Monday, February 7, 2011

To race or to just ride?

Realization sucks...

Ever since I was a kid with my Huffy Stingray with the banana seat and high sissy bar I loved the freedom and independence that cycling brings. Whether you are young, old or somewhere in between cycling brings a feeling of freedom.

Fast forward about 40 years and cycling is my escape from many things.

Stress of everyday life although my life is THAT stressful melts away with every turn of the pedal.

Pain reliever. I suffer from nearly constant pain in my neck and my back. The pain comes from a herniated disc, dessicated and desiccating discs. Bones were never meant to touch each other. Add to that arthritis. Did I suffer some horrible traffic accident to get these problems? Did I play full contact sports growing up? No and No. It's genetics. You can't choose your parents and both of mine are arthritis sufferers.

I started getting interested in bike racing watching Greg Lemond win the Tour de France. Being the procrastinator that I am I didn't enter my first race until the Tour of Murrietta back in 2004? I did the time trial and the road race. I did OK.
I fell into a sick and twisted relationship with a race called Boulevard in San Diego's East County. My first time I got 29th out of 50. I was hooked.

I invested in a training program and even used a Coach, Gord Fraser for one year. I trained better but my racing results didn't improve much. I even got free training for a couple months from Tyler Hamilton (nice guy). I did see some improvements in my racing, primarily in my time trialing. I started to feel that my R.O.I. (Return On Invest) wasn't justifying the expense, and training programs and personal coaches run into the 1000's of dollars a year. So this last year I decided to just go on my own and use the knowledge I gained from the past coaching experiences to coach myself.

Well after 7 years of racing and never cracking the top ten let alone a podium spot (well I have had some top 5 20 Kilometer individual results) I have come to the conclusion that I am not a bike racer. I train hard and I can ride hard in the weekend world championships but when it comes to race day and proving myself on the road I just can't seem to get it together. Case in point: This years Boulevard Road Race in the Masters 45+ race I was staying near the front where I needed to be. At the 12 mile mark about a mile into the climbs I was was beyond red-lined. I am a "skinny climber dude" and give me an 8% grade of more than a mile and I'll drop your ass but when it's 4-5% and the "sprinters" and big-ring it I get dropped. I closed a lot of the gap by the time I got to the top of the climbs 8 miles later, passing "sprinters" all the way up. The "sprinters" caught up to me about 8 miles later on the slightly downhill/flat section. When we got to the middle of the climb on old hwy 80 I popped. My back had tightened too much to turn the pedals effectively enough to be competitive so I decided to abandon when I got to the finish line instead of carrying on for the 3rd and final lap. The light bulb went on. I am not a bike racer anymore.

A friend of mine whose nickname is NASCAR (he holds the individual 20K Time Trial record at Fiesta Island) says I am more of a Grand Fondo, long endurance event kind of rider. I agree. When I have done these kinds of events I have finished strong and at the front and most importantly enjoyed myself. So my focus from now on will be riding to be the best that I can be outside of racing (with the exception of Time Trialing. I will continue to compete in the race of truth)and for my own health and fitness. Oh yea and to kick your ass on the local group rides and climbs.

Sometimes you just have to let go of your dreams.....

Monday, January 3, 2011

The worst thing you've ever seen?

What's the Worst thing you have ever seen?

What's the worst thing you have ever seen?

October 1993

I was working at Silo in El Cajon. It was just another day selling audio gear and drinking coffee, killing time. The life of a commissioned salesman. I was up near the front of the store when I heard a shotgun blast. No it didn't sound like a backfire from a car. You cannot mistake the sound a double barrel shotgun makes when it is fired nearby. As I moved to the front window to take a look another blast from the shotgun rang out. As I looked out the glass sliding doors into the parking lot I saw a body lying on the sidewalk across the parking lot about 50 feet away. I pushed between my co-worker Gary and his customer at the front counter and reached for the phone and dialed 911. As I was talking to the Police operator the gunman shot out the front windows of the Family Fitness Center shattering the glass. He walked into the building and you could hear more blasts from the shotgun. As I was describing what was happening to the 911 operator one of our stockers and one of the install guys were running over to check on the first body slumped on the sidewalk. As they reached the body the gunman came back out of gym through the broken glass windows and calmly walked to his brown 280z parked in front of the windows. I told the 911 operator what he looked like, height, size, clothing.Then he sat down in the drivers seat of the his car with his feet still on the pavement. One final blast from the double barrel shotgun and the 'blow back' came. A cloud of flesh, skull, blood and brains came out of the car in a fine mist as his feet lifted from the ground and twitched involuntarily for a few seconds then fell back to the pavement. I told the 911 operator that he had killed himself. She asked if I was sure. I was. I told her what I had seen coming from the car. He had killed 4 people and injured others before killing himself before my eyes. It was a few days later that we learned that he had gone there looking for a girl to kill her. We thought at first that it was just some random killing spree and we had been spared. The media hung out for a couple days. They new the 911 call had come from my store but did not know who had made they call. They wanted to know and kept asking my bosses but they wouldn't say. I eventually told them it was me just to get them out of there. I was interviewed by Mark Walton for PM Magazine. My 15 minutes of fame.

13 years later I still can vividly picture that asshole blowing his brains out in front of me (and others). For him it is over. For those of us unfortunate to have been there that day it pops up in the occasional dream or when I hear what sounds like a gunshot. That's the worst thing I have ever seen.

Tick Tock

Tick tock

Current mood:contemplative


You can lose it

You can keep it

You can make it

You can pass it

You can save it

But you cannot stop it, rewind it or travel forwards or backwards through it (not yet anyway).

We live in a moment of time which we cannot see coming or going only that we are in the moment. The past is billions of moments lost to us and the future is billions of moments which are filled with opportunities coming to us. We cannot know in advance which moments will be important or not so it is imperative that we live as much as possible in each and every moment we can.

Palomar Mountain - Angel of the Mountains

Palomar Mountain - Angel of the Mountains
Oct 2008
Current mood:cheerful
Today was the day I thought some of the other members of the "San Diego Mafia" as Breinne from the CTS forums likes to call us were gong to ride Palomar Mountain. It's next week, lol. For those not fortunate enough to live in the land of arm and leg warmers only in Winter, Palomar is the Alpe'd'Huez of Southern California. The measured part of the climb (for those that like records) is just a tad longer than 11 miles.The "record" is 00:56:00 and it is rumored that a certain individual with a shiny new hip has done it in 00:48:00.
I measured it at 11.7 miles. Now the fun part...the average grade is 9% and the last 7 miles is 11% Average. It's relentless it does not flatten at all. Over 4000 feet of climbing. If you start from the casino parking lot 15 miles away the entire ride is just over 5400 ft of climbing on 46 miles.
This was my first time riding this hill since it is a 65 mile drive to get there and we pay way more for gas here than the rest of the country, price of paradise I guess.
Tall guys can climb (6'3 160lbs) I smoked it! My time was 01:18:00 (9mph average) in an 39x26 gear at 72rpm ave cadence. I got out of the saddle for some of the steeper switchbacks but 95% of the time was in the saddle. I felt good the whole way even though I was either in Time Trail, Climbing Repeat range or Steady State the entire climb.
On the way down I couldn't figure out why my bike was wasn't the bike it was me freezing my ass off! I had to stop and put the arm warmers and vest back on and even then I was still shaking at 35mph. Note to self: practice descending more. I was way too tentative going into the corners on the way down.
I have a new favorite ride.

ps. Has it been that long since the first time I rode Palomar? Only rode one other time and it was 3 years ago(?) Time of 1:06

Cycling Poetry

Cycling Poetry?

A rider and their bicycle work as one

gliding through corners on a fast descent.

A give and take in a dance of sublime expression

between rider and machine.


Scott | blog on Myspace

Originally written January 24th 2007 for my MySpace blog

"Some Walk by Night"

Current mood:sick

For Christmas I received seasons 3 and 4 of the mid 80's T.V. show "MOONLIGHTING" with Cybil Sheppard as "Maddie Hayes" and a new talent Bruce Willis as "David Addison". They run a detective agency in Los Angeles. Originally set up as a tax loss the Blue Moon Detective Agency becomes Maddies sole source of income after her accountant embezzles the money she earned from modeling Blue Moon Shampoo.

Maddie and David are patterned after Nick and Nora Charles from the "Thin Man" movies of the 30's. If you haven't seen any of the Thin Man movies add them to your NetFlix queue. The dialogue is full of double entendre and 'snappy' banter (homage to Thin Man). Moonlighting was fond of breaking the fourth wall and by looking directly at the camera engaging the audiences with a wink or a knowing look. They even go as far as mentioning the writers during scenes. Moonlighting was not afraid to change the paradigm of series televison and borrow form other sources such as Shakespeare for their own telling of the "Taming of the Shrew" (Atomic Shakespeare). A black and white episode in the style of film noir introduced by Orson Welles that takes place in the 40's during the age of Big Band and Swing. Cybill sings "Blue Moon" appropraitely enough and does a very good job with the crooner standard.

I was home from work sick today so it was a perfect time to have a Moonlighting marathon and catch up with my old friends David and Maddie. I still apsire to be more like David and and to meet my Maddie. Well, that has happened but that is for another time. I was 24 when the showed aired and now I am 44. A lot has happened in 20 years. Some good some bad. The clothing styles are no longer in fashion (thank God) but I still dig the women's hair styles. So if you are looking for something to watch that has wit and humour and lots of dialogue get your hands on all 5 seasons of Moonlighting because funny is funny.

I will end this with the immortal words of David Addison...."Do bears bear? Do bees bee?"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Riding "naked"

About three weeks ago I built up a new Cannondale CAAD9 frame set. "EVA" is her name. I rode the previous bike "Jane" for what is a relatively short amount of time for me, about 7 years (50000+ miles). The rode the previous bike for 14 years! I decided I would make it as light as I could afford to and left off the PowerTap (hub is about 3/4lb) and did not install any cycle computer. Now anyone who knows me knows that I have always been a numbers guy. I want as much data as I can get. I run RACEDAY and WKO+ training software on my computer and immediately after a ride would upload mt wattage data. So after 3 weeks and best guess about 500 miles later I am riding sans data of any kind. And I must say riding "naked" is very liberating. I still occasionally look down at the stem to see my speed while bombing downhill, habits are hard to break!
I thought it would make group rides harder by not knowing how hard I was going but it actually freed my head up from the constraint of LT and Max efforts because now I am either bridging across the gap or not. No more checking to see if the effort was "sustainable" or not. Like Yoda says "There is no try, only do" I am also enjoying just riding and plan to ride "naked" until the end of June the start training on the TT bike (Sonja) for the fall Southern California Time Trial season starting with a TT at Fiesta Island in September. I may just run the PowerTap on the TT bike and just keep "EVA" pure ;)
I hope EDDY Merckx would be proud!