Saturday, November 24, 2007

Frozen again it Litchfield County.

Today had on tap a 50 miler from Woodbury to Warren and back with a couple of loops of Lake Waramaug thrown in for good measure, Well I got it done despite temperatures hovering at or slightly below 30 degrees. I made it out too the lake with very little difficulty riding at about a 15mph pace. I rode from Mitchell Middle School in Woodbury up Route 47 ( past the ski area, which was covered in snow and and skiers), up Kettle Hollow Rode and a pain in the ass 8% grade up Route 109 in Morris before descending down to Route 47 into Washington Depot before hitting Route 202. I descended down Flirtation Dr. and past a guy getting his mail who stated "put in some miles for both of us." From Flirtation Dr. I got on to Route 45 and did two loops of the lake. Now it was strating to get cold. The head win on the front Half of the lake cut through my jerseys straight down to the base layer. I descended down through New Preston shrivering against the cold New England Weather. On Route 47 I stopped at Bailey's diner to warm up. It was 38 miles in. I grapped a cup of Coffee and bowl of soup to thaw myself out and after some BSing with the staff I was back on the road to get in the last 12 miles. I turned on the Route 109 and began the descent back to Woodbury. I got back on to kettle hollow rd. and flew down to route 47 at an average of 20 mph. When I got toward the ski area the road was blocked by traffic and fire engines...apparnetly someone was a little better at sking than they were at driving. As I tried to get going one of the fire crew shout out " get a move on you're holding up traffic." Now Seriously, riding is not like driving. It's not just like I can take my foot off the brake, put down my cup of coffee and floor it. I have to release the brake, clip in and manuveur around any debris that could slash my tires....well that rant aside. I descened back to the road that had shot me out on to 47 I descended down to the school and added a brief excursion around the cemetery and on to Route 6 before returning to the car. 50.27 miles in 3:39 average speed 14.7 mph. Not a barnburner but for a day when the temperature barely cracked 32 I'll take it. Tomorrow I've got a 20 mile run on tap with Angry...the temperature should hit a tropical 45 degrees.
The Amazing Human Ice Cube.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ironman Training Status Report:

Well despite bitter cold temperatures, days that seem way to short, and professors that want my ass chained to a desk, my training for IM New Zealand is progressing. Wednesday I did 3.7 miles on the treadmill ( stupid fog) and a 3500 yard pool workout. Yesterday, lack of sleep and fundage prompted me to sit out of the Commodore Hull 5k although it might be on the short list for 2008. After sharing some of the bird and the fixings with the fam I went out on a 7.75-8 mile loop of my half of Wolcott. The weather was excellent, the low sixties with tad bit of overcast weather moving in. I was able to get by with shorts and short sleeves and at one point was almost kicking my self for leaving the fuel belt at home. All in all I got the run in 1:02. After puncturing a dime sized hole in my foot helping with clean up. I gobbed the mess with bastracin and bandaged it up to gut out an hour training ride to the tune of the 2006 Ironman Hawaii highlight show and the 1970's cycling/ coming of age epic Breaking Away. Seriously If I start shaving my legs or doing my training rides to Italian Arias blame it on this movie. This morning I slept in avoiding the carnage that is BLACK FRIDAY (shiver...) and went to work. After a stress filled first 4 hours I had lunch and returned to the office where it was pretty dead until close. I then came home changed into my workout gear and threw on my little reflective vest thingamabob. Now Yesterday it was in the sixties and fairly pleasant. Today the bottom had dropped out on the temperature. At the time I left my house it was a balmy 28 F. So doing this 8 mile beast I was decked out in the full Rocky get up. Windpants, gloves , Beanie, two pairs of socks, sweat shirt, base get the drift. I managed to eek out the same route as Yesterday in 1:07 five minutes slower but it was freaking cold. Also running past the town cemetery at night is an eerie propositon ( granted I do have two relatives buried there. Rest in Pieces Uncle Jer and Aunt Martha.) For the most part the darkness wasn't an issue. I ran past the lakes where the moon reflected off the water giving a sort of blue light effect...It was almost...dare I say quite peaceful. I got home changed into my swim shit and went to the Y where I slacked off. I only got in 3000 yards but it was a semi-speed workout. I did the main set at a fairly hard pace. So all in all things are progressing. Tomorrow I head out to Woodbury for what should hopefully be at least a 50 mile ride...hopefully more...( I'm buying foot warmers for this shit so it better be.) Sunday I'm hoping to get in a short ride and a 20 mile run, before starting back to ye olde grind on Monday. Well that's all I can bring myself to tonight. Peace.
The Terror of the Tundra

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holy Shit It's Christmas....I mean Thanksgiving.....

Yep, the commercialization of Christmas is about to hit fever pitch. ( Kind of Ironic that this holiday is celebrating the birth of one of the biggest dennouncers of materialism so we celebrate by buying more useless shit....some times I just don't get humanity.) Anyway trees, snow globe and other wintry trikets have been on sale since back to school sales ended, and tomorrow begins the end of year debt fest so without any futher adeu the Top 10 reasons I hate Christmas:

10. Crappy holiday jingles being played on the radio: By December 3 if I hear Rudolph the Red-noses reindeer one more time I will not be responsible for the rampage that will ensue.

9. Crappy Holiday TV specials: seriously how many times can a group of misfits save Santa and the commercialized bastardization of what was once a religious holiday in one night.

8. My Sisters started getting excited about snow. I live in New England, yet I hate the cold and the white stuff. It's tough to drive in, Central never Cancels and my job doesn't close unless it's a state of emergency. Also since I own only road bikes I can't train outdoors in it , or on the lovely mess of ice it leaves when it thaws and re-freezes....I seriously need to move West Coast.

7. Holiday Shopping. Seriously I don't know what half the people I shop for want...and I don't want to get anyone anything crappy, although the plus side of trying to figure out what I should get someone else helps me to decide what I want.Self serving but hey isn't everything nowadays.

6. Parking For Holiday Shopping. I'm going to squeeze my mid-sized SUV into a compact car slot so be prepared to exit through the sun roof.

5. My co-workers and siblings start singing Christmas Carols when I change the radio station. Damn you Ruldolph Damn you to Hell!

4. Trying not to slip about Santa in front of Young Kids. " Thank you for the Team Quick Step cycling Jersey Mom...I mean Santa."

3. The One gift that the media says you absolutely have to get otherwise your kids will hate you forever and will blame you for all of their emotional problems for all eternity. " Well doc, it all stems back to the Christmas my dad didn't get me a PS3. I wasn't bad at first, but then all the other kids started to make fun of me, this led to depression, then alcohol, then my hit heavy metal band, then heorin and now the sick broke bastard I am today. But it would have never happended if somebody bought me a PS3."

2. Flashbacks of the Christmas of Past: No comment.

1. Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love and unity. instead it is the time of year when Humanity shows more of it's darker side. " Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, Give me that PS 3 before I blow your head off."

Well all my grumblings aside, today is Thanksgiving a day to be thankful for what we have in our lives. So before most of us call in "coughcough Sickcoughcough." to stand in line out side the malls and stores tomorrow morning, leading to another equally cynical post,
Happy Thanksgiving!
R. D.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's a battle of man(kind) versus nature....

and mother nature has kicked my ass! Right now in the words of The Angry Runner " my legs hurt."

Yes this weekend I had grandiose of getting in a 75 mile training ride.( I did get in the miles but it was over two days, not in the one stomping session I had planned.) I also ran in the fischang-cicchetti 5 mile road race for the first time since 2002 and embarked on my mission to break 35:00, and prove I'm still hot fire. So here's the weekend wrap up.

Saturday: Wool Socks+ toe covers + $100 of cold weather crap still= cold F**king toes!

Pre Ride:

After the 4 hours of "joy" working the Saturday before Thanksgiving( or the day before the X-mas shopping binge). Needless to say I left for Lake Waramaug full of fuel for the ride. I called the Angry Runner to Get Claire's cell phone and also check up on him..( he had deleted all of his blogs on purpose I was trying a) to make sure he didn't get hacked alla Renee b) see if he was okay ( December 06 was a rough month for Angry as well as of the reasons I really don't like Christmas). after Shooting the shit, and discovering the valuable tax credit that is insulation, we made plans to meet for dinner after the bitch stomping ride. I stopped off at 503 Cycle Works in Litchfield to pick up a windbreaker jersey only to discover he didn't carry cold weather clothes. Since he carries the best array of nutrition this of Newington, I picked up two things of Clif shot blocks ( figuring they were not as high in fiber as the Clif bars or Larabars, which would have me racing to the out house after 10 miles.) I got a call from No-Wetsuit Girl who was hauling in from Mass. to ride with me, she was in Middlebury about 45 min. away. I gave her directions to the lake, ironically the same route as one of my 40 mile rides, and then took off for the State Park. When I arrived at the State Park on the far shore of the lake, I saw the parking lot full of cars. HEATsters coming to ride with me I thought, sadly it wasn't.It was a group of New England Hippies ( seriously what do you call a group of people with a VW bus circa 1967) holding an "Outdoor Thanksgiving". I like the concept and maybe might do it one of these days...if I move to an area where it's warmer than 35 degrees and there is no threat of snow over your head in the month of November. Any way I got to talking with one of the group, as she noticed me pulling out the Bitch Stomper and my array of cold weather riding gear. Shared the info that I 'm doing Ironman New Zealand ( seriously I think half the state knows by now.) the basic what kind of psycho rides in 35 degree weather, talk. No Wetsuit girl arrived , and immediately asked for the toilet, I pointed in the direction of the two little out houses ( in the summer they actually have flush toilets but because it is not a perpetual 60 degrees in CT the pipes will freeze in the winter so the DEP resorts to the centuries old waste disposal method, a hole in the ground.) after Claire ditched the excess water weight we geared up and hit the road. the Game Plan: 10 loops of the lake

The Ride:

The distance around is 7.89 miles we decided it would be wise to skip the "little" hills on the sprint course and stick to the fairly flat route around the lake. On the first loop as we took off Claire gave me the warning " If I'm going too slow for you don't be afraid to kick up the pace." Well I'm not going to leave someone who just drove 3 hours to ride behind, also we weren't going that slow, averaging about 17 miles per hour. We'd ride side by side and discuss random crap, Stem cell research, relationships, politics, religion, races we absolutely have to do before death. ( The Boston Marathon is on both our lists, it's a New England thing, if you run in High School/and or College in NE Bill Rodgers is elevated to Cult Status...and the only marathon that matters is run in Beantown. Everything else ( Hartford, NYC, LA..etc) is a qualifier.) On the "Front half "of the Lake (Route 45 ) we tucked into single file me grinding away in the areobars and Claire tucking into the slipstream. Then back to the side by side on the more deserted road ways the first three laps were good but the cold was starting to hit. The wind on the front half was finding its way in through the cleat and was freezing my toes. On the fourth lap I spotted an older gentleman riding up ahead. I looked over to Claire " let's catch him" after a quick acceleration, the neoprene free female and myself overtook the gentleman who latched onto Claire's back wheel forming a three person pace train. As we hit one of the tiny climbs on our route, the 40 something year old cyclist began a massive acceleration flying by me like I was standing still. My ego was a little more powerful than my freezing toes as I kicked into high gear and made chase. We descended through a series of tight switchbacks , pedaling like men possessed me hugging the aero bars and tucking like it was my job. A quick glance at the speedometer showed the tall of the acceleration 26mph on fairly flat road. As he slowed to lower his heart rate I glanced back at Claire pushing to catch up. We slowed back into our normal rhythm as the energetic 50 something took off as Claire and I settled back into our pace. By this time my feet were two blocks of ice attached to the crank. As we hit the "front half "of the lake We blew by the 50 something year old well as a group of rec-riders. as we approached the State park I looked down at my watch it was 4:25 " I think this is our last loop" I said as Claire came along side. Somewhere within my frozen shoes, my feet were rejoicing. as We pulled into the parking lot i took a look at the computer 39.90 miles in 2:19 average pace 17.4 mph. Not a bad ride considering the fact both Claire and I were hypothermic.

The Post ride: They have a fleecy lining ...feel.

the ride was topped off by a stop to the Litchfield Dunkin Donuts, Claire got a hot chocolate I got my usual caffeine binge o rama ( Xl coffee, cream no sugar) As the feeling came back to my frozen feet, Claire revealed the fact that she was still freezing despite the heat being on full blast in her car. I non-chalantly started to brag about my cold weather gear that except for my feet had kept me relatively warm. Bragging especially about my tights. She asked if they had a fleecy lining which led to awkward moments # 1 and #2 Awkward moment # 1 I reached under the waist band and felt. " They do." I exclaimed in childish excitement. Awkward moment #2 I held out the waist band " Want to feel?" it was then that the inappropraiteness of the situation hit me.... Well after the infamous fleecy lining incident and parking lot change job...2nd time in one day the town of Litchfield has seen my bike shorts. It was off to Angry's homestead in the dirty water. After playing with the Angry's dog..seeing how jacked up angry was over Owens Corning Insulation, we decided to hit Nino's Resturante in Waterbury. ( Cannoli and loans with 25% 0r 2 broken legs interest are the daily special.) As usual Angry was a fox in a chicken coup as he started checking out every hot young thing in the place...which to my own confession so was I. During the course of dinner Claire and I kept trying to figure what was bothering Sir Angry. eventually by the end of the night Angry agreed to do the Cicchetti road race on Sunday if I called him when I got up and he could drag his ass out of bed. After the drive back to Angry Homestead ( I guess I should call it the Angry Compound.), Claire and I drove to the I-84 mixmaster I got off as she stood on and made her way Mass Bound. I arrived back at Chez Robert and retired for the night. I checked the Heat forum and one guy responded saying he would be riding at Waramaug on Sunday. left a reply. I would bitch stomp the Cicchetti and then go up to Waramaug for a second go round with mama nature.

Sunday: Sunday Bloody Sunday!

Part one: The 33rd annual Fischang Chicchetti Road race. Or the Angry Runner Returneth.

Pre Race:I woke up at 7 am and promptly hit snooze. Woke up again at 7:30 I figured if I got there by 8 I would have enough time to warm up. I never eat for this race because I have a bad habit of sprinting the last mile and going into linda blair mode. ( the first time I ran this race I puked green powerade 100 meters from the finish.) I called Angry " You doing this thing?" i asked. " I'm making oatmeal as we speak." Oatmeal Angry's power was a good sign already. " The bitch of it is I burnt my first batch..and it's pissing me off." Angry was back to him old self. He would be racing to avenge Oatmeal. I showed up at the Waterbury Y at about 8:15 found Angry..shot the shit. I grabbed my race packet and went to warm up. After a nice 1/2 mile to mile warm up, I shed my long crap and Walked into the frozen tundra clad only in my New Balance flats, shorts and Tee, with my trust timex ironman watch. I did a couple of strides and caught up with one of my old Track team mates we shot the shit. Angry wished me luck and settled into the second row as I took my place on the front row, waiting for the gun. ( really good photo of this in the local paper...for once I was first page news ) the Gun went off at 9:00am sharp and the 275 of us were off on a 5 mile Odyssey

The Race: Is that a Kenyan?
my down fall in this race is in my zeal to get media attention I end up starting in the front and dying like a pig. sunday was no exception. As I was handily passed by a Kenyan road running super stud, a high school XC hot shot ( a chick), Half my Alma mater's ( Holy Cross High School) XC team, and a couple of nasty 40 somethings in the first mile. As we ran up the slight incline to the first split my time was 6:05, not as fast as I used to take it out but still a little too hard for a race this long. the second mile was my body's revenge for attempting to sprint the eventual women's winner flew by along with a couple of 30 somethings . On the plus side I was able to pass one of the over zealous XC kids who was steadily dropping down the overall like a brick. As we entered Hamilton park and the second mile split the time rang out 13:00 a 6:55 mile. the third mile is one of those gut check momments for me it was my rest mile. I was in no man's land, the faster runners were pulling away and the slower runners couldn't catch me yet. I made my way past the turn around and began to close on some of the guys beng dropped from the leaders' breakneck pace. At 2.5 mile I grabbed a single cup of water from the sole aid I pined for the aid stations at every mile we had at the Griskus and the other tris, and the marathon. worse was feeling myself bonk...kicking myself that I should have at least had a powerade or a gu. the 3 mile split appreared. 20.02 a 7:02 mile my slowest of the was time to go to work. I looked for the group ahead I could see a 40 year old in redrunning gear ahead he was my target...I would try to catch him. My legs started to burn slightly as I increased the pace. My stomach shouted up to me " What the Hell are you doing? Don't you know you didn't eat shit before this race." i didn't care I cracked out a mile at a slightly uncomfortable pace 4 mile split 26.28 a 6:25 mile The last mile it was no holds barred. It was quite literally run from the cops ( We passed the Waterbury PD on the way to the finish.) . I looked back a gray haired dude was closing in. As we hit the brick road 400 meters from the line He pulled along side. I surged, pulling a prefontaine. I was hurting but I was not going to let this soon to be retiree beat me. He tucked in on my heels saving energy for the slingshot. We hit Asphalt 200 meters to go he shot out wide left I got on his heels, my diaphram aching ready to expel food that wasn't there I got on my toes and pulled along side we hit the line at the same time. Overall time: 32:50 last mile split: 6:21 total pace 6:34/per mile I was 9th in my age group which was limped Open 19-29 counting all the XC studs and ex-college runners it wasn't bad. My overall place 31st out of 275 finishers. 5 seconds faster than the last time I did this race. 2 minutes later Angry appeared picking off a line of guys at the finish in his sprint . It was a good day but only half over.

Post Race. I shot the shit with Angry and some of the other Runners. Angry took off halfway through the raffle because the annoucer was just pissing us all off with his slow speech. The raffle ended, as usualI didn't win shit. I checked the result before the award ceremony. They don't give trophies for 9th place in class, and I was two spots ahead of a prize money position. ( 33rd race so 33rd, 133rd, 233rd position each win $33) so I left for the lake I had a ride to get in and a score to settle with the New England Cold.

Part Deux: Bobby and the usual the Lake wins again.
I got up to Waramaug at noon. there were no other cars at the park so I wasn't sure if the HEATster was showing. I decided to give him until 12:30PM ( Actually he didn't show it was only after I got home I found out he had replied to my reply and he was going to be at his kid's swim meet, so he had to back out. It's all good.) I took a nice half hour nap..woke up a decided to kick this pig. i threw on two pairs of socks, my wool cycling socks and a pair of hikers over the top. I did one loop of the sprint course only to find it was littered with debris and narrowed by road construction. I did only 1 nine mile loop before settling into my routine around the lake. After 2 loops i pulled in behind a roadie. We drafted one another for a couple of loops before once again my feet froze and I had to bow out. 32.79 miles in under 2 hours. not bad but still a little short of the mileage I want.

Tuesday Update: Well with this morning's preview of coming attractions It looks like I' m going to be living on the (ugh) trainner. Seriously I think I'm living on the wrong coast. Okay that gripe aside it's supposed to be back in reasonable riding temperatures on Thursday and Friday...may be I can eek out a ride if the weather's descent other wise Mr. Carmichael's training DVD and I will be having a lot of early mornings together.

The Hot Fire Stud.