Monthly Archives: June 2007

D-Bo’s Tour de Billsburg

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At Dan’s behest, seven of us did gather at Wallers Mill Park in Williamsburg on the morn of Thursday. We did ride forth and around the city and out into the county (and even across a dam as witnessed above in a photo stolen outright from our good leader’s blog where there are yet more photos from our adventure). The road did tilt upward far more often than we are accustomed to and hence we struggled, save Andy who seemed to climb with wings and, of course, Silly Sally, who’s looking quite strong. Thanks, Dan. Let’s do it again.

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Getting my long ride on

With much of the team racing Reston, or feeling Cranky, I decided to take a hit of LSD – long, slow distance – all by my lonesome.

Headed out of Norfolk across the Berkley Bridge, down Bainbridge to Dominion. Crossed the bridge that the Pilot has spilled so much ink on with its cheese (and skin) grater deck, cars and trucks flying by at 55 and no shoulder. Right at Moses Grady and down the old 17 to the new bike trail. 20 miles.

Down the trail as far it goes and back to Ballahack, then all the way across to 168. Up a short way to Indian Creek via Gallbush Road. 40 miles. Stopped at Northwest River Park to top off the water bottles. Devoured some Fig Newtons and enjoyed a Coke. Indian Creek to Blackwater. Up Blackwater to Head of River to Long Ridge to Land of Promise. 60 miles.

Turned right on Whittamore to Centreville to Fentress to Mount Pleasant to Battlefield to Great Bridge Blvd. and back to Bainbridge. Over the bridge, through downtown on Granby. 80 miles.

Home. 82.5 miles in under 4:30. Nice and easy. Oddly enough, I don’t even feel fried, tired or like I even worked that hard. In fact it was kind of refreshing. A good trip.

Birthday Beers #5 and #6

OK. It’s been a month since my birthday and I still have birthday beer hanging around. I feel ashamed to call myself a beer drinker. It’s not that I haven’t been drinking beer, but I’ve been saving and savoring all the good beer friends brought me for my birthday. Thanks again.

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#5 was a Czechvar, the beer otherwise known as Budvar that has fought Anheuser-Busch over the use of Bud all around the world. The two settled their differences earlier this year and now it’s a lot easier for Americans to enjoy a real lager. It was crisp, smooth, sparkling and flavorful. Everything Budweiser pretends to be. If you haven’t tried it, do.

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A Small Craft Warning Uber Pils from Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing Co. is #6. Another winner here. Starts hoppy, with a nice malt finish. Full mouth flavor. Clipper City dubs this a “bock lager.” All I got is “yum.” Watch these at 7% alcohol by volume.

I may suspend the birthday beer reviews, except one. I’ve been saving the Arrogant Bastard Ale, which Marco gave me saying he thought it appropriate.

El’s first summer meet’s a treat

Ellie swam a fantastic meet today against Great Bridge Swim Club. She got two individual firsts in the 50-meter free and 25-meter butterfly. Check out the video of her fly:

Fortunately her swimming is much better than my camera work. She also swam to fourth in a tight 25-meter breast stroke, less than a second behind first, and both her relays got second with Ellie swimming very strong opening legs.

I got up early and rode the bike down to the meet, rolling up 30 miles and hooking up with the All About Bikes ride for a while. Almost crashed in a corner as I followed Stephen with Andy on my wheel as we were winding up for sprint. The rear tire went soft. I let it slide out and kept upright somehow. You just never know.

Flying, before flatting

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Cool photo of me at the start of the Urban Assault on Saturday from Blake Puhak. Shame my race ended moments later. Thanks to JB for pointing it out.

Shortest race ever (and an appropos beer)

Spent my $38 to register, $30 for a tankful of gas, then drove to Richmond this morning. Warmed up a little. Laid my bike down. Did the ridiculously short 50 meter Le Mans start. Leapt on my bike. Followed the pros and other experts into the woods. Not 200 meters in: whish, whish, whish, whish. The unmistakable sound of puncture. And this time it was me. Whatever it was gashed my tubeless tire and I didn’t have anything to fill that big a hole. Race over in 45 seconds. Bummer. I was looking forward to the Urban Assault since I really like those trails in the James River Park system in downtown Richmond. I’ve raced the Xterra there the past four years, but with little running and no swimming this year, I just planned to hit the mountain bike race. Oh well.

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So in honor of my shortened race, I popped open a Tire Bite Golden Ale from Flying Dog Brewery in Colorado, one of my birthday brews, when I got home to drown my sorrows. Regardless of the taste this beer had cool graphics whipped up by none other than Ralph Steadman, who also famously illustrated “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” It is mildly flavored. Something about the finish I’m not wild about, something metallic, almost like a piece of brass. It’s billed as refreshing, but I just want to get another beer out of the fridge.

Camp Hilbert, Part Deux

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After the Amphibious Assault on Saturday, I got up Sunday and drove to Oilville for Camp Hilbert #2 and my second ever expert vet race. Got a nice warm-up and went to the start ready to roll. The speed from the get go was crazy fast and I entered the singletrack in the bottom third of the field, right where I belong. I tried to stay on the wheel of the guy in front of me, but meter by meter the gap grew until I could only glimpse him in front of me and I lost him for good around the 3-mile mark. I could hear IF rider MRussell, right behind me, which inspired me to greater turns of speed. (It was nice to meet Mr. Russell, finally).

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All three pics are from AndreWelch.com and his Camp Hilbert gallery. He got a bunch of pics of me for some reason. I’m not complaining. Thanks, in fact.I came through the first lap in just under 31 minutes, which was truly flying for me, and with Mr. Russell right on my wheel. I hit it again when I went back into the singletrack and created a little gap and passed a few enduro riders. After a while I was alone. One nice thing about racing expert vet is the utter absence of traffic. The experts and faster vets are well in front of you and almost no one is coming up on you. It’s just you and the sweet trails, rolling and banking, dropping and climbing, flying over the roots and trying not to touch the brakes. (My mentor told me to count to three before hitting them and frequently you’ll have rolled out of the trouble you thought you were in. Thanks, Chad.)

Feeling awesome, the second lap ticked by in a hair over 31 minutes. I didn’t think I could keep it up, but about two miles into the last lap I saw another rider in front of me, well in front of me. Nothing like a rabbit to chase. I gained on him on every climb, but he’d hold his own on the flats and downhills. With less than a mile to go, I finally caught him and tried to go by hard, but the effort put me completely in the red zone. I overshot a turn at the bottom of a short downhill and he squirted by. I couldn’t catch back up through the hummocks and he beat me by 20 seconds or so.

I came in 14th, turning in another sub-31 minute lap for a total time of 1:32.48. That’s 14 minutes faster than I raced the same course in the opposite direction back in March, so I’m not complaining about my placing. Don’t know as I’ll ever stand out in this fast crowd, but it certainly pushes me and I have all kinds of respect for the top guys. The winner turned a time of just under 1:24, and accidentally did a 4th lap at the same pace! Yikes.

My teammate Marco made it up with his family. His kids raced and had a good time in the kids’ race. And Marco came in 7th in sport vet.

Once again it was another good race put on by Mark Junkerman of RunRideRace. Thanks Mark and the rest of your crew.