. Take care.

Virginia Montage: Part One

•July 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Alright, this is how I’m going to do this, state-by-state recap. This could take a bit of time. A lot happened in every state we visited. And it make take awhile it recall the events. Not to mention I’m a bit slow at writing, all the spell check and grammar and proofreading and just typing slow. So bare with me on this. Good things are to come.

I can almost remember the first day like it was yesterday. Which for me is pretty bad. I can’t remember what I did yesterday. But I can recall us all being in high spirits on day one. After some slight communication issues, we all meet up at the beach, Virginia Beach. We started with some posed snap shots by Neptune then dipped our wheels in the Atlantic to mark the start of our epic quest.

On the road laughing and joking as we bike around the Hampton Roads area. I think we hit almost all seven of the Seven Cities and one we had to hit twice. As we head to our first stop at Frank’s brother’s place just outside of Richmond, Va, we work out a few kinks. Nothing major but the gear seemed a bit much for some of the racks. But we come up with a quick fix and the rest of the day goes pretty smooth.

Rolling through Smithfield, we all start to crave lunch. We quickly grabbed the attention from the locals. Everyone was very friendly. We sat down and all got a ham sandwich of some sort from a local deli called Smithfield Gourmet Bakery and Deli. The food was great. While there we had a lady from the town paper run over and take a quick interview. I was pretty fun. They took some pictures as well.

Back on the road again and flying towards Richmond. We start to break down. I don’t know if it was because we pushed it so hard that first day or if it was just because it was the first day. But I had the worst saddle sore ever, but I was riding good. Justin how ever was not. With only a few miles until our stop for the first leg of our trip, he started to cramp and lock up. I chose to stay back and keep an eye one my brother, while we sent Dan and Frank ahead to make preparations. I’m unsure of how far ahead of us they got, but we had made it and before we had planned.

We shower up and loaded up on the water before hitting the town. We had two goals for that evening. One: get some grub and Two: watch Iron Man 2. So we head over to the theater and hit up a CiCi’s Pizza, which really hit the spot. Iron Man 2 was kind of a let down. The first was a lot better in my eyes. After the movie, we went back to Frank’s brother’s house and I pretty much just crashed for the night.

Operation Smile

Day two and we were already losing one of us. This was as far as Frank went with us. And we will miss him, but we’ll continue to make jokes about him throughout our quest. So Dan, Justin, and myself head towards the mountains. Early on in the day we ran into another cyclist, just out for a morning ride. He tells us about his trek across the country and how the Appalachians were tougher than the Rockies.

Still with no sight of the mountains we break for lunch. We pull over in a small town, it’s name escapes me. But I can still picture it in my head. It was in a valley of some hills, nothing big. It was pretty much a “T” shaped town with two main streets. We pull over at the town park. I think we all had rice for lunch that day. It felt a bit odd this being our first time cooking on the road. It took too long, and I think this was the last time we cooked for lunch. Preferring the quickness and ease of peanut butter and saving the warm meals for dinner.

Back to the road. And a fun time we had on the rolling hills. That was until a cop pulls us over because, well I’m really not sure why. He explain to us that he would never bike on the road that we were on and tells us he couldn’t pass us. Which I don’t know why no one else seemed to have that problem.

Finally seeing to mountains come into view. We try to track down the “Cookie Lady”. Thinking we made a wrong turn we give up and start our first real climb. I think it was a rude awakening for my companions. I was the only one in the group with some, and I mean very little, climbing experience. I came out to Wintergreen a fee weeks before. But I had gotten some good advice and tips from my more experienced teammates. But I was still tough.

Almost to the top, Justin realizes that the Cookie Lady was nearby. All we had to do was go down a steep road, a road we would have to climb back up. It was a tough call on weather some cookies were worth the trouble. But we decide they were. That was a fun decent. And before we knew it we had made it. But the place a quiet, too quiet. I knock on every door I could find but no one answered. We take a breather and filled up on some water.

There we met of first active tourist. Not what we had pictured for a tourist. He was riding a mountain bike and carried all his gear in a framed backpack, one like you’d see a hiker using. He tells us about his trip, we tell him about ours. I’m sure he is still on the road, if not he’s quit.

Climbing back up the hill to the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We got there, later that planned. The information center was closed. And we run over to the parkway’s sign and tack a few snapshots. I thought at the time that, that was the worst we would see in the east. I celebrate early. We trek on and the night sneaks up on us. We’ve been going up for a while now. with no end in sight and it’s getting dark and cold. I had not planned for that kind of temperatures. We set up camp, probably almost a high up as we could. But there we were just across the road from a lookout/picnic area.

Operation Smile

It was really cold that night. I froze and didn’t get much sleep. The view was amazing but we really didn’t want to go near the chilly wind, so we road on. Starting the day we had a down hill stretch just a few meters down the road. We learn a valuable lesson the day, set up camp in the valleys. Because the last think you want to do after freezing all night is descend at 50 mph.

We quickly had to stop to warm up. Luckily there was a rest area with a heated restroom halfway down the first bit of descent. We filled up on water and warmed our toes before heading back out

I don’t remember this day being very eventful. We just put on a ton of miles and enjoyed the scenery. I do believe this was the first day for me to get a flat. This was also the first full day in the mountains, and we quickly hated going down just to go back up. I mean, why can’t they just go around?

That night we settled on a campground, which wasn’t open for the season yet. So we bypass the gate and grab a spot kinda near a back, to avoid getting noticed. We got a fire going and felt like kings. Just having a campfire raises moral. I stayed up a bit that night and updated the website. But I still slept well.

Operation Smile

WE FINISHED… awhile ago

•July 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So if you hadn’t heard yet. We’ve cross the county like Space Ghost, coast-to-coast. I’m still waiting to hear back on the total distance traveled. But it took us 58 days, I think. Justin seems to keep tacking on day, or I keep dropping them. Anyways, we dipped our wheels in the Pacific on July 4th, so you can do the math if it’s truly that important to you.

I’m back in Norfolk and currently looking for work. But, now that I have some free time and difficulties sleeping. I’ll work on writing about our adventure and my experience as best as I can recall them. I hope I haven’t lost an interest or readers or the lapse of time since my last post. But if you could, please pass along my tale and our cause. I hadn’t raised as much as I planned on, but I hope the message got out there about Operation Smile and I hope, even if it wasn’t though our referenced link, that they were able to put a smile on some children’s face thanks to us. I’ll keep my link and account open. And if you find What I write entertaining please donate a buck or two. Just click on any Operation Smile image on this site.

Operation Smile

Fun at Fitchburg

•July 6, 2010 • 1 Comment

This weekend myself & Wick journeyed (sp?) to Fitchburg, MA for the 51st Longsjo Classic. A stage race consisting of 4 races: circuit, road, TT, and crit. Just like all other stage races there were time cuts to be made. What was cool is that this race was not only open to us Cat 4’s, but it was part of the NRC series, which meant several pro teams showed up as well, including Fly V Australia, Kelly Benefits, and Kenda. It was neat to see how they operated, and just how fast pros really are. The ciicuit race was i think 8 laps on a 3 mile course with a fast down slope on the back side, and a nasty short climb right at the finish. My hand still broken would not let me get out of the saddle for an extended amount of time (by extended, I mean a few seconds) which hurt in climbing. this was compounded with me on the 4th lap hitting a nice pothole/ mankole cover sending a streak of pain through my hand and arm. In doing this I fell out of touch with the group and continued solo. I regained my composure, and cycled on trying to pick up stragglers to work with me. Nobody could do it though. i finished in 57th at 5 minutes back, and went straight to the ice and ibuprofen.

The second day was the road race; an almost 11 mile loop that we would go around 4 times. We started out going great. I was in the front third of the group for the first lap, and kind of meandered around the middle on the second lap. Not tired or hurting, but just checking things out, and talking to people. This proved to be a mistake, as we descended down the front side of the loop, one of the, I’ll assume inexperienced, riders decided to get into full tuck in the middle of the group, not pay attention, go off the road, and eat the ground. I actually watched his handlebars seperate from his bike as he slid down the gaurd rail via his hip. His bike hit the gaurd rail, and kicked back out into the group taking the three guys to my left down to the ground. Pulling a move I can only attribute to Jerry Hadley, I bunny hopped the bike at 35mph. It was awesome, and I never ever want the chance to try it again. The downside to this, was once again my hand. The bunny hop wrenched the fractures around causing almost nauseating pain. I once again lost the group, and you know the rest. I finished at 10 minutes back. Not exactly happy about it. The funny part was as I passed people on the climb who were complaining, I would show them my taped up hand, and tell them to man up as I trucked on. It provided me with the motivation. By the way Wick finished this stage in 5th moving him to 8th in the GC

The third day was the TT. I had mixed feelings about today’s stage, as it is I hate TT’s. They are nothing, but a test of who operates the best under pain, in which you are inflicting said pain on yourself. The course was a short 8 or 9 miles of rolling terrain. The first 1/2 mile or so was a bit reminiscent of a Roubaix as the road was so bumpy and cavernous that many people fell out of the aero position. I did decent on this stage though. I tried to do well, but also conserve energy for the crit on the following day. I ended up 31st out of 65. Wick finished 18th moving him to 12th in the GC.

The last day was a crit in downtown Fitchburg, on a .9 mile loop in which we were to do 22 laps. I like crits for some reason. they are fun to me. This one though was scary. The third turn was at the bottom of a downward slope, and you reached doing mid 30’s to lower 40’s, and had to slow to low 20’s or slower if you were in the group to go through it. My hand was feeling pretty ok, and I didn’t even tape it up. We started with 60 riders making their way around the course. It seems that I tend to start in the back of the field, and through out the first few laps meander my way to the front. I’ve noticed this in several crits that I have competed in, and I should probably stop this as one of these days its going to bite me in the ass. The crit was fast, but chill. The field let one rider get off the front, and stay away with three to go, and I couldn’t stand to sprint with my hands in the drops, so I gave it all I had from the hoods, and came out in 10th. Pretty happy, broken hand and all. Wick finished the weekend 12th in the GC, and myself 44th. Wish I had been even 80 percent and I might have joined Wick. Oh well

Thanks to all the people of Fitchburg, MA for being so awesome. The fire department even let us use their showers after the last day of racing. I get to see the doctor tomorrow, and try to convince him not to put a full cast on my hand; not b/c of cycling, but b/c its been triple digits for the last week, and i know that thing will stink after a day of sweating in it. I hope to see everybody this coming weekend as we journey to the Piedmont Omnium in North Carolina. I’ll be the guy complaining about his hand.

Not our weekend :(

•June 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

According to Lance since I’m under 30 I can use emoticons. Not sure I like it…

So this past weekend didn’t go exactly as planned, & I lost quite a bit of faith in humanity. Saturday started out well. Went out to take pics of the Smithfield Hammerfest 2 man TT. I got there just as Dan N. and John Lamogda (sp) took off. Waited around for a bit, and they came across with Dan wearing his mad face. Come to find out they had got to a turn, and with no marshall there, they went the wrong way and were DQ’d. NO bueno.

This is where I come to the part of the story that was the low point of the weekend for me. Steve Monk and I went out for a tune-up ride around the usual 25 mile loop in Norfolk Saturday afternoon. for reasons unbeknownst to us a driver, according to the witness, intentionally hit us, and left the scene. The witness chased him down, and when confronted by the witness, the driver said he didn’t and drove off. They got a partial plate, the make and model, and she said she could ID the driver. The police said there is a decent chance of catching the guy with the info they got, so let’s pray they do. Grey Jeep Cherokee with the liscence plate starts with XKT-49. White male driving

Dan, Wick, Steve, and myself then went to Reston, Va for the Reston Grand Prix on Sunday. The race was great. Due to injuries suffered the day before Steve and I pulled out early. Wick and Dan got caught up in a crash with 4 laps to go. Oh well. Made for a long ride home.

Dan leaves for France on Friday, Wick and I are heading to Fitchburg, and Steve is heading to Roanoke. Wish us all luck.

Well, aren’t I the foolish one

•June 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So…….

Thanks to school this past week, i kind of forgot to write up a race report for last weekend. Cramming a full time semester into 6 weeks probably wasn’t the best idea, but alas it is done, and just in time for Reston this weekend, Fitchburg for fourth of July, and the Piedmont Omnium the weekend after that, followed by Blacksburg to finish out the month. Busy, busy, busy.

For a race report from last weekend, I’m going to cheat and refer you to Dan Netzer’s. Its pretty good. Thanks to Team Nature’s Path for their crit/ circuit. The course was awesome, and the weather was hot. Really looking forward to racing there again soon. Thanks to whoever put on the PLT#1. I’m not sure who my thanks go to, but like it always does, it went well.

The Curse that is Chesapeake

•June 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So this past weekend in racing gave us the Cause for the Paws Crit a the snowball crit course in Chesapeake, Va. The same course that claimed team mate Wick this past March

Wick getting ready for some stitches

. Looking at the weather the morning of I knew it would be a hot one. The guessers that are the weatherman were calling for heat indexes in the triple digits. I arrived to the course just in time to see the Cat 5 start. It was hard to pick up my bib number while yelling at Dan R. to get off the front lap after lap, but he had something to prove i guess. This is his first race since traveling some 2000 miles west, and I have more respect for him for even showing up than racing. Our race, that is the Cat 4 race, started out as any other. 28 guys doing a few slow laps, making fun of each other and themselves to warm up and then lining up for the start. Dan N. went from the gun, yelling, “I’m in the front someone take a picture quick!”. The race went slow for the first lap, and then the attacks came. About three laps in, Jerry Hadley, from Tripower, went off the front with a Fat Frogs guy. I bridged up to them and we stayed away for what seemed an eternity, but was actually only about 5 laps before the determined field consumed us. We took turns attacking again and again, and with 12 laps to go I told Dan N. that I was going to sit in for the remainder as it was obvious, like so many other races, that the field wasn’t going to let a break get away. With something like 8 to go we rounded the first turn to find a p/u truck and trailer sitting on the course. Jerry, with the move of the week, rather than slow down like the rest of us bunny hops into the grass, and rides through laughing the whole way. I spent the last five laps sitting in, making faces at Dan R. as we passed him, and trying to analyze the field to plan my last lap. I decided in turn two that b/c of a little sand in the inside of the turn, and with everyone going inside that i would stay outside, in order to pedal through, and not worry about the pack so much……… my bad. As we came out of turn two, three cyclists swerved out to avoid something. I with my mongoose-like reflexes reacted to avoid the cyclists, and prevent a pile up, moved left, and found that the road had run out and the only thing that remained was the curb and grass. All I remember is hitting the curb, and flying over my handlebars into the grass, and sliding to a stop. Angry, I stood up, grabbed my bike, whose handlebars were now facing the 10 O’clock position, vice 12, and road across the finish in 21st. Once I cooled down I realized how lucky I was to not die, or get hurt, or seriously screw up my bike. Oh well, there is always next week. Speaking of which, I hope to see everybody at the TNP Crit north of Richmond on Saturday; 9 turns and a hill. This should be epic, and Sunday at PLT#1; I’ll be the guy on the madone with the clip-ons laughing at himself. Thanks to Vanderkitten for putting on the race, and BJ for snapping pics. One day I’ll stop trying to be serious about racing, and start taking pics again, or maybe Adam should just hurry back.