Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ride Recaps for This Weekend and Last

Last weekend was a three-day weekend, with Memorial Day being Monday. Did a 100-miler on Saturday, detailed ride report here. The next morning, got out for a little later start and did the Triangle Ride, a very fast paced group ride that originates in Little Neck and follows a circuitous route around the North Shore. Last time I did this ride I wrecked my rear wheel, but no such troubles this time. A hard ride with lots of short steep climbs and accelerations. I managed to stay with the group and hooked up with Mark from Babylon Bikes for the ride home. A total of 60 miles for me that day. Finally, on Monday (Memorial Day), did an early morning solo ride of the Brands route and West Hills to get home in time to see my daughter march in the local parade and prepare for a family BBQ at the house. Was really happy with a 210-mile total for the long weekend.

This weekend, did 50 miles solo on Saturday, another early start, 5:00 AM. Nice weather and light traffic made for an uneventful but pleasant ride. This morning, wanted to stretch my legs at the Triangle ride again. Rode the 9 miles to meet the ride at Steele Hill Rd. in Westbury and waited a couple of minutes with a few other riders for the big peloton to whisk by. We jumped on and the group kept a nice steady pace, heading east, then North up Sweet Hollow Rd. At 27 miles in, one rider crashed hard when he tried to replace his water bottle and touched wheels with the bike ahead of him. He launched over the side of the bike and landed in the lane of oncoming traffic. Luckily, cars were able to stop in time. Rider up fairly soon but lots of mechanical issues with the bike. Seeing that he was okay, and a bunch helping him with the bike, I decided to head home. Did an extra loop through West Hills to get the mileage and ended with another 50.

Noticed this year a lot of riders on the Triangle ride wearing jerseys. Check out their webiste for a little Triangle Ride history.

Thinking about Bike-Boat-Bike next weekend, probably meet the East End team for 100 or 125 mile route.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Solo Century

Had been hoping all week to get to do a long ride this weekend, and it turned out the weather, work, and family all worked out so I could do it today. I also wanted to ride with the Brands group this weekend so I incorporated the group ride into my plans.

Usual oatmeal and coffee pre-ride breakfast, then out the door at 5:30 AM. Rode down the Jones Beach bike path (before the airshow crowds showed up) and it was a good ride except for the swarms of gnats at each of the three bridges. Was going to do two laps but the gnats made me think otherwise. Instead, I opted to do a dozen or so loops of the Cedar Creek Park loop road, same course as used for last weekend's Tour de Parc criterium.

Time check, 6:55 AM so headed over to Brands for the 7:00 AM start. A good turnout of familiar riders, at least 15. By the time we got up Round Swamp Rd., we were in three or four groups already. Up the first LIE hill, I saw Ariel, who was taking photos of us and I stopped to say hi. He is out of commission right now with a separated shoulder. I got back on the road but the group was long gone. Ate a CLIF bar at mile 40. I caught up to groups of 1, 2, or 3 riders but it looked like the group sort of disintegrated. Most of the rest of the way like this, then I turned solo again, to do West Hills. Stopped at a little park for a bathroom break and refilled a water bottle. Up to Rt. 25 then straight back to Brands.

Now with 73 miles, it took a fair bit of willpower to head back out into the wind. Ate another CLIF bar and went straight up Round Swamp Rd. again, up to the Northern State Parkway, then looped back home. One lap around the block to get the odometer to tick over to 100 miles!

A good ride, great weather, but a little less wind would have been nice! Wish the Brands group would have stayed together a bit longer but it was my decision to stop and visit with Ariel. Maybe I'll get to see some of his photos, should be some good action shots!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tour de Parc Photos, Video, Links

Race Results

Video of me at the front of the peloton chasing a breakaway in the Cat. 4 race at Tour de Parc on Sunday.

Racing through the rain in the Masters 40+ race. Photo from

Coasting in after a fast, wet Masters race. Photo from

Photo sites where I found the above:

Will post additional links here if I find any. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tour de Parc Race Report

Today was race day at the Tour de Parc at Cedar Creek in Wantagh, my own backyard! I guess I was feeling strong when I registered a rew weeks ago and signed up for two races, the Masters 40+ and the Cat. 4.

Both races were 25-mile criteriums and happened to be scheduled back to back. Masters first at 9:30 AM, then Cat. 4 at 10:30 AM. Had my usual pre-ride breakfast of coffee and oatmeal and added a bananna knowing I'd need the fuel. Chance of rain predicted all morning so I was a little concerned abount negotiating the hairpin turn on the course in a fast moving pack. Roads damp when I left to ride to the park but not raining... yet!

Picked up my race numbers from the registration desk, pinned them on the jersey, one over the other, and did a couple of slow laps around the park while the Cat. 5 race was going on. Promptly at 9:30 AM, the Masters riders were called to the line. I saw Paul C. and Mike I. in the field, so I think we were the only three East End riders. No sooner did the start whistle sound and the rain started. First few laps were blistering fast, nipping at 32 MPH on the back stretch (wind aided) and about 22 MPH on the finishing straight, into the wind. The rain was intense and lots of road spray. Two riders attacked on lap 3, and that was the last we saw of them for the rest of the race. A few bridge attempts were not successful and teammates of the leaders foiled most other attempts. It was a hard fast race and on the last lap, I could not hold on to the group that sprinted for the finsh. I ended up at the back of the main pack, but I did accomplish my goal of not getting dropped. My first Masters race, under my belt, and an epic one at that!

I did a quick u-turn at the start/finish line and had Ed pull off my Masters race number to reveal the Cat. 4 number underneath, just as they were calling the Cat. 4 race to the line. Had about 1 minute to drink something and catch my breath before the whistle to start the Cat. 4 race. East End represented well in this race, me, Karl, Rob, Chris, Larry, George, maybe one or two others. Again, a fast start. Amazingly no crashes in either race! By now the rain had stopped and the roads actually started to dry out a bit by the end of the race. There were five or six breakways, solos, but they were reeled in. The last one stayed away for about 6-7 laps, only to be caught on the final lap.

East End was successful in the end with Karl taking the win and Larry picking up fourth. Again, I was poorly positioned for the sprint and ended mid-pack at the finish but I tried to make a contribution to the team by working to pull back some breakaways and pulling for the team as much as I could. I'm afraid the Masters race took a bit out of me and I didn't have much punch left at the end of 50 miles of racing.

I'll check around to see if I can find any race photos later in the week and post some links here if I find any. Even with the rain, an exciting day of racing. Legs sore now but I felt strong and easily stayed with the group in both races. Satisfying day of racing, tried to do the EECT jersey proud.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Brands Route with Joel L.

Came home yesterday evening to find a voice message from Joel L., one of the original Brands group riders from a few years ago. Joel has since moved away from the island but he does come down a few times a year and we have met up for rides on a few occasions. I had an early start planned to be home in time for Mother's Day breakfast.

We planned to meet at Brands at 5:45 AM to start a 50-miler, usual Brands route and West Hills. Nice sunny day, strong wind from the West. The early favorable winds gave us ample opportunity to chat during the ride and catch up on what we've been doing the past two years: jobs, kids, cycling, running (for Joel), etc.

After the turnaround, I flatted on piece of glass at mile 23. Repaired quickly and we headed into the wind to Round Swamp. Roads were in good shape, all dried out from yesterday's morning rain storms. On the way home, Joel flatted after hitting a pothole at mile 47. Repaired the flat and we continued on home, said our goodbyes, and I raced home, now late for breakfast.

Had some bacon and eggs and mimosa's for Mother's day. It was great to meet up with Joel. Had a good strong ride on a nice day.

Joel and I on Hilltop Rd.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Who'll Stop the Rain...

The plan was to do a 3-hour (50-mile) early morning ride. Had a hard stop time of 9:00 AM to get ready for a first communion in the morning. I figured on a ride start at 5:30 AM to be home by 8:30 AM, leaving a cushion for a flat or other mechanical. I woke up with the alarm only to find that a storm cell was moving through Nassau County. Heavy rain, thunder and lightning, not good riding conditions.

Delayed my start by 1 hour, checked the local radar and saw that the storm had passed to the east and nothing headed my way. So, I had some coffee and oatmeal, suited up in shorts and a short-sleeve jersey, and headed out on the rain bike at 6:30 AM. Since I lost an hour of ride time, I decided to do the 35-mile route I did with Mike W. a few weeks ago. I estimated it should get me home right at the 2-hour mark.

Predictable, the roads were wet and full of sand and runoff from the storm. It was a messy ride, no doubt, but the light wind, no rain, and warm temperature (60F) kept it from being a truly "epic" affair. Up through West Hills, it reminded me of some footage from an old Liege-Bastogne-Liege race video I have: wet, misty, narrow road through the forest.

On the ride, I passed Bethpage Park, where there is now a huge tent city and grandstands for the upcoming U.S. Open. Quite a project going on there. The course itself is lush green an manicured thanks to all this rain we've been having.

Home right at 8:30 AM as I hoped, very wet and covered in mud. Hosed off the bike, glad to get 35-miles in today. Hopefully the rain will hold off tomorrow morning so I can get some morning miles in on Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bratwurst Century

Did the annual "Spring Century" with the SBRA EB group, better known as the Bratwurst Century. As usual, we loosly followed the Bike-Boat-Bike route, heading east from Riverhead on the North Fork to Greenport, short ferry ride to Shelter Island, across Shelter Island, another ferry to the South Fork, then back west to Riverhead.

A cool 50F at the ride start, overcast, wet roads, but no actual rain. We headed out with 15 riders. First flat at about mile 15, quickly changed, and we were off again. Steady pacelines, 20+ MPH. At about mile 30, a pothole took out Charlie and also caused Rick to flat. Charlie hit the ground hard! Two motorists stopped to assist but as the shock of the crash wore off, Charlie felt okay enough to get back on the bike. He continued with us to the ferry and Shelter Island, but decided to take a direct route back, accompanied by John Y. Hurt something on his right side, hoping its not too serious. Had a Clif bar on the ferry ride.

Last little delay was another flat at mile 50. Took a few minutes to extract the offending sharp stone, but after the flat was repaired just another 10 miles to lunch in Amagansett. By this time the sun was out and we had a nice lunch, sitting outside at some picnic tables. We were obviously in the "Hamptons" as my turkey and cheese on whole wheat was a pricey $7.30! A bag of peanut M&M's and a bottle of water and we were off again.

The last 40 miles had us in good pacelines but no one could quite remember the exact route so there were more than a few misdirections and wrong turns that kept breaking our momentum. Finally back to the start with 101.9 miles, 19.4 MPH moving average speed, elapsed time just uder 7 hours.

It turned out to be a great and and a great ride with friends. Will be back next year!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Fast, Wet, EB Ride

Me and Robin at the start of Rt. 51. Waiting for 2nd flat to get fixed. Photo: Pyzahl

Wanted to get in a fast ride before Tour de Parc races in two weeks, so despite the threat of rain, I made the trek East to Manorville of the Early Birds group ride. Group was mostly made up of East End/Krebs Cycle team, so we were in for a fast ride.

We had light rain for the whole ride, tailwind headed east, then a bit of headwind for the return. Fast paceline the whole way. There was an early split due to a flat tire. Again, I was in the group that waited. Strong group of riders still, and lots of old friends: Pyzahl, Mike, Kevin, Tom, John, Robin, George (I'm sure I left someone out). Brian, Tom, and Mike seemed to be pulling us along alot of the time but I think we all managed to contribute a good share.

I felt really good on the ride and was at the front part of our group for the critical sections: the tanks, Rt. 51 and CR 111. Did not get dropped! So, I feel like I won't make a fool of myself at the races (May 17th, Cedar Creek Park, Wantagh). I think we ended with 54.8 miles, about 21.5 MPH moving average.

I see Pyzahl posted some photos from the ride so I'm going to try to link to a few here:

Waiting for the first flat. Tom S. rocking the East End sub-team purple and black! I'm up the road in the regular orange and blue. Photo: Pyzahl

Regroup after the tanks. Photo: Pyzahl

Cutchogue deli stop, mile 30. I'm on the left. Photo: Pyzahl

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Rain Bikes Make an Appearance

Rained all night and still raining when I got up this morning, so I took my time getting ready to ride. I figured the Brands ride would be a washout so I was resigned to doing a short solo ride on the rain bike. No rides at all on Thursday and Friday due to work schedule and rain.

As I was having a cup of coffee and checking e-mail, I got a twitter from Mike W. that he was heading to the Brands ride start. Great! I quickly gulped down my coffee and got ready, arrived at Brands just about 5 minutes late. Met James and Mike there, so the three of us set out on the usual route. All of us on our "rain bikes", me on the Trek 520, Mike W. on his Specialized Allez, and James on an unbranded frame he built up himself. James was not feeling 100% so we kept a comfortable pace. It gave us the opportunity for some good conversation as we tackled the rollers on our route. Luckily no wind, and the rain stayed away for just about the entire ride.

After the LIE service road out-and-back, Mike and I went through West Hills and James went up Old Country Road. We regrouped at Rt. 25, then headed home. I was happy to end up with 50 miles on the day, more than I probably would have done on my own. Thanks to Mike and James for braving the elements, it turned out to be a great ride!