Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pain on the Peak Wrap


Wow, it's over.   The biggest single point of focus of my life for the past 39 days is over and done with.  I'm still working on a few small odd's and ends, but for all intents and purposes I'm finding that I have a lot more free time in my day right now.

If 40 days ago you had told me "you will be organizing the first cross event of the season", I probably would have laughed at you.  Scratch that... I know I would have laughed at you.  But for some strange reason that is exactly what ended up happening after speaking with Roger over at Sunset Cycles after his criterium.

But mark my words, the event only happened due to a lot of folks, especially my teammates, stepping up and saying "what do you need me to do" then executing on it. 

To my Volunteers (and if I missed any of you, I'm sorry!):

Alex Gonzalez - I'm sorry you got stuck down in no-man's land most of the morning.  Thanks for being a trooper and helping set the tone for those coming into the venue.

Sasha “Give me something I can throw at my mom” Lacey – I’m glad you were able to make it out despite the family being in town!

Site admins Carlo Delumpa and Martin Obando - Thank you for dealing with my "I need it done NOW" attitude late at night.  I owe you big time.

Greg "Dr Tooth" Hartman - One of the first to jump onboard the sponsorship wagon.  Thank you so so much for your support and work with the neighbors of Whitmore.  You are the total team player!

Heidipants - You said it best.. I'm f'ing nuts.  I'll get you next time my pretty, and your little bike too! I’m so glad your schedule worked so you could attend the event and race!

Javad "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay" Simenson -  Course engineer extraordinaire! The sound of the chainsaw struck fear into the hearts and minds of the competitors, and a few OBRA staff. ;)

Matt “The Human Bean” James – You were with us in spirit. Thank you so much for your sponsorship.

B-Rat - Crashing doesn't hurt as much in CX!  You were there for all the work details, and on board from day one.  Thank you for taking the time to learn how to score at Krugers so we had more manpower at the start / finish.  Please let Sokhemry know the snacks she provided for us were TO DIE FOR. :)

Dave "I'm a ninja" Leahy - AMAZING photography down in the woods.  I seriously didn't know you were around until Ty told me.  Big thanks for offering your services!

Jason and Jody - Dawn to dusk you guys where on top of things!  Jody, thank you so much for working the reg both all day long.  Jason, you had the brutal job of being out at the corner in the afternoon after being out in the field all morning… ouch.  Thanks for being a trooper!

Jeff “Only You Can Prevent Venue Fires” Henderson - thank you for owning probably the most worrisome job we had listed and taking it to heart.  Fire was truly a huge danger up there and I'm glad we didn't any issues.

David Elder - I had no clue you were going to be here until you showed up.  Thank you for coming when Traci called.  Your sign run made a huge difference in the morning when we found people were heading the wrong way.

Todd “Stiffarm” Rosier – I appreciate all of your advice and feedback about the course in the days leading up to it.. even if you did shove me into the bushes (we have it on film!)

Sherry “I AM NOT A STALKER” Schwenderlauf - The ray of sunshine in the bowl of dust. My morning venue greeter with the cheerful attitude setting the tone for the day. Thank you so much for all of your help. Next year you race foo-sho!

Dan "Straight-Bar" Dittmer -  Dominating performance in the first cross race this year!  Big thanks for spelling the folks at the venue entrance in the afternoon and pitching in where ever we needed help!

Brion Barnett- I'm glad you were able to make it out!  Hope you didn't get too much sun over the course of the day as we had you out in the field. Turns out you were parked on top of a yellow jackets nest originally ;)

Chris "WTF did I get myself into" Johnston - How's that for an introduction as to how PV does things?  You haven't even worn the PV colors in anger yet, but jumped right in and helped out with learning how to score at Krugers, and ran with the clipboard most of the day at PotP.  Welcome to the team!

John "Mr. Diplomat" Ohnstad - Thank you so much for talking with the neighbors on the road and being great ambassador for PV and Cycling.   I could have used two of you!

Steve “Doombringer” Brown - I’m only going to call you that now because you are going to wreck the competition this year. As always, you bring the support in ways I couldn’t even consider asking for. Thank you for being such a supporter of Portland Velo.

Jeff “Please shoot me” Ballantine - We had you running everywhere over the course of the day, and you decided to race.  How's that for cross training? :p

Ron “Mr Coffee” Babcock – Ron, I bet the folks at Krugers were wishing you had raced on Saturday rather than busting Fire Duty all day. Thank you for working with Matt J to pick up the coffee in the morning. I seriously needed it!

Linda "Queen of the Clipboard" Jellison - My Slave Driver.. er I mean Volunteer Coordinator.  Another who has yet to turn the pedals in anger for PV, but willing to dedicate so much time and effort into the event making it the success that it was.  The press release got us a lot of hits and publicity, and was a brilliant idea.

Mike “Anyone have some sunscreen” Snelson - How long did you spend out in that parking field? Another person with fairly unglamorous jobs that did them without complaint. Thank you!

Russ Sperin – I’m surprised you came back for more after doing the pre-ride on Wednesday, but I’m so glad you did. Thank you for all your help with course setup and your willingness to come out whenever we had a work day.

Amit "The Zohan" Kobrowski - I hate you for talking to Roger about this.... okay I don't hate you.  I appreciate you coming to me through out the day asking "anything need done?"  I don't think there was a single time that I had nothing for you.

Sean Thielen – More people with boring jobs! I hope you didn’t regret making the decision to race last minute. Thank you for coming out!

Matt "Give me that, it belongs to OBRA" Couzens - My equipment monkey!  Very rarely does a first time race happen w/o something being lost.  Everything we signed out was brought back and checked in.  Thank you for your diligence and help with course setup / teardown.

Course Guru Greg Magnus.. I could *not* have done this without you.  Thank you for all your help on the Friday prior to the event.  Would have been a lonely and unproductive morning.  I hope you finally got Mason clean. ;)

Bob Bigwood – Quietly helping behind the scenes. Thanks again for the help with the PVC piping and an ear that I could vent to.

Paul “King of all things Registration” Formiller - You planned and smooth lined something that could have been a total clusterf*ck. Thank you for running the show with that and getting all of the registration type stuff owned and printed out.

Jeremy Schultz - I don't know how many times I came by saying "10 more minutes till we can get you a sub".  Thanks for holding down the registration / money duties for almost the entire day.

Mitch Lee -  Quick changes from Mr. "I feel bad I can't make it" to "Dude, I'm here for you what do you need?" to "I'm going to go pwn the Master B's field."  You seemed to be everywhere at once filling in where we needed people.  I'm starting to think the key to your success is that you are actually identical quadruplets.

Ty “DS” Lambert – Ty, you put this group of amazing, dynamic, and helpful people together, and let them become complete lunatics. Thank you for putting faith in me and the team to get this done, and running with your photography idea.

Mike “Breaker Breaker” Kender – Your humorous nature knows no bounds.  Don't.  Ever. Change. 

Doc Johnson - I'm sorry your race didn't go well.. You probably wore yourself out on Friday making that sweet course change.  "BIG JOHNSON'S BEND" will forever be part of PotP lore, as will the fact that your equipment and work tools are spread out over 10 PV members houses. :p

Marc Altman -  Out of the box thinking leads to an out of this world trophy.  Thank you for owning this and running with it!

Alex Kroman - Hopefully you weren't on the receiving end of the fury generated by my non-stop requests to Kristin.  I appreciate your willingness to help out with the web stuff when we were struggling to get traction on it!

Rob “Dude I’m Here” King – Like an ace closer from the bullpen, the fresh body near the end of day were super helpful to have.

Print and Graphic Mastah Sal Bondi – Layout and design of our publicity, investigating and scheduling printing, course design, course setup, course teardown, promotions, and raced… you had your fingers in everything. Thank you for your very valuable time!

Graphic Goddess and Webmistress Kristin Wille - You had sketches and strawmen and mockups done in a blink of an eye. Your logo design captured the heart and soul of the event and we received so many comments about how professional our web site looked.  You were the person who was the unfortunate recipient of the most "hey, I thought of one more thing" emails.  Holy crap I can't believe you are still talking to me.

Traci-  my partner in crime for life and queen of all things I wasn't working on. You made this race the success it was.

To all the racers, and spectators.  Thank you so much for coming and making the event a truly epic way to kick of the 2008 CX season.

Time for me to actually get on the bike and ride....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labors of Love


September already... the time where the air has just a bit of a chill to it in the mornings and evenings and occasionally you catch that whiff of the Fall season on a light breeze.  September is a month of changes.  Back to school for some, baseball shifts to college football for others.  For cyclists we start making choices between the long fingered gloves, embrocation, and arm/knee warmers...   We debate if we are over or underdressed, to hit the road, or bust out the CX bike.

This Labor Day weekend, I actually rode 3 days in a row for the first time in almost a month.  I've been so stupidly busy with Pain on the Peak that most of the other things I love doing have fallen by the wayside.   At least according to my TrainingPeaks Performance Mgmt Chart I had a good taper!

Saturday was a club ride, and the first time I had been on my bike since the wreck the previous week.  The team decided to head a different direction from the club and make a final jaunt out to Timber for the season.  This is one of our favorite routes and always has a good deal of fireworks going off during the course of the ride.  I felt just okay, and did my best to hang with the team.  Unfortunately during the climb up Route 6 after Cedar Canyon, someone mentioned my rear tire looked a bit squishy.  Sure enough, I was starting to get a flat.  Ultra thin piece of wire had worked its way into the tire and had nicked the tube.  To add insult to injury, I tube I grabbed that morning to restock my saddle bag was of the short stem variety and couldn't made it through the rim.

Fortunately, one of the other guys who had dropped off the pace earlier rolled up and had a patch kit.  While I was able to get the tire inflated, I'm always hesitant about riding on a patched tube so I decided to turn back and try and meet up with Traci's group.  I lucked out once again and caught them at the start of Dairy Creek, and rolled back into town with them.

That afternoon we ran to Performance and bought a ton of tubes for both road and CX, along with some Hutchinson Bulldog CX tires that I've been lusting for and unable to find anywhere.  They had 6, and I ended up buying 4 of them.  I also replaced my saddle bag after getting made fun of for having duct tape holding together my old one.

Sunday, I went up to Leif Erikson with Ron to do a bit of a recovery / CX ride.  It was a good opportunity to break in  new tires, in addition to checking the seat position / fit of the new saddle I put on.  I also wanted some hours on the CX bike to build more confidence in how it handled after my wreck.  This was my first time on the trail and I can understand why its a big hit with CX riders. Ron took it easy on me and even made sure to flat at the very end of the ride when I stopped to say hi to a few Ironclad/PSU guys at the trailhead.  To make it that much more of an authentic CX ride, it rained on us.

This morning was my introduction to the Monday Morning Vertical Reality ride, which has been a PV staple ride for years.  The ride leaves out of the Grand Central baking in Multnomah Village at 9am and does about 35 miles with ~3500 feet of climbing in it.  I've always wanted to do this ride, but my schedule just never allows for it.  I was a bit concerned on how the legs would do on the third day of riding, but I felt surprisingly good and hung with the lead group for the duration of the ride, which had Springer and a couple of strong dudes from Tireless Velo in it.  Considering I'm not much of a climber, I'll take this as a moral victory.  Traci was also out on this morning with us and had a wonderful ride with Doug and Mitch Gold.  Big kudos to those two for hanging out with her and giving her a ton of encouragement as she comes back from the knee issues she dealt with this season.

>>--CX UPDATE-->

The CX chariot is doing well.  The new tires work like a champ and my set of KORE brakes should be arriving at Veloce this week.  I'll get those setup and my bar's re-wrapped and I should be good to go for the next Farm Crit at Krugers.  I'm debating switching over to an Ultegra setup rather than the SRAM Rival one I'm on, but I'm not sold either way yet. 

I swapped out the saddle I had for a Fizik Arion TT saddle I had laying around on a whim.  Sometimes whim's end up being strokes of genius!  The TT saddle has a lot more padding at the nose which made for a much more comfortable ride. 

Picked up a  pair of Ironclad's IMPACT gloves from Dave of Team Ironclad.  If you are looking for a new set of CX gloves, go get these now.  They eat up vibration like a fat kid eats cake.  BikeTiresDirect is running a special on them right now.  (Glad to see those guys up and running again after the fire.)

The CX body (me) is doing okay.  The road rash and bruises have mostly healed up and the stitches come out tomorrow, but I have some definite issues with the right shoulder.  I can't lift things with an overhand grip, which engages the muscles of front and top of the shoulder, very effectively.  After speaking with a few of the doctors in the club, I might have a minor shoulder separation or potentially damage to my rotator cuff.  Suck.  Since I have an appointment tomorrow to get the stitches removed, I'll see what they have to say.

The CX race, is progressing along well.   The team has been absolutely busting their asses on top of the work they already do for a living to get this done for the CX community.  Promotional material is going out to all the local shops and being posted where lots of cycling eyeballs will see it.  We've been beating down doors and picked up a few new prize sponsors which will be announced later this week, and will be adding a Women's Masters 40+ category into the mix as well.  We did our second venue walk through last week and started with the "macro adjustments" to the course.  This adjustments were made courtesy of a bulldozer.  Yes a bulldozer.  No I'm not lying, I have proof.  We took a number of video's of the venue so if you'd like to see what's in store for you, check em out!  There is also a really cheezy MS paint hacked venue map here.

Lastly, to cap off this labor day weekend, we'll talk about beer.  I have two homebrews in the works.  One is called "Purple Haze" which is a Marion Berry ale, not to be confused with McMenamins beer of the same name which uses boysenberry, or a raspberry wheat ale done by Abita.  It's been bottled and should be ready to drink by end of September.  (I should mention that McMenamins Purple Haze is available right now for a short period of time.)  My Russian Imperial was given two thumbs up by the guys over at Main Street Brewing and will be bottled soon.  Depending on the bottle tactic my friend Todd wants to use, it may be ready to go very soon or need some bottle aging time.  I can hardly wait!