Showing posts from June, 2013

Of Bike Races and Bees

As I look back on it, last week definitely ranked among the more surreal. It began last Saturday morning. It was the day before Pickett's Charge and I was looking forward to an easy ride, some wrenching on the bike and a lot of carbo loading ahead of the race. I came downstairs, made some coffee, sat down on the sofa and I heard the buzzing.  Yup. There were bees in the wood stove. Great. This has happened before. Scouts from a hive that's about to divide go looking for promising homes. Our chimney shows up quite a bit in their real estate listings. Some of them wander down the chimney and get stuck banging themselves against the glass of the stove door. I vacuumed out the bees and lit some paper in the stove to send a message up the flue that this isn't a good place to call home. That's worked fine in the past. The scouts don't come back and the chimney stays on the market. This time when I came back and looked, the half dozen bees had been replaced by a hundred. T

Alsea Falls - Overly Attached Bicycle

Well, after a great race at Sister's Stampede, I'm back to sucking again. I'm not surprised. It's been kind of a sketchy season from the beginning and the two weeks spent traveling to Maddie's graduation and visiting JD down in Oakland pretty much knocked me back to "strong but out of shape" status. Saturday I went down to do the Alsea Falls Switchback and let's just say it's a good thing I  have abnormally high self esteem. I raced down there a couple years ago, the first time Mike Ripley used the area. I thought it had potential but it was a bit rugged and I crashed hard on one switchback. Since then, he's put a lot of work into the trails and significantly changed the course. It's much improved and should have played to my strengths. We raced 3 eight mile loops that began with a 3 mile climb on an old paved logging road. He started the race in two waves instead of letting each category go with a couple minutes between. I really liked

Twice in a Lifetime

One can measure the joy of an event in a number of ways. In the case of a bike race you might find joy in winning, or beating a previous time. You might find it in merely surviving. In the case of Sister's Stampede, I found joy in, well, not getting lost this year . I also found joy in the cooler day and not baking to death. I was also pleasantly surprised that I did substantially better than I expected.  14 out of 21 may not be great by most people's standards but it's the closest to a mid-pack finish I've had in Cat II since pretty much as long as I can remember. It was the first race I've had this year that I could really race too. It rained the night before so it was a fast, tacky course with no dust. It was also a single lap so there was less overlap in categories. There was a lot of bunching at the front of the categories but 8 or 9 minutes back we had room to breathe and courtesy informed all the passes. It was also my first time on the long course and my w