Thursday, November 29, 2007

Half full or half empty?

The results for Palmer were finally posted, and they were very interesting on a number of levels:
Masters 35+ (cross Cat 1-4)
1 379 John Foley MTBMIND.COM
2 367 Mark Gunsalvs Bikebarn
3 370 Jeff Molongoski Joe's Garage
4 375 Brant Hornberger Fitchburg Cycle Club
5 380 Michael Patrick Gary Fisher/Subaru/GU/Kenda
6 366 Ian Modestow Joe's garage
7 355 Matt Domnarski Horst-Benidorm-PRC
8 372 Wade Summers Horst-Benidorm-PRC
9 353 Gary David Minuteman Road Club
10 354 Dominique Desmonts Tokeneke Road Club
11 364 Jack Madden The Hub
12 373 Mike Spangenberg Cyclonauts
13 374 Christopher Evans NCC
14 368 Joe Rodrigues Cyclonauts
15 365 Patrick Brandon
16 371 John Slyer
So, I either had a Top Ten finish in a Masters 35+ race (not too bad), or I was more than half-way down the results (uh oh). Got me to thinking about how we measure "success" or what we look for when we tally up the ledger sheet at the end of the race day.

I am currently involved in a research project looking at performance metrics for companies engaged in medical transcription. In a data-driven world, there are any number of measures that we can construct and contrive in an attempt to portray "what happened". Behind the veneer of any "objective measure" is a subject judgment that is made regarding what goes in and what stays out. When we think about "success" or "failure", we likewise enter into the same exercise. Is the glass half full or half empty?

Our humble MRC club is trying an experiment in our Wrentham CX race start staging using Colin R's as a way to line up. That should be interesting. I do not know the methodology Colin uses, I'm sure it is "sound" in a relative way and makes "sense" on some level. Kudos to Rob Bauer for trying to find an "equitable" way to line up the races. Given that the fields are not likely to rival the 80+ fields at a Verge race, the methodology probably won't matter too much in the end, but it will be an interesting experiment. But, again, it is just one measure among many that could be used.

I find it interesting how we become fixated on certain measures of success that are somehow meant to convey "success" or "failure" across experiences that are relatively individual. Was Palmer a success (Top 10) or a failure (bottom half)? These measures place me relative to other people who were there at the same time as me in the same race. However, were we in the "same" race? It was my third race of the weekend, I am lousy at technical stuff, my cleats were shedding dirt less well than others (making it more difficult to reclip), I had different people to pass at different moments, I had no team mates to ride with in my sub-group, etc., etc., etc. How are these variables factored into the ultimate equation of success and failure? Are these "factors" or "excuses"? How does a factor (something that has legitimate impact) became an excuse (something that has a diminished legitimacy)?

I was reading the blog of Christine Vardaros regarding her exploits in Europe, and the travails of Jonathan Page in regards to his team's "disappointment" with his "results." Christine just did a couple of races after experiencing two concussions. A factor or an excuse? Jonathan has been sick, as well as had some "bad luck" (factor or excuse?). I would say legitimate factors for sure, but how easy would it be to turn these things into excuses?

Even though we are racing at different levels, with different stakes, and in different geographies, we are all going through the same calculus of the end-of-the-day ledger sheet regarding success or failure, factor or excuse. But then we should also remember the ultimate equation: A day on a bike > a day not on a bike. When put in this perspective, having the chance to fail on a bike is better than not having that chance at all. I hate to say "We're all winners" because that always sounds hollow when I hear it at a race. Or, to paraphrase George Orwell, "We're all winners, some are just more winners than others." In a sense, though, maybe that is the most accurate way to look at it.

Was Palmer a success or a fail? Top 10 versus bottom half? The answer is: Yes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wrentham and Shot Clocks

Only a few days till Wrentham MRC CX. Fun course with cold temperatures. Sign up while the signing is good.

Random thought: Shot clocks at the check out registers in stores. 35 seconds to complete your transaction, ask your questions, use your coupons, swipe your credit card, whatever. If you can't complete the transaction in that time, you turn the cash register over to the next person in line. Might have to have a longer shot clock in grocery stores. I'm still working out the details.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Glad that's over

Three races in four days. Not exactly a stage race, but tiring nonetheless. But what fun we had.

To imagine Palmer CX, take Sterling and do the exact opposite. A small intimate affair on a lot of single track with roots, step run-ups, technical riding. Even Mr. Paul Curley was riding without his disc wheel in the back. It was like Bizaro-world.

I saw this course on the pre-ride and thought "What in the hell am I doing here?" Technical riding is not my thing, and this was definitely not my thing. But, you should never judge a course on the pre-ride, and a course has a much different feel "at speed" than just riding around. It is amazing how speed can transform a course. Not that I have a lot of speed, but you get the point.

I was wondering at the start of the day how long it would take for someone to utter the words "old school" or "before the UCI" or some such derivative. I heard it first right before the Cat 4 race at 9:00. "This is what all the courses used to be like before the UCI turned cross into grass crits." Bing, bing, bing. We have a winner!

I was glad I got there at 7:30am, even though my race wasn't until 10:00am. I was able to go around 4 times, each time picking up the pace a little bit. There were definitely harder and easier lines, and trying to discern which way to go.

You have to love low key races. Not that people don't race as hard, but it is a totally different vibe. You have about 30 guys toeing the line, all kind of laughing and hanging out (at least until the official say 30 seconds).

Got a moderately decent start and hit the single track. There was no crowd to speak of. We disappeared into the woods, only to miraculously reappear at the end of the lap. That's okay because there wasn't a lot of time for distractions. I was riding fairly well considering I suck at single track. I have been doing a lot of rides with other guys on the area trails, and that definitely helped. Had to ride light over the roots, balance through the corners, let the bike run downhill, sit back when climbing, etc.

There was one section where you rode down a steep grade into a 90 left which then became a steep run-up. I rode it a few times during the race, but opted to dismount at the top, run down, and run up. It wasn't a bad strategy. I didn't lose much time, and actually passed a few people who had to slow way down to dismount and then run-up. I had the advantage of cutting inside of them. It is important to know your limitations.

Oh yeah, can't forget the triple barriers, the river crossing over the palette "bridge", and the run-up from hell. This was like a 20 foot wall. By the last couple of laps, it was as if we were summiting some 8000m peak, one foot in front of the other, eyes cast downward. The people yelling encouragement didn't help either. One of my teammates was screaming to go faster. I almost hit him. But I was too tired.

There have only been two races this year where I was thankful for the race to end: Mansfield and Palmer. Both will absolutely kick your butt. The total body-wrenching pain is quite different from other anaerobic crit-type courses. Everything hurts. But, strange thing is that we call this fun!

Oh, and I finished 9th in the Masters 35+ 1/2/3 race. Basically I am very happy with that result. I got everything I could out of that course, and I left not bleed and not crashing (it wasn't for lack of trying). I got to race some guys hard, and experience a type of ride you really don't see all that much anymore. And the sad thing is that if you look at the New England Bikereg Cyclocross race section, we are down to one page. Three weeks left kids. Then what?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Could've been much worse

That about sums things up for today. Could've been better, but could've been much worse.

Butt cold of course. About 20F when I arrived at 7:00am for the Bay State CX in Sterling, MA. Holy crap. The ground was frozen solid. Not much wind, but enough to make you want to take up bowling or something warm. At least the sun was out, with the tease of warming up. It did get warmer, probably up to 25F. The warm-up was more to see the course than to actually stay warm. As soon as you stopped, the warming effect was lost. Good thing the Super Strength Greyhound Juice was in effect. Kept the legs moderately toasty while surveying what Tom Stevens had in store.

Many of the old features with some new features. All in all, fun stuff. The run-up (frozen), the horse jump (frozen), the newly dubbed Subway and "Mind the Gap" barriers, and gravely tight turns. Plus, a few new items to break up the long straights, and a start on the track.

The first bit of contention started with the Verge staging guy lined up the 3/4s behind the 4s. Bad move. The race director came up to him and said that he had it wrong, that of course you put the faster guys in front of the slower guys. But, we were already staged, which meant a lot of traffic.

I had my usual so-so start. Some guy was leaning on me, and I wanted to flick him into the tape. But, not a good idea at the start. Made it around the track safe enough and into the downhill-run-up combo. I saw a pile up happening, so I figured to dismount early and run past people. As soon as I started down the short hill, my feet flew from under me on the froze ground. I slid down the hill, and so did other people behind me. I fell pretty hard on my right side, mostly back, and it is pretty sore right now.

After that debacle, I started to try to move through the crowd, which was not easy. It was as if there was someone in the trees with a gun the way people were going down around me. The course wasn't very technical, but icy and lots of inexperienced riders to go through. By this time I had no idea where I was in my race because we were all mixed together.

The next bit of excitement happened on a hairpin downhill by the pits. Guy in front of me goes down, and I have no where to go but over his bike. This was where riding over roots and such came in very handy, as I was able to ride directly over his bike very cleanly. However, by the time I was over his bike, I was in the trees, which presented a problem. After extracting myself from the trees, I was back on the course and able to find some room to groove.

Into the last lap, I heard a couple of clubmates who weren't racing yelling that the "leaders" were right in front of me. I didn't quite believe that, but figured I was in a decent position so I had better keep the gas on. I was able to catch a few more people, including a teammate on the last lap toward the end. Generally, I was powering past people on the straight sections pretty easily. I was almost able to catch the guy that was next, but ran out of real estate.

I looked at my watch and saw that I only raced for about 36:30 out of a 40 minute race. That was a major drag, as one more lap and I could have made up some more ground. What made it more depressing was that I was 4th in the 3/4 35+, missing the podium by one. I know that one more lap and I would have had 3rd. Tends to be a common feature of races now that I get short-changed on time.

All in all, it could have been a lot worse. I'm a bit disappointed for missing the podium. Second week in a row that I finished one spot "out of the money". But, I'm happy I was able to pull through so many people during the race. Gives me some confidence going forward.

Positives: Not giving up when things got sucky. Racing more aggressive. Riding over someone's bike.

Negatives: Lousy start. Not knowing how to ice skate. Still need to work on turns.

Two races in three days. One more to go!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pedifile (sic)

There is a gymnastics facility in Stow that was in the news recently. I guess there is an accusation of an instructor there raping former students of his while they were students of his. This was supposed to have happened at other facilities, I think. I don't know the details. Anyway, all I do know is that driving home there were four news vans parked at the Stow House of Pizza ready to beam to their satellites from on location.

I drive by the sign for the facility and someone has sprayed "Pedifile" on the sign. Great, something to take down my property values. Thanks a lot! Plus, if you are going to deface private property, at least have the common courtesy to consult a dictionary first so that you don't make yourself look like a bigger yahoo than you already do by spray painting on a sign. What a nimrod. But, I guess people that would spray point on a sign would be those who do not own a dictionary or any reading material beyond The Star or something.

In other news, did a 5k today, the Stow Gobbler 5k. First in a long time. I haven't been running at all since the bad toe incident. I wanted to go 18:00 and damned if I didn't go 18:00. Nothing stellar. Just enough to get a workout. Finished 6th overall and 2nd in my age group. Given the long weekend of racing that I have to deal with, I didn't want any heroics. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Product Review - Shave Deluxe

Alright guys. You know how you hate razor burn, bumps, and stubble that comes from a not-so-satisfying shave. No matter the type of blade or gel or foam, we just can't get that smooth feel. And, we haven't quite crossed that bridge to waxing. So, what is a guy to do?

Enter Shave Deluxe. a new product that claims to "dramatically reduces razor drag allowing the razor to glide over your skin. At the same time it moisturizes and conditions the skin."

I became aware of this product through Bicycling Magazine and a review of the product in the Lab Rat section. There, it received 4 1/2 rats (out of 5 rats) and glowing reviews from the testers. So I decided to give it a try.

When I received it, I thought I had been had. No way this little bottle was going to work. Plus, the instructions say to use only about 5 drops of the product per "area". I defined an "area" from my foot to my knee, and another area from my knee to none-of-your-business. So ten drops per leg. Rub it in your hands, on your leg, and let the magic begin.

It was strange at first to use because there is no lather to guide your shave. Kind of like losing your place when reading. But, I persisted. The results? I have to say fantastic. It delivers everything that it offers. No burn, bumps, stubble, and a nice close shave. The only downside is that it can gunk up the razor a bit (being made of oils), so you need to clean the blade often. Other than that, it works really well. If you don't believe me, check out my legs at the next race.

The other positives are that it is a "100% natural blend of essential and base oils with a hint of menthol. Nothing artificial." Plus, no animal testing.

So, get some and try it out. I'm working on getting samples for all registrants at the MRC Wrentham Cross Race.

RATING (out of 5 )

Monday, November 19, 2007

Running with the big dogs

Due to the timing of the races, I opted to do the Masters 35+ (1-4) race at Lowell. I started this season as a 4, upgraded to 3, and now I am racing against guys who really know how to race. Uh oh.

The course was really nice and fun. I'll post more at But overall there was a little of everything. The bottom half was just like last year, with single track through the woods. Same barriers. But the top half was completely different due to the recent improvements made to the park (which is a very nice park!).

Race started on the cinder track at turn 3. When I arrived at 7:00am, it was frozen solid and fast. By 10:00am, it was soup. Thick cinder soup. With mud puddles. At the starting line, I was wedged in between cyber-luminaries Gewilli and CTodd. I've raced against both before, so that provided some comfort when looking at some of the other powerhouses in the race. On the front line, we were pretty widely strung out and had to funnel into a narrow track. By starts are usually lousy, but couldn't be today.

Bang! Of we go, sliding through the soup. I was about 10-15th wheel approaching a quick uphill 180 degree turn around a tree into the first barriers. Of course, some guy wipes out, blocking the whole field. While straddling my bike, I shimmy through the carnage to keep going. That loses me some time, but I don't have great expectations today anyway.

The addition of a steep hill that you enter through a 90 degree turn was a nice touch. The designers said they hoped this would be a runup, but it was definitely rideable. However, not when it is clogged with people. So, I enter the hill trying to ride it, see there is not way, and jump off, pumping up the hill with my bike. Thank you toe spikes.

There is nothing better in cross than getting into the rhythm of the course. As you go on in the race, you start to remember what is coming, know what gearing to use, and find lines that work (all in a course that is constantly changing due to other riders and wear). I was able to find a nice rhythm here. While some people were passing me, I was passing a lot of people as well. Other guys from MRC were cheering like crazy, so I figured I must be doing okay.

Two laps to go I am able to reach another group. It was very strange to be hanging with people that I had watched when I started racing when I thought "I'll never be able to hang with them." I found myself on a very familiar solid disk wheel, thinking "Holy Sh*t, that's Paul Curley." For those not in the know, Paul has been National Champ in various age categories many times, and continues to put people into difficulty on the course. To be on his wheel was just WEIRD.

When I bell lap hit, I was shocked because time was flying by. I had not been checking the lap cards because the track was so soupy it required pretty constant concentration. I was tail end of a pack of about 6 guys. Going into the final steep hill, I wanted to be closer to the front. I shot around most of them to get second wheel and hit the hill hard, able to ride up it with another guy from NEBC-CycleLoft. I knew I thought I could outsprint him on the track, so I was satisfied to sit on his wheel through the single track, just trying to avoid mistakes.

Once we hit the single track, it was big chainring time. People had been riding the extreme outside line because it was dry. I had been riding a middle inside line. We were hammering next to each other pretty good. I was trying like crazy to keep my line because the momentum caused by our speed and lack of traction caused me to start to drift to the outside. I was able to nip him at the very end.

I ended up with 6th place overall, which was HUGE for me. Slight bummer in that I finished one spot out of the money (would have won $10 for 5th). But, not complaints here. Everyone on the team was pretty impressed with the performance, which was nice to hear. I was impressed to. Fellow MRC'er John Smith said to me once, "You're never happy after a race." That is generally true. I'll typically find something to obsess on after a race that casts a pallor over the experience (John, being from Scotland, said that would make me a good Scotsman). This time, I'm pretty happy.

Positives: Running with the big dogs and not getting bit.

Negatives: My uniform is a disaster.

Things done well: Putting together things I've learned and been working on. Learning as the race went on. Start was smoother than previous ones.

Things that need improvement: Still everything. A little slow going into the barriers. Need to get in and out of the corners better. Was behind Wayne from NEBC-Cycleloft for a little bit, and he was great at it. Small things make for big separations in this group.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Back to the Treadmill

After my toe healing enough to sustain running, I was all set to head to BC and hit the hills for a little running. But, the monsoon made me think better of it. So, off to the gym and the treadmill. First time I've been on that thing in quite some time. Some things to think about when running on a treadmill for the first time in a while:

-Try to find one that has some air circulation. I notice that some treadmills at my gym are in dead air, and you really start to heat up fast. Some air circulating is important

-Bring a towel. Don't want to have sweat flying off onto the person next to you. I hear a hat too (backward of course) to avoid constantly having to wipe off my face.

-Some people go for a slight incline as a standard approach to simulate air resistance, etc. I typically run flat. I only run once a week (or twice at the most) on the treadmill, so I don't feel the need to elevate.

-The first few times out, don't expect to run as fast indoor as you do outdoor. It will probably feel harder. It takes time to get used to the movement of running on a conveyor belt. Ease into it.

-If you are watching a tv that is to your right or left, there is a tendency to drift that way. Keep making periodic checks with your hands to see how far you've gone off center.

-I find treadmills a nice tool for easy runs and tempo runs, but not speed work per se. Anything shorter than a 1/2 mile pickup is too hard to manage with the speed control. Longer interval training is perfect for a treadmill.

-I tend to run off of heart rate more than pace on the treadmill. Your body doesn't know if it is going 6:00/mile or 6:20/mile. But it knows 90%MHR regardless of how fast you are going.

-I find gym treadmill running is a perfect opportunity to incorporate more stretching and core work. So, if you want to go 8 miles, but are getting bored out of your skull (or tired) dump at 7 miles and spend the next 20 minutes stretching and working on your core.

-Enjoy the scenery (but don't be too much of an obvious perv)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Lonliness of Cyclocross Training

Hit Thoreau club solo after posting a workout and having no one respond. A bit like high school when you have a party and no one shows. But, the truth is I enjoy training alone much of the time. It is great to have the camaraderie of others to push you hard, but at the same time going alone provides you an opportunity to do a workout that is structured and tailored to what you want to achieve and how you feel. I especially enjoy being solo on easy days. Just you and the bike/wetsuit/running shoes and time to spend without worrying about anything else.

Was able to get a solid 85 minutes of work, messing around with sprints, uphill dismounts, barriers, and starts. I spent ten minutes just working on dismounting. I read an interview with Jesse Anthony where he describes doing a workout by starting slow and getting progressively faster. On the first dismount of the day, I thought my legs were going to buckle. I just got a massage and my legs were feeling it. So, rather than trying to go faster, let's slow things down and build. By minute 8 I was starting to spring over the barriers and back onto my bike. What started as a horror show ended as a confidence builder. The cross adage: To go fast you have to slow down.

Much like being at Walden Pond in the early morning with no one else around, there is something transcendent about being in the woods on a fall day with no one else around, or riding across a field. Through any pressure for a hard training session out the window, or any expectation of what you should be doing. Just ride.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How to Go From DFL to 6th

I was pretty fired up for this race. I had a decent week of training, Jeff the Supermechanic at Landrys tuned by bike while replacing my 105 shifter (more on that debacle later), and I have been racing pretty well. I wanted to get the race early, get my early laps in, warm-up on the trainer, get my game face on, and go. I even loaded up my IPod with tunes to get me in the zone.

Arrived early, met up with Bad Brad, and road off to check out the new course. Amazing how the first time around a course can seem like an eternity.

The lay-out was pretty nice. Bad Brad took a look at the course from the parking lot and said "Looks pretty flat". Um, yeah, around the parking lot. But that made up a short portion of the race. Plenty of fun to be had around the corner. I will have more on the course at my race review blog.

I was getting ready to get to the start, and CCC pulls up looking like hell, and very late as we were 20 minutes to the start. Asks me if I am going to be around to pin on his number.
Being the good teammate that I am, I say sure. I told him I would take him around the course once since he hadn't seen it yet due to his lateness. He comes rolling up with a number that looks like it was pinned by someone who was born blind and without thumbs, but whatever. Of we go.

Good thing to see the course right before the race, because it got chewed by the first race pretty good, altering some strategy.

We roll back and I go to the car to drop off my long sleeve jersey. CCC says the line up is starting so we go to the line. Cort managed a front row spot, but I was one over from him next to Rob and behind some other guy. No worries.

I'm feeling good and ready for action. The bad toe is pretty much healed, the bike is tuned, I have my embrocation on my legs, and it is a beautiful day. 15 seconds to go, hit the timer on the watch, right pedal at 2:00 position, body tensed, WHISTLE

Guy in front of me doesn't move. I mean not at all. Far be it from me to criticize someone else's starts, but I typically at least try to make forward progress. Nothing. He sits there. One thousand and one. One thousand and two. Now he realizes the race has started, and I am totally flummoxed. I try to clip in and go, and everyone is flying by. I finally get things going, hit the first turn, and enter the grass pretty close to Dead F'in Last.

Time for plan B. Lets see how many guys we can pass in the race.

I figured that it would take about 6:00 per lap, and I was pretty close to dead on. The first lap was around 6:15 because of the fence gates and trying to get around people. Things were stacking up, and I had to weave off my line quite a bit. After the first lap, I settled down into between 5:59 and 6:07 per lap. I started to race some people, especially one buy from Cox Communications. He made a nice move to get the good line through the second sand pit, I took the Line of Death, fell, and had to struggle to catch back up.

By two laps to go, I was totally grooving and feeling good. I was able to reel in more people, including Mr. Cox, and put the hammer down and finish around 6th. Overall, it was a solid race despite the Start that never was. CCC took 4th. You would think that given my sacrifice he would have at least got on the podium. Nope. Big let down for the team, but we'll soldier on.

Fun was had by all.

Positives: Sticking in there and sucking it up, and playing cheetah with the other cyclocross gazelles on the Plymouth Serengeti.

Negatives: Getting stuck behind a guy who did not understand how these races start.

Improvements made: Downhilling without braking. Hitting the corners harder and sprinting out of them. Creating space in order to get a better run on people.

Improvements needed: Not chopping my steps over barriers. Riding sand.

Next week: Lowell Masters 35+. I'm doomed.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bad Toe

When my first daughter was about 4 months old, I fell asleep while holding her. I woke up running a little late getting to the Wednesday night Stow ride. Stumbling from the chair, I fully caught my pinky toe on the door jam. It didn't really stub as much as pull away from the rest of my foot. Of course, I went on the ride.

So, in the interim from that moment till Monday morning, I was very careful about not making the same mistake twice. In some ways, I have been living in fear.

Monday morning, I was getting ready to go for a ride. I happened to clip a pair of shoes that were on the floor, resulting in the carnage that you see here. I didn't hit it hard, but obviously enough to cause some considerable pain and discoloration. I can only conclude that I have a very bad toe.

After falling to the floor, I was able to collect myself enough to go on the ride (which was very nice). But, here is the aftermath. No running for this week.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Here we go NoHo

After running Northampton last year, I was looking forward to this year. I think it was one of the few races where I didn't flat last year and scored a 17th in the C (cat 4) race. This was going to be my first race as a Cat 3, racing against other underachieving older guys. The great thing about having a Cat 3/4 35+ race is that it allows us to take very seriously something that almost no one else cares about.

Adam Myerson and Cycle-Smart do a great job with this race. It is an awesome venue and a fun course. It was pretty much like last year, except for our entry and exit into the sand pit. Variance on sand pits seems to be the theme of the year, as evidence by Gloucester.

I was lined up in Row 2. The hole shot here isn't as important as other place because things can accordion because of the hairpin right and then S turn into the downhill. There is a stretch where you can pass a lot of people, which is what I did since my start was less than stellar, but not sucky like usual. Entering the sand I was about 15th. Gewilli had the hole shot, and Coley was placed well using his daredevil sprinting skills.

Things started to separate pretty quickly, but not as quickly as in the Cat 4s. Here people that are behind don't necessarily stay that way.

I ran a pretty clean course, except for some minor screw ups which can cost major against better competition. On the steep ride/run up, I got stuck behind people on laps 2 and 3, meaning that I lost all momentum on my dismount and basically stopped. I also had a problem behind someone on the run up where I lost momentum. This was my fault because I had the opportunity to pass people and not be behind them, but did not because I was content to ride behind earlier in the race, biding my time. Loser mentality that I need to change.

In the last two laps, I was paired with another guy and we rode together pretty tightly. I was taking better turns, and making up time where I would lose time before. On the last lap, I was in front of him, and decided that if he was going to stay with him, I would try to make it hurt as much as possible. I would sprint hard out of every turn and try to keep the hammer down. He was strong into the barriers, and passed me at the barriers on the last lap. Fine by me because I wanted to either drop him completely, or be second wheel into the sprint.

In the sprint, I was able to just put my head done and hammer. Last week I lost the sprint by half a wheel, so I was determined not to do the same this week. I put the turbos on (as much as I have), and was able to drop him and take 7th pretty comfortably.

Results from the race can be found here:

Positives were developing a "killer" attitude during the last two laps. Negatives were not having that attitude from the start. Another positive is feeling the flow of the bike and the course, and feeling connected to the whole thing. Hard to describe, but the sense that you are riding and not fighting the course.

Coley won second place in a sprint, or lost first place in a sprint (depending on your point of view). A lot of other MRC'ers in attendance. Funny to think Cross season is half over. But, still more fun to be had.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ryan Shay
05/04/1979 - 11/03/2007

US Olympic Marathon Trials

Great race despite the lousy video feed. Thanks again NBC for completely screwing up coverage of everything that is not gymnastics or figure skating.

Ryan Hall is the man, running a 2:09 and breaking away to finish solo. Dathan Ritzenhein hung tough for second at 2:11. The story of the day is Brian Sell, who embodies the ethic that hard work can buy you talent. Not slated as one of the top prodigies in US running, the guy puts in 160 miles a week, works part time, and sucks it up daily. Nice reward for Keith and Kevin Hanson and the Hanson-Brooks Running Project. I had the pleasure of running with Hansons when living in Metro Detroit, and they are great guys. Kevin is flying back to Detroit on a private jet that he hired to coach one of his female high school runners who made the state X-country finals. And then he is flying back to NYC for the celebration. Too cool.

Khalid Khannouchi hung in there for 4th place, and 1st alternate. I would love to see him toe the line for the US after disappointments over the past years with injuries.

NBC will have coverage at 2:00pm if you want to check it out. Great way to get psyched for Noho tomorrow.

Here is your Olympic Marathon Team:

1. Ryan Hall (Ascics) 2:09:02
2. Dathan Ritzenhein (Nike) 2:11:06
3. Brian Sell (Hansons-Brooks) 2:11:40
4. Khalid Khannouchi (New Balance) 2:12:33
5. Jason Lehmkuhle (Saucony) 2:12:54

Wow. This is just awful. I read on one of the blogs during the race that he was having CPR administered to him off the course. Too reminiscent of Pat Bell at Ashland. A superb athlete in top physical condition dies of a heart attack. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and those who knew him.