Sunday, August 30, 2009

Can you believe it's almost September already?

In an effort two have at least two posts per month, here's a second for August.

Let's see... since the last time, I've raced once. That was interesting. I was doing pretty well for most of the race, probably in the top five or six heading into the last couple laps (knowing full well that even with that positioning, sprinters would throw me into the mid-teens by the time I crossed the finish line).

Coming out of the fourth turn on the second to last lap, I inexplicably moved ahead of the guy whose wheel I'd been following and captured the lap. That's all very nice if there are seven or eight laps to go, or if you have the legs to try to pull something like that. When you're on the second to last lap, and you don't have those kinds of legs, it's pretty stupid.

After having to work through the last of that lap on my own, I was pretty spent, and everyone started passing me. And I mean everyone. I didn't have enough energy to try to keep up, and the field was too tight to really be able to sneak back in. I think I ended up finishing 33rd or 34th of 35. I wasn't dead last, but I was pretty close.

Kind of a let down for my last race of the season, but a good learning experience, I suppose. Next season I'll be racing with Morningside Velo. I'm really looking forward to riding with a team and learning what all is involved with that. I hope I can pull my weight if the occasion to do so arises.

Now that race season is over, it's time for Cyclocross season to get started. I've never raced 'cross before, so I'm going to start going to the practices at Frick every Tuesday night. The Portland should be perfect as a 'cross bike. I'm looking forward to learning more and riding more.

I was able to get plenty of riding in this weekend. Friday night was the PORC beginner ride at Frick. Sans beginners, which meant we mostly stuck to singletrack stuff for the whole evening. I managed to wreck at least four times, mostly because I'd get to the top of something or another and then lose momentum and just sort of fall over.

Falling over isn't so bad, but when you're four feet up on top of a pile of logs, it's a long way down. No broken bones, and I didn't hit my head. No complaints, really. Pain makes you beautiful. Or something.

On Saturday, I ignored the gray skies and took the Bianchi out for a ride. I was near Phipps Conservatory, about seven miles from home when the clouds opened up. I got soaked pretty quickly. The rain let up as I go to Homestead, but it started pouring again with less than a mile to go.

That's the first time I've really been out in the rain this year, so again, no complaints. It's not such a bad thing every now and then. It also gave me a chance to notice one of the major differences between the Bianchi and the Portland: disc brakes vs. rim brakes. Huge difference when it's wet.

The reliability of the brakes on the Portland is constant through any conditions. Not so much with rim brakes on the Bianchi, I had to start braking sooner, and worry a little bit more that I would actually stop where I needed to. I wouldn't say that there was ever impending doom, but I will say that I'm glad I have the Portland for when I know that the conditions won't be sunny and dry.

I rode the Combi again in Frick this morning. I parked over near the bowling greens, since I had to drop a bunch of recyclables at Construction Junction before riding.

The first order of business was to face my arch-nemesis, the stupid descent on the bowling green trail that goes down to the Homewood trail. I've wrecked on that descent on more than one occasion. My right thumb is still giving me trouble from the last time I tried it, back on July 15th.

Knowing that speed is my friend and braking is only going to kill me, I approached the descent and made it almost the whole way down before I realized I had jigged right when I should have stayed left. I braked, and although this wreck wasn't as bad as the last one, I came down hard on my right thigh.

I was able to keep riding for another hour and a half (with only one or two other minor incidents), but I can tell that my thigh will probably screaming at me tomorrow morning. It's bad enough just getting up from a seated position now.

The weather looks great for this week. I hope my leg doesn't force me to rest for any of it.

Non-bike news? Nothing too crazy. Work's been unbelievably busy for the last month or so. Heather started back at school last week. She is also unbelievably busy, and will probably be until June, when school lets out again for the summer.

The kittens are doing well. Almost four months old. Very cute, and not terribly bad. It's great having them around the house now that Heather is back in school. I'd be really lonely without them.

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