Things have heated up recently and well, I figured folks my wander this way looking for some kind of foothold on everything so I figured I'd better slap something up right quick.

Ugh, how do I tell you this story?

I guess here is as good a place as any to start. Pull quote: "This doesn't mean that I don't wish for a modern hardtail 29'er, but things being what they are, this is my mountain bike."

Fast forward about 10 months to June of this year and I've abandoned my "century-every-month" in 2014 goal and have gone to off-road riding almost all the time. Either on my CX bike or the Jankmobile, pictured above.

I'd pounce at any opportunity to ride the trails and, as before, would often attempt something beyond my ability and end up on the ground, bruised and scratched but happy and undaunted.

Chip Baker, in his element.

The next part of this story is best told by my good friend, Chip Baker, who is the unofficial morale officer for the #NECX.  Read up, over on his blog.

Long story short, Chip pulled together about 50 people from our cycling community and bought me a brand spanking new Trek SuperFly FS 8.

Follow on that incredible and humbling surprise with a summer of A LOT of learning to handle the new bike. Amazing how much I was able to up my game. I rode and raced and rode some more.

Oh, of COURSE I still crashed, but much, much less often.

This is gonna hurt...
But the best part was being with my friends.


January Century

Among my goals for 2014, I decided that I should do one century ride each month. Somehow, most of January slipped by when, this past Sunday, I realized there was only 5 days left in the month.

So, I rushed into it a bit. Sure, I had a few 2 hour-plus trainer rides under my belt but not much time out in the chilly air.

Mile Zero. I looked confident then.

Insert 2013 Cyclocross Season Here

Quad: felt good, raced hard, paced myself well.

Midnight Ride: Fell hard on 1st lap, knocked the wind out, battled the rest of the way.

Gloucester: Flatted 2.5 laps in while just in the top 20, DNF'd. Should have run to pit.

Providence: 2nd or 3rd to last row start and all the fun that that entails.




Might Be A While Before This Happens Again

2013 Barn Burner Cat 3 50+ Podium
Submitted my upgrade to Cat 2 for XC MTB yesterday and will be racing Sport from now on in non-USAC races.


Race Report: 2013 Barn Burner

Two weeks ago, I had my first bike race win at Gnar Weasels Cometh. This also happened to be my first MTB race in over 20 years.

Fluke? Luck? I needed to find out.

Despite appearances, I have no idea what the hell I am doing. 'Murica.
The next race on the local calendar was the "Barn Burner" in at Adams Farm in Walpole, MA. The race was generating very good buzz on the twittosphere and elsewhere, much of it by way of major NECX bike racing cheerleader, Chip Baker.


Race Report: Gnar Weasels Shredeth

The last time I entered a mountain bike race, it was the late 80's and I wasn't quite 30 years old yet. My bike was a lime green Diamondback Ascent EX with only one modification: the Schrader valve caps were matching lime green dice. Judging by this photo, I'm pretty sure it was also too small for me.

Can I stop yet? Please?
Although I wore bike shorts, gloves and a (bulbous) helmet, the rest of my kit consisted of a t-shirt and a pair of worn out Chuck Taylors.

I had absolutely no concept of what "training" really was and the two laps I did around the woods in Simsbury, CT that day on the not-very-technical two-track fire road were pure agony. I probably last rode that, or any, MTB somewhere around 1993.

Flash forward about 20 years...


The Final Moment - 2013 Sterling Classic

Minuteman Road Club team mate Todd Prekaski produced this terrific shot he took from the other side of the Sterling Classic race course of me staying just ahead of Aaron Hovel (left) and Jerry Babcock (right) for the finish.

Note who is in the drops and who is not.


19th Annual Sterling Classic Cat 5 Men 35+ - May 11, 2013

What can I say? It was a dreamlike and amazing day for me on Sunday. Especially when compared to last week's disappointing performance at the Blue Hills Classic (finished 19th of 43, off the back of the 18 man finishing break on the final climb).

Too pooped to pop at Blue Hills.

Got a really good night's rest Friday (unlike last week's sleepover party debacle). Arrive on site and after checking in did 10 min spin on the trainer before lining up.

Line up: With Jeremy's words "stay off the front" echoing in my mind (and knowing he would have his eye on me from the lead car), I looked down at my computer and saw my HR was below 100 BPM. Astounding: usually it goes WAY above that in the moments before a race.

Leadout to course: This part is a good add-on to the warm up and helps dispel lingering pre-race jitters. I think I reminded Marc C that we didn't HAVE to ride as fast as the lead car (Jeremy driving, lead foot  ;) )

Lap 1: That first time up Meetinghouse and beyond always jolts one fully awake even if you take it nice and slow. That home team placement at the front makes it imperative to do SOMETHING to get someone else doing the work ASAP. So, I punched it on the first descent down Heywood then eased up on the incline - this worked perfectly as the anxious field partially swarmed around me and I found a wheel to follow for a while.
First time up Meetinghouse - Pete Banach photo (more of his photos here)