Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 wrap: ending on festive note

The opening line of the song New Year’s Day by U2 is “All is quiet on New Year’s Day”. In a similar sense, the week between Christmas and New Years has always had a special quiet, contemplative feel to me. Children are out of school, many adults have time off from work, and friends and family gather to eat, drink, be merry, and reflect upon another year passed. In that spirit, I’m going to take a second to reflect on the year that was, and my view from the in the saddle in 2014.

While I never quite hit the same zenith of fitness that I hit in 2013, I did set some new PRs, got a few Strava KOMs, did some truly epic rides – notably, the 125 mile Ride Studio Café’s Pioneer ride in June, which stands out as probably 2014’s best ride. Wednesday Morning Worlds, the famous (infamous?) weekly throw down open to any who dare show up at 6am every Wednesday at RSC, continually proved to be the highlight of the week. There’s nothing quite like arriving to work at 9 am on an endorphin high, already having ridden 55 miles at a race pace. The weekly Saturday rides out to Harvard, Mass, too felt like a race in July and August, sometimes averaging over 21 mph. As usual, the KIT Super Saturdays in March were totally fun while also totally draining, and provided the perfect base miles to burn off the winter flab and prepare for the relentless lung-searing throwdowns that the summer of ’14 had in store.
Team KIT 75 miler, mid November
You may have noticed a common thread running through the above rides – Ride Studio Cafe. They created, hosted, publicized, supported, and in some cases, all of the above, every one of the aforementioned rides. In the case of the Pioneer ride, complete with a perfect après-ride party. It’s easy to take things in life for granted, and forget that there was once a time before they existed. I’d been riding about ten years before RSC opened. In that time I’d made a grand total of maybe 4-5 riding friends. The vast majority of my rides were solo. While a long solo road ride can, at times, be just what the doctor ordered, the enjoyment level tends to quickly wane. Before RSC, there just really wasn't a place to hang out and meet fellow cycling-obsessed people.  Thanks completely to Ride Studio Cafe, I have many riding companions now, am a member of a team, and have a seemingly endless number of group rides to choose from at any time of the year.  This has added immensely to my enjoyment of cycling, and made me love the sport all the more.  The number of epic experiences I've had on the bike, or all the friends I've made directly as a result of Ride Studio would be impossible to comprehensively list here. Suffice to say I've had scores of unforgettable adventures, met countless new friends, and increased my riding level beyond what I ever imagined possible. One of the best things about RSC is, though, at the end of every ride, I have a place to hang out where it  feels like ‘everybody knows your name’.

A speedbump in 2014 was me coming down with pneumonia in October. This threw a wrench into my plan for a pan-New England cyclocross campaign. In the course of three nearly ride-less weeks, my fitness went from race-ready to ready for winter. So with it, obviously my mileage and hours for October were down the drain. I gained weight. I was far off from reaching my self-imposed goal of at least coming close to the 392 hours of riding I did in 2013.  Things didn't look good for the two months left in 2014, riding-wise.
RSC Saturday morning KIT ride, enjoying coffee at the Harvard General Store, April '14 (photo: Art)

A word about weight gain: many accept it as an unavoidable consequence of the indulgences of the holidays and the cycling off-season. Well, my rugged RSC compatriots and I do not accept defeat to the gastric onslaught quite so easily. I know of some people who have lost weight in the holiday week, myself included. Rather unsurprisingly, as it turns out, when you aim to amass 500 kilometers of riding in harsh New England conditions in the course of one week, you tend to burn off some excess holiday 'cheer'.

Despite riding slightly more hours last year than this year, in 2013 I did not complete the Rapha Festive 500. I came in somewhere around 250k, a fact which as stuck in my craw ever since. The conditions last year were tough; which is to say, much more seasonable. In typical New England fashion, the only thing one can predict accurately regarding the weather is that it will be unpredictable. This year the Festive 500 kicked off this year on an inauspicious note with freezing rain on Christmas Eve, a ride which I deftly missed – major kudos to those who braved the elements.
Festive 500 day 5: speeding along the lake at Harold Parker, No Andover (photo credit: Henry)

I embarked on my Festive 500 on Christmas Day, with a solo 30 mile ride around the Arlington/Winchester/Woburn area. This was but a mere appetizer for what was to come. The next day, Friday, was the trek to Essex, Mass. Going into it, I knew the mileage for me would likely be over 90, making it the longest ride I’d done in quite a while. After getting in a few bonus miles before the start with Art, I headed off due North with Henry’s group. Essex or bust. Despite having been riding on the North Shore for over a decade, there were numerous backroads, in some cases, unpaved, on this route that I’d never had the pleasure of riding before. Some really beautiful quiet byways trough Ipswich’s Willowdale Estate park, as well as a pot-hole-strewn dirt road which twisted by a lake, through woods, past a dump, and eventually brought us to the center of quaint Manchester By the Sea. Upon reaching Essex and quickly chugging a hot coffee and half a tuna sandwich, we remounted the bikes, this time pointing away from the coast. Suddenly we realized the previous three hours we’d had a tailwind, and for the next 40 or so miles, it looked like we’d have to repay this debt. And we did. I split off with the group in Lynnfield to go straight home, rather than back to Lexington first. I was happy to arrive back after 95 miles still having energy left in the tank, and feeling pretty good overall.
The group powers onward through Harold Parker (Photo credit: Henry)

The next day I did a solo ride out through Newton/Needham, West Roxbury, and back through Boston to Somerville, tallying about 30 miles. Sunday, despite a chilly rain, I managed to sneak in another 77 miles, and with the help of Jonathan, as well as Katie, Shane, Jenny, Ben, and others, completed the 5th ‘lobe’ of the Snowflake Century. Sunday was kind of a special ride. I elected to start-out later in the day, thus missing the start of the Snowflake Century ride, as well as the planned KIT ride, with the hope of missing the heaviest period of rain. To this end, I was mostly successful, though I quickly realized getting the 70 miles in that I had planned would be a bit tougher solo. Through the magic of taking a highly circuitous way home, I was able to hit my 70 mile goal for the day, and then some. I can't remember the last time I did back-to-back four-plus hour rides, let alone in December; I'm pretty sure probably never.

Monday I did the RSC ride out to Harold Parker in North Reading and back. The 50 degree temps that smiled upon us the previous three days had sadly flown south for the winter, but the bright sun and comradery of a good sized group of about 15 riders warmed everyone up. Despite a few kickers in the form of Myopia Hill and Johnson Road in Winchester, I was able to roll into the Café feeling strong and not too drained. Total mileage tally for Monday: 71.
This brings us to today, December 31st, the last day of 2014. Total Festive 500 kilometer count at this moment: 493.  Total mileage for the year: 6,405.  I’ve 7 kilometers left to hit 500k. I’m about to to go out for a nice, slow, relaxing ride.  It’s going to feel great to achieve Festive 500 challenge. I've never been anywhere near this fit in late December before, and it's all because of RSC and the Festive 500.

Thank you to Ride Studio for hosting the all the awesome rides this year, including the Festive 500, and donating thousands of dollars to Mass Bike, NEMBA, and Lexington Nature Trust. Here’s to a 2015 with even more epic crazy long days in the saddle, more friendships, more high-fives, and yes, of course, more KOMs!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Addicted

The fact that rides like this can exist is what keeps me going. I love riding, but like any love, sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you just want to quit it forever and do something else. It's almost impossible to reconcile how unappealing riding can seem when I'm deep in a burned-out period with how amazing a good ride can make me feel.

Wesley Willis -- rest in peace -- was a schizophrenic who enjoyed taking bus rides; but he never knew if a ride was going to be a 'hell ride' or a 'harmony joy ride'.

Much in the same way, when first heading out of the driveway, I never know what kind of ride it's going to be. I can do everything right -- be fully rested, eat perfectly, be in top form, and yet go out and ride like crap and feel like crap. Just as easily, I can go out for a ride on seemingly stale legs, tired, and set new PBs and have an amazing ride. I just don't get it, and I don't think I ever will. The body -- and the mind -- is a mysterious thing.

Tonight's ride was nothing special; a 45 mile road ride on a loop I've probably ridden literally a hundred times. At first the legs definitely felt a bit dead from mountain biking last night, but came around after about half an hour and I started feeling great...

You may have noticed I haven't updated this blog as much as I did last season. I'll be honest: my inspiration and motivation this year has been sporadic. Along with it, my fitness has also been lagging behind the curve compared to the last couple seasons; which I blame on complete and utter avoidance of the trainer over the winter coupled with a brutally hard winter to actually ride outside. Part of the reason I wanted to write this was just to remind myself of how I feel right now: on top of the freaking world. Pure adrenaline. The concept of post-exercise endorphin release gets thrown-around a lot, but holy God - it really does exist and this, right now, is endorphin overdrive. I've never taken any drug that made me feel as good as I do right now, and I'd tend to be of the opinion that one doesn't exist. I'm an addict. On tonight's ride I felt no pain. I attacked every rise, fought with the headwind the whole way, and loved it. The last 2 miles of the ride my average speed was about 33, drafting off a car, averaging around 400 watts. There is no better feeling than the excitement and adrenaline of the sensation of speed from your own power.

The occasional good race result or even a podium is great, but really, when you get down to it, rides like tonight's are really why I train, and why I love bike riding.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Hell of the West


Bike racers are a tough breed. We like to pride ourselves on being able to withstand more pain than the average person, persevere though hellish conditions, and survive – and thrive – in the most bleak of circumstances. All of these traits were tested to the max at the 2011 Quabbin road race this year.

The forecast called for light rain and temps in the 50s. While sucky, this wouldn’t have been anything I haven’t had to deal with before. Upon arrival the car read 38 degrees, and it was a steady rain, with….snow on the ground. I had definitely jinxed Doug and I by saying, “well, at least it’s not snow!” on the drive in. Are you F_ing kidding me!?! Was all I could say and think upon getting out of the car and heading to the registration tent.

What followed was the worst time I've ever spent on a bike, and possibly the worst time I've ever spent anywhere, doing anything, ever. The first 3 miles of the race are all downhill, and by the time the group actually started to pedal, as we made the turn onto Route 9, I was already completely soaked and freezing. Already there was talk in the peloton of 'screw this', and 'this sucks, I don't think I'm going to finish'. Due to me having zero warm up, it being 38 degrees and me being completely drenched, I was anything but warmed-up, and I was promptly dropped on the first major climb. I tried as hard as I could to rejoin, and was about 50 meters from jumping back on, when apparently the lead motorcycle took half of the pack through an intersection, when they were supposed to actually take a right. I followed thruogh the intersection, too, until a guy in a Mini Cooper, who had previously been yelling at me encouraging me to get me back into the pack, yelled at me that I had missed the turn. "But I saw them go straight!" I yelled back, in my highly oxygen-deprived state, "He's taking them the wrong way!" he shot back. Great, so now, fewer than 10 miles into the race, I'm soaked, the Cat 4 men have been effectively split in two, I have no hope of rejoining, and I have about 55 miles to look forward to riding on my own. After a few miles I began passing rider after rider going the other direction, who had apparently had enough of the abysmal conditions and decided to ride back to the parking lot. While I was cold and wet, I wasn't completely miserable yet, and I loathe the thought of seeing a DNF next to my name, so I pressed on. Looking back, I kinda wish I hadn't.

The next 3 hours were miserable. Completely and utterly miserable. Everything gradually and consistently got worse. The rain never let up, it never warmed up, and a head wind began kicking up. I rode alone for a long time, until the Masters category came up behind me. I rode with them for 10-15 miles, until some asshole gave me a hard time about riding with them because I was a Cat 4. Seriously buddy? Am I negatively affecting you by riding in your group? This is why roadies have a reputation as assholes. At this point, my morale went from .01 to zero and I gradually fell off the back and was alone once more. At this point things got really, really bad.

First I couldn't feel my hands, then my hands just plain wouldn't work. No amount of taking them off the bars and shaking them or flexing them did anything. Completely numb. I lost all coordination and strength. It was all I could muster to spin out 200 watts in the middle ring. My hands became so ineffectual I couldn't shift; I couldn't squeeze my water bottle for a drink. Descents were terrifying because of the sheer coldness, and because I had almost no ability to grasp and squeeze the brake lever. The last 15 miles were the longest of my life. I literally was staring at my Powertap, watching the distance tick down. I thought of how beautiful the scenery and roads would be on a nice day, when I wasn't teetering on the brink of hypothermia.

On numerous occasions during this time I had blurred and double vision. I should have pulled the plug and given up, and I probably would have, if the opportunity presented itself. Doug, a much wiser man than me, who was racing with the 5s, was offered the chance to hop in a team van around mile 45 and gladly accepted. Don't know what happened, but I never saw that van!

To add insult to injury, the last 5k of the race are uphill. Felt like forever, but I ground up slowly but surely, and finished. Somehow. At this point my body was deeply in survival mode. I had trouble pushing the unlock button on my car keys. It took me about 40 minutes to change, as I lacked the dexterity to button my pants, and even putting on socks was a challenge. Even now, Monday night, my fingertips are still somewhat numb. Hopefully this will fade with time.

If ever presented with race conditions like we experienced on Saturday, Doug and I agreed we will gladly take a DNS like many others did. This was just pure unadulterated torture.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Over The Hill

Well, not quite in age -- though I ain't getting any younger. More like, over the hill in terms of fitness for the year; it's all downhill from here (or more like a month ago now).

Beginning in January, you start training, first riding long boring rides just to get a baseline fitness, then gradually throwing in some intervals and building intensity. Before you know it, summer rolls around and you're in damn good shape. Setting new records for power. Granted, this was the first year I was training with power, but still, seeing the improvement trend throughout the year was encouraging.

Looking back I'd say I peaked somewhere around mid-to-late August. Towards the end of August I was doing 10-14 hour weeks.

Yeah, that's not happening anymore.

This week as of this morning I've ridden a grand total of 2 hours. 2 stinking hours. Two one hour rides. The week prior was actually respectable and I did about 7-8 hours, and felt like I had some decent fitness. It's both shocking and depressing how quickly fitness fades. On my quick 20 mile ride on the road bike yesterday, while trying not to get blown off the bike completely from the 40+ MPH wind gusts, I realized that I had lost a chuck of fitness. I felt like crap, and was struggling to hold 250 watts. Just one week of reduced riding (or a couple in this case), and you've lost 30 watts off your FTP, and your resting heart rate is 15 bpm higher. It's nuts. All that hard work, all the pain you suffered through on hill repeats, the drudgery of 5 hour rides. All the fruit of that effort can just silently disappear through the comfort and quiet of inactivity.

But the thing is, it's necessary. I needed a break. Though with the daylight hours waning, it does definitely become more and more challenging to get-in rides during the week with an 8-5 office job, I have lights -- it can be done. I'm not using the season as an excuse. It's more just a mental thing: after working your ass off for months and months on the bike -- and while I do it because I enjoy it, you still can get sick of things you love -- one needs a break: both mentally and physically. So I suppose in the long-run a few lazy-ish weeks won't kill me. Actually it's probably a good thing. But man, it's humbling to go for that first ride after 3-4 days off and feel like you've lost a huge amount of strength. It kinda sucks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Treasure Valley Rally Race Report

Zip Trip, TVR 055

I gave up caffeine for a week leading up to the race. My first glorious iced coffee was the morning of the race. It sparkled in the late August morning sunlight like a beautiful harbinger of great things to come in the day. Or not exactly...

Let’s start off with all that went well – the positives:

-Beautiful, perfect weather.

-Didn’t get lost; had a nice relaxing drive through some very picturesque areas of Mass

-Got new full-fingered gloves, which worked awesome. Much less beat-up hands after the race, and felt like I had much better control on the gnarly downhills.

-Nice people, great vibe at the event.

-Didn’t get hurt - no small feat considering the insane difficulty level of the course.

OK so I’ve gotten all the positives out – I don’t want this post to sound whiny or overly negative which it could easily dissolve into, so I thought I’d just put that stuff up there. Having said all that, let me just get this out – you may want to cover your children's ears – F*CK!

OK, now I feel better. I told myself going into this year’s TVR that I would not ‘lose it’ and swear and throw my bike into the woods in a fit of rage like a crazy person as I did last year after my second flat on the first lap (Brian Mcinnis can attest to this; he happened to ride past me as I was mid-bike toss). So this year when about 1/4 of a mile into the race my bike started shifting all funny I remained calm. When it continued to shift funny, and started skipping and got worse, I remained calm (think Seinfeld...Frank Costanza's SERENITY NOW!). When I stood up to pedal over a steep rise and my chain snapped, I...remained calm(ish), despite being in my head, irate.
Zip Trip, TVR 056
I never a chain tool with me on races. I've never broken a chain in a race. This chain had all of 2 rides on it. It worked perfectly last time I rode the bike - I have no idea why it broke. Luckily Ernie from the MTB Mind team tossed me his chain tool and I quickly fixed it and was on my way....yeah right.

See the thing is, trying to work a chain tool in 90 degree heat as the entire race field passes you one by one, as you're being swarmed by SUPER LOUD AND HUGE mosquitos and your heart rate is about 180 is...challenging. As you can see here my first lap was....a bit slower than my second. Once I finally got it together and working again, everyone had passed me. And I don't just mean the entire expert field, I mean everyone. All the Experts, Sports, and Novices -- hell even the tandem people had passed me.

Once I got back warmed up and into the flow or riding I actually felt pretty good, and cleaned a lot of the rock gardens. The Novices I was passing kept asking me if I were an Elite rider, thanking I was lapping them. I had to explain no - not elite, just really really far back Expert. My only goal was not to get lapped by the Elite field, which somehow (still not quite sure how), I managed to do. On the second lap every few minutes I'd swear I heard Kevin Hines coming up behind me at a high rate of speed. Turns out he DNF'd - not sure what happened, but looking at the lap times it looks like he definitely one of the fastest lap times of all the Elites before his mechanical.

In closing, to do: practice fixing chains in a more expedient fashion. Maybe ride up a big hill at full gas to get really out of breath, then pull over to the side of the road and break my chain and try to get back together in less than a couple minutes. Even better, do it next to a pool of standing water so freakishly large mosquitoes will swarm me as I work. It could be like mechanic skill-building intervals!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Amazing Bike Race


Last week I was lucky enough to participate in what may have been the most fun bike race of the year. I just happened to attend the Saturday morning NEBC ride (had fun, learned some new roads, got dropped, but we'll not get into that). After the ride Tim Dodd asked me if I was planning on doing the Amazing Race the next day, and that he and John were looking for a team mate.

This was the first I'd heard of the race, but since it was obviously local and sounded like an awesome idea I said immediately said, hell yeah! (I don't think I actually said that).

All I knew was to be at the parking lot next to Cycle Loft around 9:30 on Sunday morning, and bring a cross bike. Of course, since I don't currently have a cross bike, I brought my mountain bike. Luckily, Kurt from Cycle Loft was gracious enough to loan my his brand new Gary Fisher Presidio. I say luckily because even though about 20 miles of the course were off-road, about 40 miles were on road, and riding a mountain bike would have sucked. Big shout-out to Kurt and Cycle Loft for hooking me up for the day.

The race was 62 miles - starting and ending at Cycle Loft - and more than just a straightforward test of fitness, the race had a couple of non-riding challenges along the way -- also the ever-present challenge of not getting lost. Before we could leave the parking lot we were tasked with arranging the past winners of the Tour de France back through 1990. Child's play! John, Tim and myself were the first team to get it right and started off with the lead. After some awesome trail riding in the Bedford/Concord area we came upon the first challenge, which was our choice of each teammate having to ride a slalom course around cones while balancing an egg on a spoon, or a crossword. We chose the egg balance, and each of us was able to do it successfully on our first turn. Again, we were first team off! The course continued all over the place, leading through Lexington, Bedford, Concord, Billerica (I think?), Wilmington (where all teams had a mandatory 10 min stop to refuel at a convenience store), North Andover, North Reading, Wakefield, Stoneham, Woburn, and of course Burlington. One of the coolest sections of the race was a area of trails in the Ballardvale section of Andover, where we actually had to ride down along the MBTA commuter rail tracks for a section before we ducked into some really swoopy fast up/down singletrack, which was made even more awesome-er by the freight train that we just missed while riding down the tracks and wound up thundering along right next to us.

The third challenge was at Harold Parker state forest in North Andover, about 40 miles in. We had our druthers of each having to eat 15 marshmallows or doing a word search. Again, we showed our utter disdain for anything cerebrally-intensive and opted to cram 15 while puffballs of high fructose corn syrup down our gullets. Surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. I don't think it will be replacing granola bars and PB & J for mid-ride snacks anytime soon, though.

The next 20 miles were all road home, though North Reading Wakefield and Woburn, back to Cycle Loft. We worked really well as a team, each taking turns blocking the horrendous head-wind the final miles.

In the end we were the first team to cross the line. Total time, about 4:45; total ride time: 4:20-ish. We each won a pair of sweet Michelin cyclocross tires (now I have to buy a cross bike!), and best part - they even had a meal ready for us! Pulled pork sandwiches with all the Harpoon we could drink. A+ post-ride food.

In summary, everyone reading this should do this race next year! This being the first year, attendance was a bit lacking, but everyone agreed it was a great event, and the modest entry fees went to help to support a PMC (PanMass Challenge) team.

A huge thank you goes out to Michael and Kurt for all the work they put into organizing the race -- just the task of marking 62 miles of road and trails must've been daunting! Epic ride, for sure.


*photo credit to Michelle

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eating Other's Dust - Hodges Dam Race Report

I never quite understood the phrase 'eat my dust' as acutely as I did after finishing this race. Hodges Dam had driest conditions I think I've ever seen in a race - the complete opposite of just about every race I did last year.

It was also probably the most well-rested race I’ve done so far this year. I did absolutely zero riding in the three days leading up to it. While this made for well-rested legs, there’s always the chance/likelihood it can cause stale legs. For some reason, I knew I had enough training in my legs that a total rest away from the bike for a few days were what they needed, and that staleness probably wouldn’t be much of an issue. I contemplated ggoing out for an easy ride with some short sprints thrown-in on Saturday the day before the race, but just wasn’t feelin’. It. Being in a post-all-day-spent-drinking-haze from the day before at Dickie’s cabin in NY probably contributed to not feelin’ it.

Race day arrived and despite being physically well-rested, mentally I was in a bit of a fog. It was a 3 coffee morning; two hot cups at home and a large Cumberland Farms iced coffee was slugged down during my warm-up in Oxford. Due to some 11th hour heroics by Nate, I was able to get my bike in order to race. After putting on a new cassette and chain, turns out my chainrings were also fried. And of course, no shop in the greater Boston area stocks M960 XTR chainrings. Luckily Nate had a spare brand-new SLX crankset hanging around that he sold me for about what the cost of two new XTR rings would have been. Yeah, it's SLX not XTR and about 100 grams heavier, but who really cares.
I got somewhat of a warm-up in, but not much -- maybe about 10 min. I've learned that I really need at least 20-25 min of moderate pace riding before I start to feel good and can ride hard. Despite the lackluster warm up, at the start I took off really well. I knew from the first pedal stroke in my warm up that my legs were having a good day and I felt probably the freshest I had in a long time. I passed many riders on the dirt road leading up the hill about a half mile or so into the woods. I was second place going into the singletrack, and proceeded to hold this for another 1-2 minutes before redlining, and realizing, OH YEAH, THE LAST 5 MINUTES I'VE BEEN 75% ANAEROBIC!

It was at this point that I was quickly passed by a group of about 3-4 fast riders, including Jeff Langfried. I knew I had gone out too hard and was going to have to ease-up on the pace in order to get into a maintainable tempo, but at the same time I tried to say on the lead train of riders, but as fate would have it, I wound up getting a branch stuck in my rear wheel somehow and was forced to stop for about 5 seconds to get it out. At that point they had a gap that I was never able to close. I went from being psyched that I was riding on the front of the race to pissed-off/disheartened that I was in no-man's land so quickly and cut-back a bit on my pace to recover from what was a un-warmed-up and unmaintainable initial pace. Going into the second lap I could just barely see the lead guys about 30 seconds up going up the fireroad after the start/finish line, but knew with the pace they were riding, it would be unlikely I was going to be able to jump on.

From 2nd lap on out (4 laps total), I was able to settle into a nice groove, and finally started passing people. I guess I must've just had a bit more gas left in the tank than some of the other 19-29 Cat 1s because I passed about 3 guys in the final miles. This was the dustiest race I've ever done; by the end I'd felt like I had about 2 pounds of dirt in my lungs and kept coughing. Riding ride behind someone was blinding at times because of how dry the dirt was. Still, I'd rather these problems than all the issues that come with a mudfest. End result: 4th out of 12, and since 3rd place (Matt Mooradian) isn't from MA, I was 3rd place for the 19-29 Cat 1 MA MTB Championship. (picture of my tiny little USAC medal forthcoming). Jeff Langfried got 1st, a solid 5 min faster than me. Next race is the Root66 Norcross Scurry, which is tomorrow - this'll be my first time doing it, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm a big fan of Saturday races. TODO for next race: get in a good warm-up.