le Tou, le Tour, le Tour.
Saw a blurb and heard from le directour at il Giro that final details are being finalized for the five days of slum. Saw the original layout, looked kinda gnarly, like edging on the totally fucking insane to continue to think of fixing the entire deal. At il Giro, during stage 2 cruising down that final shwoopy love of Whetstone, I couldn't get the thought out of my mind of how much it would suck to be stuck on the fixed for that descent. It's just too much damn fun to roll the Dos and get some real entertainment value out of it.
Really made me question my originally stated goal. And now, here I sit, wondering what, exactly, has Carpong cooked up. Will it actually be more fixy friendly like he led me to believe? Or was that the Vape talking?
my concerns about doing le Tour fixed......
1. I totally wreck my body and can't finish, the damage is long term and I end up tossing the rest of the year completely out the window. No hundies, no fittys, just slum thru the remaining half a season asking why and scheduling visits with the orthopedic surgeon........
2. I survive the ordeal, but go so deep to do it, that the remainder of the year ends up being written off.....and for what? Before the dream/nightmare of a fixed tour grabbed me, my primary goal was to settle the score out there in the dark corners of the 101 course. I want back part of what that thing ripped outta me last year. I also wanna get as close to, if not under, 10 hours on the Shenandoah with a fixed wheel. I honestly haven't had a good 'race' at the hundy since '04 when Stubbie & I hooked that shit up. I've had excellent, fun rides around the loop since then, just not good 'races.' Doing le Tour fixed could push all of that into the realm of 'well, there's always next year.' I don't like that option. I'm hungry, my programme seems to be working, I feel like the time is now. Not sure how much of a gambling man I really am.
When I set the Tour ss precedent in '05, it took much, much longer to recover than I ever expected, I underestimated the effort. Granted, that was then, this is now and I'm older and wiser and more experienced, blah blah blah. I don't plan to race the fix, just to ride it and complete the days. But what's it gonna take to ride a fixed wheel over three epic mtn routes and two road stages that fall into the 80-100mile range with plenty of nasty climbing? I've already breifly walked the geared (39:25) road bike on a couple of those climbs, backside of Reddish, east face of Massanutten.
40:15? fuck me.
And what about 'special considerations' just for me? Can I expect a cue sheet/map for the road stages so that when I get dropped during parade pace I can still make it round the loop? Puts me into the scarey realm of self supporting each stage. That could get quite ugly and it's not really a fair burden for the organizers to cater extra for me. It would turn into a lonely solo effort over five long days, me & my iPod. I'd miss the out on the communal suffering, the group hugs, the bar to bar action during the timed sections. I wouldn't be able to throw down as usual at the front of the sprint train, probably my most favorite part of all. Yeah, I'm a sort of closet roadie at heart, so be it, play your strengths bitch. Basically, I'd be giving up everything that I love about riding/racing a Grand Tour, all for the purpose of proving just how fucking crazy I really am. il Giro reminded me about all of this.
Is it worth it? And Why?
3. I ride thru it with no real issues, then slum thru the 101 three weeks after the effort, and hope for a huge bounce to rage like a mother fucking bull on crack all the way thru the end of September. Any gypsey fortune tellers out there?
The short term is pretty damn clear though. I feel like I'm finally coming into good form, had decent enough legs in il Giro and threw down a 13:20 up the King's Gap TT on the 40:15 last night, lopping another 40 couple seconds off my best to date. Have finished a very solid 5 day block, which just happens to sync with Eddie B's bible of peaking. He calls for a 4-5day stage race 2 weeks out from your target. Stoopid Fitty happens to be two weeks out, so I'm gonna try to work out some sort of 'peak' per Eddie's written advice and see how it all works out, testing testing 1-2-3. Haven't followed this sort of structure for a few years, so I'm mostly looking for confirmation and data points for when the big events roll around. I'll be doing the Stoopid on the fixed, and if it plays out the way I hope, I'm looking for a top 5 in the single dingle class, will be dissappointed if I don't at least crack into the top 10 gearless. Or maybe I'm blowing smoke outta my ass......delusional visions of granduer and all that.
So, does anybody have thoughts on the Tour Fixy pursuit?
Am I total puss if I back out of it?
If I don't even attempt it?
Do I take all 4 bikes 'just in case'?
Do I simply use it for 'training', and then give her hell in the hundies, attempting to restablish the existing fixy benchmarks?
what to do?
le Tou, le Tour, le Tour.
yeah, so now that I've got that whiney ass bitchin' shit outta my system.......
Grand Tours are such monumental affairs. Ya never know what you're getting yourself into, thare's just no way to predict it......unless of course you've got a trunk full of December plasma and a crate of EPO with a side of Cortison and a shot of HGH on the side plus the testosterone chaser.....you just never really know how it's all gonna go down.
Well, sort of. I'm pretty predictable. I always seem to crack on day three, just look at the historical record, I always lead the slum train on the third day of a grand tour. I hemorage time like Basso does blood in Spain, it gets pretty ugly. My first Tour, '02-ish, my legs turned blue on Stage 3, it was kinda scary, I DNS'ed stage 4. The meltdown into WV on the singlespeed in '05, that was bonkalicious. This year, the mind couldn't grasp what the body had to do across Torrey, packed it in, threw in that fucking towel, I fell apart, serious meltdown. After that shameful performance, of course I lost that jersey. I wasn't worthy to the tradition and honor.
So it goes.
And now, we eat wings and drink beer and evaluate and reformulate from here. 'Cuz that's where we're at, and we can only move on from the here and now. TT up King's Gap tomorrow eve, hope to go sub 14 on the 40:15, 13:30 would be sweet. I have my doubts, quick spin and a chill soak of the legs in the Letort, we'll see if there's a Giro bounce. I'm guessing that it's more mental then anything. Then the Stoopid 50 on the fixie in two-ish weeks, sights are set.
But boy, I just wanna say a big
to everybody involved in making il Giro happen. From the organization, which I can't even begin to wrap my head around. What's it take to put together a 3 day shuttle mission for 25 bike nuts? I can barely handle a Meeshow point to point without pulling my hair out, how much time goes into figuring out the logistics? The venues, the routes, the food.....lots and lots and lots of behind the scenes shit going on. Mucho gracias Marteen', you rock, Fooftown rocks!
il peloton rocks! By nature, I'm somewhat reserved, minding my own and enjoying self sufficiency. To be a part of such an event is always something special. The communal, group effort is amazing. It's awesome to see how well people can treat each other, day in day out. Is it because of the shared suffering, the single minded goal to just get thru it?
My take is that we're all there for something similar, but personally defined. And we all generally get out of it what we think we might be looking for. Sure, there's some chasing of the result, obviously since we're a bunch of bike racing fools, but we're all there searching for the same thing, basically. I can't really describe it with my meager wordsmithing skillz. But I believe that everybody who takes part in such an event, takes home something that they were looking for. Maybe not every piece to the puzzle, but there's enough there to fill in the gaps and get a grasp of the big picture. From the personal battles against revolting bodies, to the unloading of the trailer, to cooking dinner and dish duty, to chillin' round the stump, river bathing, doing the breakfast dilly and that final bag brigade to get the trailer rolling on to our next rendezvous. Everybody always willing to lend a hand, to give up a bite to eat, a swig of soda or beer or whiskey, "I can't finish this, you want it, don't wanna throw it out" good time communal vibe.
Thinking beyond yourself, well beyond yourself.
And then, turning that broad focus 110% internal as the clock ticks and you begin digging out that fresh addition to the pain cave. We all share the effort and live thru each other's stories at the end of the day. We race, and race hard, and talk shit and everybody knows that the trashtalk may as well be spoken into the mirror, cuz all you're doing is trying to smooth over that chink in your armor. That gap you didn't know existed, that was only exposed, poked, prodded and exploited just a short while ago. We all have those chinks, and those who expose yours, know that you'll be back another day to repay that favor.
It's, like, a circular thing, man.
Pics are up on the smug, mostly party and chillin' and some scenic stuff, couple shots of trail from the last stage across Torrey. Unfortunately, wasn't qwik enough on the draw for our Rockstar Hall of Fame redneck neighbors, nothing like a good stumbling group hug-n-fall, did see some flashes pop though......imagine visual documentation will surface eventually.
peace, and thanks again.
Posted by Tomi on Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Damn! Thought I had that jersey wrapped up.
Prologue, I got to be 30second guy to Todd H. Strategy? Hold off the super fast dude for as long as possible, then try to keep him in sight. That worked on the downhill, then once we started to pedal, Todd put 4 minutes on me over a 27 minute effort. Damn, what have I gotten myself into? Came out of the prologue bunched up in the lower half of the top 10.
Stage one I worked on my surge-n-fade climbing technique. Then got hung out to dry by a lazy peloton, but still turned the screws at the front of the train during the second Stage 1 sprint. Stage 2 found me throwing down another pointless surge to capture zero points for 6th place in the KOM. Followed that up with a classic sketch move, blowing thru a highspeed fireroad turn and ending up way up high on the embankment beyond the ditch during the windup for the Montebello sprint. And backed all that up with major pukage along Whetstone before battling back to only lose spots to Bucky & Joely. Those efforts put me into my first ever Grand Tour Jersey, the maglia blanca for Most Combative, an apparently 100% subjective classification.
So, the third and final stage found me clad in my first Grand Tour Tunic. I wore it with pride and treated it with the honor & respect it deserved. I was also trying to stake my claim on the overall title. Showing il maglia at the sharp end of the stage as much as possible, logging long kilometers off the front of the group, trying to always be there to instigate the festivities when it was time to wind it up. Put in a solid effort with Buschetti on the day's KOM, logging my highest ever KOM placement with the 2nd slot. The Parkway sprint was another painful affair, dangling off the front with Cristoph for the 3mile leadout and running out of gas in the final 50m, getting nicked at the line in the uphill sprint by a surging Mr. Helmick. Captured my first ever sprint points though, 3rd place. Then the downfall, Torrey Ridge for GC time. The jersey, which had an aura about it and had pushed me with a helping hand to earlier glories during the stage, now became a heavy burden to shoulder. I was hungry and instigated a slight jumping of the gun for the World Cup Holeshot into the singletrack. I was shortly put into my place and my time for the cameras came to an end.
I viewed 'Most Combative' as a classification encompassing the entire realm of a Grand Tour. So across Torrey, I finished my Giro by mounting a monumental attack on the DFL jersey. I fell apart, it was a meltdown of nuclear proportions. I couldn't pedal for shite, had one flat tire, got caught behind a smoke screen, gave up a tube to fellow Cupcake Buck and finally got to snap some pics while actually on the trail. I thought I had it wrapped up, I really, really did.
But, due to the totally subjective nature and possibly my lack of post stage lobbying, the jersey was wrenched from my grasp and given to Jimmy the Newcomer. His singular performance on the day's GC section, a stellar 3rd place showing to move into the top 10 overall, was enough for the judges and trumped my hero to zero showing.
Damn, so close. Now I can only hope that this classification is introduced at le Tour, I've had a taste of the glory, and it was sweet.
Beyond all that, thanks to everybody for making the event happen. il Directour, Martino and the Fooftown Mafia. Mr. Hoy for his super-MVP support role. The tifosi for lining the course 4 deep in spots. And of course, all the other bike riding and suffer loving fools that made the event one for the ages. We're lucky to be part of such an interesting community.
will get pics up on the smug sometime soon, peace.
Posted by Tomi on Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Bags are packed, CR-Vizzle is loaded, directions are printed, clock is ticking.
Dos is cleaned, tuned, looking and feeling sharp, successful shakedown spin around town last night to return some movies. Extra parts are stashed; tire, tubes, cable, lube, extra rear deraileurrerer, a half-link in case I need to convert her into single. Fresh pack of HandyWipes (99.9999999% anti) to ward off a cranky taint, big bags of gels and bars and oatmeal and Pop Tarts to satisfy my tummy, contact lenses and spares. Batteries for the camera, car charger for the pod soundtrack machine. Coffee, camp frenchy press, plate and bowl and eating tools, save a tree! Tent, bag, pad and pillow, styley lounge wear for around camp. Rosa drink cozies for the all important recovery beverages.....
Prologue from the Land of Hoy around 6ish this evening, then three days of what should be very solid riding. Guessing 6-8hr efforts each day, the roster for il gruppo looks stacked. The mighty Quinns, a posse from the Dirty South, Hugh Jass alumni, a few of us Cupcakes and the local Fooftown Mafia are all well represented. Legs are freshly shaved and feeling oh so sexxxxxyyy under the Carharts today. My weight is down, attitude is up.
An easy week in the saddle, just one real effort on the road Weds eve. Got into traffic rolling from the Allstrom plant thru the Holly Gap to the Holly Inn. Sweet F-250 Super Duty motor pacing, sat on that bumper spinnin the 40:15 hard @ 31-33mph across the entire stretch. Almost came around him for the sprint, but felt that passing the big white truck along the yellow line with opposing traffic and a red light woulda been a tad bit beyond sketch. Felt really really good to wind her out regardless.
My mind is tranquillo, I dream of maglia rosa, or perhaps verde or even ciclamino.
Anything but the dreaded maglia DFL.
I'll be flirting with that one come July......
Posted by Tomi on Friday, May 25, 2007
Direction of travel is clockwise. Friday evening prologue, no frickin clue what's in store for Saturday, Sunday looks like it'll include the classic ridge of Whetstone. (Stolen pic from Martino.)Monday we'll be rollin' into Sherando, those switchbacks will be slum central I'm sure, good times, good times. Change of scenery will do me good. Hope my Giro goes better than what happened to these guys on the finish line in Italy today (Velonews pic).
Posted by Tomi on Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Posted by Tomi on Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Huxley Ann Miller, 4/01/95 - 5/17/07
Posted by Tomi on Saturday, May 19, 2007
Lots of things happen in threes, most notably, flat tires & crashes. Dos is still sitting with two flat tires and caked on mud from the Fitty, been back out on the fixy. Man, is that ever fun. Sunday's jaunt definitely revealed the rust. First obstacle out of Jake's driveway and I'm trying to backpedal a stutter stroke over a big rock. Ooops, pedals don't go that way, over you go, dumbass. Then more fumbling on logs. Logs, always a crux move to clear a log cleanly. Re-established my fixy hop last night though. Man, it's sweet when it works out, ugly as anything when it doesn't.
Bender & I roll from the Furnace last eve. Shootin' the shit, filling him in on Sunday's adventure. And try to share the lighthearted moment of Pedro attempting to learn to flick rocks, Harrisonburger style. The rock flick is something fun to do when you're bored on a fireroad. See a golfball sized rock sitting in the open, ride by it, flick it with the front wheel, and see if you can score a 'goal' by shooting said rock between the wheels of your buddy's bike. Pedro tried to replicate the action on Sunday, and just after he almost laid it down he says, "Guess there's more to it than I thought." See, you need to lighten the front end just as you flick, otherwise, you're just turning the wheel hard, which might have consequence if it hooks up and tosses you to one side or the other. Well, last night, I tried to demonstrate what Pedro did, and yep, I laid it down, brilliant. On the shoulder of B'ville road, not five minutes from the car, and I putz around and have to step off the bike while climbing at 6.3mph up a false flat. That's #1.
We get into Comm Service, I follow Dave's wheel so my cobwebby fixy skillz don't ruin his flow. Manage to follow his pace nicely, giving up ground on logs here and there, one or two pucker moments snaking rather quickly thru some tighter pitchy spots and pop up onto Logsled. Good times, good times. Keep it rollin' across the road and over to Woodrow for the evening's climb. Set a solid 2:1 tempo up that bitch and onto Jake's on up to the hunting camp. First time in a long long while that I didn't hike any of it, not one step. Might actually have some real fitness revealing itself, finally.
Collect at the top real quick like, then we're off to Rattlesnake. A little dabby dab here and there, a mostly smooth ride across the top and we're onto the 'new' section. I love this trail. I drop in for freshies and things are going good, the focus is there, the breathing is in sync with the flow and I'm holding a decent pace, even get an oh so slight gap on Dave. Get to the first cruxy spot, make it thru the tight steep bottleneck and then unexpectedly blow out of my right pedal. Fuck. Nothing like losing a foot to pedal connection as you're rolling a steep rocky pitch on the fixy. Try to save it, things accelerate quickly, spot a hopefully soft & rock free flat spot in the berry bushes and eject. Still clipped in with the left foot as I perform yet another cat like shoulder roll. Bike goes over top of me and unclips at the apex. Bike goes airborn and ends up 20' down the hill and another 10' or so further off the trail over in the brush. I somehow only end up with one small bruise on the elbow. That's #2.
We begin rolling again, right back on that horse. 30' down the trail and Dave washes the front end and dumps it into a tree. Officially, that's #3, we're in the clear, right? We roll outta there and follow the race course way thru the Nowhere loops, what a frickin' blast! I just wanna throw a shout out to all the fifty milers the other wknd. Ya'll did one hell of a job berming out what is probably one of the most super fun flowy sections in all of Michaux. Way way way fun, with lots a braapp bbrrrrappppp sounds being made. Then just as we're finishing up, at the end of a way spun out section, up onto a lip to get around a downed tree, when bam! Something grabs a hold of a pedal and almost rips the bike out from underneath me. I'm tossed into the bars, feel some unique stress in the wrists and thumb, and THAT was almost a big #3 for me. Enjoy the adrenal release, catch my breath, get back up to Dave, put some air in his softening tire and agree that spinning the road is a decent enough idea, rolled it back just shy of 2hrs.
Bonus was discoverring a new sunset spot, there's a kinda decent view from the top of the mud bank parking spot. Wish I woulda had the camera along, the late evening light was damn near perfect across that little ridge before we dropped onto the pavement, next time. Got home and cranked down the pedal tensions, clipping out of the fixy is usually not a desirable event, lesson (re)learned. The dormant ninja pedal skillz have been awakened. Tonight, plan to climb the 'steep' side of 233 along with an up-n-down on B'ville, hope the weather cooperates.
Time to climb bitch, it's time to climb.
Posted by Tomi on Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Why is it that when I try to take an 'easy' week of 'recovery', I still end up with 13+ hours of saddle time? Fun 4+ on the mtn fixy yesterday, reawakened some dormant skillz that are obviously in need of major sharpening. Fun days ahead.
Hope the S_D_S crew had a good time. Feet were up, beer in hand chillin' w/ Huxster watchin il Giro while ya'll were climbing Dowell's in the probably dwindling light. Wish I could've swung it, next year......next year.
Posted by Tomi on Monday, May 14, 2007
Lazy start to the day, no rush at all.
LeTort morning freshness.
Wheeeeee, fun day in the saddle. No real plan other than to "go for a bike ride, and find someplace I've never been." So, I headed south thru Michaux to Caledonia.
Eventually then found White Church Rd. Nice road with some rolling orchard action, kinda rude in spots after spinnnnnning downhill for a long time from Shipp Rd. Bounced around the base of the mtn, got eager and ended up on Thompson Hollow Rd.
Decided to not find out where it intersected Three Turn Rd and doubled back to the known. Hit Walnut Bottom at the 4hr mark for a sugary snack.
Spun her home along Pine and Adams before backtracking along the LeTort to Scalle's for a big bottle of Stone Ruination IPA takeout. Yep, just another shitty day in PeeYaY!.
Posted by Tomi on Saturday, May 12, 2007
well, results are up from Sunday, looked 'em over.
shoulda coulda woulda
yadda yadda yadda.
kinda depressing to review, knowing where I was at & how I was feeling, on tap for a good finish, was ready to go deep to hold onto/really earn it. Pretty sure I coulda held on, crunch time bell had rung, the internal pep talk was happening, a couple cleansing breaths to get down to it, then the flat, blink of an eye. Figure the thorn, THAT THORN!!!!!!, arghhhh, had softened me up enough to precipitate the pinch, shoulda checked more thoroughly for a thorn first time around, AND the second, like maybe without my gloves on.....dumb ass. Tough way to relearn that lesson. Front tire is also flat as of sometime Tuesday, a twofer!
So, now I sit with probably still good to decent legs, what to do with them? Feeling burnt this week, nothing on the immediate horizon to motivate, so chillin' a week of recovery on the around town trails with the fixy, some short "let's get loose" spinning is all I'm motivated for. With the whirlwind of April, a step back seems like a good idea right now. Still fine tuning bars on the DBR, probably choppin' 'em down to 26" from 27", can feel the extra width binding me up between my shoulders and the angle of attack with my elbows is also kinda off with the big spread, not sure how that'll work for all day comfort.
Since I can't swing the original VA plan for numerous reasons, what to do, what to do?
Shot my mouth off Sunday apres' race about doing a Big Stupid Road Ride, throw the rear brake on and go fix myself on the local climbing routes, visit Perry County and put down an 80-100miler? Then follow up with something similar on Sunday?
Bang out some trailwork? The new Abby switchbacks got hammered by the horses and need more love.....
Fixy in Michaux all wknd? Big fatty from the house on Saturday, group thang on Sunday?
Maybe just a Saturday tune up out of Big Flat then sneak over to French Creek for the MASS race? Not 100% my scene, never been there and it is a single loop, short @ 18miles, but at least it's not laps and I'd be able to work out some remaining frustrations...... then that means picking a bike to race, Dos or Fixed?
Put up pics from Barry's Wedding on the Smug.
Put up pics from Travfest wknd also.
Also, sure most ya'll have seen this elsewhere by now,
Help fight the good fight, donate to a damn good cause and maybe even win some blingy bike shwag!
Oh, and my Yeti ASR-sl is for back and for sale if'n ya know somebody....
$1300 gets you a med frame, the current team paint, brand new front triangle connected to a decent '05 carbon/alu rear end via a Fox RP3 with new seals and rings. I'd post a picture, but I'm lazy right now. Also have a set of front and rear Hayes hydro discs, make an offer....
Posted by Tomi on Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Well, today I did my best to back up my talk of smack. Had a 'goal' of top ten, played out the start to keep everbody honest. Good times rolling with Keefer and espoirs Brandon. Took my place in line at the tail end of the group with a biiiig gap behnd. nice, mission accomplished. Found a spot in the pecking order with Steve Schwartz and Reubane, then dangled off the back of the seperation, waiting to pick off those those might crack. Just outta sight on lower Graves, in sight on Woodrow, just watch and watch and tempo and cruise and ...and....and. damn that's a longish climb.
Niiiiice cat n mouse with Tour cousin Patrick McMillar, then the creek bed then silence behind until the rampaging Timmy D towed me up the very last bit of fire road love to 3 mile. Awesome flow thru the moto brap braaaAP session until Tim said good bye with a flat. Mr Crampy caught up to me shortly, then I flatted. Watched the SS freight train roll thru, trying to encourage Bucky, back on it and have the three of 'em in sight on Woodrow.
Then squishy squish squirrelyness in a corner and I'm going flat again. Figure a bad tube and watch a few others roll by. Chat with the moto rider, check realllllly qwik for a thorn, just in case, then in with a fresh tube and last two co2's. Roll across Rattlesnake just pulling in a couple of guys, damn, going flat again. mother fucker. one is a challenge, two is sometimes recoverable, but three with a patch as the only option, changes the perspective on the day. set up camp just before Rattlesnake v 2.0 and got to patching the tube, waiting for some charity air of some sort. Topher gets the all star award today, hooking up Tim with a tube for his fifth and air for my third, thanks for everything brother! So I got into the JRA mode after quick safety review with Mike and rolled off Rattlesnake into the shwoopy dry and fun nowhere loop option before stopping for a beer and a chat with Travis and the crew. Best damn Troeg's Pale I've ever had in my life! That's the only thing that got me home. Finished in the mid twenty's, dropping from top ten potential, rear tire was flat when I unloaded off the car, guess the patches held just enough. That's the way it goes, I liked my numbers, July looks a little more in focus now, despite my currently blurry vision.
Congrats to everybody that toed the line, it was good to share the trail today.
Posted by Tomi on Sunday, May 06, 2007
Posted by Tomi on Saturday, May 05, 2007
I've heard lots of good reasons for not racing a precedent setting course on Sunday.
Took a solid minute off my 10mile tt last night.
Icing on a perfectly baked cake.
I'm not sayin' I'm the best.
I'm just sayin' that
I am fucking incredible.
Posted by Tomi on Thursday, May 03, 2007