Tuesday, August 30, 2011

D2R2 / Good Night Irene

Well, it's been quite a week. I headed out for D2R2 early (4:00am) Wed. of last week to beat the traffic in Chicago, and ended up doing the whole drive to my folks in Schenectady, NY in one big day. Thurs. was a bit disappointing, as it rained the better part of the day, but I spent some time helping Mom out with some odd jobs she'd been saving up for my visit.

Friday I spent some time getting the DRB ready along with my cross bike for Henrik to ride. Cleaned them off, (the cross bike was pretty gross), and then headed out for a short spin before dinner to loosen up my legs. Got to spin around Schenectady a bit and saw some areas that I haven't been to in years. Some things change, but so much of it was just as I remember it, funny to do a loop around Central Park, the same one that I first raced on maybe 20 years ago?

A shot of me, post ride with the DRB.

Henrik arrived later Friday evening, and I got the cross bike set up with his pedals and the right seat height so we were ready for the early wake up on Sat. morning. We headed out for Deerfield around 5:30am, and when we rolled into the big field at D2R2, it seemed everyone was already there! We both grabbed out registration stuff, queue sheets, some food and hustled to get ready to go. As I was tightening my shoes up, poof!, the wire popped out of my Specialized Boa dial... I had messed around with this the night before, and thought I had it fixed, but apparently not. Now I'm dripping with sweat and stressing out about my shoe before I even leave the parking lot! I finally tied the wire off and managed to get the shoe reasonably tight, so I rolled out with my fingers crossed that it would stay on my foot for the next few hours!

Last year, I remember leaving the start with a fairly large group, and we stayed together up until we hit Old Albany hill, but this year it was just Henrik and I for this beginning part of the ride, not a problem, and once we got to the hill, it was nice to have the road to ourselves and pick the best line up the dirt and gravel. As we worked our way up the hill, we overtook a few folks and this seemed to be the way it would work the rest of the day, not huge groups, just ones and twos that we would see as we passed or got passed ourselves.

Here's a shot of Carl's DRB from early this spring in Mass.

Just before the first rest stop, we caught up with Carl, the proud owner of the yellow DRB that I built for myself last fall, and at the rest stop I ran into Bill T. (longtime D2R2 aficionado) and Dan from Maryland, both friends from Cirque. I guess Bill had talked Dan into coming up for D2R2, and Dan was coming to grips with the hills (or should I say mountains) that D2R2 serves up. For my own part, I was feeling a bit rough, I don't know if it was the humidity or just the hills, but I was having a heck of a time getting up the hills without feeling like I was going to toss my cookies. In a way, I think that having done the ride last year worked against me, first, I knew that I was suffering on those first couple climbs, and then I could imagine all the climbs yet to come, and I was having trouble mentally preparing myself for that. Last year, it was blissful ignorance all the way...

Henrik seemed to be riding quite strong this year, and I'm going to blame him a bit for my lack of pictures. Last year, I would get up the climbs a bit ahead, and then I'd have a chance to break the camera out and take some pictures, this year I was struggling to stay on Henrik's wheel!

Well, we did make it, and while it was a struggle, all that has started to fade from my memory already, and I'm already thinking about next year!

Henrik, post ride, "Where's the beer"?

So, we finished up around 3:00, and after we had gotten ourselves together and had some food, we headed back for my folks around 4:00. Just as we were rolling out, the first wave of rain started falling, and I couldn't help but think of the folks who were still out on the course, that couldn't have been too much fun. We had been concerned about when the first rains from Irene would hit, and I think everyone involved was pretty happy that it held off as long as it did. I can't imagine heading down the descent on Hawk's Rd in the rain. I knew that Henrik was interested in getting back ASAP, as he still had to drive south to New Paltz and he'd potentially be heading right into the storm.

When we got back to my folks, the rain was just spitting, and as I unloaded the bikes to get Henrik's pedals off, it occured to me that I should probably just reload them back up right then and there, as it wasn't likely to be raining any less any time soon. After I headed in and got cleaned up, I made the decision to start out for home that night to try and outrun the storm. I had already cancelled my visit to NYC Velo on Fri, (sorry guys!), and it just didn't make sense to hang out for the storm, who knew when I'd be able to get out of town after the storm rolled through. So, at 8;30 I headed out for Rochester, where I had a reservation that Mom had made at a Microtel. I had a couple cans of Coke to keep me awake, and I cranked the radio too, but that was not a fun drive. When I finally got to the motel, I barely made it to the bed before I collapsed.

The next morning, I headed out under gray skies and northerly winds that lasted all the way to Cleveland, OH, quite a span that Irene had. Well, it seems that Irene lived up to the hype as well, sounds like the section of road along the Green River at D2R2 is no longer in existence, and I can only imagine what the roads around the area look like with downed trees. Around my folks in Schenectady, most all of the main roads were shut down in some area or another, and thousands of people were in the dark. I'm glad I headed out when I did, it was quite a trip.

My thoughts are with all the folks who are cleaning up the devastation that Irene left behind. Glad to be home...


Thursday, August 25, 2011

D2R2 Weekend!

The DRB!

It's almost here, the infamous Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee! I packed up the car on Tues. night and headed out early early on Wed. morning, (4am?). After a fun filled 16 hour car ride, I pulled into my folks house in Schenectady, NY. I've got a couple days to hang out here before Henrik and I head over on Sat for the ride.

My pal Dave Schlabowske also wrote up a nice article about the DRB on the Wisconsin Bike Fed website recently, and I should also credit him with the nice photo of the DRB shown above! You can check this article out here; Over the bars in Wisconsin

I've brought my camera along, so providing we're not riding in the eye of Hurricane Irene, I'll try to snap a few photos for an update after the ride!

In addition to D2R2, I'm also planning a stop at NYC Velo on Sun evening, there will be a chance to chat with folks and a chance to pick my brain about framebuilding, the sport of cricket, and walrus'. (Actually, we should probably stick to framebuilding, as I hardly know anything about cricket or walrus'!)

Check out the link here; NYC Velo


Monday, August 1, 2011

RV's Gran Fondo

Lisa hiked over to the top of the final climb, (what I've nicknamed the "Will Crusher"), and took this photo of me! It was one heckuva hot day, and after three laps of the 22 mile Gran Fondo course, I was ready to call it quits. Unfortunately, even when you decide you've had enough, there's still the 1/2 mile? climb back to the park/finish line that was at least as steep as any climb on the course.

The course for the Gran Fondo was the proposed road race course for the 2016 Olympics, had Chicago won the bid. It would have made for some interesting racing, and I can only conclude that the big sprinters would have had a hard time, this seemed like a climber's course.

Maybe next year it won't be quite so hot, and I'll be in better shape... It would have been cool to finish a full five laps, but I did have a good time and met some nice folks to boot!

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