Monday, March 21, 2011

Battenkill Preride

Yesterday's Battenkill preride was blessed with good weather and a big crowd. Dieter has turned this event into a fundraiser for Farm Team and, from the looks of it, they made some cash! Although the weather was cold, the cloudless blue sky made everything seem much warmer, and if race day turns out even this nice it will be a good thing. There were icy puddles -- one in the parking/registration area and a few along the side of the road in the early part of the ride, but they were always in areas that I never would have been riding. And, yes, it did warm up during the ride and the ice melted away.

The course was generally in good shape. The paved roads showed some signs of the past winter, with some broken pavement and lots of sand, especially on the corners. I do hope that the corners will be swept before the race on April 10. The dirt sections were, in general, quite good. Dieter prevails upon the transportation jurisdictions to refrain from grading any of the roads until the race is over, so they were generally what I like to call "Battenkill Cement," which translates to rock solid with the occasional rounded potholes and random loose stones. Thanks to the cold weather during the week there were areas on some roads that had frost heaves, and there were a few spots that were soft and somewhat muddy, but they were the exception, not the rule.

So, what was the new section like? As much as I was lamenting the loss of eight miles of gentle downgrade on pavement, the addition of 10 miles of more climbs and dirt just added to what makes this course truly Battenkill. It certainly added time to the course, as the ride took me 20 minutes longer to complete than it did last year for exactly the same normalized power. The "new" section had a nice steep dirt climb with little sun exposure, so it featured the highest snowbanks and probably the most muddy sections on the course. The dirt descent was good and smooth, and I could let it go. While at speed I did encounter some soft riding surface that had the effect of slowing down my bike just a bit. My body took a nanosecond to respond, so that was exciting!

I really love the last third of this course. Mountain Road was in good shape as was Meetinghouse. In fact, Meetinghouse was better than usual, with any potholes being on the section where you would be slowing down to go up the last rise. Stage Road was also good, but that could just have been the euphoria that I felt, knowing that it was the last climb of the day. Kind of a bittersweet feeling, such a wonderful ride was almost over. This definitely is a classic and enjoyable course to ride on, which becomes so much more painful on race day. Oh, right, they are all painful on race day.

Bottom line: the roads were in decent shape with nothing out of the ordinary to report. The biggest unknown will be the weather. I am sure hoping that it will be a repeat of yesterday.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Specialized Roubaix Pro SL C2 Red for Sale -- Size 56

Specializeed Roubaix Pro SL C2 Red, 2009 -- size 56 (L) -- $2250.00 plus shipping

This bike is by far the most amazingly wonderful road bike I have ever ridden. I am a fan of rides lasting longer than four hours – day after day – and this bike has been key to making those training days happen! I have never been on a bike so comfortable, yet the bike responds super-quickly to the rider’s demands to go faster. It climbs like a dream and soaks up rough road at the same time.

This bike has been used and raced, but never crashed or dropped. I am always aware that I will eventually be selling my bikes so I strive to keep them in like-new condition. This bike is no exception. It has been professionally maintained. The drive train has been inspected and is in very good shape. Components are SRAM Red shifters and rear derailleur, with Force front derailleur and brakes.

Included with this bike is a brand new Red rear derailleur. I was able to warranty the original rear derailleur, and it is pictured with the bike. It will be installed before this bike is shipped off to its purchaser. Also new: cables and housing, brake hoods, handlebar tape, and Specialized Avatar saddle. The Roval wheels have seen very little use because I race and train with a Power Tap and usually ride with another front wheel. The tires are Continental 4000 clinchers and are lightly used.

The frame has a couple of very very very tiny chips in the paint. There are also a couple of very small chips in the crank arms, mostly likely from errant gravel while riding. The crank arms have been protected with Crankskins that I just removed. I have a new pair of Crankskins that I can include with the purchase.

This bike retailed for $4400.00, and it currently retails for $4900.00.

Specs on this bike can be found at

More photos available upon request. Email me at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2010 Cyclocross Nationals

The fall of 2010 was busy with cyclocross racing and travel to those races. What fun! I was lucky enough to be able to combine local, regional and then national races into the months that comprise the season, and my love for this silly sport grew even more.

Coming off a full season of hill climbs, I was a bit tired of racing when the cyclocross season began in September. I have been racing cyclocross since 1992, though, so I knew that the sport itself would regenerate me for the season ahead. I was right! The camaraderie that has grown up within our local cyclocross scene created an infectious buzz which was hard to avoid. Within a couple of races I was again hooked and it was not long before I was looking ahead and putting all of my training and racing eggs into the basket called "nationals." I was feeling good and, with each race, building up to a mid-December peak.

I have some very good friends in Oregon who very generously arranged housing for me in Bend at the home of their friends -- and now mine! -- Albert and Janet. Brian and Corrine Vegter are artists who now live in Baker City, but made Bend their home for a good bit of time after they left New York. Since their move to the west coast we have stayed in touch, and last year Phil and I visited them at their Baker City home. The Vegters were wonderful hosts and even traveled to Bend last year to cheer us on in our races.

This year they really stepped up their game. In addition to arranging housing they were also my dedicated support crew for my championship race. Wow, I felt so honored to have such attention lavished upon me. I had secured a bike for the pit from my sponsor Specialized, and Brian was in the pit with it, awaiting any catastrophe. Corrine was out on the course to give me splits. My coach, Mark Fasczewski, was at the start for me and then would head to the pit as well. Lucky me!

Little did I know that when I lined up at the start line that I would need their help so quickly! The course was a combination of ice, frozen mud, snow, and a couple of huge icy puddles. The gun sounded, we were off, and the fun began, past all the features I just listed and then onto a paved section. I was one of the top four in my race -- hooray! -- and my rear tire was going flat -- oh no :( We went into an off camber section and back onto the pavement from a curb and more of the air escaped from my tire. Darn, the three women I was with just rode away and I had a long snowy/icy slog ahead of me to get to the pit.

I tried to ride, but that was not working, so I eventually got off the bike for good and ran along the course. Everyone passed me, including all the women in the categories that started behind me. This was just the first lap, so my race was not off to such a great start.

I got to the pit, exchanged bikes, and was on my way toward pulling back my field. It was not that easy to do, as I now had some traffic to get past, but I raged on as best as I could. Corrine was telling me where I was, as was Mark, and Brian made sure that my flat tire was fixed and my bike was ready in case I needed to make a switch.

The time on the course flew by all too quickly. I had pulled back to fifth place and had fourth place in sight, but I ran out of race. I had lost too much time slipping and sliding on the ice while running to the pit during that first lap. Oh well, that is bike racing, especially cyclocross! In a 40 minute race there is not much time to crawl back after a mechanical. Still, fifth place was good for a medal and a trip to awards, so all was not lost. I was thrilled for Linda Elgart, who was the winner. Her husband John had won his race earlier that morning, so it was wonderful to see the two of them in their stars and stripes.

The rest of the time in Bend was great! Corrine had some of her amazing ceramic campers and some jewelry on display at a local gallery and it was wonderful to see her new creations. The Vegters also introduced me to some other artists in the area, and I was able to learn about their mediums. My stay with Albert and Janet was wonderful, they were amazing hosts with fascinating stories to tell about their own cycling experiences. Brian and I went around to some bike shops to see what size 29 inch mtb bikes would fit him, and we all went back to watch more racing. One of the weekend's highlights was watching good friend Kym Flynn Fasczewski win the D2 Collegiate National Race. WOW!

I did "race" another race that weekend, lining up at the back end of the Elite women's field on Sunday. I remembered how much fun I had the year before so I decided to do it again. The course was wet and soupy and my legs got wet and cold. I did not have the snap that I needed to stay with the group just ahead of me and got pulled a lap before they did. Darn! I had fun after the race, though, when friend Inga Thompson showed up at my car. She had watched my race (OMG, I cannot believe Inga watched my race) and wanted to say hello. She and I ended up going over to the Mill District to go shopping after watching the Elite Men race. Retail therapy for both of us, even if we did not buy very much, followed by a bit of time sipping on a local brew. Outstanding!

All too soon it was time to say good-by to friends who make Bend feel like home to me. I had already said good-by to Mark and Kym, then it was time to wish Inga a safe journey back to Eastern Oregon. Brian and Corrine and I headed back to Janet and Albert's, where we had a super pot-luck meal. Monday dawned, and after a mighty breakfast Corrine and Brian headed east as well. I packed my bike while chatting with Albert, then loaded up my car and headed for Fed-Ex, one last trip to the outlet stores, and then the airport. Time to get back to the real world!

Thank you one and all for making my cyclocross nationals such a memorable experience :)